San Diego TE's are Charged with Fantasy Value

    If I'm a San Diego Charger player or fan, I'm loving how this team is stepping into the season with no respect, no expectations and no pressure.
     Most fans east of the Mississippi couldn't give a rat's behind what's going on down in sunny San Diego. While the Chargers snuck into the playoffs last season with a 9-7 record, the general voxpopuli around the country is the Chargers are going to be right where they were last season, a decent team that will be on the bubble looking to get in the playoffs.
   8-8, 9-7 for most folks right?
    I've broken down San Diego's 9-7, 2013 campaign more than a few times. I've told the sports community how the Chargers got reffed out of three games last year, were in every game until the final moments (Except that weird Raider game that started at like midnight eastern - wheeeoooowww), but despite my blog reaching 5's of 10's of people nationwide, the Chargers are like the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL and just can't get no respect. 
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Blogger Tricks

San Francisco 49ers: Vernon Davis is truly rebuilding his brand

The San Francisco 49ers reported to camp yesterday. One of the most welcome arrivals was that of Vernon Davis. By now, everyone is aware of his failure to report to OTAs and mini camp due to his desire for a new contract along with his need to “build his brand.” Holding out was more of a detriment to his brand than anything else. Reporting to camp on time was a major step towards truly rebuilding his brand.

I previously wrote an article about Davis’ initial attempt to “build his brand”when rumors of his holdout first surfaced. He has signed on with a company called Fantex which trades shares of professional athletes. You can check out how to invest in Vernon Davis here: Vernon Davis Fantex Profile

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Does the NFL have a Discipline Double Standard

(The NFL Came down hard today on those with drug infractions, went light on wife abusers and the jury is still out on owners who drive drunk - What's going on Mr. Goodell?)
      The sports world is alive today buzzing over the curious decisions and punishments handed out by the NFL today.
       Twitter is abuzz over a two-game suspension for a football player who beat his wife unconscious and a noted pot-smoker who lost his livelihood for a whole season.
  To add to the mystery of how and why these decisions are reached, the sports world is still waiting to hear what the punishment is for Colts owner Jim Irsay who was pulled over earlier this year for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance.
   The controlled substance was found to be prescription drugs. The drugs were not associated with any prescription bottles in the vehicle. 
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Has Aaron Rodgers Left Your Neighborhood?

I certainly respect Ron Jaworski as a former player and current analyst but he like many have forgotten who the best quarterback in the NFL is right now.  It's Aaron Rodgers!

Sure you can argue it with Peyton Manning who broke every significant single season passing record just last year at the age of 37.  You can tell me that Tom Brady is the best in the league because he does more with less.  Some will even toss Drew Brees into the conversation because he's a passing machine and throws for 5,000 yards in his sleep during his NyQuil commercials.  But this is still Aaron Rodgers neighborhood.

It's funny how quickly people forget how great a player is when he gets hurt for a while.  Rodgers missed 7 games last year and the Packers record suffered as a result of it, yet managed to make the playoffs in a mediocre NFC North division.  Despite Rodgers magic in the post season, they lost to the 49ers in Green Bay because the Swiss cheese defense was on the field for the Pack.  Rodgers led his offense to win 3 of the last 4 games to win the division despite the defense giving up an average of over 30 points a game.

Don't forget that Greg Jennings was in a Minnesota Vikings uniform, Randall Cobb only played in 6 games and Jordy Nelson was fighting through various injuries all season long.  If not for Eddie Lacy the Aaron Rodgers would have had absolutely nothing.  Yet, he was still able to come back from his own injury and lead his team to another division title.

Okay if you're a stat guy and scream from the mountain top that Peyton Manning is still the best quarterback in football even at the ripe old age of 38, well you're wrong...but you're close.  I'd say he's 2nd behind Rodgers and in my opinion if Rodgers were under center for the Broncos then the outcome of last years Super Bowl may have been different.

I believe Aaron Rodgers is easily the best quarterback in the NFL.  This is no slap in the face to Manning, Brady, Brees or anyone else.  Here's those stats you were looking for:

Since taking over for the legend of Brett Favre at QB, Rodgers has thrown 187 TD's against only 51 INT's.  That's nearly a 4:1 ratio!  He turned in a few of the greatest single seasons a quarterback has ever had like in 2011 when he threw for 45 TD's and a measly 6 picks with 4,643 yards in the air.  That's absolutely ridiculous, I don't care what the rules are.  That season he didn't even play in the regular season finale when Matt Flynn threw for 6 touchdowns against the Lions.  If that were Rodgers he would have broke the single season record at the time.

The year after in 2012 he had 39 TD's and 8 INT's.  Geez what a down year huh!  Please.  And guys it's not all about the numbers.  If you like football or love it and understand how the game is played and what individual talents can bring to the table, then watching Aaron Rodgers play quarterback is poetry in motion.

He's smooth as he eludes pass rushers, all the while with his eyes down the field knowing where all of his eligible receivers are.  He always looks to pass first and his accuracy is off the charts.  Not to mention he can throw a perfect spiral as far down the field as any QB in the league.  If nobody is open then he can do something that Manning, Brady and Brees can only dream of.  And that's scrambling around to extend a play to get a receiver open or simply rushing for 10, 20, 30+ yards gains with tremendous athletic ability.

Before Rodgers got hurt last season, nearly every analyst, fan and player ranked Rodgers #1 and was even the first pick in some fantasy football drafts, a spot usually reserved for running backs.  I understand that Peyton may have had the greatest single season of all time so naturally he'll get the bulk of the attention.  But I'm telling you now, Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL and everyone will remember that as the 2014 season progresses.  Hec
k it may take one game where he throws 5 TD's and 400 yards on opening day.  Just wait, watch and see!
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Baltimore Ravens: Ray Rice Gets Off Easy

Today, the NFL handed down the punishment for Ray Rice, who in the off season abused his now wife. The punishment was a mere two games. Let that sink in for a minute. Players who got caught with weed or alcohol have been know to get four games or more if repeat offender. Now I'm not saying those offenses are light in any way, but the NFL has sent a strange message today where one might think they look at abuse on a spouse or women in general as no big deal.

Growing up as a young boy I was taught many lessons. One, was that you respect elderly and another was never hit and respect women. I use these lessons today, as I still respect my mother and my wife, and I'm teaching these lessons to my young boys. As a husband, and a father to a daughter, Ray Rice is everything but a man. He in my eyes and probably a million more is he is a coward, and not a man.
To hit a woman, then drag her out of an elevator or anywhere is despicable and disturbing, and should be convicted to the full stint of the law, however I'm not a lawyer or a judge, so I digress.

Now to the NFL, who does good to honor breast cancer awareness for the month of October. Now how about donating to the women who have suffered unexplainable abuse by the hands of men. Probably, not going to happen as they showed the world with the Ray Rice suspension. This will be a black eye for the NFL (no pun intended) and will not go away. You see women are a growing NFL fan base and probably will have something to say, I know my wife will. This was an opportunity for the NFL to take a stand and they failed miserably. The Baltimore Ravens higher ups, and even Rice himself have made comments, but to me they are scripted. They have to be the typical PR "we got Rays back" when commenting because they also have to be careful with how they look. I imagine if they are decent men, they cant look at Ray Rice the same way, because I know I wont.

Look, the NFL is always going to have fans and will also have players that break the law. This happens when you deal with different variety of personalities. I hope they will in the future look at abuse whether it be spousal or any other form as a serious matter, and get resources for the people involved. Lets be honest if you hit a woman, no matter how angry you get or if she deserves it, you have major issues, and I will never sugarcoat that thought. Ray Rice, has made a mistake which I hope he learns from, but as a Man, he will never be one.
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Will Rory McIlroy replace Tiger as an all time great?

This past week was a great week for Rory McIlroy, he won the British Open and if that wasn't enough, his dad won $171,000 via a 10 year old bet he made with his buddies.

Must be a great week for the McIlroy's. But let's focus on Rory for now. Could he be an all time great in the history of golf?

As of now, he sits 2nd in the World Rankings of Golf and is 11th on the Fedex Cup rank . McIlroy has 3 major wins in his career so far, the US Open in 2011, the PGA Championship in 2012, and just recently the British Open in 2014. Although he only has 3 major wins in his career, you have to keep in mind that McIlroy is only 25 and he has a long way to go to write his own legacy.

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Minnesota Timberwolves: Which team would be the best to trade Love to?

The Kevin Love sweepstakes are really starting to heat up. Now the Chicago Bulls are into the mix along with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. Teams are calling around and scurrying to find a third team that could possibly produce an enticing offer to the Timberwolves– an offer that could help make their team into a title contender.

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have offered the newest deal on the table. They want to send Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and arguably the best European player right now in Nikola Mirotic. Gibson has proved to be a great defensive player, and can produce on the offensive side as well. This would greatly help the Wolves rim defense, but I am not completely sure where he would be able to fit into the rotation.

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New Orleans Saints: Things we don't get about Jimmy Graham

Making my way around the NFL and things I don’t get about various topics within it, I’m sure people were amazed when they saw I hadn't written a piece on all the controversy surrounding the New Orleans’ Saints’ Jimmy Graham and whether or not he is a tight end or a wide receiver. As The Student of the Game, it’s not that I lack questions on the topic, but that I hold an abundance of inquiries surrounding it. I needed time to form them properly. After all, as the weeks passed, this whole situation felt more like watching the X-files. . . as answers came, so too did more confusion.

Right out of the gate, one thing I don’t get about this is the fans’ outrage seen in Graham’s declaring he’s a wide receiver and not a tight end. The way he was lit aflame across social media as greedy — you’d think he was holding out of training camp.

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Early NFL Power Rankings

Is it too early for power rankings in the NFL?  No!  It's freakin football and any excuse to talk about it is worth the conversation.  Now we all know the usual suspects will be at or near the top of my pre-season power rankings but don't get freaked out if you see a team in the top 12 or so that you feel doesn't belong.  Another thing we all know about the NFL is that 3 or 4 teams come out of nowhere and surprise the heck out of us with playoff berths and divisional crowns every year without fail.

While the New England Patriots have been a virtual lock in the AFC East for the past decade, picking a winner in the NFC South is like trying to scratch the winning lottery numbers as we get a different champ from that division every season.  Also keep in mind that on average 5 new teams will make the post season every year.  These are by no means my official power rankings before the season starts but it's a good idea what I'm thinking.  I will elaborate more on the show and in certain upcoming articles.

1. Seattle Seahawks - Defending champs without any major losses.
2. San Francisco 49ers - If the Niners won the NFC Championship, they'd be SB champs.
3. Denver Broncos - They just have an incredible offense that defense rarely matters.
4. New England Patriots - The secondary was the problem, not anymore. Brady & Belichick
5. New Orleans Saints - Potential SB team. Much improved on defense.
6. Atlanta Falcons - Last year was an injury ridden fluke, they'll be back.
7. Cincinnati Bengals - They just need to score more points & they can go far.
8. Chicago Bears - This is still a tough team. Be nice if Cutler could stay healthy!
9. Indianapolis Colts - Like Manning before him, Luck makes the whole team better.
10. Green Bay Packers - My only concern is the defense. Rodgers is best QB in the game.
11. Philadelphia Eagles - How are teams going to stop this offense?
12. Kansas City Chiefs - This is not a fluke team at all. They just flaked out in the playoffs.
13. Detroit Lions - So much talent, new coach & sky is the limit.
14. Washington Redskins - DeSean Jackson may be the biggest addition this off-season.
15. San Diego Chargers - Awesome QB, smart HC and a bunch of young talent.
16. Arizona Cardinals - They are very good, but in Palmer I do not trust.
17. Baltimore Ravens - They're tough to figure out right now. Too many issues.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers - It's hard to imagine the Steelers falling so far from grace.
19. Miami Dolphins - They can never maximize they're potential. The talent is there!
20. Dallas Cowboys - It's gonna be another (8 - 8) kind of season. Good-Bye Garrett.
21. St. Louis Rams - They need stability at QB & then I'll take them seriously.
22. Carolina Panthers - Cam may be Superman but even he needed help in the movies.
23. Oakland Raiders - If Schaub/Carr play well then 9 wins is possible this time.
24. Tampa Bay Bucs - I'm not fond of the McCown move but Lovie will work things out.
25. New York Giants - Eli isn't great folks and that front 7 on D must get better. JPP?
26. Cleveland Browns - I'd have them ranked higher if Josh Gordon were playing.
27. New York Jets - I still don't see how they're gonna score points?!
28. Houston Texans - Last year was ridiculous. They can be a lot better!
29. Tennessee Titans - Lucky for them the AFC South stinks!
30. Minnesota Vikings - Just too many question marks with no answer sheet. Bortles though!
31. Buffalo Bills - Not sure how much Watkins can help this group right away.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars - Do I need to explain?

This Sunday on The Route 4 Sports Podcast we will begin our training camp tour starting with the best division in football, the NFC West.  Apparently I agree with the sports
fans who all wanted R4S to start the tour on the west coast as you see my top 2 teams are from that division.  Of course we'll have plenty more to talk about and your vote will determine which division we break down next.  Your calls and opinions are always welcome.
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Any Fantasy Football Love for Russell Wilson

  As I sit in the man-cave and dig into the thousands of scenarios that lead up to draft night for my league, I can't say as I give very much thought to Russell Wilson of the Seahawks.
    At first glance, I think of him as a solid, NFL QB who wins a lot, is a great teammate, runs when he needs to and is vastly underpaid.
   Me thinking of him as an elite NFL QB or even a top-tier Fantasy Football QB just doesn't happen.
  But then, I look at those stats and the man has passed for 26 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons.
   Hmmm, upper 20's in TD's with a few running TD's mixed in and he's not really even on my radar.
 Time to adjust the radar, I guess!
Let's take a look at his stats over a brief NFL Career. 
2012 - 3118 yards (64 percent completion) 26 td's and 10 int's - Rushing 489 yards and 4 scores
2013 - 3357 yards (63 percent) 26 td's and 9 int's - Rushing 539 yards and 1 td.
 Before we get to some analysis let's take a peek at what some of the Fantasy sites are suggesting regarding Russell Wilson's fantasy value.
CBS - Jeremy Eisenberg - 15th - 
CBS - Dave Richard - 18th
Yahoo - 14th
ESPN - 8th
Fox - 11th 
Rich Winter analysis: I'm surprised that Wilson has been so consistent in his first two years in the league. Those 26 touchdowns last season ranked him 9th in that department. Add in those rushing of near or over 500 yards per season and he moves up a few notches because he's going to give you some points in that area.
   The Seahawks lost a couple of receivers from last season including Golden Tate who landed in Detroit. 
Percy Harvin who was absent a year ago will take over the lead WR duties. When he's healthy, he's a good receiver, although he's never gone over 1000 yards.
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