NFL In Detail 2.0: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are the second of those three bad teams who made slight improvements.  Guys like Julius Thomas were key additions, and they were unbelievable throughout the entire draft.

Fantasy and Training Camp Outlook

QB

Blake Bortles is your starter, but if he was to get hurt, there is plenty of backup.  Chad Henne, former Jags QB is one option.  Jeff Tuel, signed in free agency from the Bills is another.  And Stephen Morris is an emergency option.  But Bortles is a lock-in number one guy.

RB

Toby Gerhart may be able to regain as number 1, but many guys challenge.  I think former Raven Bernard Pierce should be the number 1.  He was for the Ravens before Justin Forsett went on his run.  T. J. Yeldon, drafted with the Jaguars second round pick, is another option.  He helped Alabama to the final four in college, and he should definitely help Jacksonville.  But they should definitely consider youngsters Storm Johnson and Denard Robinson as backups.  Johnson could have a breakout year, like Robinson last year until he got hurt.  I see a good year in Yeldon, Gerhart and Johnson along with decent ones in Robinson and Pierce.

WR

NFL Network thought Allen Robinson would be the Jags breakout receiver.  But that was just out of him, Hurns, or Marqise Lee.  They have other guys too.  Out of those guys, I say Hurns or Lee.  But they have rookie Rashad Greene, and veterans Tandon Doss and Justin Blackmon as well.  Breakout year?  Justin Blackmon.  He will recover from last years indefinite suspension and blow up, as long as Blake Bortles is willing to pass to him.  Start Blackmon, with Lee, Hurns and Robinson behind him.  Will Bortles remember to throw the rock to him?

TE

Julius Thomas is your starter, even at a descending point in his career, but you also need to put Marcedes Lewis and Clay Harbor in mind.  They both handled starting jobs at some point last year, and were OK.  Start Thomas, then Lewis. then Harbor.

Defense

A young defense will help the Jags to victories.  Rookies Michael Bennett and James Sample, along with veteran Nick Marshall, are some new guys to the once empty defense.  They also drafted Dante Fowler Jr. with the third overall pick, but he will miss 2015 with a torn ACL, so they screwed up.

NFL In Detail 2.0: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers may be bad again, even after drafting Jameis Winston with the first overall pick.  Winston was the Florida State quarterback, using tight end Nick O’ Leary as his main weapon.  He should start at QB, but Mike Glennon will challenge his throne as starter.

Fantasy and Training Camp Outlook

We already talked QB, so lets move on to running back.

RB

Three running backs should all compete for the starting position.  They have Doug Martin, who was supposed to have his outbreak year in 2014, but struggled.  He could be back to being close to his normal state.  Bobby Rainey will chase him though, and Rainey had stats higher than his projection last year, but Martin’s improvements get in Rainey’s way.  I doubt he’ll be the number 1, but the third spot definitely goes to either young Charles Sims, or fullback Jorvorskie Lane, even fullback Evan Rodriguez.

WR

Winston’s Tampa weapons should be between veteran Vincent Jackson, and 2014 outbreak rookie Mike Evans.  I expect Evans can keep it up, but Jackson has some skills to show this year too.

TE

Austin Seferian-Jenkins should be the number 1 again to at least start the year, but I could forecast him having a break down season.  That opens the door for returning Buccaneer and Pats XLIX champ Tim Wright.  Wright was Gronk’s second hand man last year, and he can do the same, maybe even surpass the skills of Seferian-Jenkins.

Defense

Both the offensive and defensive line shold be great, between Logan Mankins on offense, and Gerald McCoy and Larry English on defense.  They need another defensive back though, and are left with safety D. J. Swearinger, but no star corners.

The Buccaneers have developing, but older talent that shouldn’t do much, but will do something to make an effort to make the team at least 31st rather than 32nd of 32, although like all teams, they aim towards going to Super Bowl 50.

NFL In Detail 2.0: Oakland Raiders

The Raiders are one of three teams who made a few big moves, but still are bottom teams along with the Titans and Jaguars, all in the AFC.
Fantasy and Training Camp Outlook
QB

Derek Carr is a developing starter in Oakland, and they struggle to find a backup. But I think if Carr struggles, start Christian Ponder at quarterback. He tops Matt McGloin in the race for backup. Ponder got a little playing time with the Vikings last year, but was a third string quarterback. He can take his career up a notch.
RB

They lost key RB Darren McFadden, long time Raider, but have plenty of reserves. They snagged strong third string Roy Helu, and former Colt underdog Trent Richardson, and still have Latavius Murray and fullback Marcel Reece. Murray will fight Richardson for the lead spot, while the other is left a reserve. Most say Murray, but veteran Richardson should take it from young Latavius Murray in my opinion. They also let go of veteran Maurice Jones-Drew, left a free agent.
WR

Hopefully Michael Crabtree can rebound to take the lead role, but if not, they only have Andre Holmes, former Pat Kenbrell Thompkins, and developing rookie Amari Cooper. Meanwhile those guys do show power, and could be decent. I have an especially good feeling about Cooper.
TE

Mychal Rivera could be the starter again, but I would give it to rookie Clive Walford. The smart drafting Raiders snagged him and Cooper in the first three rounds.
Defense

This defense is one of he worst in the league, but Justin Tuck and Khalil Mack should lead the defense. I expect it to improve from last year, probably leaving the Jags in the bottom spot.
The Raiders now have a few sparking veterans, but are dominant in young talent drafted ver the past couple years. Smart in the draft, and free agency.

Wright Follows Through, Red Sox Top Yankees

The Red Sox defeated the Yankees in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel.  Steven Wright lasted 8 innings, giving up only 3 hits, 1 earned run, walking 2 and striking out 9.  The Sox scored first in the second inning.  Mike Napoli reached on a 2 base throwing error by third baseman Chase Headley.  And Alejandro De Aza nearly knocked the ball out of Yankee Stadium with an RBI double.

Meanwhile, Steven Wright was tossing a no-hitter to a powerful Yankees lineup.  The Sox struck again in the 4th with a Big Papi 424 foot solo shot into right field.  2-0 Sox.  Yankees debuting youngster Luis Severino lasted 5 innings, giving up two runs and only 2 hits.  Steven Wright’s no-hitter was broken up in the 5th, by 2 singles to make it 1st and 2nd.  In the 7th, Pablo Sandoval lined a ball to right field for an easy double.  Mike Napoli was hit by the pitch, and neither De Aza or Swihart could knock in an insurance run.

Carlos Beltran led off with a dinger in the bottom of the 7th to right center, making it 2-1 Sox.  But Wright hung in there and got the rest of the side out in order.  In the top of the 8th, John Ryan Murphy robbed Xander Bogaerts’ foul ball to end the inning.  Wright nearly got himself in a jam after that.  Murphy led off with a single.  Then the speedy former Sox player Jacoby Ellsbury, hit a ball off Wright’s leg, and Bogaerts turned it into a double play.  Even Ellsbury wasn’t up to pace with Bogaerts.

Wright pitched 106 pitches through 8 innings, leading it to the top of the 9th.  Yankees shining end of the bullpen set up man Chasen Shreve came in for lefties Ortiz and Sandoval.  Sandoval hit a ground rule double that looked gone when he hit it.  He intentionally walks Napoli, then Rusney Castillo pinch hit for De Aza.  He walked the bases loaded.  But Swihart failed to knock in an insurance run with bases loaded, two outs, and was called out on strikes.  On the second out, it looked like it bounced before going into diving Castillo’s glove.  Teixeira was credited for a base hit after Joe Girardi’s challenge.  Headley walked, but JBJ ran to make the final out on pinch hitter Brian McCann and lead the Sox to a 2-1 win.  The Sox rode youngsters JBJ and Wright and future hall of famer Big Papi, plus utility waiver pick-up Alejandro De Aza to a 2-1 win, Wright pitching a gem, and his best game of possibly his entire MLB career.  The Sox and Yanks play the rubber match tonight at 7.

Napoli, Red Sox Edge Rays

The Red Sox edged over the Rays in a 7-5 win last night.  Mike Napoli’s 7th inning home gave the lead back to the Red Sox after losing it.

The Rays scored first, walking and then singling into first and third.  Then a walk by Logan Forsythe loaded the bases. Joey Butler grounded into a force out and lead runner Brandon Guyer scored.  Evan Longoria made it safely to third, but Forsythe was out at second.

In the bottom of the 1st, Xander Bogaerts reached on a fielding error, by Logan Forsythe.  Bogaerts went to second on Erasmo Ramirez’s wild pitch.  Tim Beckham made another fielding error that made it first and third.  Mike Napoli walked the bases loaded, and De Aza kept it that way with an RBI single.  1-1.  Rusney Castillo then grounds into a force out, getting Ortiz at the plate.  Blake Swihart knocked 2 runs in on a single the next at bat.  3-1 Sox.

The game stays action packed as recently called up Mikie Mahtook doubles.  With two down, Brandon Guyer struck out, but on a wild pitch sending him to first and Mahtook to third.  Steven Souza Jr. singles a run in.  Then Evan longoria walks the bases loaded, but it doesn’t do it to tie things up.  That inning, the Sox blow it with Brock Holt on second.

In the 3rd, Asdrubal Cabrera singles, and Mikie Mahtook singles him in.  1 run, 1 RBI for 2015 debuting Mikie Mahtook.  the Red Sox struck again in the 5th.  Holt singled, and Bogaerts advanced him to second.  Then Napoli walked, and De Aza singled Holt in.  In the 7th, the Rays struck.  With 1st and second, John Jaso pinch hit doubled Mikie Mahtook in for his second run of the night.  Joey Butler also scored from first, and Jaso went to third on a Blake Swihart error, and just like that it was 5-4 Rays.  In the bottom of the inning, big Papi hit a ball just foul that could ave gone for a double.  He ended up walking.  Napoli hit his dinger to give the Sox a 6-5 lead.

For the most part, it was a quiet game after that.  Blake Swihart douled, and scored on a wild pitch off Brandon Gomes followed by a Josh Rutledge single to extend the lead to 7-5, but that was it.  Uehara got the save.  The Red Sox beat the Rays 7-5, Junichi Tazawa the winning pitcher, Jake McGee the losing pitcher.  Tampa Bay had 3 errors and the Red Sox had 2.  A win today and it a winning streak. A 6-0 lead and Travis Shaw’s first career dinger after 4 innings looks good.