2014 NFL Picks – Week 1

29 August 2014


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Last year we were 160-95-1 (.627) during the regular season. We were 24-10 (.706) in our non-repeat team lock picks. Now we’re back for a eighth year of NFL prognostication.
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2013:  160-95-1 (.627) and 24-10 (.706)
2012: 170-85-1 (.666) and 29-5 (.853)
2011: 176-80 (.688) and 28-6 (.824)
2010: 159-97 (.621) and 23-9 (.719)
2009: 177-79 (.691) & 31-3 (.912)
2008: 159-96-1 (.623) & 25-8-1 (.750)
2007: 154-98 (.611) & 12-5 (.706)
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Week 1 Locks:
Lock to Win:  San Francisco 49ers
Lock to Lose (can’t be same game as above):  Oakland Raiders
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Week 1 Picks:
SEA over GB
NO over ATL
CHI over BUF
KC over TENN
MINN over STL
NE over MIA
NYJ over OAK (Loser Lock)
PHI over JAX
PITT over CLE
BAL over CINCY
HOU over WASH
SF over DAL (Winner Lock)
CAR over TB
DEN over INDY
DET over NYG
ARI over SD
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Also check out:

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 | Posted by | Categories: NFL, NFL Picks | Tagged: NFL, NFL Picks, NFL Week 1, NFL Week 1 Picks |

Aaron Harang Braves
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Aaron Harang, Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins
Harang is 10-8 with a 3.60 ERA. In his past 12 starts he’s 5-2 with a  3.35 ERA. He’s 4-4 at home with a 3.51 ERA.
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Season Totals: 43-48, 783.2 IP, 662 Ks, 3.85 ERA (335 earned runs), 1.28 WHIP (768 hits, 239 walks)
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Miguel Gonzalez
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Miguel Gonzalez, Baltimore Orioles vs. Minnesota Twins
Gonzalez is 6-7 with a 3.75 ERA. He’s 2-2 in his past seven starts with a 2.49 ERA.
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Season Totals: 43-48, 777.2 IP, 657 Ks, 3.82 ERA (330 earned runs), 1.28 WHIP (759 hits, 237 walks)
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Here is a look at the 2014 Lester’s Legends tight end rankings for points-per-reception (PPR) leagues.
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1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Graham has averaged 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns over the past three seasons. Last year, Graham racked up an amazing 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns. With Darren Sproles being dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles, Graham will take on even more meaning for the potent Saints offense. Graham is further ahead of his peers than anybody in any other position.
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2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Gronk has 42 touchdowns in 50 career games, but he has managed to play just 18 games over the past two seasons. When he’s healthy, he’s as good as anybody in the league. There are healthy doses of risks and rewards associated with Gronk.
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3. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Orange Julius exploded on the scene with 788 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games. With Eric Decker moving on to the New York Jets, Thomas figures to be more of a focal point in the offense. Having Peyton Manning’s confidence, particularly in the red zone, puts him a notch ahead of Vernon Davis in my book.
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4. Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns
Cameron emerged last year with 917 yards and seven touchdowns after catching 26 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown in his first two seasons. No longer in Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner’s system, Cameron will likely regress. Still, he’s too good of a talent not to peg him in the top half of the fantasy tight end landscape.
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5. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Davis finished with 850 yards and 13 touchdowns in his most impressive season since 2009. Michael Crabtree, who was limited to five games because of an Achilles injury, figures to eat into some of Davis’ production. Still, Davis has a combination of size and speed that is difficult to match. He’s too fast for most linebackers and too strong for most defensive backs.
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6. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Olsen finished with 816 yards, giving him an average of 829.5 yards over the past two seasons. Olsen caught six touchdowns in his sixth straight season with at least five scores. With a shortage of reliable options for Cam Newton in the passing game, Olsen should play a huge role for Carolina in 2014.
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7. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens
Pitta appeared poised for a breakout season before a hip injury limited him to four game last year. Despite being sapped of his explosiveness, Pitta caught 20 passes for 169 yards and a score. In 2012, Pitta caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven scores. Don’t let the Owen Daniels signing scare you off. Pitta is primed to deliver.
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8. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Witten reached 850 receiving yards for the seventh straight season. He’s topped 750 yards for 10 straight years. Witten is as consistent as they come. He had his fewest receptions (73) since 2006, but he finished with eight touchdowns.
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9. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Rudolph (foot) was limited to eight games last year and subjected to five games with Christian Ponder at the helm. With Matt Cassel at quarterback and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner in the mix, look for much better things from Rudolph.
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10. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
Reed caught 45 passes for 499 yards and three touchdowns, which extrapolates to 80 receptions, 887 yards and five scores in a full season. Unfortunately Reed was limited to nine games because of concussions. Reed could finish much higher, but risk of further concussions hurts his value.
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11. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Ertz caught 36 passes for 469 yards and four touchdowns last year as a rookie. All four of his touchdowns came in the second half of the season. Look for a step forward in Ertz’s second year, particularly with DeSean Jackson’s 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns up for grabs.
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12. Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
Bennett caught 65 passes last year for 759 yards and five touchdowns, giving him averages of 60 receptions for 692.5 yards and five scores over the past two seasons.
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13. Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins
Clay caught 69 passes last year for 759 yards and six touchdowns as one of last year’s biggest surprises. His status as a TE2 is an indication of how deep the position has become.
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14. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
Walker caught 60 passes for 571 yards and six touchdowns in his first year as the primary tight end option. He’s a quality second tight end option.
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15. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers
Green caught 17 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns in his first season of extended use. The 6’6″, 240 pound physical marvel is a big-time breakout candidate.
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Also check out:

LestersLegends Best Fantasy Football Team Name Contest
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After dozens of entries we have narrowed the field down to the top eight fantasy football team names in the 2014 LestersLegends Fantasy Football Team Name Contest. We put it up to a vote by our panelists to determine the winner, who will receive a $50 gift certificate.
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Once again, here are the finalists in alphabetical order:
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Clear eyes, Foles Hearts, Can’t Lose – Blair Murray
For Whom Le’ Bell Tolls – Alby Brewster
Joiquierro Taco Bell – Hannah
Kuechly in the Bedroom – Alex Giobbi
Le’Veon on a Prayer – Lando
Saved by Le’ Bell – Alby Brewster
Sons of anArchie – Mike H
The Walking Dez – Randall
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Here are the results:
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First Place: Sons of anArchie
Second Place: For Whom Le’ Bell Toll
Third Place: Kuechly in the Bedroom
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Also check out:

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Jamaal Charles running
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Here is a look at the 2014 Lester’s Legends running back rankings for points-per-reception (PPR) leagues.
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1. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid knew how to get the very best of LeSean McCoy when he coached him in Philadelphia, which made him a perfect fit to coach Jamaal Charles once he arrived in Kansas City. Charles combined for 1,980 total yards and 19 touchdowns last season. Another stellar season should be in store for this electric back. Charles could easily be the first overall pick in any draft, especially in PPR leagues.
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2. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
LeSean McCoy finished with 2,146 total yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013. He was a perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense and put the concussion concerns to bed en route to earning the league’s rushing title. McCoy could also be the first overall pick, particularly in PPR leagues.
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3. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Matt Forte has a lot in common with Charles and McCoy. All are dual-threat backs that thrived under a new coach in 2013. Forte finished with 1,933 total yards and 12 touchdowns under the vision of Marc Trestman. He should continue to put up impressive numbers.
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4. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
A down year for Adrian Peterson consisted of 1,437 total yards and 11 touchdowns. I’ll take that kind of production all day (pun intended). New offensive coordinator Norv Turner has had a great history of success with running backs of a similar ilk (Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson). Look for big things from A.D. next season.
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5. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy put any weight issues to bed by rolling for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013, even as Aaron Rodgers was limited to nine games. Lacy added 257 receiving yards as well, proving that he’s not one-dimensional. As long as there isn’t a sophomore slump, Lacy should be a strong RB1 in 2014.
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6. Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
Ball averaged 4.7 yards per carry as he ran for 558 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. He caught 20 passes for another 145 yards. Now that he’s the feature back, look for him to shine as defenses key in on Peyton Manning and the passing game.
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7. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
DeMarco Murray was limited to 14 games last season, but he finished with 1,474 total yards and 10 touchdowns. His talent and explosiveness cannot be questioned; durability is another issue. If he can stay healthy big numbers should follow.
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8. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch showed everybody that he’s “’bout that action, boss,” as Beast Mode compiled 1,573 total yards and 14 touchdowns during the 2013 regular season. He then averaged 96 yards per game while scoring four touchdowns during the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl run. He’s a power back, but he takes a hit in PPR leagues.
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9. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams
Zac Stacy, at 5’8″ and 224 pounds, is a wrecking ball. Over his final 12 games as a rookie, he averaged 92.5 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns. He comes with some risk, but he also brings plenty of reward potential.
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10. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Bernard combined for 1,209 total yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie on 226 touches. Look for more touches in his sophomore year.
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11. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Foster was limited to eight games last year, but 1,896.3 total yards and 15.7 touchdowns the previous three seasons. Foster, who is dealing with a hamstring issue, is a bit of a risk, but he has a lot of potential.
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12. Le’veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’veon Bell was limited to 13 games as a rookie last year, but he still managed to accumulate 1,259 total yards (96.8 yards per game) and eight touchdowns. He’s a big back at 6′ 1″ and 244 pounds with soft hands (45 receptions) making him a solid RB1 option. His blunt (aka LeGarrette Blount) brother will take some of his stash.
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13. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills
Spiller did not get fed the ball until he puked last year, which lead to a disappointing season. Injuries played a role. Still, Spiller has  a 5.1 career yards per carry average and has averaged 34.8 receptions per season. He remains explosive. If he can stay durable, Spiller has the potential to be a steal in fantasy drafts.
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14. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin was limited to six games in 2013, which netted him 522 total yards and one touchdown. Tampa Bay was dysfunctional at the time of his season-ending injury. The Bucs made strides throughout the year, and Bobby Rainey and Mike James had some solid moments as replacements. Newly hired head coach Lovie Smith will want a run-first offense, which bodes well for Martin. He should also be very active in the passing game, a la Matt Forte
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15. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals
Ellington averaged 5.5 yards per carry while compiling 1,023 yards on just 157 touches. He scored just four touchdowns last year, but figures to be more involved in the offense this year, which will lead to greater production and more scoring opportunities.
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16. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots
Vereen only played in eight games last year, but caught 47 passes and finished with 635 total yards and four touchdowns. He could easily double the yards and touchdowns if he stays healthy.
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17.  Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
Morris has averaged 1,442.5 yards and 10 touchdowns in his two years in the league. The Redskins will likely be more pass-oriented under Jay Gruden, but Morris still figures to be the bell cow. He doesn’t offer much in the passing game, but remains a high-end RB2.
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18. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
Mathews had a surprising season with 1,444 total yards and seven scores. More importantly, he stayed healthy and had 311 touches. As long as his body can hold up and fumbling doesn’t become an issue, Mathews will be a rock solid RB2.
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19. Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions
Bush caught 54 passes last year and finished with 1,512 total yard and seven touchdowns. Joique Bell finished with 53 catches,  1,197 total yards and eight touchdowns last year and could continue to eat into Bush’s production.
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20. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants
Jennings was brilliant at times for the Raiders, averaging 116.5 total yards in Weeks 9-15. He will lose some goal line work to Andre Williams, but still figures to be highly active for the G-Men.
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21. Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans
Sankey averaged 1,931 total yards and 18.5 touchdowns the past two seasons at the University of Washington. He stands the best chance of all rookies to make an immediate impact. He should have no problem holding off Shonn Greene. Plus, Sankey should be active in the passing game.
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22. Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars
Gerhart has not had a lot of opportunities running behind Adrian Peterson, but when given the chance he has succeeded. In the nine games that he received double-digit carries Toby has 697 yards on 148 carries (4.7 ypc, 77.4 ypg). He can catch the ball out of the backfield and should get the goal line looks.
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Also check out:

Jeremy Guthrie Royals
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Jeremy Guthrie, Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins
Guthrie is 10-10 with a 4.32 and a 1.31 WHIP. He’s 4-1 in his past five starts with a 2.86 ERA. He’s 9-3 lifetime against the Twins with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.
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Season Totals: 42-48, 772 IP, 651 Ks, 3.84 ERA (329 earned runs), 1.28 WHIP (756 hits, 235 walks)
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