Saquon Barkley
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1. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
Barkley not only is the odds on favorite to be the top rookie running back, he is a strong candidate to finish in the top ten of fantasy football scoring for all running backs. The last two seasons at Penn State Barkley averaged 1,813 total yards and 20.5 touchdowns.
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2. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have been looking for a Marshawn Lynch replacement for a couple of years now. Penny more than doubled his production last year at San Diego State with 2,027 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns with another 18 catches for 142 yards and a pair of scores. If he can stay healthy, perhaps Penny can solidify Seattle’s backfield.
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3. Sony Michel, New England Patriots
Michel ran for 948 yards and 13 touchdowns on a 7.2 yards per carry clip last year for Georgia. He’ll form a committee with James White and Rex Burkhead, but given his explosiveness look for Bill Belichick to find ways to get him the ball.
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4. Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins
Guice averaged 1,373 total yards and 13.5 touchdowns over teh last two years at LSU. He should emerge as the lead back for Washington, but Chris Thompson should limit him to 1st and 2nd downs. Samaje Perine could be in the mix for some carries as well.
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5. Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos
Freeman finished his collegiate career at Oregon with 6,435 total yards and 64 touchdowns, including 1,639 total yards and 16 touchdowns last year. Freeman may enter the season behind Devontae Booker, but Booker may be better suited as the third down back leaving Freeman for early downs and goal line work.
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6. Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jones saw his production at USC improve each year culminating with 1,637 total yards and 19 touchdowns last year. He should enter the year as the lead back for the Bucs, which puts him in RB2/3 conversations.
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7. Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts
Hines does not have a challenging climb to the top of Indy’s depth chart. He ran for 1,040 yards with 9 touchdowns at 5.7 ypc for NC State last year. If Marlon Mack struggles Hines could see RB3 status based on opportunity.
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8. Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
Johnson had 1,508 total yards and 19 touchdowns at Auburn last year. LeGarrette Blount will cut into goal line work and perhaps some 4th quarter duties if the Lions are ahead. If they fall behind, then Theo Riddick will cut into the time. Johnson is an intriguing dynasty pick though.
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9. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Chubb’s prospects would be much higher had the Browns not signed Carlos Hyde. He averaged 6.2 ypc with 1,175 yards and 13 touchdowns for Georgia.
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10. Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins
Ballage has to get past Kenyon Drake and Frank Gore to make an impact as a rookie. Barring injury, that isn’t a likely scenario. You never know though. Ballage did catch 44 passes as a junior for 469 yards and a touchdown to go along with 536 yard and 14 touchdowns on the ground.

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“Brady” by Brook Ward (CC BY-NC 2.0)
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In most years, the New England Patriots come into the season on the same page. Their offseason activities look organized and buttoned up, and they look poised to contend for another championship. This offseason, though, the team has looked disjointed and there is a palpable vibe of uncertainty surrounding the best team in recent NFL history.
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One of the biggest things that has appeared strange this offseason for the Patriots has been their cutting short of offseason team activities. Bill Belichick isn’t someone who normally cuts his team’s workload short. To see that happen is strange, but feels even weirder given all of the turmoil surrounding the team over the last few months with regard to Belichick and his relationship with Tom Brady.
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And Brady’s potentially frosty relationship with Belichick hasn’t been the only issue with the team this offseason. The team has also reportedly thought about trading tight end Rob Gronkowski. While Gronkowski has been an impact player during his career, his inability to stay healthy has hurt the team on a number of occasions. And while the team would want him to stay healthy, dealing the best tight end in the league only furthers the notion that there are some chemistry issues in New England.
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The Patriots have also wasted some time on the quarterback position this offseason. They’ve done so by getting in touch with former Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Hackenberg has been subpar throughout his entire career, and the Patriots clearly don’t need a quarterback given their reliance on Tom Brady. But with Brady prompting the team to trade Jimmy Garoppolo previously, it’s possible that they want backups who pose no real threat to him.
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“Bill Belichick” by Steve Glass (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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Heading into the next season, the Patriots will be one of the favorite to win the Super Bowl once again. But they have been notoriously slow starters over the last couple of seasons. As a result, it could well be worth using a free bet from Oddschecker to back their opponents over the first couple of weeks of the season as the team turmoil might make it even harder for them to get off to a good start.
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Injuries and suspensions can also derail a season, and the Patriots are dealing with those too. Julian Edelman’s four-game suspension is going to make things difficult on an offense that was looking forward to having him back for week one. And Malcolm Mitchell being hurt thins the receiving corps even further. Even though Brady can make almost anyone into a star receiver, these losses make his job much more difficult.
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The Patriots have a lot on their plate this offseason, with injuries, suspensions, and chemistry problems running rampant throughout the squad. Of course, all of the problems in the world can’t stop them from winning the AFC East due to the subpar competition presented by the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins. But come playoff time, these issues may lead to some problems when the Patriots face off with the best teams in the NFL.

Fantasy sports is a phenomenal business that has grown into a billion-dollar industry. One of the reasons behind the popularity of fantasy sports is the fact that fans feel like they have a real stake in the performance of their players and teams. Sports lovers like to see themselves as strategists, as they create a fantasy football, basketball, baseball, or hockey team. They can trade players, adjust their team, and execute their best course of action. Fantasy players pay an entry fee ranging from $50-$100, leading to an average of $465 per player, annually. With their money on the line, players have an even bigger desire to win, which extends beyond watching an actual gameplay. This also adds to the huge money prizes that reach up to $2 billion.
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Fantasy sports have changed the sports experience. Leagues and networks note increased viewership and fans are given the opportunity to get more involved in their favourite sport.
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Take a look at the infographic created by the Betting Sites team and discover more about this rising industry.
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growth of fantasy sports

 

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The most controversial decision of night one of the NFL Draft was Cleveland’s selection of quarterback Baker Mayfield at number one overall. But the second pick in the draft could have been just as controversial, as the New York Giants drafted running back Saquon Barkley at number two. Given the team’s current situation, should the Giants have drafted a quarterback instead of opting for the ultra-talented Barkley?
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Giants Quarterback Woes
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New York Giants fans have not had to worry about who their quarterback would be in the future for a very long time. That is because the team grabbed Eli Manning in a trade with the San Diego Chargers for Philip Rivers early in their draft class. Since then, Manning has been the starter for all but a handful of games for the team. But his struggles in recent seasons had our mock draft leaning toward the Giants taking a quarterback second overall.
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Manning threw for less than 3,500 yards last season despite throwing the ball 571 times, the fifth highest number of attempts in a season during his career. He has thrown 13 or more interceptions in every season of his career since 2009, and the Giants looked impotent offensively with him out there last year. Of course, not all of this was his fault, but it is clear that Eli may be past his prime as a quarterback in the NFL.
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That is what made the second overall pick the perfect opportunity to take a quarterback. The Giants could have given themselves a future at the position to improve for years to come. And while Saquon Barkley has the support of some former Giants, he will need to be great to justify being picked second.
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More Important Issues
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There is no doubt that the Giants were one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL last season. They finished 26th in the NFL in rushing yardage, with less than 1,600 yards as a team for the campaign. Bringing in Saquon Barkley is an attempt to fix that, but it does nothing to solve the root of the Giants’ issues: their offensive line.
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In the 2017 season, the Giants scored six rushing touchdowns total. That anemic mark was the result of the offensive line of the Giants failing to get a push at the line of scrimmage. And while Saquon Barkley is a good player, he will not be able to block for himself. While some are choosing to be critical of Barkley for the wrong reasons, it is a fact that he will need help to get enough space to be effective.
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Moreover, the Giants drafted Barkley thanks in large part to his receiving abilities. There is nothing wrong with wanting a running back who can catch the ball, but the Giants already have a loaded receiving corps. Drafting a running back who averaged less than 20 carries per game in two of his three seasons at Penn State when you need a Zeke Elliott type of bell cow in the back field is a decision worth questioning.
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Chance To Repeat History
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In the NFL, there is the saying that it is a quarterback league. And with the Giants at preseason odds of 50/1 to win Super Bowl LIII according to the bookmarker Betway as of May 2, the second overall pick would have been a great chance to let history repeat itself for the Giants by drafting a quarterback. Doing so would have let the young player learn from Manning, the same way Manning had the chance to learn from veteran quarterback Kurt Warner.
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This would have been especially prudent in an NFL landscape where even the slightest injury to a quarterback can damage their hopes of winning a title. Right in the Giants’ division, the Philadelphia Eagles will be set for years to come thanks to their decision to draft Carson Wentz. If Barkley is anything short of a great player, the Giants will regret not making a similar decision.
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There is, of course, a great chance that Saquon Barkley becomes a talented and useful player for the Giants for years to come. But in a quarterback league, failure to solidify yourself at the quarterback position for as long as possible can be disastrous. For the Giants, only time will tell if they made the right decision.
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IMAGE CREDITS – Flickr

Trey Flowers
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Here are the Lester’s Legends fantasy football team defense for Super Bowl LII.
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1. New England Patriots
2. Philadelphia Eagles
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Stephen Gostkowski
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Here are the Lester’s Legends fantasy football kicker rankings for Super Bowl LII.
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1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
2. Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles
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Gronk Grab
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Super Bowl LII features two elite tight ends. Gronk always gives the Patriots and advantage over the opposing tight end when healthy, but it’s really close in this case. The Eagles have three tight ends that contribute.
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1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
3. Trey Burton, Philadelphia Eagles
4. Dwayne Allen, New England Patriots
5. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles
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Danny Amendola
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It’s really a toss up as to which receiver will step up on Super Bowl Sunday. Amendola was the hero in the AFC Championship Game. I imagine he’ll be peppered with targets. His quickness around the goal line should come into play. Jeffery’s size could come into play, as could Cooks’ speed.
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1. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
2. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
3. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
4. Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Chris Hogan, New England Patriots
6. Torrey Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
7. Phillip Dorsett, New England Patriots
8. Mack Hollins, Philadelphia Eagles
9. Kenny Britt, New England Patriots
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Tom Brady's Thumb
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As Super Bowl 52 approaches, fans around the globe are looking forward to a potential classic. Although, New England Patriots are favorites, following last year’s victory, Philadelphia Eagles certainly have enough strengths in their locker to cause an upset.
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So, as you prepare for the game, and find legal sites to place a bet or watch the spectacle, it’s worth taking a look at what might give either team the edge. One of the deciding factors could be the performance of Super Bowl veteran Tom Brady who has certainly been a vital weapon in the Patriot’s previous Super Bowl successes. But, will the recent injury to the quarterback’s hand mean that he is not at full strength?
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The facts about Brady’s hand injury

Fans were alarmed by the injury to Brady’s throwing hand, which took place during a training session, on January 17 2018. The injury was the result of a collision with team mate Rex Burkhead and little more was known at the time. The fact that Brady missed media availability for a couple of days on the run, and was pictured with what looked like a very bulky thumb, served to cause some alarm. This was especially the case with a vital game against Jacksonville Jaguars looming on the horizon.
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The game against Jacksonville Jaguars

When the Jaguars visited the Gillette stadium, on January 21 2018, it was uncertain just how much of a problem their star quarterback’s hand injury would be for the home team. Tom Brady was certainly giving nothing away when he turned up for the game with his hands in his pockets. The good news for Patriots fans was that the injury did not appear to hamper Brady’s performance in any way, as his 38 throws and 2 touchdowns helped the Patriots to achieve a comeback in the game, and gain a 24-20 win in the fourth quarter.
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It has since emerged that Brady was apparently playing with 12 stitches in his hand during the game. The injury was protected by padding and gloves, and it did not appear to have a detrimental effect on Brady’s performance. This is good news for the Patriot’s team and supporters, now that this win has secured them an eighth Super Bowl appearance.
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Brady’s fitness is very important to the Patriots as they face an Eagles team that should give them a hard fight. This is a team that has the potential to bring the game to New England, and to keep the pressure on, should they be ahead coming into the fourth quarter. There is certainly a chance that the favorites could be in for a shock defeat.

 

Of course, everyone associated with the Patriots will be hoping that their strength is enough to secure their sixth Super Bowl victory in eight appearances. If the team is successful, this will also be the sixth win for Brady; the most for any NFL player. The world will be watching on 4 February, to see what happens..

Dion Lewis
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Super Bowl LII features two bruising backs for the Eagles and two quick backs for the Patriots. Brady will look to use their speed against linebackers to create mismatches. Philly will look to dominate the line of scrimmage and set up play action passes. I give Lewis a slight edge here, but we know White can shine on the biggest stage.
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1. Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
2. Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles
3. James White, New England Patriots
4. LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots
6. Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles
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