Fantasy Football Draft Guide: June 2017

By: Scott Ostrowsky

This will be a guide for you to have a near perfect draft in the coming months of the year. There will be a new edition for this guide once a month all the way through the first week of September (the 2017-18 NFL season kicks off September 7th). These next four months will get more and more stressful if you take fantasy football seriously and have finished at the bottom of the standings year after year. The preparation can be the hardest part of the draft especially if you are in a tough draft position. The guide for this month will focus specifically on draft strategies based on what we can expect going into the year. Each strategy will be explained so you can understand the reason why I chose that position in that spot.

Before we get into it, these two strategies are based on generic draft positions in a ten person league with a standard ESPN scoring system. If you have an eight or twelve and over team league then you can still use this guide but tweak it to your liking and base it on how your league scores points.

What I have learned from playing fantasy football for over 7 years, playing in over 20 leagues with multiple formats, is that it takes only one person to change the trajectory of a draft no matter how it may be going. I was in a standard league a year ago and and at the beginning of the 5th round, someone selected Stephen Gostkowski, the kicker for the New England Patriots. Don’t get me wrong, Gostkowski is a gem of a kicker in this league but a kicker should not be a thought for you until you have a foundation set for your team, and trust me, four guys took a kicker in the next round a half.

You are probably wondering why anyone would care if a guy takes a kicker too early in the draft. “It’s just better position guys for you to take” “Kickers don’t make that huge of an impact”. Let me explain this, yes, there are better position guys but you will also lose out on any top tier kickers in the league and if anyone drafted Roberto Aguayo last season, you know how big of a difference a kicker can make so it really can determine the outcome of your draft and season. That is why I am writing these strategies so we can eliminate the “5th Round Kicker”.

This is my first draft guide and this is one of my most generic guides that I have used multiple times in the past couple years. You may have seen it or something like it but this is how my team generally looks early in my draft.

1-RB   2-RB   3-WR   4-WR   5-RB   6-QB   7-WR   8-WR or TE   9-WR or RB   10-QB

Now, I am the guy who is a huge advocate for picking a RB in the first and second rounds, especially in recent years. The running back position has arguably the top 3 guys in the player pool but once you get past players ranked 8-10, it drastically falls off which is why in this guide, your first two picks should be the best players in the draft and leave the positions with higher ceilings for later rounds. This same philosophy goes for rounds 3 and 4 with wide receivers, they will go fast and the reason to take these guys third and fourth looks a lot better after reviewing round 6 later. In round 5, I would suggest taking another running back. It is important to have a backup for your #1 and #2 just in case one goes down or if you look ahead, like me, and check the BYE weeks and prepare for those changes. Round 6, take a quarterback. The quarterback position, of course, can make or break a team, but there is such a huge pool of high potential players that can easily go off for a decent amount of points. The quarterback position has a lot of bang for your buck players (Rodgers, Ryan, Brees, Roethlisberger) but there are so many players worth waiting on in exchange for better RB’s and WR’s. To put it into perspective, the #17 quarterback last year was Andy Dalton. He is no MVP caliber player, but he is a gunslinger and has potential for big games. I am not advocating drafting Dalton as your first quarterback but the fact that he is #17 should be enough to make you realize it is not worth feeling pressure to take a quarterback early. For round 7, refer to round 5.

Rounds 8 and 9 should be drafted carefully. A wide receiver should be taken in this spot if no one is pulling the trigger on tight ends (except Gronkowski who was probably taken in round 1 or 2). You should keep an eye on the tight end position the whole draft especially if three or four are off the board and you haven’t taken one. From this guide you should be able to land Zach Ertz or someone around the same value in this round. Round 9 depends entirely on how you want to stack your team with backups, rotating players, and your FLEX position. How comfortable are you with your receivers and backs? If you feel like you are lacking in a spot, draft that position. For round 10, draft another quarterback. The key here is to pick a guy who has a different BYE week than your starter and has a match-up in his favor. A perfect example would be last year, I drafted Ben Roethlisberger and had Kirk Cousins as my backup. Cousins was a hit or miss guy but when he’s on, he’s one of the best and his BYE week worked with Ben’s and needless to say, it worked to my advantage. Like I usually do after this point in the draft, I’ll start looking at defenses, kickers, best overall and needs. At this point, go with your drafting strength whether that is being aggressive or going with the flow of the other teams.

This is my second draft guide and this one may have some similar spots to the previous one but in the end, a different draft pick can change the outcome completely. So here it is, draft guide #2:

1-RB   2-WR   3-RB   4-RB   5-QB   6-WR   7-WR   8-TE   9-WR or RB  10-QB

“You picked a running back #1 again?” Yes, they still hold the same value and importance and they should almost always be a number one pick. Your second pick, you should get a strong wide receiver. Most likely if you go with a running back in the first round, you’ll miss out on the likes of Brown, Jones, Beckham Jr., Green, and maybe Evans. But it is still possible to land Evans if he slips, or you can likely get Hilton, Thomas, Bryant, Cooper or Hopkins, not a bad WR1 to have on your team. Since we abandoned stacking two running backs at the top of our draft, we need rounds 3 and 4 to be the most important of the draft to land our RB2 and your likely backup. If you do not pick two running backs in these spots, you may have an imbalance on your team and it could prove to be disastrous as you go along. In round 5, I’d suggest going with a quarterback. Having a strong presence at RB1 and WR1, you should try to get a high rated quarterback in this spot. It is possible to get a top 5 quarterback in this spot, but it is most likely you’d settle with Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, or Ben Roethlisberger.

Now that you have your quarterback and three running backs, you need to address wide receiver in round 6 to bolster your roster. It is very easy to take best available but you should really consider drafting safe as well in terms of the players durability. If you have Alshon Jeffrey as the best available but someone like Larry Fitzgerald, Julian Edelman, or Jarvis Landry are a few spots below him, consider the latter in this position and think about how healthy he’ll be. Round 7, you should go with yet another pick at receiver to strengthen the position and give you solid depth or a possible FLEX player, try getting the most consistent player on the board, respective to their talent level. At round 8, try getting your TE1. If need be, if there is a really tempting tight end in the 6th or 7th round then take him in that round and use the 8th round for a wide receiver, but, you can land a consistent TE1 with high upside at this spot in your draft if all goes well. Best case scenario, you can land Jimmy Graham or Tyler Eifert in this round. Round 9 is simply for depth at this point and if you feel like your running backs are worse than your wide receivers, go with a running back or vice versa. With your 10th pick you should take your backup quarterback and at this point, you could probably get Ryan Tannehill, Carson Wentz, Carson Palmer, or Andy Dalton in this round, all of which can be a perfect backup to your 5th round quarterback (always check your BYE weeks).

Alternate Route: Be aggressive. In the 9th or 10th round, grab a top 3 kicker that you know will give you consistent points and can ensure you great accuracy. Don’t settle for Phil Dawson later in the draft when you can get Gostkowski, Tucker, Bryant, or Vinatieri.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope this guide helps you on your quest for fantasy dominance. Follow me on Twitter, @ScottOstrowsky and also my sports podcast, @OSportsShow. Also, check out my website for my podcast as well at I will have another draft guide for July as well so make sure you follow the above accounts to make sure you get them when I release them.



What Has Happened to Houston’s Star?

By: Scott Ostrowsky

It was October 2nd, 2015, Dallas Keuchel had just capped off his Cy Young award winning regular season with the Houston Astros. All was going great for the 27 year old lefty. Keuchel also helped secure an Astros playoff spot for the first time since 2005. Unfortunately, after beating the New York Yankees in the Wild Card playoff game, they would lose to the eventual 2015 World Series winners, the Kansas City Royals, in the American League Division Series.

In his Cy Young season, the “Kid” would rack up an AL best 20 wins and also led all AL pitchers in innings (232.0), WAR (7.2) and WHIP (1.02). Keuchel also would record a 2.48 ERA and 216 strikeouts.

The most surprising aspect of his 2015 campaign was his unbelievable record at home. Keuchel went 15-0 and had a 1.46 ERA in Minute Maid Park, which, if any of you paid attention at home, is a hitter friendly ballpark. Pretty remarkable if you ask me. His season stats so far in 2016? Not as promising.

Dallas Keuchel is quietly pitching his way through this season with a 5.35 ERA with a 4-9 record. The 9 losses has already surpassed his 8 from the previous season and it’s not even the All-Star break yet. He has already given up 113 hits which is already 72 away from tying last years stat. He needs 20 more walks to equal his total from last year and has already given up 13 home runs, last year that number was 17. his WHIP has also received a plummet and is at  discerning 1.426 from last years 1.017. It’s about to be the end of June and the left handed pitcher has not even passed the 100 strikeout mark (89).

So what happened this season? Why is Keuchel pitching his way to one of the worst turnaround seasons in MLB history?

Well, for one, his fastball velocity is down from lat year. In 2015, his average fastball velocity was in the low 90’s but now it is ranging below that into the high 80’s. that is not what you want out of your #1 starter in the rotation. With the reduced velocity comes even more challenges. Right handed hitters are teeing off against Keuchel. Last year, right handed hitters hit .227 against him with a .606 OPS. This year on the other hand, they are hitting a whopping  .315 against him with an .847 OPS. Typically, a lefty facing a righty is already at a disadvantage but proving that he can shut down the other side of the plate in one year and completely losing it in the next is a huge problem.

I have watched him pitch this year and I haven’t been impressed. Obviously his statistics are bad but his demeanor and the way he carries himself on the mound are not the way he used to last year, in the best year of his career. Last year was different. He had swagger, anger, and a goal in mind, he knew he was the best and he knew he was better than the hitter. Now, his head is down most of the time, everything is getting to his head, and he is getting rattled a lot easier.

Yogi Berra said it best, “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical”. Simply, it’s all in your head “kid”, clear your mind and just pitch.

Although Dallas Keuchel hasn’t been a fantastic starter his whole career, he can still get it back on track and get back to his winning ways. For this season it might be too late, but, there could be a future Cy Young award in the works for him.

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MLB Thoughts Thus Far: NL

By: Scott Ostrowsky
NL East: Let me start with the worst and work my way up. The Braves have absolutely no shot. The fans know it, everyone does. Look out for them once their farm system blossoms. The Phillies looked decent to start the year but have quickly fallen back to their usual ways…4th/5th place and giving division foes a hard time. The Marlins are making me believe again that “almost” miracles are possible. With Jose Fernandez looking like his former healthy self, he brings life to the clubhouse. Imagine if Giancarlo Stanton could wake up this year and start contributing to the surprising production that Miami lineup brings. The Mets have fallen under the same curse they had last year. They can’t hit. Somehow, through the pitching of Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard, they are still have a small foot in the door in that division. If they can trade for hitting like they did last year, they will win the division again. I couldn’t NOT pick the Mets this year to win the East after they went to the World Series but I’m definitely not shocked the Nationals are in 1st. They are healthy, they can hit, they can pitch, they have a guy on their team by the name of Bryce Harper. This is a whole new team and a better one at that. If they just stick to their guns and stay consistent and Harper’s average improves, this team will be dangerous.

NL Central: Two things people shouldn’t be surprised about in the NL Central: The Cubs are dominating, the Reds are suffering. The Cubs are not a surprise. They can hit, pitch, and they are young! They have a surprisingly great combo of youth and talent. Easy favorites to go to the World Series. When Anthony Rizzo (26) is your “veteran” and leader in the clubhouse, then you’re in good hands. The Pirates are where I thought they’d be. I don’t think they’d keep their winning ways from last year even now with how great the Cubs are doing to start the year so they may miss out on the Wild Card this year since there is too much talent to go around in the NL. The Cardinals on the other hand, have shocked me this year. Untimely hitting and inconsistent pitching have them just a couple games above .500 and 10.5 games back. This team can definitely turn their season around but I don’t know if a Wild Card spot is the cards for them since the National League has an insane amount of talent throughout. There are currently three teams, that aren’t in first place, that have better records or close to their record (Mets, Marlins, Dodgers). “What about the Reds and Brewers?” Yeah what about them? No talent. No big names putting up big numbers. No surprises here.

NL West: The preseason favorites, the San Francisco Giants, are putting a smile on my face because they were an easy pick to win that division that actually as an ongoing fight for 2nd place. The Giants have pitching besides Bumgarner for the first time in, well, two years, when they won the World Series. The off-season acquisition of SP Jeff Samardzija was crucial if they wanted to keep themselves around in ballgames this season. Young studs are stepping big on defense and hitting making the Giants an easy favorite to challenge the Cubs in the NL. Besides Kershaw, how much is there REALLY in that Dodger rotation? Puig has stepped up more this year than he did last year but still hasn’t really been at his best and Joc Pederson is still an average hitter and is slowly showing signs of his rookie year. At best this LA team is fighting for a Wild Card spot but the end of the year. Colorado and Arizona are very similar teams this year if you really look at them. They’re pitching has improved and the hitting is still inconsistent but still potentially really good. They still technically have a chance but at best, both of these teams are long shots to steal a Wild Card spot in the closing weeks of the season. Finally, the Padres. Again not much to say about the caboose of the division. They can be a spoiler to another team at best.

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MLB Thoughts Thus Far: AL

By: Scott Ostrowsky

AL East: The New York Yankees and the Rays sitting at the bottom of the division is not that surprising to me thus far considering the massive rebuilding the Rays are doing, not a lot of veterans that have made a huge name for themselves on the roster but trying to build a team around SP Chris Archer in the future will be an interesting sight to watch in the next 5 years. The Yankees are in a similar situation, except the Yankees have veterans worth looking up to (Rodriguez, Beltran, Sabathia, Teixeira, McCann, Ellsbury) but have also had their share of injuries, thus, shining the spotlight on some younger guys to step up. Unfortunately, all ages throughout that organization are injury prone so development of young guys has the possibility of being delayed. The Orioles have been due to lead this division for a while now…So have the Red Sox. Both teams boast a great mixture of veterans of wide capabilities and young guys who can bring health and security to their lineups day in and day out. I think that the Red Sox will eventually secure a division championship this year but Baltimore is still a viable option. Not a lot to say about the Blue Jays. In a word, their season has been miserable. That’s using the term lightly. Big names are not producing the “big” numbers at the plate that are needed to carry their mixture of inconsistency on the mound.

AL Central: The White Sox are quickly falling in the lead in the Central division, and slowly losing the respect they gained around the league early. The combination of Sale and Jose Quintana at the top of the rotation was deadly enough to keep their fair hitting lineup running like a well oiled machine. It was speculated before the season that they would be a dark horse. They were for a time, but now? It’s quite shocking. The Cleveland Indians have always been a favorite of mine mostly because Corey Kluber and his Cy Young arsenal of pitches are a huge part of that organization. He may have won a Cy Young Award but I still feel like he goes unnoticed, and that simply isn’t fair to him or his team. Of course it takes a team to be where they’re at right now but having a stud on the mound like that every five days to start a winning streak or end a losing streak is always good. Kansas City has “royally” disappointed me this season. Boasting back to back AL Titles and a World Series win last year should mean they should still run away with the division. Not so fast. Losing Johnny Cueto in the off-season and Mike Moustakas at 3rd for the year with an injury has clearly affected their lineup. We’ve all seen how they can quickly flip a switch with their game play so I’m not worried about their season. They are a Wild Card bid at worst. Take a deep breath KC. The Tigers may very well be a late dark horse if everything goes their way but it’s likely, that won’t be the case. They are within reach of the division right now but I don’t think they are consistent enough right now to really contend. Not the same thing for the Twins. Weak and spotty hitting and pitching won’t be enough to sustain this feeble baseball team in this cutthroat of a division. It’s not put lightly, but how can it be?

AL West: Well, I didn’t predict the winner of the division to be the Rangers, but, I did predict them to eventually win the World Series this year, so them being in first doesn’t make my pre-season prediction look that bad. What does make it bad is the fact that I picked the ever so vulnerable Astros to win it and they are absolutely killing me. Streaky hitting won’t cut it for them this year. It’s disappointing because that young lineup that made the surge to the postseason last year was “rebuilding”, making this year the year they would break out, so expectations were through the roof. My thoughts are that the high expectations got to the minds of the young team and they are choking. A .500 record isn’t too bad this early but Dallas Keuchel starting every five days isn’t enough for this team to go to the postseason in 2016. The Mariners were a surprise to start the year, much like the White Sox, they have fallen off lately, but don’t be fooled! King Felix finally has a team he can rely on to score some runs and back him up in those one run games that he has lost countless amounts of times in his career. If they make the postseason this year, division title in hand or not, Seattle is my dark horse. The A’s and Angels are still viable candidates but if they haven’t shown signs of life thus far, it may start to be the beginning of the end for these California teams. Unless a second half surge of life brings them to life again, much like their division foes, the Rangers, did last year.

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MLB Preseason Division Champs and World Series Predictions

Baseball fans rejoice, Spring Training is upon us. In honor of another season of baseball, I have decided to release my Spring Training predictions for the 2016 season. Below are predictions of all the division winners followed by the remaining teams in the division in order of where they will finish. Which two teams will move on to the World Series and which team will be world champions.

American League

East-Toronto Blue Jays (Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Rays)

Central- Kansas City Royals (Indians, Tigers, White Sox, Twins)

West- Houston Astros (Rangers, Mariners, Angels, Athletics)

National League 

East- New York Mets (Nationals, Marlins, Phillies, Braves)

Central- Chicago Cubs (Cardinals, Pirates, Reds, Brewers)

West- San Francisco Giants (Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres, Rockies)

Wild Cards

AL: Rangers, Yankees

NL: Cardinals, Nationals


League Champions

American: Texas Rangers

National: Chicago Cubs


World Series Champions – Texas Rangers: The Texas Rangers bring back a lot of youth from last year that include position players Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, and Jurickson Profar that can easily get their opportunities this season. They also are returning a lot of formidable veterans including Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland, Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton, all of whom are capable of sustaining themselves in a Major League lineup. With Cole Hamels returning from last year after a trade with Philadelphia, the Rangers have a solid pitching rotation that will see Yu Darvish back in May, Colby Lewis, and Derek Holland. Chi Chi Gonzalez and Martin Perez are two young 24 year olds who are projected to be 4th and 5th in the rotation until Darvish comes back, and the best one will stay in the rotation as the number 5.

I have them not winning their AL West for one reason and one reason only and that is because the Astros were originally projected to break out this year and they have a lot of excellent starting pitching and young talent. Unfortunately, the young talent is what will hurt them in the postseason. The Rangers have a great mix of youth and veterans to go deep into the playoffs and win the World Series.

*Comment down below any opinions you have on the article and tell me who you think will win each division, league and the coveted World Series trophy. Make sure you share with your friends and see what they they think about the article. The podcast is slowly coming together and should be ready soon thanks to your support.*

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NFL Picks: Super Bowl 50 Prediction

Here we are. Finally, the Super Bowl is upon us and we are fortunate enough to witness both #1 seeds from the AFC and NFC. We couldn’t be more excited to see the young and explosive Cam Newton of the Panthers to face one of the best quarterbacks of all time, veteran Peyton Manning of the Broncos. The 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl will be one to never forget. We are all just hoping that it’s nothing like the last time the Broncos were in the Super Bowl, when they lost to the Seahawks 43-8. Since I know you just want to see our picks, here they are! Our Super Bowl 50 picks!

Last week: Scott: 1-1 (5-5 overall)

Zito: 1-1 (5-5 overall)

Super Bowl 50

Scott’s Pick: Carolina. I couldn’t be any happier to see Cam Newton and company in the Super Bowl and it’s even better that Peyton Manning is in it as well. Cam Newton is unlike any quarterback we have seen before. The consistency he brings to the football field is unbelievable especially what he can do on the ground. Cam Newton has had a staggering, 10 touchdowns on the ground this year, including 2 in the playoffs. Cam Newton has proved to everyone that he is unstoppable and many people have said that the Broncos defense is the only thing that can stop him. Who can blame someone for saying that? The Broncos have forced 36 turnovers this season, 14 of those have been interceptions. The Broncos defense has also acquired 52 sacks during the regular season. You read that right. The combination of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware is a deadly combination. The two have a combined 18.5 sacks and they are by far, in the top tier of the NFL in pass rushing and pressuring the quarterback. Miller in particular has been scary this season. His elusiveness and strength at the linebacker position. This defense alone scares me to believe they might win this game.

The Broncos offense? That’s another story. To put it lightly, the Broncos offense has looked atrocious this year at times. The #1 problem this year was Peyton Manning. The veteran has thrown only 9 touchdowns this year, granted he did suffer and injury earlier in the year. What makes this all worse is that he threw 17 interceptions. This all adds up to a measly 67.9% passer rating. These numbers he posted this season are going up against, arguably, the second best defense in the NFL. As bad as Manning looks at this point, it gets worse. He is not a dual threat quarterback so now that idea of him taking off and running is out of the Panthers mind and one less problem to worry about. Oh yeah, and Luke Keuchly will probably have an interception or two.

Every bit of me is hoping that this game is close. Last years Super Bowl was amazing from beginning to end. Unfortunately, if Cam continues playing how he has all season and Peyton Manning plays how he has all year, this game will not be close at all. The Panthers are the best team in football. I know I said the Cardinals were but given the circumstances last week, the Panthers reign supreme in the NFL. I’ll just come and say it, the Denver defense has bailed them out A LOT this year and that offense has not impressed me enough this year to say that they will win the Super Bowl. The way they’ve been playing on offense, they’re lucky they won their division. It sounds harsh but it is the cold reality for Bronco fans and their true colors will show on Sunday.

Carolina will win their first Super Bowl in franchise history on Sunday. The final score will be 31-21 Carolina. This will also make Cam Newton the first quarterback EVER to win the Heisman Trophy, College National Championship, MVP, and the Super Bowl. Forever solidifying his place as a future all-time great in the NFL. The Carolina Panthers, 2016 Super Bowl Champions.

Zito’s Pick: Carolina. A matchup nobody can be upset about. The top seeds from each division will face off to lay claim to the Lombardi trophy. The top offense in the Panthers will take on the top defense in the Broncos. People are already comparing this to the Super Bowl matchup in 2014 between the Broncos and Seahawks but fail to realize that the Panthers hoist the second best defense in the NFL behind Denver. Something Denver lacked that last time they visited the Super Bowl. After hearing enough talk about the game and how Denver’s defense will dominate Cam Newton. I however don’t see that to be the case. Yes, Denver has a tremendous defense we’ve known that all year, but the praise they seem to be getting should reflect a perfect 19-0 record up to this point which they clearly don’t have, and yet nobody is acknowledging, nor respecting the powerhouse offense for Carolina led by Cam Newton. Contrary to popular belief the Denver defense has flaws and it is possible to score on them. Cam Newton is not an easy man to stop and he has a niche for finding the end zone; very few teams have slowed him down all year, and even when he does struggle your offense must manage to put up points against league’s second best defense.

Now let’s look at this from the perspective of the Broncos offense vs the Carolina defense. Broncos are 19th in points/game (22.2), 16th in yards/game (355.5), 14th in passing (248.1), and 17th in rushing (107.4). None of these numbers stand out, and would most likely suffice if the Panthers didn’t hold such a dominant defense. Carolina’s secondary are ball hawks, and the linebackers are the best set in the league. Even if the Broncos slow down Cam they still have to be productive on offense which is something they have done very few times this year, and that’s not facing any notable defenses. Manning hasn’t been very efficient all year and will most likely see a lot of pressure which will cause him to force throws to a dangerous secondary which has the most interceptions in the league with 30 total coming into this game. (Reg. Season: 24, Post-season: 6) let’s not forget Manning also still leads the league in interceptions. I will acknowledge that Peyton has looked better the past few games, but his receivers are becoming notorious for dropping balls.

Newton is a dual threat QB that is throwing with the best of them, but will also kill you on the ground; he is also bigger than a majority of the people defending him. Cam will also be standing behind one of the better offensive lines in the league which has protected him remarkably well this post season. Broncos have ruthless defense and could very will hit Newton a lot, but he is capable of dealing out some blows himself in the run game. This isn’t a Tom Brady or an immobile Big Ben, he will exploit the defense if they allow it.

For the Broncos to win this game they must play the best offensive football they have all season and can’t solely rely on the defense to carry them to the win. That won’t work against this team. This will come down to which defense plays better against the opposing offense and quite frankly I don’t think the Broncos have nearly a good enough offense to do damage against the Panthers. Whereas Carolina has dominated all five games they’ve had against top ten defenses.

I have to go with Carolina to win their first Super Bowl with a comfortable score. 28-17.

**There you have it, that is our Super Bowl 50 predictions. Since Zito and I entered the game tied 5-5 and we both picked the Panthers to win, we will end in a tie for our playoff picks. Either 5-6 or 6-5 overall. Thank you for sticking with me since I started these NFL Picks articles over two months ago. Your support has helped me with a lot of my writing this season. Another update, the progress that has been made on the podcast has been great, we should have the show up and running soon but there is still a lot of work to be done.**

Comment down below what you think of the article and what picks you have made for the Super Bowl. Share this article and thanks for reading!

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NFL Picks: Conference Predictions

Only two weeks of the NFL are left (besides the Pro Bowl) and Zito and myself are back once again with our playoff picks! We are currently tied with our picks but anything can happen at any given week so we’re going to continue on through the Super Bowl to see who will win the bragging rights between us. On to more important matters, this week was very tough to pick. The top 2 teams in each conference are playing each other and that makes it hard enough. Add in the Brady/Manning rivalry and the two hottest teams in the NFL and it makes everything a lot tougher. As tough as it was, here are our Conference championship picks:

Last week: Scott: 1-3 (4-4 overall)

Zito: 2-2 (4-4 overall)


New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos

Scott’s Pick: New England. What some people fail to realize, is that just because the Broncos defense is that dominant, doesn’t mean that they are invulnerable. The Patriots scored 27 points and didn’t commit one turnover against the Chiefs who have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Now that Edelman proved he’s back and healthy and Gronk is still as dominant as ever, the Patriots look like they have returned to Super Bowl form. The only thing that can potentially hold back the Patriots back is their banged up offensive line and backfield, which had 38 total rushing yards last week. A win is a win, especially in the playoffs, but the Broncos barely squeaked by the Steelers who didn’t even have their all-pro wide receiver, Antonio Brown. The Broncos have had too many struggles on offense. The only part of their offense that I have been impressed with is their running game. Statistically, they aren’t great, but Anderson and Hillman are a good pair and can go off for 100 yards during any given game. Peyton Manning didn’t do that bad last week but he wasn’t spectacular either. If you exclude the drops committed by the Broncos receivers, Manning would’ve done really well, but that’s IF they didn’t drop any. The Patriots are too good and a much better football team than the Broncos and that will definitely show on Sunday in the AFC Championship.

Zito’s Pick: New England.

We will witness yet another Manning vs Brady matchup come Sunday afternoon. Historically, Brady owns the field when facing off against Manning and I don’t expect that to change. The Broncos cut it a little close last week and won another game due to big plays made on the defense while the offense underperformed. Manning looked good against the Steelers but his receivers failed to show up. With Denver, it seems to be either the wide receivers show up or Manning doesn’t, or vice-versa. They have failed to establish any solid front on the offensive side of the ball leaving it up to the defense to win the games, which in some cases is a good strategy but not good enough to win the Super Bowl, or better yet, win the AFC title game. Tom Brady will have all of his weapons back come Sunday which is dangerous for any caliber defense. Gronk is near impossible to cover, and Edelman is a tier 1 receiver when he holds on the ball. James White has proved himself a valuable asset out of the backfield to split snaps with Jackson. The Patriots are great in the post season and have all of the weapons on offense to continue on to the Super Bowl. The Patriots defense also holds their own especially in big games. I think Brady tops Manning once again for another shot at the Lombardi trophy.


Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers

Scott’s Pick: Carolina. As much as I have been praising the Cardinals all year and in the post season, I just can’t pick them this week against Cam Newton and the Panthers. Newton can just make so much out of so little and has made that work all season and last week he even led his team to beat the reigning NFC champions, the Seattle Seahawks. Jonathon Stewart came back from injury stronger than ever, rushing for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns. With the Panthers having this many weapons on offense and with Luke Kuechly returning interceptions for touchdowns like it’s his job, this team looks scary.  The Cardinals on the other hand, are still a very good football team and should not be taken lightly. They still have an amazing receiving core, with the likes of Fitzgerald, Floyd, Brown, Nelson, and Johnson out of the backfield. Carson Palmer has exceeded expectations this year as a top 5 quarterback in the NFL and their defense is also very good, being led by Patrick Peterson. I will officially pick the Panthers to go to the Super Bowl, but, do not be surprised if the Cardinals beat the Panthers in Carolina. This is the game we have all been hoping for as football fans and now is the game we have all been waiting for. This should be one of the best showdowns we will see in postseason history.

Zito’s Pick: Carolina.

The first post season game in which a QB taken first over all from each team will face off. Carson vs Newton, the top two MVP candidates will matchup with what I believe to be the two best teams in the NFL. I have been waiting for this game all year. Heck, if it could be, I would rather see these two teams face off in the Super Bowl believing they are both superior to the Patriots and Broncos. Unfortunately, only one team gets to move on. The Panthers are hot again, and nobody wants to defend against a Cam Newton led offense when he is firing on all cylinders. Newton has a great connection with Greg Olsen which will be key to moving the ball on Saturday. Arizona has what looks like the most complete team in the league when playing well. They have a great defense, as well as offense when they show up to play. They have lacked on the offensive side of the ball their past few games with Palmer making some bonehead decisions. If the Cardinals offense gets rolling they will make it tough for Carolina to walk away with the win. Even if the Cardinals play great I don’t see them topping the Panthers. Carolina is hot, it’s hard not to bet against them. Carolina tops Arizona to advance to the Super Bowl.

Tune in next week for my final “Picks” article for the NFL. It is also going to be mine and Zito’s Super Bowl picks. Also, comment down below any suggestions or opinions you may have about the article and who you may have chosen in your AFC/NFC Championship picks. Share this article with your friends as well, and see what they think of it! Thank you, and I’m also proud to announce that soon I will hopefully be starting my very own podcast! With your support, it can become a reality.

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The Andrew Powell Show

Make sure to check out the Andrew Powell Show on Fox Sports Radio and iHeart Radio presented by FanDuel. The show airs Monday-Friday from 8-10 p.m.

These guys deliver the sports news you crave that goes with a newer and fresher take on the world of sports!

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NFL Picks: Divisional Predictions

Last week, I told all of you that my good friend Zito was going to help me with my picks to add more depth to my article. It also helps because it allows the reader to view a second opinion on the matchup for the weekend.  Just like the last week, there is only four games this week so we tried our best to write just enough on the games to make them lengthy but not too long. Disclaimer: These games were so tough to choose that I did not look at the email that Zito sent me containing his picks until I finished picking and writing my side. I was worried I would be influenced and not make my picks purely off of my knowledge. Here they are, our Divisional Round picks!

Last week: Scott:3-1

Zito: 2-2


#5 KC @ #2 NE

Scott’s Pick: Kansas City. Houston was embarrassed last week by the Chiefs and my pick was spot on. The Kansas City defense would show up and Alex Smith would do just enough on offense to get the job done. The Patriots have been battling injuries a lot this year and even though they will likely have Edelman and Amendola back, the Chiefs defense is scary. They will constantly be pushing around the Patriots offensive line and pressuring Brady. I will say this again, Alex Smith is not a great but he is good, which means that this game has a lot of potential to be low scoring. The Chiefs will have to rely heavily on the run game if they want to win. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Chiefs can score a touchdown in the first eleven seconds of the game.

Zito’s Pick: Kansas City. Kansas City is the hottest team in the NFL and their defense is scary. They have an efficient offense especially on the ground to compete with any team in the league and dominate on the defensive side of the ball forcing turnovers more often than I can count. The Patriots offense is dominant but who knows how they’ll respond to the Chiefs pass rush and exceptional secondary. I am picking another road win by the Chiefs to top the Patriots and advance to the AFC championship game.

#6 PIT @ #1 DEN

Scott’s Pick: Pittsburgh. One of the tougher games to pick, I’m hoping that Big Ben can work some more magic this week. Denver is an absolute huge question mark, especially with Peyton Manning playing. From what I have seen this year, I can’t put my faith in the hands of Manning. When I picked the Steelers to win earlier this year against the Broncos, I said it would be low scoring and it obviously wasn’t. The Steelers running game will be non-existent this week and the Broncos are good at home so I do expect this game to be close. At the end of the day, Roethlisberger will show up and do what he does, and that is win.

Zito’s Pick: Pittsburgh. This is going to be a very tough matchup. The Steelers are coming off a crazy road win in Cincinnati with the help of an undisciplined Bengals defense. Denver is the top seed in the AFC and playing at home (which by the way, they are pretty good at home) fresh off of that first week bye. The Steelers may be entering this matchup banged up and missing a few key players in Big Ben and Antonio Brown. (I made my pick with consideration that they will both be active) Denver hoists the NFL’s top defense, but were not able to hold off Antonio Brown in their last matchup that Pittsburgh won. With Peyton Manning getting the start for Denver, their offense hold a big question mark as to how they will perform. I am picking the Steelers to get another win on the road to face either the Patriots or the Chiefs.


#5 GB @ #2 ARI

Scott’s Pick: Arizona. I have said it for weeks and I still believe that Arizona is the best team overall in the NFL. This was the matchup they were hoping for, considering they just recently routed the Packers in week 16. The Packers took advantage of a vulnerable Redskins team last week and Aaron Rodgers finally decided to show up. The Cardinals defense is much better than the Redskins and so is their offense. Palmer is experienced and skilled enough to pick apart the Green Bay defense, again.  Arizona has even proved that you could put just about anyone in their backfield and they will produce. Green Bay has not looked good enough at all this season to compete with the Cardinals and they will be exposed, again. The Cardinals will win this game quite easily just like the last time and advance to the NFC Championship.

Zito’s Pick: Arizona. We finally caught a glimpse of the early season Packers again. Dominating on defense, and making big plays down the field on offense. For the first time in a while we finally saw Green Bay establish a run game which was key to their win in Washington. They will face off with what I believe to be the most complete team in the NFL. The Cardinals are capable of taking control of any game they are a part of and in their last matchup with the Packers they dominated from the start. I am picking the powerhouse Cardinals top the Packers (again) and advance to the NFC Championship game.

#6 SEA @ #1 CAR

Scott’s Pick: Seattle. Who was that one team no one wanted to face in the playoffs? Oh yeah, it’s the Seattle Seahawks. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that their poor offensive production was caused by the sub-zero temperatures. Playing in Carolina will feel like it’s summer for the Seahawks after playing in Minnesota. Seattle has a good offense when they decide to show up and I think the win on the road last week is enough to fuel this team to win. Carolina does have the one week BYE but I think their flame is finally going to burn out. The Legion of Boom will show up this weekend and shut down Carolina and advance to their third straight NFC Championship. Cam Newton should fair decently well in this game but he will have to wait to capture his first Super Bowl.

Zito’s Pick: Carolina. Seattle lucked out this weekend on a missed chip shot field by Vikings kicker Blair Walsh to walk away with the win. In my opinion, they didn’t deserve the win, nor did they play even remotely well enough to walk in to Carolina with much confidence. If Seattle plays anything like they did last week I don’t see this matchup being very close, but we all know Seattle likes to keep games close. Carolina has Cam Newton who is a very hard man to stop from reaching the end zone. Carolina is fresh off the first week bye ready to make another trip to the to the NFC championship game. With an exceptional defense and a power house offense I think Carolina will top Seattle and punch their ticket into next weeks matchup.

The Andrew Powell Show presented by FanDuel is LIVE Monday-Friday 8:00-10:00 PM ET here only on FOX Sports Radio and iHeartRadio

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*Comment down below any opinions or suggestions you may have. Also, comment any picks that you made that you agree or disagree with and why. These picks will continue throughout the playoffs so stay tuned next week as Zito and I continue our run for personal bragging rights as we predict the NFC and AFC Championships.*