UPDATE

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Oakland Raiders Mock Draft 2014

As you all now I am an Oakland Raiders fan. Thus I decided to publish my way too early mock draft :)

Comp Picks (speculation)

Philip Wheeler-4th round pick

Desmond Bryant-4th round pick

Brandon Myers-6th round pick

Trades:

7th round pick from Arizona via Carson Palmer trade

Traded 5th round pick to Seahawks for Matt Flynn (SMH)

The Draft:

1st round

QB Derek Carr, 6’3/213, Fresno State

Carr has been a legitimate stud all year long. His TD/INT ratio is 39/4 and he has a cannon arm. He’s a good athlete who boasts a quick release and fluid movement in the pocket. He has some issues with his footwork and is at times to sensitive to pressure, but those are obviously fixable. Carr could easily be the Raiders franchise QB.

2nd round

RB Bishop Sankey, 5’10/203, Washington

Darren McFadden is as good as gone and while Rashad Jennins is worth retaining, here the Raiders would be getting their first every down work horse back in a while. Sankey can really do it all and the Raiders would have to jump on it if he was available at this juncture.

3rd Round

OG David Yankey, 6’5/311, Stanford

Yankey is a technician who has been a good run and pass blocker for Stanford. Lucas Nix, as pointed out in my most recent fan post, has been utterly terrible. Yankey could step in and man the spot at the LG position as early as his rookie year or at the very least provide competition. He also has experience at LT making him versatile. In most drafts, Yankey would be a top 50 pick making this choice a pipe dream, but the Raiders could take advantage of a very strong draft class.

If Yankey is gone another possibility could be Anthony Steen of Bama who specializes in run blocking.

4th Round

DE Cassius Marsh, 6’3/268, UCLA

Opposite of Lamarr Houston, the Raiders haven’t been getting much at the DE position. In fact we’ve been starting DT Vance Walker there as a result. Marsh is having a poor senior season which will hurt his stock but he put together a great 2012 campaign with 40 tackles, eight sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and two forced fumbles. The talent is there making this a great value pick.

4th round (comp)

CB EJ Gaines, 5’11/195, Missouri

Gaines has been a big part of Mizzo’s defense registering 40 tackles, two passes broken up and four interceptions thus far. The senior has a nice mix of coverage ability and ball skills. Gaines had 74 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions last year. He also has the ability to return punts.

4th round (comp)

CB Jaylen Watkins, 6’0/187, Florida

I’m actually having us double dip at CB which is understandable in a division with the likes of Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. Watkins serves as the nickle corner for Florida being overshadowed by Purifoy and Marcus Robertson but he’d undoubtedly be starting for most teams in the country. He did a nice job of filling in when Robertson was out.

6th round

C/OG Gabe Ikard, 6’3/298, Oklahoma

Ikard is smart, strong and versatile allowing him to play multiple positions along the OL. I don’t think Andre Gurode will be retained next season so here we become some nice OL depth.

6th round (comp)

FB Chad Abram, 6’0/229, Florida State

Abram showed great work ethic when he transitioned from FS to full back and he’s looked like a Vonta Leach 2.0 thus far for FSU. He’s just as big as Leach and plays a similar role as well, as both a lead blocker and as a guy who can come out of the backfield and catch the ball. He has been key in helping that offense run successfully out of I-Form type packages. He’s shown he can blow up people too. With Abram lining up as the true FB, Marcel Reece can finally be utilized as the match up nightmare he ought to be.

7th round

Steve Hull, WR, Illinois (6’2/200)

Hull’s been really under the radar up until recently. He to is a converted safety this season, again showing the work ethic. He’s a fairly big bodied receiver with reliable hands who can be a match up nightmare against smaller defensive backs (check out his catch in traffic against Purdue, he had no right to get that ball). He’s also deceptively quick once he gets in his stride. His biggest skill is his route running. He’s been producing as over his last 3 games he has averaged 166 receiving yards. Against Indiana he had 224 yds and 2 TDs, against Ohio State he had 105 yds and 1 TD and against Purdue he had 169 yds and 2 TDs.

7th round via Arizona

Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois (5’11/192)

Ward is a legit play-maker, a tough hard nosed player who fights through injuries, and an emotional leader. His leadership and play making ability has been a big asset to Northern Illinois en route to a 12-0 record. If Woodson is retained he’d learn a lot from him. He has 74 tackles, 6 INTs, 1 sack, 5 pass deflections and a TD already this season. I wanted to draft a S earlier in case Woodson retires but Ward is the best they could do at this juncture and has a high motor and heart, exactly what Reggie and DA like.

The Buffalo Bills will end their playoff drought as they face the easiest remaining NFL Schedule.

Their remaining schedule includes falcons, at bucs, at jags, dolphins, at pats.

They have falcons who have struggled on run defense allowing almost 300 yds rushing the last 2 games look out cj spiller they have a struggling offensive line going vs a great dline, bucs have trouble offensively and will not be able to move the ball well vs this dline, bills have most picks in nfl season up to now and a stout dline look out their qbs suck, they will beat miami because of their win streak momentum and being at home and because their d line is good and will be matching up vs a mediocre offensive line, they will lose to patriots because they play them at fozborough in December which means they will sweep miami having tiebreaker over them. On the other hand, I have jets losing to baltimore as they have only lost 1 home game (ravens) and that was to Aaron Rodgers this is not Rodgers this is a very inconsistent rookie called Geno Smith, they will be splitting with the dolphins because their O line is very bad, they will be beating the raiders because a good d line going up against a terrible o line is never good, losing to panthers because Cam Newton is not making mistakes and their D can force turnovers and Geno Smith knows how to turn it over and in a hurry ROLLL panthers, and will be beating browns as they do not have consistent quarterbacking play.This gives both the bills and the jets an 8-8 record with them both splitting so the jets will have a 4-8 vs afc opponents while Ej Manuel and Co will have a 5-7 record vs afc opponents and will secure a playoff berth for the first time in Buffalo for over a decade.

NFL Week 9 Predictions

Chiefs at Bills
 
Are the Chiefs serious? Another game where they are playing another back up? And not just that, another game where they played the back up OF THE BACK UP. WHAT?! Everything is going right for this team. EVERYTHING. No Thad Lewis this week which means Jeff Tuel or Matt Flynn, but it is believed to be Tuel who knows the playbook over the newly signed Flynn. Wow. And even then, this pick will surprise some. Bills are going to win this game. Here me out. Before last weeks game against the Browns, the Chiefs were 21st in run defense. Then the Browns came in with their lack of rushing and dropped the Chiefs rush d to 10th. But that is the flaw in this defense: the running defense. That’s why I think the Bills will win. Both Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller are expected to play in this game. A duo like that might be able to propel them over the Chiefs. Oh, did I mention the Chiefs have gone winless in Buffalo since 1986? Yeah. I’ll make a bold statement.
 
Prediction: Bills
 
Falcons at Panthers
 
It looks like the Falcons are trending backwards while the Panthers are trending forward. Cam Newton is playing as well as anybody the past few weeks by limiting his turnovers. I think he finally learned that the defense will keep him in games as long as he doesn’t throw it away. An Alex Smith attitude, if you will. But, with his explosion and arm talent, can lead you to high scoring games. It’s also clear Matt Ryan is heavily missing his targets Julio Jones and Roddy White. After a rough afternoon in Arizona, the Falcons are trying to get back into this playoff race. But it looks like the season is done for the Dirty Birds.
 
Prediction: Panthers
 
Vikings at Cowboys
 
Two horrible defenses against one another should be made for a horrible game. Lucky for the Cowboys, the Vikings quarterback is Christian Ponder, which means they can just collapse on Adrian Peterson. Which means…the Cowboys will be highly embarrassed to not win this game at home. I highly expect the Cowboys to win on their home turf and expect a big game from Tony Romo.
 
Prediction: Cowboys
 
Saints at Jets
 
The Ryans clash!!! Rex against Rob. Too bad for Rex, Rob has Drew Brees on his offense so he doesn’t have to worry too much about scoring. And unfortunately for Rex as well, Geno Smith is facing the Saints defense who has a +8 turnover differential and also leads the NFC in sacks. Good luck, Geno.
 
Prediction: Saints
 
Titans at Rams
 
The Rams came one horrible set of play calls away from pulling off the upset of the year on Monday night when they fell to the Seattle Seahawks. The Titans won’t exactly blow them out, but I expect them to win this game and for the Rams to return to their mediocre ways. Expect a heavy load of runs as the Titans expressed their interest in giving Chris Johnson around 20 runs or so while Shonn Greene coming off injury to get around 15 as well. Let’s see if the Rams are up for the test.
 
Prediction: Titans
 
Chargers at Redskins
 
Philip Rivers is going to have a huge day. The Redskins coming that close to an upset of the Broncos was astonishing. Then they let them score 31 points in the 4th quarter. 31!!!! That’s how much the Jags have scored all season! Okay I’m just kidding. Think about how much has to go wrong for that to happen. Anyways, I believe the Chargers will win this game with a better Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead doing everything. And the Redskins will still be in the mix in the NFC East.
 
Eagles at Raiders
 
The rotating door of quarterbacks for the Eagles is still in full motion. Nick Foles is starting again this week. And we don’t really know what to expect from him. One thing we know, the Raiders aren’t going to let LeSean McCoy beat them. The Raiders might actually get to .500 after this week and I believe that they will. They’re defense has been decent this year especially at home. They’re ready to get back even.
 
Prediction: Raiders
 
Buccaneers at Seahawks
 
The Seahawks looked terrible last week. No offensive game, tons of pressure on Russell Wilson, and the Rams were even able to run through them. But I don’t see any way the Bucs can go into Seattle and get their first win. Not exactly the best place you want to go to try and earn a win.
 
Prediction: Seahawks
 
Ravens at Browns
 
Hey Ray Rice, millions of others and I who drafted you in the first round would like help please!!! According to reports, he has his burst back which has been lacking all season. We’ll see if it makes a difference this week in Cleveland. The Ravens are coming off a bye and I believe they will go into Cleveland and earn a hard fought win.
 
Prediction: Ravens
 
Steelers at Patriots
 
Both of these teams are just not the same this year compared to other years in different respects. The Steelers don’t have the same defense and don’t run the ball like they are known for. Meanwhile, the Patriots aren’t putting up points as Tom Brady is still struggling to find his rhythm. One thing does stay the same though: The Patriots are still finding ways to win games. No different ending here this week.
 
Prediction: Patriots
 
Colts at Texans
 
Ahh yes, another primetime Texans game because of lofty expectations after last season. That doesn’t look so good right now on Sunday night. Although, the Colts have been known this year to beat the best teams while throwing out a dud against weaker opponents. Also, it is their first game without Reggie Wayne, which I think is just a monstrous loss. And everybody will be looking at Case Keenum to see if he really will take Matt Schaub’s job for good.
 
Prediction: Colts
 
Bears at Packers
 
The Packers are rolling and the Bears are reeling. Aaron Rodgers is being Aaron Rodgers…and now he has a running game with Eddie Lacy. Scary. Meanwhile, the Bears aren’t the same on defense anymore and miss Jay Cutler at quarterback. I think this Monday night game could be heading more towards a blow out.
 
Prediction: Packers

 

 
 

NBA Opening Day Power Rankings

 

 

 

 

MH’s NBA Start of the Season Power Rankings

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1. Miami Heat –

If you are shocked in this pick you might want to assess your standing as a basketball enthusiast and rethink things since you have clearly taken a 3-year hiatus from American sports. Miami is in the driver’s seat again and looks ready to head for a 3rd straight title and 4th straight championship appearance. LeBron James and a great supporting cast that allows for the Heat to dominate in almost any way imaginable the Heat are only left with one key weakness. This is the lack of a true big man that can eat minutes and play physical D. Until someone can actually exploit this weakness the Heat will continue on virtually unrivaled.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder –

This might seem to be somewhat of a questionable pick since Westbrook is out for now but Durant looks primed for a big time season with legitimate championship aspirations. If Ibaka can step up and handle some of the scoring duties in making up for Westbrook the Thunder will be in great shape with a young team with enough role players to keep them amongst the elite until Westbrook returns.

3. Indiana Pacers –

Some of the stiffest competition for the heat right here. The Pacers come in blessed with a talented big in Roy Hibbert as well as a dominate wing player in Paul George. The combination of the two multi-faceted stars and a strong supporting class that plays intense physical defense that wears down opponents will make them an elite team again.

4. San Antonio Spurs –

The Spurs benefit from facing some weakened opponents while also being a perennial contender with a budding star in Kawhi Leonard, a star Point Guard in Tony Parker, and a future Hall of Famer that somehow continues to perform at a high level in Tim Duncan. These pieces along with some solid role players and phenomenal coaching keep them amongst the NBA’s elite.

5. Golden State Warriors –

The new kid on the block in terms of the NBA’s elite teams. The relative newcomer, the Warriors armed with a scoring machine in superstar Point Guard Steph Curry alone keeps them in most games but they also have a healthy big man in Bogut, a phenomenal lengthy defender and decent offensive player in Iggy, as well as the sharp shooting number two to Curry in Klay Thompson. This group of talented players looks to carry the Warriors into continued relevance.

6. Memphis Grizzlies –

This pick is a bit of an odd one since the Grizzlies aren’t really a title contender but they are a top team. A bit of an oddity. They have the pieces to win a ton of games with the supporting cast they have assembled around one of the best defensive players and all-around big men in the game in Marc Gasol. But they don’t really have enough star power to compete for a title so unless they really surprise this will probably be as high as they get all season on the power rankings.

7. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are an established top team that hasn’t exactly dominated come playoff time. The combo of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul should be enough to keep them in contention. This is especially true with a decent supporting cast. They certainly have some glaring weaknesses to address though which is what keeps them from being higher.

8. Chicago Bulls –

The Bulls look set to return to being a competitor in the East after what was essentially a throw away year with the injury to Rose. With Rose back and supposedly ready to step right back in without losing anything from his game the Bulls tough D and scoring potential make them a top 10 team. The questions surrounding the injury keep them on the lower end of the top 10 though.

9. Portland Trail Blazers –

The first real shocker of the top 10. The Trail Blazers look like a team ready to finally reach its potential behind an incredibly talented cast of players. Lillard, Aldridge, Batum, Matthews, Robinson, Wright, Williams, and the promising rookie McCollum give them a great shot at making a statement this year.

10. Denver Nuggets –

A team similar to the Grizzlies in my opinion. Loaded with very good players but only 1 true star caliber player in Manimal. They look to win plenty of games but not necessarily challenge for a title.

11. Brooklyn Nets –

The Nets made some rather bold offseason moves giving them one of the most talented starting 5’s in the NBA, although this is true they are fairly old and don’t have incredible depth so minute management will be key and until that issue is settled they are held back in my power rankings. If they are managed well the ranking could skyrocket and they could contend for a title.

12. Houston Rockets –

The Rockets. Where to begin? They have what looks like a top 5-10 player in James Harden but I still have my doubts and question whether he can keep Dwight satisfied and in check. Dwight… I think we all know Dwight by now, not much to add on him. The Rockets definitely have the talent but how it fits together remains to be seen.

13. New York Knicks –

The Knicks still have Melo and that is enough to keep them just above the middle of the pack in the NBA. Melo is a scoring machine who, when motivated, can take over in all facets. Motivation though, is a big issue for him. Smith and Chandler look to be featured contributors as well.

14. Detroit Pistons –

The Pistons look to have one of the more underrated teams especially with some early injury troubles but the combo of Drummond, Smith, and Monroe is a force to be reckoned with and should win them their fair share of games. A few more years of picking up decent pieces and they could find their why amongst the elite.

15. New Orleans Pelicans –

The Pelicans also look a bit underrated but have a few very talented players in Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Tyreke Evans. If they find a way to incorporate Gordon well they could definitely be a force.

16. Cleveland Cavaliers –

The Cavaliers look to improve upon a quite lackluster season and fully emerge from the LeBron loss. Irving, Waiters, Bennett, and Bynum might be just what the Cavs need to do so. Look for them to surprise people this year.

17. Washington Wizards –

If the Wizards can stay healthy they should look much improved from last year. Wall appears to be a dominant player who, if he ever finds a jump shot, will be a top 5 player in the NBA. Beal, Gortat, and Nene provide a decent set of contributors around Wall.

18. Dallas Mavericks –

Dallas would be higher if it weren’t for the fact that they decided to field a team that plays literally no defense. Luckily they packed on the offense with Dirk, Monta, and Jose Calderon. Dallas should be able to score plenty but I doubt they make the playoffs this year.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves –

The T-Wolves have a ton of potential but are just filled with question marks. Love and Rubio need to come out of the gates strong for the Wolves to perform well. They also need to avoid injuries that have killed the team in the past.

20. Milwaukee Bucks –

The Bucks have a relatively young team with a strong defensive presence that should keep them in games. They may have a future star in Giannis but that remains to be seen and won’t really help them this year. Until then the Bucks should be scrappers with a lot of perimeter shooting and nothing more.

21. Atlanta Hawks –

The Hawks have some decent pieces in Horford, Teague, and Millsap. They also have a budding rookie in Schroeder but he is not expected to be a big contributor at the moment. The Hawks just have too many glaring weaknesses to be successful this year.

22. Toronto Raptors –

The Raptors seem to be in a bit of a pickle. Stuck with some budding youngsters but still way too terrible to really compete for anything and keep everyone happy while adding the right pieces. Look for the Raptors to be bad again this season.

23. Sacramento Kings –

One of my 2 teams to watch this season. Cousins, Vasquez, and McLemore look to lead this young potential filled team this season. With some strong performances out of their big three and some support from Luc Richard, Patrick Patterson, and Isaiah Thomas the Kings look poised to make a statement this season.

24. Charlotte Bobcats –

Team number 2 of my 2 teams to watch this season. The Bobcats have been bottom feeders for a while now and now is their chance to emerge. MKG has been working all offseason to fix that wicked looking jumper and if it has been even moderately successful he should look like a complete player and one of the best youngsters in the game. Accompanying him is the reliable and dominant post player, Al Jefferson. Those two alone should improve their standing over last season. But they also have a very good point guard in Kemba Walker, a gifted shot blocker in Biyombo, and a rookie with potential in Zeller.

25. Utah Jazz –

The Jazz have some talented young players in Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors that look to carry the team basically. Alec Burks and Trey Burke need to step up for the Jazz to make any real noise. Other than that the Jazz don’t have much to look forward to this year.

26. Los Angeles Lakers –

Kobe and Pau can’t do it all… They won’t be the worst but they will suck. The Lakers outlook in a nutshell.

27. Orlando Magic –

Not much to say here… The Magic certainly aren’t a passable team. Definitely an unfortunate start for Oladipo…

28. Phoenix Suns –

They have a couple of busts in the Morris brothers, 4 decent but unspectacular guards, and 1 potentially passable big man in Len. Not exactly the building blocks of a good year.

29. Boston Celtics –

… It could be worse. Could be the 76ers. Forced to start without Rondo they essentially have role players leading this young and unproven bunch for the most part. Should be interesting to watch. Once Rondo returns they should jump up substantially, but until then.

30. Philadelphia 76ers –

The only really redeemable players on the roster are Thad Young, Evan Turner, and the rookie who probably won’t play at all, Nerlens Noel. Michael Carter-Williams, Arnett Moultrie, and Tony Wroten don’t look like anything overly special at the moment. Definitely a poor outlook for the 76ers. Better luck next year.

Sunday and Monday Fantasy Football Starts, Sits, and Sleepers

Hello, I am Azane Massey, author of ZahiriSports blog. Today, I am going to be telling you who to start and sit so you can win your fantasy football matchup this week.

This week is very tough, six teams are on a bye week, so most of you guys are going to have to pick up players to play, or dig deep in to your bench to find players to play.

QB starts: Colin Kaepernick, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Tony Romo, Michael Vick, Matthew Stafford, RG3, and Peyton Manning and Peyton Manning. Everyone of these guys are very talented quarterbacks with a lot of good matchups and a lot of weapons. Expect all of these guys to have 20+ points this week

QB Start: For some of us who have quarterbacks on a bye week, or quarterbacks who are injured, look for someone on the waiver wire like Geno Smith to replace your starting QB. Geno Smith has a decent matchup this week against the Bengals defense. Look for Geno to have a decent game on the passing game and an alright running day too. Look for Geno to put up a solid 18-25 points this week

QB Sits: Thad Lewis, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith, and Terrell Pryor. All of these quarterbacks have bad matchups and not a lot of weapons. Look at the waiver wire to find any other quarterbacks to start over these guys.

QB Sit of the Week Matt Ryan, he isn’t on this list a lot, but he has a bad matchup with two good weapons. Harry is going to be covered by Patrick Peterson the whole game, and Tony G is going to be either open or covered. He is going to be covered when he is playing against Daryl Washington, but will be wide open against Yerimiah Bell, he has been horrible against TE’s this year. So I would look for other options at QB.

RB Starts: Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Le’veon Bell, Fred Jackson, Steven Jackson, Stevan Ridley, Reggie Bush, Giovani Benard, and Frank Gore. All of these backs are starting against bad defenses, in dynamic, high-flying offenses.

RB Sleeper: Andre Ellington. Andre Ellington is a high-end FLEX this week, he is the starting back, and is available in a lot of leagues, pick him up, and plug him in.

RB Sits: Chris Ivory, Benjarvus-Green-Ellis, Zac Stacy, Willis McGahee, Brandon Jacobs, and Bilal Powell.

RB Sit of the Week: LaMar Miller. LaMar Miller, even though a starter is playing against a tough defense. Look for other options at RB.

WR Starts: Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson,, DeSean Jackson, Victor Cruz, Demariyus Thomas, and Pierre Garçon. All of these guys have good matchups.

WR Sleeper: Jarrett Boykin. Boykin is creating chemistry with Aaron Rodgers, and has a very good matchup against the Vikings.

WR Sits: Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace, Danny Amendola, Stevie Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald.

WR Sit of the Week: Josh Gordon. This happens very few times but the has a very tough matchup. Look for other options.

TE Starts: Vernon Davis, Rob Gronkowski, and Heath Miller.

TE Sleeper: Jordan Reed. Reed is RG3′s second option against a horrible Denver defense. Start him.

TE Sits: Jordan Cameron, Brent Celek, and Brandon Pettigrew.

TE Sit of the Week: Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph is picking him up, but had Ponder at QB.

Tell me your thoughts below. TELL ME IF MY PREDICTIONS WERE RIGHT!!!!!