Keepers: You can start Eli Manning in Week 12 (this is not a joke)

It’s the last bye week of the season, the fantasy playoffs are just around the corner, and it’s actually okay to start Eli Manning this week. Let Keepers guide you through your Week 12 sits, starts, and free agent moves.

After a week of R&R, the Rams are poised to see how much noise they can make down the stretch with 30 carries a game for Zac Stacy and their own brand of the Lions’ “sack or scorch” pass defense. Jeff Fisher despises and fears offense, but there are rumors that even he took a journey to the mysterious East over the bye week to study arcane scrolls detailing the dark art of “downfield passing”. Since, you know, he traded up into the Top 10 to grab a receiver with 4.3 speed and all.

The Titans almost managed an upset of the Colts behind stout cornerback play and a dink-and-dunk fandango to Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker. Ryan Fitzpatrick is proving to the the kind of backup QB that every team wants (and Green Bay probably wants most of all) and the defense has quality at all three levels. The sum of those parts still comes out to an average squad, though – and one that will be facing some very difficult decisions at the QB position this offseason.

Give Tom Flacco this: he’s mastered small sample sizes. In 2017, backing up star Zach Terrell, he completed 10 of 12 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown (passer rating: 242.4) and rushed 28 times for 266 yards (9.5 per carry) and two scores.

Keep that up over a full season, and you’ll win the Heisman!

He won’t keep that up, obviously. But the younger brother of (much taller) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe offered at least a few hints that there might be life after Terrell. Granted, Flacco will have to hold off three-star sophomore Jon Wassink, but one can assume decent quarterback play.

The Bills are expected to finally have rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel back from injury

The Battle of Ohio actually has some intrigue for once. The Bengals lost two in a row and their division lead slipped to two games, while the Browns are still hanging around in the wild card hunt. Cincinnati needs Andy Dalton to get back on the wagon soon, but that will be a tall order against Cleveland’s strong defense.

Two teams with a combined 5-13 record and nothing left to play for except draft position. I’ll pass. Not even Terrelle Pryor can make this one interesting for me — he has regressed sharply the past four weeks and now has a bum knee, sapping his running ability. It was fun while it lasted.

Kids Earl Thomas III Jersey The Bills are expected to finally have rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel back from injury, after the first rounder sat out of the lineup since Week 5 with a knee injury. Listed as probable, Manuel will be backed up by Thad Lewis, who is also listed as probable for the game.

Pittsburgh should have all of its major contributors ready to go in Week 10, including the return of wide receiver Markus Wheaton. The rookie sat out the last four games with a finger injury, but is listed as probable after participating fully in practice.
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Green Bay opened as a 10-point favorite, according to, but that line was before the extent of Rodgers’ injury was known. The line has since dropped in Philadelphia’s favor, with the Packers a modest 2-point favorite, according to some oddsmakers.

In fact, with Foles, Cooper has become a legitimate starter. The second-year quarterback’s ability to throw-open his wide receivers and make anticipation throws, has allowed Cooper to excel. This is not all on Foles of course, as Cooper has shown off his speed on screens and post routes, while also getting open in tight spaces like the redzone. He has been a scoring threat during Foles’ tenure, as Cooper scored four touchdowns off of his passes. Granted, this is all a small sample size.

NFL news roundup: Dwayne Bowe to start, Aaron Rodgers hopes to return in Week 12 and more

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe will play against the Denver Broncos in Week 11. Bowe was arrested earlier in the week and charged with possession of a controlled substance. While such an incident typically spurs action from a team, the Chiefs are reportedly going to wait for the proceedings to play out before taking action, keeping their top wide receiver available against their tough AFC West rivals.

Former Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders tight end Todd Christensen, a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion, passed away on Wednesday. Christensen dealt with liver disease and other illnesses in recent years, and passed on due to complications from surgery. He was an excellent player, an All Pro in 1983 and 1985.
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Howie Long Limited Jersey Even though the result of the game meant the Ravens could add another tally to the win column, it’s hard for me to drop my guard given the way the offensive struggles continue. The finger should primarily be pointed toward the offensive line, which seams to be the stream that crap continues to flow down, stinking up all other subsequent areas of the unit.

If quarterback Joe Flacco can survive the rest of the season without having his ribs broken, I’ll be shocked.

For the Bengals, an exciting moment was spoiled by a failed offensive possession in overtime that set the Ravens up for victory. On Monday, Josh Kirkendall of SB Nation’s Bengals blog, Cincy Jungle, blamed the playcalling in overtime that gave away the win:

Instead of using the team’s work-horse back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who is on the roster to gain those tough yards (despite not really doing it well this year), the Bengals call Giovani Bernard. Perhaps at the time the thought-process made sense.

NFL free agency: Jaguars make big moves to bolster defense

The Jaguars had over $73 million in available salary cap space and they’re not letting it go to waste.

Jacksonville was one of the more aggressive teams as NFL free agency began, landing two of the biggest defensive prizes.

The Jaguars signed defensive lineman Calais Campbell from the Cardinals with a four-year contract worth $60 million and former Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye to a five-year, $67.5 million contract with $26 million guaranteed. They also inked safety Barry Church to a four-year deal worth $26 million.

Adding Campbell gives the Jaguars an impressive defensive front, on paper. He joined a group that already includes Abry Jones, Dante Fowler Jr., and Malik Jackson, who was the big free-agent acquisition last year when the Jaguars signed him away from the Broncos. The Jaguars also expect big things from defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who had eight sacks last year after getting selected in the third round of last year’s draft.

Jacksonville could also re-sign defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, the team’s first-round pick in 2010, for added depth after releasing defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks.

The closest thing to that quote anyone could find was a Seattle writer saying, the sense is fans and media around Alabama are already looking past UW, which is different from saying players and coaches are already looking past UW and therefore UW will win.
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Elite Womens Kurt Warner Jersey Saban was on record praising the Huskies’ back end, though. He compared them to the Seattle Seahawks.

The knock off Alabama quote is Half True on the Facts-O-Meter; the quoted lineman said, Why not us? rather than, That’s going to be us.

But Washington fans did indeed make WE WANT BAMA signs that’d later turn into Playoff punchlines, so we’ll give the Tide’s wall-creators that one.

Star WR recruit Joshua Moore talks LSU, FSU, and visit plans

Standing on the sidelines of the Nike Opening Regional Camp in the Crescent City was Joshua Moore, one of the nation is best receivers.

The four-star receiver from IMG Academy by way of Yoakum, Texas was not participating, having already earned an invite to The Opening Finals, taking place in early July in Portland. Instead, he made the trip to support his brother Jordan, a four-star cornerback committed to Texas A&M who was still looking to get the invite, but didn’t end up earning one.

SB Nation caught up with Josh Moore during the event.

He recently released a top 10 list of schools featuring Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Texas A&M, in no order.

It wasn’t too hard to get to 10, Moore said.

NFL Blitz is defense paid no attention to pass interference, which made stopping one juggernaut player easy — you just tackled him as soon as the play started. That makes depth more important in a close matchup like this, where Winston-Evans-Jackson is a strong enough trio to challenge Roethlisberger-Brown-Bell. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay is lack of a fourth playmaker leaves the team just short of a big upset.

David Johnson would be a borderline superhero in a Blitz reboot, but one man alone isn’t enough to slow down a juggernaut Packers offense.

The Cowboys are too much, too soon for an Eagles offense that is still coming together after a rough 2016. The Zeke-Dak-Dez combination is simply tough to beat, and Philly is only advantage in this matchup is Matthews vs. Beasley.

Spike Lee calls out teams for not signing free agent Colin Kaepernick

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Famed film director Spike Lee has joined the Colin Kaepernick debate, suggesting Sunday in an Instagram post that one of his hometown teams — the New York Jets — should sign the unemployed quarterback.

“The New York J-E-T-S Need A Quarterback,” wrote Lee, who said he spoke with Kaepernick over brunch. “Who Is The J-E-T-S Quarterback? Is My Man Joe Willie Namath Coming Back? Crazy Times We Live In.”

Lee used his post to rail against the NFL for excluding Kaepernick, who ignited a firestorm last fall because he refused to stand for the national anthem as a way to protest social and racial issues.

Lee said it “Smells MAD Fishy To Me, Stinks To The High Heavens” that Kaepernick, who opted out of his San Francisco 49ers contract, still doesn’t have a job.

Britton, who made the AL All-Star team in 2016, converted all 47 save opportunities during the regular season and finished with a 0.54 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.

“It was just something that, as the offseason went on, I turned the page and got ready for this season,” Britton said. “But even at the time, during the game, when I was warming up waiting to see if I was going in, I never was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what is he doing?’ I always felt like he’s definitely got a plan. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him unprepared.”

Austin Rivers Authentic Jersey But in mid-November, after Britton’s wife gave birth to a baby boy, Britton’s phone rang. On the other end was his manager.

“I had a newborn baby, so he was asking me how that was going, and then he kind of just joked around with how managers were using their relievers in the playoffs,” Britton said. “And he was like, ‘Well, I guess I scared everybody. Nobody wanted to get the backlash.’ You know, just good humor, like Buck has. Kind of just laughed it off and said no one wants to wear it like he did.”

NFL QB Watch: Injuries anoint some unwanted starters in Week 8

Injuries are just a part of football. Unfortunately for Sam Bradford and Jay Cutler, they appear to be a significant part.
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Bradford was enjoying his best season as a pro — even if the Rams weren’t much better off for it — before tearing his ACL on Sunday and ending his season. Now he must make the long road to a full recovery and hope to be ready to begin the 2014 season as the starter for St. Louis.

But when and how will the Rams start to take measures to prepare for a future without Bradford?

Former NFL defensive end Stephen White opens up his Notebook from Week 7 in the NFL.

Game Chris Gragg Jersey Despite Bradford coming into the NFL with an injury history and missing six games in 2011, St. Louis opted not to draft Robert Griffin III in the 2012 draft. It would have been a bold move and there would have certainly been some hoops to jump through thanks to Bradford’s huge rookie contract, but when it comes to finding a franchise QB, sometimes you have to take some major risks.

Because if Bradford doesn’t work out and RGIII does, it’ll be hard to overlook that time when you could have had him and went with the wrong guy. With Bradford out for the rest of the year and the Rams at 3-4, they’re probably going to face a similar decision next April.

If the Rams find themselves with a top 10 pick and a possible franchise QB on the board, do they pass again, or do they finally give up on the idea of Bradford as a franchise player? The Chargers once did that with Drew Brees and ended up losing possibly one of the five best quarterbacks of all time. Countless other teams have done the opposite and wound up making the right move — even if it’s a difficult one to make.

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Michigan wins 2017 Big Ten basketball championship, 4 days after airport mishap

Michigan won the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament on Sunday, capping a four-game run to the finish by beating Wisconsin, 71-56, in Washington, D.C. It comes on the heels of a season in which Michigan wasn’t that good and a week that started with what could’ve been a devastating plane crash. Now the Wolverines are champions.
Their plane to Washington last Wednesday was blown off the runway in Ypsilanti, Mich., causing a scare but thankfully no debilitating injuries. The Wolverines arrived in Washington a few hours before beating Illinois by 20 points in their first-round game on Thursday, which they had to play in practice uniforms.

Then the No. 8 Wolverines kept winning: by four points in overtime against top seed Purdue, by seven against No. 4 Minnesota, and then in the final against No. 2 Wisconsin. They were the lower seed in the last three games.

Any loss of time for Perez is a huge blow for the Royals, who already needed some luck to compete in the AL Central. They have leaned heavily on Perez behind the plate over the last few years, with the 26-year-old logging more innings at catcher than anyone besides Buster Posey since 2013. Their backup right now is Drew Butera, who just so happens to be the player who collided into Perez to cause the injury in the first place.

Even if it’s not serious, the impact of this injury will be felt beyond just the Royals. People were already apprehensive about this tournament. The argument is that putting players into meaningful baseball this early in the year is bound to cause injuries. There may be a bit of truth to that, but it’s not as if players don’t get hurt in spring training. Hell, just last year Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki was injured in a spring training collision at the plate. A major injury to Perez would suck, and hopefully the upcoming follow-up tests support the first one. But it’s not a reason to stop playing the World Baseball Classic.

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