Hook is a former athlete who co-owns and writes for Total Sports Blog. For updates on his articles and insights, be sure to follow Hook on twitter @HookTSB.

Leading up to the games this past Sunday, 9 out of 12 playoff spots were already spoken for as playoff teams and hopeless squads rested their marquee players leaving only a handful of games that actually meant anything.  ESPN provided us with a very nice playoff scenario breakdown that can be seen here: http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/34515/week-17-playoff-scenarios.  When all was said and done, we were left with New Orleans vs Seattle, Jets vs Indy, Baltimore vs KC and Green Bay vs Philly in the wildcard round with the Steelers, Patriots, Falcons and Bears earning byes.

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Hook’s Week 16 NFL Wrap-Up

January 7, 2011 by

Championship Week!  Unless you’re in a league that actually counts Week 17 (lame), your fantasy season is over.  Week 16 was full of surprises as several studs sat out (MJD, Andre Johnson), players came back from injuries (Aaron Rodgers, Joseph Addai) and some fill-ins and no-names put up huge numbers (John Kuhn, Jerome Simpson, Correll Buckhalter).  In this edition of Hook’s Wrap-Ups, we’ll focus on the final week of fantasy and go over which players brought managers (like myself) fantasy glory.

Aaron Rodgers came back from his concussion and it looked like the weeks rest did the trick.  Nothing says “Fantasy Championship MVP” like a 404 yard, 4 TD performance as the Packers absolutely dismantled the G-Men.  If you managed to get to the ‘ship with your star player on the bench in Week 15, you most likely won it with Rodgers in the lineup this week.  The Packers rolled to a 45-17 victory in a game that included strong performances from Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson (who???), John Kuhn and the Giants Mario Manningham.

Unless you were rolling the dice, you most likely didn’t start Tampa Bay QB Josh freeman in Week 16.  While he didn’t throw for many yards (237) he made the most of those passes with a 5 TD game.  The TDs alone accounted for 20 or 30 fantasy points depending on your scoring settings as the Bucs rolled over the Seattle Seahawks in a 38-15 victory.  Thug-life running back LeGarrette Blount ran for 164 yards in the game as Kellen Winslow and Mike Williams caught 2 TD passes each.

Another QB who put up major bench points was Carson Palmer.  As a guy who gets you 30 points one week and 5 the next, Palmer has been the most volatile player in the 2010 fantasy football season.  There’s no way anyone in the ‘ship started this guy or his favorite target on the day, Jerome Simpson, who went off for 124 yards and 2 TDs.  Jordan Shipley was the most popular waiver wire pick-up in this game as TO and Chad Ochocinco both were on the sidelines.  Shipley had 1 catch for 3 yards, but said catch was for a TD so he wasn’t completely useless.

Throughout the league, there were many more contributors who could have brought you fantasy glory.  Jamaal Charles tallied 117 total yards and 2 TDs.  Matt Forte put up 169 yards and 1 TD and Johnny Knox went for 92 yards 2 TDs as the Bears defeated the Jets in a 38-34 shoot-out.  To mimic Knox, Correll Buckhalter filled in for 92 yards 2 TDs as well as Denver edged out Houston 24-23.  Arian Foster produced another 135 yard 1 TD game as has come to be expected and TD magnet Rob Gronkowski grabbed another 2 scores as he rounds out the major contributors in Week 16.

The NFL playoffs are right around the corner as most spots are all but wrapped up.  Even though I hated on the Bears all year long, they have compiled an 11-4 record and secured the NFC North title.  I know as soon as I call them a legit contender, they’ll lose their first playoff game, so for Chicago’s sake I won’t go there for now.  Early in the season after a victory over the Indianapolis Colts, I said that the Houston Texans were a well rounded team coming of age.  They’ve gone on to put together a miserable 5-10 season.  Instead of using a balanced attack, the Texans relied on Arian Foster way too much when injuries hindered Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels.  They couldn’t get it together on the defensive side either as roid-raged Brian Cushing has been seen fighting with his own players on the field.  NFL teams play 16 games for a reason and it goes to show you that early wins or losses don’t mean much in the long run.

If you’ve been following these weekly recaps, you’ll know that I had 2 out of 4 teams in the championship game.  1 dominant team in a “free” league and 1 strong team in a pay-out league.  My dominant team got smoked as Aaron Rodgers absolutely blew up on the New York Giants, but my other team came through where it counts.  Led by another serviceable outing from Michael Vick and a dominating New England DST performance, I rolled to victory as Andre Johnson didn’t suit up for my competitor and Addai’s start rendered Donald Brown useless.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to check your lineups before gametime as my 109.42-71 victory came mostly as a result of the other manager sleeping.  So to wrap up my fantasy year, I came in 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

While I said you’d be getting a 2011 fantasy preview in the Week 15 edition of Hook’s Wrap-Ups, that will have to wait for Week 17.  The  games next week mean nothing for most teams but it’s never too early to start thinking about next year.  Get geared up for playoff football as it is right around the corner.


Hook’s Week 15 NFL Wrap-Up

December 22, 2010 by

NFL Week 15 aka the semi-finals for your fantasy league was perhaps the most exciting week of football all year.  Either your team has made it to the ‘ship, the consolation game, or you already gave up on your underperforming squad 2 weeks ago.  The injury bug ran rampant in Week 15 and most likely cost many people a shot at the title, unless you have Michael Vick who was flat-out AWESOME.

The Giants had a stretch this season where they were chewing up quarterbacks and spitting them out, week after week.  I thought for a millisecond about benching Vick in favor of Jon Kitna, but you absolutely CANNOT sit a stud QB in fantasy no matter the matchup.  At the half I was kicking myself for not doing so.  The Giants were up 24-3, Vick had tallied 3 fantasy points while Kitna had already thrown for 2 TDs.  A 3rd quarter TD pass eased the pain, but little did I know for the 4th quarter of football I’d be watching the Madden version of the Philadelphia Eagles vs the New York Giants.  Vick went OFF in the 4th quarter.  Down by 21 with 8 minutes to go in the game, Vick threw for 2 more TDs, ran for another and the Eagles won on a last second 65 yard punt return by DeSean Jackson.  I felt like David After Dentist http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txqiwrbYGrs wondering is this real life?  Not since the Monday Night Miracle had I seen such a 4th quarter comeback (yes, I watched that game to the end too).  I rubbed my eyes, took a deep breath and thought to myself, Vick just got some of those MVP votes back and Giants punter Matt Dodge will be rounding up shopping carts outside of Walmart in no-time.

Only one team per league can have the luxury of fantasy megastud and dog killer extraordinaire Michael Vick, so if you were scrambling for viable options my heart goes out to you.  Going into Week 15, Aaron Rodgers was the #3 overall QB.  Suffering from the lingering effects of a concussion in Week 14, Rodgers sat out this week.  Although there were several viable replacements (read Hook’s Week 14 Wrap-Up: Kitna and Garrard each tallied 20+ points), there’s no true replacement for a 1st round draft pick and top 10 producer.  Rodgers’ backup Matt Flynn actually put up solid fantasy numbers but he couldn’t lead the Pack to an upset victory over the Patriots in what was a surprisingly close game.  New England needed a 4th quarter score from Aaron Hernandez (his 2nd of the game) to edge out Green Bay 31-27.

Big ups to the Detroit Lions as they finally won a road game.  Their overtime victory in Tampa ended the longest road losing streak in NFL history and gives them something to build on going into 2011.  With a solid draft pick coming their way, this is a team that is going to win at least 6 games next year.  Make the playoffs you say?  Lay off the crazy pills.  Maybe in 2012.

Elsewhere around the league, the Ravens won possibly the toughest game to call in Week 15 as they defeated the New Orleans Saints 30-24.  The Colts kept their season alive with a victory over the Jaguars.  Cincinnati beat Cleveland in the battle of Ohio, although the Bengals lost TO for the season (their season was over anyway) and our boy Peyton Hillis failed to score a TD.  Oakland spoiled Tim Tebow’s first NFL start (2 TDs for football Jesus in the first quarter, nothing to write home about for the rest of the game) and the Chicago Bears may have ended Brett Favre’s career on Monday night.  Favre got slammed into the turf so hard an outline of his body was left on the University of Minnesota turf.  Without the old man, the Vikings got smoked and Devin Hester set a new NFL record for punt return TDs (seriously, why does anyone kick to him EVER???).

Time for studs and duds.  In that big victory over New Orleans, Ray Rice put up a monster 233 yards 2 TDs.  We already talked about Vicks 242 yard 3 TD, 130 yard 1 rushing TD game.  Rex Grossman (yes, he’s still in the league) starting in place of a benched Donovan McNabb and all he did was throw for 332 yards 4 TDs 2 INT.  Vincent Jackson showed up for work and scored 3 TDs on 112 yards receiving.  Jason Witten (wrongly pronounced Wid-den by some) tallied 140 yards 1 TD.  Mario Manningham had 113 yards 2 TDs, Jamaal Charles had 152 yards 1 TD, and Cedric Benson had 150 yards 1 TD.  Austin Collie scored 2 TDs before getting smashed and ending up on season-ending IR, Chris Johnson and Donald Brown each went for over 130 yards 1 TD, Santana Moss and Aaron Hernandez round out the studs with 2 TD performances as well.

Duds, grenades and landmines this week probably cost you a shot at advancing to the ‘ship.  If you’ve been riding the coattails of Arian Foster or Peyton Hillis, you were let down in Week 15 with neither player finding pay dirt.  Reggie Wayne managed only 34 yards on 5 receptions.  Wes Welker was a let down yet again with 3 receptions for 42 yards.  Brandon Jacobs has found his way back to fantasy benches with a lackluster 34 yard game.  Last and most certainly least, Knowshon Moreno didn’t have any Midol on hand as he sat this one out.

This is Championship Week in almost all fantasy football leagues and I’m sure some of you are wondering how I did this year.  I participated in 4 leagues, 3 of which were money leagues.  In the money leagues, I finished 6-7 (lost first round of playoffs, won 5th place game and 1 weekly high-score bonus), 7-7 (did not make 4 team playoffs) and 10-4 (in the championship game).  Obviously, the 1 league with nothing at stake I finished 11-3 (in the championship game).  Funny how things work out.

While it is near impossible to dominate every league you participate in, savvy waiver wire pickups and key trades can keep you in the hunt.  I hope you appreciated Hook’ Weekly Wrap Up and the advice I’ve provided throughout the year.  If you’re in the ‘ship like 2 of my squads, be sure to check your lineups Thursday and Saturday evening (yes, there is a game Christmas night) and again Sunday morning.  Some key players are injured (AP, Rodgers, Foster, Collie, TO etc) or missing practice for undisclosed reasons (Peyton Hillis) and this is the absolute worst time to get caught sleeping.  So check that injury report and take home your league’s championship.  Taking home the purse sure is nice, but the bragging rights are priceless.  Be sure to check out Hook’s NFL Week 16 Wrap-Up for am 8-month-premature 2011 fantasy preview.


Hook’s Week 14 NFL Wrap-Up

December 15, 2010 by

The streak ends at 297.  That’s the big story of Hook’s Week 14 NFL Wrap Up.  I’m not going to beat it to death like ESPN and other sports news outlets, but the consecutive start streak has ended for Brett Favre.  Not even an act of God collapsing the roof of the Minnesota Metrodome (giving Favre an extra day of rest) could get him on the field.  The Vikings played the game in Detroit vs the New York Giants on Monday Night with Tarvaris Jackson under center.  Jackson finished the game with a 46.3 QB Rating, which is too high for his performance in my opinion.  Read the rest of this entry »


Hook’s Week 13 NFL Wrap Up

December 7, 2010 by

With the fantasy football regular season at or near its end (depending on your league type), Hook’s Wrap Up is going to continue the trend of discussing more fantasy analysis and implications from this past week rather than going through a game by game recap. NFL Week 13 was lucky for some, unlucky for others. Personally, I was one of the lucky ones who actually made the playoffs in one of my fantasy leagues with a 6-7 record. If you’re 6-7 and didn’t make it to the post season, it’s ok. About 95% of 6-7 teams don’t make it to the post season in 6 playoff team leagues and 99.9999% don’t in 4 playoff team leagues. 8-5 is the mark to shoot for each year, so congrats to the managers out there who made it.

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Hook’s Week 12 NFL Wrap-Up

November 30, 2010 by

With Week 12 of the NFL season in the books, your fantasy leagues are heading into the final regular season game for 6 team playoff leagues or the second to last game for 4 team playoff leagues.  A lot of teams out there are sitting at 6-6 or 7-5 and absolutely need a W, so this edition of Hook’s NFL Weekly Wrap-Up will focus extensively on the fantasy impacts of Week 12 rather than the outcomes of the games.  If you’re 5-7 or worse, your fantasy season is 99.9% over but you can still save some enjoyment out of Week 13 playing the spoiler role.  Trash talk and side bets are encouraged. Read the rest of this entry »


Hook’s Week 11 NFL Wrap-Up

November 24, 2010 by


As your fantasy regular season is nearing its end, let’s take a look back on Week 11 of the NFL.  Thursday night limped out the gates with a “defensive battle” between Chicago and Miami.  Let’s be honest, the winner of this game was going to be the team that would suck the least.  Miami’s third string QB Tyler Thigpen was under center and looked all of his Madden 2011 rating of 64.  Once Brandon Marshall went down in the 2nd quarter with a hammy injury, you’d figure the Dolphins would put some emphasis on the run…pause… (queue Borat) NOT!  Miami dug their own grave rushing the ball a paltry 7 times (I don’t count Thigpen’s 6 scampers) as opposed to 29 passing plays.  Read the rest of this entry »


Hook’s Week 10 NFL Wrap-Up

November 16, 2010 by

Week 10 of the NFL season is all wrapped up after the 78 million dollar man got absolutely shown up by Michael Vick and the Filthadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.  As much as I despise Philly teams and the people who root for them, you gotta give props to Vick for the most insane fantasy football performance in recent memory.  We’ll take a quick look at the most interesting games of Week 10, go over our studs and duds and who to look out for on the waiver wire for your fantasy squads.

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Hook’s Week 9 NFL Wrap-Up

November 10, 2010 by

NFL Week 9 was packed with nail-biters, come from behind victories and overtime thrillers.  3 games went to overtime this week and the team that trailed late ended up winning all of them (Vikings, Jets and Raiders).  Several players solidified their status as fantasy football studs while others failed to produce yet again.

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Hook’s Week 8 NFL Wrap-Up

November 2, 2010 by

With 6 teams on bye we had a little less action than usual but the NFL Week 8 games did not disappoint.  We had statement games, a game across the pond, payback games and your season is officially over games.  In the spirit of Halloween, some players rose from the dead to put up huge numbers (thanks for waiting until 40% of owners dropped you to have a big game, Sims-Walker) while others made Hook’s landmines and grenade lists (someone please decipher Randy Moss).  We’re halfway through the NFL season and it’s time to break it down. Read the rest of this entry »