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Fantasy fallout: Goodbye Saquon Barkley, hello Daniel Jones

Normally you can’t accuse this column of any sort of East Coast bias. But the New York Giants changed that this week by becoming the center of the fantasy universe. For better and for worse.

We lost the consensus No. 1 draft pick, Saquon Barkley, to a high ankle sprain for an estimated 4-8 weeks. But we gained “Danny Dimes,” thanks to the surprisingly explosive debut of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones — which should also boost the value of tight end Evan Engram and receivers Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, according to ESPN Giants reporter Jordan Raanan.

“Engram and Shepard, they’re like on Cloud 9 right now,” said Raanan, who said it’s no coincidence that both of them had 100-yard games in Jones’ debut — because not only does he throw the ball deep with accuracy, but he also keeps plays alive with his legs longer than previous QB Eli Manning did.5

Raanan had a great breakdown of how Jones’ mobility played such a big role in the Giants’ 32-31 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in which he threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 28 yards and two more TDs.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Raanan stopped short of predicting Shepard will become a top-20 fantasy receiver, because he thinks Shepard and Tate could be somewhat interchangeable when Tate returns from a suspension in Week 5.

However, Raanan does believe that Jones himself can be a legitimate fantasy asset — especially when you throw in those bonus points he can provide in the running game.

“I mean, he’s done it pretty consistently,” Raanan said. “He completed 85% of his passes in the preseason. That’s really good no matter who you’re playing against. And he’s not throwing dink and dunks — he’s willing to throw it down the field. That’s probably the thing he does best. He averaged 9.8 air yards per attempt.

“And he’s gonna put up numbers because their defense is not very good. So they’re gonna have to score points.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Raanan did offer some notes of caution, though. For one thing, fumbling has been an Achilles’ heel for Jones, with three of them in the preseason and three of them already in limited regular-season action. And, of course, the Giants’ offense will lose some potency while Barkley is sidelined, especially when they face top defenses such as New England and Minnesota in Weeks 5-6.

As for replacing Barkley, Raanan said he thinks third-year RB Wayne Gallman is “their guy” and that he should see around 15 carries per game. He certainly won’t replace the production level of Barkley — and Raanan doesn’t think he will see nearly as much work in the passing game, some of which could go to fullback Elijhaa Penny. But Raanan said he’s a little higher on Gallman’s running ability than others seem to be and thinks he could have moderate success because the opportunity will be there.

Brewers seal playoff spot, eliminating Cubs, Mets

The Milwaukee Brewers continued their scorching September with their 19th win of the month Wednesday, clinching a postseason berth and eliminating both the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs in the process.

The Brewers’ 9-2 victory at Cincinnati brought the team to 88-70, a far cry from Sept. 5, when Milwaukee was only three games over .500 — with the same 71-68 record as the Mets and five games behind the Cubs for the National League’s second wild-card spot.

But despite losing MVP candidate Christian Yelich to a fractured kneecap Sept. 10, the Brewers have won 17 of their past 19 games to secure a playoff spot in consecutive years for just the second time in franchise history.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“I’m sure a lot of people wrote us off and said we couldn’t do it for numerous reasons,” he said. “Like I said, we believed the talent in this room, the kind of guys that we have and just the culture we’ve built and continue to build here. Really proud of all these guys. They’ve done an incredible job especially on the run that we have in September.”6

Maddon’s future with the Cubs remains uncertain with his contract set to expire, but pitcher Jon Lester said the manager’s critics should consider his full tenure with the ballclub.

“I can’t say enough positives about what Joe has done, flat out for this organization,” Lester said. “Up until this year we led MLB in wins. That’s a testament to him. We broke a 108-year curse. No matter what happens, if he continues here, it’s gravy. If he doesn’t, he should be revered as a legend in this town for a long, long time.”

The Mets could not keep up the pace that saw them win 15 of 16 games in July and August, and they will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season despite increasing their win total over the past two years, from 70 in 2017 to 77 in 2018 to 83 so far this year.

“It’s tough, but I thought we played pretty good baseball down the stretch to stay in it,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “Obviously, Milwaukee was just off the charts and nobody was catching them.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Mets relievers’ ERA of 5.01 is the sixth-worst in the majors this year, continuing a trend. Since making the World Series in 2015, the Mets have posted the fourth-worst relief ERA in MLB at 4.58, after compiling a 3.40 ERA in 2015.

“I guess now the fat lady’s singing,” said Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who hit his 51st home run Wednesday to pull within one of Aaron Judge’s rookie record. “It’s unfortunate, but we came back so awesome and the way we went about our business is spectacular. So it’s bittersweet, if I had to put it shortly. When we finally put it together for a full 162, it’s going to be scary.”

The Brewers will join the Cardinals, Braves, Nationals and Dodgers in the National League field this year, but they still have a chance to win the division, at just 1½ games behind St. Louis with four games to play.

Brighton fail to ignite in goalless draw at Newcastle

Brighton & Hove Albion did everything right except score a goal in a 0-0 Premier League draw at Newcastle United on Saturday that heaped the pressure on both teams.

In a game of few clear chances at St. James’ Park, Newcastle defended for large parts of the match against the visiting side who dominated possession and passing statistics but lacked the cutting edge up front.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Brighton substitute Aaron Connolly nearly stole a winner as he lifted the ball over Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka in the 75th minute but Fabian Schar acrobatically cleared it off the line to ensure the match ended goalless.8

The result left Steve Bruce’s side with one victory in six matches while, for all of Brighton’s new style of possession play under Graham Potter, the south-coast club have not won since beating Watford 3-0 on the opening day of the season.

“We found it very difficult. We knew Brighton would come and want to take the football and basically we couldn’t get after it well enough,” Bruce told the BBC.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“The Achilles heel is that we have to take big chances when we get them. We couldn’t wait to get them in at halftime. We didn’t deal with Brighton who kept the ball well and they made it a difficult evening for us. We got away with one (point).”

Newcastle brought on Andy Carroll for his first game since rejoining the club on transfer deadline day but the striker, fit again after an ankle injury, failed to spark them.

“It’s a missed opportunity. We dominated the whole game. They stuck Andy Carroll on late on but we defended well,” Brighton defender Lewis Dunk told Sky Sports.

“It was frustrating today. We’re passing the ball well and dominating games but we need to finish teams off… hopefully we’ll be in a more comfortable position at the end of the season. If we play like that, we’ll get there in the end.”

Brighton travel to Chelsea next Saturday while Newcastle face another potentially tough test at Leicester City the following day.

Alonso slugs 50th, now 2 away from Judge’s mark

The rookie Mets slugger hit his major-league-leading 50th home run of the season Friday, sending a towering two-run shot to deep right-center field in the eighth inning to help send New York to an 8-1 victory against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Alonso became the second rookie in major league history to hit 50 home runs and is just two shy of the mark set by the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who hit 52 in his first season in 2017. Alonso and the Mets have nine games left in the regular season.

“That’s just mind-boggling to me,” Alonso told SNY. “I’m a huge baseball fan. I’ve always been a baseball fan my entire life, and there’s so many great players who played this game. It’s just nuts — it’s just nuts to think about.”

Reds reliever Sal Romano was the victim Friday, as he watched Alonso crush a down-and-away 96 mph fastball some 437 feet at Great American Ball Park. It was Alonso’s 34th home run of at least 400 feet; the only other players with more than 30 such homers this year are the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout (32) and Kansas City Royals’ Jorge Soler (31).cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“The catcher reached down and to the right, and he reached out and flicked it to the steam towers,” New York manager Mickey Callaway said. “It was a well-executed pitch. I don’t know what you do if you’re a pitcher. [Former Red] Todd Frazier said he’s never seen a left-hander hit one there.”5

At 24 years, 287 days, Alonso is the third-youngest player to hit 50 in a season. Only Prince Fielder (23 years, 139 days) and Willie Mays (24, 137) were younger.

Alonso leads Cincinnati’s Eugenio Suarez by two for most home runs in the majors.

“I just wanted to be the best I can every single day,” Alonso told SNY when asked if he ever thought his rookie season would unfold as it has. “Maybe later on in my career. I didn’t know that it’d happen right away. I was striving to be the best I can every single day. Just hard work, dedication has paid off. It’s such a tremendous feeling.”

Alonso became the 30th player in major league history to have at least one season with 50-plus homers. The most recent nonrookie to hit 50 home runs in a season for New York’s teams was Alex Rodriguez, who had 54 en route to winning American League MVP in 2007.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

It’s been a record-setting season already for Alonso. He set the National League rookie home run mark with his 40th more than a month ago. The following week, he set the Mets’ franchise home run record with his 42nd.

The Mets are the 21st franchise with a 50-homer hitter and the 12th in the NL. The only NL franchises without one are the Rockies, Dodgers and Nationals.

James Conner, Steelers’ running game struggling to help ailing offense

The key to a successful offensive game plan for a first-time starting quarterback is generally simple enough.

Run the ball.

With quarterback Mason Rudolph starting for the first time, the Pittsburgh Steelers entered Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers with the intention of leaning on third-year running back James Conner.

The 49ers loaded the box early and often with eight defenders, trying to force Rudolph to throw. Pittsburgh, however, couldn’t get anything going in the passing game, settling for short throws barely past the line of scrimmage. And with the 49ers’ stacked front, the Steelers couldn’t run the ball effectively, either, creating a lackluster offense in Rudolph’s starting debut.cheap nfl nike jersey

Conner ran the ball just once on the first two drives before opening up the third drive with back-to-back carries. He got the ball once more on the drive, one that ended in a punt just before halftime. That capped off a half in which he carried the ball seven times for 18 yards. His longest run went for just 5 yards.6

It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Conner finally had a double-digit run, picking up 10 yards to open a drive that ended with Rudolph’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson.

It was the kind of run the Steelers needed from Conner all afternoon but got just once.

When his number was called again in the fourth quarter to milk the clock after the 49ers’ fifth turnover, Conner ran for 5 yards and then fumbled it away two plays later, giving the 49ers the ball just outside the red zone.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“That never happens to James,” Rudolph said of the fumble. “James is an unbelievable player. We were still being aggressive in that situation and mixed the run with the pass.”

Those were Conner’s final three carries of the afternoon, and the only three carries of the fourth quarter.

Conner finished the game with 45 yards on 13 carries — the most he’s had this season. But it’s a far cry from his standard a season ago.

Last season, he had only three games in which he carried the ball fewer than 13 times, and the Steelers went 1-2 in those games. The Steelers were 7-2-1 last year when Connor rushed at least 13 times.

Through three games this season, Conner is averaging an anemic 2.9 yards per carry. He has rushed just 34 times for 97 yards — far from his numbers through three games a season ago. In the 2018 three-game opening stretch, Conner rushed for 213 yards on 54 carries and scored three touchdowns. He has just one this season.

Next step: 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo delivers under pressure

Jimmy Garoppolo prefers to keep his secrets to himself. But there was nothing Garoppolo could do Sunday afternoon when cornerback Richard Sherman stepped to the podium following the San Francisco 49ers’ win against the Pittsburgh Steelers and revealed a surprise about the Niners’ quarterback.

“He likes getting hit, I don’t know why,” Sherman said. “Not every quarterback likes it. It kind of wakes him up.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

About 30 minutes later, Garoppolo would confirm Sherman’s assertion, noting that he has been told before that he seems to enjoy taking hits. If that’s the case, there’s little doubt that Garoppolo had a grand old time in Sunday’s 24-20 win against the Steelers at Levi’s Stadium.5

Making his third start of the season and third since returning from a torn left ACL suffered last September, Garoppolo felt more pressure Sunday than he had in the first two weeks combined — in more ways than one. Garoppolo had been sacked once and hit just twice in the first two games.

With the 49ers starting rookie Justin Skule at left tackle and their general preference for dialing up pressures, the Steelers made it clear they intended to throw everything they had at Garoppolo. By the time it was over, Garoppolo had been sacked just one time, but unofficial press box statistics had him taking eight hits. It seemed like many more.

Despite the pressure, Garoppolo didn’t flinch, sometimes even shaking loose from would-be tacklers and either making a play down the field, scrambling for a gain or throwing it away to preserve down and distance.cheap nfl nike jersey
Garoppolo’s toughness served as an example on a day when just about everything that could go wrong did. The Niners turned the ball over five times, including four in the first half. Two of those were interceptions charged to Garoppolo and he had his hand in two botched center/quarterback exchanges. Three of those turnovers came with the 49ers inside Pittsburgh’s 30, turning a game that could have been far more comfortable into a nail-biter.

After a third-down miscue on a snap that hit motioning receiver Richie James Jr. that the Steelers recovered at their 7, Garoppolo was visibly frustrated.

“I was upset,” Garoppolo said. “But the defense, when they’re playing like that, it gives you such confidence on the sideline. So it was just more about getting our guys ready for the next series. They make huge plays like that on defense, it sets us up for success.”

3-time NBA champion Livingston retires at 34

Shaun Livingston’s career nearly ended 12 years ago far ahead of his schedule because of a gruesome knee injury. Now, he gets to retire on his own terms — and with three championships after playing a key role during the Golden State Warriors’ recent title runs.

The 34-year-old Livingston announced his retirement on social media Friday following 15 NBA seasons, an anticipated move for the veteran guard. He reached the NBA Finals in each of his five seasons with Golden State, his ninth NBA team.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Livingston, who signed a $24 million, three-year contract in 2017 but was waived by the Warriors in July to cut salary costs, has discussed working in the front office with the team.

“After 15 years in the NBA, I’m excited, sad, fortunate and grateful all in one breath. Hard to put into a caption all of the emotions it takes to try and accomplish your dreams,” Livingston shared in a post on his Instagram and Twitter accounts. “I wasn’t supposed to be here. Anybody that has beat the odds understands the mental and emotional strain it takes to inspire yourself on an uphill war, let alone inspire others.”7

While with the Clippers on Feb. 26, 2007, Livingston’s left leg buckled backward, parallel to the court, when he fell in a freak accident. He screamed and writhed in agony. Doctors thought the leg might have to be amputated.

Livingston tore three major ligaments in his knee — the anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral — as well as his lateral meniscus, then required extensive surgery performed by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama.

His Warriors teammates admired him for his tireless work on the court, the way he stayed ready coming off the bench and the example he set for the other backups and younger players.

During the Warriors’ 73-win 2016 season that ended with a Game 7 NBA Finals loss at home to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Livingston filled in beautifully for injured two-time MVP Stephen Curry.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

He became only the second player in NBA history to spend at least five seasons with a team and make the NBA Finals each year. Tom Heinsohn accomplished the feat in nine straight seasons with the Celtics from 1956 to 1965.

The No. 4 overall draft pick by the Clippers in 2004 out of Peoria Central High in Illinois, Livingston averaged 6.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists over 833 career games. He loved doing community work and taking part in Warriors camps, as well as inspiring kids back home in Peoria.

Curry commits to Olympics: ‘That is the plan’

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is committed to playing for Team USA in next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“That is the plan, for sure,” Curry said in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “You know, obviously knock on wood, you don’t want any injuries or things like that to interfere.”

“Definitely wanna go,” Curry said. “I’ve never been on the Olympic team. I’ve been on two World Cup championship gold-medal teams. But the Olympics is the experience that I want. And next year will hopefully be it.”nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Team USA recently finished seventh in the FIBA World Cup, the country’s worst finish ever. The roster was composed mostly of players put together at the last minute, after multiple high-profile players backed out of playing. The embarrassing finish for the proud basketball country prompted Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo to say that he would “remember” players who “didn’t show up.” Curry’s declaration figures to be the first signal that other American superstars will join the former MVP in trying to win a fourth straight Olympic gold medal for Team USA.5

Curry says he is confident that the Americans can still reign supreme when they put their best players on the floor.

“We’re still the best,” Curry said. “If we get the guys that are supposed to be there, in terms of, you know, representing us in the Olympic stage and the commitment’s been there, and I think it’ll be there next year.”

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said during a trip to Sydney this week that he planned on being a part of Team USA’s gold medal try.

“I plan on being a part of that. I plan on playing,” Lillard told news.com.au.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Curry would join his head coach, Steve Kerr, on Team USA. Kerr is an assistant on Gregg Popovich’s Team USA staff.

Curry also is sorting through his new reality as a member of a Warriors squad that comes into the season after a massive roster reconstruction that started when Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets at the beginning of the free-agency period.

“At the end of the day, we live in an age where choice at the forefront, and K, you know, made a decision for himself and you can’t argue that,” Curry said. “I wish we could still play with K. He’s an unbelievable talent, unbelievable person. We accomplished a lot together. But — you know, things have changed a little bit. So you obviously wish him the best, obviously with his recovery first and foremost and things on and off the court. But we’re gonna have to battle down the road. So this should be a fun, new experience on that front, too.”

Curry acknowledged that he found out about Durant’s decision to sign with the Nets as he flew to New York to check in on his now former teammate.

Don’t overlook Kyle Allen if he faces former nemesis Kyler Murray

It’s easy to overlook Carolina Panthers backup quarterback Kyle Allen because he wasn’t invited to a college all-star game, went undrafted and was cut from the practice squad before making the 53-man roster when Cam Newton was shut down for the final two games of last season.

It’s easy to overlook Allen’s Week 17 win against New Orleans because the Saints rested their starters, having already wrapped up the NFC South title.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

It’s easy to overlook Allen this week as he works with the first team in the likelihood a left foot sprain will keep Newton out of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals in Arizona, where Allen grew up, and against the top pick of the draft — a fellow QB whose presence played a role in Allen’s college career that showed promise but never took off.

Jordan Palmer gets why Allen is under the radar.5

“I totally understand how the media and the fans could arrive at that,” said Palmer, a former NFL quarterback who works with Allen during the offseason at QB Summit. “There’s so much information out there nowadays, you feel if you don’t know a lot about somebody, they’re probably not that good.

“I do know Kyle. I’ve been paying attention since high school, and I’ve had a lot of conviction on him for a long time. So I’m not surprised at all he’s in this position, and I’m not going to be surprised at all when he plays really, really well and this offense really starts clicking.”

That’s a bold prediction, as Allen completed only 52.9% of his passes and had no touchdown passes in four preseason games.

Palmer has worked with Allen since he was at Desert Mountain High in Scottsdale. He has seen enough to believe that when surrounded by the first-team line and do-it-all running back Christian McCaffrey — neither was at his disposal most of the preseason — the offense will be as explosive as Allen promised it would be coming out of training camp.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“He’s going to go through his progressions, and he’s going to throw and anticipate your timing; and the moment is not going to be too big for him, and he’s going to play really composed, good, execution football,” said Palmer, the younger brother of former three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer.

Tavares says next captain of Maple Leafs will be ‘great one’

John Tavares said the chance to be Toronto Maple Leafs captain would be an honor but noted whoever is selected will have a strong leadership group in place to help him.

“No question being a Maple Leaf and the history, what it means, the tradition, the connection to the fan base and city, it’s a big deal but at the same time you don’t want to let it change you,” Tavares said Monday after skating with teammates. “You just want to be yourself and play your game but whatever happens, I know we’re going to have a great one, whoever it is. We want to all support whoever it is.”

Toronto has not had a captain since defenseman Dion Phaneuf was traded to the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 9, 2016; and general manager Kyle Dubas has said naming a captain is a significant decision because of the responsibility it carries for an Original Six team.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Tavares, who signed a seven-year contract with Toronto as an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2018, was captain of the New York Islanders for five seasons (2013-18) and is one of two Maple Leafs along with Jason Spezza, who was captain of the Ottawa Senators for one season (2013-14), to have been a captain in the NHL.5

“I know from my time being a captain, you realize how important the people are around you, that you don’t have all the answers and that you have to lean on your teammates,” Tavares said. “When you have so many great players, great people, guys who can lead and could wear the C here and be that guy, you realize just how much you can lean on everyone else because you’ve got all those guys around you to lift you up and help you when things aren’t going well.”

Tavares, who had an NHL career-high 88 points (47 goals, 41 assists) in 82 games last season, mentioned several of his teammates he feels worthy of the honor.

Defenseman Morgan Rielly.

“Morgan being here as long as he has (six seasons) and his maturity level, you can see it in his game and how he carries himself off the ice, just very level headed especially as a defenseman which is a very tough position to play with the amount of load he carries,” Tavares said.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Forward Mitchell Marner, who remains a restricted free agent.

“[Marner] has an incredible energy about him, just brings the room to life and the way he impacts the game in so many different areas, the way he plays it is so unique,” Tavares said.