Every person has only a few shots to prove that s/he can be a champion.  For those who don’t know, my chance came when a company in South Florida was founded to deliver online sports to the masses, SportsLine USA.  As an IBM programmer at a company called Prodigy, I saw SportsLine as my chance to begin designing products and directing staff to deliver sports to all types of sports fans: casual fans, team fans, fantasy fans, gamblers, historians and collectors.  It was my only chance to get out of the hell and grind of being an IBM programmer.  I seized it and never looked back.

That was in 1995 and almost two decades removed from the movie that inspired me and so many others, the 1976 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, Rocky.  Sylvester Stallone decided that he needed to write, direct and star in the movie that he wrote for his alter-ego.  Stallone was approached and offered a rumored $125,000 for the script from Irwin Winkler who had worked with Stallone on the 1974 production ofLords of Flatbush.  Winkler wanted Burt Reynolds or James Caan to play Rocky.  Stallone stood his ground, believing in himself and that his personal story mirrored the soon to be legend from the city of brotherly love.

Stallone said at the time: “I relished stories of heroism, great love, dignity, and courage, dramas of people rising above their stations, taking life by the throat and not letting go until they succeed.”

So, why talk about Rocky?  Well, many NFL players this week had Rocky-like performances.  Many are even in the free agent pool.  Since there are five Rocky movies (no one counts Rocky Balboa cause it sucked), we can anticipate someday having to sit through Rocky XVII in say 2035:  Apollo & Rocky fight their toughest battle between hardening of the arteries and cancer.  Announcer: “Ohhhh, it’s a blow to the wheelchair.”

Anyway, the reason for Rocky this week is to give you a chance to determine which of these players will be allowed to have a sequel in Fantasy Football.  Each player will be rated from CUT ME MICK to ROCKY V.

Quarterbacks

Nick Foles (406 – 7 TDs plus 3-14 Rushing = 49.7 pts) – Fitting that the player with the biggest performance is from Philadelphia.  Foles was lined in all day.  Watching every touchdown is now a on Red Zone is a ritual for me.  As I watched each TD that he threw, he had touch, poise in the pocket and aggressively attacked every mismatch.  Now there were a lot more mismatches than normal.  The Raiders defense was abysmal.  My gut says that he is a Champion so he will face Clubber Lang - ROCKY III

Case Keenum (350 – 3 TDs plus 3-26 rushing = 32.1 pts) – Keenum was the spark that Houston needed but the epic meltdown at the hands of TY Hilton and Andrew Luck is cause for concern in Texas.  The Texans have one of the better schedules in football, but at 2-6, it will be tough rowing with a young QB.  That said, now is the time to find out about him and he hasn’t done anything to lose the job.  He didn’t throw an interception last night during the comeback by the Colts. We have to wait to see if he emerges champion and can beat Apollo Creed - ROCKY II

Running Backs

Zac Stacy (27-127-2 TD plus 6-51 receiving = 35.8 pts) – Stacy is for real.  Against a pretty tough defenses with a heavily wrapped ankle, the Rams running back pushed hard and opened holes rushing for 127 yards and 2 scores.  The best part was that he was part of the check down game with 6 catches for 51 yards.  The Rams have a tough schedule, but without a capable QB or WR threats, the fate of this football team is in his hands. Like Ivan Drago - “Whatever he hits, he destroys” - ROCKY IV.

Rashad Jennings (15-102-1 TD plus 7-74 receiving = 35.8 pts) – This is very interesting. Looking at tape and at the previous performances, Jennings is simply not that good.  What he has is opportunity with run DMC hurt again.  He will need to produce in order for him to be worth it for you to hold.  At 3-5, the Raiders still have a legit chance to do something, but they will need McFadden for that.  I am not a believer in Jennings.  I can’t see it…CUT ME, MICK.

Chris Ivory (18-139-1 = 19.9 pts) – Another tough situation, but in my humble opinion, Ivory has done enough for Rex to trust him with the offense.  He runs with intensity.  He gets the big 1st downs.  The Jets had 36 rushing plays and only 20 pass plays.  This is a function of game plan.  This may not be the game plan every week, so you need to watch during the week and be SMART.  Clearly the champion, but don’t get complacent with it – ROCKY III

Darrel Young (5-12-3 TD = 19.2 pts) – Obligated to have this here, but REALLY?  Young is a situational goal line back ONLY.  This is VERY bad for Alfred Morris since he now has three players who can get red zone scores, but his owners should be happy with his production.  This guy is Spider Rico - CUT ME, MICK

Wide Receivers

Riley Cooper (5-139-3 TDs plus 18 yds rushing = 38.7 pts) – Personally, I never thought this guy would play AT ALL this year.  After dropping a racial slur on a security guard at a concert in June, I personally believed that his lack of big talent and the fact that he is eminently replaceable would make it impossible for him to succeed.  Well, I guess he really does play in the city of brotherly love.  When I started writing this column, I thought he was inconsistent and could not be relied upon, but after watching the film of weeks 6-8, he is connected with Foles and can succeed for you down the stretch.  You can start him when Foles starts – ROCKY IV

Jerricho Cotchery (7-96-3 TD = 34.6 pts) – Thisis a hard puzzle to figure out.  New England was in command of the game and then let Pittsburgh back in it.  Belichick decided to cover Brown, Sanders and Heath Miller with his DBs and leave Cotchery in one-on-one coverage covered with the rookie nickel back out of Rutgers, Logan Ryan.  This is just a case of exploitation of a mismatch, in my opinion.   Cotchery is only a match up play week-to-week.  He gets a rematch, but that is all – ROCKY II

Aaron Dobson (5-130-2 TD = 30 pts) – Tom Brady is doing everything possible to give Aaron Dobson a chance to succeed.  In Week 7, they threw him the ball over and over again and he dropped or misplayed four balls.  This week, they also had four incomplete passes his direction.  The Pittsburgh Steelers made mistakes in coverage all day.  This gave Amendola and Dobson the chance to exploit.  Different from in past weeks, Dobson made plays.  I have a strong sense that this could be the beginning of a breakout with the Patriots beginning to click with Gronk back.  Call it a hunch, but I think he is ready to be a champion – ROCKY III

Marlon Brown (5-54-2 TD = 22.4 pts) – Hard to figure out exactly how everything happens.  Is Brown talented? Yes.  Is he a playmaker? Yes. That said Torrey Smith is the man.  Smith had to deal with Joe Haden covering him all day.  Marlon Brown is 4 catches for 36 yards and no TDs in a normal week.  I don’t trust him down the stretch.  I can’t see it…CUT ME, MICK.

“Women Weaken Legs!”

Like a prize fighter, you need to stay disciplined the night before the big fight. Sunday mornings are critical to the success of your fantasy teams.  This weekend was one of the more interesting weeks in recent memories.  Maybe it is the fact that six teams were on BYE and that more unexpected players jumped into the Top 10.  Maybe it is simply that the NFL is unpredictable.  This past Sunday, I was reviewing injuries and match ups to find the best NFL starts for the right price.  Every time I did the math, it came out with Chris Ivory, Zac Stacy, TY Hilton and Jimmy Graham.  So that is how I started all the teams.  Unfortunately, the performance of guys like Foles kept me from winning some pretty big contests this weekend.  I must admit, I was nervous about TY last night when at halftime he was basically shut out.  Luckily, it came through. When you do the homework, when you watch the film and when you look at the trends for players and defenses, like Mickey said to Rocky…

“You’re gonna eat lightnin’ and you’re gonna crap thunder”

 


Rick Wolf, Co-Host of Colton & The Wolfman - Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio  The Fantasy 100Rick Wolf is a leader in the fantasy sports industry. Wolf is a founding Board Member and one of only fifteen FSTA Hall of Famers including Bill James and Matthew Berry. Wolf’s career accomplishments include starting the fantasy sports division at SportsLine USA that became CBS SportsLine, incubating Rotoworld to become the #1 fantasy sports news site, and spearheading the sale of Allstar Stats/Rotoworld to NBC Sports in 2006.  With college friend and fellow Hall of Famer, Glenn Colton, the team has won 7 expert titles in baseball and football. Twitter: RickWolf1  

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