Nick Shook on fantasy football: Decisions to be made before opening kickoff

By Nick Shook
Beacon Journal copy editor
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Sunday is upon us. I’m hoping you read your morning paper with your coffee, well before the 1 p.m. kickoffs, or online with a second tab open with your fantasy football lineup, because I’m about to drop some knowledge.

Setting your lineup is vital to fantasy football, for obvious reasons. But that doesn’t mean we can see the future. We can, however, use statistics to project who will perform well. Continue reading

Seven takeaways from Friday at the combine

By Nick Shook |
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Friday was the first day of workouts for offensive linemen, tight ends and special teamers, but as is often in the NFL, quarterback talk ruled the day.

St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher pushed his big pile of confidence chips into the center of the table, telling reporters that his team is “betting on” Sam Bradford. Quarterback guru George Whitfield told reporters the possibility of Marcus Mariota landing on the same roster as 2014 first-round selection Johnny Manziel in Cleveland was a “very real situation.”

And then there was Jameis Winston taking the podium and telling reporters he’s planning on winning the Super Bowl next season. As if the football world hadn’t already adjusted to Winston’s tendency to provide surprising sound bytes, this one ranks among the most eye-opening.

As the quarterback goes, so goes the team in the NFL — and apparently so goes the media portion of the combine. Here are our takeaways from Friday at the combine: Continue reading

Vikings claim tight end Brandon Bostick off waivers

By Nick Shook |
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Brandon Bostick might not have hung onto the most important live ball of his career, but it didn’t take long for him to latch on with another team.

One month after dropping the onside kick that helped propel the Seattle Seahawks past the Green Bay Packers and into Super Bowl XLIX, Bostick has been claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Vikings, the team announced Wednesday. Continue reading

Jordy Nelson: Packers ‘absolutely’ let one get away

By Nick Shook |
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Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson spent the last week enjoying the sun and fanfare that comes with the annual convergence of the NFL’s top players.

He wishes his time in Arizona was just beginning.

Nelson’s Green Bay Packers will spend the week of Super Bowl XLIX back in Wisconsin, relaxing after the end of a season that saw them come one game shy of the game’s biggest stage. It was a crushing defeat, a game lost in the unlikeliest of ways, and it isn’t something Nelson has been quick to forget. Continue reading

Earl Thomas to ‘play fearless’ despite shoulder injury

By Nick Shook |
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Earl Thomas isn’t the same man as he was two weeks ago, and he isn’t afraid to acknowledge it.

The safety suffered a dislocated shoulder in the second quarter of Seattle’s NFC Championship victory over the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 18, forcing him into the locker room before coming back to play the rest of the game. Almost immediately upon returning, Thomas made a tackle on bruising running back Eddie Lacy, proving a dislocation wouldn’t keep him from still using his physical capabilities.

One would be hard-pressed to find a player who isn’t willing to sacrifice much in order to play in the biggest game of his career. Thomas is no different, even if he’s admittedly not at 100 percent. Continue reading

Doug Baldwin: Seahawks’ defense going to make plays

By Nick Shook |
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Since he cemented his place in Seahawks‘ lore with an iconic, acrobatic tipped pass for an interception, Richard Sherman has been the talk of Seattle — and the NFL as a whole.

But even after watching his teammate turn in another All-Pro season, Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that while it would be wise for Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers to avoid Sherman on Sunday, he isn’t the only defender the Packers should fear. Continue reading