Nick Shook on Fantasy Football: Ignore the preseason games at your own risk; there are gems to be mined

By Nick Shook
Beacon Journal copy editor
Read full column on

The NFL season is fast approaching. More importantly, fantasy football is coming, the time of year fantasy sports players have been anxiously awaiting.

Fantasy football magazines have been sitting on shelves for more than a month. Draft kits have been ordered and are sitting in the backs of UPS trucks nationwide. It’s time to start building that big board. Continue reading

Seven takeaways from Friday at the combine

By Nick Shook |
Read full post on

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

Bengals’ Jeremy Hill steamrolls Browns in road victory

By Nick Shook |
Read full post on

It’s that time of the year. It’s that time when we all start to tire of holiday advertisements, get paper cuts from overpriced wrapping paper and develop a serious disdain for Scotch tape. It’s that time when bad football teams face equally awful football teams and they call it the “Top College Football Player X Bowl.” But most importantly, it’s that time when late-season divisional games populate the schedule, and suddenly, we have very, very important football on deck.

Such was the case across the league on Sunday. Indianapolis clinched the AFC South with a win over division rival Houston, Denver did the same to claim the AFC West crown against San Diego, Buffalo kept its playoff hopes alive in a stunning win over Green Bay, and Carolina somehow gained control of its previously unlikely playoff aspirations. Oh, and the Jets managed to win the Marcus Mariota Bowl in Tennessee, prompting Rex Ryan to tell reporters he doesn’t give a you-know-what about the Heisman Trophy winner or the No. 1 pick.

Meaningful football typically brings the best — and sometimes, the worst — out of players on all levels. You know the saying: Big-time players make big-time plays.

Here are this week’s best big time players on the road.

Continue reading