By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Gianfrancesco picked Brady
Despite having just two players remaining for the Super Bowl, Antonio Gianfrancesco was able to win the Postseason Shootout contest because of a great start by his team and huge performances by his remaining players in the big game. Gianfrancesco takes home the big prize of 50,000 dollars for his great accomplishment of finishing first overall.
"Brady and Gronk were a must have for me as they're a great go to connection, which is why I was able to win the contest on the night of the Super Bowl," said Gianfrancesco.
If you aren't familiar, rules for the Postseason Shootout contest are pretty simple. For an entry of 125 dollars (or three teams for 350 dollars), you select a roster from all the teams in the NFL playoffs that you think will score the most points this postseason (you can't select more than two players from each NFL team, though). Your roster will consist of two quarterbacks, two running backs, two wide receivers/tight ends, two flex players (RB/WR/TE), a defense/special teams and a kicker. There is no draft or head-to-head games. It is a total points contest. If you finish in the top 150, you are going to win some money. First place takes home 50,000 dollars while finishing 150th gets you 250 bucks.
With those rules in place, Gianfrancesco setup a strategy for picking the correct roster, which turned out to be a contest-winning strategy.
"Constructing my roster took a few hours of planning," Gianfrancesco said. "I actually drew on a sheet of paper pros and cons of each team. I also broke it down further before finalizing my choices. I looked at factors such as yards per catch and how many receptions per game by receivers and running backs."
Gianfrancesco's detailed preparation paid off, picking a roster that was able to defeat all the fantasy players in the contest. Every player he selected won at least a game in the playoffs, which helped pad Gianfrancesco's numbers early in the contest. He had two big first weeks, scoring 100.1 points in Week 1 and 230.45 points in Week 2. His roster was led by Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, the only two players that advanced all the way to the Super Bowl.
"Super Bowl week I knew I had a chance, 17.20 points behind first place," Gianfrancesco said. "Gronk cleared to play and both teams with great offense. I got my wish of a high-scoring game and with Dion Lewis being a non-factor. This allowed me to take a lead in the final minutes of the Super Bowl with Gronk's second touchdown of the game."
Although, it came down to the last game and near the end of that game, Gianfrancesco had high hopes early in the contest, mainly because of his fast start.
"After the first week, I felt great," Gianfrancesco said. "I believed I had a top-10 chance at that point. I got key victories from Tennessee, which upset all those fans with Kansas City Chiefs' players. Rams lost to my Falcons. Saints beat the Panthers, and Jags went on to give me protection for the second round."
So what is Gianfrancesco going to do with all his winnings? Well, he isn't going to going on a shopping spree, taking a more conservative approach to his big prize.
"I do not have any plans other than some minor vehicle repairs and saving the money," Gianfrancesco said. "We may decide to take a vacation before the start of the next football season, depending on our work schedules."
If you want a chance to take down Gianfrancesco next season, sign up for the Postseason Shootout before the start of the playoffs. We'll have links up on our site and home page. You won't watch postseason football the same way going forward.
"It really took until the minutes of the game to realize it could become reality," Gianfrancesco said. "Unbelievable how everything played out. This event had me on the edge of my seat all playoffs."
Click on this link to see more details about the contest or to sign up: Postseason Shootout.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (ankle), who was seen in a walking boot last month, said he will be at training camp when it begins on July 26. Cobb said the boot was for protection, but it's unclear if he'll have restrictions at the start of camp. "I don't know, I haven't talked to the medical staff. We'll see what they have to say," Cobb said. Expect Cobb to be eased into activities, but he should be fine for Week 1. With Jordy Nelson out of the picture, Cobb has the opportunity to be the second wideout behind Davante Adams, which in theory would make it easier for him to improve on his disappointing fantasy numbers since 2014. Consider Cobb a value pick as a WR3 in PPR leagues, but don't expect the touchdowns to come -- he hasn't had more than four in a season since 2015.
New England Patriots wide receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Kenny Britt are on the roster bubble heading into training camp, with Phillip Dorsett, Riley McCarron and Braxton Berrios also in danger of being cut. That's even with Julian Edelman suspended for the first four games. Mitchell, a former fourth-round pick, missed all of last year with a knee injury and must prove he's healthy in order to get a shot. Britt played in 12 games with the Browns and Pats last year and caught just 20 passes for two touchdowns. Mitchell is a better bet to make a fantasy impact in 2018.
The New York Jets are unlikely to move on from wide receiver Jermaine Kearse after he posted career highs in catches (65) and receiving yards (810) to go along with five touchdowns, which tied a career high. He filled in nicely with Quincy Enunwa injured all year. But with Enunwa coming back healthy in 2018 and the team adding Terrelle Pryor, the Jets depth at the position is much better. Kearse has no guaranteed money left on his deal, but he's unlikely to be released after posting solid numbers last year, including only dropping three out of 68 catchable passes. Kearse is expected to be on the outside across from Robby Anderson, with Enunwa manning the slot. While Kearse might be the team's most reliable receiver and a chain-mover, it's hard to imagine him topping his 2017 numbers with Enunwa back and Pryor a threat to his position. He's only worth a late-round flier in deeper leagues.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco did extra workouts with his receivers a few times last week for the first time since 2011. Flacco must feel the heat after the team traded up in the first round to take his eventual successor in Lamar Jackson. He posted just 3,141 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last year and has been a weak fantasy option for years. An upgraded receiving group shouldn't make Flacco any more attractive than he's been recently, and he could be benched eventually if he doesn't improve.
The New Orleans Saints are signing free-agent running back Shane Vereen on Wednesday, according to a source. Vereen spent the last three years with the Giants after starting his career with New England and playing there for four seasons. He had 45 carries for just 164 yards (career-low 3.6 yards per carry) with no touchdowns last year. Vereen is merely a depth signing for the Saints with Mark Ingram suspended to begin the year, and he shouldn't be on anyone's fantasy radar.
Former New York Jets start cornerback Darrelle Revis announced his retirement from football after 11 years on Wednesday. His career included four All-Pro selections -- three with the Jets -- and a Super Bowl championship in 2014 with the Patriots. He played in only five games with the Chiefs in 2017. The 33-year-old was one of the best shutdown corners in the game in his prime, earning the nickname Revis Island because opposing quarterbacks would often refuse to throw to their receivers that were covered by him. He finishes his career with 494 tackles, two sacks, 11 fumble recoveries, 29 interceptions and three touchdowns. Revis is a future Hall of Famer.
New England Patriots wide receiver Jordan Matthews, alongside Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson, is considered a lock to make the team's roster out of training camp, especially with Edelman set to serve a four-game suspension to end the year. It's believed the Patriots will come to value Matthews' versatility, smarts and cheap contract. It's also expected that Edelman's four-game suspension will open up a lot of opportunities for Matthews in the offense to begin the year. Matthews can play in the slot and will likely be the No. 2 receiver with Edelman serving his suspension. If he's healthy -- he played in just 10 games with the Bills last year due to injuries -- he could be worth a late-round flier in deeper leagues.
The Dallas Cowboys are unlikely to meet the Seattle Seahawks' asking price for disgruntled safety Earl Thomas, according to a Cowboys team official. "It's a lot of media hype. Seattle not giving him away and we're not overpaying," the official said. Thomas is threatening to hold out of training camp if he doesn't receive an extension, and he's voiced that he'd welcome a trade to his home state if the Seahawks no longer want him. It's turning into a messy situation with Seattle, but he may be forced to stay with the Seahawks for one more year. Thomas has been injured the last few years, but his play on the field hasn't suffered much when he's been healthy. He's still relevant in IDP leagues if he stays healthy.
Free-agent CB Darrelle Revis (Chiefs) announced his retirement from the NFL Wednesday, July 18.
New England Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt and Phillip Dorsett are on the bubble to make the team, according to beat writer Mike Reiss.
New England Patriots WR Jordan Matthews is considered a lock to make the team, according to beat writer Mike Reiss.
Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones will end up as the team's starting running back this season in the opinion of USA Today Network Wisconsin's Stu Courtney.
Arizona Cardinals TE Ricky Seals-Jones was reportedly arrested over the weekend for assault, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. Seals-Jones allegedly sought to use a hotel restroom but was denied entry because he was not a guest. Seals-Jones then reportedly tried to use the restroom inside one of the hotel's restaurants and once he was denied entry again, he is accused of shoving an employee to get by him.
Carolina Panthers TE Chris Manhertz (foot) will begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he continues to recover from summer surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his left foot.
Arizona Cardinals tight end Ricky Seals-Jones was arrested in Scottsdale, Ari., last weekend on suspicion of assault, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. He caught 12 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns in his rookie year and emerged late in the season as the team's best tight end. Seals-Jones could be facing a short suspension from the league, which would hurt his status as a late-round sleeper as a TE2.
Kansas City Chiefs WRs Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill were two of the seven receivers in the league who had at least 500 yards receiving, averaged more than 15 yards per reception and also scored at least seven touchdowns last season.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has told some close to him that he expects a new deal before training camp starts. If he doesn't receive one, he might hold out of training camp and the preseason like he did last year. The 27-year-old has a whopping 39 sacks, 204 tackles and two fumble recoveries in his first four years in the league and will certainly get paid. He'll once again be an anchor up front for a strong Rams defense in 2018.
Carolina Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz (foot) will start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list after being hurt in June minicamp. He had surgery on his foot for a Jones fracture and is hoping to return before the start of the regular season. Manhertz is the backup to Greg Olsen but is mostly a blocking tight end, so he doesn't have much fantasy intrigue, even if Olsen were to be injured.
Free-agent WR Devin Smith (Jets) cleared waivers Tuesday, July 17, and is officially a free agent.
Los Angeles Rams WR Brandin Cooks signed a five-year contract extension Tuesday, July 17. Financial terms were not disclosed.