Three years ago, we began honoring radio legend Steve Czaban — who was surprisingly booted from the SB Nation Radio morning lineup in 2016, despite having perhaps the most engaging program in the radio marketplace — with a “You Are Looking Live!” preview of each NFL weekend.
The bit was so well-received, so roundly praised by media pundits (including a few SB Nation writers) and Czabe’s legion of fans alike, that we decided to make You Are Looking Live! a permanent Friday staple of the BATSBY Sports Network blog.
As such, it makes perfect sense to include Brent Musburger and Joey Porter into the presentation, via YouTube:
HOUSTON (5-3) vs. JACKSONVILLE (3-4)
TIME: 9:30 a.m. EST
VENUE: Wembley Stadium in London
LINE: Jaguars (+1.5) … Over/Under: 46.5
REFEREE: Clete Blakeman
TV: Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci, Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner, Melissa Stark (NFLN)
FUN FACT: For BATSBY Sports’ midseason PPP Spectacular, we pointed out how the Jaguars receivers have the most advantageous schedule for Weeks 13-16, traditionally the playoff periods for fantasy football.
However, there’s no need in waiting for the Jacksonville trio of rookie DJ Chark (five games of seven catches, 95 yards and/or one TD), Dede Westbrook (6 catches, 103 yards in Week 7) and Chris Conley (averaging 3.5 catches, 7.5 targets, 93 yards, 0.5 TDs in his last two games) to emerge as fantasy gold.
This week’s juicy matchup involves the Texans, who unfortunately possess bottom-6 tallies with targets, catches, receiving yards and receiving scores allowed to opposing wideouts.
MINNESOTA (6-2) @ KANSAS CITY (5-3)
TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Chiefs (+1.5) … Over/Under: 48.5
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver (FOX)
FUN FACT: With the Bengals on bye this week, the Chiefs shall assume the short-term mantle of being the fantasy world’s worst defense with opposing tailbacks.
**Through eight games, Kansas City has yielded 4.9 yards per carry.
**Opposing tailbacks sport a robust catch-to-target rate of 75 percent.
**This same positional group has collected 10 total touchdowns on the Chiefs (six rushing, four receiving).
**Check this out: Of the Chiefs’ last five opponents, that team’s leading tailback (Kerryon Johnson, Marlon Mack, Carlos Hyde, Phillip Lindsay, Aaron Jones) notched staggering averages of 139 yards and 0.6 TDs.
**Vikings tailback Dalvin Cook (Sunday’s opponent) has reached the elite-level threshold of 130 total yards and/or one touchdown in all eight games this season.
ODDS AND ENDS: How’s this for weird? The Vikings have allowed the second-most targets to opposing tight ends (76) … and yet, they’re the only franchise not to surrender a touchdown to the same position.
CHICAGO (3-4) @ PHILADELPHIA (4-4)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Eagles (-4.5) … Over/Under: 41.5
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV ANNOUNCERS: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale (FOX)
FUN FACT: The hot-and-cold Eagles have been respectable in one regard with opposing receivers, holding that position to a middling catch-to-target rate of 61 percent.
But it’s a mess in other crucial categories.
Through eight weeks, the Philly defenders own bottom-10 tallies with catches, targets, receiving yards (29th overall) and receiving TDs (31st) surrendered to opposing wideouts.
This all bodes well for receiver Allen Robinson, despite the Bears currently ranking 27th in scoring.
Robinson has collected seven-plus targets in 12 straight games (including the playoffs).
For this productive stretch, the Penn State alum holds rock-solid averages of 6.3 catches, 9.3 targets, 77.4 yards and 0.3 TDs.
INDIANAPOLIS (5-2) @ PITTSBURGH (3-4)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Steelers (-1) … Over/Under: 41
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn (CBS)
BETTOR’S HUNCH: OK, so we won’t have Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton or James Conner for the Sunday kickoff; but I’m still a big fan of the over listed above.
Why is that?
**In their last five meetings, the Steelers and Colts combined for per-game averages of 51 points.
**The combined average totals for Pittsburgh’s home games this season: 44 points.
**For 2019, tailbacks have a combined catch-to-target rate of 73 percent against the Colts and Steelers.
TENNESSEE (4-4) @ CAROLINA (4-3)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bills (-10) … Over/Under: 36.5
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV ANNOUNCERS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Melanie Collins (CBS)
FUN FACT: Panthers tailback Christian McCaffrey has few peers in the rushing-receiving world, and the list gets even shorter when surveying his track record with non-conference competition:
Charting his last seven outings against AFC foes, the Stanford alum holds staggering averages of 143 total yards and 1.6 touchdowns.
N.Y. JETS (1-6) @ MIAMI (0-7)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Dolphins (+3) … Over/Under: 42.5
REFEREE: Walt Anderson
TV ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta, A.J. Ross (CBS)
FUN FACT: The Dolphins are one of only five NFL defenses surrendering at least six rushing touchdowns and three receiving TDs to opposing tailbacks.
This all bodes well for Jets rusher Le’Veon Bell … especially after his media rant about the lack of touches. Put it all together … and it’s the perfect storm of fantasy goodness.
WASHINGTON (1-7) @ BUFFALO (5-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bills (-10) … Over/Under: 36.5
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV ANNOUNCERS: Chris Myers, Darryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (FOX)
AT STAKE: The Bills should be viewed as heavy favorites to garner a wild card spot for the AFC playoffs, especially with the upcoming slate of the Redskins, Browns, Dolphins and Broncos (combined record: 5-25).
DETROIT (3-3-1) @ OAKLAND (3-4)
TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Raiders (-2.5) … Over/Under: 50.5
REFEREE: Shawn Hochuli
TV: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake (FOX)
FUN FACT: Charting his three career outings in the state of California, Lions QB Matthew Stafford boasts excellent averages of 328 yards passing and three touchdowns.
That’s a good omen for Sunday, along with this categorical reality: The Raiders have yielded the second-most passing TDs (19).
TAMPA BAY (2-5) @ SEATTLE (6-2)
TIME: 4:05 p.m.
LINE: Seahawks (-5) … Over/Under: 53
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Sara Walsh (FOX)
FUN FACT: Don’t fall asleep on Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston as an elite-level fantasy option.
**The Seahawks (Sunday opponent) rank in the bottom five for attempts, completions and passing yards allowed with opposing quarterbacks.
**Winston has amassed multiple touchdowns in his last five outings; and the one, uh, clunker entailed 400 yards passing and one TD (vs. Carolina).
**Citing eight career meetings with the NFC West, Winston has enjoyed robust per-game tallies of 299 yards passing and 2.2 touchdowns.
**As stated in this week’s PPR Spectacular, the Bucs’ 1-2 punch of Chris Godwin (47 catches, 705 yards, 6 TDs) and Mike Evans (20 catches, 29 targets, 294 yards, 2 TDs in his last two outings) should be fantasy football’s best receiving tandem in the second half.
CLEVELAND (2-5) @ DENVER (2-6)
TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Broncos (+4) … Over/Under: 39
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely (CBS)
AT STAKE: Let’s take the upside view of the Browns’ wretched start:
When analyzing the four NFL teams with two wins (Browns, Broncos, Buccaneers, Giants), Cleveland has the best odds of qualifying for a wild-card spot.
GREEN BAY (7-1) @ L.A. CHARGERS (3-5)
TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Chargers (+3.5) … Over/Under: 48.5
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)
FUN FACT: That over/under number of 48.5 points reads a little high … until contemplating the following stat:
Citing his last 11 games against AFC foes, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has absurdly averaged 305 yards passing and 2.7 touchdowns. BOOM!
NEW ENGLAND (8-0) @ BALTIMORE (5-2)
TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Ravens (+3) … Over/Under: 44.5
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
AT STAKE: A Patriots win here would dramatically uptick New England’s chances for the division title and a first-round bye during the AFC playoffs.
A hypothetical victory would also put the AFC North and West leaders at a minimum of three defeats; and 5-2 Indianapolis (current AFC South leader) doesn’t draw the Patriots for a head-to-head battle.
DALLAS (4-3) @ N.Y. GIANTS (2-6)
TIME: 8:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Giants (+7) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: Clay Martin
TV ANNOUNCERS: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters (ESPN)
FUN FACT: Amari Cooper has only been with the Cowboys for a full calendar year, but his impact against non-divisional foes has already been gold-certified.
Charting his seven career meetings with the NFC East — as a Dallas wideout — Cooper owns stellar averages of 6.2 catches, 107 yards and one TD; and this includes a five-catch, 31-yard clunker against the Giants last December … after the Cowboys had already clinched a playoff berth.