Fantasy Football Week 1 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em: Derek Carr's dream matchup and all the bust alerts –

The start of the NFL season always brings about renewed hope. Every fan thinks their team has a chance to win the Super Bowl, and every Fantasy owner is excited about their roster.

And that’s the way it should be.

No matter what happened last year, this is a fresh start, and optimism is the only approach to take.

For me, I love this time of year, mostly because I get reacquainted with an old friend. I don’t see this friend until Week 1, and we’re only together through Week 17, but our relationship in my life is second only to my family during this time.

I’m talking about this column, and Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em has consumed my life for the past 10 years in the best possible way. I spend every week during the NFL season giving my best effort to make sure I’m helping your Fantasy teams. I rejoice when our Start of the Week is a success, and I wallow in pity when players I expected to do well struggle — or vice versa.

It’s the highlight of my job, and I’m ready for it to get started. And, like all of you, I’m optimistic this week — and this season — is going to be fantastic.

So let’s get to it.

Start of the Week:
Derek Carr

I like carrying themes that we talked about in the offseason and preseason over to the start of the year. And ever since
Tom Brady
‘s four-game suspension was upheld, we gave you a list of potential replacements with great schedules to open the season.

Those guys included
Matthew Stafford
Jameis Winston
Kirk Cousins
and Carr, who is our first Start of the Week for 2016. He has the best matchup against the
New Orleans Saints

The only scenario I fear with Carr is the
Oakland Raiders
come out and run on New Orleans early with
Latavius Murray
, and he isn’t forced to throw. But I doubt that happens to such an extent on the road, and this game should be a shootout with
Drew Brees

Derek Carr

QB / Oakland Raiders (Week 1 projections at NO)

Carr’s final preseason outing was solid against Tennessee in the third game when he completed 12 of 18 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns in just over a half of action. And he was good on the road last season with multiple touchdowns in six of eight games, including four with at least 24 Fantasy points in a standard league.

The Saints defense was bad last season and should struggle again this year. There were only two games in 2015 when an opposing quarterback failed to score multiple touchdowns against New Orleans, and
Ben Roethlisberger
passed for two touchdowns against the Saints in the third preseason game, which is the one that matters.

We’ll see if Carr is the right choice in this matchup on the road. But he has two standout receivers in
Amari Cooper
Michael Crabtree
, who are both worth starting in all leagues, and a sleeper tight end in
Clive Walford

This should be one of the more fun games to watch, and Carr and Brees should put on a show. I’m just hoping Carr drives us in the right direction for Week 1.

I’m starting Carr over:
Cam Newton
(at DEN),
Philip Rivers
(at KC),
Andy Dalton
(at NYJ),
Carson Palmer
(vs. NE) and Ben Roethlisberger (at WAS)


Start ‘Em

Eli Manning

QB / New York Giants (Week 1 projections at DAL)

New York Giants
offense did not look good during the preseason, and Manning failed to throw a touchdown in either of his two appearances against Buffalo and the
New York Jets
. We hope when the games matter for real that the offense will perform as expected, and I’m counting on the Giants to feature a high-powered attack this year. Now, if you’re going to hold the preseason performance against the Giants as a bad thing then a good cure will be the
Dallas Cowboys
defense, and Dallas struggled to stop a couple of quarterbacks in two exhibition games with
Ryan Tannehill
(162 passing yards and two touchdowns in Week 2) and
Russell Wilson
(193 passing yards and two touchdowns in Week 3). We expect that should be the norm for the Cowboys this year, and Manning is a solid start for Week 1. In two of his past three visits to Dallas, Manning has scored at least 28 Fantasy points in a standard league.

Stafford is one of my favorite quarterbacks this year, and I’m excited to see him in a real game without the retired
Calvin Johnson
. He didn’t throw a touchdown in the preseason, but I expect him to benefit from the no-huddle offense under coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. And this is a good defense to get going against, especially with standout cornerback
Vontae Davis
Antonio Cromartie
is the new No. 1 cornerback, which should mean good things for
Marvin Jones
Golden Tate
Anquan Boldin
. This game should be high scoring, and Stafford averaged 20.1 Fantasy points on the road last season, including at least 20 points in each of his final eight games, which is when Cooter took over the play calling. Stafford should be a Top 10 quarterback in Week 1.

It wasn’t pretty how Winston got to 21 Fantasy points in a standard league in each of his two games against the
Atlanta Falcons
last year, but if he gets there again this week you’ll be happy. He passed for fewer than 230 yards in each game with a combined two touchdowns and one interception, but he also had a rushing touchdown in each outing. And that was Winston as a raw rookie quarterback, but he should be more polished this year. He’s in better shape, and his No. 1 receiver,
Mike Evans
, is also locked in.
Vincent Jackson
Austin Seferian-Jenkins
(if he’s the starter) are healthy, and Winston played well in his final preseason outing in Week 3 against Cleveland with 259 passing yards and two touchdowns. He should be able to build on that performance this week, and I’m confident starting Winston in the majority of leagues.

We can play the revenge card here with Taylor since he was a backup with the
Baltimore Ravens
for the first four years of his career and barely saw the field behind
Joe Flacco
. When he finally got the chance to start last season for the
Buffalo Bills
, he showed standout ability and became a quality Fantasy option. It appears like
Sammy Watkins
(foot) is ready to go for Week 1, and he helped Taylor score at least 20 Fantasy points in a standard league in four of his final six games last season, including three with at least 30 points. Taylor also averaged 22.6 Fantasy points in seven road games last season, and he’s a quality starting option in all leagues for Week 1.

Blake Bortles

QB / Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 1 projections vs. GB)

The reason I’m down on Bortles coming into this season was because I expect the
Jacksonville Jaguars
defense and running game to improve, which should alleviate him from having to throw so much in comeback efforts. That probably won’t be the case here with the
Green Bay Packers
, who should be able to pile up points and make this game a potential shootout. Bortles was at his best for Fantasy owners last year when the Jaguars were chasing points, and he scored at least 24 Fantasy points in a standard league in five of seven home games. The Packers have also allowed five quarterbacks in a row to score at least 20 Fantasy points in a standard league against them on the road. If you like Bortles this season then you’re going to start him regardless of the matchup. But if you were skeptical of him and in need of a quarterback then don’t be afraid to trust him in this matchup. What he did last year will likely be on full display this week.


  • Matt Ryan
    (vs. TB): He’s averaged 27.7 Fantasy points vs. TB in his past three at home.

  • Brock Osweiler
    (vs. CHI): The
    Chicago Bears
    secondary is banged up this week.

  • Robert Griffin III
    (at PHI): He’s averaged 24 Fantasy points in five career games vs. PHI.

Sit ‘Em

It’s been two years since Rivers had a big game against the
Kansas City Chiefs
, and he’s averaged just nine Fantasy points in a standard league against Kansas City in his past four meetings, with two touchdowns and five interceptions over that span. He also has one game in his past five years at Arrowhead Stadium with more than 18 Fantasy points, and that came in 2013. Now, the good news for Rivers is Chiefs standout pass rusher
Justin Houston
(knee) is out, but Kansas City does have
Eric Berry
back from his holdout. We don’t expect Rivers to score just nine Fantasy points in this outing, but his ceiling might be capped at around 18 points, which lowers his value and puts him outside of the Top 12 heading into this matchup.

Andy Dalton

QB / Cincinnati Bengals (Week 1 projections at NYJ)

This will be Dalton’s first regular-season game since his thumb injury in Week 14 last year, and his first time playing without three quarters of his receiving corps from 2015 with Marvin Jones and
Mohamed Sanu
gone and
Tyler Eifert
(ankle) out.
A.J. Green
should be a dominant force this year, but he has a tough matchup in Week 1 with the Jets and likely
Darrelle Revis
. I wouldn’t bench Green because he could still be productive, but I would sit Dalton in most formats. The last time we saw him with a scaled down receiving corps was 2014 when Jones and Eifert battled injuries, and he had just five games with more than 20 Fantasy points in a standard league. Until Eifert is back you should keep Dalton on the bench in a tough matchup, and this one qualifies as that.

This is more for Fantasy owners in two-quarterback leagues, who viewed Tannehill as a potential starter coming into the season, which he is. I’m expecting a quality year from him under new coach Adam Gase, and we saw some positive flashes in the preseason against Dallas and Atlanta. But those defenses don’t compare to the
Seattle Seahawks
, especially in the home opener at Seattle. The time to trust Tannehill will be Week 3 against Cleveland in Miami’s home opener, and the
Miami Dolphins
schedule becomes more favorable from that point on. Then you can start Tannehill with confidence in two-quarterback leagues, and he might be a sleeper in all formats.

Like Tannehill, this post is for owners in two-quarterback leagues. And if you can avoid Mariota then that’s probably the move to make this week. We’ll see if the
Tennessee Titans
are able to run on the
Minnesota Vikings
with their “exotic smashmouth” offense behind
DeMarco Murray
Derrick Henry
, but Minnesota should have one of the better defenses this season. And the Vikings will likely adopt a similar approach to the
Denver Broncos
from last year now that
Teddy Bridgewater
(knee) is out for the season, which is try to win with a strong run game and stellar defense. Mariota was brilliant at times as a rookie with six games with at least 20 Fantasy points and mediocre at others with three games with nine points or less, and he missed four games due to injury. I’m not ready to trust Mariota in a difficult matchup like this, even at home.

Dak Prescott

QB / Dallas Cowboys (Week 1 projections vs. NYG)

Prescott was the darling of the preseason, and his value skyrocketed when
Tony Romo
(back) was hurt and ruled out for the start of the year. And now we’ll find out if Prescott can handle the pressure of starting a real NFL game. It wouldn’t surprise me if he played well, which makes him viable in two-quarterback leagues. But keep your expectations in check since the Giants defense could be surprisingly good, especially compared to last year. The Giants were last in total defense in 2015 and ranked 32nd against the pass. But they added plenty of talent in the offseason with
Olivier Vernon
Damon Harrison
on the defensive line, and
Janoris Jenkins
Leon Hall
Eli Apple
in the secondary. The Giants should be able to frustrate Prescott enough to limit his Fantasy production. It’s risky to trust him in his first NFL start.

Cam Newton

QB / Carolina Panthers (Week 1 projections at DEN)

We all know the narrative by now. Newton was the NFL MVP last season and led the
Carolina Panthers
to the Super Bowl, but he was shut down and embarrassed by this Broncos defense, which held him to 265 passing yards and an interception and 45 rushing yards and two fumbles. Along with his postgame interview fiasco, Newton probably has a lot to prove. He could win the game, but it might not be a successful Fantasy outing for him since this Denver defense is still amazing even after losing some talented players in
Malik Jackson
Danny Trevathan
. Only one quarterback had more than 20 Fantasy points in Denver last season, which was Brady, and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips should again be able to frustrate Newton. We know it’s nearly impossible to bench a quarterback of Newton’s caliber in Week 1, and he was the first quarterback drafted in the majority of leagues this year. But you might want to consider it given his opponent in the first game of the season.

Running backs

Start ‘Em

Spencer Ware

RB / Kansas City Chiefs (Week 1 projections vs. SD)

The only thing that could hold Ware back from having a big game is
Jamaal Charles
being active. But it appears like Charles will be out for this matchup as he continues to come back from last year’s torn ACL, and Ware has been working as the starter for the Chiefs. San Diego should have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL this season, and Ware will get plenty of work. Last season, with Charles out, Ware had three games in the final seven outings with double digits in carries, and he scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league every time. Now, he won’t help you much in PPR leagues (
Charcandrick West
is a sleeper in deeper leagues if Charles is out), but Ware had 11 carries for 96 yard and two touchdowns at San Diego in Week 11 last year. A similar performance can certainly happen this week, and he’s worth starting in all formats.

It’s a pretty simple situation with the
Pittsburgh Steelers
running backs. When
Le’Veon Bell
is healthy and active, you start him in all Fantasy leagues. When he’s out and Williams is starting, then put him in your lineup. Williams was great in 2015 when Bell was out with a suspension and then lost for the year with a knee injury in Week 8. Including the game where Bell got hurt against the
Cincinnati Bengals
, Williams had 10 games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, and he had at least eight carries in all of those contests. The
Washington Redskins
run defense was good in 2015, ranking No. 7 in the NFL, but there were 10 times last season when a running back had at least 12 carries, which resulted in seven scoring double digits in Fantasy points. Williams should get at least 12 carries, and we’re expecting him to pick up where last season ended when he was the starter for the Steelers when Bell was out.

Ryan Mathews

RB / Philadelphia Eagles (Week 1 projections vs. CLE)

It was a productive preseason for Mathews on several fronts. He ran well with 10 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown, but more importantly he didn’t get hurt. And that’s going to be the key for Mathews all season long. If he can stay healthy then he could have a big year, but we know that’s the knock on him with only one 16-game season on his resume and 13 missed games over the past two years. He ran well last year when healthy with 5.0 yards per carry and seven total touchdowns in 13 games, and the
Cleveland Browns
allowed 10 running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points in 2015. We’ll see how the
Philadelphia Eagles
operate with rookie quarterback
Carson Wentz
under center, but Philadelphia could benefit if
Lane Johnson
is able to play (his 10-game suspension is under review). Mathews might not help you over the course of the season, but he is worth trusting in this matchup at home.

Jennings ended last season with an impressive four-game stretch of at least 100 total yards or a touchdown, and he looked the part of a featured running back. That should be his role this season as long as he’s healthy, and the Giants plan to lean on him as much as possible. He has a good history against the Cowboys with three games against Dallas with the Giants, and he’s scored double digits in Fantasy points in two of those outings. In his past two trips to Dallas (once with the Giants in 2015 and once with the Raiders in 2013), Jennings has averaged 13 Fantasy points in a standard league with 87 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Giants offense should play well against what should be a less-than-stellar Cowboys defense, and Jennings will have plenty of chances to make plays in Week 1. He’s a solid No. 2 running back in all leagues.

Compared to last year, the buzz on Abdullah has been non-existent. He spent much of training camp and the preseason coming back from offseason shoulder surgery, and he only appeared in the third preseason game against Baltimore. He only had four carries for 16 yards, but he also had a 15-yard touchdown called back due to a penalty. Abdullah has the chance to lead the
Detroit Lions
in touches this year, but
Theo Riddick
will play on passing downs and is a sleeper this week in PPR leagues. The Lions should be able to move the ball at will against the
Indianapolis Colts
, and Abdullah could be in line for a big day. He played better once Cooter took over calling plays last year, averaging 4.8 yards per carry in his final seven games, and in Week 1 in 2015 he had a touchdown and 94 total yards at San Diego. We hope a similar performance happens in this year’s opener, and Abdullah is worth trusting as a No. 2 running back.


  • Frank Gore
    (vs. DET): The Colts will have chances to score in this game at home.

  • Christine Michael
    (vs. MIA):
    Thomas Rawls
    is healthy, but Michael will still play a lot.

  • James White
    (at ARI): There should be plenty of chances to catch the ball this week.

  • T.J. Yeldon
    (vs. GB): This matchup should feature Yeldon more than
    Chris Ivory

  • Isaiah Crowell
    (at PHI): He has a good track record when he gets at least 12 touches.

Sit ‘Em

You know what to expect from Stewart by now. He’s a volume back that needs to score to be successful, and we’ll see how he does against the Broncos defense on the road. In Super Bowl 50, Stewart had 12 carries for 29 yards and a touchdown and one catch for minus-1 yard on two targets against Denver. He could get eight Fantasy points again in this matchup, but you see the downside if he doesn’t score. Stewart had a solid campaign in 2015, but he had over 100 rushing yards just twice and only three games with more than one reception. He also got off to a slow start last year with seven Fantasy points or less in a standard league in his first four games. A similar start could happen based on his matchup this week, and we consider Stewart just a No. 3 Fantasy running back at Denver.

I’m excited about Gordon this year, and I expect him to bounce back from being a bust in his rookie season. He’s played well in the preseason, even scoring two touchdowns despite not scoring at all in 2015, but this is a tough matchup to open the year. The Chiefs only allowed one 100-yard rusher last year, which was Bell in Week 7, and held Gordon to 28 carries for 72 yards and five catches for 40 yards in two meetings. Again, Gordon will be better than what he showed last year, but this isn’t the week to trust him in the majority of leagues.
Danny Woodhead
should see more action in this matchup (although he was miserable against the Chiefs also with nine carries for 12 yards and four catches for 17 yards in two meetings), but this could be a good game to avoid both
San Diego Chargers
running backs. Gordon’s schedule gets much easier after this week against Jacksonville, Indianapolis and New Orleans over the next three games, and that’s the time to start him in most leagues.

Chris Ivory

RB / Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 1 projections vs. GB)

A likely scenario for this game is the Packers offense scores early and often, and the Jaguars will be chasing points. If that happens, Ivory won’t see as much playing time as Yeldon, who is better in the passing game. And Yeldon will also get his share of rushing attempts and has looked good in the preseason with 11 carries for 75 yards (6.8 yards per carry) and four catches for 20 yards compared to Ivory, who had 16 carries for 55 yards (3.4 yards per carry) and a touchdown and two catches for 10 yards. Now, Ivory will have the better chance to score than Yeldon, and the Packers allowed 12 rushing touchdowns last year, which was among the worst in the league. But I’m expecting Green Bay’s defense to improve this season, and Ivory could have a limited stat line if he fails to score. He’s more of a No. 3 running back in this matchup.

Arian Foster

RB / Miami Dolphins (Week 1 projections at SEA)

Foster deserves the starting job for the Dolphins, mostly because
Jay Ajayi
has struggled in the preseason. And Foster should be serviceable for Fantasy owners as long as he’s healthy, which is the biggest issue facing him at 30 and coming off last year’s Achilles injury. But this isn’t the week to trust him in the majority of leagues. The Seahawks should be dominant at home in the season opener, and the Dolphins won’t have standout center
Mike Pouncey
(hip) in this game. That makes what should be a solid offensive line weak, and this is the wrong opponent to have a hole against up front. We’ll see how Foster does after he averaged just 2.6 yards per carry in his four games last season with the
Houston Texans
, but I’m not ready to start him in this matchup on the road. He’s a No. 3 running back at best in most formats.

Matt Jones

RB / Washington Redskins (Week 1 projections vs. PIT)

Jones returned to practice Monday from the shoulder injury he sustained in the preseason, and he expects to play in Week 1 against the Steelers. But his role should be limited following the injury, and
Rob Kelley
deserves touches coming off a strong preseason. This also should be a tough matchup for Jones against the Steelers, who allowed the second-fewest Fantasy points to running backs in 2015 with just four rushing touchdowns allowed. The Redskins should be throwing a lot in this matchup, and Jones will likely need a touchdown to save his production. We don’t like chasing touchdowns, and Jones will need to prove himself first before most Fantasy owners will start him in the majority of leagues.

Langford got a boost on the eve of Week 1 when the Bears signed offensive guard
Josh Sitton
, who was a surprise cut by the Packers. Sitton will improve the Bears offensive line and help Langford for the season, and Langford played well in the preseason with 18 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 11 yards. He established himself as the No. 1 option in the backfield, and he might not get much competition for touches as long as he’s healthy. But the Texans defense should be dominant against the Bears this week now that
J.J. Watt
(back) appears on track to play.
Houston Cougars
has allowed one rushing touchdown and one 100-yard rusher, which was
LeSean McCoy
, in the final nine games of the season last year. The Texans DST is a great play this week in the majority of leagues, but Langford is a low-end No. 2 running back at best in most formats.

Wide receivers

Start ‘Em

He’s one of my favorite guys this year, and I’m expecting him to get off to a great start against the Lions. This game should be a shootout, and
Andrew Luck
will lean on Moncrief quite a bit, just like he did last year when Luck was healthy. Moncrief had at least six targets in five of the seven starts with Luck, including three games with at least eight targets. Moncrief also had five touchdowns in seven games with Luck, and the Colts running game might struggle this week. If you consider
T.Y. Hilton
the No. 1 receiver in Indianapolis, which he is, there were six No. 2 receivers to score at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league against the Lions last year. I expect eight points to be Moncrief’s floor in this matchup.

Golden Tate

WR / Detroit Lions (Week 1 projections at IND)

The Colts defense should be bad this season, especially early while Davis is out. That should mean great things for Jones and Tate this week. Jones gained plenty of buzz in the preseason with the reports that he’s the new No. 1 receiver for the Lions with Johnson gone, but Tate could still lead Detroit in targets most weeks. Even Boldin has some sleeper appeal in this matchup. The Colts were No. 8 last year in Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers, and there were nine times in 2015 where two receivers in the same game scored at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league against Indianapolis. I’m counting on a similar result for two of the Lions this week, with Jones and Tate the likely candidates to reach that mark.

Floyd finished third in terms of Fantasy points for the
Arizona Cardinals
receivers last year behind
Larry Fitzgerald
John Brown
, but he got off to a slow start because of a hand injury in the preseason. Once he was healthy, which was about Week 6, he took off and scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in seven of his final 10 games. That could be relevant here with Fitzgerald coming off a minor knee injury in training camp, and Brown just coming back from a lengthy layoff from a concussion. We’ll see how the
New England Patriots
choose to defend the Cardinals trio, and where standout cornerback
Malcolm Butler
lines up. One report out of Boston suggests Butler will face off with Fitzgerald, which should mean good things for Floyd. He’s worth starting in all leagues as a high-end No. 2 receiver.

You want as many pieces of the Raiders-Saints game as possible this week, which means secondary players like Crabtree,
Willie Snead
Coby Fleener
and Walford are worth using behind expected studs like
Brandin Cooks
and Cooper. And Crabtree proved in 2015 that Carr will lean on him a lot since he led the Raiders in targets. Crabtree had 13 games with at least seven targets, and he scored fewer than seven Fantasy points in a standard league in just four of those outings. The Saints led the NFL with 27 touchdowns allowed to receivers, and there were seven times where a pair of receivers from the same team scored at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league. That bodes well for Cooper and Crabtree this week, and Crabtree is worth starting as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in most formats.

The concern for Lockett this week will be the Seahawks running all over the Dolphins and limiting the amount of throwing for Wilson. But Lockett doesn’t need a high volume of targets to be successful, although it helps. His best production as a rookie last year came when he had exactly seven targets in four of his final five games, and he produced at least nine Fantasy points in three of those outings. The Seahawks have said the plan is to feature him more this year, and the Dolphins secondary should struggle to contain him down the field. We hope Wilson continues to look for him early and often this year, and he and
Doug Baldwin
are great starting options in Week 1.


  • DeSean Jackson
    (vs. PIT): Kirk Cousins will lean on Jackson as his No. 1 receiver.
  • Willie Snead (vs. OAK): Expect lots of points in this matchup.

  • Will Fuller
    (vs. CHI): The Bears secondary could be a mess this week.

  • Jordan Matthews
    (vs. CLE): Carson Wentz is a concern, but the CLE secondary is weak.
  • Vincent Jackson (at ATL): When he’s healthy, Jackson could be a big surprise this year.

Sit ‘Em

The Patriots passing targets, aside from
Rob Gronkowski
, could be in trouble this week with Brady out and
Jimmy Garoppolo
starting. That makes all their secondary receivers risky, even Edelman. He’s still worth using as at least a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in PPR leagues because you have to assume the game plan will still be to get him the ball as much as possible. But the Cardinals defense is loaded with talent with
Patrick Peterson
Tyrann Mathieu
Deone Bucannon
, and Edelman should struggle to have a big game. The good news is he’s healthy following all his foot problems from this offseason, but you might want to use caution with him in your lineup until Brady is back in action in Week 5.

If this were any other opponent, the news of Benjamin being limited to about 35 snaps in the season opener against the Broncos might not be so daunting. But when you factor in the matchup against either
Aqib Talib
Chris Harris
it will be tough for Benjamin to be trustworthy as anything more than a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues. Denver allowed just seven touchdowns to opposing receivers last year, and only two No. 1 receivers (
Antonio Brown
and Green) found the end zone. Benjamin will hopefully work his way into shape and start playing at a high level soon after last year’s torn ACL, but this is not the week to trust him in most formats. In full disclosure, I’m starting Lockett over Benjamin in the one league where I own him.

Playing at home wasn’t so kind to Sanders last year. He had just two games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, but he also scored six points or less in six outings. We’ll see if the quarterback change from
Peyton Manning
Trevor Siemian
is a good thing for Sanders, but he’s a risky start in this matchup. He actually was the No. 1 receiver for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 against the Panthers with six catches for 83 yards on eight targets, but that’s because the Broncos stayed away from
Demaryius Thomas
and his matchup with
Josh Norman
. The Panthers don’t have Norman anymore, so Thomas should lead the Broncos in targets. Sanders won’t get shut out, but he’s a risky play in Siemian’s first start, even with Norman gone. The Carolina defense will still be good, and Sanders should be considered just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in this matchup.

Landry is clearly the No. 1 receiver for the Dolphins, especially with
DeVante Parker
(hamstring) banged up and
Kenny Stills
slotted into the No. 2 role. I like Landry a lot this year, and Stills is a sleeper (you should avoid Parker at this point), but this is a good week to sit Landry in standard leagues. It’s hard to bench him in PPR because he’ll still have the chance to be a volume receiver, but the Seahawks should make things tough on him and this entire offense. Seattle led the NFL with the fewest touchdowns allowed to receivers in 2015 with six, and slot receivers for the most part were held in check. Landry also had just six games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league last season with four touchdowns and will likely be held under 100 receiving yards this week.

Stefon Diggs

WR / Minnesota Vikings (Week 1 projections at TEN)

Diggs benefits with the Vikings trading for
Sam Bradford
to replace the injured Bridgewater, but Minnesota will likely start
Shaun Hill
against the Titans since Bradford is probably behind in the playbook. That makes sense and should mean plenty of running for
Adrian Peterson
. Let’s face it that would most likely be the case if the Vikings had John Elway, Dan Marino or Joe Montana in their heyday against the Titans, who should struggle to stop the run, and Diggs will likely be limited with his targets. He won’t get shut out and is still a potential No. 3 receiver in PPR leagues, but the Vikings will likely be as conservative as possible in what should be a winnable game on the road. But once Bradford gets comfortable, especially in a game where Minnesota could be forced to throw, we could see the best of Diggs, who is a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside for the season.

Jeremy Maclin

WR / Kansas City Chiefs (Week 1 projections vs. SD)

The strength of the Chargers defense is their cornerbacks with
Jason Verrett
Brandon Flowers
Casey Hayward
, and that unit was solid against opposing receivers last year. Only six No. 1 receivers scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league against San Diego in 2015, but Maclin wasn’t part of that group. He had nine catches for 97 yards and no touchdowns on 15 targets in two meetings, and Maclin could be held in check again. The best Fantasy plays for the Chiefs this week are Ware to lead the running game and
Travis Kelce
, who should benefit with safety
Eric Weddle
gone from the Chargers secondary. Maclin should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in Week 1 in most formats.

Tight ends

Start ‘Em

Coby Fleener

TE / New Orleans Saints (Week 1 projections vs. OAK)

Like Moncrief, I have to go with another one of my guys in Week 1, and if things go as planned, this will be one of the last times we reference Fleener as a starter since we avoid stating the obvious with our start selections. Fantasy owners who drafted Fleener are a little concerned about his outlook based on his non-descript preseason (four catches for 27 yards) and his recent admission that he’s still learning the playbook. Those are valid concerns, but he has the chance to start off the season playing well against the Raiders, who struggled with tight ends last year and should have a hard time again in 2016. Oakland allowed the third-most Fantasy points to tight ends in 2015, and we like Fleener’s chances to succeed at home this week.

Jared Cook

TE / Green Bay Packers (Week 1 projections at JAC)

It’s risky to trust Cook in his first game with the Packers, and all we have to go by is a strong preseason when he had nine catches for 85 yards and a touchdown, including catching four passes on five targets for 54 yards in the third game against San Francisco. That game is important because he was a favorite target for
Aaron Rodgers
. Cook might find it hard to get targets when
Jordy Nelson
(knee) is on the field, but there’s no guarantee Nelson is 100 percent for this matchup. We consider Cook a great streaming option for this week. It helps that Jacksonville allowed the sixth-most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends last year.

Dwayne Allen

TE / Indianapolis Colts (Week 1 projections vs. DET)

If you’re into trends, Allen has scored a touchdown in each of the past three season openers against Oakland, Denver and Buffalo. He could make it four in a row against the Lions, who tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns allowed to tight ends last year (12) and should struggle against the position again. The Colts should be throwing a lot in this matchup, and Allen should be the main red-zone target for Luck. In Luck’s last full season in 2014, the Colts got 18 touchdowns from their tight ends (Fleener had eight, Allen had eight and
Jack Doyle
had two), and new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is a tight end savant. I’m excited for Allen’s outlook this season, and I’m confident in his performance for this week. Hopefully he’ll extend his season-opening touchdown streak to four.


  • Clive Walford (at NO): NO allowed the most touchdowns to tight ends in 2015.

  • Jason Witten
    (vs. NYG): His stats in his past eight games vs. NYG: 52 rec, 474 yds, 7 TD

  • Vance McDonald
    (vs. LAR): PPR alert – he could lead the
    San Francisco 49ers
    in receptions this week.

Sit ‘Em

Jimmy Graham

TE / Seattle Seahawks (Week 1 projections vs. MIA)

There’s a good chance Graham doesn’t play, and Seattle would be smart to remain cautious with him coming off last year’s devastating patella tendon injury to his knee. You don’t want Graham to suffer a setback, and we know the Seahawks have playoff aspirations, so having Graham healthy toward the end of the season is an utmost priority. Even if Graham does play he could be limited, so you’re basically hoping for a touchdown to save his production. When he was healthy last season he only scored twice, and the Dolphins only allowed four touchdowns to tight ends last year. Let Graham prove himself first before starting him in the majority of leagues, and there should be little confidence in trusting him this week.

I’m all for owning Bennett this season, and he might get off to a good start in Week 1 against the Cardinals. But how much faith do you have in trusting Garoppolo to support the secondary targets for the Patriots in a tough matchup on the road? With any tight end, all it will take is a touchdown to make them a viable Fantasy option on a given week, and Bennett could easily score in this matchup. The Cardinals have a shaky track record of defending tight ends in the Bruce Arians era, although they were better in 2015 with only six touchdowns allowed to the position. I’m holding off on starting Bennett in the majority of leagues until Week 5 when Brady is back.

I have no idea what to expect from Seferian-Jenkins this week, and sometimes it appears like neither do the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
. He was thrown out of practice in the offseason and then worked his way back to getting first-team snaps in training camp, ahead of
Cameron Brate
. But then in the fourth preseason game, with the majority of the starters resting, Seferian-Jenkins played the entire game and was seen yelling at coach Dirk Koetter. For this week, Seferian-Jenkins could be a dominant Fantasy option, or the better tight end in Tampa Bay could be Brate. It’s a risk, and one I’m not willing to take in most formats. He could be an elite tight end this season, but Fantasy owners need to see him prove himself first.

The Chiefs are excellent at defending tight ends, thanks to Berry, and they made things tough on Gates last year, holding him to seven catches for 82 yards and no touchdowns in two games. Gates only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in his past six outings against the Chiefs, and he’s failed to score a touchdown in his past five games in Kansas City, which goes back to 2011. No tight end scored more than seven Fantasy points in a standard league against the Chiefs last year, and Gates should be considered a low-end starting option at best in this matchup.

Defense/Special teams

Start ‘Em

Los Angeles Rams
(at SF)

The 49ers were expected to get embarrassed in last year’s home opener by the Vikings but instead ran all over Minnesota with
Carlos Hyde
. Maybe the same thing happens again here at home against the Rams. But with
Blaine Gabbert
starting, even under new coach Chip Kelly, I’d take my chances starting the Rams DST this week. Gabbert was sacked 3.5 times per game in his final seven starts, and the Rams should make things uncomfortable for him behind
Aaron Donald
Robert Quinn
up front. The 49ers scored 25 points in two games against the Rams last season, and this should be a low-scoring affair. The Rams DST has the chance to be a Top 5 unit this week against San Francisco.


  • Giants (at DAL): This revamped defense should get after Prescott in his first NFL start.
  • Jets (vs. CIN): The Bengals are missing weapons, and the Jets should play well at home.
  • Packers (at JAC): Bortles was sacked at least twice in all but two games last year.

Sit ‘Em

Patriots (at ARI)

Carson Palmer could get turnover prone, which is a concern, but the Patriots won’t have standout pass rusher
Rob Ninkovich
(suspension) for this matchup. The Cardinals also allowed the fewest Fantasy points to opposing DST units last year, and only two teams had more than two sacks against Arizona in 2015. The Cardinals also topped 30 points in nine games last season, and it will be hard for New England to slow down this offense on the road. The Patriots DST should be one of the better units during the season, but this is a tough spot to trust them against an explosive Cardinals offense.


Start ‘Em

Dan Bailey

K / Dallas Cowboys (Week 1 projections vs. NYG)

Bailey did well against the Giants last year with four field goals and five extra points in two games, and that was with a worse offense than he has now, even with Prescott starting for Romo.
Ezekiel Elliott
should still give the Cowboys plenty of scoring chances, and the Giants allowed the second-most Fantasy points to opposing kickers in 2015. There were 10 kickers that made multiple field goals against the Giants last year, and Bailey is worth starting in all leagues.


  • Matt Prater
    (at IND): There should be plenty of points in this matchup.

  • Matt Bryant
    (vs. TB): Six kickers had at least three FGs vs. TB last year.

  • Adam Vinatieri
    (vs. DET): He’s 10 of 10 on field goals in his past four home games.

Sit ‘Em

Mike Nugent

K / Cincinnati Bengals (Week 1 projections at NYJ)

Nugent’s three best games last year came on the road at Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, but those were the only three games where he scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. He’s always been a serviceable kicker, but he’s never been consistently outstanding. And with the Bengals facing a tough defense this week against the Jets, who should limit Dalton and the passing game and could slow down
Jeremy Hill
Giovani Bernard
, we might not see many scoring chances for Nugent. The Jets also allowed just two kickers (
Jason Myers
Dan Carpenter
) to score double digits in Fantasy points at home against them last year.

The NFL's Most Hated List: 32 teams, 32 villains you love to loathe –

The NFL’s greatest supervillain reads to his kids at night before bedtime. He dotes on his wife and posts goofy things to Facebook like an A+ paper he wrote in high school or his resume from college. He doesn’t drink coffee, won’t touch tomatoes and rarely drinks. He’s a dog lover, too, who’s big on sharing recipes.

But don’t get it twisted: Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. is a bad, bad man.

At least, that is, if you root for a rival team that’s been on the losing end of Brady’s dominance over the past 15 seasons. Don’t even get Ben Affleck started on how many rival owners and teams have it out for Brady. In the cutthroat universe of pro football, Brady’s (alleged) crimes against his cell phone, game balls and the NFL rulebook put him in the conniving company of other legendary scoundrels.

The heart-warming, straight-from Hollywood story of a sixth-round pick who became an NFL legend? The Brazilian supermodel wife? The four Super Bowl rings?

All nauseating to the multitudes of Brady haters. To them, Brady is Richard Nixon and the Pats ball boys are the Watergate burglars.

At least according to a totally unscientific survey of sports-radio hosts from the 32 NFL markets around the country. When asked who is Public Enemy No. 1 for local NFL fans, Brady’s name — and that of his masterminding co-conspirator Bill Belichick — kept popping up.

From South Florida to the Mile High City, from the Hoosier State to the Empire State, the hatred for Brady and Belichick runs deep and wide.

tombrady.jpg original

But No. 12 isn’t the only villain who gets rival fans lathered up. While there are plenty of no-brainers (hello,
Vontaze Burfict
Pittsburgh Steelers
fans), there are also plenty of surprises on this list. Who knew that Texans fans loathe the backup QB of an NFC team more than, say,
Andrew Luck
? Or that Carolina fans are fixated on a QB who plays in a city nearly 3,000 miles away from Charlotte? Or that, for all the supposed
Cam Newton
haters, the reigning MVP checks in at No. 1 on only one fan base’s Public Enemy List while
Russell Wilson
tops two.

At least, going off what these radio personalities told us.

Here is the definitive, totally subjective, entirely debatable and fully listenable list of the NFL’s Most Hated. Don’t agree with the selections? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.

Arizona Cardinals

Most Hated: Pete Carroll

Cardinals fans hate the Seahawks and the exuberant Seattle coach is the perfect foil to Bruce Arians. While Arians exudes hipster cool with his custom-made Kangol hats and horned-rim glasses, Carroll is a gum-chomping, dad-shoe rocking clich? straight out of Central Casting.

“At times he looks like Harry High School on the sidelines chomping on that gum,” said Mike Jurecki, a Cardinals insider who hosts “4 Quarters” on Fox Sports Radio’s 910 in Phoenix.

All that chomping and hooting and hollering wouldn’t bug Red Birds fans one bit if it weren’t for Carroll’s dominance over the division — and the Cards. Carroll is 8-4 against
Arizona Wildcats
since arriving in Seattle and 4-2 against Arians, who holds an impressive 25-5 record outside of the NFC West but is a pedestrian 9-9 in the division.

“I think it’s going to be a two-team race in the NFC West and you can fast-forward to Week 16 where the Cardinals will travel to the Pacific Northwest to play the Seattle Seahawks Dec. 24,” Jurecki said. “If the Cardinals want to get to the Super Bowl, they’re going to have to go through the Seattle Seahawks.”

Hate You So Bad

Atlanta Falcons

Most Hated: Kyle Shanahan

The NFL cities change, but the sentiment remains the same for
Mike Shanahan
‘s son: Fans can’t stand the guy. A divisive figure in Houston, Washington and Cleveland, Shanahan is now Public Enemy No. 1 in Atlanta, according to Mark Zinno, the host of “A to Z” on CBS Sports Radio’s 92.9 The Game. While Dan Quinn’s defense couldn’t stop a nose bleed last season, Falcons fans steamed over an offense that went in the tank after a 5-0 start.

Matt Ryan
was awful, threw way too many picks, and the play-calling was questionable, even on its best days,” Zinno said. “Kyle Shanahan has got to do a better job of making this offense, with a quarterback like Matt Ryan, a wide receiver like
Julio Jones
and a running back like
Devonta Freeman
, more prolific, more dynamic and be able to score more than 20 points a game as they did down the stretch last year. He has to produce, he has to make Matt Ryan better and the Falcons need to win a lot more close games and that’s only going to happen if this offense can find a way to get the ball in the end zone.”

Hate You So Bad

Baltimore Ravens

Most Hated:
Ben Roethlisberger

Baltimore hates Pittsburgh. Ravens fans loathe the Steelers. No surprise there. The hatred is so intense that
Rob Long
, a co-host on “Bob and Rob” on CBS Sports Radio’s 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore, said that Ravens Nation is having a hard time warming up to newly-acquired wideout
Mike Wallace
— you know, former Steeler Mike Wallace.

Cleveland Browns
are horrible and the Cincinnati Bengals cannot win a playoff game,” explains Long. “The Pittsburgh Steelers flash those six rings in your faces constantly and Ravens fans hate it and them.”

And if there’s one Steeler that Ravens fans hate the most entering the 2016 season, it’s Big Ben.

“At one point it was Hines Ward beyond a shadow of a doubt,” Long said. “I would say it has to be Ben Roethlisberger. He’s the one Baltimore fans make fun of with creative little plays on his name. I’m sure you can come up with a few.”

Hate You So Bad

Buffalo Bills

Most Hated: Bill Belichick (and
Tom Brady

If any fan base is justified in hating Tom Brady, it’s #BillsMafia. Forget the reported $1.4 billion that Terry Pegula paid Ralph Wilson’s heirs for the franchise in 2014. Brady has outright owned the Bills since 2001 with a head-to-head record of 25-3. Yes, that’s not a typo.

Or, to put it another way, leap years, presidential elections and the Summer Olympics come around more often than a Bills’ win over Brady’s Pats.

But Sal Capaccio, the sideline reporter for the Bills Radio Network on WGR Sports Radio 550, said that it’s Belichick who Bills fans have hated even longer.

If Jon Bon Jovi had bought the team in 2014 and tried to orchestrate a move to Toronto, Capaccio said the Jersey rocker would be wanted, dead or alive.

There’s also maybe some janitor at 1 Bills Drive who’s put a hex on the team. How else do you explain the longest playoff drought in North American sports at 16 years going?

“Everybody wants to blame someone for it, but to be honest with you, I think we have to settle on Bill Belichick,” Capaccio said. “Bill Belichick goes even further back than the 16-year playoff drought. He was the defensive coordinator in Super Bowl XXV when Bill Parcells and the Giants beat the Bills 20-19 and held the ball for so long and really did a good job against the Bills’ K-Gun offense. So, we in Buffalo know he did that, and then now he’s tied to Brady, now he wins the division all the time, he’s accused of cheating, we’re in the same division, every year, we gotta see him twice. It’s the
New England Patriots
. It’s Belichick. I’d say Brady is close, but it looks like to me that Bill Belichick is Public Enemy No. 1.”

Hate You So Bad

Carolina Panthers

Most Hated: Russell Wilson

Not Matt Ryan, not
Drew Brees
, not
Jameis Winston
. Nope, Panthers fans most loathe a non-division quarterback who plays for a team located nearly 3,000 miles away on the opposite end of the country — and who a lot of Panthers fans rooted for when he was an all-ACC quarterback at N.C. State.

Here’s Chris McClain, host of “The Mac Attack” on CBS Sports Radio’s 610 the Fan in Charlotte, to explain why Panthers fans hate “Russell Stinking Wilson” so bad.

“That goody-goody, goody two shoes,” McClain said. “I do commercials for the Microsoft Surface to show you how hard I work, even when I’m at the barbershop I’m working on the playbook. That image of him he has contrived about him being a goody-goody is annoying. Meanwhile, our quarterback Cam Newton gets ripped for everything, even if he passes gas.”

Oh, McClain has more.

“I can’t stand it. Russell Wilson is that teacher’s pet. I guarantee you he took apples to class on the first day of school. And, oh, by the way, he’s a pretty good football player there, too. How many blindfolded, fall-away Houdini miracle passes has he completed against the Panthers?”

russellwilson.jpg original

Hate You So Bad

Chicago Bears

Most Hated: Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers

Chicago is the Second City, so it kinda makes sense that Bears fans most despise two quarterbacks. There’s the guy who plays for their team and there’s the future Hall of Famer who plays for their fiercest division rival. Consider
Jay Cutler
Public Enemy No. 1a, and
Aaron Rodgers
No. 1b.

Dan Bernstein, the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” on CBS Sports Radio’s 670 The Score, states the obvious about Cutler, who has gone from the Toast of the Town to a guy most Bears fans can’t wait to run out of town after seven seasons in Chicago.

“As soon as this season starts, in Chicago, Public Enemy No. 1 at some point is going to be Jay Cutler,” Bernstein said. “Now he happens to be the Bears’ own quarterback. But knowing this fan base, and knowing the reaction to the slightest misstep, given the opportunity to express the upmost distaste for Jay Cutler, that will be your biggest enemy of Bears fans because they don’t like him.”

Dustin Rhoades, also of 670 the Score, states the obvious about Rodgers, who has torched the Bears to the tune of 13 wins in 17 career meetings, picking right up where Brett Favre left off.

“I am so sick and tired of watching Aaron blinkin’ Rodgers’ reaction after throwing a TD pass against the Bears or sliding on his backside for another first down,” Rhoades said. “Then he gets up and he makes that motion with the WWE championship belt, Look at me, I’m the champ.”

Most Bears fans have given up on Cutler as their field general in this war, the NFL’s oldest, bitterest rivalry. But that doesn’t mean they’re ever giving up.

“I can only hope that (Rodgers) lost some of his edge, some of his focus as any other red-blooded American would as he gets to spend some extra time with the gorgeous Olivia Munn,” Rhoades said. “I was thrilled when Brett Favre finally got out of Lambeau Field, but right now you could make the argument that Aaron Rodgers has been even better than Favre.”

Hate You So Bad

Cincinnati Bengals

Most Hated: Pick a Steeler, any Steeler

Really, there’s plenty of hate to go around when it comes to the Bengals and Steelers. It’s a long-simmering blood feud that completely boiled over during last season’s AFC wild-card fiasco in Cincy. Here’s the list of grievances for Bengals fans, provided by Lance McAlister, a longtime host on ESPN’s 1530 in Cincinnati.

“Let’s start with the hair-pulling Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak. Like a girl in the school yard, he yanked the hair of Bengals safety
Reggie Nelson
when they collided on the sidelines in last season’s wild-card meeting. Then his fine was rescinded by the league!

“Don’t forget Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter. He made his way onto the field to incite chaos in that same wild-card game. He had a big, smug smile on his face as
Adam Jones
was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“Let’s start with the hair-pulling Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak. Like a girl in the school yard, he yanked the hair of Bengals safety Reggie Nelson when they collided on the sidelines in last season’s wild-card meeting.”— Lance McAlister, ESPN 1530 Cincinnati

“Then there’s Steelers linebacker
Vince Williams
, who took to Twitter to threaten to kill Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

“And don’t get me started on Kimo von Oelhoffen’s cheap shot to the knee of
Carson Palmer
in 2005 … Hines Ward’s near decapitation of
Keith Rivers
in 2009 or
Terence Garvin
shattering the jaw of
Kevin Huber
in 2013.”

Got all that?

“You are left to wonder what it would take,” said McAlister, “to embarrass the Rooney Family and the Steelers organization enough to do something about it?”

Hate You So Bad

Cleveland Browns

Most Hated: Johnny Manziel

Yes, the Curse of Cleveland is dead, thanks to LeBron James and the Comeback Cavs. Yes, that pathetic Browns jersey with all the starters at QB listed since 1999, starting with former No. 1 overall pick Tim Couch, has been “retired.” But that doesn’t mean that Browns fans are over Manziel’s spectacular flameout in Cleveland.

Johnny Manziel
is the nemesis of the Cleveland Browns is like saying the Titanic nudged an iceberg,” wrote
Nick Wilson
, the host of “The Nick Wilson Experiment” on CBS Sports Radio’s 92.3 The Fan. “Manziel is the epitome of what Cleveland has come to loathe about the current iteration of the Browns; big talk, unrealistic hype, squandered potential and a complete waste of time.”

To say Manziel squandered his potential is an understatement. What other first-round bust ever got photographed drinking champagne while riding an inflatable swan before even getting to his first mini-camp? What future franchise QB ever went missing before the season’s final game, only to surface in Vegas wearing a blonde wig, a fake mustache and glasses and calling himself Billy?

“Saying Johnny Manziel is the nemesis of the Cleveland Browns is like saying the Titanic nudged an iceberg.”— Nick Wilson, 92.3 The Fan

“It’s amateur hour to despise a rival team’s quarterback for a week or two during the season,” Wilson wrote. “Cleveland sports fans are professionals that will hold disdain for Manziel until a nice young quarterback comes along and sweeps them off their feet. Had Manziel had anywhere near that level of commitment his ex-fans have, those same fans might already have started using that hatred on players from Cincinnati, Pittsburgh or Baltimore. Ya know, where it belongs.”

Hate You So Bad

Dallas Cowboys

Most Hated: Dean Blandino, NFL VP of Officiating

There’s a segment of Cowboys fans who can’t stand Jerry Jones. No, seriously.

There’s also the easily unlikeable “Filthadelphia Eagles.”

“Between their bitterness, anger and Super Bowl jealousy, there is no level of green misery that Dallas Fort Worth could feel sorry for,” wrote Shan Shariff, a co-host of “Shan & RJ” on CBS Sports Radio’s 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

But no single Eagles player — sorry,
Sam Bradford
— rises to the level of abhorrence that Cowboys fans feel for Blandino, the NFL’s top zebra and the arbiter of what a catch is … and isn’t.

Blandino, of course, was at the center of the reversal that overturned
Dez Bryant
‘s incredible fourth-quarter snag in the 2015 NFC divisional playoff against the Packers. Ruled a catch on the field, the Packers’ Mike McCarthy challenged, and after referee Gene Steratore conferred with Blandino and NFL replay officials in New York, the call was overturned. The Cowboys lost the game, and, well … Blandino still insists it’s not a catch.

“You’re not really supposed to bring it up around these parts,” Shariff said.

Hate You So Bad

Denver Broncos

Most Hated: Tom Brady

Susie Wargin, a co-host with longtime Broncos play-by-play man Dave Logan on Denver Sports 760, said there’s no shortage of public enemies for Broncos fans entering 2016. How to pick a No. 1?

“Honestly, first game of the year, I wish I could say the Panthers as a whole, but it’s probably Cam Newton,” Wargin said of NFL season opener on Thursday night. “I think there was so much chatter after the Super Bowl, that’s a huge one.”

Another date circled in bright orange: October 24 when some guy named
Brock Osweiler
shows up with his new team, the Texans, for a Monday night showdown in the Mile High City.

Broncomaniacs will be sure to give him a warm welcome.

But Logan, a Colorado sports legend who played the final season of his nine-year NFL career with the Broncos, isn’t buying Newton or Osweiler usurping Tom Brady as the top villain in Broncos country. Not in 2016, and maybe not ever — despite the Broncos being the one team that’s had Brady’s number over the years. Tom Terrific is just 5-6 against the Broncos in the regular season, and 1-3 in the playoffs — with that one victory coming against
Tim Tebow

“Even though Cam Newton is a good choice, from the Broncos fan’s perspective, Public Enemy No. 1, now and forevermore, is Tom Brady,” Logan said. “I think there will be some booing for Brock Osweiler, but to me, Tom Brady and the Patriots, with Bill Belichick as the head coach, gotta be Public Enemy No. 1.”

Hate You So Bad

Detroit Lions

Most Hated: Aaron Rodgers

Lions fans hate Rodgers for the same reason that Bears fans do: He’s everything their team’s starting QB isn’t. Also, Rodgers did this in Detroit last season:

“Rodgers is not an unlikeable guy in Detroit,” wrote Terry Foster, the co-host of “Valenti & Foster” on CBS Sports Radio’s 97.1 The Ticket, in an email. “You will find Lions doing the Discount Double Check just like anyone else.”

But likeable or not, Lions fans are tired of watching a guy they’d love to root for play for a division rival. It’s sheer jealousy.

aaronrodgers.jpg original

“He’s exactly what Detroit has wanted since Bobby Layne in the 1950s,” Foster wrote. “He is a excellent quarterback that wins championships. The Lions hate Rodgers because he is superior to
Matthew Stafford
, Rodney Peete, Joey Harrington, Eric Hipple and anything else this team has trotted out there the past six decades. Rodgers usually wins one playoff game a season. The Lions have won one playoff game since 1957.”

Hate You So Bad

Green Bay Packers

Most Hated: Russell Wilson

Colin Kaepernick
used to be the guy Packers fans couldn’t stand after he scorched Dom Capers’ defenses in a pair of playoff wins, but his star has fallen along with the 49ers, opening the door for a new villain.

Enter Russell Wilson, who was beloved during his one season piloting the Wisconsin Badgers to the Rose Bowl, but is now universally hated by Cheeseheads.

“From the Fail Mary game in September of 2012 to the NFC Championship collapse of 2015, he’s been the one behind the big losses in Packers’ recent history,” said Bart Winkler, a co-host on “Chuck & Winkler” in the mornings on 105.7 FM The FAN in Milwaukee. “From the amazingly lucky plays that prevent the Packers from a Super Bowl to the all-too-nice image that we’re just not buying in America’s Dairyland, Packers’ Public Enemy No. 1 is Russell Wilson.”

Hate You So Bad

Houston Texans

Most Hated: Matt Schaub

Sean Pendergast, the host of “The Triple Threat” on CBS Sports Radio’s 610 in Houston, is happy to explain why Texans fans still have it out for Schaub, who has bounced to three different teams in three seasons since his ignominious departure from Houston after the 2013 season.

“It seems odd that the most hated NFL player for a team in Houston would be Atlanta’s backup quarterback, but that speaks to two things — the lack of real rivalries fostered in the Texans’ nondescript first 14 years of existence, and the depth of the grudge Texan fans still hold toward Schaub for the massive destruction his barrage of pick-sixes caused in 2013,” wrote Pendergast in an email. “A season that began with Super Bowl hopes and a 2-0 start ended buried under a steaming pile of Schaub failure with a 14-game losing streak and fans waiting for Schaub outside his house to remind him how awful he’d become at playing football.”

The future looks bright for a new villain to emerge in Houston, however.

“Hopefully,” Pendergast said, “with Brock Osweiler, the Texans become good enough for fans to graduate from self-loathing and someday have a most hated NFL player that actually didn’t play for their own team.”

Hate You So Bad

Indianapolis Colts

Most Hated: Tom Brady

“The entire City of Indianapolis hates Tom Brady for an almost endless variety of reasons,” wrote Kent Sterling, who hosts his own drive-time show on CBS Sports Radio’s 1430 in Indy. “His wife is too good looking, and he is great looking. Brady’s house has a moat — a moat! He cheated in the 2014 AFC Championship Game, and likely many games prior to that.”

There’s also Brady’s well-worn underdog story, starring Brady as the sixth-round pick who went on to win four Super Bowls.

“Both touching and nauseating,” said Sterling. “He is responsible for Bill Belichick, another guy Hoosiers love to hate, building a reputation as a genius. Or is Belichick responsible for Brady being heralded as an all-time great? Worst of all, Brady might actually be the best quarterback of all-time, which would drive Colts fans completely over the edge.”

Hate You So Bad

Jacksonville Jaguars

Most Hated: Andrew Luck

Mike Dempsey, the host of “Jaguars Today” on 1010 XL Radio, said Jeff Fisher was the easy choice for Public Enemy No. 1 for years in Jacksonville.

“But Mr. 7-9’s not relevant anymore. 7-9, 6-10, 7-8-1, call him whatever you like, that’s what he’s been for the last half dozen years,” said Dempsey.

Also, Fisher’s former team, the Titans, have been terrible since he left, while the Colts have dominated the division.

“I’m going to go with Mr. Neckbeard himself, Andrew Luck,” Dempsey said. “Is he a good NFL quarterback? Sure. Is he the second coming of John Elway? Jag fans don’t think so. They think that the national media overlooks his turnovers, his hanging onto the football too long, and his general all-around goofiness. He’s got a book club. Are you kidding me? A quarterback with a book club. Hey, maybe stick your nose in the playbook a little more, Andrew Luck, because
Matt Hasselbeck
outplayed you when he was on the field last year.”

Hate You So Bad

Kansas City Chiefs

Most Hated: John Elway

Nightmare on Elway? More like “Halloween” on repeat for Chiefs fans, with Elway continually reprising the role of Jason Voorhees. Dude has haunted Kansas City for decades.

“He tormented us on the field when he played, and now he’s tormenting us in the front office, managing the Denver Broncos,” said Bob Fescoe, who hosts “Fescoe In the Morning” on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City.

Elway, though Chiefs fans would love to forget, went 29-17 during his 16 seasons piloting the Broncos. Eight of his 35 fourth-quarter comebacks — third-most in league history — also came against the Chiefs. There’s also that stinging memory of the Broncos coming into wet, cold Arrowhead Stadium to knock off the top-seeded Chiefs in the infamous “Vaseline Game” en route to Elway’s first Super Bowl win after the 1997 season.

And since becoming the football czar in Denver in January 2011, Elway’s Broncos are 8-2 against Kansas City.

Fescoe couldn’t help but point out that Elway isn’t the only guy working in the NFL that Chiefs fans can’t wait to stick it to. “Jason La Canfora and Pete Prisco, two guys that the Kansas City fan base just doesn’t like,” he said. “La Canfora because he’s an
Baltimore Orioles
fan and likes to torment Chiefs fans and Royals fans alike on Twitter. And Pete Prisco because he never picks the Chiefs, never gives the Chiefs a lot of credit.”

Hate You So Bad

St. Louis Los Angeles Rams

Most Hated: Stan Kroenke

Hollywood is great at scripting villains, but sorry, LA fans, you’re sitting this one out. That’s because St. Louis fans just had their NFL team carjacked … by a native Missourian.

Here’s Benjamin Hochman, columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and a co-host of “Writer’s Block” on CBS Sports Radio’s 920 AM, to sound off on the disgust that jilted St. Louis football fans feel for Stan Kroenke.

“[He] took this town and basically said, ‘You’re not good enough for the NFL’ and basically Major Leagued, like the movie, to another town ala the owner of the Cleveland Indians, 1989,” Hochman said. “It’s really frustrating because there are so many diehard fans here in St. Louis that love the
Los Angeles Rams
. That paid big bucks to go watch the Rams. That were in the stands when that team went to the Super Bowl two times in three years. It was really amazing and thus very infuriating.”

Here’s what Hochman wrote on that January day that Kroenke and the “feckless thugs” of the NFL officially voted to put the Rams in LA.

Stan Kroenke, he should just go by “Kroenke” now, one name like Cher or Madonna. Going by Stan is an insult to the St. Louis sports icon he was named after.

Seven months later, the void left by the Rams remains a raw subject.

“I understand it was a business move, but it was the way they did it and the things they said in documents about the city of St. Louis on their way out that leaves a bad taste in everybody’s mouth,” Hochman said.

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Miami Dolphins

Most Hated: Tom Brady

Is Tom Brady’s four-game ban for the Deflategate mess unfair? Maybe — but so is life. And according to ex-Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder, Brady’s life has been pretty much perfect so far. That makes it easy for Dol-fans to revile him.

“He was handed the greatest coach of all-time on the perfect team of all-time and he kicks everyone’s ass every year,” said Crowder, who hosts an afternoon show on CBS Sports Radio’s WQAM 650 in South Florida. “The man has the perfect life and he’s never had to go through any turbulence. And as for Deflategate? Please. He’s a gazillionaire. His wife is a gazillionaire. They hire gazillionaire attorneys. He’s not stressed.”

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Minnesota Vikings

Most Hated: The Football Gods

Teddy Bridgewater’s catastrophic, season-ending knee injury in a non-contact drill less than two weeks before the start of the season just confirms what Vikings fans have long known: they’re cursed.

“For the Vikings, a franchise with a half century full of gut punches, Public Enemy No. 1 is much bigger than, say, Aaron Rodgers, who’s carved the Vikings for like 10 years. Or
Blair Walsh
, who missed a chip shot in the playoffs last year,” said Phil Mackey, a co-host of “Mackey and Judd” on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

It sure seems like there are greater forces at work in the Land of 10,000 lakes. Yet again, this looked like the Vikes’ year, what, with
Adrian Peterson
, an attacking Mike Zimmer defense and the promise of Bridgewater blossoming into a legit franchise QB in Year 3.

Instead, Bridgewater could be out for this season — and some of next — and the Vikings just gave up a 2017 first-round pick for Sam Bradford, the ex-No. 1 pick that nobody thinks was worth that much. Don’t forget the fourth-round pick for 2018, either. If Bradford doesn’t get the Vikes to the playoffs during their first season at their new billion dollar purple palace, US Bank Stadium, well, it only furthers Mackey’s point. It’s enough for long-suffering Bills and Browns fans to feel bad for the super-nice folks in Minnesota.

“Four Super Bowl losses, the Drew Pearson push-off game, the Dirty Bird Falcons game, 41-donut in the Meadowlands, the Brett Favre interception, Walsh missing from 27 yards in the playoffs,” Mackey said. “In Minnesota, it’s not enough to suffer through brutally cold and dark winters. We must also apparently suffer through brutally cold and dark losses with no positives to balance out the devastation. “

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New England Patriots

Most Hated: Roger Goodell

There’s not even a discussion about who is Public Enemy No. 1 in New England.

“It’s No. 1 and then No. 2 is a Grand Canyon away,” said Mike Felger, a co-host on the popular “Felger and Massarotti” show on CBS Sports Radio’s 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. “You could name any other player, any other coach, anyone else in sports, and they don’t come close to Roger Goodell.”

Pats fans aren’t denying that Brady and his ball boys “more than likely” took a little air out of game balls, Felger said. But what they’re also screaming is that the crime doesn’t even come close to fitting the punishment.

“There has been a huge media campaign here in Boston supportive of the Patriots, attacking Roger Goodell. That hasn’t helped matters, but pretty much the merits of it are the merits of it,” Felger said. “It was a trumped up charge, whether you think the Pats were doing it or not. It was certainly embellished by Ted Wells and his investigators. It was further embellished by Roger Goodell at the appeal hearing. Again, whether you think they were doing it or not, even if they were taking a little air out of the football, that is hardly grounds for losing a first-round pick, losing four games for your starting QB. It was a gross overreach.”

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New Orleans Saints

Most Hated: Roger Goodell

Detecting a theme here? Drew Brees speaks for all of Who Dat Nation when he recently said that “nobody believes anything” the NFL says nowadays.

That’s especially true in New Orleans following Bountygate.

“Down here in these parts, the Who Dat Nation, look, they still hold it very, very much against the commissioner for what they perceived was being heavy-handed with the Bountygate,” said Kristian Garic, the Saints sideline reporter and a co-host of “Double Coverage” for WWL 870am/105.3 FM in New Orleans. “Suspending their head coach for a year, taking away a couple of draft picks. They feel like that man caused this franchise to be set back a few years.”

Jonathan Vilma is retired, as is Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove, while Gregg Williams has resurfaced in LA. But more than four years after Goodell handed down his punishments, Garic said Saints fans still blame him for anything that goes wrong.

“That man is so Public Enemy No. 1 down here, if it rains, he’s to blame,” he said. “If it’s too hot, they blame Roger Goodell. If they lose to the Titans, they blame Roger Goodell. It’s not on the Saints, it’s on Roger Goodell. Your crawfish boil doesn’t work well, blame Roger Goodell.”

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New York Giants

Most Hated: Josh Norman

It’s true: Gotham lacked a legit villain for a long time. That’s what happens when Chip Kelly trades Giant killer
DeSean Jackson
to the less-hated
Washington Redskins
and the once-mighty NFC East is a wasteland of mediocrity.

“I know when DeSean Jackson was there with the Eagles, he got the Giants. Bryant Westbrook did, too,” said Joe Benigno, a longtime New York radio personality who co-hosts the “Joe and Evan Show” on CBS Sports Radio’s 660 The Fan. “If you want to go back 100 years, it’s Chuck Bednarik, or it’s Tom Landry for leaving the Giants and becoming this all-time great coach in Dallas. Recently, it’s a tough call.”

Make that … was a tough call, until
Josh Norman
got all up in
Odell Beckham Jr.
‘s head during their heated one-on-one battle in Week 15 … and then signed a massive deal with the rival Redskins in the offseason. It’s been one long string of trash talk all summer, from Beckham saying he made Norman relevant to Norman saying Beckham was only relevant for a catch before declaring himself the “best cornerback on Earth.”

So, yeah, it’s on like Donkey Kong. Get your popcorn ready hen the Redskins travel to MetLife Stadium on Sept. 25.

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New York Jets

Most Hated: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady

“If you ask a Jet fan today, it’s one of two guys, Belichick or Brady,” said Joe Benigno, a longtime New York radio personality who co-hosts the “Joe and Evan Show” on CBS Sports Radio’s 660 The Fan. “That’s pretty much a given. One or the other. They’ve dominated the division for the past 15-16 years and we don’t have to even get into all the other stuff.”

You know, that other stuff.

Like Spygate, which began after former Belichick disciple Eric Mangini tipped off the NFL that Pats coaches were filming opponents’ defensive signals.

Or, you know, that bizarre day in early 2000, when Belichick resigned from the Jets after one day on the job and promptly signed on to coach the Pats. Belichick is 22-10 against Gang Green since.

“With Belichick, we thought he was going to coach our team,” Benigno said. “All of that, going back to after Parcells left. And Brady, what else can you say? You’ve got to get through them two to win the division. Not only didn’t Belichick take the Jets job, but he became one of the greatest coaches of all time. It’s either him or Lombardi. That makes it even worse because the greatest coach of all time is in our division.”

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Oakland Raiders

Most Hated: City X

Things couldn’t be any better for Raiders Nation entering the 2016 season. After a 13-year playoff drought in which the Raiders won five or less games in 10 of those seasons, there’s legit preseason buzz.

Damon Bruce, who hosts the popular “Damon Bruce Show” on 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area, said that no one is laughing at Raider Nation with the young core of
Derek Carr
Amari Cooper
, and
Khalil Mack

“Questions about talent? About coaching? About culture? About the front office drafting well or having the ability to lure free agents? All answered positively, and 2016 should be a leap-forward-season,” Bruce wrote.

“But the question still remains … where are they going?”

Raider Nation may be a clan without borders, but diehard Raiders fans in the Bay Area are sick of wondering about the fate of their team. Mark Davis flirted with San Antonio for a bit, but now he’s gone all in on Vegas, baby — at least to needle Oakland into ponying up for a new stadium.

“Las Vegas? Wait, seriously … Vegas? The Bottle Service Raiders? The list continues to prattle on, while Oakland itself proves a lousy partner in finding a solution,” Bruce wrote. “How can so much uncertainty come to define a franchise in a league clearing about $13.5 billion a year? Mark Davis bears the burden of his father’s ghost, and it’s pretty clear he has few at the NFL owners table. He’s real world rich, but NFL owner poor. The billionaires want him to sell, but he rightfully doesn’t want to give up the family business … Until someone with more money than Mr. Davis shows up to magically help, or Vegas decides to gut its own tax revenue (which Oakland never will) to build a stadium, the Raiders are stuck playing at the Coliseum. Stuck in that, might be leaving soon, for somewhere else, we don’t know where, kind of way?”

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Philadelphia Eagles

Most Hated: Chip Kelly

Andrew Porter of CBS Sports Radio’s 94WIP in Philly has the perfect explanation as to why Eagles fans are still fuming about Chip Kelly.

“It’s easy to hate a person that plays against you, but what about a person that poisons from within?”

Kelly, unceremoniously dumped in December, is already onto his next NFL gig with the 49ers, but Porter said Eagles fans — and back-in-sway Howie Roseman — won’t soon forget the mess he made.

“Chip Kelly dealt away a franchise wide receiver (DeSean Jackson) and running back (
LeSean McCoy
), then traded for a mediocre quarterback (Sam Bradford),” Porter wrote. “He’s tried to reinvent the wheel, but when you do that, you can’t come back with a square. Kelly allowed it to all blow up in his face. Now Eagles fans have to watch the clean-up.”

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Pittsburgh Steelers

Most Hated: Vontaze Burfict

As far as Steelers fans are concerned, Burfict’s three-game suspension for trying to decapitate
Antonio Brown
in last season’s wild-card game isn’t sufficient punishment. Likewise for the questionable hit that ended
Le’Veon Bell
‘s season in Week 8.

Those two hits cost the Steelers a shot at Ring No. 7, said Chris Mueller, a co-host of “The Starkey and Mueller Show” on CBS Sports Radio’s 93.7 The Fan.

It also cost the Bengals the services of Burfict for the first three games of the season after the NFL hit back with a suspension, but Mueller said it’s little penance.

“The Steelers were a depleted group without both Bell and Brown and thus fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos in Denver,” Mueller said. “Both Brown and Bell said they were targeted by the Bengals with intent to knock them out of the game. Brown went as far to say that the Bengals tried to ‘Kill me.'”

Yeah, so if you didn’t already know, mark your calendars for Dec. 18. That’s when the Steelers will have a chance to get after Burfict since he — or Le’Veon Bell — won’t be playing in their Week 2 meeting Sept. 18.

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San Diego Chargers

Most Hated: San Diego politicians

According to Marty Caswell of The Mighty 1090 in San Diego, Chargers owner Dean Spanos could have been the “biggest sports villain in San Diego sports history” if his Carson site had won the January NFL owner’s vote on the two LA stadium projects. Consider that for a second: Dean Spanos could’ve been more reviled than Donald Sterling, a guy who made Marge Schott look good.

But, alas, another villain — Rams owner Stan Kroenke — orchestrated a coup that left Spanos, a loyal NFL man, with a reprieve. The NFL gave the Chargers a year to either work out a new stadium deal with San Diego or exercise their option to join the Rams in LA as a tenant in Kroenke’s new football palace.

Six months later, Caswell said it’s San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and local politicians that are siphoning away the hatred that jilted Chargers fans feel for Spanos.

“It’s the mayor and local politicians who spent all of last year talking about how important the Chargers were to San Diego and have been given a chance by the league to get something done and have done nothing since,” Caswell said. “No support or compromise for the Chargers stadium plan, no plan, nothing from the mayor. Instead, it’s been a six-month smear campaign.”

All the while, Chargers fans continue to twist in the wind.

“Instead of Chargers fans wondering if
Mike McCoy
will waste another year of
Philip Rivers
‘ career or if they can win a lousy division game, something they didn’t do last year,” Caswell said, “they get to spend another year wondering if they will still lose the Chargers to LA.”

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San Francisco 49ers

Most Hated: Jed York

Damon Bruce, who hosts the popular “Damon Bruce Show” on 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area, says 49ers fans actually liked the young, brash York after he took control of the family business and hired Jim Harbaugh to replace Mike Singletary.

“All of a sudden, the years of NFC cellar-dwelling were replaced with whiffs of glory, reminding people of the once great 49ers dynasty,” Bruce wrote in an email. “But then came the move to Santa Clara, and then there was the ‘mutual parting’ of Jim Harbaugh. And then, the cat was out of the bag.”

While the move out of old, windy Candlestick Park into shiny new Levi’s Stadium was a boon for York’s wallet, it has left 49ers fans feeling burned. Literally.

“Although Mr. York built a big event stadium that comes with all the bells and corporate whistles, he didn’t build a football stadium to give the 49ers a home field advantage,” Bruce wrote. “It’s VIP clubs belong on the Vegas strip, not in a football stadium. It’s been a cash cow with people and companies plunking down huge dollars for seat licenses and tickets, but you wouldn’t know it from the empty seats that have come to define home games. There isn’t a drop of shade to save fans from the sun, and there have been too many drops in the passing game to keep people happily burning in their seats.”

Replacing Harbaugh with Jim Tomsula, who was completely out of his depth in his one losing season, was also unforgiveable.

“That was when Jed assumed his place as the most reviled owner on the Bay Area sports scene,” Bruce wrote. “Harbaugh won, and he was nuts, and passionate, and apparently too much for Jed to handle. Since leaving for Ann Arbor, Harbaugh leaves behind the ‘ghost-of-what-might-have-been’ for those remaining to chase.”

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Seattle Seahawks

Most Hated: Bruce Arians

Bruce Arians wants to be like Pete Carroll so bad. That’s obvious to Seahawks fans who love to point out that, for all of Arians’ tough talk, he still only owns one playoff win as he enters his fourth season in Arizona.

“The new sheriff in town has performed like a Cub Scout when it matters,” said Dave “Softy” Mahler, who hosts his popular afternoon drive-time show on Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle. “He’s won one playoff game in his career, yet he acts like he’s God’s gift to coaches. As of right now, what will Bruce Arians be remembered by? His one playoff win against Green Bay last year, because outside of that, this cocky clown has done nothing. Before you start running your mouth, sheriff, you might want to run off a few wins when it matters in the postseason.”

Mahler said that instead of talking, Arians “should spend more time in church on his hands and knees praying that his senior citizen quarterback can stay healthy.”

He also can’t help but point out that Arians looks a little like Bennett Brauer, the regular Chris Farley “Saturday Night Live” character who used to appear on “Weekend Update” to rant about not “being the norm” or not being able to “reach all the parts of my body.”

“As of right now, Brauer, I mean Arians, is just a guy who doesn’t know what it’s like to play for a conference championship and win it and go to a Super Bowl and doesn’t know what it’s like to hold his own Vince Lombardi Trophy,” Mahler said. “But he does know what it’s like to desperately want what Pete Carroll has.”

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Most Hated: Cam Newton

How much do Bucs fans dislike Cam Newton? Well, there’s this:

“Without a doubt, Bucs fan was actually cheering against the Panthers in the Super Bowl simply because of Cam Newton and his attitude,” said Ronnie Lane of the popular “Ronnie and TKras” morning show on 620 WDAE in Tampa. “You saw what happened, he got beat, he pouted like a little baby. They don’t like it.”

Bucs fans also don’t like that Newton and the Panthers own a six-game winning streak against Tampa Bay. Or that the No.1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft blasted Tampa twice — 38-19 and 48-16 — in what was an otherwise humbling rookie season with the Panthers finishing 6-10.

“Cam Newton with all of his flash and swagger has been a big part of that six-game losing streak to the Carolina Panthers, so Bucs fans love to hate Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers,” Lane said.

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Tennessee Titans

Most Hated: J.J. Watt

It’s not just that
J.J. Watt
has racked up more sacks against the Titans (15.5) than any other team he’s faced in his five NFL seasons. Or that he got into an ongoing selfie spat with prolific facial hair grower
Zach Mettenberger

Jared Stillman, who hosts “Jared and the GM” on ESPN’s 102.5 The Game in Nashville, says there’s even more to Titans’ fans hatred for the three-time winner of Defensive Player of the Year.

“He also talks like a wide receiver or a running back and loves to dominate that awful Titans offensive line,” Stillman said. “But what makes matters worse is that he plays on the Texans, who for the first decade of existence served as the little brother to the former Houston Oilers. And if that wasn’t bad enough, now he’s hosting the Country Music Television Awards in our town!”

Yeah, that’s cold. Not cool, J.J.

Adds Stillman: “J.J. Watt may never win a Super Bowl, but he certainly is Public Enemy No. 1 in Nashville.”

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Washington Redskins

Most Hated: Dan Snyder

As it if could be anyone else. What, you were expecting
Eli Manning
? Dez Bryant? Carson Wentz? Yeah, right.

“For almost 20 years, if you ask any fan why the team hasn’t been successful, it’s because of Dan,” laments Eric Bickel, one of the hosts on “The Sports Junkies” on CBS Sports Radio’s 106.7 The Fan in Washington.

Just in case you needed to be reminded why fans and the DC media so loathe the Redskins owner so much, here’s Bickel with a refresher course.

“He spends money flippantly in free agency, he sues his own fans, he extorts fans on parking fees and stadium prices, he attacks the local media, he’s infatuated with celebrity, he runs through coaches like toilet paper, and he’s generally been way too involved in the day-to-day operations of the team for a guy who’s basically a glorified ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ nerd.”

Yep, that just about covers it — except for the controversy over the ‘Redskins’ name, which Snyder has vowed to never change, despite calls from Native American groups and members of Congress.

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Nate Peterson grew up in Colorado and misses Al Davis all the time. Catch him on Twitter @n8peterson

In search of the best spot to watch tennis at the US Open – ESPN

Armed with Division I talent, Bowie volleyball is ready to break through – Washington Post

Kaitlyn Young?s recruiting journey?didn?t come down to being at the right place, at the right time, in front of the right coach. The Bowie senior made her own luck.

Young had her sights set on playing volleyball at Liberty, where her older brother attends. Last?summer,?after hearing Forest Park High (Woodbridge)?had a?team camp at the private Christian school, Young?reached out to one of the coaches from the?Virginia high school?and asked if she could join.

After being given the go-ahead, the 5-foot-6 then-rising junior proceeded to?show off her skills as a setter and libero,?making?the camp?s all-star game. That was the start of a relationship that culminated in a phone call Thursday night from Liberty Coach Shane Pinder, offering her a spot on the team.

?I definitely?didn?t?hesitate,? Young said. ?I was like, ?This was my dream school, and I?m excited.?


Young isn?t Bowie?s?only college-bound player. In May, sophomore Cara Lewis committed to play for Maryland where her father, Cedric?Lewis, was a standout basketball player. A?6-foot-1 middle blocker, Lewis started playing volleyball?a few years ago after realizing basketball wasn?t her sport.?Seniors Mayah Ngundam and Jailyn Ivey are among the other Bulldogs weighing their college options while alumnus?Christiana DuBose?is a freshman at the?University of New Orleans.?Lewis said the abundance of talent helps the players motivate?each other.

?The way your team connects with each other, it enhances how you feel with the sport,? Lewis said. ?Because there?s always somebody to push you.?

The Bulldogs have?gone?undefeated against Prince George?s County the last two?seasons and won?consecutive region titles. In last year?s Maryland 4A state semifinal, they showed they belonged in a competitive 25-17, 25-15, 25-18 loss to Dulaney, but this fall they are hoping to take the next step. Though Bowie is a mainstay in the semifinals, it hasn?t reached the championship match since 1997. DuVal (1980) and High Point (1979) were the last Prince George?s County teams to win?state championships.?With?her recruitment settled, Young said she is looking forward to a big senior season before heading off to Liberty.

?I?ve always been very relentless and hard-working,? Young said. ?[Committing]?just makes me want to work harder so when I get to Liberty I?ll be as good as I can be, and I look forward to growing at Liberty and getting better.?


Total?touchdowns for Woodgrove senior quarterback Mike Kovich, including six on the ground. He ran for?155 yards and totaled five touchdowns Friday in a 41-26 win against Liberty. Check out the D.C. area?s leading rushers?here.



Watch the top plays from Week 1 of the high school football season and learn how to submit your own.


Virginia volleyball:?No. 2 Loudoun County travels to No. 9 Briar Woods for a big early season matchup. Jacob Bogage (@jacobbogage) and I (@EricGoldweinWP) will be there with?updates for the 7 p.m. first serve from Ashburn.

Earlier in the evening, Nick Eilerson will be covering an intriguing public-private field hockey clash between No. 1 Spalding and No. 5 South River. Follow him at @NickEilerson for live updates from Edgewater.