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“The Amateur Ward” The Front Seven (Defensive Line/Linebacker plays) Week 10

As I’m writing this I’m not sure if I’m awake, asleep, or in a state of mind where I just want to let everything go. Yeah, my week was too long and I look forward to sports and fantasy this weekend. I usually do, but this week, I have that extra desire for sports. Oh well, it’s my life, now back to football. This season has seen some huge stories, but two of the ones that stick out to me are the emergence of the Dolphins in the AFC East as they beat the lights out of the Chargers, and the growing concern and support for Devon Still’s daughter Leah in her ongoing fight with pediatric Cancer. I was high on the Dolphins last season a bit prematurely, but with every passing week this season they seem to get better. Can they compete with the Patriots and Brady? Not yet, but they are built nicely for the long run and are a very young team on defense and offense. They have a solid run game (currently 5 ranked), and Tannehill is starting to show some maturity in the passing game. The Still story though is truly amazing as it seems to bring together fans from all clubs together for a common cause: Cure Children’s Cancer. The Patriots cheerleaders wore #75 jerseys to honor her and everyone in th NFL seems to be buying Still jerseys. The MVP of the season will be Leah Still for how she has managed to pull the NFL together, and you already know who Father of the Year is: Devon himself.

I don’t like to ramble off topic generally, but I had to address the Still story. Now back to football. Last week I had a very solid week and look to continue my success going into this week. Fantasy sports to me is an outlet from daily life. It’s more than a pastime, it provides me with structure nad a way to express myself with words while doing what I love. Yes, providing all you readers, and followers here at Major League Fantasy Sports is a dream that I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy as it is a true hallmark in my day right now. Hell, I’ll re-read some stuff on this site to see how as writers we have improved and come together as a family to support one another. Of course, I know I’m the most accurate, and not shy about bragging about it, but I’m just a competitive person, plain and simple. It is this drive and love of sports, particularly football that drove me to embrace fantasy sports 10 years ago and I have never looked back. Going into next week, I’ll share some wisdom I’ve gained as well as some insight going forward that pertains to young players and trends I notice.

Last Week’s Recap

Anthony Barr vs. C.J. Mosley: Barr edged out Mosley 14-10 in what was a surprisingly low scoring affair between the 2. Mosley outpaced Barr in tackles 9-4, but Barr had the counting stats of a sack and a stuff. Verdict: WIN

Karlos Dansby vs. Von Miller: What did I say the Broncos were going to have to do to beat the Patriots? What did they NOT do? Get to Brady. Dansby beat out Miller by my predicted margin of at least 6 points, winning 7-1. Neither LB had a productive day from a fantasy perspective, but I’ll take the win.

Championship Round of Battle Royale: Predicted matchup of Dansby vs. Barr was correct, as was my winner: Barr. Barr doubled up Dansby last week 14-7, and look for Barr to continue rolling next week after the Vikings bye.

Everson Griffen vs. Cameron Wake: Whatever sauce Griffen took last week, I’ll take some of that this week as he completely went ham against RGIII and the Redskins tabulating a sack, 3.5 hurries, and 2.5 sacks. Yeah, against that, Wake never really got off the mat as he only produced 7 points and a sack. Verdict: WIN

Ricky Jean-François vs. Gerald McCoy: D’Oh. I dropped the ball in this one as François got beat by a decent margin 12-5.5. François’ lone counting stat was a pass defensed, while McCoy produced 2 sacks. Verdict: LOSS

Championship Round of Battle of the Middle Class: I was half right in the matchup, getting Griffen, but lost with François. I had the correct winner of the round, however, so I’ll still take the win as Griffen would have beat McCoy 23.5-12. Yeah Griffen had some kind of day last week.

DeMarcus Ware vs. Ryan Davis: I knew I should have gone with Davis. I knew it! I didn’t though. Davis took this one with relative ease as he provided fantasy owners with 5 tackles, a stuff, and a half sack. Ware, on the other hand only had 9 points and 1 sack as the Broncos got demolished by the Patriots 43-21. Verdict: LOSS


Battle Royale

Chris Borland (LB-SF) vs. Mychal Kendricks (LB-PHI)- This week’s premier linebacker battle features Kendricks, who in his second game back, since leaving the Eagles Week 2 matchup with the Colts early due to a calf injury, dominated the Texans to the tune of 12 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a hurry. He is the best Eagles linebacker when healthy, and this week versus the Panthers offensive unit that have allowed Cam to be sacked 21 times, look for Kendricks to produce early and often. Borland is starting to look like a must add in all leagues because he will likely be a starter very soon. He gets a likely spot start for the likely out Patrick Willis, and with 26 tackles and a sack over the 49ers past two games, there’s nothing there to suggest that a slow down is imminent. A date with the high-powered Saints will be a tricky task for the rookie out of Wisconsin, but he will still rack up the stats this week. He’s already sacked Peyton Manning this season, so Brees is not safe at all. Looks like my tabbing of Borland as a sleeper before the season (you can verify that here) is going to pay off. (Photo courtesy of

Prediction: I’m a sucker for rookie linebackers this season, but this week, I’m going with the veteran Kendricks. It will be very close, but Kendricks gets the nod as he will have more opportunities to make plays this week against the run-heavy Panthers. Borland will also produce a solid line, so grab him if he’s on your wire.

Robert Quinn (DE-StL) vs. Ezekiel Ansah (DE-DET)- The Dynamite has officially gone BOOM the past 2 weeks with 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, a pass defensed, and 3 hurries. For those frustrated owners that have stuck with Quinn this season, you have been greatly rewarded the past 2 weeks. A quietly solid Carson Palmer (11:2 TD:INT ratio, sacked 6 times) and a tough Cardinals team should provide a challenge for Quinn this week, but he’ll still bring down Palmer. If he keeps this up, he’ll reclaim his spot behind JJ Watt as second best DE in the game. Ansah is a bit of a high risk/reward DE this season, but has also been quietly productive this season with 4.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. This week’s matchup against the Dolphins is going to be tough as the Phins are coming off a week in which they dominated the Chargers 37-zip, and Tannehill had 3 TDs without a pick. Ansah is a boom/bust play again this week as he will be reliant upon the sack or forced fumble this week, but is still a solid start. Spot Ansah 7 points this week, and I still win. (Photo courtesy of

Prediction: Quinn. This guy is simply too hot right now to bet against, and it may not be close if Tannehill continues his emergence in Miami.

Championship: Quinn versus Kendricks- Quinn. With Kendricks looking like the dominant linebacker he was on pace to be early in the season, it’s tough for me to go against him, but I must. As long as Quinn is an inferno he will likely outpace any defensive player. Kaepernick got throttled last week, and no matter how solid Palmer has been, he’ll be no match for Quinn’s sack frenzy.


Battle of the Middle Class

Paul Worrilow (LB-ATL) vs. K.J. Wright (LB-SEA)- I swear I’m so frustrated with the Falcons defensive unit I could punch a baby! My boss and I were talking NFL this morning, and we both agree that the Falcons need a defensive overhaul. Perhaps a second date with the 30th ranked Bucs offense will serve as rejuvenation for this unit. The Bucs pass game is horrid, with a [12:10] TD:INT ratio, and McCown is a slight upgrade over Glennon, but won’t right the Bucs offensive woes. If Worrilow is going to go nuts against a team, it’s going to be the Bucs. He had 6 tackles and a forced fumble against them in Week 3, let’s see if he can build upon that this week in Tampa. With Bobby Wagner (toe) still out, the opportunity for Wright to continue to produce is there. He went nuts against the Raiders (crickets) last week with 13 tackles, a forced fumble, and a pass defensed from the middle linebacker position last week, but will move back outside this week against the Giants. While Eli has had a nice season, with a 16:5 TD:INT ratio on the season, the Giants offense is still 23rd ranked and the GMen struggle to win. With the Giants run game struggling to produce and the Giants offense in stall mode, look for Wright to have another very productive day in Week 10. (Photo courtesy of

Prediction: Wright. I simply cannot trust any Falcons defender at this point as they simply can’t stop anybody. I don’t care that Worrilow’s matchup is tastier than fried chicken this week, until I see production, I’m not advocating any praise for falcons defenders. Wright has a nice matchup too and is more consistent.

Henry Melton (DT-DAL) vs. Clinton McDonald (DT-T.B.)- What’s that???? I’m writing about a Cowboys defender? Yep. I’m writing about Melton as he has been on fire lately with 3.5 sacks the past 2 weeks from the tackle spot. This week, the Jaguars offensive line should pose no threat to his sack streak as the Cowboys look to get back to winning after losing 2 straight to the Redskins and Cardinals. Playing McDonald at DT in fantasy this season is like playing Russian Roulette; he goes BAM one week, then fizzles into obscurity the next. He’s in the piece this week as he will face the Falcons offense that has gone SPLAT since they drummed the Bucs in Atlanta. Yes, I’m saying that McDonald is a possible sack source this week, and likely to be productive against the reeling Falcons. Will he go Boom or Dud, though?

Prediction: Melton. While Blake Bortles is a definite upgrade over Chad Henne, he should still get pushed around by Melton and Cowboys defense as the Jags continue their rebuilding. Melton is a virtual lock this week for a sack.

Championship: Wright vs. Melton- Wright. As much as Melton is going to make life hell for the Jaguars offensive line, Wright is simply going to go ham against the GMen this week. I predict a forced fumble and a healthy dose of tackling pain from Wright. I’ll even spot Melton 5 points this week.


Russian Roulette

Olivier Vernon (DE-MIA) vs. Kroy Biermann (DE-ATL)- Like most DEs, Vernon may never be a high tackling  defender, but he should continue to rip off double-digit sack season (11.5 last season) and emerge as a top 10 fantasy DE. Looking at the Dolphins remaining schedule, starting this week don’t be surprised if Vernon posts 6 sacks the rest of the way as he will have some very favorable matchups, including two against the Jets. This week, in what is shaping up to be a shootout in Detroit, look for Vernon to post a sack and be a huge disruption to Matt Stafford and the Lions offense. The young Phins DE is an emerging monster on the QBs blindside. For Biermann, the line is simple. Yes, he’s had a solid season at DE in terms of fantasy, but with nary a sack, his value lies completely in his ability to rack up tackles and the occasional big play. Will his first sack, or a big play come this week against the Bucs? Doubtful, but he’ll also provide 5 tackles from your end spot. (Photo courtesy of

Prediction: Vernon. I’m high on Vernon the rest of the way, and there’s a reason: Favorable schedule, and he plays on the QBs blindside. Add in a matchup against an offensive line that’s allowed 24 sacks against Stafford, and dinner is served in the Den. Both players have the right matchups to have huge days. Biermann might have the higher floor, but also lower ceiling.

Hopefully everyone made it through this one as it was longer than usual. I’m not sorry though as this is my passion. My passion is being competitive and passing on my knowledge of fantasy sports. It took me a while to get acclimated to the settings and scoring of MLFS, but now that I know, I can never play standard again. If you aren’t currently in any MLFS leagues and looking for a Real Experience of fantasy sports, give a league a whirl and then try to say you’re not hooked. The leagues challenge you to view the business in a different manner and take more risks to win as every claim or move will make or break your week. That’s all I got for this week, but remember defense wins championships, and consistency, not necessarily studs win your league.


(Click the link below to listen live)
Major League Fantasy Football Show: Join Ej Garr and Corey D. Roberts on Sunday the 9th of November from 11am-12pm EST for this weeks episode of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio provided by The Sports Palooza Radio Network. We will be taking live callers at 646.915.8596.This weeks guests are Jeff Nelson and Ron McCleese. Jeff is the DB coach for White Hall H.S. in PA and a two time Major League Fantasy Football champion. Ron is the newest addition to the writing staff and his articles are published every Friday about QB/TE plays for the coming week! Come join the party!

I am a recent college graduate from a small liberal arts school in Atlanta, GA. I'm a sports junkie and a diehard Atlanta sports fan.



  1. Ron McCleese

    November 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Great read Ben! Its crazy that I have the same lineup dilemma as your Middle of the Class bout in the Champions League. You have me seriously considering switching up Worrilow for Wright.

    • Ben W

      November 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      It’s close. I kept going back and forth on that one too, honestly. The tie breaker here is that Wagner is still out and I think Wright will have the bigger opportunity for the big play.

  2. Ben W

    November 9, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    What did I tell y’all about Borland as a spot starter? This is why you listen to me!

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Ben WardiBen Wardi

I am a recent college graduate from a small liberal arts school in Atlanta, GA. I'm a sports junkie and a diehard Atlanta sports fan.

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