Defensive end Willie Young had a career year tackling quarterbacks in 2014, getting 10 sacks after signing with the Chicago Bears. Young had flashed before — not surprising when you consider that he’s tall, long, athletic and surprisingly powerful for a man his size — but he only had six sacks combined in his four-year stint with the Detroit Lions. Until last season, he had never put all of his physical gifts together to the point where he was dominant.

You might be wondering how in the hell a dude who touched dougle-digit sacks last season be a breakout player this season. Well, I’m glad you asked.

What follows is just one man’s opinion, but let’s take a look at some of the possible sleepers among quarterbacks for the season. Some of these guys are borderline starters who could become sure things, and some are guys who are likely to go undrafted but might find themselves with some relevance.

Here we go:

Eli Manning, Giants
First off, we never know any football player is going to be healthy, but if there’s anyone we can count on to be on the field, it’s Manning, who still hasn’t missed a game since becoming the Giants’ starter in 2004. Just being on the field isn’t everything, of course, but it counts a lot. Meanwhile, Manning might actually have the best assortment of weapons of any quarterback in the league this year. Odell Beckham Jr.

Second-year players White and Janis have come a long way since their rookie endeavors, and will be asked to play much larger roles early this season. White has 12 receptions this preseason for 111 yards, with 89 of those coming in Week 3. Janis has already impressed as a deep threat with a total of eight receptions for 128 yards, 72 of those against the Eagles.

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger walked with no noticeable limp three days after injuring his right foot in Sunday’s AFC wild-card game.
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“Good, thank you,” Roethlisberger said from his locker when asked about the foot Wednesday in preparing for a matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional playoff.

Roethlisberger was off Wednesday but is expected to get a full practice workload Thursday and Friday. Coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers would monitor Roethlisberger’s foot closely, but he doesn’t anticipate any setbacks.

Ben Roethlisberger is not limping and is on pace to play this week.
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Roethlisberger got hurt on a passing play with 4:30 left and the Steelers holding a 30-12 lead over the Miami Dolphins. During his weekly news conference Tuesday, Tomlin took responsibility for calling the passing play in a three-score game.

When Tafoya was finished, Tirico explained that when Chiefs general manager John Dorsey chose Hill, he had to have anticipated a backlash in Kansas City, where linebacker Jovan Belcher had murdered the mother of his child, Kasandra Perkins, in 2012 before committing suicide. Collinsworth pointed out that Hill’s selection might have caused some distress for Perkins’ family. “As an organization, they obviously put him through every program you can imagine, and it’s still ongoing,” Collinsworth said. “But it obviously gets into those fine lines of second chances versus maybe you don’t deserve a second chance sometimes. But they took a chance.”

As Collinsworth spoke, he sounded calm and prepared, but the juxtaposition of images and words was undeniably jarring — a breathtaking display of the human body’s potential followed by a reminder of its terrifying capacity for misuse. When Hill appeared on screen again, it occurred to me that millions of people were asking themselves whether the Chiefs had made a grievous error. They would continue to do so as he bloomed into a bona fide star, sparking the Chiefs to the second seed in the playoffs.

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Kansas City’s offense ground to a halt when Charles left Sunday’s game against the Bears. They took a 17-3 lead into halftime, but once Charles was out, the Bears stacked the box less and took away the short passing game. Quarterback Alex Smith had nowhere to throw the football, and the Bears won the game, 18-17.

Eric Ebron Elite Jersey Both second-year pro Charcandrick West and Knile Davis took snaps after Charles exited. West is the Chiefs’ No. 2 running back this season while Davis has been the backup for the past couple of seasons.

It was a worrisome sight for Broncos fans yesterday when LB DeMarcus Ware was carted off the field in the first half of Denver’s win at Oakland. It was later announced as a back injury. Following the game, Ware said his back “locked up” on him when he had a misstep on the Oakland Coliseum turf.

Ike Davis Elite Jersey Early signs are positive for a speedy recovery. From his description, Ware will undergo further tests this week to confirm whether the injury was a muscle spasm or similar type of strain, which sounds likely given his description. If that’s the case, it would require rest and possibly anti-inflammatory medications to help relieve any pain or discomfort that are likely to follow in the coming days.

Philip Rivers, meanwhile, has been fantastic, leading the league in passing yards through the first month of the season. But injury issues (particularly on the O-line) and struggles on defense have the Chargers sitting at 2-2, two games back from the undefeated Denver Broncos. Despite a slow start from Peyton Manning, they look very capable of running away with the AFC West.

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To find hitting power in baseball — which can prove scarce throughout the marathon MLB campaign — we often stomach specialists such as Chris Carter in order to acquire homers. In hoops, we similarly need to pursue players who might only provide positive contributions in a few or even a single statistical category.

Elite Youth Patrick Marleau Jersey The Lakers’ Nick Young, for instance, is enjoying a breakout season beyond the arc. Currently fourth in 3-pointers made per game and with the requisite shooting freedom in an up-tempo offensive scheme, Young is 10th in the NBA in added value in 3-point production on the Player Rater. Despite providing scant value in rebounds or defensive metrics, we can acquire points and a high volume of 3-point production. Young is available in well over half of ESPN leagues as of Friday afternoon. While versatility is increasingly valuable in fantasy basketball, we also need specialists to fuel specific stats.

When Brogdon started seeing increased minutes as the team’s third guard on a thin backcourt rotation, his value in DFS play was easy to identify. The combination of deflated pricing and inflated minutes is a key recipe for attention in daily competition. The seasonal market naturally demands stronger and more enduring production given the finite nature of roster space, so interest in Brogdon has proven more modest. That said, the rising rookie is among the most-added assets of the past week — albeit he’s still available in more than 65 percent of ESPN leagues.

Insider cheat sheet: What’s Antetokounmpo’s fantasy ceiling?
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This week’s edition of the Insider cheat sheet looks at Giannis Antetokounmpo’s rise as the East’s top player, Kyle Korver’s move to Cleveland and whether you should trade Joel Embiid in fantasy.

Will Joel Embiid keep putting up monster stats?

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Of seven previous cases, there are three players more productive than El Gallo. One of the first things of note is that these players did not sign for many extra free agent years. Carlos Carrasco, Johnny Cueto, and Ervin Santana gave their team two additional years of control. Wade Miley, Paul Maholm, and Scott Kazmir signed on for just one extra year. Kazmir is the only pitcher featured here that was younger than Carlos, so I¡¯d like to see the Cardinals break ground here with the longest extension for a pitcher in his service time category.
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The Blues have fifty years of outstanding coaches and tremendous players who have managed to win multiple Stanley Cups… elsewhere, of course. But the players on this team are loved for more than wins. Do we laugh about how guys tend to get a championship after they leave the city? Yep. Do we love the guys who play here for their scrappiness and whatever ¡°blue collar work ethic¡± is? Absolutely.

The Blues are the yang to the Cardinals¡¯ yin. The Cardinals are celebrated for their success, their style, and their history. The Blues are beloved for the cast of characters who have skated through here over the past fifty seasons. Over 40,000 people came to the Alumni Game yesterday to watch a group of guys, many of whom won Cups elsewhere, celebrate the history of a franchise that has always seemed to be a day late and a dollar short.

Game Kids Tom Brady Jersey What¡¯s special about Blues fans is not that we don¡¯t care about the shortcomings, but that we have embraced them and made them part of this team¡¯s identity before shifting our eyes to the future of the franchise.

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The Carolina Panthers stayed undefeated and officially clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs by dominating the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. All of the San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions and San Diego Chargers were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs on top of that. Previously, the Cleveland Browns were the only team eliminated going into Week 14.

In addition to the Panthers, the Arizona Cardinals were the only other team to go into Sunday with a guaranteed spot in the postseason.

Game Youth Torry Holt Jersey The quarterback showed some of the relentlessness Jackson had been looking for in initially signing Griffin, but the coach indicated there’s still progress to be made in his postgame press conference:

“[Griffin] made some plays. He made some plays with his legs, made some plays with his arm. He has to continue to grow that way. In the second half, we got slowed down a little bit, and I think he can still do some things better, but he did show me some things today. He has to keep working. We all have to keep working.”

With a hectic Browns quarterback carousel — in addition to the two QBs mentioned, the team has started Josh McCown and seen guys like Charlie Whitehurst and Kevin Hogan attempt at least 20 passes in relief — it will be good for Jackson to see some more of Griffin this week before the team heads into the offseason with a decision to make about the future of the position.

Griffin already has the support of one teammate. Longtime Browns left tackle Joe Thomas said Griffin has “shown enough” in his four games so far this year to be the starter again next year.
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The Browns travel to Pittsburgh on Sunday for their final game of the season. The Steelers, who have already clinched the AFC North, are expected to rest several starters, including Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell.

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It’s that time again in the NFL season, time to play the “should ____ rest their starters in this meaningless Week 17 game?” Heading into this week, there are exactly two spots remaining for the playoffs, but there’s plenty of work left for seeding. Here’s where it stands.

In the NFC, Dallas is locked into the No. 1 seed. Atlanta and Seattle have won their divisions and are in. With a win Sunday, Atlanta would wrap up the two seed, followed by Seattle, the NFC North winner (Packers or Lions), the Giants in the fifth spot, and a frantic finish for the sixth spot between the loser of the NFC North and Washington, with Tampa having less than a 1 percent chance of making it.

In the AFC, the six spots are secured. Division winners New England, Pittsburgh (third seed), and Houston (fourth seed) are in, as well as Oakland and KC, and Miami. The only drama here is the first seed and the AFC West. If the Patriots win, they are the first seed. The winner of the AFC West will secure the second seed and a first-round bye. If Oakland wins and New England loses, the Raiders get the top seed.

So there are four teams who have the option of resting starters: the Cowboys, Giants, Steelers, and Texans. As usual, with any important decision, there are plenty of factors to take into account. I’ve been a part of two games, one with a team that was resting and another playing against a team resting its starters. I’ll get into my experiences as well.

After a weekend where two starting quarterbacks, Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota, broke their legs, it would scare any team that this could happen to them. However, there is no evidence that injury likelihood goes up in Week 17. Injuries are always a risk and part of the game, but I get where this would be the top factor.

How well the is team functioning on either side of the ball is a harder thing to judge because it’s on a team-by-team basis. If you’ve made the playoffs but are struggling on one side of the ball, getting reps in Week 17 may help correct some issues.

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Game Womens Ryan Goins Jersey They’re 9-5, have won three games in a row and have scored 30 or more points in their last six contests. All that hasn’t allowed that Pittsburgh Steelers to clinch a playoff spot yet, but they’re getting close.

First up will be their Sunday trip to Baltimore, where they’ll take on a depleted 4-10 Ravens team that will either be starting Jimmy Clausen, Ryan Mallett or Matt Schaub (Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to announce who will get the nod). Pittsburgh can clinch an AFC Wild Card spot with a win coupled with a Jets loss.

Last time these two teams met in Week 4, the Ravens won on the road in overtime, 23-20. This time around, the game is in Baltimore, where the Steelers have also lost nine of their last 12 games.

With playoff football a lock, Washington will look to exorcise one more franchise demon — its inability to beat the Seattle Seahawks in the postseason. The team previously made the playoffs three times in the 21st century (2005, 2007, 2012) and were knocked out by the Seahawks every single time. The last loss was particularly heartbreaking, because it was the game where RGIII tore his ACL and hasn’t been the same since then.

If the playoffs started today, the Seahawks would travel to D.C. as the No. 5 seed. Washington fans would love to get that particular monkey off their back this January.

Unfortunately for the Chargers, that field goal sailed wide left and San Diego went from three to seven to no points in a matter of minutes.
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At that point, the game was 17-12 thanks to a Raiders safety — the first sack of the game for Oakland — and the Chargers were in trouble. They forced a Raiders punt on the next possession, but after three plays, David Johnson fumbled after a catch and the Raiders recovered. That them up in position to score, which they did on the first play of their drive to make it 20-17.

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Joshua Comenetz, assistant chief of the Population Division’s Population Geography staff and manager of the surnames project, explained the tendency to oregonlive.com.

“There is more surname clustering,” Comenetz said. “Twenty-six surnames cover a quarter of the Hispanic population, and 16 percent of Hispanic people reported one of the top 10 Hispanic names.

Comenetz went on to explain: “The pattern is similar for Asians and blacks. Names are not distributed among racial and ethnic groups the same way the population is distributed,” Comenetz said. “It takes fewer names to cover a large segment of the Hispanic, Asian or black populations, compared to the white population, which has higher surname diversity.”

About 30 percent of today’s players are Latino. In the 2015 census, the overall percentage of Hispanics in the U.S. was about 17 percent.
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Before the 1996 season, Florida GM Dave Dombrowski had upped the team¡¯s payroll by 38 percent,3 from 25th in baseball to 16th, reeling in such big-name free agents as Kevin Brown, Al Leiter and Devon White.
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Unsurprisingly, all that aggressive free-agent spending gave new Marlins manager Jim Leyland significantly more talent to work with.

If we use Tom Tango¡¯s WARcel projections as a simple way to judge how many wins Florida could have expected to get out of its new acquisitions (as well as the cost of losing the players it jettisoned in the process), the Marlins picked up more than 15 net WAR in talent for 1997 alone through Dombrowski¡¯s wheeling and dealing over the previous two offseasons, another modern-era4 record for an eventual World Series winner.

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Pure survival.

That the Pittsburgh Steelers could look this sloppy at times Sunday and still beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-20 in Paul Brown Stadium displayed serious resolve, which is the only way to combat 104 penalty yards, missed opportunities and the Bengals’ fierce tackling.
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Pittsburgh will enter its Christmas Day clash against the Baltimore Ravens fortunate that its big three — QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown — remained healthy and intact in Cincinnati. This game was that physical, and it will be felt all week: December football turned cage match, with Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict taking center stage.

Replays showed that Eli Manning’s pass bounced off Beckham’s left hand and fell to the ground. The ball then rolled between Beckham’s legs before he reached back and “secured” the ball. Back judge Todd Prukop appeared to have a clear view of the drop, but referee Tony Corrente’s crew ruled it a catch to set up a second down on what became a touchdown drive for the Giants.

Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell did not challenge the call, probably because of the minimal payoff. His defense would face either second-and-6 or second-and-10.(Update: After the game, Caldwell said: “That’s four yards. You’re not going to challenge that play. It was late when we saw it, but we weren’t going to challenge it anyway in that situation.”)

Limited Kids Rashad Vaughn Jersey Still, the screenshot of the ball between Beckham’s legs will live on as one of several bad looks the NFL has had this season.

My personal favorite remains Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr. holding a fumble recovery over his head while officials on referee Jeff Triplette’s crew appeared still to be looking for the ball under the pile. Some might favor Triplette’s gaffe last week — he called a penalty on the wrong team — but to each his or her own.

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