Too hard to hurt

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Dzeko reaches landmark in City win

first_imgEdin Dzeko’s 50th Manchester City goal proved enough to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 and send the Blues top of the Barclays Premier League. The Bosnian steered home Jesus Navas’ cut-back midway through the second period to give City their 10th successive victory at the Etihad Stadium. Yet, after magical performances earlier in the campaign, this fell into the ‘win ugly’ category. Palace worked with an impressive intensity throughout and City were indebted to superb saves from Joe Hart to deny Jason Puncheon and Joel Ward either side of Dzeko’s 10th of the season in all competitions, but his first in the Premier League for eight weeks. On statistics alone, Palace might as well not have bothered turning up. The Eagles had not beaten City away from home since 1990 and their manager, Tony Pulis, had lost on all five of his visits to the stadium, not even managing so much as a goal. In addition, there was the Blues’ incredible sequence of results on home soil. The Boxing Day win over Liverpool had been their ninth win in as many matches, a sequence that had yielded an incredible 37 goals. Yet despite this gloomy backdrop, Palace still managed to become only the second team since Hull on August 31 to prevent City from establishing superiority by half-time. There was no secret. The visitors owed their mini-triumph to good, old-fashioned graft and a little bit of luck. Filling their own box any time City got close – which was fairly frequently – they managed to keep chances at a minimum. Press Association James Milner flashed a couple of efforts narrowly wide and David Silva was not far away from finding the net from an impossibly acute angle. However, it was not until Fernandinho ventured forward late in that opening period that Julian Speroni’s goal came under severe threat. The Brazilian lashed a shot over after a brilliant piece of skill had created the opportunity. He then saw his powerful header touched over by Speroni before having another effort blocked amid a melee inside the Palace area during which Dzeko had spurned a clear sight on goal by preferring to check inside onto his right foot. It was not exactly comfortable for the visitors, but then Pulis can hardly have anticipated a smooth ride for his team. Yet they were sufficiently confident to push forward themselves when the chance arose, and Yannick Bolasie ensured Dedryck Boyata was kept on his toes as the City man started a league game for the Blues for the first time since May 2011. Nevertheless, Hart did not have a shot to save. The England keeper still picked up a nasty gash under his eye though as a result of a full-bloodied challenge with Cameron Jerome that saw the Palace forward hobble off. Hart was called into action straight after the restart though as Puncheon unleashed a fierce shot from 25 yards, which the keeper turned behind in impressive fashion. Substitute Marouane Chamakh was not too far away from turning the corner home from his near post station and Manuel Pellegrini wasted little time in introducing Samir Nasri and Alvaro Negredo. Palace’s confidence was growing though and Hart was little more than a spectator as Puncheon curled a shot that would not have been kept out had it been slightly more accurate. Such was the verve with which Palace had started the second-half that Dzeko’s goal came as something of a surprise. Damien Delaney thought he had cleared the immediate danger when he got his head to Silva’s teasing cross. But Navas hunted the ball down to the by-line, then picked out Dzeko with a superb cut-back that invited the first-time finish from the Bosnian. Palace responded admirably. Ward’s dipping volley was heading for the bottom corner until Hart got a fingertip to it. Ward then got his head on the far-post corner, but from close range failed to keep the attempt on target. Pellegrini’s decision to shelve the intention to introduce Yaya Toure and instead bring on the more defensive Aleksander Kolarov said it all as City scrambled to victory. last_img read more

Week 14 Fantasy Rankings: WR

first_img​WEEK 14 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings16T.Y. Hilton, Colts @ Texans. Hilton continues to be a yardage threat for the Colts, and he has at least 77 receiving yards in each of the past four games. The Texans have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to receivers this season, but they did allow 115 receiving yards to Hilton last time the two squared off. So, Hilton still has high-level WR2 upside despite the tougher matchup.17Robert Woods, Rams @ Bears18Courtland Sutton, Broncos @ 49ers. Sutton has a great matchup against the 49ers, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to WRs this season, and is coming off his best game as a pro (four catches, 85 yards, one TD). He should be able to build on that performance and work his way into WR2 territory after the unfortunate, season-ending injury to his teammate Emmanuel Sanders.19Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals vs. Lions. Fitzgerald is more of a TD-dependent play in fantasy at this point, as he has scored five times in the past six weeks. The Lions have allowed 16 TDs to WRs this year, tied for sixth-most in the league, so Fitzgerald should have a chance to find the end zone so long as Josh Rosen keeps looking his way.20Tyler Lockett, Seahawks vs. Vikings. Lockett has scored a TD in 75 percent of his games this year. In each of the past four weeks, he has at least 52 receiving yards. Lockett has been one of the most consistent threats in fantasy football, but the Vikings have only allowed three TDs to WRs since Week 6. Something will have to give in this matchup, and it will be interesting to see if Lockett or the Minnesota defense holds up.21Alshon Jeffery, Eagles @ Cowboys. Jeffery hasn’t eclipsed 48 yards in the past five weeks, and that 48-yard outing came against the Cowboys. While Dallas is a tough matchup, Jeffery is due to score and the Eagles should try to look his way in the red-zone. Jeffery is averaging over seven targets per game this season, so the opportunities to produce will be there.22Josh Gordon, Patriots @ Dolphins. Gordon has at least 58 receiving yards in the past four games and has scored twice in that span. With Gronk and Julian Edelman back, he is getting more open space. He’ll get a tough matchup with Xavien Howard in Week 14, but Gordon could still find some open space and make a big play. He is still a must-start because of his consistent yardage output.23Jarvis Landry, Browns vs. Panthers. Landry finally finally broke 100 receiving yards last week for the first time since Week 3, and he saw nine targets. The Panthers have given up the ninth-most fantasy points to WRs this year and have allowed two double-digit receivers in back-to-back weeks. Landry hasn’t been trustworthy this year, but this is a great matchup for him to get back into WR2 territory.24D.J. Moore, Panthers @ Browns. In each of the past three weeks, Moore has seen eight or more targets. He also has run the ball three times in that same time period. He is a speedy, explosive playmaker that can be trusted in a solid matchup with the Browns, a middle-of-the-pack team against WRs this year. WEEK 14 DFS GPP LINEUPS:  Yahoo | DraftKings | FanDuel8DeAndre Hopkins, Texans vs. Colts9Adam Thielen, Vikings @ Seahawks10JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers @ Raiders.  Smith-Schuster is averaging 12 targets per game in the past three outings, and he gets to take on a Raiders defense that has allowed 17 TDs to WRs this year, which is tied for fourth most in the NFL. He should have a nice outing in a game that the Steelers really need to win.11Tyreek Hill, Chiefs vs. Ravens.  After two consecutive two-TD games, Hill put up a dud last week against the Raiders, accounting for just 5.0 fantasy points. Since the bye week, the Ravens haven’t allowed a receiver to score double-digit fantasy points, so Hill could have a tougher time this week. Still, his big-play ability makes him a borderline WR1, as all it takes is one deep TD to have him pay off.12Brandin Cooks, Rams @ Bears. In three of the past four games, Cooks has posted over 100 yards. He has been a deep threat for the Rams, and there’s a good chance that he will have a chance to put up some solid numbers against the Bears. The way to beat the Bears is at the cornerback position, and Cooks has skills and speed to be a factor for the Rams on Sunday night.13Tyler Boyd, Bengals @ Chargers.  In the wake of A.J. Green’s latest injury, Tyler Boyd will likely be the No. 1 receiver for the Bengals once again. The Chargers have been very good against receivers this year, but if the Bengals get opportunities in garbage time, that could open up some more chance for Boyd to rack up yards and get a score.14Kenny Golladay, Lions @ Cardinals.  Over the past month, Golladay has averaged 11 targets per game and has found the end zone twice for the Lions. The Cardinals just limited the Packers’ passing offense and the Cardinals do have Patrick Peterson, but Golladay should still see targets and be given a chance to produce like Davante Adams was able to last week.15Allen Robinson, Bears vs. Rams. Robinson saw nine targets last week and caught five of them for 79 yards. He is continuing to slowly work his way into the No. 1 receiver role in the Bears offense and while the Rams have Aqib Talib back and healthy, Robinson should have a chance to catch passes as long as he continues to see targets. WEEK 14 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endWeek 14 Fantasy Football Rankings: WRsThese rankings are for standard, non-PPR leagues1Antonio Brown, Steelers @ Raiders2Davante Adams, Packers vs. Falcons3Keenan Allen, Chargers vs. Bengals4Michael Thomas, Saints @ Buccaneers5Mike Evans, Buccaneers vs. Saints6Julio Jones, Falcons @ Packers7Amari Cooper, Cowboys vs. Eagles.  The Eagles secondary is still very banged up, and Cooper has logged back-to-back games with at least eight catches. He can continue to be trusted as a high-volume receiver with big-play upside. Week 14 Rankings:Quarterback | Running Back | Tight End | D/ST | KickerIn the mid-tiers this week, there are a few matchups we like. Notably, Chris Godwin (vs. Saints) will have a chance to function as a high-end WR3 if DeSean Jackson continues to miss time. Other good matchups include D.J. Moore (@ Browns), Mike Williams (vs. Bengals), Courtland Sutton (@ 49ers), and even Zay Jones (vs. Jets). There really is plenty of depth, so that will create some difficult start/sit decisions for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.Note: Check back for player movement updates and analysis throughout the week.center_img The receiver position is still one of the deepest in fantasy football, but the top portion of the rankings took a hit when A.J. Green went down again. Green aggravated his foot injury, and it looks like his season might be over. Still, our Week 14 fantasy WR rankings are deep, and there are more than enough options to plug-and-play as WR2s and WR3s from the waiver wire. So, the Green injury shouldn’t have too much of an impact except in very deep leagues (14-16 teams).The top of the WR rankings for this week sees a lot of players with high-quality matchups. Antonio Brown (@ Raiders), Davante Adams (vs. Falcons), Keenan Allen (vs. Bengals), and Michael Thomas (@ Buccaneers) all have realistic cases for being the No. 1 receiver, so anyone who owns these guys should be even happier than usual. Those great matchups can be exploited further down the line, as well, as their teammates all can qualify as WR2s (or in the case of JuJu Smith-Schuster, as a WR1). MORE WEEK 14 DFS: Stacks | Values | Lineup Builder25Julian Edelman, Patriots @ Dolphins26Stefon Diggs, Vikings @ Seahawks. Diggs’ TD streak and 10-plus target streak both ended last week against the Patriots. That said, he could find success against the Seahawks, as Seattle just allowed Dante Pettis to go off for a huge game against them. However, most of that came in garbage time. Diggs will need to see more targets and prove that his balky knee is healthy if he wants a chance to produce against the Seahawks solid defense.27Chris Godwin, Buccaneers vs. Saints28Corey Davis, Titans vs. Jaguars. Davis has scored in three of the past four games. However, he has only seen five targets per game in the past three outings and he has to face a tough Jaguars defense that came back to life against the Colts last week. It could be a tougher matchup for Davis, so trusting him as anything more than a WR3 isn’t recommended.29Calvin Ridley, Falcons @ Packers30Adam Humphries, Buccaneers vs. Saints. Humphries has become a surprisingly consistent receiving threat, and he has scored in three consecutive weeks for the Buccaneers. The Saints have given up the most fantasy points to receivers this year, so Humphries could keep that going as one of Jameis Winston’s security blankets over the middle of the field.31Tre’Quan Smith, Saints @ Buccaneers. Smith should bounce back from a zero-catch outing against the Cowboys in a much easier matchup with the Buccaneers, as the Bucs allow the second-most fantasy points to WRs this year.32Sterling Shepard, Giants @ Redskins33DeVante Parker, Dolphins vs. Patriots34Golden Tate, Eagles @ Cowboys. Tate finally came alive in the Eagles offense, catching seven passes for 85 yards and a TD against the Redskins. Tate has played the Cowboys twice this year, posting a massive outing as part of the Lions and logging less than 20 yards in his first game as an Eagle. We’re assuming he will do better this time around, but Dallas has been great on defense recently, so his upside is capped.35Michael Crabtree, Ravens @ Chiefs. The Ravens receivers are difficult to judge as long as Lamar Jackson is the QB. Jackson has spread targets around in a few outings, so Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead will have a chance to catch passes. That said, all fall into high-end FLEX territory, even in a good matchup against the Chiefs, because the Ravens offense will focus a lot more on running the ball and controlling the clock.36Demaryius Thomas, Texans vs. Colts37John Brown, Ravens @ Chiefs38Chris Conley, Chiefs vs. Ravens39Doug Baldwin, Seahawks vs. Vikings. The Seahawks throw the ball less than any other team in the NFL, so supporting two consistently viable fantasy receivers isn’t something that they can do. Baldwin has become a TD-dependent threat as a result, and he hasn’t been fully healthy this season. It will be hard for him to be anything besides a FLEX in a tougher matchup against the Vikings.40John Ross, Bengals @ Chargers. Ross saw his TD streak end against the Broncos, but he is now the No. 2 receiver in the Bengals offense again with A.J. Green out for the season. He has some appeal because of his speed and solid performance in the red-zone, and the Chargers are only middling against receivers anyway. Fire him up as a FLEX play.41Tyrell Williams, Chargers vs. Bengals42Mike Williams, Chargers vs. Bengals. Williams is starting to become the true No. 2 receiver for the Chargers, as he has seven catches, 77 yards, and two TDs in the past two games. The Bengals have been bad against WRs this year so Williams will have TD upside again. It all depends on if he gets targets, as Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin are threats to steal looks from him depending on how they fare in their matchups.43Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Packers vs. Falcons44Willie Snead, Ravens @ Chiefs45Zay Jones, Bills vs. Jets. Jones is establishing himself as Josh Allen’s favorite receiver, and he saw nine targets last week, catching four of them for 67 yards and two scores. The Jets have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs this year, so Jones could have another good outing if all goes well.46Devin Funchess, Panthers @ Browns47Jamison Crowder, Redskins vs. Giants. Crowder returned from injury for the Redskins last week, but his outlook isn’t good with Mark Sanchez now entrenched as the starter in Washington.48Curtis Samuel, Panthers @ Browns49Josh Doctson, Redskins vs. Giants50Bruce Ellington, Lions @ Cardinals. Ellington has seen at least seven targets in all three of his games since joining the Lions. That gives him PPR upside, but in standard formats, he’s a bit more of a risk because he hasn’t scored yet and it yet to put up more than 52 yards as a Lion.51Josh Reynolds, Rams @ Bears52Taylor Gabriel, Bears vs. Rams53Donte Moncrief, Jaguars @ Titans54Michael Gallup, Cowboys vs. Eagles55Dede Westbrook, Jaguars @ Titans56Antonio Callaway, Browns vs. Panthers57Dante Pettis, 49ers vs. Broncos. Pettis just had a big game against the Seahawks, but we’ll need to see more from the rookie before trusting him as a FLEX play. Also, Nick Mullens is still his QB, so that caps his upside.58Russell Shepard, Giants @ Redskins59Marcell Ateman, Raiders vs. Steelers60DaeSean Hamilton, Broncos @ 49ers61Marquise Goodwin, 49ers vs. Broncos62Keke Coutee, Texans vs. Colts63Randall Cobb, Packers vs. Falcons64Danny Amendola, Dolphins vs. Patriots65Cole Beasley, Cowboys vs. Eagles66David Moore, Seahawks vs. Vikings67Mohamed Sanu, Falcons @ Packers68Robby Anderson, Jets @ Bills69Anthony Miller, Bears vs. Rams70Jordy Nelson, Raiders vs. Steelers71Jermaine Kearse, Jets @ Bills72Ryan Grant, Colts @ Texans73Allen Hurns, Cowboys vs. Eagles74Maurice Harris, Redskins vs. Giants75Keelan Cole, Jaguars @ Titans76Rashard Higgins, Browns vs. Panthers77Nelson Agholor, Eagles @ Cowboys78Seth Roberts, Raiders vs. Steelers79Kendrick Bourne, 49ers vs. Broncos80Jordan Matthews, Eagles @ Cowboyslast_img read more