Happy New Year to everybody out there! My own personal holiday tradition is to stay up super late on New Year's Eve (and into New Year's morning) playing Madden and having the time of my life. And before you mention it, yes, my wife is a very lucky woman. Yet, in some way, she didn't help her own cause because she did arrange to have Santa Claus bring me a copy of NCAA 14 for Christmas. (Hit me up for my gamer tag on Twitter and maybe we can play.)
But during this holiday season it's time to take a moment to reflect on some of the players who made the most noise, both good and bad, in 2013 and who has our eye for next year.
Biggest Movers of the Year (in a good way)
Madden Next Gen voting
We're handing it off to you. Let your voice be heard. Help EA rate these NFL players for Madden NFL 25. More...
I'm really curious to see where Nick Foles ranks among quarterbacks next season. He's probably been the most reliable quarterback out there behind guys like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. I felt Tom Brady took too much of a beating in the rankings because of his lack of offensive weapons. Overall, I'm curious to see where Foles lands. If I was doing it, I'd go Manning, Brees, Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck and then Foles.
Eddie Lacey has looked amazing during his rookie season. He's going to scratch the surface of the elite backs. He will likely get a nice little boost headed into next year, as he's been fantastic. And having Rodgers healthy for an entire season will make him even more deadly.
Josh Gordon has risen up to challenge Calvin Johnson, as the two put up very similar numbers. But as good as Gordon has been, the biggest mover has been Alshon Jeffery. The Chicago Bears have the best receiving duo on in the NFL. And since I've taken to playing the Bears exclusively now, I can tell you it's amazing to have two great options, along with Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett.
Biggest Movers of the Year (not in a good way)
Trent Richardson. Or as we like to refer to him as, fantasy football dream killer. Everybody thought the Browns had made a huge mistake when they traded him to the Colts. But how smart does the brain trust of Cleveland look right now? Richardson has really struggled and you might want to say it was a matter of not being able to pick up the playbook and things like that. Yet, the Browns have picked up guys like Eddy Baker and put him in the lineup and have had him play pretty well. And Donald Brown doesn't seem to have a problem playing behind the Colts' offensive line. I would expect Richardson to start with a 50 rating. Wait, it's not an expectation, but rather a hope.
Julio Jones was supposed to be the next big thing at wide receiver, but injuries have ruined his season. He's now been passed by guys like Gordon and Jeffery.
Six Predictions for Sunday
- I was looking at the AFC playoff picture and if I'm reading this correctly, the San Diego Chargers win if they forfeit Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs. I'm just kidding. The Chiefs have already forfeited because they will sit all of their starters going against a team that needs to win to get in. The Chargers will beat the Chiefs and all of the other scenarios will fall into place for them. The New York Jets will beat the Miami Dolphins because the team will do just enough to get to 8-8. And seriously, if that happens, Rex Ryan should be considered for Coach of the Year.
- The Arizona Cardinals will knock off the San Francisco 49ers, and the New Orleans Saints will be upset by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That means the NFC West will have three playoff teams. Remember when everybody wanted to disband the NFC West and revoke their automatic playoff berth just a few years ago? Of course, you don't remember that.
- The Oakland Raiders will play a spirited game against the Denver Broncos this week. But seriously, this is the kind of game Peyton Manning will dominate (it's the playoffs where he has some struggles). The New England Patriots will beat the Buffalo Bills to get the No. 2 seed. Don't worry Patriots fans, you'll still play host in the AFC Championship Game. Unless, they build a roof over Sports Authority Field.
Did you know that Adam Rank won last year's Expert's League title? Oh that's right, it's like the only thing he ever talks about. Well congratulations, Rank. You finally did something. What have you done for us lately? Let's worry about 2013 and stop living in the past. Typical Lakers fan, am I right? Oh, if you found this useful (as if) check him out on the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program". And follow him on Twitter, please. He's taking us to lunch if he gets 17 more Twitter followers today. And we only got 15 the last time, so step up fantasy enthusiasts!