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The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Football Players of the Week - Week 4

Kenneth Butler (Notre Dame), Justin Avery (Charleston) and Kyle Kaplan (Notre Dame) have been named Mountain East Conference Players of the Week.

Butler, a sophomore from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is the league’s Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for an MEC record 230 yards as the Falcons picked up a 47-44 road victory over West Virginia Wesleyan. Butler, who was making his first career start, carried the ball 42 times and averaged 5.5 yards per carry and added a touchdown for NDC.

Avery, a senior linebacker from Charlotte, NC, is the MEC’s Defensive Player of the Week after helping UC to a 30-14 home victory over UVa-Wise. Avery finished the game with 10 tackles, including two for a loss and one sack as the Golden Eagles improved to 3-0 on the year.

Kaplan, a sophomore from Hilliard, Ohio, collects MEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his efforts in Notre Dame’s win over West Virginia Wesleyan. Kaplan was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including a 40-yard attempt in the fourth quarter. He was also 5-for-5 on extra point attempts to finish with 17 points on the day.

Other Top Performances

Offense: Jeremy Musselman (West Virginia Wesleyan) tied an MEC record with six touchdown passes in a loss vs. Notre Dame ... Rahmann Lee  (Glenville State) had 300 all-purpose yards (220 rushing, 80 receiving) in a narrow loss against Fairmont State ... Cooper Hibbs (Fairmont State) was 25-of-36 for 374 yards and three touchdowns to get the Falcons past the Pioneers ... Ryan Stewart (Concord) pulled in three touchdown passes vs. Bowie State and has seven TD receptions in the last two weeks ... Jeff Ziemba (Shepherd) was 17-of-22 for 239 yards and two touchdowns ... Joey Augustin (Charleston) had seven grabs for 136 yards and a touchdown ... Dakota Conwell (West Liberty) threw for 135 yards and three touchdowns and also racked up 103 yards on the ground for the ‘Toppers.


Defense: Octavius Thomas (Shepherd) had nine tackles, including 1.5 for a loss ... Demonnne Cox (Fairmont State) had seven tackles, forced a crucial fumble in the third quarter, and also batted down a pass in FSU’s win over Glenville State ... Marcus Schumacher (West Liberty) had 10 total stops and a sack ... Claudy Matieu (Notre Dame) recorded three sacks ... Terrell Hudson (Urbana) had 13 total tackles, including 1.5 for a loss.


Special Teams: Torie Wagner (Charleston) had 116 punt return yards and a touchdown ... Ben Rogers (West Liberty) had a 51-yard punt return to spark the ‘Toppers against West Virginia State ... Johnny Dearstine (Fairmont State) had a field goal and five extra points ... Will Greathouse (Concord) blocked a field goal in CU’s three-point win against Bowie State ... Ross Snodgrass (Urbana) averaged 47.8 yards per punt, including a 70-yard boot.

2014 MEC Players of the Week
Week Offense Defense Special Teams
September 08 Brian Novak (CU) Marlon Oden (NDC) Anton McCallum (WLU)
September 15 Ray Russ (NDC) Shaneil Jenkins (SU) Josh Wilson (WLU)
September 22 Kenneth Butler (NDC) Justin Avery (UC) Kyle Kaplan (NDC)

►  MEC Football Preview - Week 4


West Virginia Wesleyan (1-2, 1-2) at #11 Shepherd, Noon

Video | Live Stats

Last Year
: Shepherd won 45-10

Notes: WVWC’s Jeremy Musselman will test the NCAA leader in total defense at Shepherd ... Musselman thew for 442 yards and 6 TDs last week ... SU has won each of their first three games by an average of 38.6 ppg.

West Liberty (2-1, 2-1) at Concord (3-0, 2-0), Noon

Video | Live Stats

Last Year
: Concord won 20-3

Notes: CU and WLU are giving up nearly the same amount of yards per game ... WLU’s defense has just one interception on the year, while CU has a league-best six.

Fairmont State (1-2, 1-2) at West Virginia State (1-2, 0-2), 1:00 PM

Live Stats

Last Year
: Fairmont State won 56-3

Notes: FSU’s last road win came in 2011 against WVSU ... Yellow Jackets are looking for their first MEC victory ... both QBs average over 200 yards of total offense.

Urbana (1-2, 1-2) at Glenville State (0-3, 0-3), 1:00 PM

Audio | Video | Live Stats

Last Year: Urbana won 12-9

Notes: GSC held UU to its lowest offensive output of the season last year but failed to score an offensive touchdown in the loss ... two of GSC’s three losses have been by four points or less ... GSC leads MEC in rushing ... UU is giving up just 3.6 yards per rush.

Charleston (3-0, 2-0) at Notre Dame (3-0, 3-0), 2:00 PM 

AudioLive Stats

Last Year
: Charleston won 34-32

Notes: Matchup of two unbeaten MEC teams ... UC won last year on a last-second field goal ... UC’s pass defense (155.3) is ranked second in the league, NDC’s pass offense (301.7) is third in the conference, and NDC’s rush defense is second (96.3) and UC’s rushing offense is third (218.3) ... ... NDC has allowed just one rushing TD ... both teams averaging over 35 ppg.

UVa-Wise (0-3) at Wofford (1-2), 7:00 PM 

Audio | Video | Live Stats

Last Year
: Did not meet

Notes: MEC is 3-0 in non-conference games (all against DII opponents) ... Wofford (Division I FCS) has losses against Georgia Tech and Gardner-Webb ... UVa-Wise has the fewest penalty yards of any team in the MEC.

News & Notes

• The only two 200-yard rushing performances in the MEC both came last week in NDC’s Kenneth Butler’s 230 yards and GSC’s Rahmann Lee’s 220 yards.

• There have been seven total 200-yard rushing performances in the MEC with three of those coming from Notre Dame running backs (two from Pedro Powell in 2013 and one from Butler).

• In addition to 220 yards rushing, Rahmann Lee also had 80 yards receiving to finish with 300 all-purpose yards. That total currently ranks as the fourth-most in a single game in the NCAA this season.

• Lee ranks second among active players in all-purpose yards per game (157.12), third in rushing yards per game (128.5) and fourth for rushing yards (3,212).

• Four different MEC quarterbacks have two 300+ yard passing games this season: Cooper Hibbs (FSU), Jeremy Musselman (WVWC), Brian Novak (CU) and Ray Russ (NDC).

• The MEC’s four unbeaten teams are also the only four teams in the league that average 30 or more minutes of possession this season.

• SU quarterback Jeff Ziemba’s 16-of-16 passing against Fairmont State in week two established a new conference record for completion%age. In a span of two games, he completed 18-straight passes, which is also a new league mark.

• Ziemba has yet to throw an interception this season (61 attempts).

• The Shepherd defense has posted four shutouts since the start of the 2013 season.

• Urbana became just the second MEC to rush for over 100 yards against Shepherd since 2013 with 104 yards on the ground in week three. Shepherd has held its opponents to under 100 yards rushing in 11 of its last 13 regular season games dating back to last season.

• Shepherd leads the country in total defense allowing just 155.3 yards per game.

• SU has yet to allow a point in the first and third quarters of games this season.

• After giving up just 34 points in two games, Concord allowed 34 last week to Bowie State.

• Seven of Brian Novak’s 10 touchdown passes this season have gone to Ryan Stewart. Stewart’s seven TD receptions are the most in the country.

• Novak already has more touchdown passes this season than he did all of 2013, and needs just 500 more yards to surpass last season’s total in that category. He ranks ninth in the country in passing yards with 1,020.

• UC’s Marvin Elam has lost just seven yards on 66 rushing attempts this season. He is second in the MEC with 121.3 rushing yards per game to go with a league-best seven rushing touchdowns.

• Charleston’s Torie Wagner’s 116 punt return yards last week are the most by any player in NCAA Division II so far this season.

• Notre Dame’s Ray Russ has not thrown an interception in his last 102 pass attempts.

• NDC is one of only two teams in the MEC (Shepherd is the other) to hold teams to under 100 yards rushing per game this season (96.3).

• West Liberty’s 38 points last week against West Virginia State were its most in a game since October 27, 2012 against Seton Hill (41).

• WLU’s Alec Wood is the league’s top tackler with 11.0 stops per game.

• Fairmont State is second the MEC in red zone offense converting six of its seven chances so far this season.

• WVWC quarterback Jeremy Musselman tied an MEC record last week with six touchdown passes in week three against Notre Dame. His 442 passing yards were the second-most in league history.

• Urbana’s Cale Burdyshaw is averaging 7.1 yards per carry and 14.7 yards per completion.

• West Virginia State’s Wenley Beliard leads the league in tackles for a loss with six, all of which were solo stops.

• UVa-Wise has the fewest penalty yards per game in the league.

• Terrence Younger’s 6.7 receptions per game are second-most in the MEC.

• Glenville State has converted three two-point conversions this far. No other conference team has converted more than one.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Week 5 Games in the Area

Class A

Gilmer County (2-2)  @  #7 Buffalo (3-1)

Tyler Consolidated (2-2)  @  Calhoun County (2-2)

#2 St. Marys (4-0)      BYE WEEK

#15 Valley Fayette (3-1)  @  Parkersburg Catholic (2-2)

Wirt County (0-4)      BYE WEEK

Philip Barbour (0-4)  @  Tucker County (1-3)

Class AA

Roane County (2-2)  @  Braxton County (2-2)

#1 Williamstown - A (4-0)  @  #4 Ravenswood (3-0)

East Fairmont (1-3)  @  #6 Bridgeport (3-1)

#7 Ritchie County (3-1)  @  #15 Doddridge Co. - A (2-1)

#9 Clay County (3-1)  @  #16 Nicholas County (2-1)

#11 Liberty - Harrison (3-1)  @  #14 Weir (3-1)

Robert C. Byrd (2-2)  @  #15 Grafton (3-1)

Webster County (2-2)      BYE WEEK

South Harrison - A (1-2)  @  Lincoln (1-3)

Notre Dame - A (1-2)  @  River View (1-3)

Class AAA

#11 Lewis County (3-1)  @  Lincoln County (0-4)

#7 Parkersburg South (3-1)      BYE WEEK

Parkersburg (1-2)  @  Marietta, OH (2-2)

Buckhannon-Upshur (2-1)  @  Oak Hill (0-3)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Recruits Think Highly Of Marshall and Where Program Is Going

Doc Holliday has said over and over that players buy with their eyes. As Marshall assistant coaches left on recruiting trips during the bye week, the prospects they are trying to persuade to sign with Marshall, must like what they are seeing.

While Holliday and coordinators Bill Legg and Chuck Heater reviewed footage from the Akron game, seven other assistants hit the recruiting trail this week in Florida, California, Georgia and other areas looking for the next crop of Herd players. Each year Holliday has led the Marshall program, the quality of the recruits signing with the Herd has improved. He believes prospects are holding a higher opinion of Marshall than when he first arrived.

“Number one, we have great facilities,” explained Holliday. “They are going to walk on campus and see one of the nicer indoor football complexes, new training center, and the hall of fame. We are going to have as nice facilities as anyone in the country when they come here.”

But they also like winning.

“They like the style that we play here on offense, whether it be wide-out, quarterback, or skill guy, I think you will want to play in our offense. Because what we do offensively and defensively is the same deal. Those corners out there like to play man-press and like to get involved in the very aggressive-type defense, which we are. They like our style of play and like winning.”

That style of play has led to Marshall averaging 45.5 points a game while only allowing 16.2.  That style of play has elevated the Thundering Herd from an afterthought in Conference USA to the favorite to win the league and a possibly be the team that represents the G-5 schools in an access bowl at the end of the season.

Of course it doesn’t hurt that Marshall has received national exposure this year for the first time in more than a decade. Quarterback Rakeem Cato has been featured in various national publications and on ESPN’s College Gameday. Even Coach Doc Holliday has made appearances on both Jim Rome’s radio and television shows.

All of that helps the program’s reach.

“All these kids throughout the country, whether California, Florida, Georgia, they can turn on the T.V. and can watch Marshall, Cato and all those guys play. You add playing pretty well, which we are right now, to that and people talking about us then it definitely going to help us recruit.”

Sustaining a high level of play might be more difficult that rebuilding a program. That is the next step for Holliday and his staff. At least now, Marshall looks good, from facilities to performance, to the next crop of recruits.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Oklahoma State Gets Past Texas Tech in Big 12 Shootout

Daxx Garman threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as 24th-ranked Oklahoma State outgunned Texas Tech, 45-35, in the Big 12 opener for both programs.

Garman hooked up with James Washington for two scores and finished with 370 yards and two interceptions for the Cowboys (3-1, 1-0 Big 12), who have won three straight since a season-opening loss to No. 1 Florida State.

Davis Webb also tossed four touchdown passes and had Texas Tech (2-2, 0-1) within striking distance before going down with a left shoulder injury early in the fourth quarter.

The teams combined for 1,034 yards of offense and 287 penalty yards.

“I’ve never seen a team shoot itself in the foot as many times as we did tonight. It was embarrassing football,“ Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “It’s just bad football, and it’s on me. I have to get it fixed.“

Ben Grogan connected on a 42-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to extend Oklahoma State’s lead to 38-28, and any chance of a Red Raiders comeback took a hit when Webb was shaken up on the ensuing drive.

Patrick Mahomes took over under center, and an interception on his first pass turned into seven more Cowboys points. After a roughing the passer penalty on third down extended the drive, Garman ran eight yards on a bootleg to all but secure the victory.

Mahomes threw a 4-yard TD pass to Jakeem Grant with 5:52 remaining to account for the final margin.

The Red Raiders took the opening kickoff and went 83 yards in 10 plays, with Reginald Davis hauling in a pass over the middle for the final 21 yards to give the visitors an early 7-0 lead.

Garman threw an interception in Texas Tech territory on Oklahoma State’s first possession but connected with Washington on a go route for a 33-yard touchdown later in the opening quarter.

Webb also shook off an interception with an 18-yard TD pass to Bradley Marquez in the right corner of the end zone early in the second quarter.

Jeremy Seaton’s 28-yard catch set up Desmond Roland’s 1-yard touchdown run, and one play after another Webb interception, Garman found Washington again, this time for a 39-yard score.

Garman threw an interception in the end zone in the final minute of the first half to keep it a 21-14 game in the Cowboys’ favor, but the junior quarterback rebounded with a pair of long TD passes in the third quarter.

“I thought he handled himself really well. It was his first Big 12 game and only his third game at this level,“ Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said of Garman. “He’s learning, and he’s getting better.“

Blake Jarwin hauled in a 47-yard strike, and Tyreek Hill got behind the secondary for a 50-yard score on the next Oklahoma State possession.

Justin Stockton took a screen pass and scored from 17 yards out between those scores, and a second Webb-to-Davis hookup of 22 yards pulled Texas Tech within 35-28 heading into the fourth.

Game Notes

Webb completed 35-of-54 passes for 374 yards ... Oklahoma State earned its 25th straight home victory over an unranked opponent ... The Red Raiders have dropped six straight meetings and have not won in Stillwater since 2001 ... Cowboys cornerback Ashton Lampkin appeared to suffer a serious ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return ... Oklahoma State’s Marcell Ateman had a game-high 130 receiving yards on six catches ... Grant caught a dozen passes for 100 yards ... Texas Tech gained 33 first downs to 23 for the Cowboys.

The Gilmer Free Press


Final Score: (11) UCLA 62, (15) Arizona State 27

Brett Hundley returned to the field on Thursday and showed why he was a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, throwing four touchdown passes and running for another in No. 11 UCLA’s 62-27 rout of 15th-ranked Arizona State. Hundley played with a heavily wrapped left arm after leaving last week’s win over Texas with an elbow injury. He played through the pain and delivered the best game of his collegiate career, completing 18-of-23 passes for 355 yards. He also gained 72 yards on eight carries. UCLA (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) benefited from the big play, scoring four touchdowns of 80-plus yards. Ishmael Adams was responsible for two of those, returning an interception and kickoff for long scores. Jordan Payton made five catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Eldridge Massington’s lone reception went 80 yards for a tally. Paul Perkins gained 137 yards on the ground, with 81 of those coming on a run late in the contest that included a highlight reel juke at the end of it. Mike Bervocivi made his first career start in place of the injured Taylor Kelly for the Sun Devils (3-1, 1-1) and threw early and often, completing 42- of-68 passes for 488 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Jaelen Strong made a game-high 12 catches for 146 yards.

Final Score: (24) Oklahoma State 45, Texas Tech 35

Daxx Garman threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as 24th-ranked Oklahoma State outgunned Texas Tech, 45-35, in the Big 12 opener for both programs. Garman hooked up with James Washington for two scores and finished with 370 yards and two interceptions for the Cowboys (3-1, 1-0 Big 12), who have won three straight since a season-opening loss to No. 1 Florida State. Davis Webb also tossed four touchdown passes and had Texas Tech (2-2, 0-1) within striking distance before going down with a left shoulder injury early in the fourth quarter. The teams combined for 1,034 yards of offense and 287 penalty yards.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NFL SCORES Week 4

Final Score: NY Giants 45, Washington 14

The New York Giants may have finally found their tight end of the future. Eli Manning tossed three of his four touchdown passes to Larry Donnell, who became the first Giants tight end to haul in three scores in 52 years, and New York routed the Washington Redskins, 45-14, on Thursday night. New York has employed five different starting tight ends since Jeremy Shockey’s departure in 2007, with the Giants’ leading one averaging 42 receptions for 539 yards during the six-year span. Shockey, meanwhile, averaged 62 catches and 705 yards a season during his six- year stint with the Giants from 2002-2007. Donnell finished with 54 yards on seven receptions for New York (2-2), which has won its last two games after beginning 0-2. Joe Walton was the last Giants tight end to score three touchdowns in 1962. Manning, who also added a score on the ground, completed 28-of-39 passes for 300 yards. Rueben Randle posted eight catches for 89 yards and Victor Cruz caught six balls for 108 yards in the triumph. After going 30-of-48 for a career-high 427 yards and three touchdowns in his first start of the year for the injured Robert Griffin III Sunday against Philadelphia, Kirk Cousins came back down to earth Thursday. He was 19-of-33 with a touchdown and four interceptions—all in the second half. He also lost a fumble. Alfred Morris carried the ball 12 times for 63 yards and a score for the Redskins (1-3), who have lost their last two games.

►  Bears Sign LB Sharpton

The Chicago Bears on Thursday signed linebacker Darryl Sharpton to a one-year contract.

Sharpton participated in 42 games (19 starts) over four seasons with the Houston Texans from 2010-13, totaling 144 tackles, one sack and an interception.

To make room on the roster, the Bears terminated the contract of vested veteran and fullback Tony Fiammetta with an injury settlement.

►  Titans’ Locker Misses Second Straight Practice

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker sat out a second consecutive practice Thursday due to an ailing right wrist, putting his availability for this weekend’s game at Indianapolis squarely in question.

Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt hinted that Locker could miss Friday’s practice as well, telling reporters after Thursday’s session that the oft- injured signal-caller’s status for Sunday’s matchup against the Colts likely won’t be determined until Saturday.

“I guess he’s got a shot until he doesn’t have a shot, that’s the best way to look at it,“ said Whisenhunt. “I know he’s studied the plan, we talk about it on the practice field all the time. It’s a question of where he progresses physically. I think we’ll know more (Friday).“

If Locker, who sustained the injury during last week’s 33-7 loss at Cincinnati but played the entire game, cannot go, veteran Charlie Whitehurst will draw his first start since 2011.

Locker struggled for a second straight week during Tennessee’s rout at the hands of the Bengals, completing just 17-of-34 passes for 185 yards and two interceptions. The embattled former first-round selection also was picked off twice in a home loss to Dallas the previous Sunday.

The 26-year-old Locker has missed a total of 14 games over the previous two seasons due to an assortment of injuries, most notably a dislocated left shoulder and a foot problem that required surgery.

►  Lions WR Johnson Misses 2nd Practice

Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson missed his second straight practice Thursday with an ankle injury he suffered Sunday against the Packers.

The star receiver is one of four Detroit players who haven’t practiced this week as the Lions gear up to play the New York Jets.

Safety Don Carey (hamstring), linebacker Travis Lewis (quad) and cornerback Cassius Vaughn (ankle) have also sat out the last two days.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said tight end Joseph Fauria missed practice Thursday with a twisted his ankle he suffered at home.

►  Bucs Promote QB Kafka with McCown Ailing

In a strong indicator that Josh McCown is likely to miss some time with his right thumb injury, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed quarterback Mike Kafka to the active roster from the practice squad on Thursday.

Kafka, who attempted 16 passes over four games with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011, is expected to serve as the backup to Mike Glennon when the Buccaneers visit the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday.

McCown was forced to exit Tampa Bay’s forgettable 56-14 loss at Atlanta on September 18 after spraining his throwing thumb while attempting a pass. The journeyman signal-caller hit his right hand on a helmet to cause the injury, which kept him out of Wednesday’s practice.

Glennon, a 13-game starter as a rookie for Tampa Bay last season, played the entire second half against the Falcons and completed 17-of-24 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown.

McCown, signed to a two-year contract by the Bucs during the offseason, has struggled through Tampa Bay’s first three games, throwing four interceptions and losing two fumbles while managing just 420 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Guard Rishaw Johnson, inactive for each of Tampa Bay’s three games this season, was waived to make room for Kafka.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Suns, Bledsoe Agree to $70M Deal

The Phoenix Suns and restricted free-agent guard Eric Bledsoe have settled their differences and agreed to a five-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

The reported $70-million deal is a substantial increase over the reported four-year, $48 million that the Suns had offered Bledsoe at the start of free agency in July. Phoenix and Bledsoe renewed negotiations this week.

“I learned long ago that it doesn’t matter how stormy the sea is as long as the ship comes in and today we are thrilled that the ship has come in and Eric will remain a Sun for a long time,“ said president of basketball operations Lon Babby. “He will be an integral part not only of our basketball team, but our Phoenix community.“

The 24-year-old Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds in 43 games last season. He missed a majority of the season with a torn meniscus in his knee that required surgery.

“Lon, Ryan (McDonough) and the Suns have shown confidence in me, and I am looking to take that responsibility and help our team get better from last year and position ourselves to win an NBA championship,“ said Bledsoe. “It’s why I came back to Phoenix. All summer, I knew that I really would be most comfortable coming back to Phoenix because of the great fans, my Suns teammates and our coaches. I am very happy it was able to work out this way.“

Bledsoe had planned to sign a one-year qualifying offer of $3.7 million with the Suns at the end of this week had a deal not been reached so he could be an unrestricted free agent next year.

Prior to joining the Suns, Bledsoe played the first three seasons of his professional career with the Clippers.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Stewart Named Diamondbacks GM

The Arizona Diamondbacks have made former major league pitcher Dave Stewart their new general manager, with the team to formally introduce the four-time 20-game winner during a press conference scheduled for Friday.

In addition to Stewart, who will take over for the recently fired Kevin Towers, the Diamondbacks have hired Los Angeles Dodgers executive De Jon Watson as the organization’s senior vice president of baseball operations.

Both men will report directly to Diamondbacks CEO Tony La Russa, who managed Stewart for seven seasons with the Oakland Athletics from 1986-92. Stewart put together four consecutive campaigns of 20 or more victories (1987-90) during that period, finishing in the top five in voting for the American League’s Cy Young Award in each of those years.

After retiring as a player after the 1995 season, Stewart worked in the front offices of the A’s, San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays and also served as a pitching coach for the Padres, Blue Jays and Milwaukee. The 57-year-old has been operating his own sports agency, Sports Management Partners, since 2002.

“I’ve known Stew for nearly three decades and his diverse background includes championships on the field as both a player and coach, in the front office and in contract negotiation as a player representative,“ said La Russa in a statement.

Stewart, a member of three World Series champion teams during his 16-year playing career, will become the fourth GM in Diamondbacks’ history and inherits a team that currently owns the worst record in baseball at 63-96. That lack of success led to Towers’ dismissal on September 05.

Ironically, Stewart was a special assistant to Towers with the Padres in 1997.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy success as a player and coach and really enjoyed my time representing players, but this is the perfect challenge for me,“ said Stewart. “To try and put together the pieces of a championship team is something I can’t wait to begin and I could not be more excited about doing it with De Jon and alongside a Hall of Famer who I respect greatly in Tony.“

Watson has spent the past eight years in the Dodgers organization, most recently as the club’s vice president of player development. The 48-year-old has overseen several homegrown products emerge as All-Stars during his tenure, including reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and sluggers Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig.


Final Score: San Francisco 9, San Diego 8

Pablo Sandoval went 3-for-3 with four RBI as the San Francisco Giants snuck past the San Diego Padres, 9-8, in a wild opener of a four-game series. Yasmani Grandal hit a go-ahead gram slam in the seventh inning, but the Giants responded with three runs in the bottom half to retake the lead. Brandon Belt, who along with Brandon Crawford hit solo home runs, knocked in the tying run with a base hit before Hunter Pence scored on a suicide squeeze. The playoff-bound Giants won for just the second time in seven games and still trail the Pirates by one game for the top wild card spot in the NL. The club clinched a playoff berth thanks to the Brewers’ loss earlier Thursday.

Final Score: Cincinnati 5, Milwaukee 3

Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer and scored twice as Cincinnati claimed a 5-3 victory over Milwaukee in the rubber match of a three-game series, eliminating the Brewers from playoff contention. Jay Bruce finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored for the Reds, who also received two hits and on RBI from Yorman Rodriguez. David Holmberg (2-2) allowed two runs and three hits over six efficient innings. Aroldis Chapman earned his 35th save with a perfect ninth. Rickie Weeks ended up 2-for-3 with a solo shot for the Brewers, whose loss clinched the last NL playoff spot for the San Francisco Giants Yovani Gallardo (8-11) was tagged for 10 hits and five runs—three earned—over five-plus frames.

Final Score: New York 7, Washington 4 (Game One) Final Score: Washington 3, New York 0 (Game Two)

Gio Gonzalez pitched seven strong innings to help the Washington Nationals to a 3-0 win over the New York Mets and a split of a day-night doubleheader on Thursday. Gonzalez (10-10), allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out 12 for the Nationals, who have won six of seven. The Nationals stretched their lead over the idle Dodgers to 2 1/2 games for the top overall spot in the NL. Zack Wheeler (11-11) gave up three runs on four hits over five innings for the Mets, who lost two of three in the set. In the opener, Curtis Granderson went 3-for-4 to help the Mets to a 7-4 victory.

Final Score: Miami 6, Philadelphia 4

Casey McGehee doubled home two runs in the seventh inning and the Miami Marlins notched a 6-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies to wrap up a three-game series. McGehee drove in three runs, Garrett Jones went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Donovan Solano had two hits, two runs and an RBI for the Marlins, who had lost five of six coming in. Tom Koehler (10-10) gave up four runs on eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in seven innings to pick up the win. Chase Utley and Domonic Brown each drove in two runs for the Phillies, who have dropped five of seven. David Buchanan gave up two runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings, while Jake Diekman (5-5) was handed the loss for giving up the lead in the seventh.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 10, Atlanta 1

Edinson Volquez’s latest sensational start, combined with an offensive barrage, enabled the Pittsburgh Pirates to further close the gap in the National League Central race by virtue of a 10-1 rout of the Atlanta Braves. Behind Volquez’s seven scoreless innings and a 16-hit onslaught, the Pirates pulled within one game of St. Louis for the NL Central lead entering the season’s final weekend. Andrew McCutchen knocked in three runs, Josh Harrison went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and Travis Snider finished a triple shy of the cycle to back a season-best 10-strikeout effort out of Volquez (13-7), who yielded just four singles and a walk to extend his unbeaten streak to 12 consecutive outings. David Hale (4-5), called upon for a spot start with Mike Minor shut down for the season, allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings for Atlanta.


Final Score: Seattle 7, Toronto 5

Logan Morrison cracked two homers and drove in four runs, helping the Seattle Mariners snap a five-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. Mike Zunino also homered for the Mariners, who salvaged a win in the four-game series as they try desperately to stay alive in the hunt for an AL wild-card berth. The Mariners entered play three games behind Kansas City and Oakland in the wild-card race and gained one game on Oakland. They have a three-game series ahead against the AL-West champion Angels in Seattle this weekend. Seattle went 4-7 on an 11-game road trip that started in Anaheim. Toronto’s Kevin Pillar hit a leadoff homer off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning, but the Mariners closer shut the door for his MLB-leading 47th save. The Blue Jays won the first three games of the series by a combined score of 25-6.

Final Score: New York 6, Baltimore 5

Derek Jeter, naturally, knocked in the winning run in storybook walk-off fashion Thursday in the future Hall-of-Famer’s final game at Yankee Stadium. The ever-dramatic Jeter stepped to the plate with a runner on second in the ninth inning and laced a patented opposite-field single through the hole between first and second base. Antoan Richardson slid in safely in front of Nick Markakis’ throw, and the Yankees swarmed Jeter to celebrate the poetic 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Jeter knocked in a pair prior to the ninth, including the go-ahead run in a three- run seventh inning that gave the Yankees a 5-2 lead. David Robertson, however, blew the lead in the ninth by surrendering a two-run homer to Adam Jones and a two-out solo blast to Steve Pearce. That set up the fitting home half, which began with Jose Pirela greeting Evan Meek (0-4) with a base hit. Richardson pinch-ran for Pirela and had enough speed to beat Markakis’ throw from shallow right.

Final Score: Detroit 4, Minnesota 2

Victor Martinez had three hits, including a two-run homer, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-2, on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series. The Tigers, who have already clinched at least a wild-card berth, remained two games up on Kansas City for first place in the AL Central. Miguel Cabrera added a solo homer for the Tigers, who have won three in a row and are 12-5 in their last 17 games. Max Scherzer (18-5) struck out nine in six innings to remain unbeaten in five September starts. Twins rookie Trevor May (3-6) had seven strikeouts in six innings but suffered his second straight loss. Scherzer gave up two runs on five hits and four walks, while May yielded three on five hits and one walk. Joe Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 34th save.

Final Score: Boston 11, Tampa Bay 1

Christian Vazquez smacked a two-run homer among his four hits, three RBI and two runs scored as the Boston Red Sox routed the Tampa Bay Rays, 11-1, in the rubber match of a three-game set. Rusney Castillo belted a three-run shot for his first career homer for Boston, which has won four of its last six games. Allen Webster (5-3) allowed a run on seven hits and a walk over seven innings to notch the win. Jeremy Hellickson (1-5) surrendered six runs—five earned—on eight hits over 2 1/3 frames for the Rays, who have dropped five of their last seven contests.

Final Score: Texas 2, Oakland 1

Adrian Beltre’s home run in the ninth inning gave the Texas Rangers a 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a four-game series. Beltre stepped up to the plate with one out against Luke Gregerson (5-5) and drove the second pitch he saw over the right field wall for his 19th home run of the season and the win. Elvis Andrus drove in the other run for the Rangers, who have won 12 of their last 13 games. Colby Lewis pitched seven innings and gave up a run on six hits with five walks and seven strikeouts. Neftali Feliz (2-1) picked up the win for tossing a scoreless ninth. Jason Hammel went six-plus innings and let up a run on six hits while Geovany Soto drove in the lone run for the Athletics, who have lost three straight. Oakland fell a game back of Kansas City for the top wild card spot in the American League.

Final Score: Kansas City 6, Chicago 3

Eric Hosmer went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI and the Kansas City Royals picked up another crucial win with a 6-3 takedown of the Chicago White Sox from U.S. Cellular Field. Hosmer has been one of the hottest bats in the league over the last week for the Royals, who moved a game ahead of the Athletics for the top spot in the American League wild card race. Hosmer is 13-for-29 over his last seven games. Lorenzo Cain went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a pair of runs scored to back a quality start by James Shields. Shields gave up three runs on five hits in six innings and Kansas City’s bullpen did its job the rest of the way, with Kelvin Herrera (4-3), Wade Davis and Greg Holland each tossing a scoreless inning to secure the win. Josh Phegley homered for the White Sox, who have lost three in a row. Jose Quintana (9-11) absorbed the loss, falling to 0-6 lifetime against the Royals after giving up five runs on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Former Tour Champion Cadel Evans Announces Retirement

Former Tour de France champion Cadel Evans has announced his retirement.

Evans won cycling’s most prestigious event in 2011 and was the runner-up in 2007 and 2008.

The 37-year-old Australian made the announcement Thursday with a statement on his personal website. Evans said he will finish his career in an event in his native country next February.

“After a long period of contemplation within, and with those closest to me, I feel it is the right time to end my journey in competitive professional cycling,“ Evans said.

Evans also won the UCI Road World Championship in 2009.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Logano Rewarded with Contract Extension from Penske

Joey Logano has already advanced to the next round of the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs and on Thursday signed a contract extension to remain with Team Penske.

Terms of the multi-year agreement for the Chase for the Sprint Cup contender were not disclosed.

“Joey Logano has been everything we hoped he would be, both as a driver and as a representative of our organization and for our partners,“ said owner Roger Penske in a statement Thursday. “He continues to put points on the board for us and the continuity and chemistry he has developed within the team has been terrific. We believe he can be a leader and championship-level driver for Team Penske for years to come.“

Logano has seven career NASCAR Sprint Cup race victories, including five since joining Team Penske for the start of the 2013 season. He has four wins this year and sits second in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings after last week’s win at the Sylvania 300 in New Hampshire.

“I am fortunate and excited to be a part of Team Penske for the foreseeable future,“ said Logano. “Mr. Penske gives us everything we need to keep our eye on the prize and compete for wins and championships. I think that is clear by the number of wins we have across the board this year. I think our best years are in front of us for sure.“

The 24-year-old Logano was the 2009 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year and finished a career-best eighth in last year’s Chase standings.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Opening Ryder Cup pairings released

The Ryder Cup opening ceremony is in the books and with that the pairings for Friday’s four-ball matches have been announced.

United States captain Tom Watson has Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson as his lead pairing. European captain Paul McGinley countered with Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. Of the four, Stenson is the only non-major winner, but he did win the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai on the European Tour to end the 2013 season.

The second four-ball match will pit Americans Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker against Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer. Fowler finished in the top five at all four majors this season, while Walker won three PGA Tour events this season. Kaymer won the U.S. Open in a rout.

Ryder Cup rookies Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth will be the third American group. They will face fellow Ryder Cup rookie Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter, who owns a 12-3 record at the Ryder Cup.

The final match is the marquee grouping. Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson will battle the European duo of Sergio Garcia and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy. Bradley and Mickelson are 5-1-1 combined at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. McIlroy, who won the final two majors this season, and Garcia will be paired for the first time at this event.

<The Gilmer Free Press
2014 FIBA World Cup - Basketball
Group AWL
Group BWL
Puerto Rico14
Group CWL
United States50
Dominican Republic23
New Zealand23
Group DWL
South Korea05
Saturday, August 30
Group B: Croatia 81, Philippines 78
Group C: Ukraine 72, Dominican Republic 62
Group D: Angola 80, South Korea 69
Group A: Serbia 85, Egypt 64
Group C: Turkey 76, New Zealand 73
Group B: Argentina 98, Puerto Rico 75
Group D: Slovenia 90, Australia 80
Group A: Brazil 65, France 63
Group B: Greece 87, Senegal 64
Group D: Lithuania 87, Mexico 74
Group C: United States 114, Finland 55
Group A: Spain 90, Iran 60
Sunday, August 31
Group C: Dominican Republic 76, New Zealand 63
Group B: Croatia 90, Argentina 85
Group D: Australia 89, Korea 55
Group A: France 74, Serbia 73
Group C: Finland 81, Ukraine 76
Group B: Senegal 82, Puerto Rico 75
Group D: Slovenia 89, Mexico 68
Group A: Brazil 70, Iran 50
Group B: Greece 82, Philippines 70
Group D: Lithuania 75, Angola 62
Group C: United States 98, Turkey 77
Group A: Spain 91, Egypt 54
Monday, September 01
Group B: Senegal 77, Croatia 75
Group A: Serbia 83, Iran 70
Group B: Argentina 85, Philippines 81
Group A: France 94, Egypt 55
Group B: Greece 90, Puerto Rico 79
Group A: Spain 82, Brazil 63
Tuesday, September 02
Group D: Mexico 79, Angola 55
Group C: Ukraine 64, Turkey 58
Group C: United States 98, New Zealand 71
Group D: Australia 82. Lithuania 75
Group D: Slovenia 89, South Korea 72
Group C: Dominican Republic 74, Finland 68
Wednesday, September 03
Group B: Puerto Rico 77, Philippines 73
Group D: Australia 70, Mexico 62
Group C: New Zealand 73, Ukraine 61
Group A: Iran 88, Egypt 73
Group B: Argentina 81, Senegal 46
Group C: Turkey 77, Finland 73 (OT)
Group D: Slovenia, 93, Angola 87
Group A: Brazil 81, Serbia 73
Group B: Greece 76, Croatia 65
Group D: Lithuania 79, South Korea 49
Group C: United States 106, Dominican Republic 71
Group A: Spain 88, France 64
Thursday, September 04
Group D: Angola 91, Australia 83
Group B: Phillippines 81, Senegal 79 (OT)
Group C: New Zealand 67, Finland 65
Group A: Brazil 128, Egypt 66
Group C: United States 95, Ukraine 71
Group D: Mexico 87, South Korea 71
Group A: France 81, Iran 76
Group B: Croatia 103, Puerto Rico 82
Group C: Turkey 77, Dominican Republic 64
Group D: Lithuania 67, Slovenia 64
Group A: Spain 89, Serbia 73
Group B: Greece 79, Argentina 71
Saturday, September 06
Round of 16: United States 86, Mexico 63
Round of 16: France 69, Croatia 64
Round of 16: Slovenia 71, Dominican Republic 61
Round of 16: Spain 89, Senegal 56
Sunday, September 07
Round of 16: Lithuania 76, New Zealand 71
Round of 16: Serbia 90, Greece 72
Round of 16: Turkey 65, Australia 64
Round of 16: Brazil 85, Argentina 65
Tuesday, September 09
Quarterfinal: Lithuania 73, Turkey 61
Quarterfinal: United States 119, Slovenia 76
Wednesday, September 10
Quarterfinal: Final - Serbia 84, Brazil 56
Quarterfinal: Final - France 65, Spain 52
Thursday, September 11
Semifinal: United States 96. Lithuania 68
Friday, September 12
Semifinal: Serbia 90, France 85
Saturday, September 13
Third Place Game: France 95, Lithuania 93
Sunday, September 14
Final: United States 129, Serbia 92

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Quarterbacks

Although the top fantasy quarterback, Peyton Manning is on a bye week, quarterback is probably the position least effected by the six teams on bye in Week 4.

The likes of Drew Brees, Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan will all be back at it with favorable matchups this Sunday. Brees is taking on a Cowboys team that he made history against last season as the Saints offense earned 40 first downs. Even on the road, it could be a breakout game for Brees and his receivers.

Luck and Ryan are fresh off huge games from last week and are ranked in the top five.

It is time that we finally give Philip Rivers some respect. To our credit, he has been up against some of the best defenses in the league during the first three games, so it was tough to rank him very high. That is not the case this week as Rivers and the “Super Chargers” play Jacksonville at home. The Jaguars allow 306 passing yards per game, the most in the NFL.

Those owners on Aaron Rodgers’ case need to slow down a little bit. The Jets and Lions have top-10 pass defenses and the Seahawks are, well, the Seahawks. Rodgers should get it going against Chicago.

Kirk Cousins and Eli Manning will likely slug it out through the air just as the Redskins and Eagles did last week. Both quarterbacks are still available in over 50% of Yahoo Leagues and are quality replacements while Peyton sits.

Nick Foles and Colin Kaepernick could also be in a high-scoring affair. The San Francisco defense ranks just 15th in the league against the pass and Philadelphia has continued to struggle to stop anyone’s air attack.

All eyes will be on Brees, and for good reason, to see what he does for an encore to last year’s, 49-17, victory. But don’t be surprised if Tony Romo plays well too. His fantasy totals have increased every week, and the Saints allow the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles each get their first career start this week, but we would like to see more before even ranking them a QB2 in a 10- team league.

Top-25 Quarterback Rankings


1) Drew Brees, New Orleans

2) Philip Rivers, San Diego

3) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis

4) Matt Ryan, Atlanta

5) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

6) Kirk Cousins, Washington

7) Nick Foles, Philadelphia

8) Tony Romo, Dallas

9) Matt Stafford, Detroit

10) Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco

11) Jay Cutler, Chicago

12) Tom Brady, New England

13) Cam Newton, Carolina

14) Eli Manning, New York Giants

15) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

16) Joe Flacco, Baltimore

17) Alex Smith, Kansas City

18) Geno Smith, New York Jets

19) E.J. Manuel, Buffalo

20) Derek Carr, Oakland

21) Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota

22) Ryan Tannehill, Miami

23) Blake Bortles, Jacksonville

24) Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston

25) Josh McCown, Tampa Bay

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Wide Receivers

From an outsider’s perspective, Calvin Johnson has a difficult matchup in Week 4 against the Jets, who are ranked ninth in passing yards allowed through three games.

A well-researched owner, however, will know that the Jets allow the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Not that you really needed any reassurance to start “Megatron,“ but if you did, he is again ranked the top wide receiver for this week.

Jordy Nelson and Julio Jones could also score some big numbers and round out the top-three wideouts. Nelson will go up against a battered Chicago secondary that saw both safeties injured on Monday night. The Bears are already missing top cornerback Charles Tillman. Jones visits Minnesota after nine catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns last Thursday night.

Week 4 could also be a week of redemption for some quieter fantasy wide receivers so far.

The Green Bay offense hasn’t been itself yet, but again, against an injury- plagued Bears secondary, expect Aaron Rodgers to throw a lot. That means Randall Cobb has his first real chance to hit the century mark this week.

Cordarrelle Patterson flashed his fantasy potential in Week 1, but that was mostly on the ground, racking up 102 yards rushing. One would hope that rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, in his first start, will look Patterson’s way a lot. Through three games, Patterson has more rushing fantasy points than receiving.

Thirdly, Keenan Allen was arguably a top-10 fantasy wide receiver in preseason, but he has been a huge disappointment so far. Philip Rivers should have a day though, up against Jacksonville, who has permitted the most passing yards in the league. It would be a crime to sit Allen now.

Youngsters, Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin and DeAndre Hopkins provide interesting WR2 or FLEX potential this week. Jordan Matthews and Stevie Johnson also have high ceilings in what could be a high-scoring affair between the Eagles and 49ers.

Top-50 Wide Receiver Rankings


1) Calvin Johnson, Detroit

2) Jordy Nelson, Green Bay

3) Julio Jones, Atlanta

4) Dez Bryant, Dallas

5) Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh

6) Brandon Marshall, Chicago

7) Michael Crabtree, San Francisco

8) Randall Cobb, Green Bay

9) Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota

10) Andre Johnson, Houston

11) Julian Edelman, New England

12) Keenan Allen, San Diego

13) Sammy Watkins, Buffalo

14) Pierre Garcon, Washington

15) Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia

16) T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis

17) Alshon Jeffery, Chicago

18) Mike Wallace, Miami

19) Victor Cruz, New York Giants

20) DeSean Jackson, Washington

21) Brandin Cooks, New Orleans

22) Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina

23) DeAndre Hopkins, Houston

24) Golden Tate, Detroit

25) Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay

26) Marques Colston, New Orleans

27) Terrance Williams, Dallas

28) Anquan Boldin, San Francisco

29) Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville

30) Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore

31) Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis

32) Roddy White, Atlanta

33) Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia

34) Kendall Wright, Tennessee

35) James Jones, Oakland

36) Malcom Floyd, San Diego

37) Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City

38) Reuben Randle, New York Giants

39) Stevie Johnson, San Francisco

40) Torrey Smith, Baltimore

41) Harry Douglas, Atlanta

42) Eric Decker, New York Jets

43) Hakeem Nicks, Indianapolis

44) Riley Cooper, Philadelphia

45) Kenny Stills, New Orleans

46) Greg Jennings, Minnesota

47) Allen Hurns, Jacksonville

48) Kenbrell Thompkins, New England

49) Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets

50) Andre Roberts, Washington

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Running Backs

In preseason, the Sports Network identified the top-three fantasy running backs as Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Arian Foster.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

We all know about the off-field problems for Peterson while Charles and Foster sat out last weekend with injuries. You will find Charles on this week’s list, due to the fact that he practiced last week and has continued to practice, but we don’t believe Foster will be ready when the whistle blows.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. We’re riding the hot hand in Dallas running back DeMarco Murray. He’s averaging a league-leading 128.3 rushing yards per game on 25 carries. Dallas will want to keep the ball out of Drew Brees’ hand for as long as possible, so Murray figures to see 25-plus touches for another weekend. While I don’t believe he can handle this workload level for a full 16-game schedule, while he’s healthy, I’m happy to put him on top of the list.

I love the way the Steelers are using running back Le’Veon Bell, in both the running and passing games. It’s that versatility that should allow him to be a consistent scorer for fantasy owners whether the Steelers are playing with a lead or trying to come from behind. Against Tampa Bay, his running talents should be most useful and I’m expecting a 100-yard effort.

You know the saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.“ Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy has been talking this week, as did Coach Mike McCarthy who called out Lacy on Monday at his press conference saying he “needs to play better.“ Figure McCarthy to call Lacy’s number a lot this Sunday and Lacy to be extra motivated. They face a Bears’ defense missing multiple pieces due to injury and I think Lacy finally makes fantasy owners smile.

I also have Miami’s Lamar Miller (vs. Oakland) and San Diego’s Donald Brown (vs. Jacksonville) putting up top-10 performances against weak opponents.

Top-50 Running Back Rankings


1) DeMarco Murray, Dallas

2) Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh

3) Eddie Lacy, Green Bay

4) Rashad Jennings, New York Giants

5) Alfred Morris, Washington

6) Matt Forte, Chicago

7) LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia

8) Lamar Miller, Miami

9) Donald Brown, San Diego

10) C.J. Spiller, Buffalo

11) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City

12) Stevan Ridley, New England

13) Khiry Robinson, New Orleans

14) Reggie Bush, Detroit

15) Frank Gore, San Francisco

16) Joique Bell, Detroit

17) Trent Richardson, Indianapolis

18) Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville

19) Steven Jackson, Atlanta

20) Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis

21) Matt Asiata, Minnesota

22) Alfred Blue, Houston

23) Knile Davis, Kansas City

24) DeAngelo Williams, Carolina

25) Pierre Thomas, New Orleans

26) Darren Sproles, Philadelphia

27) Shane Vereen, New England

28) Chris Ivory, New York Jets

29) Fred Jackson, Buffalo

30) Darren McFadden, Oakland

31) Carlos Hyde, San Francisco

32) Chris Johnson, New York Jets

33) Shonn Greene, Tennessee

34) Bernard Pierce, Baltimore

35) Doug Martin, Tampa Bay

36) LeGarrette Blount, Pittsburgh

37) Daniel Thomas, Miami

38) James Starks, Green Bay

39) Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland

40) Bishop Sankey, Tennessee

41) Darren Reaves, Carolina

42) Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore

43) Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay

46) Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland

47) Darrel Young, Washington

48) Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta

49) Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota

50) Branden Oliver, San Diego

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Tight Ends

As a whole, the tight end position is solid this season, from the spectacular assault on defenses by Jimmy Graham through the understated efforts from former backups-turned-starters Niles Paul and Larry Donnell.

Every owner in a 12-team league should have a viable fantasy tight end who can post a respectable number.

Of course, Graham tops almost every list. In Week 4 he should be particularly effective playing against a Dallas Cowboys defense that has yielded the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Graham has been good this season, but not great ... yet. He leads the league in tight end receiving yards, but has scored just twice. That shortcoming should be remedied this weekend.

The worst team in the league for defending the tight end through three games is the Indianapolis Colts (18.9 fantasy ppg). Which explains while Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker is listed at No. 2.

I’m expecting big things from the San Diego passing offense in Week 4 and that means the Philip Rivers-to-Antonio Gates hookup should be a big part of it. The Jaguars are No. 32 (out of 32 teams) in passing yards allowed yielding 306 ypg and Gates is going to get a good chunk of it.

One of the big surprises so far this season has been the play of Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett. He’s second at the position in fantasy scoring, primarily due to four touchdowns, over the first three games. He’s been a big weapon for quarterback Jay Cutler in the red zone. That could change as his two talented wideouts, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, get healthier but for now, he’s still a top-10 fantasy option.

Top-25 Tight End Rankings


1) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans

2) Delanie Walker, Tennessee

3) Antonio Gates, San Diego

4) Greg Olson, Carolina

5) Vernon Davis, San Francisco

6) Rob Gronkowski, New England

7) Zach Ertz, Philadelphia

8) Martellus Bennett, Chicago

9) Jason Witten, Dallas

10) Niles Paul, Washington

11) Owen Daniels, Baltimore

12) Travis Kelce, Kansas City

13) Larry Donnell, New York Giants

14) Charles Clay, Miami

15) Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis

16) Coby Fleener, Indianapolis

17) Heath Miller, Pittsburgh

18) Jace Amaro, New York Jets

19) Anthony Fasano, Kansas City

20) Clay Harbor, Jacksonville

21) Eric Ebron, Detroit

22) Andrew Quarless, Green Bay

23) LaDarius Green, San Diego

24) Jeff Cumberland, New York Jets

25) Derek Carrier, San Francisco

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Kickers

Well that was quick. After three weeks of the NFL season, we already have our first kicking change.

Nate Freese is out for the Detroit Lions, after going 3-for-7 on field goal attempts, and 0-for-4 on kicks longer than 40 yards. Former Philadelphia Eagle Alex Henery takes Freese’s spot in Detroit, but is not a recommended fantasy play, as his field goal%age has dropped each year he has been in the league (2011 - 88.9%, 2012 - 87.1%, 2013 - 82.1%).

Speaking of the Eagles, Philadelphia’s place kicker Cody Parkey takes down our top spot, heading into Week 4. Parkey has been a pleasant surprise for the Eagles, going 8-for-9 in field goal attempts, including two 51-yarders. He leads all standard leagues with 38 total points.

One of our biggest risers of the week hails from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Shaun Suisham has yet to miss this season (8-for-8), and with Pittsburgh’s Week 4 opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers letting up an average of 11.00 points per game (standard leagues) to kickers, Suisham makes for a solid fantasy play.

A guy owners may want to start thinking about staying away from was a preseason favorite - Mason Crosby, Crosby has failed to impress this year, especially on the road. He has five combined fantasy points in two road contests, and with Green Bay heading to Chicago to take on the Bears, owners should be aware that we have dropped Crosby to No. 12 in our weekly rankings.

The consistent Stephen Gostkowski remains in our top-two, which should not surprise anyone.

One surprise, however, could be the emergence of Dan Bailey. Not only is he tied for second in standard fantasy leagues with 35 points, Bailey also has a juicy matchup against the New Orleans Saints, who on average are giving up the second most amount of points to kickers, at 13 points per game. Bailey’s jump from the No. 20 spot in Week 3 to a top-three spot in Week 4, is certainly warranted.

Top-25 Kicker Rankings


1) Cody Parker, Philadelphia Eagles

2) Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots

3) Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys

4) Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts

5) Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons

6) Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Steelers

7) Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers

8) Nick Folk, New York Jets

9) Dan Carpenter, Buffalo Bills

10) Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers

11) Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

12) Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers

13) Caleb Sturgis, Miami Dolphins

14) Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears

15) Kai Forbath, Washington Redskins

16) Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings

17) Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders

18) Josh Brown, New York Giants

19) Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers

20) Josh Scobee, Jacksonville Jaguars

21) Shayne Graham, New Orleans Saints

22) Randy Bullock, Houston Texans

23) Ryan Succop, Tennessee Titans

24) Alex Henery, Detroit Lions

25) Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs

►  Week 4 Player Fantasy Rankings - Defense

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Bill Belichick. You hear those names, and fantasy owners would not expect to hear that New England’s defense is arguably their biggest asset.

After topping our defensive rankings in Week 3, the Patriots remain in that same spot, as they head into Week 4’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. New England’s 39 total fantasy points (standard scoring leagues) leads all defenses by at least eight fantasy points. To go along with that impressive stat, the Patriots have only given up a combined total of 16 points, over the past two weeks.

Since, we mentioned New England’s opponent already, we can’t help but, to break down the Chiefs a little more. After finishing the 2013 season as the third ranked fantasy defense in standard leagues, the Chiefs have struggled mightily in 2014. Week 3 was the team’s best statistical week thus far, with only five fantasy points. With the Patriots coming into town, it is time to start thinking about better options.

Another team that owners tend to think about from an offensive standpoint, is the Detroit Lions. After not being ranked in our top-25 a week ago, Detroit soars into the top-five, as they are now second overall in standard leagues, with 31 total fantasy points. With potential to force some turnovers against Geno Smith and the New York Jets, in Week 4, the Lions are a recommended fantasy play.

Carolina had an off week, to say the least, as the Panthers put up an abysmal minus seven fantasy points during Week 3. With all the talent on this team, combined with the fact they had a combined total of 25 fantasy points through the first two weeks, we feel Carolina will rebound nicely during Week 4, in Baltimore.

The Chiefs and the Houston Texans have essentially switched places. Houston was the 29th ranked fantasy defense in 2013, and are now tied for third in 2014. J.J. Watt is back creating havoc, and with Buffalo coming off a rough loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Texans will look to take full advantage of the Bills, and force as many turnovers as possible.

Week 4 Defense/Special Teams Rankings


1) New England Patriots

2) Carolina Panthers

3) Houston Texans

4) Detroit Lions

5) Pittsburgh Steelers

6) Atlanta Falcons

7) San Diego Chargers

8) San Francisco 49ers

9) Miami Dolphins

10) Indianapolis Colts

11) Baltimore Ravens

12) Chicago Bears

13) New York Jets

14) Philadelphia Eagles

15) Buffalo Bills

16) New Orleans Saints

17) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

18) New York Giants

19) Washington Redskins

20) Kansas City Chiefs

21) Dallas Cowboys

22) Oakland Raiders

23) Tennessee Titans

24) Green Bay Packers

25) Minnesota Vikings

The Gilmer Free Press


Major League Baseball - National League
Miami at Washington, 1:05 PM - FS-Florida, MASN, DSS
Miami at Washington, 7:05 PM - FS-Florida, MASN, DSS
Atlanta at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM - FS-South, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 7:10 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, FS-Ohio, DSS
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee, 8:10 PM - CSN-Chicago, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
St. Louis at Arizona, 9:40 PM - FS-Midwest, Arizona, DSS
Colorado at Los Angeles, 10:10 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain, SportsNet LA, DSS
San Diego at San Francisco, 10:15 PM - FS-San Diego, CSN-Bay, DSS

American League
Tampa Bay at Cleveland, 7:05 PM - SunSports, SportsTime Ohio, DSS
Baltimore at Toronto, 7:07 PM - MASN2, SNET, DSS
Minnesota at Detroit, 7:08 PM - FS-North, Detroit, DSS
NY Yankees at Boston, 7:10 PM - My9, NESN, DSS
Oakland at Texas, 8:05 PM - CSN-California, TXA21, DSS
Kansas City at Chicago WSox, 8:10 PM - FS-Kansas City, WCIU, DSS
LA Angels at Seattle, 10:10 PM - FS-West, ROOT-Northwest, DSS

Houston at NY Mets, 7:10 PM - CSN-Houston, SNY, DSS

National Hockey League - Preseason
Boston at Washington, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC, NHL Network
Toronto at Buffalo, 7:00 PM - SN1
Montreal at Colorado, 7:00 PM - RDS
New Jersey at NY Islanders, 7:30 PM - MSG+
NY Rangers at Chicago, 8:30 PM - MSG, CSN-Chicago+
Calgary at Vancouver, 10:00 PM - NHL Network

Canadian Football League
Montreal at Ottawa, 7:00 PM - TSN, RDS,
Saskatchewan at Edmonton, 10:00 PM - TSN,

College Football
Fresno State at New Mexico, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2
Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion, 8:00 PM - FS1

Major League Soccer
New England at Kansas City, 8:00 PM - NBCSN

PGA/EUROPEAN - Ryder Cup Matches, 2:30 AM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - Nature Valley First Tee Open, 4:00 PM - Golf Channel

Auto Racing
NATIONWIDE - 5-Hour Energy 200 practice, 10:00 AM - FS1
SPRINT CUP - AAA 400 practice, 11:00 AM - FS1
NATIONWIDE - 5-Hour Energy 200 practice, 2:00 PM - ESPN 2
SPRINT CUP - AAA 400 qualifying, 3:30 PM - ESPN 2

Click Below for More Sports...

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