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Late For Work 10/11: Rice Lost Respect For Fantasy After Death Wishes

Posted Oct 11, 2013

Flacco vs. Rodgers predictions. Matt Elam funny video. Week 6 picks: Packers vs. Ravens.


Rice Lost Respect For Fantasy After Death Wishes

Just about every fantasy owner has dealt with injuries or unexpected low performance from high draft picks. But not all fantasy owners send death wishes to players that struggle.

That is just plain wrong.

Running back Ray Rice revealed that’s the type of comments he was getting from football fantasy owners after a slow start to the season and a hip injury that knocked him out of a Week 3 matchup and prevented him from playing the following week.

He says he’s lost respect for fantasy football.

“I was a huge fan of it,” Rice said on EPSN radio earlier this week. “This is one of the first times in many years that I’ve had to deal with a legit injury. … You realize that it is something that people get enthused about, aroused about, but you just don’t say the kind of things that, you know, wish death upon people, go kill yourself. That kind of stuff just kind of caught me by surprise.”

Rice has been at the forefront of anti-bulling advocacy ever since he started seeing the problem affect people around him. A person at his foundation told him about her daughter being bullied at school. His sister had a rock thrown at her and cut her eye. Then he learned about Grace McComas, a 15-year-old girl from Woodbine, Md., who took her own life after hateful postings on social media sites.

Rice decided that somebody needed to take a stand against bullying. With all the work he does on the issue, Rice knows a bully when he sees one.

“I’m so against [bullying]. I’m like, ‘Wow, these people are really trying to get to me,’” he said. “I can imagine a young kid going through that kind of stuff. … It threw me off guard because of what I stand for. Obviously when I get back out there I know I got to play the game, but that’s where I lost a little bit of respect for [fantasy] because people take it so serious.”

Rice was clear that he was grateful for fans and their enthusiasm and support, but he also wanted some fans to realize that underneath the helmets, football players are “human beings and we do have feelings.”

During his interview, Rice learned for the first time about a Houston Texan fan showing up at quarterback Matt Schaub’s house to confront him about his recent on-field struggles.

For people who cross the line, Rice has some advice.

“To get on somebody’s porch or to send them death threats or to say, ‘kill yourself,’ you got to ask yourself are you really living life for the right reasons,” Rice said. “Because I know football is a very serious thing and I take it very serious. It’s just one of those situations where you realize there’s a lot more to be thankful for than just a game of football.”

Flacco vs. Rodgers Predictions

Two Super Bowl-winning and contract-record-breaking quarterbacks will take the field at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday.

While the two won’t actually face each other on the field, the outcome of the game will largely fall on the shoulders of Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers and the Packers are known for their high-octane offense that is averaging 29.5 points per game this year. The Ravens have only put up 30 points one time this season.

So to notch a win, the Ravens will either have to slow Rodgers, or Flacco and the Ravens offense is going to have to keep up. According to two ESPN bloggers, both are possible.

Jamison Hensley believes Sunday could mark a big game for Flacco.

“The Ravens are getting healthy at wide receiver, and the offensive line catches a break with Matthews being out,” he wrote. “All signs point to Flacco breaking out in this game. Quarterbacks have averaged a 107.2 passer rating against the Packers, throwing nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Knowing how well Flacco plays at home, it wouldn't be a surprise if he cracks 300 yards passing.”

Meanwhile, Rodgers is on pace for a 5,000-yard season, but the Packers haven’t been very productive on the road. Green Bay is 0-2 when traveling, and the Ravens defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in their two games at home this season.

A key in stopping Rodgers is the Ravens pass rush, and ESPN’s Rob Demovsky thinks the pressure will get to him and cause him to turn the ball over.

“Rodgers may take a pounding from Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who ranks fourth in the NFL with seven sacks,” Demovsky wrote. “Suggs will get to Rodgers at least once and will cause him to hurry several more throws, making it unlikely that Rodgers will play another turnover-free game.”

Week 6 Picks: Packers vs. Ravens

The Baltimore Sun: 3 of 7 pick the Ravens
Jeff Zrebiec (Packers 31, Ravens 27): “The Ravens have improved defensively since getting torched by the Denver Broncos in Week 1 but Aaron Rodgers' quick release and his arsenal of weapons will be too much in a shootout at M&T Bank Stadium.”

Aaron Wilson (Ravens 30, Packers 27): “In a bit of an upset, Joe Flacco wins the quarterback duel over Aaron Rodgers despite the Packers' receiving trio pushing Ravens to the brink. Green Bay's defense loses its edge and intensity without dangerous pass rusher Clay Matthews.”

ProFootballTalk.com: 1 of 2 pick the Ravens
Michael David Smith (Packers 31, Ravens 27): “Aaron Rodgers and Joe Flacco both signed enormous contracts this offseason, but only one of them is earning his money. The struggling Ravens’ offense will have a good opportunity to put some points on the board against a Packers defense that’s missing Clay Matthews, but Rodgers will do more damage than Flacco as the Packers win a high-scoring game.”

Mike Florio (Ravens 24, Packers 20): “It’s rock-scissors-paper time in Baltimore, where the Ravens defense is becoming the rock and the Packers’ offensive line is running with scissors.”

Sports Illustrated, Don Banks: (Packers 31, Ravens 27):
“Time for the Packers to win a road game and start making a move to take charge of the wide-open NFC North. Baltimore has one of the most reliable home-field advantages in the NFL, but I haven't seen enough consistency yet from the Ravens offense to convince me that Joe Flacco will out-gun the steady Aaron Rodgers in one of the marquee games of Week 6.”

CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco: (Packers 27, Ravens 23):
“The Packers seemed to right things last week coming out of the bye. But they will play this one without Clay Matthews, their best pass rusher. The Ravens got after the quarterback last week, but this week I think Aaron Rodgers gets the best of that defense. Packers take it on the road.”

NFL.com, Elliot Harrison: (Packers 27, Ravens 24):
“These teams will have trouble stopping each other, although games in Baltimore rarely turn into shootouts. The Packers are decimated at the linebacker position, so Ray Rice should get a ton of work on the ground for the Ravens. Rice had 33 touches in last week's win over the Dolphins -- which, of course, means he'll get two carries in Week 6. With Clay Matthews out for Green Bay, Joe Flacco will have more time than he saw two weeks ago in Buffalo, when he gave up five picks. The Ravens have faced one premium quarterback this year -- Peyton Manning -- and he absolutely pummeled them. Aaron Rodgers has a 105.5 passer rating (is this a "down year"?) and is tied for second in the NFL with 15 completions of 25-plus yards. The Ravens have given up the most big-play passing touchdowns in the AFC. #GBvsBAL”

The Sporting News, Vinnie Iyer: (Ravens 27, Packers 24):
“The Super Bowl champions have been schizophrenic, going up and down within games and looking like two different teams at home vs. on the road. They just got Ray Rice on track, and Joe Flacco steps into a favorable duel with Aaron Rodgers. It helps both Rice and Flacco that Clay Matthews is out. What doesn't help Rodgers, however, is the fact that his offensive line must deal with Terrell Suggs and a strong pass defense behind him”

ESPN.com: 4 of 12 pick the Ravens
YahooSports.com
: 1 of 2 pick the Ravens
USA Today
: 1 of 7 picks the Ravens
CBSSports.com
: 3 of 8 pick the Ravens

Cold Weather Gets To Elam In Funny Video

Being from Florida, the cold weather in Maryland is already getting to Matt Elam. But it isn’t even that cold yet. Just wait until you get to January, Matt.

But his discomfort makes for a good chuckle this morning. Warning: He uses a curse word.

Speaking of Elam, Head Coach John Harbaugh is rather impressed with the rookie so far this season.

Taking over a starting role in Week 2, quarterbacks have been testing the young safety and Harbaugh says he has held up “pretty darn well.”

The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson seems to agree.

“Each week, Elam faces the speed of the game, the subtleties of the pass patterns and how quarterbacks attempt to bait him,” Wilson wrote. “Elam hasn't made any big plays yet, but he hasn't yielded many, either.”

Quick Hits

  • @BaltimoreLuke: Dennis Pitta played catch with Joe Flacco at the start of practice. The #Ravens quarterback jokingly asked if he was back yet. … Pitta is still "a ways away" in John Harbaugh's words last week. Long way to go but making good progress. [Twitter]
  • Tight end Billy Bajema has been involved in four transactions in the last week, getting cut twice and then being re-signed twice. … @GerrySandusky: Ravens re-signed TE Billy Bajema today. Poor guy may need counseling by the end of the year. He's been cut and re-signed four times this yr. [Twitter]
  • Bajema doesn’t expect the trend to continue … He told Wilson: "It's the reality of the NFL, and you kind of deal with it, and it's tough to be at home when the team is practicing. As long as you're there on gameday, it's OK. I don't anticipate it happening again anytime soon." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • @mzenitz: Dumervil on Aaron Rodgers: "He's one of the tougher guys  to rush. He steps up. He rolls out. It's like he has six eyes or something" [Twitter]
  • Hensley is applauding Harbaugh for laughing at the infamous chest bump.  Harbaugh showed it to his team in a meeting Monday to poke fun at himself. “This is why you have to applaud Harbaugh,” Hensley wrote. “First of all, I can't think of another Super Bowl-winning coach who would attempt a chest bump. Bill Belichick? Probably not. And, if a coach had tried a celebratory leap and missed, I'm betting very few would be willing to laugh it off with his players. Harbaugh can be tough on his players because he always demands the best out of them. But it's smart to show a lighter side at times as well." [ESPN]
  • @robdemovsky [ESPN]: Dead bird in the #Packers media auditorium. It's not a Raven ...  [Twitter]
  • @PFF_Gordon: Torrey Smith has been targeted on 21.68% of his routes run this season. Tandon Doss? 23.72% #JoeLovesTandon [Twitter]

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