The Evster's Guide to the NFL's Old Faces in New Places

The Evster's Guide to the NFL's Old Faces in New Places

Last week during my fantasy football draft, I was shocked to find out how many important players switched teams this summer. As the clock ticked down and my blood pressure rose, I scrambled through cheat sheets and depth charts in an effort to figure out which players would elevate their games in their new surroundings. Turns out, Priest Holmes is not one of them, which pretty much killed my draft strategy of taking him with each of my first 11 picks. But you shouldn't have to go through what I went through. So to make it easier on you, I've compiled a list of this year's BIG BOARD CLIMBERS along with my expert, HARD-HITTING analysis of each player who pulled a SUPER DUPER SWITCHAROO this past offseason.

RUNNING BACKS

Steven Jackson -- St. Louis to Atlanta

According to NFL dot com, S-Jax (no one calls him that) rushed for over 10,000 career yards in St. Louis with an average of 4.2 yards per carry. THIS IS A BOLD FACED LIE. I've had this guy on my fantasy team like eight different times and he has never, EVER, done anything besides look totally awesome while running toward the sidelines for a 3-yard loss. Despite his amazing dreads, he is currently banned from my fantasy squad, so I fully expect him to lead the NFC in rushing and probably win the Super Bowl.

Reggie Bush -- Miami to Detroit

Poor Reggie Bush. He went from rebuilding New Orleans to lounging in Miami to now renting a dumpy apartment in America's dumpiest city. Luckily for Reg, he'll have the opportunity to reignite his career in Detroit, joining forces with Lions Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz, whose high-octane offense revolves around pass-catching backs. Unfortunately for Reg, Mike Martz is not really the Lions Offensive Coordinator, I just made that up because it seemed like a good transition from the previous sentence. Either way, I expect Reggie to literally jump over around eight or nine guys this year, because he is still the closest thing to a kangaroo that this game has ever seen.

Rashard Mendenhall -- Pittsburgh to Arizona

Wasn't Mendenhall supposed to be the next Jerome Bettis? I'm pretty sure I once saw a guy's chest cavity explode when he tried to tackle him. Now Mendenhall has been shipped off to Arizona (RIP Beanie Wells) to compete with a person named Ryan Williams and another dude named Stepfan Taylor. Yes, that is the man's name, Stepfan. He's a real person and his name is Stepfan. Unbelievable. What an unbelievable world we live in. I cannot say for certain, but I am 99% confident Stepfan's name is pronounced "Stuh-floggin".

Neymar -- Santos to Barcelona

Very excited for Neymar's move to European football. He could score up to 30 goals this year playing in Spain while also contracting roughly 147 new sexually transmitted diseases.

Danny Woodhead -- New England to San Diego

Whatever happened to the days of bruising Chargers backs like Marion Butts, Rod Bernstein and Bob the Bruiser Brosenberg? (I created Brosenberg in Madden last year and he scored over a hundred touchdowns and was definitely on steroids.) Ugh, now they've brought in Little Danny Woodhead? The idea is to have Woodhead be San Diego's third-down back while also spelling Ryan Mathews from time to time. But I think it's pretty clear that Woodhead will end up the starter considering Mathews will most likely shatter his femur by the time you're finished this blogpost.

Chris Ivory -- New Orleans to NY Jets

I'm not kidding I actually think Chris Ivory is kinda good.

Other running backs who don't deserve to have entire paragraphs written about them:

Felix Jones (Dallas to Philadelphia): Super Bowl bound, baby! Peyton Hillis (Kansas City to Tampa Bay): Peyton Hillis was on the Chiefs? Ahmad Bradshaw (NY Giants to Indianapolis): Starting off the season on the PUP list, which means absolutely nothing to everyone in the world besides his backup, Vick Ballard. LaGarrette Blount  (Tennessee to New England): It doesn't matter, Blount will always be remembered as the guy who blasted that dude in the face while he was at Oregon. Frankly I thought the dude deserved it. Shonn Greene (NY Jets to Tennessee): The former Rex Ryan favorite could take goal line carries away from Chris Johnson and omg seriously who cares.

QUARTERBACKS

Tim Tebow -- NY Jets to New England

It's honestly really sad what's going on with Tim Teebs. Two years ago, he was leading the Broncos to a playoff victory and now he has been relegated to Tom Brady's backup's backup. I mean, I understand that the guy can't throw a football anywhere near where it's supposed to go, but he is REALLY FUN to watch. I'd never wish a player to get injured, but I really, really, really wish Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett would get injured so I guess I would wish a player to get injured -- actually two players -- so c'mon God let's make this happen!

Also, I made a bet with my brother around three years ago that one day Tim Tebow would lead a team to the Super Bowl. The loser has to spend 10 whole minutes talking to an employee in Macy's perfume department. Please, Lord, please give Tebow a shot. I'm begging you.

Carson Palmer -- Oakland to Arizona

I know, I know, I know, as Mr. Funny Football Joke Man I'm supposed to say something snarky here about Carson Palmer and then zing it on home with a joke. But there is nothing, nothing, nuttthhh-innngggg that I can write that would be as funny as the simple fact that the Arizona Cardinals signed Carson Palmer to be their starting quarterback.

Have you seen Carson Palmer play football in the last four or five years? Have you SEEN this guy play football?!?! OF COURSE YOU HAVEN'T, because he suckkkkssssss. No human being in their right mind would want to watch Carson Palmer play football!!! I don't know why I'm using all these exclamation points!!!

Alex Smith -- San Francisco to Kansas City

I think I've figured out what Andy Reid is doing this season (and what he did during his first year with the Eagles). By choosing Alex Smith as his starter (and Doug Pederson in '99), Reid is hoping to start off his tenure in Kansas City by being THE WORST FOOTBALL TEAM ON THE PLANET. Then, at around week six, he'll replace Alex Smith, take over the play calling duties from his offensive coordinator WHO JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE DOUG "THE DING DONG" PEDERSON and lead the Chiefs out of the cesspool he got them into. Chiefs fans will be inspired by the team's turnaround, Reid will restore pride in the city and ultimately be remembered as a coach who really, really, really liked to laminate his play charts.

Other quarterbacks who will have little to no effect on this season:

Matt Cassell (Kansas City to I Have No Idea): but I'm sure you could easily google it. Kevin Knob (Arizona to Buffalo): Knob is competing for the starting job with scintillating rookie, EJ Manuel. The stud from Florida State recently injured his knee during a preseason game and is questionable for week one. According to BuffaloBillboBaggins.com, the Bills have hired EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR IN THE WORLD in order to get Manuel healthy for opening day. Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo to Tennessee): With the arrival of Knob and Manuel, Fitz moved onto the Titans where he'll back up Jake Locker and be featured in the most boring sentence that has ever been written on this entire website.

Evster's note: I originally intended to include a section for defensive players in this post (Darrelle Revis to TB, James Harrison to Cincy, Charles Woodson to Oakland, and more), but it's currently 11:30pm and my wife is yelling at me to come to bed. I would like to add however that former Eagle and 49er, David Akers, is now kicking for Detroit, replacing 64-year-old Jason Hanson (aka the only player in my fantasy team's history to have his jersey retired).

WIDE RECEIVERS

Mike Wallace -- Pittsburgh to Miami

The 27-year-old speedster cashed in this offseason by signing a $60 million contract with the Dolphins despite the fact that he can only catch a football when the other guys promise not to hurt him. Regardless, Wallace is a major upgrade over Miami's 2012 starting receiving corps which consisted of Brian Hartline and do you really have to hear the other guy I mean Brain Hartline on his own should be enough to hammer this point home.

Percy Harvin -- Minnesota to Seattle

THERE SURE ARE A LOT OF GUYS WHO SWITCHED TEAMS THIS YEAR. I'm honestly amazed that Harvin's still alive. The oft-injured playmaker had offseason hip surgery, and while Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is hopeful he'll be back on the field at some point this season, there is no timetable for Harvin's return. "Percy has been working really hard on his rehab," said Carroll earlier this week. "Luckily we've got a bunch of guys on this team who can step right in and fill that void though." When it was later explained to Coach Carroll that the "bunch of guys" he was referring to were Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, Carroll took off his shoe and started repeatedly slugging himself in the tits.

Wes Welker -- New England to Denver

Absolutely nothing will change about Wes Welker.

Danny Amendola -- St. Louis to New England

[Joke about how Danny Amendola and Wes Welker are the same person.] Actually, did you know that both Amendola and Welker went to Texas Tech? That's kinda interesting. Even more interesting though is the fact that Amendola is the first receiver in NFL history who was born without feet.

Greg Jennings -- Green Bay to Minnesota

This summer, Jennings traded in Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback for Christian Ponder. Feel free to read that last sentence 85 more times until it really sinks in. There are some people out there who feel like Minnesota will offer a fresh start for Jennings, allowing him to play alongside Adrian Peterson while giving him an opportunity to be the Vikings' go-to guy. Those people can generally be found hanging around 10th and Market street wearing milk cartons on their feet. It's CHRISTIAN PONDER. I expect Jennings to be out of the league by week 6 and Ponder to be featured in The Evster's 2014 NFL Guide to Old Faces in New Places.

Anquan Boldin -- Baltimore to San Francisco

One of these days Anquan Boldin is going to die on a football field.

Other wide receivers who would probably be shocked to see that they were mentioned in this article:

Ted Ginn, Jr. (San Francisco to Carolina): This is Ginny's year! Darrius Heyward-Bey (Oakland to Indianapolis): Pull your 81 jerseys out, one clap. Devery Henderson (New Orleans to Washington): It actually must be very exciting for Henderson to get out of the shadow of the 15 other wide receivers on the standard Saints roster. Kevin Walter (Houston to Tennessee): Have fun with Jake Locker, dude. Have. Fun.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

Joel Embiid feels 'great' after injury scare to left knee

Joel Embiid feels 'great' after injury scare to left knee

Of the nearly 20,000 people in the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night, Joel Embiid was seemingly the least concerned when he came down and injured his left knee. 

Fans held their breath and the Sixers looked on anxiously as the standout big man got up in visible discomfort and limped off the court (see highlights). Embiid, however, wasn’t worried. 

“I knew it was OK. I just landed the wrong way,” he said after the Sixers' 93-92 win over the Trail Blazers (see Instant Replay). “I’m great. The knee’s fine. They did an MRI and stuff, everything looked good.”

Embiid ran off the court on his own, was diagnosed with a left knee contusion and was cleared to return to the game. He aggravated his knee again driving to the basket and this time, the team held him out to be careful.

“The review is that he hyperextended his left knee,” head coach Brett Brown said. “There was a minor tweak again, and for precautionary reasons only, the doctors did not allow him to return. There will be more information given as we know it. But quickly, that's what we know.”

Embiid understood the team’s decision to sideline him for the final 8:50 while the Sixers went on a comeback run (see feature highlight). He still finished the game with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double, five assists and four blocks in only 22 minutes.

“Obviously those guys, the front office, they care about my future, so they just shut it down,” Embiid said. “But I was fine.”

Embiid will not travel to Atlanta for Saturday’s game against the Hawks (pre-scheduled rest). He expects to be available for Tuesday’s home matchup against the Clippers. 

"You know how tough he is," Nerlens Noel said. "If it isn’t anything serious, he’ll be right back. At the end of the game, he was telling me was he was feeling great and there was no pain. He wanted to come back in the game … he’s a trooper. He always gives it his all and always plays hard."

Injuries to any player are worrisome, especially a franchise centerpiece with two years of rehab (foot) behind him. The Sixers have been methodical and cautious with his playing time. Embiid is on a 28-minute restriction and can play in only one game of a back-to-back series. 

The same player who is so closely watched, though, also plays with sky-high energy that doesn’t have a brake pedal. 

“You're concerned,” Brown said of seeing Embiid get injured. “It's clear to all of us that he plays with such reckless abandon. I think that we're all going to be seeing this and feeling this regularly. From flying into stands to stalking somebody in the open court to block a shot to the collision he often is in trying to draw fouls. That's just who he is. 

“I think that as he just plays more basketball and continues to grow, to not necessarily avoid those situations, just to perhaps manage them a little bit more. Right now, he's just a young guy that's just playing that doesn't know what he doesn't know and has a fearless approach underneath all that attitude.”

Fearless is an accurate description considering Embiid's trouble-free reaction to the awkward way his leg bent (he hadn’t seen a replay). 

“I kind of had that in college, too,” he said. “I think I’m flexible, so it’s supposed to happen.”

Best of NHL: Before visiting Flyers, Devils fall to Canadiens

Best of NHL: Before visiting Flyers, Devils fall to Canadiens

NEWARK, N.J. -- The toughest thing Montreal Canadiens goalie Al Montoya had to do against the New Jersey Devils was stay awake.

The Canadiens limited the Devils to a season-low 17 shots, and Shea Weber and Max Pacioretty each scored a power-play goal during a major penalty early in the third period of Montreal's 3-1 victory Friday night.

"I'd take this any night," Montoya said after the Canadiens snapped a two-game skid. "Your team is playing fantastic in front of you. Halfway through the game it's 1-1 and all I'm really focused on is making that next save. These guys did a phenomenal job and I just wanted to make that next save, and the power play was terrific. The guys were mainly terrific all night."

Alex Galchenyuk added a goal and two assists, and Alexander Radulov had three assists as Montreal ended the Devils' three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Big 2nd period helps Penguins roll Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have been beatable away from home this season. Good thing for them this felt nothing like a road game.

Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist during Pittsburgh's four-goal second period, and the Penguins routed the Carolina Hurricanes 7-1 on Friday night.

Conor Sheary scored twice, and Evgeni Malkin had a late goal and an assist. Carl Hagelin and Chris Kunitz joined Sheary in scoring during the second for Pittsburgh.

"In a win like that, I think it was a really complete effort from all the guys," said Sheary, who has four goals in three games. "It's fun to win on the road,” (see full recap).

Blackhawks beat Bruins on Hossa's late goal
BOSTON -- Blackhawks backup Scott Darling insists he isn't trying to take playing time away from No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford.

"I don't know if you guys know who my goalie partner is," Darling said with a smile after beating the Boston Bruins 1-0 on Friday night. "He's one of the best goalies in the world, hands down, no arguments. So I'm just pretty happy to get any games I can."

Marian Hossa scored with 1:26 left to break a scoreless tie, and Darling stopped 30 shots to post his second shutout of the season. Darling is 12-4 and he brought a 2.34 goals-against average into the game, even better than Crawford's 2.54 (see full recap).

Okposo gives Sabres OT win over Red Wings
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Kyle Okposo scored a power-play goal 4:34 into overtime and the Buffalo Sabres rallied to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on Friday night.

Ryan O'Reilly had a goal and an assist, and Sam Reinhart also scored to help the Sabres overcome a pair of one-goal deficits. Anders Nilsson made 32 saves for Buffalo, which has won two straight against Detroit in one season for the first time since 1989-90.

Darren Helm and Frans Nielsen scored for the Red Wings, and Petr Mrazek was sharp in stopping 33 shots.

The Red Wings had their three-game winning streak snapped and took a rare loss to Buffalo. They fell to 8-0-2 in their past 10 meetings with the Sabres and 31-4-3 with a tie in their past 39 (see full recap).