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Harden scores 33 as Rockets beat 76ers 125-103

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Harden scores 33 as Rockets beat 76ers 125-103

HOUSTON (AP) James Harden had 33 points and seven assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 125-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Harden topped 20 points for the seventh straight game to send the 76ers to their fifth straight loss. He made 17 of 18 free throws, including six in the fourth quarter, as Houston improved to 9-2 in its last 11 home games.

Toney Douglas heated up in the fourth quarter for the Rockets, hitting five 3-pointers and scoring all 17 of his points.

Reserve Nick Young scored 21 points to lead Philadelphia, which matched its most lopsided loss of the season. The 76ers also lost by 22 points against the New York Knicks on Nov. 5.

Young hit a 3-pointer with less than three minutes left in the third quarter to cut Houston's lead to three, but the Rockets finished the quarter on an 8-1 run and led by 10 at the start of the fourth. Houston forward Greg Smith keyed the rally, scoring eight of his 13 points in the final two minutes of the third quarter.

Chandler Parsons got the rebound on his own 3-point attempt and followed with a powerful dunk that kept Houston's lead in double digits midway through the fourth quarter. Parson finished with nine points and was the only Rockets starter not in double-figures.

Jeremy Lin had 18 points and six assists, and Omer Asik added 17 points and 15 rebounds for Houston, which led by as many as 14 in the first half and was ahead 56-51 at the break.

Dorell Wright scored 20 points in a reserve role for Philadelphia, and Thaddeus Young added 17.

Philadelphia guard Evan Turner left the game with nine minutes left in the third quarter after suffering a left ankle injury. Turner limped to the locker room and returned with less than five minutes remaining, but he only stayed in the game for 17 seconds before heading back to the locker room.

Turner never re-entered the game and finished with six points, three assists and two rebounds, ending a 17-game streak of scoring in double-figures. The 2010 second overall pick has averaged 17.7 points in December and 15.5 this season.

Turner's absence might be the latest setback for the injury-plagued 76ers, who have been without center Andrew Bynum for the entire season.

Philadelphia point guard Jrue Holiday, the team's leading scorer at nearly 19 points per game, missed his fourth straight with a sprained left foot. Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said he hoped Holiday would be back for Friday's home game against Atlanta but said the team isn't rushing his return.

Notes: Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel attended the game and received a brief ovation when his name was announced halfway through the third quarter. Texas A&M University in College Station is roughly 100 miles from Houston's Toyota Center. ... Houston F Patrick Patterson missed his third straight game with a bone bruise in his right foot.

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Fantasy Football QB Rankings 2019 2.1

Fantasy Football QB Rankings 2019 2.1

With the preseason off and running it is finally time for fantasy football leagues to do the same. Andrew Luck's sudden retirement shook up the sports world and will absolutely alter fantasy football drafting strategies.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End

Quarterback always seems to be the murkiest position during fantasy drafts. There is always that one person that selects Aaron Rodgers, and now this year Patrick Mahomes, WAY too early and throws the remainder of the draft selections out of proportions. The best methodology is to select your quarterback as far back in the draft as possible. The dangers of selecting too early vary, and it's not worth it to blow that high of a pick on a player who puts up comparable stats to someone you can grab much later

TIER 1: Showtime

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Stats: 5,097 Passing YDs, 50 Passing TD, 12 INT, 272 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB1
Previous Ranking: 1

TIER 2: Elite Starters

2. DeShaun Watson, Houston Texans
2018 Stats: 4,165 Passing YDS, 26 Passing TD, 9 INT, 551 Rushing YDS, 5 Rush TD, 2018 QB4
Previous Ranking: 2

3. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
2017 Stats: 3,296 Passing YDS, 33 Passing TD, 7 INT, 299 Rushing YDS, 2017 QB5
Previous Ranking: 4

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2018 Stats: 4,442 Passing YDS, 25 Passing TD, 2 INT, 269 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB6
Previous Ranking: 5

TIER 3: Near Elite

5. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
2018 Stats: 3,725 Passing YDS, 26 Passing TD, 14 INT, 131 Rushing YDS, 2018 QB16
Previous Ranking: 6

6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
2018 Stats: 4,924 Passing YDS, 35 Passing TD, 7 INT, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB2
Previous Ranking: 7

7. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
​​​​​​2018 Stats: 3,395 Passing YDS, 24 Passing TD, 13 INT, 488 Rushing YDS, 4 Rushing TD, 2018 QB13
Previous Ranking: 8

8. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2018 Stats: 3,992 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 5 INT, 22 Rushing YDS, 4 Rushing TD, 2018 QB8
Previous Ranking: 9

TIER 4: Late-round options

9. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
2018 Stats: 3,448 Passing YDS, 35 Passing TD, 7 INT, 376 Rushing YDS, 2018 QB9
Previous Ranking: 10

10. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
​​​​​​2018 Stats: 4,308 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 12 INT, 2018 QB11
Previous Ranking: 11

11. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Previous Ranking:
 12

12. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 Stats: 2,992 Passing YDS, 19 Passing TD, 14 INT, 2018 QB21
Previous Ranking: 13

TIER 5: Potential is there

13. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
2018 Stats: 4,688 Passing YDS, 32 Passing TD, 12 INT, 108 Rushing YDS, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB7
Previous Ranking: 14

14. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
2018 Stats: 5,129 Passing YDS, 34 Passing TD, 15 INT, 98 Rushing YDS, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB3
Previous Ranking: 15

TIER 6: Backup Options

15. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

2018 Stats: 3,223 Passing YDS, 24 Passing TD, 12 INT, 421 Rushing YDS, 3 Rushing TD, 2018 QB15
Previous Ranking: 16

16. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
2018 Stats: 4,298 Passing YDS, 30 Passing TD, 10 INT, 123 Rushing YDS, 1 Rushing TD, 2018 QB12
Previous Ranking: 17

17. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
2018 Stats: 2,074 Passing YDS, 10 Passing TD, 12 INT, 639 Rushing YDS, 8 Rushing TD, 2018 QB21
Previous Ranking: 18

18. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
2018 Stats: 3,885 Passing YDS, 22 Passing TD, 8 INT, 305 Rushing YDS, 6 Rushing TD, 2018 QB10
Previous Ranking: 19

19. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
2018 Stats: 1,201 Passing YDS, 6 Passing TD, 3 INT, 695 Rushing YDS, 5 Rushing TD, 2018 QB28
Previous Ranking: 20

20. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
2018: Tore ACL in Game 3
Previous Ranking: 21

21. Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars
2018 Stats: 1,413 Passing YDS, 7 Passing TD, 4 INT, 2018 QB35
Previous Ranking: 22

22. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
2018 Stats: 4,049 Passing YDS, 19 Passing TD, 10 INT, 2018 QB17
Previous Ranking: 23

23. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
2018 Stats: 4,355 Passing YDS, 29 Passing TD, 11 INT, 2 Rushing TD, 2018 QB14
Previous Ranking: 24

24. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
2018 Stats: 3,777 Passing YDS, 21 Passing TD, 11 INT, 2018 QB19
Previous Ranking: 25

25. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
2018 Stats:
2,865 Passing YDS, 17 Passing TD, 15 INT, QB26
Previous Ranking: NR

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‘We’re not robots’: Redskins react to Luck's retirement

‘We’re not robots’: Redskins react to Luck's retirement

The news came like a thunderbolt on a Saturday night across the NFL: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was retiring at age 29. 

Just like that, one of the game’s great players, again dealing with a series of injuries he never seemed able to escape, is gone. Even his opponents empathized, including several Redskins players. 

“I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what to think,” running back Adrian Peterson said. “Just goes to show the type of pain and what he was dealing with and mentally where he was, to retire at such a young age and with so much  to look forward top in his future.”

Luck, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, one spot before the Redskins selected Robert Griffin III, left $64 million on the table by retiring. But he missed nine games in 2015 with a lacerated kidney and torn abdominal muscles and the entire 2017 season because of a shoulder injury. The last straw was an ankle injury that just wasn’t healing. On and off a constant cycle of rehabilitation for years, Luck had enough. The news leaked on social media during Indianapolis’ preseason home game Saturday night and Colts fans booed Luck as he left the field in street clothes. 

“We’re human beings. We’re not robots,” Redskins cornerback Josh Norman said. “You can’t turn us on, turn us off when you want….Yeah, they may see the numbers and how much we get paid. But you’ve also got to understand that’s it’s a livelihood where if something happens you can’t do something for the rest of your life. That is much bigger than the numbers and whatever else that they look at it. It’s the gift that we’ve been given and it’s also the curse.” 

Luck made a similar point in an emotional press conference after Saturday’s game while stunned Colts coaches, players and executives looked on. He cried. The sport he played with joy his entire life wasn’t fun anymore. Articulating that was difficult, especially on the eve of a season with such high hopes for the Colts and the fans’ boos still ringing in his ears. 

“I remember my teacher being like, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I want to play quarterback in the NFL,” Redskins quarterback Case Keenum said. “They don’t tell you about a lot of the other things. Like fans booing you when you’re walking off the field for the last time. The injuries, the mental, the physical, the emotional toll it takes on you and your family….We get paid a lot of money and people have their opinions about us, but his family was probably at that game, too. It’s tough and I feel for him.”

Luck made 86 career starts, had a 53-33 record and led the Colts to the playoffs four times and the AFC title game in 2014. That same year he threw five touchdown passes in a Nov. 30 game against Washington. He made the Pro Bowl four times despite the years lost to injury. 

His final NFL season showed his greatness one last time for a Colts team coming off a 4-12 season. With Luck back, they went 10-6, finished second in the AFC South and won an AFC wild-card game. Luck might have had his greatest season. He had 4,593 passing yards with 39 touchdowns and set career highs in completions (430), completion percentage and passer rating (98.7). But back on the injury cycle again this summer, it was time to go.

“If you can’t go out there and put your heart and soul into this game then you probably shouldn’t be out there,” Redskins tight end Vernon Davis said. “I would be the same way if I was Andrew Luck. Kudos to him for being honest with himself, being honest with the organization, with the NFL and doing what was right.” 

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