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Barkowitz: RedZone's Hanson never misses out on the action on the field

SCOTT HANSON has anchored NFL RedZone for seven years. He's called thousands of touchdowns and dozens of frenetic, fantastic and even puzzling finishes.

SCOTT HANSON has anchored NFL RedZone for seven years. He's called thousands of touchdowns and dozens of frenetic, fantastic and even puzzling finishes.

And yet there's still one question everybody wants to ask. He sits behind that desk in Los Angeles every Sunday for seven consecutive hours feeding fantasy fans every sweet piece of minutia or every frustrating touchdown vultured by a fullback. Even Roger Goodell once asked it.

So, we'll just let Hanson answer it.

"I've gone 2 1/2 years without a bathroom break," he said, laughing.

RedZone is 21st-century football viewing at its best - or its worst, given how untraditional it is. There are no commercials, which gives it the feel of a Jerry Lewis Telethon with grass stains. There also is no loyalty to a particular game. All it does is show scoring plays and key moments from games all around the NFL.

RedZone is on a cable pay tier - Comcast charges $10 a month for a package that includes the network - so it doesn't wear out viewers with stoppages. There also is no two-minute warning. It's just Hanson, the former Syracuse walk-on who was a practice-squad teammate of Marvin Harrison, his highlights and his stamina.

"There are moments in June where I'll be on the treadmill and in the last half-hour, I'll think about being in the sixth hour of RedZone and that will help push me to finish the workout," he said.

The preparation starts early in the week and comes to a crescendo on Saturdays, when he plops on his couch and combs through reams of research for the next day's marathon. He's searching for knowledge, but also trying to avoid the horror of fumbling a fact.

"I'd feel negligent not knowing something or not making a (pertinent) reference," said Hanson, who grew up outside of Detroit and worked at Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia from 2000-02. "It's about making a connection with people. I have a strong fear of being caught with my pants down, of making just one mistake."

Michael Barkann, another Syracuse grad, tried to add some perspective to being on air for seven hours straight with no guests, panelists or bathroom breaks.

"I believe that you can count on one hand the number of sportscasters able to do what he does at RZ," said Barkann, one of the original anchors at CSN Philly. "We're talking (Bob) Costas and (Mike) Tirico territory here."

Tom Brady is a RedZone viewer, as is Goodell. Seahawks tight end Luke Willson, who has five touchdowns in his career, asked Hanson for "more love" on RedZone. Hanson's logical reply was for Willson to get into the end zone more often.

Hanson, 45, is a renowned traveler when he's not studying about the Browns' fourth-string wide receiver. He has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, run with the bulls in Spain and been to every continent except Antarctica.

A couple of years ago, Hanson made a flub on the air that brought out the Twitter trolls. He was talking about a season series between Washington and Dallas and mistakenly said Dallas had won the previous meeting.

"Ninety percent of the people on Twitter crushed me," he said. "But one person tweeted something that really made me feel better. He said, 'Even Larry Bird missed a free throw.' "

Contest of the Week

How many passing yards will Carson Wentz have on Monday?

The Eagles quarterback has eclipsed 250 yards only once in the last seven games, but he's facing a Packers defense that is 23rd in pass defense for the season (266-yard average). In the last four games, however, Green Bay has allowed an average of 301.

The reader who comes closest to Wentz's total gets a fantasy football T-shirt. One guess per customer. Wentz must play for the contest to be viable. In case of tie, one winner will be chosen randomly.

Send an email to by 8 p.m. Monday.

Position watch

Patriots players: Tom Brady (knee) did not practice Thursday. Yikes. Hopefully, Bill Belichick just let him have the holiday off with Gisele and the kids. Tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle) also was a DNP Thursday while TE Rob Gronkowski (lung) and WR Julian Edelman (foot) were listed as limited.

Running backs: Wendell Smallwood moves up to RB3/flex after Ryan Mathews missed practice on Thursday . . . Melvin Gordon has averaged over 26 carries over the last five games. He might need a heavy workload to produce fantasy points at Houston, which has allowed opposing RBs to gain only 153 yards on 50 attempts with no touchdowns over the last three games. In Week 7, the Texans allowed Denver's backs to pile up 191 yards and two scores . . . LeSean McCoy was catching passes at Thursday's practice, four days after having thumb surgery. Impressive.

Wide receiver: Michael Crabtree has only one TD in his last five games after posting five in his first five . . . Miami's Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker have each disappointed, with only two touchdowns each this season, but they're going up against a 49ers defense that has allowed a league-high 18 to opposing wide receivers. Landry was limited in Thursday's practice with a shoulder injury . . . Brandon LaFell (nine) and Tyler Boyd and Giovani Bernard (eight each) were Andy Dalton's top WR targets last week following A.J. Green's injury. Boyd, a rookie second-rounder out of Pittsburgh, had a strong training camp but has been lightly used during the regular season until now. He's worth stashing in 10-team or larger leagues.

Week 12 rankings (not including Thursday's games)

Quarterback, team: opponent

1. Tom Brady, NE: at NYJ

2. Aaron Rodgers, GB: at Phi.

3. Russell Wilson, Sea.: at TB

4. Drew Brees, NO: vs. LA

5. Matt Ryan, Atl.: vs. Ari.

6. Marcus Mariota, Ten.: at Chi.

7. Philip Rivers, SD: at Hou.

8. Eli Manning, NYG: at Cle.

9. Tyrod Taylor, Buf.: vs. Jac.

10. Cam Newton, Car.: at Oak.

Running backs, team: opponent

1. David Johnson, Ari.: at Atl.

2. DeMarco Murray, Ten.: at Chi.

3. LeGarrette Blount, NE: at NYJ

4. LeSean McCoy, Buf.: vs. Jac.

5. Melvin Gordon, SD: at Hou.

6. Jay Ajayi, Mia.: vs. SF

7. Thomas Rawls, Sea.: at TB

8. Lamar Miller, Hou.: vs. SD

9. Latavius Murray, Oak.: vs. Car.

10. Spencer Ware, KC: at Den.

11. Carlos Hyde, SF: at Mia.

12. Rashad Jennings, NYG: at Cle.

13. Devonta Freeman, Atl.: vs. Ari.

14. Matt Forte, NYJ: vs. NE

15. Jeremy Hill, Cin.: at Bal.

16. Doug Martin, TB: vs. Sea.

17. Devontae Booker, Den.: vs. KC

18. Todd Gurley, LA: at NO

19. Jordan Howard, Chi.: vs. Ten.

20. Mark Ingram, NO: vs. LA

Wide receiver, team: opponent

1. Odell Beckham, NYG: at Cle.

2. Julio Jones, Atl.: vs. Ari.

3. Amari Cooper, Oak.: vs. Car.

4. Larry Fitzgerald, Ari.: at Atl.

5. Jordy Nelson, GB: at Phi.

6. Mike Evans, TB: vs. Sea.

7. Demaryius Thomas, Den.: vs. KC

8. Doug Baldwin, Sea.: at TB

9. Julian Edelman, NE: at NYJ

10. Tyrell Williams, SD: at Hou.

11. Brandin Cooks, NO: vs. LA

12. Kelvin Benjamin, Car.: at Oak.

13. Rishard Matthews, Ten.: at Chi.

14. DeAndre Hopkins, Hou.: vs. SD

15. Davante Adams, GB: at Phi.

16. Emmanuel Sanders, Den.: vs. KC

17. Jarvis Landry, Mia.: vs. SF

18. Allen Robinson, Jac.: at Buf.

19. Terrelle Pryor, Cle.: vs. NYG

20. Tyler Boyd, Cin.: at Bal.

Tight end, team: opponent

1. Jimmy Graham, Sea.: at TB

2. Greg Olsen, Car.: at Oak.

3. Rob Gronkowski, NE: at NYJ

4. Delanie Walker, Ten.: at Chi.

5. Travis Kelce, KC: at Den.

6. Martellus Bennett, NE: at NYJ

7. Tyler Eifert, Cin.: at Bal.

8. Julius Thomas, Jac.: at Buf.

9. Gary Barnidge, Cle.: vs. NYG

10. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Hou.: vs. SD

DFS sleepers

QBs: Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers

RBs: Jeremy Hill, Devonta Freeman

WRs: Doug Baldwin, Terrelle Pryor

TEs: Tyler Eifert, Julius Thomas

Catch a waive

The most popular player picked up in leagues run by ESPN this week is Eagles' rookie running back Wendell Smallwood, who has had 13 carries in each of the last two games. Here's a look at the most added and dropped:

Most added

1. Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles

2. Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals

3. Bills defense/special teams

4. Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks

5. Titans defense/special teams

Most dropped

1. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals

2. Zach Miller, TE, Bears

3. C.J. Prosise, RB, Seahawks

4. Ty Montgomery, WR/RB, Packers

5. Jets defense/special teams