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the outset of the season, fantasy owners should consider this
backfield a true RBBC between Ronnie
Moreno and Montee
Ball. None are reliable options out of the starting block
but any of the them could become flex worthy as the season unfolds.
Ball has the most upside and talent of this group and should be
the focus of fantasy owners drafting this week. Veteran RB Lance
Ball was waived in favor of undrafted and currently injured
rookie C.J. Anderson (knee). With so many teams needing a RB,
expect Ball to find a new home quickly.
This team will pass the football with Peyton
Manning or Brock Osweiler at the helm. Osweiler led the Broncos
down the field 80 yards to score on its opening possession against
the Cardinals during their final game of the preseason. A second-round
draft choice out of Arizona State, Osweiler would become a hot
fantasy commodity if Peyton Manning were to miss any time. Rookie
Dysert scooted in under the roster deadline to be the teamís
Chiefs released TE Tony
Moeaki after he fractured his shoulder this week. That means
Fasano will be the primary starter and although he may turn
in a nice game every now and then, heís not going to be a reliable
fantasy TE. If rookie third-rounder Travis
Kelce can get over a bothersome knee he might factor into
the passing attack later in the year as a ďmoveĒ tight end.
RB Jamaal Charles finished the preseason right on cue, tantalizing
fantasy owners with his skills to be a stud RB1 while casting
just enough doubt about his durability to give prospective owners
pause before anchoring their fantasy season to him. The offensive
playbook favors Charlesí receiving skills, but lingering
injury concerns relating to his foot continue to loom over his
head like an anvil waiting to drop at the most inopportune time.
In this case, the immense upside outweighs the risk-especially
in PPR formats. Knile Davis and Cyrus Gray will open the season
as the #2 and #3 RBs behind Charles.
Pryor disappointed instead of stepping up going 3 of 8 passing
for 31 yards and an interception. His three rushes for 48 yards
provided a glimpse towards his fantasy upside if he can become
a more efficient passer. Matt
Flynn feels better after a week of rest and should be closer
to returning for Week 1. The teamís decision to keep four quarterbacks
on the roster is a telling sign that the coaching staff isnít
confident with their quarterback options and fantasy owners should
follow suit. Inconsistent play at the quarterback position will
likely push wideouts Denarius
Moore and Rod
Streater into fantasy waiver wire material in standard formats.
One of these guys might be useful when the bye weeks come around
but do you really want to use a precious roster spot hoping Matt
Flynn can turn around his career in Oakland?
The injury to starting LT Jared Veldheer will definitely have
a negative impact on the offense out of the gate. Itís not
that Veldheer is indispensable, but rather the team lacking quality
depth to replace a solid starter. Rookie second-rounder Menelik
Watson may turn out to be a very solid player, but he will have
his hands full being on the road against the Colts in his first
San Diego Chargers
Bolts released wideout Robert Meachem, who suffered a concussion
last week. Vincent Brown and Malcom Floyd sit atop the depth chart
in San Diego with Eddie Royal, Keenan Allen and Seji Ajirotutu
providing depth. Brown seems like the better fit for the offense
and is expected to be the better fantasy player this season. TE
Ladarius Green capped off a strong preseason with 5 receptions
for 49 yards. The 6í6Ē Green led the team in receptions
and receiving yards and in doing so,has positioned himself to
become fantasy relevant if aging fantasy star Antonio Gates continues
to decline out in 2013.
Starting RB Ryan
Mathews isnít losing his ďinjury proneĒ label despite running
well and escaping the preseason without injury. With Fozzy
Whittaker earning a roster spot after running for 59 yards
on 10 carries, the Chargersí backup and third down duty gets a
little more interesting. Danny
Woodhead remains the best fantasy option behind Mathews and
will see the bulk of the snaps on passing downs. Still, Whitaker
would step into Woodheadís role and have some value in PPR leagues
if the opportunity presents itself at any point this season.
I donít think Arian is going to be a 30-carry guy opening night
without camp," head
coach Gary Kubiak said on Friday afternoon. The Texans play
on Monday night so fantasy owners get a tough lineup decision
right off the bat. Even if the practices reports continue to be
encouraging this week, Iím not sold on Foster getting more than
10-12 touches in this game. 17 weeks of football and a very capable
Tate should give Gary Kubiak all the more reason to be cautious
with Fosterís return. Meanwhile, Cierre Woodís 107-yard rushing
performance against Dallas helped elevate him over Deji
Karim, who was subsequently cut, to be the teamís third-string
WR DeAndre Hopkins is expected to pass the final phase of his
recovery from a concussion and return to practice this week. Thatís
great news for the passing game because the receiving corps after
Hopkins gets thin quick. TE Owen Daniels has dealt with shoulder
issues this preseason, but figures to be ready to go to start
the year. His ADP puts him outside the top 100 despite being the
6th most targeted TE in 2012 makes him a decent value pick and/or
trade target for owners who donít land Jimmy Graham early.
ailments havenít allowed fantasy owners to see much of tight
ends Coby Fleener (knee) or Dwayne Allen (foot) this preseason
but both should make a fantasy impact in 2013. With limited playing
time comes limited confidence from the fantasy community. Neither
player is having much luck finding a home on fantasy rosters right
now but the TE position is expected to be a more prominent part
of OC Pep Hamiltonís game plan. I suspect Allen and Fleener
wonít be flying under the radar once the real games begin.
Allen is the better blocker at this point and probably begins
the year as the starter, but Fleener is a more talented weapon
in the passing game. Both players represent TE2s with upside to
crack the top 12 at the position with Fleener having the greater
In the receiving game it looks like Heyward-Bey will slide into
the #2 WR position. This doesnít mean T.Y. Hilton should
be knocked down in your rankings. Hilton has the greater chemistry
with QB Andrew Luck and will still see plenty of snaps each week
making him the better fantasy option once the season gets underway.
Jags will enter the season with a completely healthy Maurice Jones-Drew
after a Lisfranc injury derailed his 2012 season. MJD is just
one season removed from making a run at 2,000 total yards and
is a solid value in the second round where he is currently being
drafted. RB Jordan Todmanís strong finish to the preseason
included an 18-yard touchdown run against the Falcons to solidify
his place on the team. Justin Forsett (toe) is still considered
the backup once healthy but Todman will be the one spelling MJD
if Forsett canít suit up. Additionally, rookie Denard Robinson
will be utilized as the QB in wildcat formations. Itís too
early to tell whether the team will utilize this package enough
to give Robinson enough chances to have an impact in the fantasy
realm but heís worth keeping an eye on throughout the season.
QB Blaine Gabbert (thumb on throwing hand) is on schedule to
be ready to go for the teamís opener against Kansas City;
however he is not likely to be pain free. Look for the first update
to come mid-week as to whether he can manage the pain. Whoever
starts at QB will also be without WR Justin Blackmon who begins
serving a 4-game suspension.
the week, HC Mike Munchak reminded everyone that Kenny Brittís
knee swells up. LINK He is considered healthy entering the season
but after a few NFL games that could all change. Britt is destined
to be a regular on the injury report and you would be rolling
the dice by making him a WR3 in standard formats. Nate Washington
will see just enough targets to remain relevant in deeper formats
while Kendall Wright remains more of an upside flier in PPR and
dynasty formats if you are betting against Kenny Brittís
body holding up for 17 weeks. New TE Delanie Walkerís largest
fantasy impact will likely be seen in helping the run blocking
improve from last season making the longtime 49er an afterthought
for fantasy purposes.
Shonn Greene (ankle) did not participate in the final preseason
game against the Vikings, but it was simply a matter of giving
him some extra rest. Greene doesnít provide the kind of
upside youíd like in a handcuff situation to warrant rostering
in most leagues. Meanwhile, Jackie Battle beat out Jalen Parmele
to garner #3 RB honors. Starter Chris Johnson has looked more
confident and comfortable, making him one of the better RB2s to
target this year.
Ravens release of Caleb Hanie means they will head into the year
with only Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor at the quarterback position.
RB Bobby Rainey couldnít parlay his two-touchdown performance
against the Rams into a roster spot. So, that leaves only two
running backs on the roster in Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. The
Ravens are accustomed to playing with only two quarterbacks on
the roster, but a third tailback in the NFL is almost essential
so expect GM Ozzie Newsome to add another player in the coming
days. The trend continued at the TE position where only Ed Dickson
and Dallas Clark reside as viable options.
Stokley will find a home in the slot with Jacoby
Jones holding off Tandon
Doss and company to be the teamís starter opposite Torrey
Smith. Doss was let go in favor of up rookies Aaron
Mellette and Marlon
Brown. Besides Smith, no other Ravens receiver offers enough
fantasy appeal to be worthy of a roster spot at this time.
scored from inside the 5 yet again (thatís three times for those
scoring at home) and one has to wonder if he has taken over the
lead role in Cincy. BenJarvus
Green-Ellis was such a big part of the offense last season
it is too early to cast him off for 2013. However, based on Bernardís
big play ability and early success getting the job down around
the goal, BJGEís leash just got a whole lot shorter heading into
the regular season. Although the passing game continues to evolve,
itís interesting to note that when it came to play selection,
the Bengals still opted to run more than the pass throughout the
TE Tyler Eiffert failed to dress for the second week in a row.
Although no injury has been mentioned it is odd for a rookie to
miss these games without reason. He claims heíll be ready
to go when the team takes on Chicago in Week 1. Cincinnati figures
to open the season using single back, two tight end formations.
Getting on the field is half the battle but whether Andy Dalton
can turn one or both of these players into weekly fantasy contributors
remains to be seen.
QB Brian Hoyer passed for over 300 yards against Chicago this
week but heíll still be listed as the third QB on the depth
chart to open the season. Second stringer Jason Campbell, had
flu like symptoms and did not play allowing Hoyer to play the
entire game. Between Hoyer and Campbell, the team has two worthy
options behind Brandon Weeden.
Richardson rested as expected and he doesnít have any competition
for the lead role in Cleveland. Brandon
Jackson gained 5 yards on 5 carries and was released late
Sunday as the Browns claimed RB Dennis
Johnson from the Texans and RB Bobby
Rainey from the Ravens. In the meantime, the timing is ripe
for Richardson to move into the upper echelon of running backs
in 2013. With WR Josh
Gordon suspended to open the season, wideout Davone
Bess and tight end Jordan
Cameron should be frequent targets in the short passing game
Little handles the deeper routes. Cameron should be a viable
fantasy starter from the outset but Bess and Little are less attractive
flex options in deeper formats.
last rehearsal for the Steelers showcased the battle in the backfield.
Stephens-Howling was able to return this week and all indications
point to a RBBC to open the year. Jonathan
Dwyer and Felix
Jones split the carries during their Week 4 preseason loss
to the Panthers, however Isaac
Redman (stinger) will likely be healthy enough to play for
the team once the regular season begins. I doubt HC Mike Tomlin
even knows how the carries will be split at this point. Dwyer
is out of the mix as was cut on Saturday but fantasy owners need
to be cautious here and use a wait and see approach before trusting
a Pittsburgh RB in your starting lineup.
David Paulson locked down the starting TE position until Heath
Miller returns. At 6-4, the second year player out of Oregon will
provide a big target for Ben Roethlisberger that should produce
a steady handful of targets over the first month of the season.
Miller was activated off the PUP list so a return prior to week
six seems likely at this point.
QB EJ Manuel (knee) could start Week 1 if he can get back onto
the practice field by Wednesday of this week. He was able to do
some throwing prior to the Billsí Week 4 preseason game
and the coaching staff is optimistic about his chance to play
opening day. If he isnít quite ready then expect Jeff Tuel
to be under center in a divisional matchup against the Patriots
to open the season. The team placed veteran Kevin Kolb on season-ending
IR and cut quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Thad Lewis. This leaves
only two QBs on the active roster at the moment so it is possible
the Bills are working on adding somebody else in the near future.
Johnson appears to be healthy again following a hamstring
injury. The quarterback situation may limit the teamís best wide
receiver at the outset of the season. Nevertheless, he should
be worthy of flex consideration on most weeks as the season progresses.
Behind him on the depth chart could be Marcus
Easley, who has put together two solid performances in a row
to lead the Bills receivers. T.J.
Graham and Robert
Woods will also be in the mix but a limited passing attack
figures means limited fantasy potential from this group.
wasnít much unsettled business for the Dolphins heading into the
fourth week of the preseason. QB Pat Devlin and RB Mike
Gillislee saw plenty of action and did just enough to make
the team as third stringers. In the passing game it was Marvin
McNutt that caught a 56-yard touchdown from Devlin to lead
the way for the Dolphins. Rookie DE Dion
Jordan (shoulder) returned to practice this week and is expected
to be able to play in Week 1.
Overall, the Dolphins offense lacks depth and appeal in the fantasy
game. RB Lamar
Millerís fantasy stock is trending upward as we head into
the regular season yet his upside comes without a track record
of performance. Hartlineís sure handedness has intrigue to PPR
owners, but his lack of touchdowns is alarming. Do we know if
Wallace is an elite all around WR or just a really fast talent
who can keep safeties 30 yards off the line of scrimmage? Even
Tannehill takes a step forward, he isnít likely to finish
in the top 20 at the QB position.
Amendola sat out of practice this week but this was considered
precautionary and fantasy owners should expect him to be fully
healthy to start the season. Ryan Mallet hasnít been stellar this
preseason but he played better against the Giants this week. Mallet
would toss a touchdown pass to Josh
Boyce before giving way to Tim
Tebow in the second half. Tebow had some success in the short
game, but he routinely missed receivers down the field and was
cut over the weekend. Tom
Brady looks ready to take the reins of a revamped offense
and although his ceiling figures to be a little lower in í13,
the Pats franchise QB will still be more than capable of holding
down the QB1 slot on your fantasy roster no matter who lines up
on the outside.
New England also released TEs Jake
Ballard and Daniel
Fells in the wake of a strong preseason showing by Zach
Gronkowski (back) avoided the PUP list, but heís expected
to miss at least a few more weeks. Playing in this offense, Sudfeld
should provide top 12 TE numbers until Gronkís return. Thus far,
no definitive timetable has been set for Gronkís return to the
Sanchez(shoulder) is looking like a long shot to be healthy
in time to play for Week 1. Yet it was probably the 52 turnovers
he had during the last two seasons as the Jetsí starting quarterback
that swayed the teamís decision to go with Geno
Smith in 2013. Whether Smith is officially named the starter
by HC Rex Ryan or not, doesnít matter much to fantasy owners.
There isnít much to like here. Smith is a developing rookie quarterback
with some mobility but the surrounding collection of receivers
and tight ends are probably the least talented in the entire league.
The running game still offers some fantasy intrigue. Khalil Bell
cashed in on his opportunity during the final week with a pair
of touchdowns. His 21-carry workload wasnít enough to keep
him on the team, but provided fantasy owners with a glimmer of
hope that the running game can be effective enough for someone
to have fantasy value. Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell will be ahead
of Bell on the depth chart to open the season yet the delegation
of carries between the two is still a question mark. RB Mike Goodson
has returned to the team following an off-field incident and was
promptly handed a four-game suspension. Based on the teamís
decision to cut RB Joe McKnight, Goodson will find himself battling
for playing time on passing downs once he returns with newly acquired
Alex Green. If Ivory or Powell can take over the lionís
share of the work for Gang Green, they could post low-end RB3
totals for fantasy owners. However, if the dreaded RBBC takes
shape fantasy owners will need to look elsewhere.