Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — July 31, 2013 @ 9:46 am
QB Eli Manning
(2012 QB Rank – #14, 19.3 FPts/G)
If you were looking for a brief summary of Manning’s 2012 season, you could say that he, his fantasy owners and the Giants were all frustrated by it. After having arguably the finest year of his career in 2011, Manning saw his numbers dip last season as he struggled with turnovers and clearly missed having a healthy Hakeem Nicks in the lineup. With none of the team’s backup wide receivers stepping up, Manning finished the season with 3,948 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. While that is decent production, Manning was wildly inconsistent. Let’s take a closer look. Just under 32 percent of his fantasy production came in three games, including a Week 17 blow out of the Eagles. Just under 56 percent of his fantasy production came in six games. He also had five games with 12 fantasy points or less. The good news is that Nicks is expected to be completely healthy on opening day and the team expects Rueben Randle to take a leap forward in his second year in the league. Brandon Myers has replaced Martellus Bennett at tight end, basically an even trade off. Add it all up and Manning seems poised for a fantasy bounceback in 2013. You can likely grab him as an upper-tier backup with the potential for him to re-emerge as a mid-tier QB1.
RB David Wilson
(2012 RB Rank – #47, 4.9 FPts/G; #54 PPR, 5.2 FPts/G)
Wilson is getting a lot of love in fantasy circles this year as a potential breakout candidate. The 2012 first-round pick disappointed for much of his rookie season before earning a consistent role when Andre Brown was lost for the year in Week 12. Over the final four games, Wilson amassed 247 yards and three touchdowns on just 43 carries as he displayed some of the game-breaking ability the Giants were expecting. Wilson enters training camp as the starter and there is little reason to doubt that he will build on the progress he displayed last season. The issue is how the Giants coaches will split the playing time in the backfield, with Andre Brown coming off a breakout season. If Wilson can hold up in pass protection and not have any ball security issues, he could be in line for a breakout season. Unfortunately, Brown is almost assured of getting the goal-line looks, and that limits Wilson’s upside. Consider him a mid-tier RB2 in redraft formats and an outstanding dynasty league prospect.
RB Andre Brown
(2012 RB Rank – #32, 10.6 FPts/G; #39 PPR, 11.9 FPts/G)
After bouncing around from team to team during the first three years of his career, Brown earned a solid role with the Giants last season, gaining 385 yards and scoring eight touchdowns on just 73 carries despite appearing in just eight games. A broken leg ended his season in Week 12 after he had established himself as the team’s top backup. With Ahmad Bradshaw having been released, Brown will compete with 2012 first-round pick David Wilson for a starting position in 2013. While all indications are that Brown will lose that battle, the Giants will almost certainly stick to the committee approach they have used for several years. Although he lacks great speed and agility, Brown is a road grader, a solid pass protector and an outstanding short-yardage runner. Given Wilson’s lack of experience, poor pass blocking ability and reputation as a fumbler, Brown rates as a solid flex play and low-end RB3 entering 2013.
RB Da’Rel Scott
(2012 RB Rank – #145, 0.9 FPts/G; #149 PPR, 0.9 FPts/G)
While the Giants think their 2011 seventh-round pick has some upside, he was passed on the depth chart last season by Andre Brown and once again faces an uphill battle for playing time in 2013. The speedy Scott dressed for just four games last season, getting the rock in just one game—a six-carry, nine-yard performance against the Panthers in Week 3. With the Giants committed to David Wilson and Andre Brown, Scott is unlikely to see the field much in 2013 barring injury to one of those two players.
Cruz has twelve 100-yd receiving games over the last two seasons.
WR Victor Cruz
(2012 WR Rank – #13, 10.6 FPts/G; #14 PPR, 16.0 FPts/G)
Well, aren’t we all glad that Cruz got his contract extension so we don’t have to read about it anymore? Kudos to Cruz, who erased any doubts that his 2011 breakout season was a fluke by catching 86 passes for 1,092 yards and a whopping 10 touchdowns last season. That brings his two-year haul to 168 receptions for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns. If you weren’t convinced that he was a worthy WR1 prior to last season, you should be now. While Cruz may lack Hakeem Nicks’ athletic ability and he failed to generate as many big plays as in 2011, he has clearly earned quarterback Eli Manning’s trust and has been a healthy, consistent producer with 12 100-yard receiving games over the past two years. The Giants like to throw it, they don’t have a proven No. 3 wide receiver, Nicks can’t seem to stay healthy, and there are questions about how well Brandon Myers will fit into the Giants offense. That makes Cruz a relatively safe low-end WR1 in 2013.
WR Hakeem Nicks
(2012 WR Rank – #54, 7.3 FPts/G; #53 PPR, 11.7 FPts/G)
After a solid rookie season and two years where he displayed the potential to be among the league’s leading receivers, Nicks was a huge disappointment in 2013 as he struggled with foot and knee injuries. While he was healthy enough to appear in 13 games, he lacked the explosiveness that he displayed during his first three years in the league, catching just 53 of his 100 targets for 692 yards and three touchdowns. With Eli Manning at quarterback and playing alongside the talented Victor Cruz, Nicks’ only issue is staying healthy, but can we expect that in 2013? Although he has missed only ten games during his four-year career, he seems to be consistently dealing with various nicks and sprains, raising doubts over his ability to ever realize on his immense potential. While Cruz has been the straw that stirs the Giants passing attack over the past two seasons, it is Nicks who the team feels is their most talented wide receiver. Since the shine has rubbed off of Nicks’ fantasy luster, you can likely grab him as a WR3, which should be considered an absolute steal.
WR Rueben Randle
(2012 WR Rank – #85, 4.3 FPts/G; #89 PPR, 6.1 FPts/G)
Considered a steal as a second-round pick and one of the most Pro-ready receivers in the 2012 draft, Randle was expected to carve out a role as the Giants’ top backup receiver as a rookie. While he flashed some potential, the 6’2”, 208-pound LSU product failed to take on a consistent role despite Hakeem Nicks’ injury issues. Look for that to change this season, although the Giants have hedged their bets by re-signing Ramses Barden and acquiring journeyman Louis Murphy. Still, Randle should be considered the front-runner to earn the top backup role given his bigger upside and the fact that Nicks is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Randle rates as a WR5 with upside because of his potential and Nicks’ injury history.
WR Ramses Barden
(2012 WR Rank – #122, 3.1 FPts/G; #124 PPR, 5.1 FPts/G)
After four seasons that seemed to generate plenty of offseason hype but little in the way of on-the-field production, Barden hit the free agent market this offseason, hanging his hat on a wonderful nine-reception, 138-yard performance against the Panthers in Week 3 last year. Unfortunately for Barden, team’s were more focused on the production he put up over the entire season, which, with 14 receptions for 220 yards and no touchdowns, wasn’t all that impressive. The Giants ended up signing him for a song, but he will need to have a solid preseason to land a roster spot.
WR Louis Murphy
(2012 WR Rank – #97, 2.7 FPts/G; #95 PPR, 4.3 FPts/G)
After a middling year in Carolina where he caught 25 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown, Murphy brings his dog-and-pony show to the Big Apple. After being taken in the fourth round of the 2009 draft, Murphy had a couple of solid seasons but struggled to earn playing time with the Raiders in 2011 and was jettisoned to the Panthers last year. Once again he was unable to land a major role despite Carolina’s lack of depth at wide receiver. Well, the Giants do have a talented depth chart at the position, so Murphy is a long shot to earn anything more than a minor role in 2013.
WR Jerrel Jernigan
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
Taken in the third round of the 2011 draft, Jernigan, a 5’8”, 189-pound Troy State product, has been a bust for the Giants, hauling in just three receptions for 22 yards during his first two years in the league. Expected to earn some playing time out of the slot, the Giants have chosen to move Victor Cruz inside in three-receiver sets and go with various options outside rather than hand Jernigan much playing time. It won’t be a surprise if he finds himself on the street come opening day.
TE Brandon Myers
(2012 TE Rank – #9, 6.5 FPts/G; #6 PPR, 11.5 FPts/G)
After spending most of his first three years nailed to the sideline, Myers emerged last season to win the Raiders’ starting tight end spot. And once in the starting lineup, he proved to be a steady, reliable receiving option for quarterback Carson Palmer, hitting career highs in all major categories with 79 receptions for 806 yards and four touchdowns. Myers brings those talents to the Giants offense in 2013 and, while there is some uncertainty as to his role there, New York has generally received solid production from the tight end position over the last several years, despite never employing an upper-tier option at the position. Since the Giants possess far more talent at the wide receiving position than the Raiders did, a repeat of Myers’ 2012 production seems unlikely. Consider him a mid-tier TE2 with moderate upside.
TE Adrien Robinson
(2012 TE Rank – #95, 0.0 FPts/G; #95 PPR, 0.0 FPts/G)
The Giants acquired Robinson in the fourth round of last year’s draft and the former basketball player barely saw the field as a rookie, playing in just two games. While the team feels he has considerable upside, and didn’t make a huge investment in Brandon Myers, it seems a stretch to expect Robinson to earn a major role in 2013. He is a lower-tier dynasty prospect.
By: Dave Stringer — July 30, 2013 @ 2:06 pm
Vick’s fantasy value is surrounded by questions and concerns.
QB Michael Vick
(2012 QB Rank – #26, 20.7 FPts/G)
Vick has struggled to replicate his 2010 success over the past two seasons but appears set to earn another opportunity to try again in 2013. While he will need to beat out second-year signal caller Nick Foles, that seems like a mere formality. Vick has endured plenty of criticism over the past two seasons but his passing production has remained decent, the only issue being his propensity for turnovers. In the run game, Vick has remained productive, but the nine touchdowns he scored in 2010 have been replaced by a pair of single-rushing-touchdown seasons in each of 2011 and 2012. With Chip Kelly now in Philadelphia, Vick is getting a decent amount of fantasy buzz given his upside as a read-option quarterback and the talented skill position players the Eagles have on offense. The question is whether he can run that type of offense and stay healthy for an entire season. We have our doubts. Consider Vick a mid- to lower-tier QB with a solid upside in 2013.
QB Nick Foles
(2012 QB Rank – #34, 17.0 FPts/G)
The Eagles say they are going to give Foles a chance to compete with Michael Vick for the starting quarterback position, and there isn’t any reason to doubt that. We just doubt Foles’ ability to beat out Vick, and presumably the Eagles do as well, or else why draft Matt Barkley in the fourth round of this year’s draft? Foles was serviceable as a six-game starter during his rookie season, throwing for 1,699 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions. While his accuracy is decent, he doesn’t move well in the pocket and he doesn’t seem like a good fit in Chip Kelly’s offense. Consider Foles as a stopgap measure if he ends in the starting lineup in Week 1 or if Vick gets injured once again in 2013.
RB LeSean McCoy
(2012 RB Rank – #21, 12.6 FPts/G; #16 PPR, 17.1 FPts/G)
The man they call Shady took a bit of a pounding in fantasy circles last season as his PPG average dropped from 18.8 in 2011 to just 12.6. Not helping matters was that he was unavailable from Week 12 to 15 with a concussion, basically extinguishing several fantasy teams with his absence. However, a closer look reveals that McCoy remained a solid producer, averaging 101 total yards per game, just a half a yard off his production in 2011. His 20 touchdowns in 2011 were what padded his PPG totals that season, and expecting a repeat of that was unrealistic. And it’s unrealistic to again expect 20 touchdowns in 2013. McCoy isn’t getting the fantasy love that he deserves because of the drop in his touchdown production and the solid performance of Bryce Brown as his fill-in last season. I say Brown’s presence is being overblown. Consider the 25-year old McCoy a mid-tier RB1 and a player worthy of being taken as early as the fourth overall pick in your fantasy draft.
RB Bryce Brown
(2012 RB Rank – #39, 5.4 FPts/G; #42 PPR, 6.2 FPts/G)
Seriously talented but lacking maturity, Brown wasn’t taken until the seventh round of the 2012 draft, but the Eagles landed a steal in acquiring the Kansas State product. When LeSean McCoy was lost to a concussion, Brown put together two monstrous performances, totaling 372 yards in games against Carolina and Dallas. However, he struggled over his next two starts and saw limited touches once McCoy returned to the lineup. The knocks on the speedy Brown are that he doesn’t use his powerful frame enough— choosing to take too many runs outside of the tackles—and ball control, as in he has pretty much none. If he can learn to protect the football and be a better inside runner, Brown has the potential to be one of the league’s top backup running backs. It remains to be seen how new head coach Chip Kelly will rotate his backups, but if Brown can earn eight to ten touches a game, he could be a decent flex option in 14-team leagues. If that doesn’t happen, he is at least a must-have handcuff for McCoy owners.
RB Felix Jones
(2012 RB Rank – #31, 6.1 FPts/G; #35 PPR, 7.7 FPts/G)
After five subpar seasons with the Cowboys, Jones languished in the free agent market before getting an offer from the Eagles. He will compete for LeSean McCoy’s scraps with Bryce Brown, who had an outstanding run as the Eagles starter last season when McCoy was hurt. While Brown may have had a propensity to cough the ball up, he is younger and far more explosive than the injury-prone Jones. Don’t be shocked if Jones is on the street by opening day.
RB Chris Polk
(2012 RB Rank – N/A)
A degenerative shoulder condition kept Polk from being taken in the 2012 draft, and Bryce Brown’s emergence kept him from getting a single touch in the Eagles base offense as a rookie. With Felix Jones having been signed to join the backup brigade behind LeSean McCoy, Polk’s path to playing time seems completely blocked. Dynasty leaguers can now pretty much forget about Polk ever replicating his prolific collegiate production in the pros.
WR DeSean Jackson
(2012 WR Rank – #60, 7.4 FPts/G; #37 PPR, 11.1 FPts/G)
In 2011, Jackson had a subpar year, and that was blamed on the distraction of not having received a lucrative long-term contract. Prior to last season, he got the contract extension and we told you that his already high fantasy risk factor got even worse because he’d been paid. Sure enough, he hauled in just 45 receptions for 700 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games. After averaging double-digit fantasy points in 2009 and 2010, his PPG averages have plummeted to 8.0 and 7.5 over the past two seasons. Let’s hope new head coach Chip Kelly can motivate DJax back to high-end WR2 production and with Maclin (ACL) lost for the season, he’s got every opportunity to do so. Just don’t hold your breath on that happening. Kelly’s offense dictates getting the ball out early and letting his receivers rack up yards after the catch. Jackson is good at the latter part of that equation but not so good at hauling in quick hitters. Let’s just say we don’t see this as a match made in heaven. If you can grab Jackson as a low-end WR3 or upper-tier fantasy backup, do so; but don’t reach for him.
WR Jason Avant
(2012 WR Rank – #70, 4.6 FPts/G; #62 PPR, 8.4 FPts/G)
Hanging on to his role as the Eagles’ third receiver, Avant put up respectable numbers in 2012, catching 53 passes for 648 yards but failing to find the end zone. At 30 years of age, the days of hoping that he could turn into a consistent fantasy contributor are over, and there is a chance the Eagles could go in another direction in 2013. Avant offers almost no big-play ability, with just 10 touchdowns over his seven-year career. So it won’t be a huge surprise if the Eagles roll with recently acquired Arrelious Benn as their third receiver this season. While Avant has no chance of ever earning a starting role, Benn just might.
WR Arrelious Benn
(2012 WR Rank – #162, 1.1 FPts/G; #161 PPR, 2.1 FPts/G)
The Eagles acquired Benn from the Bucs in the offseason and proceeded to sign him to a one-year contract extension. Don’t get confused into thinking the extension means they have big plans for him. More likely, the Eagles had Benn over a barrel and he knew that his odds of making the squad this season were more likely if the Eagles had him signed at a modest cap hit in 2014. In Benn, Philadelphia acquired a player who has shown glimpses of big-play ability but one who has been unable to remain healthy. After a pair of moderately productive seasons, he missed eight games last year, finishing on injured reserve with a knee injury. In Philadelphia he will get a chance to supplant Jason Avant as the team’s third receiver. With a new coaching staff and Avant now on the wrong side of 30, there is a chance the 24-year-old Benn, a strong, physical receiver with good speed, could earn that role. However, until it happens and he shows some consistent production, you don’t need to consider him for your fantasy squad.
WR Damaris Johnson
(2012 WR Rank – #113, 2.4 FPts/G; #113 PPR, 4.2 FPts/G)
A little spark plug, Johnson earned a minor role as an undrafted free agent last year in Philadelphia, hauling in 19 receptions for 259 yards. At 5’8” and 170 pounds, Johnson seems unlikely to earn significant playing time, and his lack of size relegates him to working as a slot receiver and on gadget plays. While he will likely earn a spot on the Eagles roster, he shouldn’t earn one on yours.
WR Riley Cooper
(2012 WR Rank – #93, 3.9 FPts/G; #93 PPR, 6.0 FPts/G)
The Eagles fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft, Cooper has increased his target count and receptions each year he has been in the league. Unfortunately, the big-play potential that he displayed in 2010 and 2011 seemed to disappear last season as his 23 receptions only resulted in 248 yards. Cooper has a bigger fantasy upside now that Jeremy Maclin (ACL) has been lost for the season. For now, the Eagles have decided to address this issue in house and that means Cooper will likely get first opportunity to fill Maclin’s void and crack the starting lineup. We’re not sold yet on Cooper being anything more than a fantasy WR4 at this point but stay tuned.
TE Brent Celek
(2012 TE Rank – #22, 5.0 FPts/G; #17 PPR, 8.8 FPts/G)
Celek has been a roller coaster ride over the past four seasons, struggling to match the production from his career year in 2009 when he caught 76 passes for 971 yards and eight touchdowns. He was solid in 2011 but struggled during the 2010 and 2012 seasons and now appears to be on the outs in Philadelphia. New head coach Chip Kelly signed James Casey as a free agent, and the team also drafted Zach Ertz in the second round. Both players offer more big-play potential than Celek, and 2010 fourth-round pick Clay Harbor remains on the roster, coming off a 25-reception season in 2012. While the final note on Celek’s career in Philadelphia may not have sounded yet, his days as a solid fantasy producer appear to be over, especially with Kelly having said that his strength is as a blocker.
TE James Casey
(2012 TE Rank – #33, 3.2 FPts/G; #32 PPR, 5.4 FPts/G)
The Eagles handed Casey a boatload of money ($12 million over 3 years with $8 million guaranteed) to leave the Texans so you would have to think they have big plans for him in 2013. They then proceeded to talk him up as a “move” tight end or H-back, but a knee injury held him back in the offseason so we don’t really know how they plan to utilize him. And really, should we be convinced that the 240-pound Casey could handle a full load at tight end? Don’t get overly excited by his fantasy prospects.
TE Zach Ertz
(2012 TE Rank – N/A)
With the Eagles looking to add versatile pieces among their array of offensive weapons, they used an early second-round pick in this year’s draft to acquire Ertz. The 6’6”, 252-pound Stanford product had a productive year in 2012 and has the ability to line up all over the field. More receiver than blocker, he currently stands behind Brent Celek on the depth chart with James Casey also expected to earn some snaps. The crowded depth chart keeps Ertz from being an exciting option in redraft formats, but he does offer intriguing dynasty potential if new coach Chip Kelly can replicate his collegiate success at the pro level.
By: Mike Krueger — July 29, 2013 @ 10:00 am
Player Projections, Rankings & Cheatsheets
Change Log – 7/29/13
We did an unscheduled update after WR Jeremy Maclin and TE Dennis Pitta went down Saturday with season ending injuries. Next update will be Thursday, 8/1.
- Joe Flacco (-2) – Flacco has two key weapons (Boldin & Pitta) and it doesn’t appear they will be adequately replaced.
- No changes.
- Jeremy Maclin (dropped) – Season-ending ACL injury.
- DeSean Jackson (+6) – Jackson becomes the No.1 option in the Eagles passing game.
- Riley Cooper (+35) – Cooper will get first crack to replace Maclin in the starting lineup.
- Braylon Edwards (#62) – Recent signee by the Jets will have a good chance to start come Week 1.
- Dennis Pitta (dropped) – Season-ending hip injury.
- Ed Dickson (+14) – Moves into the starting lineup and TE2 territory.
By: Dave Stringer — July 28, 2013 @ 2:00 pm
Jeremy Maclin’s ACL injury creates a giant void in the Eagles offense.
The first major injury of the NFL’s preseason has occurred with Philadelphia losing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to a knee injury.
Maclin will miss the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL in his right knee. His loss leaves a huge hole in Philadelphia’s starting lineup.
Entering the final season of his rookie contract, Maclin was expected to be a major contributor to the Eagles offense this season, as he attempted to play his way into a lucrative contract extension.
He now faces an uncertain future having failed to reach the 1000-yard mark in any of his five seasons in Philadelphia. He may instead need to sign a short-term, prove-it type of contract.
The Eagles will turn to one of Jason Avant, Arrelious Benn or Riley Cooper to take over in the starting lineup, but the team will likely use a committee approach in attempting to replace Maclin.
While Maclin has never had a 1000-yard season, he is a talented player capable of putting together a Pro Bowl quality season. Any time a team loses a wide receiver of his calibre, its quarterback takes a fantasy hit.
Unless the Eagles sign a veteran wide receiver such as Brandon Lloyd, there does not appear to be another wideout on the roster capable of topping 1,000 receiving yards. Michael Vick moves to more of a lower-tier QB with Maclin out.
Cooper, Avant and Benn are the current front-runners to replace Maclin in the starting lineup. While Avant has a more proven track record and has been a consistent third receiver in Philadelphia, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Eagles chose to make Benn, acquired in a trade with the Bucs this offseason, or Cooper a starter and leave Avant in his long-time backup role.
Frankly speaking, neither player is an attractive option as a fantasy starter. The talented Benn offers more upside but more risk given his injury issues and inconsistency. Right on cue, Benn injured his left knee on day 1 of training camp and spent day 2 on a stationary bike.
Entering his fourth year in the league, Cooper has done little to suggest that he is capable of fulfilling that role. He hauled in 23 receptions, 248 yards and 3 touchdowns in eleven games last season but may be a favorite of the coaching staff due to his blocking ability.
DeSean Jackson figures to get more targets with Maclin out, increasing the chances that he can realize on his immense potential. The enigmatic Jackson has game-breaking ability but hasn’t shown it on a consistent basis over the past few seasons. While he remains a WR3, he now has a higher upside and less risk.
The outlook for the team’s TEs looks brighter, but that seems a moot point given that it appears incumbent Brent Celek, free agent signee James Casey, and rookie second-round pick Zach Ertz will likely share the role.
Look for new head coach Chip Kelly to rely more heavily on the running game, which bodes well for the fantasy prospects of LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown. McCoy in particular hasn’t been getting a lot of fantasy love in 2013, and Maclin’s absence increases his value while Brown now offers more solid flex potential in 12- and 14-team leagues.
By: Dave Stringer — @ 12:40 pm
QB Tony Romo
(2012 QB Rank – #7, 23.0 FPts/G)
The Cowboys have put their faith in Tony Romo, signing him to a lucrative long-term extension during the offseason despite his age (33 on opening day) and his inconsistent play in 2012. While Romo doesn’t look like a player that will ever lead the Cowboys to the promised land, his fantasy bona-fides are definitely in order. With the Cowboys struggling to establish a consistent running game last season, Romo had his most prolific passing season, establishing career highs in completions (425), attempts (648) and yards (4,903) while throwing for 28 touchdowns. While his penchant for untimely turnovers may have annoyed the Cowboys, it wasn’t the death knell for his fantasy production, as he averaged over 21 PPG for the sixth consecutive season. With Dallas having brought back all their key passing attack weapons, and with improvement expected along the offensive line and the injury-prone DeMarco Murray still leading the rushing attack with no proven backup, Romo figures to come close to matching his 2012 production this season. Consider him a mid-tier QB1.
Durability keeps Murray from being an elite fantasy RB.
RB DeMarco Murray
(2012 RB Rank – #26, 11.5 FPts/G; #26 PPR, 14.9 FPts/G)
Two years into his career, DeMarco Murray has shown us a couple of things. One is that he is an elite talent capable of being a top-five RB. The other is that he lacks durability—a trait that has been noted since his collegiate career. There isn’t much Murray can’t do on a football field. He has averaged 4.8 yards per carry, caught 79.2 percent of his targets, and averaged 116.9 total yards in the 15 games in which he had 15 touches or more. He has soft hands, enough speed to take it to the house, the ability to make tacklers miss and the power to run them over. He has Tarzan talent but Humpty Dumpty bones. If you knew he was going to play 16 games, you could pretty much guarantee top-five fantasy RB production with Murray playing in the Cowboys’ high-powered offense. But he has missed nine games in two years, and that is a lot considering he barely played during the first five games of his rookie career. Rest assured, somebody will see the tantalizing talent and draft him as a low-end RB1. Just don’t let it be you. The breakout will likely happen at some point, but the odds of a breakdown are far more probable.
RB Joseph Randle
(2012 RB Rank – N/A)
With a glaring hole at the running back position behind DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys chose Joseph Randle in the fifth round of this year’s draft. The Oklahoma State product was highly productive during his college career but is most likely suited to a backup role in the NFL because of his lack of size (6’1”, 200 lbs.) and upright running style. Murray also has that same running style and it’s part of the reason he has been unable to stay healthy during his first two years in the league. While Randle seems attractive given Murray’s injury woes, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if the Cowboys leaned heavily on their passing attack if he were to go down once again in 2013. And that limits Randle’s upside as a handcuff. Murray owners will want to grab Randle, but don’t reach for this unproven rookie.
RB Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar
(2012 RB Rank – #119, 1.7 FPts/G; #122 PPR, 2.4 FPts/G)
The Cowboys currently list Tanner and Dunbar third and fourth on their depth chart at running back, but they were truly awful in their limited opportunities last season and will likely only be on the Cowboys opening-day roster if nothing of interest comes across the waiver wire. And if the waiver wire is empty, don’t be surprised if Dallas swings a trade to get a better option. There is a good chance that the Cowboys’ third-string running back isn’t currently on their roster.
WR Dez Bryant
(2012 WR Rank – #3, 13.1 FPts/G; #4 PPR, 18.9 FPts/G)
Looks like the light went on, folks. Make that, the light definitely went on. After opening the 2012 season with 164 yards and no touchdowns over the Cowboys’ first three games, Bryant exploded over the final 13, catching 79 passes for 1,218 yards and 12 touchdowns. Maybe he was trying to single-handedly prove the third-year WR breakout theory, because his season was certainly that. While the routes he ran during his first two years in the league seemed to suggest a lack of command of the Cowboys playbook, Bryant was a dominant force in all aspects in 2012, turning short and intermediate passes into big plays and hauling in deep passes on his way to averaging 15.0 yards per catch. As the Cowboys’ top offensive threat, Bryant should see the team continue to devise ways to get him the ball in 2013, and another monster year seems likely. After Calvin Johnson, Bryant is in the mix to be the next WR off the board at your draft, and there is a good argument that he should be, given the problems the Cowboys had rushing the ball in 2012.
WR Miles Austin
(2012 WR Rank – #26, 8.1 FPts/G; #24 PPR, 12.3 FPts/G)
If the 2011 season didn’t prove that Austin had been usurped by Dez Bryant as the Cowboys’ lead receiver, then last season certainly did. Although Austin managed to keep his frail hamstrings in the lineup for all 16 games, he didn’t exactly light the league on fire, finishing the season with 66 receptions on his 119 targets for 943 yards and six touchdowns. Part of his mediocre production can be blamed on nagging injuries, but the bottom line is that something always seems to be ailing him. When Austin is on his game, you can see glimpses of the glory that led him to a 1,320-yard, 11-touchdown season in 2009, but his lack of durability seems likely to prevent him from ever approaching that production again. While Austin has no challengers for his starting position on the Cowboys, he has plenty of them when it comes to your fantasy roster. His talent is as good as any fantasy WR2 but his injury history renders him an upper-tier fantasy backup.
WR Dwayne Harris
(2012 WR Rank – #109, 3.1 FPts/G; #114 PPR, 5.0 FPts/G)
The Cowboys sixth-round pick in 2011, Harris contributed nothing as a rookie but was marginally productive in 2012, catching 17 passes for 222 yards and a score. While that isn’t all that impressive, it did all come in the Cowboys’ last seven games, and that gives Harris a leg up on winning the job as the team’s third receiver. Harris will likely get some fantasy love this preseason as the Cowboys’ third receiver, due to Laurent Robinson’s outstanding season in 2011, but you won’t find that love here. Harris isn’t worth of taking a flier on in standard leagues.
WR Terrance Williams
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
Williams, the Cowboys’ third-round pick out of Baylor, is a talented player who could have a solid future in Dallas. However, the 6’3”, 205-pound outside receiver is considered a raw prospect and is stuck behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin on the depth chart, so he isn’t expected to contribute much as a rookie. He could earn some looks if the injury-prone Austin fails to remain healthy, but his size likely rules him out as an option in the slot where the competition for playing time isn’t as fierce. Williams is a decent prospect in dynasty formats.
TE Jason Witten
(2012 TE Rank – #5, 7.6 FPts/G; #3 PPR, 14.5 FPts/G)
If Peyton Manning is Mr. Consistency at quarterback, then Witten must own that honor among the league’s tight ends. In ten years with the Cowboys, he has missed just one game—way back in his rookie season in 2003. Over the past six seasons, Witten has caught at least 79 passes for at least 942 yards. With the Cowboys running game struggling in 2012, Witten was a target machine, hauling in 110 of his 147 looks (both career highs) for 1,039 yards. If you’re looking for a knock on Witten, we can give you two. One, Father Time catches up to all of us, and the 31-year-old has a lot of wear and tear on his system. Two, quarterback Tony Romo doesn’t look his way in the red zone, with Witten scoring just three touchdowns in 2012 and averaging just 4.4 touchdowns per season over the past seven years. With no proven third receiver, Witten should come close to replicating his performance from a year ago. You could make the argument that he should be the third TE off the board this season, behind only Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.
By: Dave Stringer — July 26, 2013 @ 9:29 am
QB Alex Smith
(2012 QB Rank – #31, 15.2 FPts/G)
With Matt Cassel having proven he wasn’t the quarterback to take the Chiefs deep into the playoffs, Kansas City traded for former San Francisco starter Alex Smith in the offseason. Smith is coming off his most impressive run as a starter, having taken the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game in 2011 and leading them to a 6-3 record last season before suffering a concussion and losing his job to Colin Kaepernick. Smith represents a big upgrade over Cassel, but he has enjoyed his greatest success when asked not to do too much. While the “game manager” label isn’t the death knell for an NFL quarterback, it just might be for a quarterback’s fantasy prospects, and that has been the case with Smith. Eight years into his career, he has topped 3,000 passing yards just once and has never thrown 20 touchdown passes. In Kansas City, he will be united with head coach Andy Reid’s heavily passing based offense, but the Chiefs lack proven playmakers outside of running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Add it all up and there isn’t much that suggests Smith will achieve fantasy glory in 2013. He rates as a lower-tier QB2 with little upside.
RB Jamaal Charles
(2012 RB Rank – #8, 13.2 FPts/G; #9 PPR, 15.4 FPts/G)
Coming off a torn ACL that ended his 2011 season in Week 2, Charles had an outstanding season with 1,509 rushing yards, 236 receiving yards and six touchdowns. What’s more is that Charles was remarkably consistent, topping 100 rushing yards in seven games and hitting double-digit fantasy points in nine games. If you make the assumption that he wasn’t fully healthy for all of 2012, then the sky is the limit in 2013. While new head coach Andy Reid can go pass heavy at times, his running backs have always been a big part of his passing attacks, and Charles is one of the league’s most explosive receivers out of the backfield. He was disappointing in that role last season, averaging just 6.7 yards per reception, but a 500-receiving-yard season isn’t out of the question in 2013. With the offensive line having been fortified with the selection of Eric Fisher, and with Alex Smith a clear upgrade over Matt Cassel, the Chiefs offense should see significant improvement this year. Consider Charles a mid-tier RB1 with the upside to finish the season in the top three at the position.
RB Knile Davis
(2012 RB Rank – N/A)
The Chiefs swung for the fences with a compensatory third-round pick in this year’s draft, taking Arkansas product Knile Davis. Possessed with blazing speed and solid size at 6’0″ and 226 pounds, he was injury-prone in college and only marginal productive. Fortunately for Davis, new head coach Andy Reid had success last season in developing a very similar player in Bryce Brown. Davis faces little competition in earning the top backup role behind Jamaal Charles, with only modestly talented Shaun Draughn in his path. Look for Davis to win that battle. But if Charles were lost to injury, rest assured the Chiefs would move to a committee approach in their backfield. Davis is a decent dynasty prospect but is waiver wire material in redraft formats.
RB Shaun Draughn
(2012 RB Rank – #61, 3.7 FPts/G; #53 PPR, 5.4 FPts/G)
After emerging as the Chiefs main backup to Jamaal Charles in 2012, Draughn’s reward was to see the team use a third-round pick to acquire Knile Davis. Davis offers far more potential than the 6’0”, 205-pound Draughn, who averaged just 3.9 yards per carry last season while hauling in 24 receptions for a paltry 158 yards. While Draughn figures to earn a spot on the Chiefs roster in 2013, he is unlikely to earn even a marginal role in the team’s offense, barring injury to Charles or Davis.
Bowe is a bounce-back candidate after a disappointing 2012.
WR Dwayne Bowe
(2012 WR Rank – #45, 7.5 FPts/G; #43 PPR, 12.1 FPts/G)
Bowe once again enters the season as the Chiefs main threat at wide receiver with little in the way of proven production behind him. That allows defenses to focus on him, and while he is certainly deserving of being a true No. 1 receiver, he cannot be considered an elite talent at the position. Still, even with the subpar quarterback play he had to endure in 2012, Bowe racked up 801 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 13 games. With Alex Smith now under center, look for that production to increase as Bowe’s solid size (6’2”, 221 lbs.) and better-than-average speed are a solid fit with new head coach Andy Reid’s offense. However, six years into his career, we have a good read on Bowe. Hs he has never topped 1,200 receiving yards and has only one season with more than seven touchdown catches. If that sounds like WR2 territory, it’s because it is. Consider Bowe a very safe, mid-tier WR2 in 2013.
WR Donnie Avery
(2012 WR Rank – #46, 6.1 FPts/G; #42 PPR, 9.8 FPts/G)
Playing in the Colts’ pass-heavy offense in 2012, Avery put together a career year with 60 receptions for 781 yards and three touchdowns. Who’s to say he can’t replicate that production in Andy Reid’s pass-heavy offense in Kansas City? Well, the Colts liked to throw it deep, which fit well with Avery’s deep speed; Reid, on the other hand, tends to focus on more intermediate passes, which isn’t Avery’s strength given his 5’11”, 200-pound frame. His path to the starting lineup looks reasonable with only the disappointing Jonathan Baldwin in his way, but with the biggest hole in quarterback Alex Smith’s game being his accuracy on deep passes, we don’t like Avery’s chances at repeating his 2012 success this season. Consider him worth a late flier in 14-team leagues.
WR Jonathan Baldwin
(2012 WR Rank – #100, 2.8 FPts/G; #99 PPR, 4.2 FPts/G)
The writing is on the wall for the Chiefs’ 2011 first-round pick. Baldwin was impressive during the 2012 offseason and the expectation was that he would continue that progress into the regular season. But when the regular season opened, it was the same Baldwin the Chiefs saw as a rookie, when he caught just 21 of 52 targets for 254 yards and a touchdown. Baldwin topped 60 receiving yards just twice and had less than 20 receiving yards in eight of 14 games on his way to a 20-reception, 325-yard, single-touchdown performance for the season. Baldwin’s route running and command of the playbook hasn’t improved, and he has caught just 41.4 percent of his targets during his two years in the league. With Donnie Avery having been signed in the offseason, Baldwin is in danger of losing his starting spot—although his skill set would suggest a solid fit with new head coach Andy Reid’s offense. However, he is only worth grabbing off the waiver wire if he starts producing on a consistent basis.
WR Dexter McCluster
(2012 WR Rank – #75, 3.9 FPts/G; #68 PPR, 7.3 FPts/G)
The Dexter McCluster love continues to roll on, at least among Kansas City coaches. That certainly shouldn’t be the case for fantasy owners. This season it’s Andy Reid’s turn to gush about McCluster’s value as a receiver and runner in the Chiefs offense. While he was mildly productive when Jamaal Charles was injured in 2011, scoring a pair of touchdowns and accumulating 844 total yards, McCluster offers virtually no big-play ability as a receiver, which is what his main role is expected to be in 2013. He is shifty but not fast, averaging 7.1 yards per reception in 2011 and 8.7 last season. With Donnie Avery having joined the Chiefs, the team now has a slot receiving option that offers big-play potential, and that figures to hurt McCluster’s playing time. Move on, folks.
TE Tony Moeaki
(2012 TE Rank – #34, 3.7 FPts/G; #33 PPR, 6.0 FPts/G)
The good news for Moeaki is that new head coach Andy Reid has a long history of getting solid receiving production from modestly talented tight ends. The bad news is that the Chiefs’ 2010 third-round pick has had constant knee problems, missing all of the 2011 season due to an ACL injury which appeared to hinder his play for much of the 2012 season. Also, Kansas City has brought in veteran Anthony Fasano and rookie third-round pick Travis Kelce. While Moeaki displayed solid potential as a rookie, hauling in 47 receptions for 556 yards and three touchdowns, the team appears set to go in a different direction at the position, barring a career year from him in 2013. And with Fasano and Kelce on the roster, it doesn’t appear Moeaki will get enough playing time to make that happen. He isn’t worth owning this season.
TE Anthony Fasano
(2012 TE Rank – #28, 4.0 FPts/G; #28 PPR, 6.5 FPts/G)
Looking to add competition at the tight end position and provide insurance for injury-prone starter Tony Moeaki until rookie Travis Kelce is ready to contribute, the Chiefs signed former Dolphin Anthony Fasano in the offseason. Fasano is a solid blocker and decent receiver on underneath routes and dump offs, but he offers virtually no big-play ability, having averaged a career low 8.1 yards per reception last season. Since he has topped 40 receptions and 500 receiving yards just once in his seven-year career, we know his upside. Basically, he doesn’t have one. There are far better options to roll the dice on in 2013.
TE Travis Kelce
(2012 TE Rank – N/A)
The Chiefs used a 3rd round pick to acquire Kelce in this year’s draft and there is a chance he could earn significant playing time at some point during the 2013 season. The Cincinnati product was a productive receiver in college but may not be ready to overtake Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano early in his rookie season. He has some upside as a dynasty league prospect but isn’t expected to be fantasy worthy in 2013.
By: Mike Krueger — July 25, 2013 @ 12:38 am
Player Projections, Rankings & Cheatsheets
Change Log – 7/25/13
- Robert Griffin III (+2) – All seems to be going well on his rehab. He won’t play in any preseason games and is a good bet not to be on any of my fantasy teams due to high injury risk.
- Matt Forte & Le’Veon Bell (Tier 2) – I moved both of these RBs into Tier 2, which is now getting crowded. There’s actually good depth near the top of the running back cheatsheet this season.
- David Wilson (-4) – I really like his upside but an RBBC situation with Andre Brown is a real possibility. It’s difficult at this point to predict the distribution of carries between the two.
- Ryan Mathews (Tier 5) – He fits better in this tier.
- Andre Brown (+4) – See Wilson above. I love Brown’s upside.
- Peyton Hillis (#102) – The former Madden cover boy has landed in Tampa Bay. Nothing to see here.
- Jordy Nelson (+5) – He deserved this bump for his upside. He can push WR1 status if he remains healthy all season.
- Danario Alexander (-8) – Alexander thrives on the deep ball and deep incuts, which the Chargers may shy away from this season.
- Rueben Randle (+7) – Starting to become more skittish about Hakeem Nicks.
- Delanie Walker (-2) – Walker is having some trouble shaking his knee injury.
By: Dave Stringer — July 24, 2013 @ 10:05 am
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QB Philip Rivers
(2012 QB Rank – #18, 18.0 FPts/G)
There was a time when Rivers was surrounded by plenty of Pro Bowl talent but those days are long gone. While Rivers is just 31 years old, his days as a fantasy starter appear to be behind him, at least until the Chargers replace the Pro Bowl personnel they have lost in recent seasons. Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles and left tackle Marcus McNeill have left town and tight end Antonio Gates no longer dominates at his position. Surrounded by less talent, Rives has overcompensated over the last two seasons, often trying to do too much and generating far too many turnovers (22 in 2012). Coming off a season in which he threw for just 3,606 yards and struggled to generate big plays, there aren’t many reasons to suggest a career renaissance in 2013. Sure, he may have Danario Alexander for a full season, and the team added wide receiver Keenan Allen and right tackle D.J. Fluker in the draft, but these don’t appear to be enough to get Rivers back into QB1 territory. Consider him a mid-tier QB2 this season.
Mathews: Fantasy frustration.
RB Ryan Mathews
(2012 RB Rank – #30, 8.5 FPts/G; #30 PPR, 11.7 FPts/G)
After the Chargers moved up in the 2010 draft to take him 13th overall, Mathews has had an up-and-down three-year career in San Diego. Injuries held him back in his rookie season but he was solid in 2011 with 1,091 rushing yards, 455 receiving yards and six touchdowns. A breakout season was expected last year, but he had arguably his worst year as a pro, struggling with injuries and ineffectiveness on his way to 707 rushing yards, 252 receiving yards and just one touchdown. He ended up sharing the backfield passing role with Ronnie Brown and proved ineffective as a short-yardage runner. Although he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, the blame for that low total was shared with the team’s offensive line, which was among the league’s worst. In 2013, the Chargers don’t appear to have a back that will take away Mathews’ goal-line responsibilities, but with Danny Woodhead on the roster and Brown also returning, Mathews seems entrenched as a two-down player entering training camp. Throw in the fact that the Chargers are expected to struggle in 2013, the offensive line remains a question mark, and he has a history of injury and Mathews no longer seems likely to grab RB1 territory. Consider him a low-end RB2, a major risk with a high upside because of his obvious talent level.
RB Danny Woodhead
(2012 RB Rank – #25, 7.8 FPts/G; #24 PPR, 10.4 FPts/G)
After three solid seasons in New England, Woodhead joins the Chargers in 2013 and is expected to emerge as a pass-receiving and change-of-pace back for San Diego. The diminutive Woodhead excelled in that role with 1,199 rushing yards, 982 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns during his stay in New England. With Ronnie Brown having caught 49 passes as the Chargers’ backfield receiving option last season, Woodhead could be in line for a career year in San Diego. While the Chargers would move to a committee backfield approach if starter Ryan Mathews were to be lost to injury, there is a decent change that Woodhead could be a solid flex option in 12- or 14-team leagues this season. He is worth a late-round choice in redraft formats. And he is relatively low risk given his lack of injury history in New England.
RB Ronnie Brown
(2012 RB Rank – #54, 4.2 FPts/G; #38 PPR, 7.7 FPts/G)
Coming off a career worst season in 2011, Brown carved out a role as a pass-receiving option in the Chargers offense last year, hauling in a career best 49 receptions for 371 yards. He returns in 2013 but his path to playing time is more uncertain with the addition of Danny Woodhead, who is expected to claim the pass-receiving role out of the Chargers backfield. While that may prevent Brown from getting regular playing time, starter Ryan Mathews’ injury history and Woodhead’s limitations as a lead back could see Brown earn a role at some point in 2013. He isn’t worth grabbing on draft day, but Brown could be a solid option on the waiver wire if (when?) Mathews is lost to injury.
WR Danario Alexander
(2012 WR Rank – #40, 10.8 FPts/G; #49 PPR, 14.5 FPts/G)
Product Warning Label: I am a big fan of Danario Alexander, having described him in the past as a poor man’s Calvin Johnson. After a pair of injury-plagued seasons in St. Louis, Alexander found himself as a man without a job before the Chargers pulled him off the scrap heap and gave him an opportunity last season. Alexander saw the field for the first time in Week 8 and by Week 10 had emerged as the team’s biggest threat at wide receiver, accumulating 597 receiving yards and seven touchdowns over the Chargers’ final seven games. His 12.7 PPG over that span ranked behind the season average of Demaryius Thomas (12.8) and just ahead of A.J. Green (12.6). Impressive. Not so impressive are Alexander’s knees, which the Rams described as being degenerative. While the Chargers claim that isn’t the case and Alexander says San Diego has him on a program that can keep him healthy, fantasy owners should remain skeptical of his ability to stay on the field. Of course, the potential he displayed last season makes him an obvious boom–bust option, and the Chargers clearly view him as their top receiving option in 2013. Consider him a WR3 with a huge upside but a major injury risk.
WR Malcom Floyd
(2012 WR Rank – #36, 8.0 FPts/G; #35 PPR, 12.0 FPts/G)
After nine years in the league, the Chargers know what they have in Floyd, and so should you. He’s probably going to miss a few games, he’s going to get 700-800 receiving yards, and he’s going to find the end zone five or six times. Of course, that production can only happen if Floyd gets solid playing time, and that might not be the case in 2013. With the Chargers appearing to be in a reloading phase, Floyd may not get the same amount of playing time that he has since becoming a starter in 2009. Danario Alexander is now the team’s top threat at wide receiver, rookie third-round pick Keenan Allen could challenge him for a starting spot at some point this season, Robert Meachem is still around, and both Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown could challenge for targets out of the slot. While Floyd has been a solid WR4 over the past few years, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards this season. Go for a player with more upside.
WR Keenan Allen
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
The Chargers used a third-round pick to acquire Allen in this year’s draft and, by all accounts, San Diego may have a draft day steal on their hands. Injury concerns caused the California product’s draft status to fall, but he was a solid producer in college who has good hands, nice size at 6’3” and 210 pounds, and has displayed solid route running. With the aging Malcom Floyd ahead of him on the depth chart and the disappointing Robert Meachem apparently out of the Chargers plans, Allen has a clear path to playing time in 2013. Did we mention the team’s top wide receiver, Danario Alexander, has a history of knee problems? Allen is a solid prospect in dynasty formats and could be worth a flier in redraft formats, provided he has a solid preseason.
WR Vincent Brown
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
Entering his second season in the league in 2012, the Chargers felt they had an emerging slot receiving weapon in Brown. A preseason ankle injury derailed those plans, however, causing Brown to miss the entire season. While Brown lacks size and speed, his solid route running and outstanding hands could help his cause in 2013. The issue for Brown is the wide receiver depth chart in San Diego, which includes four players capable of playing outside and another slot receiving option in Eddie Royal. Even if you like Brown, his upside seems to be in the 500-yard range, and that makes him waiver wire material.
WR Robert Meachem
(2012 WR Rank – #104, 3.6 FPts/G; #111 PPR, 5.1 FPts/G)
If you’re looking for one of the key reason the Chargers fired A.J. Smith after a lengthy run as the team’s general manager, look no further than his decision sign Robert Meachem rather than meet Vincent Jackson’s contract demands. Despite Meacham’s failing to top 45 receptions in each of his first five years in the league with the Saints, Smith signed him to be the Chargers’ lead wide receiver in 2012 and he failed miserably, missing seven games and catching just 14 of his 32 targets on the season for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While Meachem was truly awful last year, he returns to training camp as a Charger in 2013 because of the guaranteed money the team owes him for this season. With Danario Alexander emerging as the team’s top receiver, Malcom Floyd a solid second option, and rookie third-round pick Keenan Allen on board, the team doesn’t seem to have an open role for an outside receiver, so Meachem is on the outside looking in when it comes to playing time.
WR Eddie Royal
(2012 WR Rank – #105, 3.2 FPts/G; #102 PPR, 5.5 FPts/G)
After ending his four-year career in Denver on a disappointing note, with 19 receptions for 155 yards and a single touchdown, Royal joined the Chargers in 2012 hoping to revive his career. Let’s just say the revival failed to materialize, as Royal missed six games and caught just 23 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. With a crowded depth chart at wide receiver, Royal will likely struggle to get targets in 2013. And it seems all but certain that he will never again approach his rookie production of 980 yards and five touchdowns.
TE Antonio Gates
(2012 TE Rank – #12, 6.4 FPts/G; #13 PPR, 9.7 FPts/G)
Not only are Antonio Gates’ days as an upper-tier fantasy TE over, so are his days as a starting fantasy TE. His PPG of just 6.4 in 2012 was the second-lowest of his 10-year career, only his rookie season being worse. Although he remained healthy (missing just one game) after two injury-marred seasons, Gates was targeted just 80 times, hauling in 49 receptions for 538 yards and seven touchdowns. The touchdown count juiced his fantasy totals, allowing him to finish the season as the 12th-ranked TE. But looking to 2013, a bounce back season seems unlikely, as Gates caught five or more passes in just two games and topped 60 receiving yards just once last year. With three or fewer receptions in 10 games, it is clear the former coaching staff felt that Gates no longer displayed the big-play ability that warranted more looks. Don’t expect that to change under new head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Gates is an upper-tier TE2.
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