Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — September 28, 2013 @ 9:53 am
1. With the bye weeks upon us, fantasy owners begin the weekly scramble of finding suitable replacements for their regular starters. In Jacksonville, Cecil Shorts and rookie Ace Sanders figure to be in line for plenty of targets during the Jaguars home game against the Colts. With Justin Blackmon serving the final game of his four-game suspension and Stephen Burton and Mike Brown both likely out, Jacksonville has just two healthy receivers on their roster. In addition, tight end Marcedes Lewis has yet to play this season due to a calf injury and figures to be a game time decision on Sunday. That makes both Shorts and Sanders decent options in leagues that start three wide receivers or use a flex postion.
2. In St. Louis, Isaiah Pead was a healthy scratch for Thursday’s home blowout loss to San Francisco. A 2nd round pick in the 2012 draft, Pead struggled mightily as a rookie losing the backup spot to Steven Jackson to fellow rookie Daryl Richardson. With Jackson having left as a free agent, Pead had a golden opportunity to earn a spot in a committee with the diminutive Richardson but a one-game suspension to start the season didn’t help his cause. Neither did a middling preseason performance or his production last week when he averaged just 3.3 yards per carry and 6.1 yards per reception on 13 touches during the most extensive work of his career. Pead has plummeted down the depth chart behind a pair of rookies in 5th round pick Zac Stacy and undrafted free agent Bennie Cunningham. Unless Pead sat out for disciplinary reasons (none of which were reported), he is well on his way to becoming a bust.
3. Sticking with the Rams, after Thursday night’s performance, it seems safe to conclude that the only standard league fantasy worthy starter they have on offense is tight end Jared Cook. Quarterback Sam Bradford’s play is reminiscent of Alex Smith, as he checks down early and often. With offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer unwilling to take shots down the field, he is effectively neutralizing the speed of the team’s receivers including speed merchants Chris Givens and Tavon Austin. With the running game struggling mightily and Schottenheimer unwilling to help open things up by throwing downfield, Cook is the only Ram you should consider in your starting line-up.
Frank Gore is averaging 11.8 fantasy points per game.
4. Moving to the 49ers, it appears that the buy low tag is now officially off Frank Gore. Three weeks into the season is far too early to give up on your players and Gore owners who have stuck with him were rewarded this week with his 153-yard, one-touchdown performance. The fact is that hanging on to him or buying low shouldn’t have been a tough decision as the 49ers possess a solid running quarterback in Colin Kaepernick, one of the league’s top run blocking offensive lines and little receiving talent outside of Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis.
5. Bucs coach Greg Schiano decided to throw himself a life line this week with his decision to bench starting quarterback Josh Freeman, the team’s 2009 1st round pick, in favor of rookie 3rd round pick Mike Glennon. While Glennon comes from a pro style offense at North Carolina State, he struggled in the preseason, failing to complete 50% of his passes with three touchdowns and three interceptions. If he wasn’t ready then, it is unlikely that he’s ready now. While Freeman was clearly struggling, the decision to bench him is questionable and seems motivated by Schiano’s desire to buy himself more time to prove himself as a solid head coach in Tampa Bay. The Bucs best chance to win this season is with Freeman under center, a player who threw for 25 touchdowns with just six interceptions during his second season in the league in 2010. This move would make sense in a few more weeks, not three weeks into the season. Time will tell if Bucs upper management views this move as a ploy by Schiano to buy himself time or a sincere effort to improve the team. Either way, fantasy owners need to downgrade their expectations for wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams as well as running back Doug Martin.
6.After three games, Broncos free agent acquisition Wes Welker is on pace to finish the season with 101 receptions for 1,013 yards and 16 touchdowns. Over the past three years, Welker has averaged 109 receptions for 1,257 yards and 7.3 touchdowns. Patriots free agent acquisition Danny Amendola has missed two games and is on pace to finish the season with 53 receptions for 555 yards and no touchdowns. Over the past three years, Amendola has averaged 51 receptions for 467 yards and two touchdowns. Sometimes what you get is exactly what you should have known you were getting. Sometimes that is good and other times it isn’t. Let’s hope fantasy owners knew what they were getting with Amendola. I’m not so sure the Patriots did.
7. With Christian Ponder out with a broken rib, the Vikings will turn to Matt Cassel at quarterback for this week’s game against the Steelers in London. With a bye in Week 5, a solid performance by Cassel will start the quarterback change rumors flying but fantasy owners shouldn’t get too excited. There have been no indications out of Minnesota that they are ready to demote Ponder and Cassel has proven to be effective only when surrounded by solid weapons.
By: Dave Stringer — September 25, 2013 @ 10:08 am
Matt Flynn, Raiders
Nothing to get excited about this week, so with Terrelle Pryor possibly out with a concussion, Flynn gets the nod.
Josh Freeman’s days in Tampa Bay are numbered.
Mike Glennon, Buccaneers
Out with Josh Freeman and in with Glennon. The coaches want Glennon to start this week so they can have video to work with during the Bucs bye in Week 5. Glennon won’t be a potential fantasy start until Week 6 but his supporting cast is talented enough to provide him value over the second half of the season.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
After his sublime performance in Week 1, when he threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns, Kaepernick has hit the skids hard with a pair of sub-200-yard performances and no touchdown passes. We can forgive him for the Week 2 dud against a strong Seahawks defense, but there are no excuses for his getting run over by a shoddy Colts defense. With no Vernon Davis and a group of wide receivers that lack big-play ability, Kaepernick isn’t worth starting unless he gets some yards on the ground.
Brandon Weeden, Browns
Brian Hoyer was pretty awful but the Browns did pick up a win. That likely leaves Weeden on the outside looking in when he returns to the lineup.
DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
One week after getting called out by an ESPN analyst for his inability to make tacklers miss, Murray ran roughshod over the Rams with 203 total yards and a touchdown. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it was his first 100-yard game since Week 1 of last season. Yeah, this is a lukewarm endorsement.
Johnathan Franklin, Packers
Another “good news, bad news” scenario. When James Starks went down, the Packers had no other running backs available other than Franklin, and he looked dynamic with 103 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries plus 23 yards on three receptions. Then he fumbled on a key fourth-down play late in the game, which the Bengals returned for the game-winning touchdown. We don’t know when Eddie Lacy or James Starks will return, but with the Packers on a Week 4 bye, Franklin’s time in the spotlight could be short.
Jason Snelling, Falcons & Joique Bell, Lions
Both player were very competent fill-ins this week and are worthy of RB2 status until they head back to the bench. Grab these guys with the byes starting this week.
Fred Jackson, Bills
Jackson is Moving Up two weeks in a row, this time courtesy of C.J. Spiller’s knee injury. If he can’t go this week, FJax is a low-end RB2.
Brandon Bolden, Patriots
With Shane Vereen out, Bolden looks like New England’s most explosive runner. The Patriots backfield is a fantasy mess, but odds are that Bolden is either on the wire in your league or available for a song.
Bilal Powell, Jets
I’ll be honest. I thought Chris Ivory was going to have his coming-out party this week against a soft Bills run defense, but he went down early with a hamstring injury, leaving Powell to chalk up 149 yards on 27 carries. Powell is clearly an average running back but he could emerge as a workhorse for the next few weeks if Ivory misses time, which seems likely. Only Alex Green is in reserve, which leads us to…..
Chris Ivory, Jets
This guy looks great in a part-time role but has proven to be injury-prone throughout his four-year career. Move on.
Stevan Ridley, Patriots
With just 121 yards on 36 carries, Ridley has been pretty much awful. Full stop. He’s useless as a receiver, with only 10 career receptions through 33 games, so he needs to earn a living as a runner. And there is now competition for touches in the New England backfield.
Trent Richardson, Colts
Just a gentle reminder that coaches don’t just take away a pile of touches from players who played as well as Ahmad Bradshaw did this week.
Antonio Brown, Steelers
If you whine, apparently you get rewarded. Brown complained about his targets after only getting nine looks in Week 2. Anyway, he went off against the Bears this week with nine receptions for 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first multi-touchdown game of his career. With the Steelers’ running game in shambles, Brown figures to get plenty of targets going forward.
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
Speaking of targets… quick—who leads the league in them? It’s Shorts, with 40. Early-season fantasy production can be skewed by touchdowns, and sometimes that is fair, given the offense a player plays in. However, even though Shorts is stuck on a bad Jaguars team, he managed seven touchdowns in 14 games last season.
Josh Gordon, Browns
Back with a bang, Gordon had a whopping 19 targets this week against the Vikings, hauling in ten receptions for 146 yards and a score. He won’t get the Vikings’ porous secondary every week, nor will he likely have another 19 target game, but it’s nice to know he can be productive even when Brian Hoyer is under center.
Donnie Avery, Chiefs
Coming off a career year in 2012 with the Colts, Avery had his coming-out party as a Chief in Week 3, catching all seven of his targets for 141 yards. He showcased his blazing speed, a trait that seems to be absent from the Kansas City offense outside of Jamaal Charles.
Santonio Holmes, Jets
This one’s kind of like beating up on your little brother, but it’s worth noting that Holmes caught five passes for 154 yards and a score this week against the Bills. He’s not a player that anybody loves, but he could be useful as a WR3 the rest of the way, provided he can stay healthy and keep his head screwed on straight.
Nate Washington, Titans
Meets the Titans’ new No. 1 receiver with Kenny Britt now residing in the doghouse. Eight receptions for 131 yards this week.
Ryan Broyles and Patrick Edwards, Lions
Nate Burleson is out with a broken arm. Neither of these guys has done much, but opportunity is knocking.
Steve Smith, Panthers
With just 143 yards and one touchdown on 26 targets, could Father Time be catching up with the 34-year-old Smith? Get off this train before it rolls off the tracks.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Against a sad sack Eagles secondary, Bowe caught one of his three targets for four yards. Entering the season, there were two trains of thought on Bowe. Either he would thrive as a big receiver in Andy Reid’s West Coast offense or he would struggle with Captain Checkdown, Alex Smith, being under center and reluctant to pass the ball into tight areas. Looks like those who advocated for the latter were correct.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals
After putting up 82 yards in Week 1, Floyd got the hopes up of his owners, who were banking on a breakout season. Since then, he has caught seven of his 13 targets for 71 yards and looks much like the struggling rookie he was last season.
Jordan Cameron, Browns
Even with Brian Hoyer at quarterback, Cameron was lights out with 66 yards and three touchdowns on six receptions. I don’t own him but if somebody thinks he’s the next coming of Jimmy Graham, I’d be selling high. Note that one of his touchdowns came on a trick play (a fake field goal) and the Browns offense won’t get the sad sack Vikings defense every week.
Charles Clay, Dolphins
Clay didn’t do much this week (four receptions for 40 yards) but he is quietly emerging as a consistent threat in a solid Dolphins offense. He has caught 14 of his 19 targets on the season for a surprising 203 yards.
Kellen Winslow, Jets
The comeback was fun but short-lived. After a three-reception, 16-yard performance in Week 2, Winslow wasn’t even targeted this week. And you all know the state of the Jets’ group of wide receivers.
By: Thomas Casale — September 24, 2013 @ 9:23 am
It was another wild week both in the NFL and for fantasy owners. Here’s a recap of every game in the Tuesday Morning Buzz.
Chiefs – Eagles
I’m a Chip Kelly fan but it was ugly Thursday night. The Eagles’ offense got eaten up by Kansas City and Kelly had few answers to combat the onslaught. I mentioned last week that the Chiefs would have one of the best fantasy defenses all year, but I didn’t think they would dominate the Eagles like they did. Kansas City has another tough matchup this week against the Giants, although how much more do we need to see? These guys are nasty. If the Chiefs’ defense is still on your waiver wire, go get them. Donnie Avery had a big game, catching seven passes for 141 yards. However, most of his receptions were on a play, run over and over, that Philadelphia just couldn’t cover. Avery is worth picking up simply because Alex Smith won’t throw the ball over 10 yards, and Avery is the Chiefs’ underneath receiver. Speaking of not throwing the ball over 10 yards, Dwayne Bowe owners are going to be pulling their hair out all season. Because he threw so many interceptions early on his career, Smith won’t force the ball down the field anymore, so Bowe’s fantasy numbers will suffer most weeks.
Browns – Vikings
What was expected to be a low-scoring affair ended up producing 58 points. The Vikings are in all kinds of trouble. They can’t stop anyone. Brian Hoyer made some mistakes but also threw for 321 yards and three scores. Hoyer at least looked like he belonged in the NFL, which is more than I can say for Brandon Weeden. Although, to be fair, having Josh Gordon helps. Gordon and Jordan Cameron give the Browns two young players to be excited about for the future. Cleveland would have had three hopefuls, but they traded away Trent Richardson. His replacement, Willis McGahee, made his debut and rushed eight times for nine yards. The scary thing is that out of these two teams, the one everyone said had given up on the season has more hope for 2013. Sorry Vikings.
Murray loves playing the Rams.
Rams – Cowboys
You have to wonder what’s going on with the Rams right now. They go out and get all this speed on offense for Sam Bradford and then don’t throw a pass over 10 yards. It’s either the play calling, or Bradford is gun-shy from all the sacks he’s taken early in his career. Whatever it is, St. Louis better start taking better advantage of its weapons because the Rams can’t run the ball a lick. The Cowboys ran the ball plenty on Sunday. DeMarco Murray must really love the Rams. He almost topped 200 yards against them for the second time in his career. Don’t be fooled though. When push comes to shove the Cowboys will ride the arm of Tony Romo. Murray makes for a great sell-high candidate this week, considering Dallas will always be a pass-first offense.
Packers – Bengals
Did any other A.J. Green owners keep checking to see if he was hurt on Sunday? I thought my computer was broken, Green went so long without having any stats. He ended up scoring late in the third quarter to save his day, but that’s two less-than-stellar weeks in a row from Green now. I have no idea why Giovani Bernard isn’t on the field more. Giving the ball to BenJarvus Green-Ellis is kind of like taking a knee. The guy is averaging 2.8 yards per carry on the season, and he must have had a 70-yarder I missed for it to be that high. After not having a 100-yard rusher in 45 games, the Packers had one in back-to-back weeks. Johnathan Franklin did the honors on Sunday but also had a costly fumble. Franklin has much more upside than James Starks. And he’s thus a much wiser waiver-wire addition this week than Starks was last week.
Buccaneers – Patriots
Last week I noted that the time may be running out on Josh Freeman. Well, now the Bucs are 0-3 and, unlike their first two games, their loss to the Patriots wasn’t close. With Freeman struggling and Vincent Jackson getting banged up, there just isn’t a lot to like about the Bucs’ offense right now. Stevan Ridley was kind of a waste of a draft pick. I know because I drafted him in two leagues and now he’s on my bench in favor of guys like Joique Bell and Bernard Pierce. Ridley is now seeing fewer carries than LeGarrette Blount and has Brandon Bolden breathing down his neck, too. That could change next week, but you know what? It could change again the week after that. Ridley’s 1000-yard season in 2012 sure seems like a long time ago.
Cardinals – Saints
This was a great fantasy game if you own Drew Brees or Jimmy Graham. Otherwise, there were a couple of average performances, some underwhelming performances, and Carson Palmer’s dreadful performance. Palmer is starting to look a little like the quarterbacks Arizona was trotting out there last season. If we can take one thing away from this game it’s that, for all the talk of the Honey Badger, Arizona is far and away the worst team in the NFL when it comes to covering the tight end. Remember that going forward.
Chargers – Titans
It seems every year there’s that one team whose games go down to the final seconds each week. This year is looks like that team is going to be the Chargers. They had their third game in a row determined in the final seconds on Sunday. Ryan Mathews had 58 yards on 16 carries. That’s actually a great game for him. Seriously, how much fantasy value does he even have anymore? Do people actually still start this guy? Mathews has less value than two other backs on his own team because he doesn’t play on passing downs or get goal-line carries. Chris Johnson gained 90 yards on 19 carries. That’s becoming his weekly stat line. Nate Washington had a big game. He’ll probably have two more this year. Good luck guessing when they’ll come.
Lions – Redskins
The Redskins did it again. They lost for the third week in a row but still put up respectable fantasy numbers overall. Washington fans may be upset that their team is 0-3, but fantasy owners could care less right now. Robert Griffin didn’t score but eclipsed 300 yards for the third straight game, so he’s doing much better in the fantasy world than the real world. See, there’s always a silver lining. There’s no silver lining for the Redskins’ defense though. It’s awful. Detroit had two receivers go over 100 yards (Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson) and Joique Bell racked up the fantasy points filling in for Reggie Bush. If you have a player going up against Washington’s defense right now, it’s like Christmas morning.
Giants – Panthers
My God, what’s going on with the Giants? This team hasn’t been the same since late last season, and they better turn it around soon because that was a disgusting display on Sunday. Regardless of how many Super Bowls Tom Coughlin has won, you can’t fire 53 players, and those guys simply don’t care right now. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are the only Giants that fantasy owners can afford to start next week against Kansas City. It’s obvious the Giants have quit, considering that Mike Shula’s offense racked up over 400 yards on them. Hopefully Shula finally realized he has Cam Newton and will start letting him throw the ball further than 10 yards in the coming weeks.
Texans – Ravens
This wasn’t a tremendous fantasy game unless you started Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker. Bernard Pierce churned out 65 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries against a tough Houston rush defense. If Ray Rice is out again next week, look for Pierce to put up much better fantasy numbers versus Buffalo. The Texans continue to split carries between Ben Tate and Arian Foster. Whether Foster gets most of the carries or the carries are evenly split, it doesn’t really matter. He’s having a rough fantasy season so far. We may be saying the same thing in December, too.
Falcons – Dolphins
Steven Jackson was out for this game, so the Falcons obviously decided to focus on the run. Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers combined for 139 yards on 29 carries. Atlanta will need its two-headed running back monster to continue to produce while Jackson sits with a deep thigh bruise. After a bad showing in Week 1, Lamar Miller has provided a spark, but he hasn’t received enough touches. I’m not a big Miller fan, but he’s making plays and deserves to see the ball more than nine times. Ryan Tannehill continues to do a good job of spreading the ball around, as nine Dolphins caught passes on Sunday. Although, Mike Wallace owners prefer that the ratio go back to what it was in Week 2.
Jaguars – Seahawks
Some games go exactly how everyone thinks they’ll go. This was one of those games. Seattle got up big, rested their starters by the fourth quarter, and Jacksonville scored a few meaningless points. Cecil Shorts owners who started him are happy for the garbage points though. I started Russell Wilson over Andrew Luck in one of my leagues. My thinking was that Wilson would probably only throw for 200 yards but I was hoping he would toss a few scores on play action passes. Like I said, this was one of those games that went the way everyone thought it would go.
Colts – 49ers
Now, this was a game that didn’t go the way everyone expected. The Colts absolutely dominated Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ offense. They sacked Kaepernick three times, caused two turnovers and held San Francisco to 254 total yards. Newly signed Trent Richardson was used sparingly but made his presence known by scoring a touchdown. His touches will obviously increase a great deal over the next couple of weeks as he learns the offense. Ahmad Bradshaw carried the ball 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. Bradshaw will still have a role in the Colts’ offense, but Richardson wasn’t acquired to stand on the sidelines. He’s going to be the bell cow.
Bills – Jets
C.J. Spiller was supposed to take the fantasy world by storm this year. Instead, he’s finishing with 10 carries for nine yards and either getting hurt or benched every week. It’s not the start to the season owners who selected Spiller with a first-round pick were expecting. I was one of those people. After sharing carries with Chris Ivory in the first two games, Bilal Powell exploded for 149 yards on 27 carries. He’s obviously the Jets back to own now that Ivory is dealing with a hamstring issue. The Jets had two 100-yard receivers in Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill. That’s right, the Jets had two receivers who combined for 262 receiving yards, and the 49ers had 254 yards of total offense. Welcome to another crazy NFL season.
Bears – Steelers
This was a game where a team won 40-23. However, the team that scored 40 points was a fantasy dud, while the team that scored 23 points had the fantasy stars. No one on the Bears other than Matt Forte did much of anything. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger broke out and threw for over 400 yards, while Antonio Brown caught nine passes for 196 yards and two scores. One thing remained the same though; the Steelers couldn’t run the ball at all. If Pittsburgh wants to improve its ground game, they should do a better job of acquiring running backs. Think about it. Other than Le’Veon Bell, they have backs that can’t make other teams’ rosters. No one else wants Felix Jones. Jonathan Dwyer got cut and no one wanted him. I can guarantee you no one wants Isaac Redman. Seriously, get better running backs instead of three tomato cans who don’t belong in the NFL. For an organization that usually does a great job of building a roster, that’s inexcusable.
Raiders – Broncos
This was a typical Broncos thrashing of a team that had no chance of stopping their high-powered offense. The good news for fantasy owners is all of Denver’s receivers got into the act Monday night. The trio of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker combined for 25 receptions, 311 yards and two scores. Montee Ball looked good in the second half but fumbled for the second straight week. These young backs can’t keep expecting to get chances and screwing up. The only real fantasy bright spot for the Raiders was Denarius Moore, who caught six passes for 124 yards and a long touchdown. The Broncos and Eagles play on Sunday. This is just a hunch but that game will probably produce a few nice fantasy stat lines.
By: Dave Stringer — September 20, 2013 @ 3:38 pm
Our sympathies to Browns fans everywhere.
1. The big news of the week was the Browns trade of running back Trent Richardson, the 3rd overall selection in the 2012 draft, to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 1st round pick. First off, we should all send our condolences to long suffering Browns fans who have had to endure some of the worst football the NFL has to offer over the past 15 years. Now this. While the trade was amongst the worst the league has seen in decades (to be fair, there aren’t that many blockbusters in the NFL so the sample size is small and usually inconsequential), Browns management added insult to injury by claiming that they hadn’t given up on the 2013 season. Then they promptly announced that Brian Hoyer and not Jason Campbell would start for the injured Brandon Weeden at quarterback this week against the Vikings. Let’s be clear about what president Joe Banner, general manager Mike Lombardi, head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner are telling Browns fans. Folks, we’re not only not good enough to develop Weeden, we’re also not smart enough to use a sure fire top 10 pick in this year’s draft as well as all of our other picks and additional 3rd and 4th round picks and our 2015 1st round pick to acquire a franchise signal caller in the 2014 draft. Of course, let’s not jump to the conclusion that Browns owner Jimmy Haslem ever considered that thought when he allowed his newly hired management and coaching staff to jettison Richardson. Or whether he considered that his new staff might just be buying themselves another year or two of employment by extending the rebuilding process. While the team’s local columnists and some national writers can justify this move as the team doing what is necessary to find a franchise quarterback in a passing league, don’t be fooled. The new brain trust has already proven they aren’t going to be up to the task of putting together a team that can contend. If their personnel evaluation concluded that the consensus top running back in the 2013 draft, a player the former regime felt the need to move up one spot to acquire, is worth a 1st round pick near the bottom of the 2014 draft, then Browns fans had better close their eyes not just for the balance of this season but for years to come.
2. Every year, teams make personnel decisions that give fantasy owners comfort to acquire those players in their drafts and auctions. And then they get burned. In Washington, the Redskins seem to have moved on from tight end Fred Davis even though they signed him to a one year contract worth up to $3.75-million. Davis was benched this week against the Packers and has been targeted just six times this season compared to nine targets for rookie 3rd round pick Jordan Reed. Other than very deep leagues, Davis is no longer worth owning.
3. With Ryan Broyles sitting out the first two weeks of the season, the assumption has been that the receiver is not fully recovered from the torn ACL that ended his 2013 season. However, Lions coach Jim Schwartz stated this week that health wasn’t the only reason Broyles hasn’t played. Patrick Edwards, another speedy second-year player, and Kris Durham have played the outside wide receiver position opposite Calvin Johnson with Nate Burleson operating out of the slot. Broyles will likely dress this week with Edwards likely out with an injured ankle and he needs to play well in order to earn back a spot on the active roster on game day.
4. If you’re desperate for help at running back, you might want to take a flyer out on Saints running back Pierre Thomas. While Darren Sproles has played well, the diminutive back has accumulated 27 touches in two games, putting him on pace to finish the season with 216 which would easily surpass his career high of 176. In addition, Mark Ingram has struggled with just 31 yards rushing on 17 carries as he continues to prove that the Saints erred in selecting him late in the 1st round of the 2011 draft. If Ingram continues to struggle and Sproles sees his touches reduced, Thomas will see his fantasy value rise. Over the balance of the season, the Saints face six run defenses that are ranked 21st or lower.
By: Dave Stringer — September 19, 2013 @ 8:25 am
Richardson changes uniforms and gets a nice fantasy value bump.
In one of the most shocking trades in the NFL in years, the Cleveland Browns have traded second year running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts.
In return the Browns will receive the Colts 1st round pick in the 2014 draft.
Just one year and two games after using the 3rd overall selection in the 2012 draft to acquire Richardson, the Browns chose to go in a different direction as first year general manager Mike Lombardi continued his remake of the team’s roster. Richardson had quickly emerged as a team leader and the face of the franchise and trading him away so early in the 2013 season is not going to viewed favorably by the team’s rabid fan base.
In Indianapolis, the acquisition of Richardson solidifies a shaky backfield that lost second year player Vick Ballard, the team’s leading rusher as a rookie in 2012, to a season-ending knee injury prior to Week 2. The trade signifies that the team’s management is convinced that a run deep into the playoffs is possible just one year into Andrew Luck‘s reign as the team’s starting quarterback.
Reports indicate that the Browns will bring Willis McGahee to Cleveland for a physical. If signed, he will compete with Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey to replace Richardson in the starting line-up.
The Colts entered the season envisioning a backfield led by Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard.
Two games into the season, it will be led by Richardson with Bradshaw in a supporting role.
Richardson proved to be a true workhorse back as a rookie in 2012, rushing for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns while catching 51 passes for 367 yards and another touchdown despite playing much of the season with injured ribs. Simply put, he has the talent to emerge as a top-five fantasy running back playing in a solid offense and this trade affords him that opportunity.
Assuming the Colts are in the hunt for a playoff spot at season’s end, they will have acquired a franchise running back for a late 1st round pick. Stunning.
In just a week, Bradshaw goes from being in a timeshare with Ballard, to a starter with little proven depth behind him, to a pure handcuff to Richardson. Fantasy owners that acquired him are left with little value just two weeks into the season.
In Cleveland, quarterback Brandon Weeden has been put on notice that anything short of a spectacular finish to the season will cost him his job. It’s also possible, and maybe even likely, that nothing can save Weeden’s job as the team’s starter. Look for the Browns to use their bevy of draft picks to acquire a quarterback in the 2014 draft.
At running back, McGahee is the odds on favorite to assume the starting job but it is fair to question how much he has left to give as he approaches his 32nd birthday. Although he rushed for 731 yards with four touchdowns in just 10 games with Denver last season, he suffered a season-ending knee injury and remained unsigned throughout the preseason. With the Browns offense struggling and having lost its most dynamic playmaker, McGahee rates as low end RB3 or high end RB4 over the balance of the season.
Of course, that is based on his holding off Ogbonnaya and Rainey. Ogbonnaya is a fifth year veteran journeyman will little upside while Rainey is a second year player who has yet to register a carry. The running back situation in Cleveland has very little upside.
By: Dave Stringer — September 17, 2013 @ 9:15 pm
Michael Vick, Eagles
Two games into the season, we can safely conclude that Vick has an opportunity to put together a career year in 2013. Provided he can stay healthy of course. With the Eagles taking their foot off the gas in Week 1, Vick amassed 29.6 fantasy points, and in Week 2 he put up 37.7 on 428 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns, as well as his second rushing touchdown of the season.
Rivers has 7 TD passes in 2 games.
Philip Rivers, Chargers
Rivers is protecting the football (one interception and no lost fumbles through two games) and elevating the play of his receivers, something that was missing from his game over the past couple of years. With seven touchdown passes and 614 passing yards in two games, Rivers has emerged as a low-end starter after two weeks. The schedule isn’t horrible, so this could be a situation where you can move your starter for help elsewhere and roll with Rivers.
Sam Bradford, Rams
This isn’t the St. Louis offense of yesteryear, dominated by Steven Jackson. The Rams are chucking it because of a subpar rushing attack, with Bradford second in the league in pass attempts. He has throw for 299 and 352 yards and multiple touchdowns (three and two, respectively) in each game. And the young weapons he has on offense will only get better as the season progresses.
Tom Brady, Patriots
I coach 8-year rep hockey, so I am well aware that what you start the season with isn’t what you finish it with. Unfortunately for Brady owners, they are going to have to endure more games like this week’s effort against the Jets, in which Brady completed 19 of 39 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown, before the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter. Simply put, this is the worst collection of receivers that he has ever had to work with.
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
Two games into his free-agent year, it appears that Freeman is destined to make this a “break it” year rather than a “make it” one. He was abysmal this week against the Saints, going 9 of 22 for 125 yards and a touchdown with one interception. He wasn’t much better in Week 1, and control freak head coach Greg Schiano isn’t going to waste much more time before he inserts rookie third-round pick Mike Glennon into the lineup.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins
Ugh. It was another ugly performance for RGIII this week, although he still managed to pad his fantasy stats with 320 passing yards and three touchdown passes. At 0-2 and with the season on the line, there is a small chance that head coach Mike Shanahan will put him on a short leash if the turnovers keeping coming (three interceptions so far in 2013). The truth of the matter is that RGIII hasn’t produced other than in garbage time.
James Starks, Packers
Starks came off the bench this week to become the first Packers player in 44 games to top 100-yards rushing. With Eddie Lacy out with a concussion, Starks had the finest game of his four-year career with 132 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, while chipping in four receptions for 36 yards. He entered training camp fifth on the depth chart but pushed aside Alex Green (released) to keep his job. With rookie fourth-round pick Jonathan Franklin struggling, DuJuan Harris out for the year, and Lacy questionable for next week, Starks now sits atop the depth chart for a Packers offense that is humming. It’s worth mentioning that reports out of Green Bay in the preseason noted that Starks was having the best training camp of his career and that he looked like a different player.
Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
At this point, you can feel comfortable inserting Moreno into the starting lineup. He has outshined his two younger backups with 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 28 touches. There is simply no reason why the Broncos would give rookie second-round pick Montee Ball more touches in Week 3.
Fred Jackson, Bills
With FJax getting 33 touches over the first two weeks of the season, it looks like the plan to give C.J. Spiller the rock until he pukes isn’t going to be put in place. Jackson hasn’t even done a lot to warrant the work, averaging 3.9 yards per carry and 8.0 yards per reception, but his 11.1 PPG average looks pretty solid.
Joique Bell, Lions
Reggie Bush is having an MRI on his knee and Bell has made the most of his opportunities thus far in 2013, with 164 total yards and a pair of touchdowns on 24 touches.
Brandon Jacobs, Giants
Although he is destined for the bench when Andre Brown returns, Jacobs could prove useful for a few weeks. He had seven rushes this week, many of them as a short-yardage runner, scoring once. He even had a pass thrown his way, although the Giants presumably had the wrong personnel in the game on that play.
Jordan Todman, Jaguars
After a first-half ankle injury, Maurice Jones-Drew never returned. Rather than turn to Justin Forsett or Denard Robinson, the Jaguars inserted Todman, who carried five times. For seven yards. No, not pretty, but worth noting that he—not Forsett, as most expected—is MJD’s handcuff.
Arian Foster, Texans
I’m not pulling the plug yet because I think better days are ahead, but Arian is averaging 3.7 yards per carry against a pair of run defenses that aren’t exactly considered upper-tier.
Trent Richardson, Browns & DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
These guys aren’t chopped liver but the offensive lines they run behind sure are. Richardson is averaging 3.4 yards a pop while Murray is at 3.5. Let’s call these buy-low situations.
Mark Ingram, Saints
Stick a fork in this dude. He’s done. Unless the Saints offensive line becomes dominant, Ingram will never be a consistent fantasy producer. There is too much competition for touches in the Saints backfield and he just doesn’t deserve to get enough of them to make him fantasy relevant. This guy needs volume touches to put up decent numbers.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
With Andre Johnson out with a concussion, Hopkins hauled in the winning touchdown in the Texans overtime win over the Titans, finishing the day with seven receptions for 117 yards and the score. He was also instrumental on the Texans’ game-tying scoring drive in the fourth quarter with three receptions for 64 yards. It looks like Hopkins will get his in the Texans offense, but he will get even more if AJ is out for any length of time.
Eddie Royal, Chargers
Sometimes tone is important. You’re not here with me and these words are being typed, so let me spell it out for you: This is lukewarm endorsement. Sure, Royal has five touchdowns in two games and the Chargers passing offense looks surprisingly potent. But it won’t be a surprise if Royal doesn’t find the end zone over the rest of the season, since his five scores match his touchdowns production over the past four seasons combined.
Steve Johnson, Bills
Just in case anybody was doubting his fantasy relevance with rookie EJ Manuel at quarterback, Johnson has touchdowns in each of his first two games and topped 100 receiving yards this week.
Lance Moore, Saints
With four targets in each of his first two games (three receptions for 38 yards), Moore is starting to look like an afterthought in the Saints offense.
Vincent Brown, Chargers
Brown is averaging a respectable 5.0 PPG but that is padded by his Week 1 touchdown. With just six receptions on 11 targets for 39 yards, he has had a rather underwhelming start to a season in which he was considered a breakout candidate by many (not here, BTW—ahem).
Kenny Britt, Titans
After a one-reception, 15-yard performance in Week 1 in which he had only two targets, Britt was more involved in the Titans’ Week 2 matchup against the Texans. Unfortunately, he caught just four of his nine targets for 28 yards before getting benched.
Martellus Bennett, Bears
Bennett put together a career year last season in his first year with the Giants, despite playing through an early-season knee injury, and it looks like he will have another career year with another new team in 2013. Two games into his Bears career, Bennett is clearly a key cog in Chicago’s passing attack, with ten receptions for 125 yards and three touchdowns. He appears headed for mid-tier TE1 status.
Fred Davis, Redskins
Two games into the year, Davis has been targeted just six times compared to nine for rookie third-round pick Jordan Reed. While Reed has shown little playmaking ability, averaging 7.0 yards per reception, it appears there is a changing of the guard occurring at the tight end position in Washington.
Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
After a two-reception, six-yard performance in Week 1, Pettigrew was marginally better this week against the Cardinals, catching three of his six targets for 32 yards. After watching Rams tight end Jared Cook scorch the Cardinals safeties in Week 1, Pettigrew owners were hoping for more. Unfortunately, with the addition of Reggie Bush, his role in the Lions offense appears to have been marginalized.
By: Thomas Casale — @ 8:40 am
It was another wild week both in the NFL and for fantasy owners. Here’s a recap of every game in the Tuesday Morning Buzz.
Jets – Patriots
If you’re searching for the epitome of the difference between PPR and non-PPR, look no further than Julian Edelman’s performance on Thursday night. Edelman caught a ridiculous 13 passes on 18 targets but they only went for 78 yards. That’s a big night in PPR leagues but kind of blah in non-PPR formats. Speaking of blah, Stevan Ridley got a reprieve when Shane Vereen broke his wrist, but Ridley only managed 40 yards. He has just 86 yards through two games and the Bucs’ tough rush defense is waiting for him in Week 3. He’s looking like no more than a flex play against Tampa Bay. New England gained just 232 yards of offense and Tom Brady was visibly upset with his receivers. I guess that system just isn’t the same system without Wes Welker. Stephen Hill shows flashes and would actually be an emerging fantasy receiver if he didn’t leave 2 or 3 balls on the turf every week. Both Hill and Santonio Holmes are worth a look if you need a receiver. Clyde Gates should be unemployed by the time you read this column.
Charles has 11 catches in 2 games.
Cowboys – Chiefs
This was ugly if you’re a fan of the running game. Jamaal Charles owners can’t like seeing his name under Alex Smith in the rushing totals. Luckily, Andy Reid made good on his promise to use Charles more in the passing game, and Charles rewarded owners with eight receptions for 48 yards and a score. DeMarco Murray was a non-factor, and we should probably get used to that most weeks with Bill Callahan calling plays. Callahan isn’t a big fan of running the football, so if you own Murray, he’ll need to contribute as a receiver too, as he did on Sunday. Dez Bryant’s ankle was obviously bothering him. He was held to just nine catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. I picked up the Chiefs’ defense in two leagues last week and they’re still available in many others. They had three more sacks and two takeaways against Dallas. Look for Kansas City to have one of the better fantasy defenses this year.
Rams – Falcons
There’s nothing better for Julio Jones owners than when Roddy White is injured. With White still nursing a bad ankle, Jones exploded. He caught 11 balls on 14 targets for 182 yards and a score. For the second week in a row White played but was mainly used as a decoy. Make sure to check his status and only use him in Week 3 if reports say he’s close to 100 percent. It’s not worth starting White if he’s just going to run routes to keep opposing defenses honest. Sam Bradford threw for 352 yards but Jared Cook only caught one pass for 10 yards. Cook owners shouldn’t panic though. Atlanta’s defense bracketed him on almost every play and the Falcons have done a great job of erasing tight ends in the past. Cook will rebound. His seeing so much attention opened things up for Chris Givens and Austin Pettis. If you’re looking to pick up one of the two, Givens is the better long-term option.
Vikings – Bears
This was a crazy, entertaining game. Matt Forte showed why he’s a monster in PPR formats, but putting two balls on the ground is concerning. It was nice to see Alshon Jeffery involved in the offense last week, but he came back with just one reception on Sunday. He was open late in the end zone, although Cutler overthrew him. Jeffery will be inconsistent early on but as we get deeper into the season, I still believe he’ll be a big-time fantasy receiver. Cordarrelle Patterson showed off his playmaking ability as a return man but he still has a ways to go before he helps fantasy owners as a receiver. It would help Patterson if Minnesota had a quarterback.
Panthers – Bills
One week after destroying the Panthers’ offense, Mike Shula is still doing his best to kill Cam Newton. The Panthers had only seven points at the half and had 10 other points set up by turnovers in the red zone. Overall, Carolina was held to just over 300 yards of offense; another embarrassing performance when Newton is your quarterback. The bottom line is that Shula is killing the fantasy value of Newton and Steve Smith. C.J. Spiller went over 100 yards thanks to a 46-yard run late but he lost a goal-line carry to Fred Jackson. Spiller also had only 16 carries to Jackson’s 12. Boy, for a guy who was supposed to get the ball until he throws up, Spiller must puke easily.
Browns – Ravens
The good news for Trent Richardson owners is that he got 18 carries this week. The bad news is he managed only 58 yards and Cleveland’s offensive line opened up very few holes for him. Richardson did catch five balls, although for just 21 yards. It’s only been two games so far, but it could be a long year for Richardson. The supporting cast just doesn’t appear to be there in Cleveland and now Brandon Weeden is banged up, though that may not be a negative. Marlon Brown delivered in his first start for the Ravens by catching four balls for 45 yards and a touchdown. He should be considered a WR3/flex play moving forward.
Redskins – Packers
The Redskins may be a mess right now but fantasy owners were happy with their performance on Sunday. Robert Griffin went over 300 yards and tossed three scores, Alfred Morris went for 107 yards and Pierre Garcon caught eight passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. So what’s the problem? There’s no problem in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers went over 300 yards in what seemed like the first quarter. James Starks filled in for an injured Eddie Lacy and ripped off 132 yards. He’ll be one of the most sought-after free agents this week, but owners will likely be disappointed over the long-term. At the end of the day he’s still James Starks. After being shut out in Week 1, James Jones caught 11 passes for 178 yards on Sunday. I give you the wonderful world of fantasy football.
Titans – Texans
Arian Foster looked a step slow last week but I thought it was because he hadn’t played in a long time. After watching him again this week, compared to Ben Tate, Foster simply isn’t hitting the hole as quickly. Tate out-produced Foster for the second straight week in a row as far as rushing yards but Foster found the end zone to save his fantasy day. The Texans keep saying they want to get Tate more touches. He certainly deserves it. I predicted this summer that DeAndre Hopkins would win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and he’s done nothing to make me think otherwise. Hopkins is talented enough to produce WR3 numbers most weeks. I always think Kendall Wright puts up bigger numbers than he actually does. Then when I look, he catches seven passes for 54 yards. He did score too. Wright is worth picking up if he’s still available in your league. If you need to drop someone, how about Kenny Britt?
Dolphins – Colts
One week after Mike Wallace owners had to be talked off a cliff, he bounced back with a 9-catch 115-yard day that also included a touchdown. The Dolphins’ offense in general has looked good now two weeks in a row. Charles Clay had a huge day and even stole a goal-line carry from Lamar Miller. It was Clay’s only carry of the day. Sometimes fantasy football can be so cruel. Andrew Luck had a 300-yard game but it’s days like this that prevent him from being a top fantasy QB. Luck has yet to consistently combine the big-yardage games with the multiple-score games. He’s a very good fantasy QB, just not an elite one yet. It was nice to see new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton realize that he has T.Y. Hilton on his team. Thank God it only took him a week. It would have taken Todd Haley three years to figure that out.
Chargers – Eagles
The Eagles’ offense dominated for the second week in a row. The problem for Philadelphia and good news for fantasy owners is that their defense also has to take the field. Mike Vick had a huge game. Boy, remember how long he was lasting in drafts? I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I wish I could turn back the clock a few weeks. Both LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson went over 100 yards receiving and the Eagles went over 500 total yards, yet they still lost. How? Well, because San Diego ran 79 offensive plays, held the ball for over 40 minutes and also topped 500 yards of total offense. Hey Chip, you have to play some defense. Philly’s defense is so bad, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates looked like the players they were four years ago. Eddie Royal is on absolute fire, scoring five touchdowns in his first two games. I think Royal has more fantasy points than my starting running backs in all of my leagues combined.
Lions – Cardinals
With Larry Fitzgerald hurting, Carson Palmer gave new definition to “spreading it around.” Palmer completed 22 passes to 10 different receivers. While that’s good in the real world and the Cardinals got the win, it stinks for fantasy purposes. Any time Kerry Taylor and Jaron Brown are catching passes, it’s annoying for fantasy owners. Heck, Patrick Peterson caught a pass and he plays on defense. Matthew Stafford tried a different approach. He decided to throw a lot of his passes to a guy named Calvin Johnson. Megatron rebounded from an unusual quiet game in Week 1 to go over 100 yards and score twice. Reggie Bush suffered an injury in this game and Joique Bell replaced him. Bell caught his normal five passes for 41 yards. If Bush is out for next week or any period of time, Bell will be a strong RB2 in PPR formats. He should be owned in all leagues.
Saints – Buccaneers
The Saints are still trying to get Mark Ingram involved apparently. Another week goes by and it’s eight carries for 20 yards. If this were a movie, they would show Ingram older with a grey beard sitting on the bench waiting to get into the game. Lance Moore could be a good play next week against Arizona. He usually has one good game a month, and Moore has put up two stinkers to start the year. The odds say he’s due. Josh Freeman has been living on borrowed time. His time looks like it’s up. If you own Vincent Jackson, it’s a good week to shop him in trades, because rookie Mike Glennon will be throwing him the ball soon.
Broncos – Giants
This was supposed to be a back-and-forth game but it started off slowly and then the Giants never got going. To be honest, the Giants haven’t really been going since late last year. It’s time to be a little concerned about this team. They can’t run the football at all, they have no real identity on offense and Eli Manning is turning the ball over way too much. I say after two games David Wilson is the biggest fantasy bust. He’s been a complete non-factor. Eric Decker bounced back from an atrocious Week 1 performance and Julius Thomas showed he wasn’t a one-week wonder. Montee Ball was about to have his moment in the sun but he fumbled heading into the end zone. After that, Knowshon Moreno ran for 93 yards and two scores. Ball and Hillman have had their chances. It’s likely Moreno time in Denver now.
Jaguars – Raiders
The Jaguars went 35 minutes of game time without getting a first down. Well, at least we know it’s not just Blaine Gabbert. Hey, Teddy Bridgewater, get your suit on, we need you. This team is in trouble until they do something about their quarterback situation. It’s just that simple. The thing is, they actually have some pretty good young receivers: Justin Blackmon, when he returns; Cecil Shorts; and Ace Sanders, who was one of my deep sleepers this summer. However, they just can’t be counted on to put up consistent fantasy numbers every week with these quarterbacks. Maurice Jones-Drew is hurt again and he may as well tap out because he doesn’t stand a chance in this offense. Much to the dismay of owners who overreacted and started him, Terrelle Pryor didn’t have the same impact that he had in Week 1. That’s why you don’t ever sit studs at the QB position for gut feelings. It’s not worth the risk.
49ers – Seahawks
It’s hard to believe that a game with so many fantasy stars had so little fantasy production. Other than Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Defense, this game was a complete fantasy dud. The 49ers have bigger problems than just this loss. Their running game has gone nowhere two weeks in a row, outside of Colin Kaepernick. Frank Gore has been invisible. I’ll take the blame; I own him and every running back I own does nothing for some reason. To be fair to Gore though, he hasn’t had anywhere to run. After catching 13 passes in Week 1, Anquan Boldin caught one pass against Seattle. That may be the biggest one-week swing in NFL history. My cousin sat Dez Bryant in favor of Boldin. He ended up losing by five points. Can you imagine walking around life being that stupid?
Steelers – Bengals
It’s nice to see the Bengals’ coaches were smart enough to realize Giovani Bernard needed more touches after he averaged 5.5 yards on his first four carries last week. The kid is going to be a superstar. He maximizes his touches. Bernard will score double-digit touchdowns this season. Actually, if the Steelers refuse to fire Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator, Bernard may score more touchdowns than the entire Pittsburgh team. You have to give it to Haley though. The Steelers are improving. After scoring nine points in Week 1, Pittsburgh scored 10 points on Monday night. At this rate the Steelers could put 20 points on the board by Halloween.
By: Dave Stringer — September 14, 2013 @ 6:04 am
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1. With news that Vick Ballard is out for the year with a torn ACL, fantasy owners will be heading to the waiver wire to add the previously forgotten Donald Brown. With Ahmad Bradshaw not yet ready to handle a heavy workload (and perhaps not ever), Brown figures to get 10-12 touches this week against the Dolphins. However, it won’t be a surprise if the Colts add a veteran running back to the roster since they were only carrying three players at the position. With Bradshaw’s health always in question and the inconsistent Brown not being relied upon, Indianapolis is likely to add veteran insurance at the position rather than a young street free agent.
2. In Atlanta, news broke after the Falcons Week 1 loss to the Saints that wide receiver Roddy White was suffering from a high ankle sprain. Fantasy owners weren’t likely expecting that little tidbit to surface and more than a few likely posted a loss due to White’s meagre stat line of two receptions for 19 yards. Since White isn’t practising this week, he will likely be a game time decision for Atlanta’s Week 2 home game against the Rams. Even if White goes, he will likely be used as a decoy once again since St. Louis has two solid corners in Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins. That makes diminutive slot receiver Harry Douglas a sneaky play in Week 2 and maybe longer. He is coming off a four-reception, 93-yard performance in Week 1.
3. Down in Dallas, Dez Bryant suffered a sprained foot late in the Cowboys Week 1 win over the Giants. With Bryant limited in practice this week, there is a chance he won’t get a full workload this Sunday against the Chiefs. With the Giants relegating his targets through the use of double teams, look for Tony Romo to make full use of Miles Austin and Jason Witten this week. There is also an outside chance that rookie 3rd round pick Terrance Williams could see his usage increased. Unfortunately for Williams, he displayed shaky hands and poor route running in Week 1. The Cowboys are high on him, however, so Dwayne Harris seems unlikely to supplant Williams, at least not so early in the season. If Bryant’s injury lingers, Williams could be worth an add in deeper leagues.
4. In St. Louis, Isaiah Pead returns to the line-up this week after serving a one-game suspension. While the Rams quickly installed him at number two on the depth chart ahead of rookie 5th round pick Zac Stacy, all indications are that Daryl Richardson has a stranglehold on the starting position. With St. Louis basing their offensive philosophy on having as much speed as possible at the skill positions, Richardson is a better fit than Pead, who displayed little playmaking ability as a rookie despite being taken in the 2nd round of the draft. While Richardson wasn’t stellar in the team’s Week 1 win over the Cardinals, he displayed plenty of speed in open space and a willingness to get the tough yards between the tackles.
5. After Geno Smith’s three interception performance in the Jets Thursday night loss to the Patriots and his uneven performance during the preseason, there is little wonder why former starter Mark Sanchez is delaying having surgery on the torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. While the Jets appear to be committed to Smith and he was reasonably solid in their Week 1 win over the Bucs, it is also abundantly clear that he is not currently an NFL calibre starting quarterback. Sanchez deserves kudos for sticking out to help the maturation process of the player that took his job, rather than mailing it in by having season-ending surgery, even though his career in New York will almost certainly end following the season. At just 26 years of age, Sanchez will have an opportunity to resurrect his career elsewhere in 2014 and it won’t be a huge shocker if that happens. His career floundered in New York as the quality of the players at the Jets skill positions decreased over the past few seasons.
6. Sticking with the Jets, it seems only a matter of time before Chris Ivory supplants Bilal Powell in the team’s starting line-up. While Powell has some shiftiness and is clearly a superior receiver, he can’t match Ivory’s explosiveness as a runner. Ivory is clearly a faster, more powerful runner and would appear to be exactly the type of threat the team needs to help open things up in the passing game. Look for Ivory to get more extensive work beginning in Week 3 against a Bills defense that has played poorly against the run for the past several seasons.
7. After a strong preseason, Christine Michael failed to get a single touch during the Seahawks Week 1 win over the Panthers. With Marshawn Lynch getting the early down work and Robert Turbin playing on passing downs, Michael was persona non grata in the Seattle game plan. While his inability to supplant Turbin as a receiving option isn’t a surprise and removes any chance of him being a solid flex option, Michael is likely the handcuff to own in the Seattle backfield. If Lynch were to go down, Michael would likely step into the role as the team’s early down back although he would not be likely to receive as many touches.
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