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Moving Up, Moving Down – Week 1, 2013

By: — September 10, 2013 @ 6:02 pm


Moving Up

Peyton Manning

Manning is making his case for the top fantasy QB in 2013.

Peyton Manning, Broncos
The Broncos’ talent at the skill positions is just ridiculous, and with Manning orchestrating it, Denver has a good shot to have the most potent offense in the league in 2013. With tight end Julius Thomas emerging as a weapon, Manning threw for 462 yards and a career-high seven touchdown passes in Week 1. This isn’t a sell-high option. It’s a sit-back-and-enjoy-the-show scenario.

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
Kaepernick shed any concerns that he would struggle without his top wide receiver in Michael Crabtree, topping 400 yards for the first time in his career (he topped 300 yards only once previously, in last year’s Super Bowl loss to the Ravens) while throwing for three touchdowns. This cat is ready to join the elite fantasy QBs in the league.

Terrelle Pryor, Raiders & Geno Smith, Jets
Giving you a heads up that these guys weren’t as bad as advertised and they have some hope of emerging as decent QB2s in 2013. That’s more than we thought a week ago.

Moving Down

Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars
Can somebody please put this man out of his misery? And end the misery of the Jaguars fans who have to watch him. Totaling just 121 yards on 35 pass attempts (3.5 yards per attempt) is pathetic.

Brandon Weeden, Browns
Weeden showed some promise in the preseason but he reverted to form in Week 1, holding on to the ball too long (six sacks) and making poor decisions (three picks). The truth is that Weeden absolutely has to be surrounded by solid talent, and he is guaranteed to struggle until Josh Gordon returns in Week 3.

Running Backs

Moving Up

Reggie Bush, Lions
I was all in on Bush even as his ADP grew during the preseason, and he didn’t disappoint in Week 1 with 191 total yards and a touchdown. He also had another score overturned. With the Vikings defense focused on shutting down Calvin Johnson, Bush had space to do his thing and he seems a perfect fit in Detroit. If only we could guarantee full health for 16 games.

Joique Bell, Lions
Meet Reggie Bush’s real handcuff and a guy who totaled 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Week 1. Mikel Leshoure owners can now safely move on.

LeSean McCoy, Eagles
After McCoy’s 32-touch, 189-yard, one-touchdown performance, we can put to rest any concerns about Chip Kelly’s offense being a success in the NFL and the impact Bryce Brown would have on Shady’s touches.

LeGarrette Blount, Patriots
Stevan Ridley was benched for bumbling (er, fumbling) and Shane Vereen is apparently out with a broken wrist. Blount looked very ordinary against the Bills this week (seven carries, 15 yards) but he just might be in the starting lineup in Week 2. I’m not calling it, but there is a chance.

Moving Down

David Wilson, Giants
The worst nightmare for Wilson owners came to fruition on Sunday night as he managed to lose two fumbles on his first seven carries, finding himself nailed to the bench. The Giants haven’t given up on him but that’s because they don’t have any other viable options. That is, until they sign one, which seems likely.

Lamar Miller, Dolphins
Another preseason breakout candidate flopped big time in Week 1 with Miller being limited to just three yards on 10 carries. No, that’s not a typo.

Montee Ball, Broncos
Dude’s going to get his turn at some point in his rookie season, but it looks like it’s going to be later than most of us expected. Even with Knowshon Moreno looking clearly average in a blowout win, Ball had only eight carries.

Shane Vereen, Patriots
Yet another blow to the Pats offense as Vereen (wrist surgery) has been placed on the IR / designated for return list which means he’s going to miss eight weeks. Given the Patriots have a bye in Week 10, he’s not likely to see the field until Week 11. It’s a shame as Vereen was one of two running backs (LeSean McCoy) to top the 100-yard rushing mark in Week 1.

Wide Receivers

Moving Up

Anquan Boldin, 49ers
Boldin led all receivers this week in targets (17), receptions (13) and yards (208). We all knew he was going to have a major role in the 49ers offense this season, but his output in Week 1 was ridiculous. Apparently he has something to prove to the Ravens, who shed his $6-million salary in exchange for a sixth-round pick. An angry Boldin is not a man to be messed with. Ask the Packers’ defensive backs.

Julian Edelman, Patriots
Turns out Edelman, not one of their prized (joking!) rookies, is the Patriots second best fantasy WR. He hauled in seven of his nine targets for 79 yards and a pair of scores. And with Danny Amendola nicked up after Week 1, Edelman has a shot to emerge as their leading receiver, at least until Rob Gronkowski returns.

Leonard Hankerson, Redskins
Could the light finally stay on for the Redskins’ 2011 third-round pick? Hankerson has plenty of talent but has been a tease during his first two years in the league. With the Redskins playing from behind this week, he managed five receptions for 80 yards and a pair of scores. Washington values Josh Morgan for his blocking but there is a decent chance Hankerson supplants him as a starter early in 2013.

Brian Hartline, Dolphins
I was ready to write him off as a fantasy backup, but Mike Wallace’s pout job and Hartline’s nine-reception (15 targets), 114-yard, one-touchdown performance puts him back on the map as a viable WR3 in 12-team leagues.

Jerome Simpson, Vikings
Seven receptions on eight targets for 140 yards. Just saying.

Marlon Brown, Ravens
Jacoby Jones is going to miss some times, the Ravens tight ends were awful and Torrey Smith just isn’t a target hog. Meet Marlon Brown, a 6’5”, 216-pound undrafted rookie free agent who had four receptions for 65 yards and a score this week against the Broncos. Sleeper? Or, sleeper no more?

Moving Down

Mike Wallace, Dolphins
Losah!!!!!!!!!!!! Whining and needing to be escorted off the field by the general manager that signed you to a five-year, $60-million contract after your new team won its first game of the year. Clueless.

Roddy White, Falcons
There were whispers late in the preseason that White’s ankle injury was worse than the Falcons were revealing, and his use as a decoy in Week 1 (two receptions, 19 yards) confirmed it. And then he totally let the cat of the bag by confirming that he has a high ankle sprain.

Kenbrell Thompkins, Patriots
The Patriots’ undrafted rookie free agent had the fourth most targets among wide receivers this week, but he hauled in just four receptions for 42 yards, blew a couple of routes and eased up on a throw to the end zone. Some guys need shades when the lights come on.

Tight Ends

Moving Up

Jared Cook, Rams
The Rams signed Cook to a massive contract this offseason and they had no intention of underutilizing him the way the Titans did during his first four years in the league. With Patrick Peterson taking away Chris Givens and with Yeremiah Bell ill-equipped to handle him, Cook caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, he was stripped just before hitting the end zone on another play or he would have had another score. Cook is clearly poised to have a breakout season in St. Louis.

Julius Thomas, Broncos
Another athletic tight end arrived on the scene in Denver, where Thomas, a barely used 2011 fourth-round pick, had a career day with five receptions for 110 yards and a pair of scores. His performance reminded me of Dante Rosario’s three-touchdown opening day a number of years back, but Thomas looks like he will have more staying power. With all of the options in Denver, defenses will have to pick their poison, and Thomas isn’t a player than many linebackers and safeties will be able to handle.

Jordan Cameron, Browns; Kellen Winslow, Jets; Brandon Myers, Giants
Does it seem like it was the week of the tight end? All of these players had plenty of catches and plenty of targets, plus they found the end zone.

Moving Down

Ed Dickson, Ravens
It seems like I pile on Dickson early every year, so I might as well get it out of my system in 2013. With Dennis Pitta out long term, Dickson has an opportunity to earn a big role this season, but things started out poorly in Week 1 as he hauled in just one of his five targets for 13 yards. The four targets he failed to bring in were all catchable balls. Meanwhile, recently signed backup Dallas Clark caught seven of his 12 targets for 87 yards, although he failed to haul in an easy touchdown catch.

Zach Sudfeld, Patriots
Preseason starlet. Week 1 dud.

Tuesday Morning Buzz – Week 1, 2013

By: — @ 1:28 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

Ravens – Broncos
It took about six seconds for Peyton Manning and Wes Welker to build chemistry together. Manning finished with an NFL-record-tying seven touchdown tosses, two going to Welker, who hauled in nine receptions in his Broncos debut. Welker should do just fine in his new system. Demaryius Thomas had a busy night. In the first half he wore No. 80 and went by Julius. In the second half he wore his usual No. 88 jersey and went back to Demaryius. As Julius, he caught five balls for 110 yards and two scores. As Demaryius he had five receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns. His Julius persona will be one of the hottest waiver wire additions this week, but most of us appreciated him returning as Demaryius for the second half. For all the talk of the Broncos’ running back committee, Baltimore unveiled one of their own with Ray Rice getting 12 carries and Bernard Pierce getting nine. Rice did catch eight balls and score a touchdown to save his fantasy night. Rice is still a strong fantasy play because of his role as a receiver, but this is looking like an annoying situation for owners moving forward. I finally figured out Denver’s backfield situation. Don’t start any of their running backs right now. Sometimes fantasy football really is that easy.

Todd Haley

OC Todd Haley: Pittburgh’s offense has lost it’s mojo.

Titans – Steelers
Steeler fans were wondering if Todd Haley could possibly ruin Pittsburgh’s offense any more than he did last year. They got their answer on Sunday. Some will point to the loss of Maurkice Pouncey, but that’s what we do for bad coaches; we make excuses. The bottom line is that Haley is one of the worst offensive minds in the history of the NFL and he has destroyed the Steelers’ attack. Ben Roethlisberger looks even more lost than he did last year. Pittsburgh can’t run the ball and its offense has no imagination. Other than Antonio Brown, and maybe Emmanuel Sanders in deeper leagues, there are few fantasy bright spots in the Steel City right now. As for Tennessee, Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt continue to frustrate fantasy owners. Perhaps it’s time for people to lower their expectations of these two, especially Britt, who is living off a few big games over his five years in the NFL. There’ll be better days for Johnson, but Britt will always be a tease.

Patriots – Bills
There were about 20 fantasy storylines in this game. Stevan Ridley fumbled twice and, to quote a line from Clemenza in The Godfather, “Won’t see him no more.” Ridley was benched in favor of Shane Vereen, who rushed for 101 yards and caught seven balls for 58 more yards. Things can change quickly in New England and just when it seemed like Vereen was the back to own, he goes under the knife and is expected to miss a couple weeks after wrist surgery. I drafted Julian Edelman as a flier in two leagues because I had a hunch that when games started for real, Tom Brady would throw to guys he trusted instead of inexperienced rookies. Finally, after 10 years, one of my hunches paid off. Danny Amendola led the way with 14 targets and 10 catches but he’s already dealing with a groin injury, so Edelman should be owned in all leagues now. The big story on Buffalo’s side was C.J. Spiller, who was outgained in yardage by Fred Jackson, 67-41. Spiller also lost a fumble. That’s not the debut owners who used a Top 10 pick on him wanted to see, but it’s a long season. Don’t panic…yet.

Falcons – Saints
What was expected to be a high-scoring affair turned out to be a rather boring game by Falcons–Saints standards. As usual, the Boy of Summer, Mark Ingram, did very little once the regular season started. It’s easy for coaches to say they want to get Ingram involved in June, but the bottom line is that once Sean Payton and Drew Brees get in the flow of calling a game, Ingram spends more time on the sidelines in favor of Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. With Roddy White nursing a hamstring, Harry Douglas led the Flacons in receiving. He has some short-term fantasy value but only until White is 100 percent healthy again. Kenny Stills is a player on the rise. He will take over that Devery Henderson/Robert Meachem deep threat role in New Orleans. Meachem won’t resume that role because he’s a tomato can.

Buccaneers – Jets
Well, if you like ugly, this was the game for you. Actually, “ugly” describes the next four games on the list. There were five fumbles, eight sacks and two interceptions in this one. To be honest, those numbers were lower than I expected. Chris Ivory was an absolute non-factor for the Jets, rushing 10 times for 15 yards. Some people thought Ivory could be a RB2. He looks like a RB12. I can’t get Kellen Winslow out of my life. I feel like I drafted him back in 1995. He re-emerged yet again to become Geno Smith’s favorite target, catching seven passes for 79 yards and a score. He looks pretty good considering he’s 50. The Bucs’ offense was stymied all day long by Gang Green. Vincent Jackson picked up where he left off last year, but the fact that the rookie, Smith, looked better than Josh Freeman is a problem going forward.

Chiefs – Jaguars
Word on the street is that every major real estate agent in the Jacksonville area put out a call to Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater Monday morning. I don’t know if Bridgewater has ever been to Jacksonville but he may want to get familiar with the city. There was nothing good about Jacksonville’s offense on Sunday. Maurice Jones-Drew was shut down and Blaine Gabbert could barely throw a forward pass. Apparently the Jaguars had 178 yards of offense, but they must have started with 100 for that to be possible. Alex Smith looked solid in his first start, but he didn’t have to do much because Kansas City’s defense was doing most of the work. Jamaal Charles left the game with a quad injury but is expected to be fine. It was a tough game to judge the Chiefs’ offense on because their defense dominated from start to finish. It wasn’t hard to judge Jacksonville’s offense. It stinks.

Seahawks – Panthers
I tried to warn people about Mike Shula. I said, “Google Mike Shula.” Mike Shula ruins offenses. Don’t tell me Carolina was playing Seattle either. The Seahawks were without two of their top pass rushers and a starting corner. Still, Shula’s “offense” managed just 7 points and 259 total yards. Cam Newton threw for 125 yards and rushed for 38. That’s less than 200 total yards for those of you bad at math and who used a high draft pick on a Mike Shula quarterback. I’ll say it again: good offensive coaches produce strong fantasy numbers while poor offensive coaches produce poor offensive numbers. See Pittsburgh Steelers. Marshawn Lynch was held in check by a much improved Carolina front seven. Running backs won’t have easy days against the Panthers this season. Russell Wilson didn’t have a huge fantasy day, but he showed why he’s such a great quarterback by gutting out a road win. He’ll put up big numbers in the coming weeks.

Dolphins – Browns
Besides Jacksonville, the Browns may have had the worst offensive performance of the opening weekend. After showing signs of life in the preseason, Brandon Weeden was harassed all day long, and when he did have time to throw, it wasn’t pretty. Weeden was sacked six times and threw three interceptions. Trent Richardson had no holes the few times he actually was given the football. You really have to question the Browns’ play calling of 53 passes and 13 runs in a game that was close the entire way. If Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski think Weeden is their ticket to winning, they’re wrong. The lone bright spot for the Browns was tight end Jordan Cameron, who hauled in nine passes for 108 yards. Lamar Miller had all the preseason love and rewarded owners by rushing 10 times for three yards in the opener. I keep trying to tell people that Miller has the vision of a blind man. He will be yet another example of preseason Internet hype gone wrong.

Vikings – Lions
This was an interesting game. The Lions did what they do; they threw the football. Matthew Stafford tossed it 43 times for 357 yards. However, Detroit was also able to run it a little bit with Reggie Bush, who had 21 carries for 90 yards. Joique Bell added 25 yards on six carries and also scored twice, drawing the ire of Bush owners. The good news though is that Bush also caught four passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. He is set to have a monster season even if Bell steals away some short scores. The Vikings are what they thought they were: Adrian Peterson and not much else. Peterson scored three times, but other than that, Jerome Simpson’s 140-yard receiving day was Minnesota’s only fantasy bright spot. Until the Vikings get better quarterback play, guys like Simpson, Greg Jennings, and Kyle Rudolph will frustrate fantasy owners with their inconsistency.

Raiders – Colts
Terrelle Pryor gave a jolt to a franchise that needed one on Sunday. He not only made plays with his feet but also kept his eyes down the field and made plays with his arm. Pryor is an intriguing fantasy option moving forward, especially if teams don’t stop him from running. Expect the better defenses he faces to force him to throw from the pocket, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: there aren’t many good defenses left in the NFL anymore. Pryor is a high-end QB2 at the moment. Whenever a team changes coordinators, it’s hard to know what to expect. Apparently, Pep Hamilton doesn’t like using tight ends or T.Y. Hilton. That’s an interesting offensive philosophy, considering Hilton is an exciting playmaker and the Colts have two talented tight ends. Hilton, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener combined for five receptions and 47 yards on Sunday. I miss Bruce Arians already.

Bengals – Bears
I don’t know how to stop A.J. Green. I hope no one figures it out, because I own him in most of my leagues. I guess Giovani Bernard should stop averaging 5.5 yards per carry. After averaging 5.5 yards on his first four carries, Bernard never saw the ball again. See Gio, in Cincinnati they like you to average less than 2.0 yards per carry. That’s how guys like BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Cedric Benson get on the field there. If Marvin Lewis and Jay Gruden want to know why the Bengals can’t run the football, they should look in the mirror. Jay Cutler did a good job of spreading the ball around. Brandon Marshall saw 10 targets, Alshon Jeffery eight, while Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett each saw six. If Cutler continues to spread the ball around like that, the Bears’ offense will be fantasy friendly to people other than just owners of Marshall.

Cardinals – Rams
This game brought a tear to my eye because one of my draft strategies this year was to wait on a tight end and grab Jared Cook. Well, I got him in every league, so to say Week 1 worked out well is an understatement. Cook has been the most underutilized player in the NFL over the last two seasons and he showed why on Sunday. On the play where he fumbled going in for a score, Cook looked like a larger version of Usain Bolt running down the field. The guy is a beast. He’ll be a Top 5 fantasy TE in 2013. Neither the Rams nor the Cardinals could get anything going on the ground. I seriously doubt that will change much throughout the year. Andre Roberts is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL. He had a solid season in 2012 with high school quarterbacks throwing him the ball. If you’re in a PPR league and need a receiver, go grab Roberts.

Packers – 49ers
If you need more proof that the preseason is meaningless, look no further than the 49ers. While Cleveland’s offense looked pretty good during the preseason, San Francisco didn’t do much of anything. Then when the lights came on for real, the Browns got squashed and San Fran unleashed its weapons. Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis put on a show. It’s funny because Boldin only looks old when Cam Cameron is his offensive coordinator. Ever since Cameron was fired last year in Baltimore, Boldin hasn’t looked old anymore. Coincidently, the Ravens also went on a run and won the Super Bowl once Cameron was shown the door. For those of you who were worried that Kaepernick may be a one-year wonder, he looks like he’ll be OK. Jordy Nelson had a huge debut and Randall Cobb went over 100 yards on a meaningless final reception, but that’s only because I was playing against him last week. Eddie Lacy was the only Green Bay back who sniffed the ball. So much for that committee.

David Wilson

Giant mess: David Wilson’s fantasy owners were hoping for more.

Giants – Cowboys
If you’re a gambler, you should really bet the over every time the Cowboys and Giants play in Dallas. The two teams always put up a ton of points in the new stadium. Victor Cruz had a huge night and apparently dances even when his team is trailing by double-digits. So if the Giants were losing by 50, Cruz would still do that stupid salsa dance? He’s really all about the team, huh? The Giants actually had three 100-yard receivers, with Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and the emerging Rueben Randle. David Wilson had two fumbles and was benched. Expect the Giants to bring in a veteran this week and for Wilson’s fantasy value to take a hit. It was a tough night for Dez Bryant. He was held to 22 yards receiving and left briefly with an ankle injury. Dez started last season slowly, too, but owners who used a Top 20 draft pick on him will want better results fast. Although, Bryant has another tough matchup in Week 2 against a strong Chiefs secondary, so his owners could be getting itchy trigger fingers by this time next week.

Eagles – Redskins
Are you not entertained? After watching guys like Haley and Shula attempt to call an offensive game it was a pleasure to see someone like Chip Kelly show them how it’s done. Oh wait, Kelly’s offense won’t work in the NFL, right? Isn’t that what all of Ron Jaworski’s idiotic film study told us? Listen, if you know offense it usually works on any level and when coaches like Bill Belichick are traveling to Oregon to watch your team practice, you know offense. The Eagles exploded on the scene with the trio of Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson making fantasy owners jump out of their seats. They’ll be fun to watch all season unless you’re playing against them. It was a slow start for Robert Griffin III but he got things going in the second half. We have to cut RG3 some slack. He’s just been trying to get back on the field all summer. It may take a couple of games for Griffin to shake off the rust but he’ll be one of the top fantasy quarterbacks when it’s all said and done.

Texans – Chargers
It was a tale of two half for the Chargers and Texans. In the first half the Chargers’ offense looked unstoppable. In the second half it was the Texans that took over. To put Andre Johnson’s career in perspective, Monday night was the 19th time he had 10 or more catches in a game, the most ever by any receiver in NFL history. It’s going to be another huge fantasy year for AJ. It was nice to see Matt Schaub take a break from throwing to Johnson and Houston’s 12 tight ends to get DeAndre Hopkins involved. Hopkins will be one of the NFL’s top rookie and a strong WR3/flex play most weeks. Arian Foster still got 18 carries and while he was a little off, he looked good overall. Those leagues where Foster fell to Round 2 will be sorry. Once he gets a game or two under his belt, watch out. Ryan Mathews gained 33 yards on 13 carries. That comes out to 2.5 yards per carry, which is actually a good game for him on the ground. Antonio Gates caught two passes for 49 yards, which is a good game for him too, so it was a great fantasy night for Charger players overall.

Projections & Rankings Update – 9/3/13

By: — September 3, 2013 @ 9:02 am
Filed under: Forecast

Player Projections, Rankings & Cheatsheets
Change Log – 9/3/13


Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

  • Zach Sudfeld (+3) – Should have value even when Gronk returns.
  • Julius Thomas (+8) – Will start in Denver but will be the fourth option behind three standout receivers.

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