Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — November 26, 2013 @ 8:09 pm
Matt Flynn, Packers
Flynn took over for an overmatched Scott Tolzien this week and played reasonably well (218 yards and a touchdown in two and a half quarters of playing time) given the conditions. With the Lions and their less then stellar secondary on tap for Thanksgiving Day, Flynn figures to get the start. In fact, he could get several, with no definitive word on when Aaron Rodgers will return to the lineup.
Andy Reid has decided now is the time to throw the ball down field.
Alex Smith, Chiefs
With the Chiefs suddenly struggling (or just not getting to face subpar quarterbacks every week), Andy Reid has gone pass happy, with Smith attempting 83 passes over the last two weeks. And Smith has been effective in those games, throwing for 524 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception. Up next are three defensive secondaries ranked 24th or lower (Broncos, Redskins, Raiders).
Philip Rivers, Chargers
After a five game run of decent but unspectacular performances, Rivers turned it up a notch this week against the Chiefs, with 392 passing yards and three touchdowns. With Ryan Mathews out, the Chargers figure to turn to the passing offense more, and Rivers seems to be getting hot again at the right time, with 700 passing yards through his last two games. A tough match up against the Bengals awaits, but that is followed by some easy pickings in the form of the Giants, Broncos and Raiders.
Andrew Luck, Colts
Removing some garbage time production during the Rams game in Week 10, Luck has been entirely underwhelming in the Colts’ last three games, with a pair of touchdowns and four interceptions. His fantasy points during that three game stretch were padded with some rushing production (79 yards and a score), but his production through the air when games are in doubt has suffered with Reggie Wayne out of the lineup. Don’t expect that to change over the next three weeks as Indy faces passing defenses ranked eighth or better.
Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, C.J. Anderson, Broncos
Knowshon Moreno is in a walking boot with a deep bone bruise, but the truth of the matter is that Ball and Hillman have been injury-prone and unproductive while Anderson clearly isn’t ready for prime time.
Lamar Miller, Dolphins
It’s a similar story for Miller, who figures to see an increased workload with Daniel Thomas likely out for the year with a torn ligament in his ankle. The truth is that with just 95 yards on 29 touches over his last three games, Miller would be Moving Down if not for Thomas’s injury situation.
Danny Woodhead, Chargers
Woodhead is another player who will benefit due to injury, with Ryan Mathews likely out with a hamstring problem. But Woodhead really isn’t built to handle many more touches than the 11.7 per game he currently is getting.
Benny Cunningham, Rams
Because of a Zac Stacy concussion, Cunningham took over as the Rams’ lead back early in the second half against the Bears and finished with the first 100-yard game of his career. While the holes he ran through against an injury-ravaged Chicago defense were large, Cunningham’s 13-carry, 109-yard, one-touchdown performance was impressive nonetheless. He is a must-add in all formats.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Willis McGahee, Browns
A little look-see at the Bears’ upcoming schedule tells us these are the only running backs who you might be able to grab on the wire to exploit Chicago’s defense. Yeah, it was that bad on Sunday.
Stevan Ridley, Patriots
Another day, another fumble. Ridley coughed up his fourth lost fumble of the season this week against the Broncos and spent the rest of the night nailed to the bench. The only saving grace for Ridley is that LeGarrette Blount also fumbled—although that positive is somewhat negated by Brandon Bolden’s strong performance.
Ben Tate, Texans
Benched in favor of 5-foot-7, 195-pound Dennis Johnson. Wow.
With all of the injured players noted above, fantasy owners will have some tough decisions on their hands this week.
Antonio Brown, Steelers
When you torch the Browns’ Joe Haden for six receptions, 92 yards and a score, there is no doubt that you’re Moving Up. The score gives Brown a career-high six touchdowns this season, and it might surprise some that he leads the league in receptions with 80. Turns out the Steelers made the right move in deciding to retain Brown over the speedy Mike Wallace.
Josh Gordon, Browns
After his 14-reception, 237-yard, one-touchdown performance this week, Gordon now has 54 receptions for 988 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games. Extrapolating that over 16 games gives you 96 receptions for 1,756 yards and 8.9 touchdowns. Since that’s a lot of numbers in just two sentences, I’ll sum up what it means for fantasy owners: upper-tier WR1 in 2014.
Justin Hunter, Titans
This one’s a lukewarm endorsement since Hunter was targeted once in Week 11 while averaging 6.5 targets in Weeks 10 and 12. However, he looked solid this week against the Raiders, catching all six of his looks for 109 yards and a score. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a check-down artist but he might be receiving marching orders to get Hunter more involved.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers
Likely to be activated and available for the 49ers’ Week 13 matchup against the Rams.
Danny Amendola, Patriots
When Amendola returned to the lineup in Week 5 and was targeted nine times, it appeared that he would be a huge part of New England’s offense. In the five games since then, he has been targeted only 27 times, and since he rarely finds the end zone (eight touchdowns in 49 career games), that isn’t enough to warrant WR3 status.
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
After finding the end zone seven times in 14 games last season, the big plays have dried up for Shorts, who has just one touchdown in 11 games this season. Worse than that is that he’s gone stone cold with fantasy playoffs approaching, hauling in just 12 receptions for 135 yards in his last three games and failing to find the end zone in his last six.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
The rookie first-round pick followed up his one-reception, seven-yard performance against the Raiders with a one-reception, eight-yard performance against the Jaguars. Hey, I guess I can’t say he didn’t improve.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
While his stat line wasn’t outstanding (seven receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets), he looked the Gronk of old. Or a healthy Gronk. You know what I mean. His owners have been waiting, and he seems ready to explode over the last five games of the season.
Jacob Tamme, Broncos
Since Julius Thomas tried to give it a go this week but wasn’t successful, I expect him to be ready next week. But if not, it is worth noting that Tamme was extremely effective this week, catching all five of his targets for 47 yards and a score.
Antonio Gates, Chargers
It appears as though Gates’ 33-year-old legs are wearing down as the season comes to a close. He has just one touchdown in his last seven games and has topped 53 receiving yards just twice during that stretch.
By: Thomas Casale — November 25, 2013 @ 11:36 pm
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.
Saints – Falcons
I’ve been talking about Darius Johnson since last year and I’ve mentioned him a couple of times in this column as well. Despite a costly fumble, Johnson caught six passes for 67 yards. He has gone from an afterthought on draft day and a nobody in training camp to a guy making some plays in the NFL. I’ve always thought Johnson could play and, like I’ve been saying since April, he’s a guy to keep an eye on. I swear, Jimmy Graham and Megatron must have a combined 300 fantasy points against me this year. Graham got me again for 100 yards and a score on five receptions. Pierre Thomas has been one of the most underrated players in the NFL for a couple of years. He had another one of his games where he racked up 130 total yards on just 15 touches. Steven Jackson had his best game of the year. The fact that he had 79 total yards and a score tells you what kind of season it’s been for him.
Panthers – Dolphins
I saw I was playing against Mike Wallace this week and figured he would finally have a big game. Wallace proved me right by catching five passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Not counting Cam Newton, the Panthers ran the ball 21 times for 85 yards. It would take the Miami running backs a month to get to that number. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas combined for 16 yards on 13 carries. The Dolphins are on their way to being one of the all-time worst rushing teams. I guess that’s why Mike Sherman was so popular at Texas A&M.
Buccaneers – Lions
Mike Glennon continues to play well and deliver for fantasy owners. He threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, both going to Tiquan Underwood, who had 108 yards receiving. Glennon is showing a lot of promise for both the rest of the season and 2014. Bobby Rainey had only 35 yards on 18 carries after his huge performance last week. It should be noted that the Lions are tough against the run, but things won’t get much easier next week versus Carolina. Nate Burleson made a big impact in his return from an injured forearm. He saw 10 targets and caught seven passes for 77 yards a score.
Bears – Rams
I had a tough fantasy week. I own Zac Stacy in two leagues and after he racked up 87 yards and a score in the first half, he went out with a concussion. Then his backup Benny Cunningham ripped off 109 yards and a score on 13 carries. Now we know how Ray Rice had a big game last week. The Bears have the worst rush defense in the NFL. I’m so sick and tired of seeing that miserable hump Michael Bush in the game. When a team gets in the red zone it should have its best players on the field, not a declining, slow backup. Did you see that touchdown run Matt Forte had called back because of a penalty? Do you think Bush can make a run like that? These coaches overthink too much. It must be because they’re all geniuses. It takes a real genius to keep one of his best two players on the bench inside the red zone. It’s inexcusable and awful coaching.
Jets – Ravens
The Jets’ streak of playing well one week and poorly the next came to a crashing halt Sunday at Baltimore. After feasting on the Bears’ joke of a rush defense last week, Rice went back to his usual 16 carries for 30 yards against the Jets. All is right with the world again. The Jets’ defense got burnt by Joe Flacco, however. Flacco threw for 273 yards and a score, while Jacoby Jones had a 100-yard day and a touchdown. Geno Smith had a miserable game but it’s hard to blame all of the Jets’ offensive failures on him alone. New York’s receivers are so pitiful that their leading pass catcher on the day was Greg Salas. It’s easy to make fun of Geno all the time, but if the Jets want to evaluate a young quarterback, they should try doing so without the worst group of receivers and tight ends in the NFL.
Jaguars – Texans
I can pretty much sum this up by saying the Texans have given up on the season. This was a pitiful effort by Houston all across the board. The lone bright spot was Dennis Johnson running for 74 yards on 13 carries. However, he should already be owned in most leagues as insurance for Ben Tate by now. Maurice Jones-Drew continues to have a strong second half of the season. He finished with 144 total yards and a score. To show how lifeless Houston was on Sunday, Chad Henne had a passer rating of 93.1.
The Packers need this guy back… and soon.
Vikings – Packers
In probably the weirdest game of the day, the Packers went to their fourth option at quarterback in Matt Flynn and ended up with a tie against Minnesota. Flynn completed 21 of 36 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it was against Minnesota’s Swiss cheese defense. Hopefully for the Packers and fantasy owners like me, Aaron Rodgers will be back soon. Adrian Peterson ran over Green Bay’s defense for 146 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. The Packers rush defense was so bad on Sunday that Toby Gerhart chipped in with 91 yards on eight carries. With Peterson’s bad hamstring, it would be wise for his owners to grab Gerhart as insurance.
Steelers – Browns
Some were worried about Antonio Brown going up against Joe Haden, but Brown still caught six passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. Brown simply sees too many targets every week, regardless of who is covering him. The guy is a beast. The Browns’ fantasy value took a hit when Brandon Weeden came into the game, but it didn’t bother Josh Gordon. Gordon torched the Steelers for 237 yards and a touchdown on 14 receptions. He caught 14 of his 17 targets. On the other hand, Jordan Cameron saw 10 targets but had only three receptions. That’s what happens when a team has bad quarterback play.
Chargers – Chiefs
In the most entertaining game of the afternoon, San Diego scored late to beat the Chiefs, 41–38. Kansas City has been leaning on its defense this season, but after losing Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, the Chiefs couldn’t stop Philip Rivers and company. Rivers threw for 392 yards and three scores, while Keenan Allen caught nine balls for 124 yards. Jamaal Charles had his usual huge game and the Chargers showed how much they’re struggling on defense by letting Alex Smith throw for 294 yards and three scores. The Chiefs’ defense is reeling and they have the Broncos on deck. I have them in two leagues, and even though they’ve been great, it’s time to start playing matchups.
Cowboys – Giants
The weather and some awful officiating kept the offensive numbers in check for both teams. Tony Romo and Eli Manning did manage to throw two touchdown passes each despite the windy conditions. Dez Bryant saw 16 targets after Dallas spent the bye week trying to get him the ball more. You would think the coaching staff wouldn’t need a bye week to figure out how to get its No. 1 receiver the football. Bryant responded by catching nine passes for 91 yards. Andre Brown ran over the Cowboys for 127 yards on 21 carries, but owners have to hold their breath every time he gets up in hopes that he isn’t injured. The guy is a tremendous player but whenever Brown gets tackled, it looks like he’s out for the year. And given his past injury history, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Titans – Raiders
It’s hard to believe, but the Titans are actually the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs right now. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 320 yards and two scores against the pitiful Raiders pass defense. Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright each went over 100 yards, while Delanie Walker had another solid game, catching five balls for 46 yards on nine targets. Matt McGloin played pretty well in only his second start. It’s clear after two games that McGloin likes throwing to Rod Streater. In McGloin’s two starts, Streater has 11 receptions for 177 yards and a touchdown.
Colts – Cardinals
The Cardinals remained red hot by slamming the Colts. Carson Palmer threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns and for the second week in a row Michael Floyd was his favorite receiver. Floyd is on his way to becoming a stud in 2014. The Colts’ high point may end up being their win over Denver. Andrew Luck’s poor pass a few weeks ago, which forced Reggie Wayne to turn awkwardly even though he was wide open, has led to the biggest injury in the NFL. The Indianapolis offense just hasn’t been the same since Wayne got hurt. At the time, after wins over Seattle, San Francisco and Denver, it could have been argued that the Colts were the Super Bowl favorites. Now without Wayne or a running game and with problems on the offensive line, this is a completely different offense. The Colts have been a fantasy disaster in two of their last three games.
Broncos – Patriots
In what will likely be the wildest game of the season, Denver jumped out to a 24-0 lead, only to lose in overtime, 34–31. I can’t see how Stevan Ridley gets another chance to be the lead back in New England. I’m all for second chances, but he’s fumbling so much it’s hurting the Patriots’ ability to win games. Shane Vereen is going to be huge for owners during the playoffs. Dropping Vereen was the biggest mistake some owners made this fantasy season. I was told Danny Amendola and Wes Welker are the same player. I guess those people were right. Neither guy did anything Sunday night. Welker caught four passes for 31 yards and Amendola caught three for 17. Overall, Amendola’s first season in New England has been a miserable failure.
49ers – Redskins
The 49ers needed to get their offense on track and they found the right tonic in the Redskins’ defense. Colin Kaepernick passed for 235 yards and three scores. He had three touchdown passes in his previous four games, so that tells you all you need to know about Washington’s defense. Anquan Boldin caught five passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Boldin has now had two good games in a row. Robert Griffin couldn’t get anything going for the Redskins. RG3 only threw for 127 yards, Alfred Morris rushed for 52 yards and Pierre Garcon caught eight balls but was held to just 48 yards. Overall it was a dreadful performance by a Redskins team that’s sinking fast.
By: Dave Stringer — November 22, 2013 @ 1:28 pm
1. With the Bears in the race for the NFC North crown, you would think the teams’ fans would be focused on the upcoming playoff run and the Bears chances of making a deep run into the postseason. However, the noise of the playoff run is being shared with debates as to whether the team will re-sign quarterback Jay Cutler at the conclusion of the season. Bears management has done its best to keep the Cutler debate out of the news, even announcing that they would not engage in negotiations during the season, but given the importance of the quarterback position, it has come to the forefront over the past several weeks. While it may seem like a foregone conclusion that Cutler will be re-signed, that isn’t necessarily the case. Cutler will turn 31 prior to the 2014 season, his backup, Josh McCown, is enjoying a solid season in relief and Cutler has led his team to the playoffs just once during his first seven years in the league. With Cutler having his second injury plagued season over the last three years, there is a solid chance the team will choose to place the franchise tag on him for the 2014 season. Given that leverage, the team can then sign him to a long-term extension on terms they are amenable to or else use a high pick in the upcoming draft on a quarterback to groom for the future.
2.In Oakland, the Raiders face a different type of conundrum at the quarterback position. Rookie undrafted free agent Matt McGloin is coming off a 18 for 32, 197-yard, three touchdown, no interception performance in the Raiders win over the Texans and incumbent starter Terrelle Pryor, thought to be the team’s quarterback of the future, is more than likely ready to return to the lineup from a knee injury. Head coach Dennis Allen has already named McGloin the starter for the team’s Week 12 matchup against the Titans but it is anybody’s guess as to what his reasoning is for that decision. It could be that Allen believes that he needs to win some games to return in 2014. While McGloin pulled out the win against the Texans, the team’s defense gets the kudos for that win, giving McGloin short fields to work with twice due to turnovers and allowing the team to play with a lead for the entire game. Meanwhile, although Pryor has been inconsistent as a passer and needs to improve his accuracy, he at least has the look of a potential starter provided he can improve on his ability to read defenses. The Raiders would do well to allow Pryor to finish the season as the team’s starter in order to determine whether they need to take a quarterback early in the 2014 draft.
Who’s really making the Quarterback call in Houston?
3. The Texans face their own quarterback conundrum and also appear to be hindered by a head coach looking to win a few games to help save his job. With Matt Schaub struggling and benched in favor of 2nd year undrafted free agent Case Keenum, it appeared likely that Schaub’s days in Houston were numbered. However, head coach Gary Kubiak gave Keenum the quick hook this week against the Raiders despite the fact that he had thrown for 822 yards and seven touchdowns with just one interception in his past three games. That’s not the type of decision making that inspires confidence in a young player or that signals that the organization views the player as a potential long term solution at the quarterback position. While Kubiak has said that Keenum will get the start this week against the Jaguars, you have to wonder whether that decision is of his own making or whether it is being forced upon him.
4. There are a couple of interesting matchups this week, one of which is Broncos’ wide receiver Wes Welker’s return to New England for Denver’s Sunday night matchup against the Patriots. New England’s fans are sure to give Welker, a long time fan favorite and quarterback Tom Brady’s go to receiver during his six year run as a Patriot, a warm welcome and it seems unlikely that Welker will give former head coach Bill Belichick the same type of welcome. Welker’s fantasy owners surely start him on a weekly basis but there could be some reluctance to roll with him this week due to his Week 11 concussion. However, teams often feature players when they face their former teams and it seems likely that quarterback Peyton Manning will look Welker’s way early and often this week.
5.In St. Louis, Rams defensive end Chris Long, who lines up mostly opposite the opposition’s right tackle, will face his younger brother, Kyle, during this week’s matchup against the Bears. Taken in the 1st round of this year’s draft, Kyle Long starts at right guard for Chicago. While they don’t figure to line up opposite each other since the Rams rarely use Chris inside as a defensive tackle, the Rams will surely stunt him inside where Kyle will need to slow him down.
6. The 49ers have struggled at the wide receiver position for almost all of 2013 but they appear to be getting healthy as they make a run at a wild card playoff berth. With Seattle leading the division and holding a nearly insurmountable 3.5 game lead, San Francisco will need to enter the playoffs with a wild card slot and that means holding off the Bears and a surprisingly strong Cardinals squad. Mario Manningham returned to the lineup in Week 10 and Michael Crabtree has an outside chance of playing during the team’s Monday night matchup against the Redskins. With Anquan Boldin slowing down as the season has progressed and Vernon Davis playing well when healthy, quarterback Colin Kaepernick has not had a breakout season during his second year as the team’s starting quarterback. However, with a healthy cast at receiver (Crabtree’s return to 100% may take several weeks), he could be in line for a strong run to the playoffs for the 49ers and for your fantasy squad during Weeks 14-16.
By: Dave Stringer — November 19, 2013 @ 8:10 pm
Big Ben is now 11th in FPts/G among all Quarterbacks.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
With 971 passing yards and nine touchdowns in his last three games, Big Ben is getting hot at just the right time for the Steelers and his fantasy owners. The matchups aren’t great between now and Week 15 (Browns, Ravens, Dolphins, Bengals) but Roethlisberger is a streaky player and he’s rolling at the moment.
EJ Manuel, Bills
This one’s more for the dynasty leaguers out there, but the Bills’ rookie first-round pick was solid this week in his second game after returning from a knee injury. Despite not having leading wide receiver Steve Johnson or Robert Woods available, Manuel threw for 245 yards and a pair of scores on 20-of-28 passing during the Bills 37–14 blowout win over the Jets.
Geno Smith, Jets
Yeesh! That was ugly.
Andy Dalton, Bengals
Dalton’s hot streak ended three games ago and he has turned into a turnover machine since then (eight interceptions). I am confident going on the record in stating that he’s not going to have any more three-touchdown outings when he throws for just 93 yards. Dalton needs to be on your bench until he gets hot again.
Bobby Rainey, Bucs
Well, I told you last week that Rainey didn’t have the look of a true lead back and I guess I’m eating my words today after his 30-carry, 163-yard, two-touchdown performance this week against the Falcons. Oh yeah, he also chipped in a four-yard touchdown reception. Rainey is clearly the lead back in Tampa over the balance of the season, and the matchups from Weeks 14 through 16 aren’t that bad (Bills, 49ers, Rams).
Donald Brown, Colts
The only thing holding Brown back from emerging as a solid RB2 over the balance of the season is the fact it would be extremely embarrassing for the Colts’ management and coaches to bench Trent Richardson. But it still might happen. Brown was great this week with 15 touches for 94 yards and a pair of scores, but the Cardinals are on tap next week (third-ranked run defense) and then the Bengals in Week 14 (ninth-ranked run defense).
Rashad Jennings, Raiders
Jennings is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 8.2 yards per reception. Darren McFadden is averaging 3.6 yards per carry and 6.5 yards per reception. Jennings has a pair of 100-yard rushing games in the Raiders’ last three matchups. McFadden is a free agent at season’s end, will command a large salary on the open market, has one 1000-yard rushing season during his first five years in the league, and has topped 1,000 total yards just once. Jennings is also a free agent but will cost a fraction of what McFadden will. The Raiders have been in salary cap hell. Maybe they should spend the rest of the season finding out what they have in Jennings. He’s hot and, save for a Week 14 matchup against the Jets’ top-ranked run defense, the schedule is favorable.
Ray Rice, Ravens; Chris Johnson, Titans
Undoubtedly taken in the first round of most fantasy drafts this year, both Rice and Johnson have disappointed, with Rice being one of the biggest busts of the year. They are each coming off of solid games, with Rice topping 100 rushing yards for the first time and 100 total yards for just the second time. Johnson scored a pair of touchdowns, giving him four in his last three games. Consider Rice a sell candidate if your league’s trading window is still open, but I would ride Johnson the rest of the way.
Ben Tate, Texans
If Tate owners were hoping he would replicate Arian Foster’s success, they have been sorely disappointed. While Tate is clearly talented, he is also clearly not in Foster’s class as a running back. In the last three games, he has averaged 4.0 yards per carry, 75 rushing yards per game and chipped in just eight receptions for a measly 35 yards. He lacks Foster’s explosiveness, pass-catching ability and chops as a short-yardage runner.
Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
Montee Ball stole a pair of touchdowns this week, leaving Moreno with just one touchdown in his last three games. Not the kind of slide his fantasy owners want to see with the playoffs approaching.
Mark Ingram, Saints
With Ingram coming off of the first 100-yard game of his three-year career, I was cautiously optimistic the Saints would be committed to getting him consistent touches going forward. Sure enough, he had just seven touches in a close game against the 49ers this week. If the Saints aren’t committed, you shouldn’t be.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals
After averaging 7.4 targets per game over the Cardinals’ first seven games and being largely disappointing (32 receptions for 396 yards and one touchdown), Floyd saw his workload decreased to a total of six targets over the two games prior to this week. That seemed to motivate Arizona’s 2012 first-round pick, as he had the finest game of his career this week, hauling in six of his 11 targets for 193 yards and a 91-yard touchdown. He might be hitting his stride at just the right time.
Kendall Wright, Titans
Over the last two games, Wright has 21 targets, 16 receptions and 158 receiving yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick likes to look his way, and if the touchdowns every start coming (just one so far this season), Wright will emerge as a solid WR2 in standard leagues with even more upside in PPR formats.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Sure, Bowe’s an idiot and the Chiefs MAY have been fools for signing him to a lucrative long-term contract extension, but it’s fairly obvious that he has been misused for much of this season. That might be changing. He averaged just 5.6 targets per game over the Chiefs’ first eight games but has been targeted 26 times over the past two. With Kansas City needing to establish a strong passing attack with the playoffs around the corner (as evidenced during their first loss of the season this week to the Broncos), Bowe figures to see the ball plenty as the season winds down.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Colts
Since Reggie Wayne went down with a torn ACL in Week 7, DHB has caught five of his 15 targets for 51 yards. So much for the notion that he would step up and become consistent with Wayne out. For the year, he has caught just 23 of his targets despite averaging just 10.5 yards per reception.
Wes Welker, Broncos
He’s concussed and has just one touchdown in his last four games after scoring eight times during the Broncos’ first six games.
Victor Cruz, Giants
The schedule looks good but Cruz has scored touchdowns in just two of ten games so far in 2013, including none in the past six.
Delanie Walker, Titans
Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown 61 passes in the last two games and targeted Walker 17 times. Hmmm… Opportunity is knocking on Walker’s door and he figures to get plenty of targets going forward since he caught all ten of his looks this week for 91 yards and a touchdown. That gives him double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games.
Coby Fleener, Colts
Reggie Wayne was lost for the season and Fleener has been targeted 25 times in the three games since then, including 20 in the Colts’ last two games. He topped 100 receiving yards for the first time in his career this week against the Titans, with seven receptions for 107 yards. With Darrius Heyward-Bey struggling, look for Fleener to continue to get plenty of targets.
Garrett Graham, Texans
It was nice that Graham put up a career performance of seven receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown this week against the Raiders, but the fourth-year pro is likely headed to the bench soon with incumbent starter Owen Daniels targeting a Week 14 return.
Martellus Bennett, Bears
Bennett can’t seem to shake the ankle injury that has hindered his performance, and he was barely used this week with just two targets (two receptions for 48 yards). With just one touchdown in his last eight games and 120 receiving yards in the last four, it might be time to see if you can do better.
By: Thomas Casale — @ 8:28 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.
Colts – Titans
At some point the Colts had to realize Trent Richardson was killing their offense, and Thursday night was that point. While Richardson was slogging to 22 yards on eight carries, Donald Brown racked up 80 yards and two scores on 14 carries. Like I said last week, Richardson has finally earned the right to be called a RB2. He’s now a RB2 on his own team. Delanie Walker is starting to become a solid option for those searching for a TE. Walker has now scored double-digit fantasy points in PPR leagues in three of his last four games. Ryan Fitzpatrick looks for the tight end more than Jake Locker, so Walker is worth picking up if you’re thin at that position.
Jets – Bills
The Bills’ defense dominated, recording four sacks and causing four turnovers. Of course, the entire world should have seen this coming because this was the Jets’ scheduled week to play poorly. Baltimore is in big trouble on Sunday because it’s the Jets’ week to play great. Buffalo’s offense didn’t have to do much but E.J. Manuel played well, completing 20 of 28 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Backups Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham were productive starting for the injured Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods. The duo combined for eight receptions, 155 yards and two touchdowns. Doug Marrone deserves a lot of credit for what he’s done in his first year with the Bills.
Carson Palmer had his best day of the fantasy season – 419 yds, 2 TDs.
Cardinals – Jaguars
After getting their first win of the season, the Jaguars went back to being the Jaguars. Carson Palmer lit up the Jacksonville defense for 419 yards and two touchdowns. One of the reasons for Palmer’s big day was because Arizona couldn’t run the ball at all. The Cardinals rushed 24 times for 14 yards. The Jaguars didn’t do much better, rushing 16 times for 31 yards. Michael Floyd was questionable much of the week. He looked healthy on Sunday. Floyd caught six passes for 193 yards, including a 91-yard touchdown.
Raiders – Texans
Matt McGloin made an impressive NFL debut by throwing for 197 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense. It’s still too early to tell if McGloin is the real deal, but he had an excellent coach at Penn State in Bill O’Brien to prepare him for the NFL. Rashad Jennings ran for 150 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders have a Trent Richardson situation. There doesn’t seem to be any holes when Darren McFadden is in the game, but for some reason Jennings finds holes to run through when he plays. It must be that the offensive line only likes to block for Jennings. The Texans benched Case Keenum in favor of Matt Schaub and still lost. Who are the fans going to threaten now?
Lions – Steelers
This was a wild game. The only thing I can say is I’ve seen enough of Calvin Johnson for one season. I went up against Megatron when he faced the Cowboys and again last week when he caught six balls for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Matthew Stafford threw 46 times for 362 and two touchdowns, while Ben Roethlisberger threw 45 times for 367 yards and four touchdowns. Antonio Brown continues to be a target and reception monster, while Jerricho Cotchery found the end zone again. That’s now five touchdowns for Cotchery in the last three games.
Falcons – Buccaneers
If the Falcons and Jaguars were to play, I think I would go with Jacksonville. Atlanta is playing some God-awful football, but luckily for Harry Douglas owners he continues to put up strong fantasy numbers. There’s very little to like about the Falcons right now unless you have a fantasy player going up against their defense. Apparently Bobby Rainey will be replacing Mike James. Rainey ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. He also scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass. Meanwhile, Brian Leonard was a non-factor. Rainey is still owned in only 54 percent of leagues. That obviously won’t be the case come Wednesday. Mike Glennon continues to play well, despite being thrown into the fire as a rookie. He’s putting up strong QB2 numbers on a consistent basis.
Ravens – Bears
In a game that took about 10 hours to play, Ray Rice got his revenge on me. I’ve been smashing Rice for a year and a half now and I played against him this week. Rice gained 131 yards and a touchdown after coming into the game with 289 yards on the season. Although, I’m guessing that has more to do with the Bears’ abysmal defense than me. Alshon Jeffery continues to dominate and Josh McCown did just enough to get a win in ugly conditions. Joe Flacco is having a miserable season. I mentioned above that the Jets are scheduled to play well this week against Baltimore. Gang Greene’s defense will eat the Ravens’ offensive line and Flacco alive.
Browns – Bengals
The Bengals gained only 224 yards of total offense against Cleveland but they didn’t have to do much because Cincinnati’s defense dominated the game. The Bengals’ DST scored two touchdowns, caused four turnovers and registered four sacks. Andy Dalton only threw for 93 yards. He did toss three scores but none of those yards or touchdowns went to A.J. Green, who only caught two passes for seven yards. The Browns tried phasing Willis McGahee out of the offense but Chris Ogbonnaya fumbled twice. That could open the door for Fozzy Whittaker to see more touches going forward.
Redskins – Eagles
Nick Foles continues to play well and put up strong numbers. He didn’t throw for any touchdowns against Washington but accounted for 345 total yards and a score on the ground. I know that’s a pretty good fantasy day because I played against Foles in one of my leagues. Riley Cooper was finally held in check, catching only three passes for 37 yards, although he came up just inches short of scoring another touchdown. Robert Griffin isn’t having an awful fantasy season but he is struggling on the field. The interception he threw at the end of the game was inexcusable.
Vikings – Seahawks
Percy Harvin made his debut for the Seahawks on Sunday. He caught only one pass for 17 yards but it was a good sign for the owners who held on to Harvin to see him out there. By the time fantasy playoffs roll around, Harvin will be an asset to owners. The Seattle defense held Adrian Peterson to 65 yards on 21 carries. Other than Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, the two top fantasy performers from this game were Darius Wright and Doug Baldwin. So the story is that the Seahawks moved to 10-1 and Harvin made his debut.
49ers – Saints
The 49ers’ defense played well but their offense was held to fewer than 200 yards for the second consecutive game. Colin Kaepernick isn’t playing well but it’s hard to place all the blame on him. Defenses are double-teaming Vernon Davis on most plays and shifting coverage to Anquan Boldin. Why? Because their other receiver is Jonathan Baldwin and he shouldn’t be in the NFL. The 49ers are simply lacking playmakers on offense right now and they’re an easy team to defend. One week after rushing for 145 yards, Mark Ingram went back to his usual stat line of six carries for 25 yards. That’s what happens when you’re not playing Monte Kiffin’s joke defense in Dallas. Like most players in the NFL, Ingram had his best game of the year against the Cowboys.
Chargers – Dolphins
This was a weird offensive game for the Chargers because Philip Rivers threw for almost 300 yards but neither Keenan Allen nor Danny Woodhead were much of a factor. Allen left late with a knee injury but only caught three passes for 45 yards. Woodhead, meanwhile, totaled just 37 yards. Rivers spread the ball around to nine different receivers, while Ryan Mathews did the damage on the ground with 127 yards. Lamar Miller looked like he was about to break out a couple of weeks ago. Instead, he’s back to getting 17 yards on four carries. We’re at the point now that if you’re still starting a Miami running back, you’ve obviously given up on the fantasy season.
Packers – Giants
Scott Tolzien threw three interceptions but he played about as well as can be expected for a guy who was just signed off the practice squad and making his first start. The bottom line is that Green Bay’s offense is going to be in trouble until Aaron Rodgers returns unless they play the Cowboys. Remember when Hakeem Nicks was a No. 1 receiver? That guy used to dominate; now he looks like he doesn’t even want to be out on the field. Nicks had another ho-hum four-catch, 50-yard performance on Sunday. The good news for Nicks is that he does get to face Dallas’s defense this week, so a breakout game is likely.
Chiefs – Broncos
With all due respect to Peyton Manning, if I had an MVP vote I think I would have to split it between Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs defense. How that team went 9-0 with Alex Smith at quarterback is beyond me. That guy is tough to watch. Smith actually makes me angry at times with all his stupid checkdowns and the way he runs out of the pocket when there’s barely any pressure. The Chiefs won’t win a darn thing with him under center. I’ve always suspected John Fox hated me with the way he drafted running backs I loved in college and then never used them. Now I have my proof. Jack Del Rio takes over and Montee Ball scores two touchdowns. Expect to see Ball get 10-12 carries a game from here on in as the Broncos try to keep Knowshon Moreno fresh for the playoffs.
Patriots – Panthers
This game lived up to its billing, going down to the final controversial seconds. I own Shane Vereen and have been chomping at the bit for him to return. Vereen made a splash in his first game back by catching eight passes for 65 yards on 11 targets. Vereen owners got the added bonus of Stevan Ridley fumbling again. Vereen is always going to have value regardless of Ridley because of his ability as a receiver. However, Ridley is one more fumble away from barely seeing the ball anymore. Bill Belichick isn’t going to put that guy out on the field in the playoffs if he keeps putting the ball on the ground. Cam Newton played one of his better games of the year, gaining 271 total yards and scoring three touchdowns. He had to put the offense on his shoulders because Carolina couldn’t run the ball a lick.
By: Doug Orth — November 18, 2013 @ 10:15 am
Note: Fantasy highlights are from the early Sunday games.
Poor weather was the theme of the day in several NFL cities in Week 11, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that a player named Bobby Rainey – on his third team of the season after getting cut by the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns – poured it on in the Tampa Bay Buccaners’ blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Rainey – the fourth Bucs’ running back to see significant work in a game this season after Doug Martin and Mike James suffered season-ending injuries – shredded the Falcons for 167 total yards and three touchdowns.
As Rainey dominated the ground on a clear day in Tampa, WR Vincent Jackson ruled the air with 10 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown against the hapless Atlanta defense. In two games against the Falcons this season, Jackson has 20 receptions for 303 yards and three scores. In his other eight games combined, he has 36 catches for 524 yards and two scores.
The box score will suggest that Atlanta QB Matt Ryan (254 yards and two touchdowns) and WR Harry Douglas (six receptions for 134 yards and a score) had their way against the Bucs, but most of that production came after Tampa Bay was leading by 32 points late in the third quarter. WR Roddy White (three catches for 36 yards) even found the end zone for the first time this season in garbage time – something the Falcons and fantasy owners of players like Ryan, Douglas and White should get used to down the stretch.
Elsewhere in Week 11:
Antonio Brown was the beneficiary of Big Ben’s big day.
— While Bucs-Falcons lacked any hint of drama over the last 2 ½ quarters, the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers lit up Heinz Field with offensive fireworks in less-than-ideal conditions. Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown (seven catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns) enjoyed most of his success in the first quarter and QB Ben Roethlisberger (367 yards and four scores) sealed the deal with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. Meanwhile, Detroit QB Matthew Stafford (362 yards and two touchdowns) and WR Calvin Johnson (six receptions for 179 yards and two TDs) did virtually all their damage during a 27-point second-quarter explosion.
— Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer toyed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, throwing for 419 yards and two touchdowns. WR Larry Fitzgerald (six catches for 61 yards and a TD) and TE Rob Housler (six receptions for 71 yards) each pleased their fantasy owners, but Michael Floyd (six catches for a career-high 193 yards) stole the show with a 91-yard touchdown catch that broke the game open.
— Several fantasy defenses had a field day in the early wave of games, particularly the Cincinnati Bengals in one of the contests that was affected greatly by heavy rain. Over a 1:54 stretch of a franchise-record 31-point second quarter in their victory over the Browns, Tony Dye returned a blocked punt for a touchdown and Vontaze Burfict recovered a fumble for another score. All told, the Bengals forced four turnovers and tallied four sacks.
— QB Nick Foles (298 yards passing) had a great matchup on tap this week against the Washington Redskins, but wasn’t really needed as the Philadelphia Eagles held a 24-0 lead midway through the third quarter. Foles saved his day with 47 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but Philadelphia leaned more heavily on RB LeSean McCoy (77 yards rushing, 73 yards receiving and two total touchdowns).
— Backup quarterbacks were all the rage in Houston, where it was anticipated the Texans’ Case Keenum would continue his unlikely rise from third-string signal-caller. Instead, Keenum (170 yards and a touchdown) was benched for Matt Schaub in the fourth quarter and watched fellow undrafted free agent QB Matt McGloin (197 yards and three scores) of the Oakland Raiders tear apart Houston’s top-ranked pass defense. WR Rod Streater (six catches, 84 yards and a TD) was his favorite target, although both players got plenty of help from RB Rashad Jennings, who rushed for a career-high 150 yards and a touchdown.
By: Dave Stringer — November 16, 2013 @ 11:43 am
Kap is struggling without Crabtree.
1. In San Francisco, the 49ers are anxiously awaiting the return of wide receiver Michael Crabtree to the lineup. Tight end Vernon Davis suffered a concussion early during the team’s Week 10 loss to the Panthers, leaving quarterback Colin Kaepernick with a group of unproven receivers outside of Anquan Boldin and Mario Manningham, who was playing in his first game since tearing both his ACL and PCL in December of last season. With Crabtree and Manningham both out of the lineup, Kaepernick has struggled during his second season as the team’s starting quarterback, failing to throw for 200 yards in seven of nine games. With Crabtree in the lineup last season, Kaepernick topped 200 receiving yards in nine of his ten starts. Unfortunately for Kaepernick owners, the 49ers have not put a timetable on Crabtree’s return and there are no guarantees that when he returns he will be the player he was at the end of last season when he had solid chemistry with Kaepernick and was playing at a Pro Bowl level. A torn Achilles’ tendon is a significant injury for a wide receiver and it is unlikely that Crabtree will return to Pro Bowl form at any point this season.
2. Another team with issues at wide receiver is the Kansas City Chiefs. A schedule littered with back up quarterbacks and key injuries to their opponents has helped the Chiefs start the season with a 9-0 record. With a key showdown against the Denver Broncos on tap for Week 11, Dwayne Bowe, the team’s top wide receiver, was arrested this week for speeding and possession of marijuana. One of the league’s most talented receivers, Bowe’s lack of maturity was the key reason behind the Chiefs reluctance to sign him to a long term contract after the 2011 season. They chose to place the franchise tag on him for the 2012 season before signing him to a five-year, $56-million contract prior to this season. Their reward has been the least productive season of his seven-year career as he has just 33 receptions for 369 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While some of that decline is explained by the conservative style of quarterback Alex Smith, the Chiefs can’t be too pleased to be paying Bowe over $11-million per season and for him to be on pace to finish with less than 800 yards receiving. His troubles this week aren’t likely to help his team in Denver or help him get on track in 2013.
3. The Vikings travel to Seattle this week to play the Seahawks and there is a good chance that former Viking Percy Harvin will make his Seahawks debut. While Minnesota received solid value in return for Harvin (1st, 3rd and 7th round draft picks), they enter the game with major issues not only at quarterback, where Christian Ponder has failed to assert himself as a solid starter, but also at wide receiver where Greg Jennings, signed in the offseason to replace Harvin, has struggled, Jerome Simpson has continued to disappoint and rookie 1st round pick Cordarrelle Patterson remains very much a work in progress. Jennings is a poor fit with a checkdown artist like Ponder at quarterback and Patterson is so raw that he is unlikely to contribute much even in 2014. It seems clear that Harvin was an excellent fit in Minnesota, especially with Ponder under center. Meanwhile, in Seattle, Harvin has yet to see the field after undergoing hip surgery at the beginning of training camp. Fortunately for the Seahawks, the struggles the 49ers have endured have allowed them to open up a two and a half game advantage in the NFC West. Otherwise, they might very well be regretting this trade.
4. With Donald Brown asserting himself in the Colts backfield on Thursday night (94 yards and a touchdown on 15 touches) and continuing his run of solid production over the team’s last seven games (421 total yards and four touchdowns in a backup role while averaging 9.4 PPG), Indianapolis will have an interesting dilemma at the running back position during the 2014 offseason. Brown’s rookie contract expires at the end of the season, making him a free agent. After the trade for Trent Richardson, it seemed clear the Colts intention was to use him as their starter in 2014 with Vick Ballard, out for the season with a torn ACL, in reserve. That scenario left Brown on the outside looking in but his strong play, coupled with Richardson’s massive struggles (3.0 yards per carry average and no games with more than 60 yards rushing as a Colt) could result in his return. That wouldn’t bode well for Richardson’s already rapidly declining dynasty league value.
5. It seemed a foregone conclusion when Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was lost for the season with a torn ACL in late July that he would re-sign with Philadelphia in the offseason. While Maclin has never fulfilled the potential many thought he had after being taken in the 1st round of the 2009 draft out of Missouri, the Eagles lack of a solid option behind DeSean Jackson signalled Maclin would return in 2014. However, the recent strong play of Riley Cooper increases the Eagles options at the wide receiver position as well as reducing Maclin’s negotiating leverage. While Cooper is also a free agent, his contract demands are likely to be much more modest than those of Maclin, who may need to sign a prove it contract to return to Philadelphia.
6. With the fantasy playoffs around the corner, it is time to review the upcoming schedule for your key performers and one player who seems likely to be in for a rough ride is Chargers running back Ryan Mathews. After a solid matchup this week against the Dolphins, the Chargers face the Chiefs, Bengals, Giants, Broncos and Raiders. While Mathews has actually played well in recent weeks when given an opportunity, this slate of games spells trouble since the Chargers figure to be playing from behind plenty and Mathews rarely sees the field on passing downs (just eight receptions on the season) and is only used sporadically at the goal line. He rates as a RB3 over the remainder of the season so unless you are in a flex league, he should likely be on your bench.
By: Dave Stringer — November 12, 2013 @ 8:14 pm
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Russell Wilson, Seahawks
It has been an inconsistent year for the Seahawks’ second-year quarterback but he seems to be clicking on all cylinders with the fantasy playoffs just around the corner. With his 287-yard, two-touchdown passing performance this week, Wilson has now thrown for 878 yards and nine touchdowns over his last four games. Did we mention help is on the way in the form of one Percy Harvin? A couple of caveats: Seattle has a Week 12 bye and the schedule shows some tough passing defenses between now and Week 16.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
Anybody hoping to ride Kaepernick through the fantasy playoffs is asking for trouble. The 49ers’ signal caller has topped 200 passing yards just twice in nine games this season and he just lost tight end Vernon Davis to a concussion. Until Mario Manningham or Michael Crabtree get up to speed, the 49ers don’t have any receivers that gain much separation, at least until Davis returns.
Andre Brown, Giants
I reminded you last week that Brown was returning to the Giants lineup and would likely emerge as an RB2 over the balance of the season. I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. Sure enough, Brown was given a massive workload, carrying the ball 30 times for 115 yards and a score. The Giants face run defenses ranked 13th or lower over the next five weeks before they head to Detroit to face the Lions’ eighth-ranked run defense in Week 16.
Bobby Rainey and Brian Leonard, Bucs
Mike James is out indefinitely with a fractured ankle so these guys get the Moving Up treatment, but the truth is that I wouldn’t trust either of them. Leonard is a solid pass receiver out of the backfield but he is ill equipped to handle lead back duties. Rainey had a solid stat line this week with eight rushes for 45 yards and a score to go along with an 11-yard reception. However, he didn’t have the look of a true lead back and we have no way of knowing if the Bucs trust him in pass protection.
Shane Vereen, Patriots
It is a light week for RBs in the Moving Up category so let’s make note of the fact that Vereen is eligible to return to the Patriots’ lineup this week. He will assume the pass-catching role and eat into Stevan Ridley’s rushing attempts as soon as he is ready. Since he’s a Patriot, we have no idea when that will be.
Mark Ingram, Saints
A first-round pick in the 2011 draft, Ingram this week finally had his first 100-yard rushing performance, carrying the ball 14 times for 145 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys. Lo and behold, he also caught a pair of passes for 15 yards. Yeah, it all happened in a blowout win, but at least it happened. Maybe he will emerge as a flex play in larger leagues as the season winds down.
Steven Jackson, Falcons
Even though the Seahawks run defense was like a sieve for the last couple of weeks, SJax couldn’t take advantage of them this week, carrying the ball nine times for 11 yards. The truth is that he doesn’t appear to be fully recovered from the hamstring injury that sidelined him in Week 2.
C.J. Spiller, Bills
Hey, Spiller could have a monster game this week against the Jets’ league-leading run defense. He’s here because you never know what the Bills coaches have in store for him. After a solid 14-touch, 155-yard game against the Chiefs solid defense, Spiller had just 11 touches this week for 34 yards, with Fred Jackson getting 15 touches.
Andre Ellington, Cardinals
Remarkably, after missing two games, Rashard Mendenhall had 14 touches this week to just 13 for Ellington. Mendenhall averages 3.4 yards a touch and Ellington averages 7.7. If this isn’t proof that the Cardinals view Ellington as nothing more than a change-of-pace, receiving back, then I don’t know what is.
Riley Cooper, Eagles
Cooper gets the Moving Up treatment for the consecutive weeks courtesy of his three-reception, 102-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Packers. That gives him six touchdowns in his last five games, during which he has recorded at least 88 yards four times. He’s a WR2 the rest of the way, folks.
Tavon Austin, Rams
Has Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer finally figured out how to use Austin? Or was Austin’s two-reception, 138-yard, two-touchdown performance this week just a fluke? No and no. Austin was targeted just three times on the same plays the Rams have been running for him all year, but his speed and elusiveness cannot be discounted. Sure, he’s Moving Up, but with just 14 targets over his last five games, you shouldn’t expect consistent production.
18 targets for Jeffery in Week 10.
Alshon Jeffery, Bears
Just in case you haven’t noticed, Jeffery has been on fire of late with double-digit fantasy points in five of his last six games. He was targeted a whopping 18 times this week, hauling in nine receptions for 114 yards. Over his last six games, Jeffery has 34 receptions for 631 yards and three touchdowns.
Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks
Kearse went three for 75 and a score this week while Baldwin had five receptions for 76 yards. Last week, both players had double-digit fantasy points. Unfortunately, some dude named Percy Harvin is expected to return to the Seahawks lineup in Week 11.
Rishard Matthews, Dolphins
Let’s face it, the Bucs did a poor job covering Matthews. But, hey, the kid looked good, hauling in 11 of his 14 targets for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sure, he had just ten receptions coming into the game, but Matthews showed that he has enough talent to succeed. With Brandon Gibson out for the year and Brian Hartline struggling to replicate his 2012 success, Matthews could be a solid flex play in larger leagues.
Vincent Jackson, Bucs
Jackson hasn’t found the end zone for three consecutive weeks and put up his second straight dud this week. He has just ten receptions for118 yards over the Bucs’ last three games despite being targeted 25 times.
James Jones, Packers
Since returning to the lineup in Week 9, James has five receptions for 61 yards, and the quarterback situation in Green Bay is a mess.
Greg Jennings, Vikings
Speaking of quarterback messes, how about the Vikings? Jennings just might be wishing he was still in Green Bay. He has ten receptions for 101 yards in his last three games. This guy is still capable of making big plays but he needs somebody who can get him the ball down the field.
Nate Washington, Titans
Washington seemed ready to emerge after a pair of solid games in Weeks 3 and 4 but it has been all downhill since then. He hasn’t scored since Week 4 and he has topped 60 receiving yards in just one of the Titans’ last five games. He put up an O-fer in Week 9 and followed that up with a three-reception, 29-yard performance this week against the Jaguars’ lowly pass defense.
John Carlson, Vikings
Back from the dead, we present John Carlson. With Kyle Rudolph out for four to six weeks with a broken foot, Carlson stepped up this week, catching all seven of his targets for 98 yards and a touchdown. He was also targeted a healthy six times in Week 9. After the coming game against the Seahawks, the Vikings face four straight passing defenses ranked in the lower half of the league.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals
Eifert, one of the Bengals’ first-round picks in this year’s draft, has had a disappointing rookie season so far but may be on the verge of turning that around. Although he only hauled in three receptions for 55 yards this week, he was targeted ten times. He could emerge as a low-end TE1 with that kind of usage.
Vernon Davis, 49ers
Davis left this week’s game against the Panthers with a concussion and will need to go through the league’s concussion protocol before he can return to action. With the fantasy playoffs around the corner, Davis owners will need to add a quality backup.
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