Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — November 27, 2012 @ 4:54 pm
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
Moving Up two weeks in a row with the speculation (not yet confirmed) that he will be the 49ers starting quarterback in week 13 against the Rams even though incumbent starter Alex Smith is ready to go. Maybe we need to change that to former starter since it appears that the starting gig now belongs to Kaepernick. He wasn’t as good last week against the Saints as he was a week earlier against the Bears but apparently 231 passing yards, a touchdown and a pick along with rushing productions (six carries for 27 yards and a score) has earned him the job. Great dynasty material.
The schedule looks favorable for Eli.
Eli Manning, Giants
Look who’s back. After a string of bad performances (11 or fewer fantasy points in three straight games and under 14 in four of five), Eli put it together this week in the Giants rout of the Packers, throwing for 249 yards and three touchdowns, his first multiple passing touchdown performance since Week 5. Up next are the Redskins (31st ranked passing defense), Saints (30th), Falcons (13th) and Ravens (23rd). Eli’s rolling and the schedule is favorable.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Four straight games with 20 or more fantasy points and multiple touchdown passes in four consecutive games (nine in total in those games). And the point total isn’t being overly padded with rushing production since he doesn’t have a rushing touchdown on the season and has just 108 rushing yards in his last four games. Wilson has a pair of easy matchups in Weeks 14 and 15 (Cardinals and Bills) surrounded by a pair of tough ones in Weeks 13 and 16 (Bears and 49ers).
Charlie Batch, Steelers
Back to the old folks home, my friend. Don’t forget your dentures and your leather helmet.
Beanie Wells, Cardinals
Wells was like found money this week, provided you kept him on your roster that is. With the Cardinals passing offense a complete mess and a rookie quarterback leading the show, Wells returned to the line-up and scored twice on his 17 carries. The 48 yards weren’t pretty but the bottom line is that the offense likely needs to go through him with Ryan Lindley at quarterback.
Bryce Brown, Eagles
With LeSean McCoy out of the line-up with a concussion, Brown stepped in and didn’t miss a beat, rushing for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Carolina. Sure, the two fumbles were ugly but the MNF announcers sure made it sound like McCoy will miss more than one week. Brown could be a playoff savior – grab him if somebody left him on the wire due to the Monday night start time this week.
Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
Last week, I told you Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball were Moving Up. Ooops. Moreno went from the doghouse to the penthouse, getting 24 touches (the most he has had since Week 14 of the 2010 season) and gaining 111 total yards. Meanwhile, Hillman got three and Ball got nada. Looks like Moreno is the man in Denver until he proves otherwise and the schedule gets favorable after this week’s matchup against the Bucs top ranked rushing defense with the Raiders (28th), Ravens (26th) and Browns (29th) on the schedule between Weeks 14-16. Given his surprise usage, Moreno is likely not owned in plenty of leagues and he is definitely worth grabbing.
David Wilson and Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
Andre Brown stole Wilson’s backup job and Wilson has now gotten it back courtesy of Brown’s regular season ending broken fibula suffered during the 4th quarter of this week’s win over the Packers. While Wilson isn’t built to be the effective short yardage presence that Brown has been for the Giants (eight touchdowns on the season), he figures to get a decent amount of touches while Bradshaw also benefits because he now figures to get all of the short yardage work.
Michael Bush, Bears
No definitive word yet on the extent of Matt Forte’s ankle injury but if he is out, Bush immediately becomes a solid option as a RB2.
Michael Turner, Falcons
Looks like this will be the final season for Turner as a starting back as his yards per carry average of 3.5 would set a career low for him and is a full yard below the 4.5 or better that he has produced in seven of his first eight years in the league. His two touchdowns in the last three games have saved him from being a complete disaster since he has just 78 yards rushing in those games while averaging a woeful 1.9 yards per tote.
Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
Apparently Broncos head coach John Fox wants a running back who can pass protect for a 39-year old Peyton Manning. That guy’s not Hillman.
Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
These guys were Moving Down last week because it was going to be a time share with a third string quarterback. Now we can add porous offensive line to the mix. Looks like Dwyer will move to the top of the depth chart but you don’t want to have to rely on him.
Andre Johnson, Texans
The former stud fantasy wide receiver is showing glimpses of his former self, gaining 461 receiving yards and scoring once over his last two games. Those types of performances can propel a fantasy squad to a championship and he’s on the upswing at just the right time.
Pierre Garcon, Redskins
It has been a tough year for Garcon and his owners but he appears to finally be healthy again and basically that’s only happened twice this year. He was healthy in Week 1 and this past week and in those two contests, Garcon has caught nine passes for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. I’d feel comfortable starting him the rest of the way.
Greg Jennings, Packers
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy stated that Jennings could have played this past week and that almost certainly means he will be in the line-up for Green Bay’s Week 13 matchup against the Vikings. That should make him startable in Weeks 14-16, just in time for his owners to finally get some production out of him.
Ryan Broyles, Lions
Broyles cemented Titus Young’s spot in the doghouse this week with a six reception, 126-yard performance in the Lions Thanksgiving Day loss to the Texans. He could be a PPR demon over the balance of the season.
Anquan Boldin, Ravens
While Boldin is on pace to finish the year with a respectable 973 receiving yards (which would be the most he has accumulated since 2009), he has just one touchdown on the season and has failed to find the end zone since Week 1. In most leagues, you need touchdowns to win the playoffs and it doesn’t look like Boldin is a preferred option in the red zone and he no longer has the speed to score on catch and runs, no matter how tough he is.
Steve Smith, Panthers
Another golden oldie who has put up decent yardage totals but can’t find the end zone. Smith also has just one touchdown on the season as defenses have focused on shutting him down and he no longer has the speed to beat double teams deep.
Brandon Lloyd, Patriots
It has been a tough first year for Lloyd in New England and it appears that he is a bit part in the offense even with tight end Rob Gronkowski out of the line-up. In Lloyd’s last five games, his yardage totals have been 6, 28, 45, 45 and 26.
Robert Housler, Cardinals
I grabbed this guy in a dynasty salary cap league, failed to put him on a multi-year deal and gave away a bundle to get Vernon Davis. Right after that, Housler started getting some looks in the Cardinals offense and this week he had the best game of his career with eight receptions on 11 targets for 82 yards. If only he could find the end zone.
Vernon Davis, 49ers
This guy is a yo-yo and there is neither rhyme nor reason to explain his usage. For the second time this season, he failed to notch a single fantasy point and he now has six games with fewer than four fantasy points. He’s going to kill a pile of fantasy owners in the playoffs.
By: Dave Stringer — November 20, 2012 @ 2:19 pm
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
His stat line this week wasn’t great (243 passing yards and two touchdowns with 12 yards rushing) but his overall performance was something to behold as he managed the game well, avoided costly mistakes and displayed solid accuracy, completing 16 of 23 passes. Head coach Jim Harbaugh stated that the 49ers will ride the hot hand at quarterback and with the Saints and their 31st ranked pass defense on tap, Kaepernick looks like a low end QB1 in Week 12 provided he gets the call.
Chad Henne, Jaguars
Subbing in for an injured Blaine Gabbert, Henne became the second quarterback to throw four touchdowns and no picks in a relief role. Head coach Mike Mularkey is going to rol1 with Henne who has a big arm and has put up some big numbers but is maddeningly inconsistent. However, the Jaguars wide receivers are rounding into form and MJD’s return is on the horizon. That bodes well for Henne’s fantasy prospects.
Matt Schaub, Texans
Schaub is here because I don’t want to get roasted for excluding him. He threw for the second most yards in NFL history this week (527) to go along with five touchdowns in an overtime win against the Jaguars. Unfortunately, he threw for 95 yards in Week 10 against the Bears and was averaging 16.8 FPts/G entering Week 11.
Joe Flacco, Ravens
He’s topped 16 fantasy points just twice in the last six weeks and had two sub-10 point games while failing to top 200 passing yards in four of those games. That’s ugly, folks.
Matt Cassel, Chiefs
Unless you’ve been hit on the head with a rock (very large one), you’re not relying on Cassel but that’s not going to stop me from pointing out that he hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in his last three games, that he’s thrown or just one touchdown in his last five starts and that he is averaging 148 passing yards in those five starts. If he’s back in K.C. next year, there will be a riot in the streets and plenty of empty seats in the stands.
Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball, Broncos
With Willis McGahee expected to miss six to eight weeks with a torn MCL and a compression fracture in his right knee, Hillman and Ball figure to see their roles expanded over the balance of the season. Hillman clearly has the most upside of the two backs but his struggles in pass protection could keep from taking over the full time role. Look for the two backs to split the work on a 2:1 touch ratio with Ball likely earning more touches if the Broncos jump out to big leads. With a pillowy soft schedule, that just might be the case.
Bryce Brown, Eagles
We don’t yet have definitive word on the extent of LeSean McCoy’s concussion but we do know Brown figures to be in line for a good chunk of the work if McCoy is out this week against the Panthers, which could be a plum matchup. The rookie 7th round pick is a bowling ball of a runner but he lacks pass receiving ability (one reception on the season) so he would likely come out on obvious passing downs in favor of Dion Lewis. He’s worth a gamble in the flex spot and as a desperation play as a RB2. Unfortunately, the Eagles play on Monday night.
Jalen Parmele, Jaguars
With Rashad Jennings not producing, the Jaguars went with Parmele this week against the Texans and he was decent, gaining 80 yards on 24 carries (3.3 yards a pop). Those aren’t eye-popping numbers but Houston has a solid run defense and next in line for the Jaguars are the Titans (27th ranked run defense), Bills (31st) and Jets (30th). Definitely a plug and play guy until MJD returns.
Marcel Reece, Raiders
Reece was solid last week with 104 total yards against the Ravens and even better this week against the Saints with 103 rushing yards to go along with 90 receiving yards on four receptions. The Raiders haven’t confirmed that Run-DMC will be back this week and the odds are he will miss another week. That would make Reece a solid play against a mediocre Bengals run defense in Week 12.
Vick Ballard, Colts
Not sure if Donald Brown’s knee was an issue this week but it appears that Ballard is the lead man with Brown getting worked into the mix and Delone Carter handling the goal line work.
Alex Green, Packers
No carries for Green this week and 25 for James Starks.
Ryan Mathews, Chargers
Somebody please tell Mathews where the end zone is (one touchdown on 157 touches this season).
Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
It’s a time share in Pittsburgh, folks, and with the offense now likely down to the third string quarterback, none of these guys are startable in standard leagues.
Daryl Richardson, Rams
Richardson has averaged 9.25 touches per week over the Rams last four games and head coach Jeff Fisher said this week that they want to get the ball more to Steven Jackson.
Is the light clicking on for Dez?
Dez Bryant, Cowboys
Looks like the light has finally gone on for Bryant. At least, mostly on since he’s thrown up a couple of duds over the last seven weeks. However, he had a career-day this week against the Browns, catching 12 passes for 145 yards and a score and he now has at least 87 receiving yards in five of his last seven games. Let’s call him a mid-tier WR2 with upside over the balance of the season.
Justin Blackmon, Jaguars
After an abysmal start to the season, Blackmon introduced himself to the league in a big way this week, posting the third highest receiving yardage total for a rookie in league history with seven receptions for 236 yards and a score. And it came against the Texans. And the Jags have benched Blaine Gabbert in favor of Chad Henne. And Laurent Robinson had just two targets this week.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts
Hilton has topped 100 receiving yards in two of his last three games and found the end zone three times over that span of games. Sure, he put up a donut in Week 10 against the Jags but he’s getting a fair number of targets and the schedule has the Bills, Lions and Titans up next.
Danario Alexander, Chargers
Meet San Diego’s new number one wide receiver. And the fourth ranked fantasy wide receiver over the last three weeks with 15 receptions for 291 yards and three touchdowns on just 21 targets.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
Seriously, this is what it has come down to? One catch for 11 yards? Is it a Federal offense to have a putrid quarterback paired up with one of the best receivers in football? Errrr, make that three putrid quarterbacks? See you later, Ken Whisenhunt. At least Arizona is a good retirement community.
Mike Wallace and all of the Steelers receivers
You watched the game right? Is Charlie Batch really worse than Byron Leftwich?
Brandon Marshall and all of the Bears receivers
Vernon Davis, 49ers
New quarterback, new result for Davis as he was targeted a season-high eight times, catching six passes for 83 yards and a score while looking like a studly beast against a tough Bears defense.
Jermichael Finley, Packers
In another case of look who’s back, we present Jermichael Finley, the Packers supremely talented and exceedingly inconsistent starting tight end. He made his three targets count against the Lions this week, catching all of them for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Garrett Graham, Texans
Who’s this dude? Good question. He’s the Texans 2010 4th round pick who just caught eight of his nine targets for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Jaguars. Sure, it’s the Jags, the Texans threw it plenty and there’s no guarantee that Graham will get nine targets over the balance of the season let alone in a single week but he looked good. He’s worth grabbing in larger leagues.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Gronk broke his left forearm blocking on an extra point and while he says he wants to return in Week 14, that seems very unlikely. Look for him to return in Week 15 at the earliest but if that happens, it will be tough to stick him in your starting line-up as the Patriots face a stout 49ers defense at home that week. If you need to go to the waiver wire, my recommendations include Dallas Clark, Marcedes Lewis and Tony Moeaki.
By: Dave Stringer — November 16, 2012 @ 2:04 pm
1. With the Dolphins in a freefall after their loss to the Bills last night and Reggie Bush a free agent at the end of the season, look for the Dolphins coaching staff to go with more of a committee approach at running back over the balance of the season. While Bush entered 2012 with a hot streak over his first two games after coming off a career year last season, opposing defenses have mostly contained him over the last eight games (he hasn’t topped 68 total yards since Week 2) and especially so over the Dolphins last three games, all losses. This week, Daniel Thomas, the team’s 2011 third round pick, carried the ball more than Bush (12 carries to 10) and it won’t be a surprise if he and rookie 4th round pick Lamar Miller, who is averaging a solid 5.4 yards per carry, assume a greater workload over the Dolphins remaining six games as the team tries to determine whether they need to re-sign Bush or add another running back in the draft. That doesn’t bode well for Bush’s fantasy prospects and his fantasy owners should be looking to add a replacement prior to league trading deadlines.
2. Another running back whose fantasy prospects are looking shaky over the balance of the season is the Giants’ Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw has struggled badly over the last four games, averaging just 57 rushing yards and failing to find the end zone. Foot and neck injuries are hindering his performance and he has lost the team’s short yardage role to Andre Brown, who has scored touchdowns in four consecutive games. With rookie 1st round pick David Wilson struggling (just three carries in his last two games), the team worked out several veteran running backs this week and that could be an indication that Bradshaw’s neck injury could cause him to miss time. Bradshaw owners might want to look for a replacement while Brown owners in flex leagues should feel comfortable using him as a flex option over the remainder of the season.
3. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is a wonderful talent but is beginning to earn the label of being injury prone with news this week that he will be a gametime decision on Sunday for Atlanta’s home game against Arizona. Jones suffered an ankle injury in the Falcons Week 10 loss to the Saints and was ineffective earlier this season in a Week 4 game against Carolina due to an injury. In addition, he missed three games and most of another during his rookie season in 2011 due to hamstring issues. While Jones has the talent to be a top 10 wide receiver and he was expected to be a top 10 fantasy wide receiver this season, it is beginning to look like Roddy White is the safer fantasy option of the two Atlanta receivers due to track record of remaining healthy (no missed games during his eight years in the league).
4. With a slew of injuries at the quarterback position in Week 10, there are likely a number of fantasy owners struggling to find starters at the position this week with the bye weeks not over until Week 12. The Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler of the Bears and Michael Vick of the Eagles are all likely to miss this week’s game and the 49ers Alex Smith will likely play but faces a tough matchup against a stout Bears defense. For those who need to grab a replacement from one of these teams, the options include Byron Leftwiich (against the Ravens), Jason Campbell (against the 49ers) and Nick Foles (against the Redskins). Given the matchups, the rookie Foles, taken in the 3rd round of this year’s draft, looks like the best option of the three. While he struggled somewhat in relief of Vick this past week against Cowboys, the Redskins represent a plum matchup due to their 30th ranked pass defense. In addition, Eagles head coach Andy Reid has never been known to change his offensive approach, which borders on “run only when necessary”. That should translate into plenty of targets and fantasy production for Foles.
5. With his 127 total yard performance this week against the 49ers, Rams running back Steven Jackson now has accumulated the 2nd most yards from scrimmage of any player in franchise history, moving past former Rams wide receiver Torry Holt. With a strong finish to the season, Jackson could overtake Isaac Bruce for the franchise record by season’s end.
Dwayne Bowe may take his show to another team in 2013.
6. Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe stated this week that he wanted to finish his career as a Chief. What remains to be seen is whether he is willing to finish his career as a Chief if it means signing a long-term contract extension at terms that are below his market value. The Chiefs and Bowe failed to reach a contract extension in 2011, forcing Kansas City to retain his services by placing the franchise tag on him. The reasoning may have been to ensure that his maturity is in check after a number of examples of immaturity during the early part of his career. However, he has performed admirably on a struggling team, taking that argument away from Chiefs management. Unfortunately for Bowe and Chiefs fans, general manager Scott Piolo has shown a tendency to be unwilling to sign players to a long-term extension unless they are on favorable terms. It certainly won’t be a surprise if Bowe is either back in Kansas City next season under the franchise tag or on the market looking for another team.
7. It’s official – James Starks is the man for the Green Bay Packers at running back, at least for now. Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt stated this week that Starks had earned the role but there are no guarantees that Starks will retain the starting position once veteran Cedric Benson returns to the team. Benson is eligible to come off the injured reserve list in Week 14, just in time for the fantasy playoffs. Starks has a chance to keep Benson on the bench with a string of solid performances but he has failed to remain healthy and productive during the first two and a half years of his career, making that prospect unlikely.
By: Dave Stringer — November 13, 2012 @ 4:27 pm
Josh Freeman, Bucs
Freeman has hit a hot stretch with five consecutive games with multiple touchdown passes and he’s managed at least 18.9 fantasy points over his last six games. With Mike Williams having a resurgence and Vincent Jackson on fire, Freeman is shaping up as a low end QB1 over the balance of the season.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers; Nick Foles, Eagles; Jason Campbell, Bears
I wouldn’t want to start any of these guys but if they are in and you’re desperate, sometimes you don’t have any other options.
Eli Manning, Giants
It’s one thing to have a pair of bad performances against the Cowboys and Steelers but the expected bounce back game against the Bengals didn’t happen, as Manning threw for 215 yards but failed to throw a touchdown pass. That gives him 27 fantasy points over his last three games and he’s currently sitting as the 18th ranked fantasy quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
A sprained shoulder on top of a torn rotator cuff might be a medical intern’s fantasy but it likely spells trouble for Big Ben’s owners and some time on the inactive list for Roethlisberger.
It's Spiller time.
C.J. Spiller, Bills
With Fred Jackson expected to miss at least a game with a concussion, Spiller will be a workhorse back for the Bills. He’s produced in that role this season as well as at the end of last season. There’s even a chance he will relegate Jackson to the backup role. Buy now.
Steven Jackson, Rams
It’s been a tough season for Sjax and his fantasy owners as he’s been sharing time with rookie 7th round pick Daryl Richardson. However, Richardson had only eight touches as Jackson carried the load during the Rams tie against the 49ers, topping 100 rushing yards for the first time this season and gaining 127 total yards and a touchdown on his 31 touches. Maybe this is a sign of things to come.
Andre Brown, Giants
Another game, another touchdown for Brown. That gives him a score in four straight weeks and he looked good against the Bengals, gaining 65 yards on seven carries and 29 yards on his five receptions. The Giants bye week gives Ahmad Bradshaw some time to heal but like the sun rising in the morning, he will be hurt again soon enough.
Michael Turner, Falcons
I’m not too down on Turner but his 13 carry, 15-yard performance against a Saints defense that was struggling badly made alarm bells ring, reminding me of his late season fade in 2011.
Reggie Bush, Dolphins
Moving Down last week and benched this week. Bush’s arrow is pointing straight down.
Fred Jackson, Bills
OUT. AGAIN. The word was that Jackson still had plenty of tread on his 31 year old body but that might have been wishful thinking (by me and others).
Taiwan Jones, Raiders
With Run-DMC and Mike Goodson out, the Raiders chose to ride Marcel Reese. Drop Jones in all formats other than dynasty leagues.
Sidney Rice, Seahawks
While he hasn’t topped 81 yards on the season or more than 55 in his last three games, Rice is on a touchdown tear with four scores in the last three weeks. Sure, he’s touchdown reliant but he’s rolling at the right time (although a Week 11 bye is unfortunate).
Danario Alexander, Chargers
Make it two solid performances in a row for Alexander after the Chargers plucked him off the street prior to their Week 9 game against the Chiefs. This week, he started again and his five reception, 134 yard, one touchdown performance has earned him a place in the starting line-up and some pine time for Robert Meachem. This kid has big time talent but grandpa’s knees.
Torrey Smith, Ravens
Every so often a guy who is playing just okay manages to put together a solid fantasy performance and that is the situation with Smith. Although he hasn’t topped 67 receiving yards in his last five games, he’s managed to score four touchdowns in that stretch, including a two reception, 67 yard, two touchdown performance this week against the Raiders.
Golden Tate, Seahawks
Here’s another example of a guy who has put up some solid performances this year but it’s all about the touchdowns. Tate’s been a big play guy for Seattle this season and he did it again this week with a two reception, 51 yard, one touchdown performance during their win over the Jets. That gives him three scores over the past two weeks and makes him a decent flex play or WR3 if you’re desperate.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
Fifteen receptions for 273 yards and a pair of touchdowns over his last four games. That’s WR3 territory, folks, and up next are the Saints (28th ranked pass defense), Bengals (18th) and Browns (22nd).
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
We weren’t sure what to expect with a healthy trio of wide receivers in Jacksonville but Shorts had 13 targets this week against the Colts, hauling in six receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. Looks like Justin Blackmon is the low man on the three wide receiver totem pole for the Jags. Two top-10 passing defenses and four ranked 21st or lower over the next six weeks for Jacksonville.
Danny Amendola, Rams
Back and back in fine form with 11 receptions for 102 yards on his targets this week against a stout 49ers defense.
Victor Cruz, Giants
Eli Manning’s struggles are torpedoing Cruz’s fantasy value as he has gone AWOL over the last three games with just ten receptions for 116 yards and no scores. The Giants have a bye this week to get things figured out and then they face a number of less than stellar pass defenses to finish the season.
Robert Meachem, Chargers
Danario Alexander has eight receptions for 195 yards and a touchdown in two games. Meachem, the Chargers not so prized free agent acquisition, has 13 receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns on the season. Meachem’s didn’t start this week and he’s not going to until something changes.
Tony Moeaki, Chiefs
Moeaki had his game of the season on Monday night, showing some athleticism and hauling in three receptions for 68 yards. That gives him 125 receiving yards in his last two games and that might be a signal that he is now fully recovered from the ACL tear that ended his 2011 season before it started.
Brandon Myers, Raiders
His second concussion of the season is worrisome and that has Myers Moving Down even though he has played well in recent weeks.
Brent Celek, Eagles
Celek’s production is way down in Philadelphia with just 143 yards over his last four games even though he averaged 6.25 targets per game in those contests. His fast start to the season is a distant memory at this point.
By: Dave Stringer — November 9, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
1. If there was ever any doubt that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is no ordinary rookie, he proved it last night at the end of Indianapolis’ 27-10 dismantling of the Jaguars. With the game in hand in the 4th quarter, Luck rolled out and took off running before sliding and taking a hard shot from Jacksonville safety Dawan Landry, which drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. With his teammates in a lather, Luck quickly hopped up and directed them back to the huddle before accepting Landry’s apology for the hit. If that wasn’t enough, he topped 20 fantasy points for the ninth time in ten games this season, throwing for a subpar 227 yards but rushing for two touchdowns, giving him five on the season. Despite lacking a proven threat opposite Reggie Wayne, injury issues at running back, a leaky offensive line and two rookies atop the depth chart at tight end, Luck is on pace to finish the season with just under 4,700 passing yards and 18 touchdown passes.
2. Sticking with the Colts, Wayne was expected to leave via free agency prior to the season but chose to stay in Indianapolis, a somewhat surprising decision especially considering the team’s struggles in 2011. However, he chose to stick around and is on pace for a career year in 2012. Coming off eight straight seasons with at least 70 receptions and 1,000 yard receiving seasons in seven of those years, Wayne is on pace to finish the season with career highs in receptions (123) and yards (1,655). Here’s to Wayne for not bailing on the Colts and being rewarded for staying to play for a rebuilding franchise that was expected to struggle with a rookie quarterback.
Redman's fantasy run may be coming to an end.
3. The Steelers backfield has been a fantasy mess this season as Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer have all taken turns in the starting lineup. Dwyer looked like a solid bet to maintain the lead back role after consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts in Weeks 8 and 9. Then Redman had a career game in Week 10 with Dwyer out with an injury, gaining 147 yards and a touchdown on the ground. However, it appears that Mendenhall will take over in the starting lineup as soon as he is ready to play. Despite Mike Tomlin’s comments this week that the Steelers would go with the hot hand at running back, both Dwyer and Redman as well as the team’s running backs coach, Kirby Wilson, have stated at various times this season that the starting job is Mendenhall’s due to his superior speed, power and agility. Don’t overpay for Redman or Dwyer in the hopes that they can fill a hole at running back on your fantasy roster.
4. With the sale of the Cleveland Browns finalized, it appears that Pat Shurmur’s run as the team’s head coach will come to an end once the season is over. New owner Jimmy Haslam III is expected to change directions at head coach as he looks to put his stamp on the organization. While Shurmur has hardly been overly successful, the bottom line is that he has been severely handcuffed by a roster devoid of talent at the skill positions in 2011 and at wide receiver and along the offensive line in 2012. Barring a miracle turnaround by rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden and strong development at wide receiver from Greg Little and Josh Gordon, Shurmur will almost assuredly be looking for work in 2013.
5. Dynasty leaguers might want to take note of the performance of third year Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen, who has hauled in 13 of his 20 targets for 178 yards over the past three weeks. Incumbent starter Fred Davis was lost for the season due to a torn left Achilles’ tendon and he may not return to the team for the 2013 season. Davis received the franchise tag this past offseason as the team preferred locking him up under a one-year deal rather than securing his services with a long term contract extension. While Davis played reasonably well, his off the field issues could cause the team to once again shy away from offering him a long-term deal, especially if Paulsen continues to play well.
6. 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree is coming off perhaps the best game of his four-year career and could be in line for a strong finish to the season. In a Week 8 win over the Cardinals, Crabtree badly outplayed Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson, catching all five of his targets for 72 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Crabtree regularly got separation from Peterson and also looked good running after the catch. With a Week 9 bye behind him, Crabtree faces a number of plum matchups over the next several weeks before facing a sturdy Seahawks pass defense in Week 16. Up next for the 49ers are the Rams (17th ranked pass defense), Bears (15th), Saints (28th), the Rams again, the Dolphins (29th) and Patriots (28th). While Crabtree has been up and down this season, his strong performance against Peterson coupled with a great schedule make him a must start over the next six weeks.
By: Dave Stringer — November 6, 2012 @ 2:16 pm
Carson Palmer, Raiders
I told you in my Dave’s Take column last week that Palmer would improve on his 16th place quarterback ranking by season’s end and he started that process in a big way this week. Palmer torched the Bucs 414 yards and four touchdowns, putting up 37 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues, easily his best fantasy performance since joining the Raiders.
Andrew Luck: Breaking records.
Andrew Luck, Colts
The Colts are 5-3 and in playoff contention. In a tight game with Miami this week, Luck was lights out, completing 30 of 48 attempts for a rookie-record 433 passing yards and two touchdowns. The rookie signal caller is now on pace to finish the season with 20 passing touchdowns and 4,808 passing yards, which would set another rookie season record.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins
Dude is clearly talented but his owners should be concerned due to the huge portion of fantasy points that are coming from rushing the ball and his struggles as a passer over the last five games. During that stretch, RGIII has thrown for just 923 yards and four touchdowns and failed to top 215 passing yards four times.
Doug Martin, Bucs
On fire, folks. Meet the league’s new top ranked fantasy running back. If you have the you know whats, it might be time to sell high. Martin has gone gangbusters over the last two weeks, piling up 214 totals yards and two touchdowns against a declining Vikings run defense and then gaining 251 yards and four scores against the pathetic Raiders run defense. The schedule over the balance of the season looks good (just one top-10 ranked run defense) but consider this a friendly reminder that rookie running backs tend to hit a wall before season’s end and Martin is on pace to finish the season with 348 touches.
Isaac Redman, Steelers
Every week, a Steelers running back gets the Moving Up treatment. This week, it is Redman’s turn. Pretty much given up on, Redman unexpectedly rolled over the Giants this week with both Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall unable to play, gaining 147 yards and a score on his 26 rushes. The Steelers are going with the hot hand and Redman is that guy at the moment with the Chiefs, Ravens, Browns and Ravens again over the next four weeks. Not one of them is ranked higher than 22nd in run defense.
James Starks, Packers
Starks got the start this week and played decent (61 yards on 17 carries) but ended up splitting time with Alex Green (17 touches to 13). Look for the Packers MO in their backfield to be using Starks as the starter with Green being used as a change of pace back and on passing downs. If one of them gets hot, the other may spend a lot of time sitting. For now, Starks is the guy to own.
Mikel Leshoure, Lions
He’s here because I don’t want to take the heat for not putting him here but I’m not sold on him just yet. His three touchdowns and 70 yards this week were nice but it was against the Jags and he hasn’t topped 100 total yards in his last five games.
Vick Ballard, Colts
Some reports out of Indianapolis suggest Donald Brown suffered a hip injury. Others said he had swelling in his knee. Other cited both injuries as the reasons for his one touch performance this week. For Ballard owners, one Brown injury is good and two is better. Ballard has been quietly effective when given the majority of the work and was solid this week with 98 total yards against the Dolphins. If only he could get a map to the end zone (one touchdown in 2012).
Mike Goodson, Taiwan Jones and Marcel Reece, Raiders
Darren McFadden apparently suffered a high ankle sprain this week but Goodson may have as well. That would leave Jones, whose only carry this season came last week, and Reese, who carried the ball once in Week 1 but hasn’t since. Keep your eye on this situation. If Goodson is a go, he will get the majority of the carries. If he can’t go, look for Jones and Reese to split carries. In either scenario, Reese will get the work on passing downs.
Reggie Bush, Dolphins
Bush was barely respectable this week against the Colts bottom feeder run defense, gaining 41 yards and a score on ten carries and chipping in 25 yards on two receptions. Unfortunately for his owners, that was just his second double-digit fantasy performance over his last six games. The schedule is up and down with two easy matchups, followed by three tough ones and then two more patsies.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals
Cards are on a bye this week and Beanie Wells is eligible to return in Week 12. Stephens-Howling’s 15 minutes are almost up.
Eric Decker, Broncos
Demaryius Thomas might be more talented but Decker is on fire with touchdowns in five straight games and seven in total over that span. Over his last six games, he is averaging 14.9 FPTs per game and looks like a bona fide WR1 over the balance of the season.
Michael Jenkins and Jerome Simpson, Vikings
Percy Harvin looks like he’s going to miss some time so for the first time ever a guy that caught two passes for eight yards is Moving Up (that would be Jenkins) So is a guy that caught one pass for 14 yards, also a Moving Up first. Let’s see how this works out.
Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers
Antonio Brown is likely to miss time with a high ankle sprain, meaning Sanders and Cotchery figure to see more targets. The old pro had more yards this week (50) but Sanders hauled in a touchdown. If you need to pick one, go with the young blood.
Mike Wallace, Steelers
Wallace has been decent but not spectacular this season. However, occasionally one spectacular catch and run play will get you Moving Up. This guy has afterburners that other players just don’t have.
Danario Alexander, Chargers
The Chargers like big, fast wide receivers so they hauled Alexander off the street, stuck him in the starting lineup and watched him catch all three of his targets for 61 yards. Robert Meachem hasn’t exactly lit it up in his first year in San Diego and he is hurt.
Percy Harvin, Vikings
I’m guessing that an ankle sprained in three places means a guy won’t be playing in a while.
Josh Gordon, Browns
After scoring four touchdowns in three games, Gordon has, not surprisingly, gone cold with just five receptions for 84 yards in his last two games. The kid has talent but the combination of his inexperience and that of quarterback Brandon Weeden has resulted in Gordon catching just 19 of 43 targets this season.
Devery Henderson, Saints
It’s back to the doghouse for Henderson. After a couple of solid efforts, he failed to catch a pass in Week 8 and hauled in just one reception for eight yards this week. With Lance Moore back, Henderson isn’t worth owning in standard leagues.
Logan Paulsen, Redskins
As expected, Paulsen has relegated Chris Cooley to benchwarmer status. Somewhat unexpectedly, Paulsen has actually proven to be a decent receiver, hauling in 13 of his 20 receptions over the past three games for a very respectable 178 yards. With RGIII spreading out thin amongst his wide receivers, Paulsen led the team in receiving yards in Week 9 and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if that is a common occurrence over the balance of the season.
Brandon Myers, Raiders
Sure it was the Bucs and their sad sack pass defense but Myers had a career game in Week 9, catching eight passes for 59 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With the Raiders behind early, he was targeted a healthy 13 times and is averaging 8.25 targets over his last four games.
Robert Housler, Cardinals
The starting job appears to be his but, while Housler is talented, there isn’t much upside here given the play of the team’s quarterbacks. He had a career high nine targets this week, catching five of them for 55 yards, also a career high. With Todd Heap and Jeff King nearing the end of their careers, Housler is a decent dynasty league prospect.
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
After scoring four touchdowns in his first five games, Gonzo has gone gonzo from the Falcons passing attack, failing to score in his last three games or top 42 receiving yards and accumulating just 107 yards in those games. It’s worth noting that he faded down the stretch last season, failing to score in his final six games and catching just seven passes for 63 yards over his final three games.
Jermichael Finley, Packers
One of the biggest wastes of talent in the league. One reception for six yards this week brings his totals over the last five games to ten receptions for 84 yards. And he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1.
By: Dave Stringer — November 2, 2012 @ 3:22 pm
1. The Buccaneers placed starting left guard Carl Nicks on injured reserve this week, ending his season and robbing the team of their best offensive lineman. Signed during the offseason to shore up Tampa Bay’s offensive line, Nicks was once again playing at a Pro Bowl level before suffering a torn plantar plate in his left toe. With Nicks out, the team has now lost both of their starting guards with Davin Joseph also out for the season. Tampa Bay will turn to either converted right tackle Jeremy Trueblood or undersized interior lineman Ted Larsen to take Nicks’ place and both players represent a huge downgrade at the position. That doesn’t bode well for the fantasy prospects of rookie running back Doug Martin, who is coming off the best game of his young career, a 214 total yard, two-touchdown performance against the Vikings.
2. Despite playing well early in the season, Dolphins running back Lamar Miller has fallen out of favor with the team’s coaching staff. Miller hasn’t touched the ball since Week 4 and there are no indications that the team is ready to demote second-year player Daniel Thomas behind Miller. Taken in the 4th round of this year’s draft, Miller played well in a Week 2 win over the Raiders, gaining 65 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. While the Dolphins remain high on Miller, Thomas has taken hold of the backup job to Reggie Bush and it appears that he will hold onto it for the balance of the season barring injury.
3. After getting blown out by the Chargers 31-13 on Thursday night, the Chiefs have now gone eight straight games without holding a lead. Their lone win of the season came during an overtime game against the Saints in Week 3 when they managed to tie the game late in the 4th quarter before kicking a game winning field goal in overtime.
4. In Atlanta, tight end Tony Gonzalez has slowed down over the team’s last two games (71 receiving yards) after a solid start to the season (39 receptions for 388 yards and four touchdown over his first five games). The Falcons plays the Cowboys this week and with 46 receptions, Gonzalez needs to notch just four receptions to reach the 50-reception mark for the 15th consecutive season. That is a remarkable feat particularly considering the atrocious play at the quarterback position during much of his time in Kansas City.
Starks should get more playing time beginning this week.
5. For the truly desperate, you could do worse than take a flyer on Packers running back James Starks this week. With the Arizona Cardinals fading and Alex Green struggling as Green Bay’s starting running back, Starks is in line for an increased workload. The word out of Green Bay is that Starks was in the game plan last week but taken out due to a stomach virus that kept him off the practice field. One thing is for certain, with playoff and Super Bowl aspirations, Green Bay’s coaching staff isn’t going to keep trotting Green out there if he fails to produce for the fourth consecutive game.
6. Sticking with the desperation theme, Justin Forsett could get some carries this week as the Texans figure to have their way with Buffalo’s 31st ranked run defense and Ben Tate out again with a hamstring injury. In Detroit, the immortal Joique Bell could split time with Mikel Leshoure due to Leshoure’s leg injury which landed him on the injury report. The Jaguars 25th ranked run defense is on tap for the Detroit backs, a situation that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan may take advantage of due to injury concerns with standout wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
7. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. With that, I once again present wide receiver Danario Alexander. Released by the Rams after being unable to perform in the preseason due to injuries, Alexander resurfaced with the Chargers a week ago and promptly made his presence felt during the Chargers win over Kansas City. Alexander looked explosive, catching all three of his targets for 61 yards. At 6’5 and 217 pounds and with solid deep speed, Alexander fits the mold of the wide receivers that general manager A.J. Smith typically acquires and with free agent acquisition Robert Meachem struggling during his first year in San Diego, Alexandeer could carve out a solid role over the last half of the season. That makes him worthy of a flyer in deep (maybe extremely deep?) leagues. The kid is talented but injury prone and with a degenerative knee condition.
8. In Oakland, quarterback Carson Palmer is quietly on pace to finish the season with the 6th most passing attempts in the league, a surprising number of attempts given the presence of running back Darren McFadden and the team’s injury issues at the wide receiver position. Unfortunately, although he is on pace to finish the season with just over 4,400 passing yards, Palmer has thrown for just nine touchdown in seven games. With Denarius Moore emerging as a solid leading wide receiver and Darrius Heyward-Bey back from a concussion, Palmer should improve on his current standing as the 16th rated fantasy quarterback on a FPts/G basis by season’s end.
9. Although general manager Marty Hurney was given his walking papers due to his numerous personnel blunders and with a number of teams in need of help at the running back position, the Panthers failed to unload one of their high-priced players at that position prior to the trade deadline. That seemed like an odd decision, particularly considering DeAngelo Williams’ recent lack of use (just 19 carries and no receptions over the last three games) and the likelihood the team will release him due to his high salary prior to the 2013 season.
By: Dave Stringer — October 30, 2012 @ 10:44 am
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Michael Vick, Eagles
Eagles head coach Andy Reid is pondering a change at quarterback. The wife of Eagles head coach Andy Reid is pondering which real estate agent to hire.
Philip Rivers, Chargers
The days of Rivers being an elite NFL signal caller are over as are the days of him being an elite fantasy option. With the Browns on tap, he threw for just 154 yards, his 2nd sub-200 passing yard performance of the season. He’s also a turnover machine with nine interceptions and three lost fumbles in seven games.
A soft schedule has Doug Martin's value on the rise.
Doug Martin, Buccaneers
Martin owners are hoping the team has a few more nationally televised games on the schedule. He introduced himself to the league’s fans in a big way last Thursday, running roughshod over a solid Vikings run defense for 135 yards and a touchdown and adding 79 yards and another score through the air. That was nice. Equally as nice is his schedule the rest of the way, which features just one top 10 run defense between now and the end of the season.
Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
I keep asking myself why the Steelers would hand Rashard Mendenhall his starting job back and I can’t come up with one. He’s a free agent at the end of the year, he can’t stay healthy and oh yeah, Dwyer has solidified the run game with a pair of 100-yard efforts over the last two weeks while averaging a nifty 6.7 yards per carry. You have to assume the job is his until he puts up a clunker.
Darren McFadden, Raiders
Mr. Buy Low is about to become Mr. Easy Sledding. Run-DMC ran well this week, gaining 137 yards on 33 touches against the Chiefs and faces a solidly ranked yet so-so Bucs run defense this week. After that, its swiss cheese as the Raiders will face run defenses ranked 20th or lower every week except one (the 15th ranked Broncos in Week 14) between Weeks 10 and 16. Make your offer NOW.
Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
The Broncos said they were going to start feeding their rookie 3rd round pick and they did it this week, handing the ball to him 14 times with Hillman having the best game of his young career, gaining 86 yards on the ground. He brings a speed element to the Broncos offense out of the backfield and he could be in line for a big second half of the season. At this point, he’s a bit too speculative to start in most standard leagues but I would roll with him in the flex spot in 12-team leagues.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
After a pair of monster performances in Week 5 and 6, injuries have caught up to Bradshaw and he has struggled mightily over the past two weeks, gaining 121 yards on 34 carries and looking pedestrian. A touchdown in Week 7 saved his fantasy performance but look for Andre Brown and David Wilson to get more work until Bradshaw proves he has returned to full health.
Alex Green, Packers
Moving Down three weeks in a row! It’s a MU/MD record. How much longer can the Packers start this guy? While Green has averaged a respectable 7.0 points per game over the last four games, it is all volume based as he is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry. Either James Starks is still suffering from the effects of a turf toe injury he suffered in the preseason or he keeps taking Mike McCarthy’s parking spot.
Steven Jackson, Rams
It’s officially a timeshare in St. Louis with Jackson basically splitting reps 50/50 with rookie 7th round pick Daryl Richardson. And with the Rams offense failing to top 20 points in their last six games, Jackson is no better than a RB3 for the balance of the season.
Mike Williams, Buccaneers
Dude is back. Time to ditch the Michael Clayton comparisons. Tampa Bay’s offense is rolling and Williams is part of the reason why as he has hauled in 25 receptions for 436 yards and four touchdowns over their first seven games of the season. He had a modest performance this week with six receptions for 68 yards and a score but would have padded those numbers if the Vikings would have kept the score closer. Williams is proving he can beat single coverage and that means something with the running game on the uptick.
Titus Young, Lions
I told you last week that Young or Ryan Broyles was in line for more work and that Young was the guy to gamble on. Sure enough, this week he had his best game of the season and of his two-year career, hitting the 100-yard receiving mark for the first time. Young caught all nine of his targets for 100 yards and a pair of scores, including the game-winner against the Seahawks.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers
Sometimes numbers lie. Crabtree had five receptions for 72 yards and a pair of scores this week – nice numbers but not eye popping. However, this was clearly a superb performance as he lit up Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, catching all five of his targets while showcasing some run after the catch ability and excellent hands. Tough to rely on him given the 49ers propensity for running the ball but this was possibly the best game of Crabtree’s four-year career.
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
He’s the Jaguars number one wide receiver at the moment and was targeted a healthy 12 times this week, giving him 22 over his last two games. He topped 100 receiving yards for the first time this week, gaining 116 yards on eight receptions, giving him his 2nd game in a row with double digit points.
Sidney Rice, Seahawks
Since I had basically written him off, Rice has 168 receiving yards and two touchdowns over his last three games. Let’s call him a low end WR3 over the balance of the season on the assumption that rookie quarterback Russell Wilson shows some improvement.
Calvin Johnson, Lions
Just the facts, folks. Six receptions on 19 targets over his last two games for 80 yards. For a guy this talented to put up those numbers tells us that his knee is bothering him more than he’s letting on. With just one touchdown in seven games, Johnson has no chance to match his 16-touchdown count from a year ago.
Hakeem Nicks, Giants
Similar to Johnson, Nicks just hasn’t looked healthy and has nine receptions for 99 yards and no touchdowns over his last two games.
Jason Witten, Cowboys
Those of you (and us since I grabbed him as a TE2 in a 12-team league) who gambled on Witten and his lacerated spleen have been rewarded in recent weeks but the piece de resistance came this week against the Giants, with Witten grabbing a Cowboys franchise record 18 receptions for 167 yards. That gives him 43 receptions for 411 yards over his last four games with, alas, one touchdown.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Stating the obvious here but after finding the end zone just (for him) three times and topping 61 receiving yards just one in his first six games, Gronkowski has scored two touchdowns in each his last two games and scorched the Rams this week with 146 receiving yards. His services were needed to block for a couple of games but the O-line has improved leaving Gronkowski able to go out on patterns on a more frequent basis.
Greg Olsen, Panthers
After a decent start to the season, Olsen has gone stone cold in the Panthers last three games as his usage has declined. He has caught just nine passes for 91 yards over that span of games.
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