Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
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 — October 11, 2013 @ 1:50 pm
The Atlanta Falcons have announced that wide receiver Julio Jones will be placed on season ending injured reserve due to an injury to his right foot.
Fantasy owners will struggle to replace Julio’s production.
Jones suffered the injury during the Falcons 30-28 loss to the New York Jets on Monday night. Jones limped off the field in the 4th quarter before returning to the field to finish the game.
With Roddy White having suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason, Jones leads the Falcons with 41 receptions for 580 yards and two touchdowns during their disappointing 1-4 start to the season. White suffered a hamstring injury this week, clouding his availability for the next several weeks and leaving the Falcons with a shortage of wide receivers on their roster.
Former Cleveland Browns 2nd round pick Brian Robiskie, the son of Falcons of wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie, was signed to take Jones’ spot on the Falcons roster.
In addition, slot receiver Harry Douglas as well as Kevin Cone and Drew Davis, a pair of second-year former undrafted free agents, will attempt to fill the hole left by Jones’ injury.
There are several veteran free agents that remain unsigned and there is a strong possibility the Falcons will sign one of them over the next week.
The loss of Jones’ is a huge one to the Falcons offense. In his third season, he had developed into the team’s most explosive playmaker on offense and his solid speed opened up space for the team’s other receivers as well as in the running game.
Fantasy owners who had enjoyed watching Jones put together a solid start to the season now have a huge void to fill in their starting line-up. While grabbing Douglas off the waiver wire is a knee jerk reaction, the fact is that Douglas has done little to justify a conclusion that he can even come close to replacing Jones’ production.
While Douglas has put together the odd big game, including a four-reception, 93-yard performance in Week 1, he has never topped 500 receiving yards during his first four years in the league. At 6’0” and 183 pounds, he is not suited to line up outside and is best used in the slot. Look for his targets to go up and he likely becomes a decent WR3 simply based on volume.
Cone and Davis are virtual unknowns. Both have decent size and if you had to gamble on one of them, Cone appears to the favorite, if only because he hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass this week.
Jones’ owners may want to see if they sign a veteran such as Brandon Lloyd to bolster the position. Alternatively, buying low on White and waiting for him to regain full health is another option.
Another big fantasy loser is quarterback Matt Ryan, who goes from having a trio of Pro Bowl quality receivers in Jones, White and tight end Tony Gonzalez, to a cast of question marks. Until White returns to the lineup (reports have indicated he could miss several weeks), Ryan no longer rates as a QB1 until he proves he can produce with the loss of talent surrounding him.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez sees his fantasy value increase as he comes off a pair of solid outings after a disappointing start to the season. The 17 year veteran has 22 receptions for 256 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 28 targets over his past two games. He rates as a top five tight end over the balance of the season.
At running back, the Falcons will almost certainly lean heavily on Steven Jackson when he returns to the lineup. With the Falcons one a bye in Week 6, SJax could return to the lineup for the Falcons Week 7 home game against the Buccaneers. In his only full game of the season, Jackson produced 122 yards on 16 touches. If he can remain healthy, Jackson rates as a mid to upper tier RB2 over the remainder of the season.
By: Dave Stringer — September 25, 2013 @ 10:08 am
Matt Flynn, Raiders
Nothing to get excited about this week, so with Terrelle Pryor possibly out with a concussion, Flynn gets the nod.
Josh Freeman’s days in Tampa Bay are numbered.
Mike Glennon, Buccaneers
Out with Josh Freeman and in with Glennon. The coaches want Glennon to start this week so they can have video to work with during the Bucs bye in Week 5. Glennon won’t be a potential fantasy start until Week 6 but his supporting cast is talented enough to provide him value over the second half of the season.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
After his sublime performance in Week 1, when he threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns, Kaepernick has hit the skids hard with a pair of sub-200-yard performances and no touchdown passes. We can forgive him for the Week 2 dud against a strong Seahawks defense, but there are no excuses for his getting run over by a shoddy Colts defense. With no Vernon Davis and a group of wide receivers that lack big-play ability, Kaepernick isn’t worth starting unless he gets some yards on the ground.
Brandon Weeden, Browns
Brian Hoyer was pretty awful but the Browns did pick up a win. That likely leaves Weeden on the outside looking in when he returns to the lineup.
DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
One week after getting called out by an ESPN analyst for his inability to make tacklers miss, Murray ran roughshod over the Rams with 203 total yards and a touchdown. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it was his first 100-yard game since Week 1 of last season. Yeah, this is a lukewarm endorsement.
Johnathan Franklin, Packers
Another “good news, bad news” scenario. When James Starks went down, the Packers had no other running backs available other than Franklin, and he looked dynamic with 103 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries plus 23 yards on three receptions. Then he fumbled on a key fourth-down play late in the game, which the Bengals returned for the game-winning touchdown. We don’t know when Eddie Lacy or James Starks will return, but with the Packers on a Week 4 bye, Franklin’s time in the spotlight could be short.
Jason Snelling, Falcons & Joique Bell, Lions
Both player were very competent fill-ins this week and are worthy of RB2 status until they head back to the bench. Grab these guys with the byes starting this week.
Fred Jackson, Bills
Jackson is Moving Up two weeks in a row, this time courtesy of C.J. Spiller’s knee injury. If he can’t go this week, FJax is a low-end RB2.
Brandon Bolden, Patriots
With Shane Vereen out, Bolden looks like New England’s most explosive runner. The Patriots backfield is a fantasy mess, but odds are that Bolden is either on the wire in your league or available for a song.
Bilal Powell, Jets
I’ll be honest. I thought Chris Ivory was going to have his coming-out party this week against a soft Bills run defense, but he went down early with a hamstring injury, leaving Powell to chalk up 149 yards on 27 carries. Powell is clearly an average running back but he could emerge as a workhorse for the next few weeks if Ivory misses time, which seems likely. Only Alex Green is in reserve, which leads us to…..
Chris Ivory, Jets
This guy looks great in a part-time role but has proven to be injury-prone throughout his four-year career. Move on.
Stevan Ridley, Patriots
With just 121 yards on 36 carries, Ridley has been pretty much awful. Full stop. He’s useless as a receiver, with only 10 career receptions through 33 games, so he needs to earn a living as a runner. And there is now competition for touches in the New England backfield.
Trent Richardson, Colts
Just a gentle reminder that coaches don’t just take away a pile of touches from players who played as well as Ahmad Bradshaw did this week.
Antonio Brown, Steelers
If you whine, apparently you get rewarded. Brown complained about his targets after only getting nine looks in Week 2. Anyway, he went off against the Bears this week with nine receptions for 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first multi-touchdown game of his career. With the Steelers’ running game in shambles, Brown figures to get plenty of targets going forward.
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
Speaking of targets… quick—who leads the league in them? It’s Shorts, with 40. Early-season fantasy production can be skewed by touchdowns, and sometimes that is fair, given the offense a player plays in. However, even though Shorts is stuck on a bad Jaguars team, he managed seven touchdowns in 14 games last season.
Josh Gordon, Browns
Back with a bang, Gordon had a whopping 19 targets this week against the Vikings, hauling in ten receptions for 146 yards and a score. He won’t get the Vikings’ porous secondary every week, nor will he likely have another 19 target game, but it’s nice to know he can be productive even when Brian Hoyer is under center.
Donnie Avery, Chiefs
Coming off a career year in 2012 with the Colts, Avery had his coming-out party as a Chief in Week 3, catching all seven of his targets for 141 yards. He showcased his blazing speed, a trait that seems to be absent from the Kansas City offense outside of Jamaal Charles.
Santonio Holmes, Jets
This one’s kind of like beating up on your little brother, but it’s worth noting that Holmes caught five passes for 154 yards and a score this week against the Bills. He’s not a player that anybody loves, but he could be useful as a WR3 the rest of the way, provided he can stay healthy and keep his head screwed on straight.
Nate Washington, Titans
Meets the Titans’ new No. 1 receiver with Kenny Britt now residing in the doghouse. Eight receptions for 131 yards this week.
Ryan Broyles and Patrick Edwards, Lions
Nate Burleson is out with a broken arm. Neither of these guys has done much, but opportunity is knocking.
Steve Smith, Panthers
With just 143 yards and one touchdown on 26 targets, could Father Time be catching up with the 34-year-old Smith? Get off this train before it rolls off the tracks.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Against a sad sack Eagles secondary, Bowe caught one of his three targets for four yards. Entering the season, there were two trains of thought on Bowe. Either he would thrive as a big receiver in Andy Reid’s West Coast offense or he would struggle with Captain Checkdown, Alex Smith, being under center and reluctant to pass the ball into tight areas. Looks like those who advocated for the latter were correct.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals
After putting up 82 yards in Week 1, Floyd got the hopes up of his owners, who were banking on a breakout season. Since then, he has caught seven of his 13 targets for 71 yards and looks much like the struggling rookie he was last season.
Jordan Cameron, Browns
Even with Brian Hoyer at quarterback, Cameron was lights out with 66 yards and three touchdowns on six receptions. I don’t own him but if somebody thinks he’s the next coming of Jimmy Graham, I’d be selling high. Note that one of his touchdowns came on a trick play (a fake field goal) and the Browns offense won’t get the sad sack Vikings defense every week.
Charles Clay, Dolphins
Clay didn’t do much this week (four receptions for 40 yards) but he is quietly emerging as a consistent threat in a solid Dolphins offense. He has caught 14 of his 19 targets on the season for a surprising 203 yards.
Kellen Winslow, Jets
The comeback was fun but short-lived. After a three-reception, 16-yard performance in Week 2, Winslow wasn’t even targeted this week. And you all know the state of the Jets’ group of wide receivers.
By: Dave Stringer — September 19, 2013 @ 8:25 am
Richardson changes uniforms and gets a nice fantasy value bump.
In one of the most shocking trades in the NFL in years, the Cleveland Browns have traded second year running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts.
In return the Browns will receive the Colts 1st round pick in the 2014 draft.
Just one year and two games after using the 3rd overall selection in the 2012 draft to acquire Richardson, the Browns chose to go in a different direction as first year general manager Mike Lombardi continued his remake of the team’s roster. Richardson had quickly emerged as a team leader and the face of the franchise and trading him away so early in the 2013 season is not going to viewed favorably by the team’s rabid fan base.
In Indianapolis, the acquisition of Richardson solidifies a shaky backfield that lost second year player Vick Ballard, the team’s leading rusher as a rookie in 2012, to a season-ending knee injury prior to Week 2. The trade signifies that the team’s management is convinced that a run deep into the playoffs is possible just one year into Andrew Luck‘s reign as the team’s starting quarterback.
Reports indicate that the Browns will bring Willis McGahee to Cleveland for a physical. If signed, he will compete with Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey to replace Richardson in the starting line-up.
The Colts entered the season envisioning a backfield led by Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard.
Two games into the season, it will be led by Richardson with Bradshaw in a supporting role.
Richardson proved to be a true workhorse back as a rookie in 2012, rushing for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns while catching 51 passes for 367 yards and another touchdown despite playing much of the season with injured ribs. Simply put, he has the talent to emerge as a top-five fantasy running back playing in a solid offense and this trade affords him that opportunity.
Assuming the Colts are in the hunt for a playoff spot at season’s end, they will have acquired a franchise running back for a late 1st round pick. Stunning.
In just a week, Bradshaw goes from being in a timeshare with Ballard, to a starter with little proven depth behind him, to a pure handcuff to Richardson. Fantasy owners that acquired him are left with little value just two weeks into the season.
In Cleveland, quarterback Brandon Weeden has been put on notice that anything short of a spectacular finish to the season will cost him his job. It’s also possible, and maybe even likely, that nothing can save Weeden’s job as the team’s starter. Look for the Browns to use their bevy of draft picks to acquire a quarterback in the 2014 draft.
At running back, McGahee is the odds on favorite to assume the starting job but it is fair to question how much he has left to give as he approaches his 32nd birthday. Although he rushed for 731 yards with four touchdowns in just 10 games with Denver last season, he suffered a season-ending knee injury and remained unsigned throughout the preseason. With the Browns offense struggling and having lost its most dynamic playmaker, McGahee rates as low end RB3 or high end RB4 over the balance of the season.
Of course, that is based on his holding off Ogbonnaya and Rainey. Ogbonnaya is a fifth year veteran journeyman will little upside while Rainey is a second year player who has yet to register a carry. The running back situation in Cleveland has very little upside.
By: Dave Stringer — September 17, 2013 @ 9:15 pm
Michael Vick, Eagles
Two games into the season, we can safely conclude that Vick has an opportunity to put together a career year in 2013. Provided he can stay healthy of course. With the Eagles taking their foot off the gas in Week 1, Vick amassed 29.6 fantasy points, and in Week 2 he put up 37.7 on 428 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns, as well as his second rushing touchdown of the season.
Rivers has 7 TD passes in 2 games.
Philip Rivers, Chargers
Rivers is protecting the football (one interception and no lost fumbles through two games) and elevating the play of his receivers, something that was missing from his game over the past couple of years. With seven touchdown passes and 614 passing yards in two games, Rivers has emerged as a low-end starter after two weeks. The schedule isn’t horrible, so this could be a situation where you can move your starter for help elsewhere and roll with Rivers.
Sam Bradford, Rams
This isn’t the St. Louis offense of yesteryear, dominated by Steven Jackson. The Rams are chucking it because of a subpar rushing attack, with Bradford second in the league in pass attempts. He has throw for 299 and 352 yards and multiple touchdowns (three and two, respectively) in each game. And the young weapons he has on offense will only get better as the season progresses.
Tom Brady, Patriots
I coach 8-year rep hockey, so I am well aware that what you start the season with isn’t what you finish it with. Unfortunately for Brady owners, they are going to have to endure more games like this week’s effort against the Jets, in which Brady completed 19 of 39 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown, before the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter. Simply put, this is the worst collection of receivers that he has ever had to work with.
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
Two games into his free-agent year, it appears that Freeman is destined to make this a “break it” year rather than a “make it” one. He was abysmal this week against the Saints, going 9 of 22 for 125 yards and a touchdown with one interception. He wasn’t much better in Week 1, and control freak head coach Greg Schiano isn’t going to waste much more time before he inserts rookie third-round pick Mike Glennon into the lineup.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins
Ugh. It was another ugly performance for RGIII this week, although he still managed to pad his fantasy stats with 320 passing yards and three touchdown passes. At 0-2 and with the season on the line, there is a small chance that head coach Mike Shanahan will put him on a short leash if the turnovers keeping coming (three interceptions so far in 2013). The truth of the matter is that RGIII hasn’t produced other than in garbage time.
James Starks, Packers
Starks came off the bench this week to become the first Packers player in 44 games to top 100-yards rushing. With Eddie Lacy out with a concussion, Starks had the finest game of his four-year career with 132 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, while chipping in four receptions for 36 yards. He entered training camp fifth on the depth chart but pushed aside Alex Green (released) to keep his job. With rookie fourth-round pick Jonathan Franklin struggling, DuJuan Harris out for the year, and Lacy questionable for next week, Starks now sits atop the depth chart for a Packers offense that is humming. It’s worth mentioning that reports out of Green Bay in the preseason noted that Starks was having the best training camp of his career and that he looked like a different player.
Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
At this point, you can feel comfortable inserting Moreno into the starting lineup. He has outshined his two younger backups with 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 28 touches. There is simply no reason why the Broncos would give rookie second-round pick Montee Ball more touches in Week 3.
Fred Jackson, Bills
With FJax getting 33 touches over the first two weeks of the season, it looks like the plan to give C.J. Spiller the rock until he pukes isn’t going to be put in place. Jackson hasn’t even done a lot to warrant the work, averaging 3.9 yards per carry and 8.0 yards per reception, but his 11.1 PPG average looks pretty solid.
Joique Bell, Lions
Reggie Bush is having an MRI on his knee and Bell has made the most of his opportunities thus far in 2013, with 164 total yards and a pair of touchdowns on 24 touches.
Brandon Jacobs, Giants
Although he is destined for the bench when Andre Brown returns, Jacobs could prove useful for a few weeks. He had seven rushes this week, many of them as a short-yardage runner, scoring once. He even had a pass thrown his way, although the Giants presumably had the wrong personnel in the game on that play.
Jordan Todman, Jaguars
After a first-half ankle injury, Maurice Jones-Drew never returned. Rather than turn to Justin Forsett or Denard Robinson, the Jaguars inserted Todman, who carried five times. For seven yards. No, not pretty, but worth noting that he—not Forsett, as most expected—is MJD’s handcuff.
Arian Foster, Texans
I’m not pulling the plug yet because I think better days are ahead, but Arian is averaging 3.7 yards per carry against a pair of run defenses that aren’t exactly considered upper-tier.
Trent Richardson, Browns & DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
These guys aren’t chopped liver but the offensive lines they run behind sure are. Richardson is averaging 3.4 yards a pop while Murray is at 3.5. Let’s call these buy-low situations.
Mark Ingram, Saints
Stick a fork in this dude. He’s done. Unless the Saints offensive line becomes dominant, Ingram will never be a consistent fantasy producer. There is too much competition for touches in the Saints backfield and he just doesn’t deserve to get enough of them to make him fantasy relevant. This guy needs volume touches to put up decent numbers.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
With Andre Johnson out with a concussion, Hopkins hauled in the winning touchdown in the Texans overtime win over the Titans, finishing the day with seven receptions for 117 yards and the score. He was also instrumental on the Texans’ game-tying scoring drive in the fourth quarter with three receptions for 64 yards. It looks like Hopkins will get his in the Texans offense, but he will get even more if AJ is out for any length of time.
Eddie Royal, Chargers
Sometimes tone is important. You’re not here with me and these words are being typed, so let me spell it out for you: This is lukewarm endorsement. Sure, Royal has five touchdowns in two games and the Chargers passing offense looks surprisingly potent. But it won’t be a surprise if Royal doesn’t find the end zone over the rest of the season, since his five scores match his touchdowns production over the past four seasons combined.
Steve Johnson, Bills
Just in case anybody was doubting his fantasy relevance with rookie EJ Manuel at quarterback, Johnson has touchdowns in each of his first two games and topped 100 receiving yards this week.
Lance Moore, Saints
With four targets in each of his first two games (three receptions for 38 yards), Moore is starting to look like an afterthought in the Saints offense.
Vincent Brown, Chargers
Brown is averaging a respectable 5.0 PPG but that is padded by his Week 1 touchdown. With just six receptions on 11 targets for 39 yards, he has had a rather underwhelming start to a season in which he was considered a breakout candidate by many (not here, BTW—ahem).
Kenny Britt, Titans
After a one-reception, 15-yard performance in Week 1 in which he had only two targets, Britt was more involved in the Titans’ Week 2 matchup against the Texans. Unfortunately, he caught just four of his nine targets for 28 yards before getting benched.
Martellus Bennett, Bears
Bennett put together a career year last season in his first year with the Giants, despite playing through an early-season knee injury, and it looks like he will have another career year with another new team in 2013. Two games into his Bears career, Bennett is clearly a key cog in Chicago’s passing attack, with ten receptions for 125 yards and three touchdowns. He appears headed for mid-tier TE1 status.
Fred Davis, Redskins
Two games into the year, Davis has been targeted just six times compared to nine for rookie third-round pick Jordan Reed. While Reed has shown little playmaking ability, averaging 7.0 yards per reception, it appears there is a changing of the guard occurring at the tight end position in Washington.
Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
After a two-reception, six-yard performance in Week 1, Pettigrew was marginally better this week against the Cardinals, catching three of his six targets for 32 yards. After watching Rams tight end Jared Cook scorch the Cardinals safeties in Week 1, Pettigrew owners were hoping for more. Unfortunately, with the addition of Reggie Bush, his role in the Lions offense appears to have been marginalized.
By: Mike Krueger — September 3, 2013 @ 9:02 am
Player Projections, Rankings & Cheatsheets
Change Log – 9/3/13
- Zach Sudfeld (+3) – Should have value even when Gronk returns.
- Julius Thomas (+8) – Will start in Denver but will be the fourth option behind three standout receivers.
By: Dave Stringer — August 29, 2013 @ 12:14 pm
Even with additional weapons (Cook & Austin) Bradford remains a QB2.
QB Sam Bradford
(2012 QB Rank – #19, 18.0 FPts/G)
Entering 2013, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford faces a pivotal year as he attempts to establish himself as an upper-tier quarterback. Hopes are high that Bradford, with a bevy of speed receivers and a second consecutive year under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, will put together a career year in 2013. Of course, he will have to accomplish that without the services of Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola, both of whom departed in free agency, and Schottenheimer has never been mentioned as one of the league’s top offensive minds. Despite a leaky offensive and a cast of receivers that was among the league’s worst in 2012, Bradford set career highs with 3,702 passing yards and 21 touchdowns with just 13 interceptions. However, he threw for less than 200 yards five times and had just three 300-yard passing games. The lack of explosive games (partly caused by a lack of playmakers at the skill positions) caused him to finish the season as a mid-tier QB2, but he could be in for a breakout season in 2013. Rookie Tavon Austin offers plenty of potential at wide receiver, Chris Givens will look to establish himself as a big-play threat, and tight end Jared Cook is one of the league’s most athletic tight ends. If the Rams can get solid production from their running backs, Bradford could emerge as a low-end QB1. But that’s a lot of ifs. Consider Bradford a mid-tier QB2 once again this season.
RB Daryl Richardson
(2012 RB Rank – #51, 4.0 FPts/G; #46 PPR, 5.5 FPts/G)
A rookie seventh-round pick in 2012, Richardson got off to a fast start as Steven Jackson’s backup, racking up 451 rushing and 117 receiving yards over the Rams’ first 11 games. Then he crumbled like a cookie, with 16 rushes for 24 yards and eight receptions for 46 yards over the team’s final five games. The Abilene Christian product will enter 2013 as the Rams’ starting running back, but there are serious concerns whether his 5’10”, 196-pound frame is built to handle the lead role in St. Louis, or whether he would be best utilized as a change-of-pace back. While the speedy Richardson proved to be effective running outside the tackles, he struggled mightily once opposing defenses coordinators figured out he wasn’t much of an inside runner. However, with disappointing 2012 second-round pick Isaiah Pead and rookie fifth-round pick Zac Stacy as his only competition, Richardson has the starting role almost by default. We expect the Rams backfield to be a fantasy mess in 2013, with the hot hand getting the touches. Richardson rates as a low-end RB3.
RB Isaiah Pead
(2012 RB Rank – #126, 15.4 FPts/G; #126 PPR, 1.3 FPts/G)
Many felt the Rams finally addressed the backup running back spot behind Steven Jackson with the 2012 selection of Isaiah Pead in the second round of the draft. However, seventh-round pick Daryl Richardson stole that backup role and is expected to be given the first chance as the Rams starter in 2013. Pead rarely saw the field as a rookie, rushing just ten times for 54 yards and catching three passes for 16 yards. He didn’t endure himself to the Rams coaches with his lack of knowledge of the playbook, and then he was suspended for the opening game of the 2013 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policies. Looks like he has a lot of learning to do both on the field and off. While that might be the case, Richardson struggled at the end of the 2012 season and there are doubts that he can hold up as a starter. Don’t be surprised if Pead gets a shot in that role at some point in 2013, making him worth taking a flier on.
RB Zac Stacy
(2012 RB Rank – N/A)
The Rams used a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft to acquire Stacy, and he will be given an opportunity to earn a role in 2013. With neither Daryl Richardson nor Isaiah Pead having done much to establish themselves as consistent producers, Stacy could even earn the starting role at some point in his rookie season. While the 5’9”, 210-pound Vanderbilt product lacks upside because of his lack of speed and shiftiness, he was an effective inside runner in college, and neither Richardson nor Stacy have proven efficient in that role as pros. At worst, Stacy figures to get some yardage looks, so that makes him worthy of a late-round flier in your fantasy draft. Just don’t go mistaking opportunity for talent if you are thinking about grabbing Stacy in your dynasty league. He doesn’t have the feel of a long-time NFL starter even if he earns a few starts in 2013.
WR Tavon Austin
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
With a lack of playmakers at the offensive skill positions and Danny Amendola having departed in free agency, St. Louis moved up in this year’s draft to select Austin with the eighth overall selection. The West Virginia product displayed outstanding playmaking ability during his collegiate career, effectively utilizing his shiftiness and 40 speed of 4.34, mainly working out of the slot. He will fulfill that role in St. Louis, and with quarterback Sam Bradford having shown an affinity for utilizing slot receivers, Austin could be a PPR demon in his rookie season. He figures to be a tough matchup out of the slot, with opposing defenses having to respect his blazing speed. Unfortunately, the Rams offense could struggle with no proven threat at running back and an offensive line that has been trouble for years. While that dampens our expectations for Austin in his rookie season, he is an outstanding dynasty league prospect and a player that should produce as a WR3 with upside in his rookie season.
WR Chris Givens
(2012 WR Rank – #52, 5.9 FPts/G; #58 PPR, 8.7 FPts/G)
The Rams hit a home run with the acquisition of Chris Givens with a fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft. The Wake Forest product used his blazing speed to emerge as St. Louis’s top receiving weapon, catching 42 passes for 698 yards and three touchdowns, with 689 of those yards and all three touchdowns coming in his last 12 games. At this point of his career, Givens is a less-established version of the Dolphins’ Mike Wallace but with plenty of upside. A one-trick pony for the first half of his rookie season, Givens was effectively used on intermediate routes over the latter part of 2012. In 2013, he may have even more room to operate due to the acquisitions of Tavon Austin and Jared Cook. Look for Givens to improve on his rookie season and make for a solid WR3 this year.
WR Austin Pettis
(2012 WR Rank – #82, 3.9 FPts/G; #81 PPR, 6.2 FPts/G)
Entering his third year in the league, Pettis figures to open the season in the Rams starting lineup for the first time in his career. A third-round pick out of Boise State in 2011, Pettis needs to beat out disappointing second-year player Brian Quick, but that appears to be a mere formality. Given that Pettis has averaged 9.1 yards per reception, he’s going to need plenty of targets to be a decent fantasy option. Unfortunately, he will rank as quarterback Sam Bradford’s fourth best receiving option behind Jared Cook, Chris Givens and rookie first-round pick Tavon Austin. Even though Pettis was a solid red zone option with four touchdowns on just 30 receptions last season, he isn’t worth owning in the majority of leagues.
WR Brian Quick
(2012 WR Rank – #111, 2.0 FPts/G; #121 PPR, 2.8 FPts/G)
After being taken with the first pick in the second round of the 2012 draft, Quick was a major disappointment as a rookie, catching just 11 of his 27 targets for 156 yards and one touchdown. After being targeted four times in Weeks 7 and 8, Quick became a forgotten man in the Rams offensive game plans. And that doesn’t figure to change in 2013. With the Rams taking Tavon Austin with the eighth selection in this year’s draft, Chris Givens locking down a starting spot after an impressive rookie season, and Jared Cook signing in free agency to start at tight end, Quick will need to beat out Austin Pettis to become the fourth best receiving option on the team. And offseason reports indicate that battle isn’t going Quick’s way. Quick isn’t even worth a late-round flier, and his dynasty prospects are sinking like a stone.
WR Stedman Bailey
(2012 WR Rank – N/A)
The Rams used a third-round pick to acquire Bailey in this year’s draft, and the expectation is that the West Virginia product will open the season buried deep on the team’s depth chart. Bailey lacks size at 5’10” and 195 pounds but has solid speed, having been clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He will open the season fifth on the depth chart with a chance to unseat the disappointing Brian Quick. He rates as a lower-tier prospect in dynasty formats.
TE Jared Cook
(2012 TE Rank – #19, 5.9 FPts/G; #21 PPR, 9.3 FPts/G)
Even after a disappointing four-year run with Tennessee, Cook was one of the most sought after free agents on the market this offseason, signing a lucrative multi-year contract with the Rams. In St. Louis, he figures to be a key cog in an up-and-coming passing attack that has struggled to find a consistent big-play presence for years. Now, with Cook and wide receivers Chris Givens and Tavon Austin, the team now has the ability to line up plenty of speed across the board in the passing game. As the most proven of that trio, Cook figures to reach a career-high in targets (his previous was 81 during the 2011 season), after being underutilized in Tennessee. As well as being one of the fastest tight ends in the league, Cook has solid size at 6’5” and 248 pounds, so a career year seems to be in order in 2013. The question is whether he will blow away his previous production or merely take it a notch higher. Consider Cook a mid-tier TE1 with upside.
TE Lance Kendricks
(2012 TE Rank – #20, 4.7 FPts/G; #23 PPR, 7.4 FPts/G)
A second-round pick in the 2011 draft, Kendricks struggled as a rookie but showed marked improvement last season, catching 42 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games. However, a closer look revealed that outside of his four-reception, 119-yard, one-touchdown performance in Week 16 against the Buccaneers, Kendricks was only marginally productive, failing to top 50 receiving yards in any other game. The Rams upgraded the tight end position this offseason with the signing of former Titan Jared Cook, and that will move Kendricks to a backup role in 2013. His fantasy prospects are looking pretty dim.
By: Mike Krueger — @ 12:09 am
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Player Projections, Rankings & Cheatsheets
Change Log – 8/29/13
- Michael Vick (+2) – Named the starter but too much of an injury risk for a QB1.
- Terrelle Pryor (+20) – A good showing on Thursday will land him the starting job.
- Matt Flynn (-15) – The Raiders are going to have serious issues all year.
- Eddie Lacy (+2) – Gets a slight bump with season-ending injury to DuJuan Harris.
- DeAngelo Williams (+2) – JStew is out the first six weeks of the season.
- Chris Ivory (Tier 5) – Slid him down from Tier 4 to Tier. Rank # stayed the same.
- Roy Helu (+6) – Has established himself as the clear backup to Morris.
- Giovani Bernard (+3) – Should edge out TheLawFirm in fantasy points by season’s end.
- Jonathan Stewart (-17) – Bad ankles have landed him on the PUP list and out the first six weeks.
- Brandon Marshall (-1) – A slight bump down for what’s likely a diva moment for Marshall. His hip is fine.
- Lance Moore (Tier 6) – Rank # stayed the same, just a better fit in Tier 6 than Tier 5.
- James Jones (Tier 6) – Rank # stayed the same, just a better fit in Tier 6 than Tier 5.
- Kenbrell Thompkins (+5) – Looking like the starter opposite Amendola but his value is over-hyped.
- Jermichael Finley (+1) – We’ll see if Finley can keep the momentum going into the regular season.
- Robert Housler (-8) – High ankle sprain has derailed his fantasy value.
- Heath Miller (+5) – Tomlin hinted that Miller might avoid the PUP list.
- Tony Moeaki (dropped) – Chiefs TE suffered a fractured shoulder.
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