Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — February 11, 2014 @ 9:54 am
Never before in the history of the NFL have there been so many wide receivers capable of reaching the 1,000-yard plateau. In fact, over the last four seasons the number of wide receivers that have reached this milestone has gone from 16 to 17 to 19 to 23 in 2013.
What does that mean for fantasy football roster building in 2014? While we all want to have an elite WR1 on our rosters, there simply isn’t any point in reaching for players at the position once the first seven players are off the board.
Elite wideouts continue to put up outstanding production but once you are past the top seven or eight, the point differential begins to drop off at a marginal level. And a quick review of the players on the list below proves that. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if any player on this list topped 1,000 receiving yards.
How does this translate into strategy for your fantasy football auction or draft? Well, grab an upper tier wide receiver if there is one available early in your draft that you like but using two of your first three picks on the position is foolhardy. One of those picks needs to be for a running back and the other should go towards an elite quarterback, another running back or Jimmy Graham, the top rated fantasy tight end.
Here is the first cut of my fantasy football wide receiver rankings:
1. Calvin Johnson, Lions – Josh Gordon is going to get some love at this spot but not here. While Gordon’s production last season was marginally better, he carries a pile of baggage while Johnson is a golden boy by comparison.
2. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos – Thomas had over 140 targets, 90 receptions and 1,400 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons while scoring 24 touchdowns. If Eric Decker leaves via free agency, Thomas will get even more looks but make no mistake – he gets the second ranking even if Decker returns.
3. A.J. Green, Bengals – After posting 97 receptions for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012, Green went 98 for 1,436 and 11 in 2013 while being targeted 178 times, the third most in the league. If Andy Dalton can improve his deep ball accuracy (a major if, by the way), Green could explode in 2014.
4. Brandon Marshall, Bears – This is where the debates begin. Since I think this isn’t your grandfather’s Brandon Marshall (the bad boy) and I’m close to being all in on the Bears offense in 2014 (yikes), Marshall gets the nod at number four. Since Jay Cutler hasn’t gotten the memo that Alshon Jeffery is dynamite and Marshall is in a contract year, he should post huge numbers in 2014.
5. Dez Bryant, Cowboys – Even though Bryant has topped 90 receptions and over 1,200 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons while scoring 25 touchdowns, you get the feeling he could do even more. With Jason Witten another year older and Miles Austin almost certainly not returning, Bryant just might explode in 2014.
Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system will be friendly to Gordon.
6. Josh Gordon, Browns – Speaking of explosions, Gordon certainly exploded in 2013, hauling in 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns on his way to becoming the top ranked fantasy wide receiver. Why is he at number six for 2014, you ask? Well, let’s see. He’s one misstep away from being suspended for an entire year, the Browns brought in a new coaching staff in the offseason and he will likely be catching passes from a rookie quarterback. Did I mention that the players ranked above him all have longer proven track records?
7. Julio Jones, Falcons – Let the screaming begin. First off, anybody who has seen Jones play can’t deny that he has an amazing skill set. And his production over the first five games of the season proves that (41 receptions for 580 yards and a pair of touchdowns). Unfortunately, he re-fractured the foot he broke in 2011. While he should be healthy to open the season, anytime a player injures the same body part twice, his risk profile gets jacked up a few notches.
8. Jordy Nelson, Packers – This is where the drop of starts. While Nelson is a fabulous receiver, he isn’t elite like the seven players ranked above him. Despite missing Aaron Rodgers for seven games this season, Nelson hauled in 85 of his 127 targets for a career high 1,314 yards with eight touchdowns. With a healthy Rodgers, and Jermichael Finley and James Jones questionable to return to Green Bay, Nelson could be in line for a career year in 2014.
9. Andre Johnson, Texans – Despite subpar quarterback play, Johnson was his usually Pro Bowl worthy self in 2013 with his second consecutive season over 100 receptions (109) and 1,400 yards (1,407). Unfortunately, he totaled just five touchdowns bringing his three-year total to 11. Even though the Texans will likely start a rookie at quarterback in 2014, you can bank on another solid season from the 32-year old Johnson.
10. Antonio Brown, Steelers – After suffering through a high ankle sprain in 2012, Brown put together a career year in 2013 with career highs in receptions (110), yards (1,498) and touchdowns (eight). Nonetheless, he still doesn’t get the respect he deserves but he’s getting it here, sliding in as a top 10 receiver in 2014.
11. Alshon Jeffery, Bears – Mea Culpa. I did not believe in Jeffery entering the season. I do now. In a clear case of a player getting serious about his game, Jeffery showed up to training camp in great shape and became a dominant receiver in his second year in the league. His ability to make leaping catches and catch everything in sight was something to behold as he emerged as the ninth ranked fantasy receiver in 2013 with 89 receptions for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns. He may fall shy of those numbers in 2014 (Jay Cutler targets Brandon Marshall too much) but he remains a lower tier WR1.
12. Pierre Garcon, Redskins – After Garcon flashed his playmaking ability during an injury marred 2012 campaign, you knew he could be in line for a breakout season in 2013. And sure enough, that’s what happened with Garcon hauling in 113 passes for 1,346 yards, both career highs. Somehow the Redskins explosive playmaker found pay dirt just five times. With no proven threat opposite him, only an injury could derail Garcon in 2014.
13. Michael Crabtree, 49ers – While Crabtree was only mildly productive after returning from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in May, hauling in 34 passes for 487 yards and a touchdown in eight games including the playoffs, a truer picture of his worth lies in his production at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Over the final eight games of that season, Crabtree caught 55 passes for 823 yards and seven touchdowns.
14. Keenan Allen, Chargers – Look no further if you want to find the steal of the 2013 rookie draft. Taken midway through the third round, Allen was an afterthought in the Chargers first three games but came on strong, catching 76 passes for 1,179 yards and 10 touchdowns over San Diego’s final 15 games including the playoffs. While the Chargers will likely look to upgrade the starting spot opposite him, Allen clearly has WR1 potential.
15. Torrey Smith, Ravens – With the Ravens struggling to get consistent production opposite him, Smith had career highs in targets with 137, receptions with 65 and yards with 1,128. Unfortunately, the Ravens speedster hit pay dirt just four times and was neutralized down the stretch, failing to find the end zone in Baltimore’s final four games and totaling just 176 yards. In addition, he topped 100 receiving yards just twice and not once in his last eleven games.
16. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers – VJax didn’t suffer when Mike Glennon took over at quarterback, reaching a career high in receptions with 78 while hauling in 1,224 yards (the second highest total of his career) with 7 touchdowns. The Bucs offensive struggles at the conclusion of the season (44 points in their last three games) are cause for concern and that limits his upside in 2014.
17. DeSean Jackson, Eagles – After failing to top 1,000 yards in 2011 and 2012, DJax hit the mark in 2013, posting career highs across the board with 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s risky and wildly inconsistent (seven games with six or fewer points) but seemed to be a solid fit in Chip Kelly’s offense.
18. Eric Decker, Broncos – Is the grass greener on the other side? Is Decker going to be another in a long line of solid second receivers who flop badly when they move to a new team to become the top dog? Decker’s value is completely up in the air until we see where he lands. If stays in Denver, look for more than 1,000 yards and double digit touchdowns for the third season in a row. If he lands in New York with the Jets and Geno Smith, consider him a low end WR3.
19. Michael Floyd, Cardinals – The yards were there for Floyd in 2013 (1,054) but the touchdowns weren’t (just five). The Cardinals are expecting big things from the former 1st round pick in his third year and a breakout season could be on tap.
20. Randall Cobb, Packers – I’ve never taken to Cobb the way most of the fantasy community has. Is he good? Absolutely. Is he great? Don’t see it. While Jordy Nelson can do it all, Cobb can do most of it. Nelson seems to have earned a greater share of Aaron Rodgers’ trust and the numbers back that up. In the six games that the wide receivers played together this season, Nelson was targeted 64 times to 49 for Cobb.
21. Wes Welker, Broncos – After topping 100 receptions in five of the previous six seasons, Welker stumbled to just 73 receptions in 2013 as a concussion caused him to miss three games and he was no longer his quarterback’s top option. That being said, he may have topped 1,000 yards had he stayed healthy and he scored a whopping 10 touchdowns in 13 games. If Eric Decker walks in free agency, Welker could be an upper tier WR2 in 2014.
22. Kendall Wright, Titans – After struggling as a rookie in 2012, the Titans former first round pick came into his own in 2013, topping 1,000 receiving yards and catching 94 passes. Unfortunately, he struggled to generate many big plays for the second year in a row, catching just two touchdown passes and seeing his yards per reception improve slightly, from 9.8 to 11.5. With Justin Hunter expected to eat into his targets and Wright not a viable option in the red zone, he is clearly a better pick in PPR formats.
23. T.Y. Hilton, Colts – Hilton has speed to burn and was outstanding in the Colts final three games (including two playoff matchups), catching 28 passes for 482 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Unfortunately, a reduction in targets seems likely with both Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Allen returning from injury. Nonetheless, there is breakout potential here.
24. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – The 30-year old Fitzgerald failed to top 1,000 receiving yards for the second consecutive season but his high touchdown count (10) kept him as a solid, upper tier WR2 in 2013. With Michael Floyd coming on and Fitzgerald becoming reliant on touchdowns to pad his fantasy stats, he is no longer a threat to reclaim his status as a WR1.
25. Victor Cruz, Giants – Dud or Stud? Productive with Nicks but productive without him if he doesn’t return? Can Eli rebound? There are some question marks here, folks.
26. Percy Harvin, Seahawks – We saw in the Super Bowl just how explosive Harvin can be but can he stay healthy?
27. Roddy White, Falcons – After appearing in 16 games for eight straight seasons, White’s run of solid health came to an end in 2013 as a high ankle sprain caused him to miss three games and limited his effectiveness in several others. His string of six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons also came to an end, as he finished the year with 63 receptions for 711 yards and three touchdowns. While White will be 32 on opening day, he was very productive in the Falcons last five games with 43 receptions for 502 yards and a pair of scores.
28. Julian Edelman, Patriots – Dude’s pretty good. And he can stay healthy. Danny Amendola only qualifies in one of those areas.
29. Hakeem Nicks, Giants – Not expected to return to the Giants, Nicks’ fantasy value largely depends on where he lands and his inability to stay on the field. While Nicks has WR1 talent, his inability to stay healthy limits his upside no matter where he lands.
30. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles – I have serious doubts that he will return to the Eagles but he will have had plenty of time to recover.
31. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars – Despite dealing with a groin injury, questionable quarterback play and missing three games, Shorts still managed to catch 66 passes for 777 yards and three touchdowns playing in the Jaguars sad sack offense. This dude’s better than people give him credit for.
32. Terrence Williams, Cowboys – The Cowboys rookie 3rd round pick was highly productive in limited opportunities, catching 44 of his 74 targets for 736 yards and five touchdowns. He has the size and speed to benefit playing opposite Dez Bryant and look for that to happen with Miles Austin on his way out of Dallas.
33. Marques Colston, Saints – Colston finished just 57 yards shy of topping 1,000 receiving yards for the seventh time in his eight seasons in the league. At 30 years of age, fantasy pundits seem to be souring on him but the last I checked, the Saints have precious little at wide receiver outside of Colston.
34. Steve Johnson, Bills – After becoming the first Bills receiver to top 1,000 receiving yards in three straight seasons, Johnson struggled through an injury plagued 2013 campaign, finishing the year with just 52 receptions for 597 yards and three touchdowns. Just 27 years of age, expected a bounce back year in 2014 although the presence of Robert Woods limits his upside.
35. Mike Wallace, Dolphins – Wallace possesses blazing speed but it meant little in 2013 as he and quarterback Ryan Tannehill couldn’t get the Dolphins deep passing attack in sync. Wallace caught just 51.8% of his targets, finishing with career lows in yards per reception with 12.7 and touchdowns with five.
36. Tavon Austin, Rams – Did Austin get things figured out over the second half of his rookie season? Not really. Have the Rams figured out how to use him? Who knows. Will the return of Sam Bradford lead to bigger things in 2014? Your guess is as good as mine.
37. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs – A total dud in 2013, Bowe suffered through the worst season of his seven year career as he was never in sync with new quarterback Alex Smith. Expect better results in 2014 but Smith’s cautious approach severely limits Bowe’s upside.
38. Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings – While Patterson is an exciting playmaker, he remains very much a work in progress as a receiver, topping 50 yards just twice in his rookie season. He could be a player who turns it on the second half of the 2014 season.
39. Greg Jennings, Vikings – I like Jennings. I don’t like the Vikings quarterback situation.
40. Reggie Wayne, Colts – Coming off an ACL injury, Wayne will turn 36 during the 2014 season. He’s a warrior but he’s a warrior on his last legs.
Best of the rest: James Jones, Marvin Jones, Rueben Randle, Golden Tate, Steve Smith, Anquan Boldin, Riley Cooper, Jarrett Boykin, DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Stills.
By: Dave Stringer — January 28, 2014 @ 10:30 am
There was a time when you could safely predict which players would finish the season as quality fantasy options at running back. Unfortunately, those days appear to be behind us as running backs struggle to stay on the field and new players emerge every season.
In 2013, several consensus RB1’s suffered through dreadful seasons as they were hit with injuries, were ineffective or some combination of the two. Fantasy owners who gambled on the likes of Arian Foster, Ray Rice or C.J. Spiller saw their fortunes plummet while player such as Knowshon Moreno (considered a 1st round bust), Eddie Lacy (a rookie) and DeMarco Murray (an injury plagued player) emerged as top players at the position.
Expect more of the same in 2014 with several question marks at the position as we enter what proves to be another intriguing offseason.
LeSean McCoy led all running backs with 366 touches in 2013.
1. LeSean McCoy, Eagles – While Jamaal Charles may have been the top rated fantasy running back in 2013, McCoy lands the number one spot in my early 2014 rankings. He topped 2,000 total yards (2,047) for the first time in his career and will have just turned 26 when the season opens. The Eagles run it a lot under Chip Kelly and that should mean close to 400 touches for McCoy once again in 2014.
2. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – Andy Reid turned over a new leaf in 2013, leaning heavily on Charles as both a runner and receiver. He had 259 carries in just 15 games while catching 70 passes and scoring a career-high 19 times on his way to becoming the top rated fantasy running back. Expect more of the same in 2014 although the Chiefs offensive line is a bit of a concern with left tackle Brandon Albert headed for free agency and unlikely to return.
3. Adrian Peterson, Vikings – A year after nearly breaking the single season record for most rushing yards, Peterson was simply solid in 2013 gaining 1,266 rushing yards and scoring ten touchdowns in 14 games. While that is impressive production, the 28-year old Peterson averaged “just” 4.5 yards per carry, the second lowest average of his seven-year career as he battled a nagging groin injury for a large portion of the season. With Norv Turner bringing his power running, play action offensive philosophy to Minnesota, Peterson is a solid candidate for a bounce-back season in 2014.
4. Matt Forte, Bears – After posting career lows in receptions (44) and yards (340) while averaging just 7.7 yards per reception in 2012, Forte was rejuvenated in his first year in Marc Trestman’s offense. He reached career-highs in rushing yards with 1,341, rushing touchdowns with nine, receptions with 75 and receiving yards with 592. Expect Forte to be used more by the Bears new coaching staff and for him to emerge as a low-end RB1 in 2013.
5. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks – Lynch put together another solid season in 2013 but he wasn’t the Beast on the ground as his rushing yards dropped from 1,590 to 1,257 and his yards per carry plummeted from 5.0 to a still respectable 4.2. You can certainly lay part of the blame for those numbers on the offensive line’s inability to stay healthy but there is no guarantee that will change next season. Lynch made up some production in the passing game, hauling in 36 receptions (his most since 2008) for 316 yards and two touchdowns (both career-highs).
6. Eddie Lacy, Packers – Green Bay used a second round pick in last year’s draft to acquire Lacy and they were rewarded. He set a franchise rookie record with 1,178 yards despite missing nearly two full games with a concussion and was surprisingly solid as a receiver with 35 receptions on 44 targets for 257 yards. At 5’11” and 230 pounds, Lacy has the ability to be the Packers first true workhorse running back since Ryan Grant. With James Starks likely to leave in free agency, Johnathan Franklin having struggled in his rookie season and DuJuan Harris missing all of 2013 due to injury, look for Lacy to average 20 plus touches once again in 2014.
7. Arian Foster, Texans – Fantasy Football is about finding value throughout your draft or auction and Foster has the potential to bring huge value to your roster in 2014. First off, the FF world is far too down on him. Secondly, he could be in line for a huge workload next season with Ben Tate all but certain to leave in free agency.
8. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers – Head coaches blow smoke all the time but Mike Tomlin’s assertion that he would have taken Bell over Eddie Lacy if he had a re-do of the 2013 rookie draft had a ring of truth to it. While not as physical as Lacy, Bell ran hard during his rookie season, finishing the year with 860 rushing yards and eight touchdowns despite missing the first three games with a foot injury that impacted his effectiveness when he returned to the lineup. He also chipped in 45 receptions for 408 yards. Add it all up and Bell should emerge as a solid RB1 in 2014 with 1,700 total yards and double-digit touchdowns not out of the question.
9. Giovani Bernard, Bengals – You’ve seen this dude play, right? You’ve seen the highlight reel plays, right? You know he’s getting way more touches in 2014, right? Future stud here, folks. Note to Dynasty Leaguers. Overpay now, smile later.
10. C.J. Spiller, Bills – A big play machine in 2012 while averaging 6.0 yards per carry and 10.7 yards per reception while racking up 1,703 total yards and eight touchdowns, Spiller was arguably the biggest fantasy bust of the 2013 season. While he rushed for a respectable 927 yards, he scored just two touchdowns and was completely neutralized as a receiver, catching just 34 passes for a paltry 197 yards and no touchdowns. An ankle injury was the main cause of his disappointing season and a bounce back year in 2014 is expected.
11. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys – Murray was a pleasant surprise in 2013, reaching career highs in games played (14), carries (217), rushing yrds (1,124), rushing touchdowns (nine), receptions (53), receiving yards (348) and receiving touchdowns (one). Okay, the receiving touchdown was piling on but it helped prove a point. Murray was exemplary in 2013. The truth is, the Cowboys should have used him even more than they did. Here’s to hoping they get that figured out in 2014 and that Murray remains (mostly) healthy once again. Let’s face it though; this guy is unlikely to ever play in 16 games in a season.
12. Ray Rice, Ravens – The shine came off Ray Rice quickly in 2013. Expected to be a fantasy stud after averaging 1,877 yards and 9.75 touchdowns during his previous four seasons, Rice’s production plummeted as he battled a strained left hip flexor and a quadriceps injury on his way to a 981 total yards and four touchdowns. With the Ravens expected to address their shortcomings along the offensive line and Rice just 27, a bounce back season seems likely.
13. Doug Martin, Bucs – Martin wasn’t healthy in 2013 (a torn labrum ended his season in Week 6) and he wasn’t effective when he did play, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and 5.5 yards per reception. After nearly topping 2,000 yards as a rookie in 2012 (he was just 74 yards shy of that plateau), Martin is certainly worth gambling on in 2014. And with the FF world down on the Bucs and Martin, he should come at a deep discount.
14. Alfred Morris, Redskins – While Morris’ production plummeted to 1,275 rushing yards from the 1,613 he put up as a rookie in 2012, it would be foolhardy to blame the Redskins talented rusher. Not known for his pass catching ability (20 receptions in two years), his touches declined from 346 to 285 as the Redskins played from behind in several games. For fantasy purposes, Morris’ value lies in the ability of the Redskins to play with a lead. Let’s face it – nobody is banking on them winning the NFC East in 2014 and that limits Morris’ upside.
15. Ryan Mathews, Chargers – Despite ceding his pass catching duties to Danny Woodhead, Mathews had a solid season in 2013. He rushed for a career-high 1,255 yards with six touchdowns and hit double digit fantasy points in nine of his last ten games, averaging 11.7 FPts for the season. While Woodhead will once again eat up playing time in passing situations, Mathews performance last season ensures that he will approach the 19.4 touches per game he had in 2013. His talent is undeniable and he managed to play in all 16 games for the first time in his four-year career, making him less of a risk on draft day.
16. Zac Stacy, Rams – While Stacy will get plenty of consideration as a RB1 in 2014 given that he ran for 969 yards in 12 games after stepping into a prominent role in Week 5, lowered expectations are in order. The rookie fifth round pick owned the backfield during that stretch of games but that won’t be the case next season. Look for the Rams to add to their stable of running backs given the disappointing seasons of Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead and their lack of faith in Benny Cunningham. Cunningham had just 15 touches in six games as a backup to Stacy.
17. Reggie Bush, Lions – Bush was pretty much everything the Lions hoped he would be in 2013 with one caveat. Fumbles. Playing in 14 games, Bush amassed 1,512 total yards with seven touchdowns while adding a second big play element to the lineup (along with Calvin Johnson). Expect more of the same in 2014.
18. Ben Tate, Texans – Destination unknown but we can be pretty sure Tate and Arian Foster won’t both be back in Houston. Frankly speaking, Tate was mostly unimpressive subbing in for Foster this season, totaling 771 rushing yards in 14 games including seven starts. A subpar receiver, he totaled 34 receptions but for only 140 yards. Tate doesn’t look like he will be a value play in 2014.
19. Chris Johnson, Titans – While Johnson may have finished the season as the 9th ranked fantasy running back with 1,077 rushing yards, 345 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, he is likely to have a new home in 2014. With a large salary cap number and a reduced ability to generate big plays, Johnson will likely be released unless he agrees to a salary reduction, which he has vowed he will not accept. Regardless, he will find a home as a starting running back somewhere in 2014 and figures to be no worse than a mid-tier RB2 wherever he lands.
20. Frank Gore, 49ers – The FF world keeps waiting for Gore to fall off a cliff but he keeps resisting. He finished 2014 as the 13th ranked fantasy running back after finishing 11th in 2012 and 13th in 2011. While there is some concern he will be a cap casualty this offseason, that seems unlikely given the 49ers have a roster worthy of winning the Super Bowl. Look for the youngsters in the San Francisco backfield to eat into his playing time but for Gore to once again finish in RB2 territory in 2014.
21. Shane Vereen, Patriots – Vereen opened the 2013 season on fire, gaining 101 yards on the ground to go along with 58 receiving yards. The only issue was that he broke his wrist in that game causing him to be absent from the lineup until Week 11. When he returned, Vereen looked dynamic but he finished the season with a thud, gaining just 76 yards in his last three regular season games and 126 yards in the Patriots two playoff games. It’s all about usage and Vereen’s usage is inconsistent as is his fantasy production.
22. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos – There might not be a more polarizing fantasy option at running back in 2014 than Moreno. The 2009 1st round pick finished the year with career highs in rushing yards (1,039), rushing touchdowns (10), receptions (60), receiving yards (548) and receiving touchdowns (three) on his way to finishing as the fifth ranked fantasy running back. Next season, 2013 second round pick Montee Ball and the Broncos salary cap situation stand in the way of Moreno replicating that production. While Moreno played too well not to warrant a return invitation, he rates as no more than a low end RB2 with upside in 2014.
23. Stevan Ridley, Patriots – Despite Shane Vereen’s ten-game absence from the lineup, Ridley was a major disappointment in 2013. After posting career highs in 2012 in rushing yards (1,263) and rushing touchdowns (12), Ridley managed just 773 rushing yards and seven touchdowns as fumbling issues caused the team to reduce his role. At this point, Ridley is as likely to open next season in the starting lineup, as he is to be unemployed. Okay, maybe not unemployed but there are no guarantees that he will be in New England to open the season.
24. Montee Ball, Broncos – Denver rode the hot hand at running back in 2013 and that was Knowshon Moreno. It could just as easily be Ball in 2014.
25. Andre Brown, Giants – While Giants struggled mightily for much of the season, Brown’s return from a broken leg in Week 10 helped solidify the team’s offense. In eight games, he amassed 595 total yards and three touchdowns with the Giants winning five of those games (they were 2-6 without Brown). While Brown isn’t flashy, he is effective and 2012 first round pick David Wilson might not play next season.
26. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars – For all the slogging MJD took in 2013, he still finished the season with 1,117 total yards and five touchdowns in 15 games despite playing in the Jaguars putrid offense. Of course, his 3.4 yards per carry average was wholly unimpressive but at least some of that can be laid at the feet of the team’s offensive line. Either way, MJD’s days as a solid RB1 are clearly behind him at the ripe old age of 28.
27. Andre Ellington, Cardinals – Pretty much no clue where to put Ellington since there’s pretty much no clue on how the Cardinals plan to employ him in 2014. Despite being more productive than Rashard Mendenhall, Ellington had 80 fewer touches.
28. Darren Sproles, Saints – After averaging 11.6 and 10.7 PPG in 2012 and 2011, Sproles crashed landed in 2013, finishing the season with just 220 rushing yards, 604 receiving yards and four touchdowns, the lowest totals during his three-year stay in New Orleans. He missed one game with knee and ankle injuries, barely played in another due to a concussion and had three other games with five or fewer touches. Sproles will be 31 years of age on opening day and there has to be at least some concern that the diminutive back is on the downside of his career, particularly given his lack of explosiveness in 2013.
29. Steven Jackson, Falcons – While Sjax has always been a warrior, his years of heavy usage seemed to catch up to him in 2013. In his first year in Atlanta, he missed four games and most of another with a hamstring injury and certainly seemed to be playing hurt when he returned to the lineup. His string of eight consecutive seasons with over 1,000 rushing yards came to an abrupt halt as he finished the season with just 542 yards on the ground. A complete non-factor against the league’s better run defenses, he is no more than a RB3 in 2014 provided he is back in Atlanta.
30. Lamar Miller, Dolphins – Watching Miller run last season, you couldn’t help but feel that he was underutilized by offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. With Sherman out of the picture and former Packers quarterback coach Ben McAdoo taking over that role, Miller is worth taking a shot on in 2014. One major caveat is what the team does to reinforce the offensive line in the offseason.
31. Darren McFadden, Raiders – Some talented players just never seem to put it together and McFadden needs to be lumped into that group. In six years in the league, he has topped 1,000 rushing yards once, he has just one season with ten or more touchdowns, he has never played in 16 games and he has topped 30 receptions just twice. In fact, he’s been such a disappointment that it will be a shock if the Raiders re-sign him, despite being flush with salary cap space and just veteran journeyman Rashad Jennings at running back. End of story.
32. Trent Richardson, Colts – Ditto for Trent Richardson. While he showed some talent and toughness as a rookie with the Browns in 2012, he was a complete non-factor in both Cleveland and Indianapolis in 2013. He topped 60 rushing yards once, averaged 3.0 yards per carry and was usurped on the depth chart by former first round bust Donald Brown.
33. Danny Woodhead, Chargers – Woodhead was solid in 2013, reaching career highs in total yards with 1030, touchdowns with eight and receptions with 76 (on just 87 targets). However, Ryan Mathews came on strong as the season ended and the Chargers figure to be healthier at wide receiver in 2014. That should add up for fewer opportunities for Woodhead next season.
34. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers – Consistent with prior years, it’s best to avoid the Panthers crowded backfield. If you have to go there, Williams is your man.
35. Fred Jackson, Bills – Old Freddie stole the show from C.J. Spiller in 2013, totaling 1,271 yards and a career high 10 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Fjax will be 33 years old when the 2014 season begins and at some point, the Bills have to hand the reins over to Spiller. There will still be a role for Jackson but he rates as a lower end RB3 for next season.
36. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals – You’ve seen Giovani Bernard play, right? The Law Firm’s days as a number one back are clearly over and it won’t be a huge shock if the Bengals attempt to replace him after he averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry in 2013.
37. Donald Brown, Colts – Sorry, folks, I’m not a believer.
38. Rashad Jennings, Raiders – Ditto.
39. Chris Ivory, Jets – Ditto.
By: Dave Stringer — January 10, 2014 @ 10:21 am
Manning’s perfect fantasy storm may carry into another season.
In 2013, it wasn’t hard finding production at the quarterback position with the Broncos Peyton Manning leading the way. Manning set league records for passing yards and touchdowns while scoring the most fantasy points by a quarterback in the modern era, averaging 31.0 FPts/G.
Drew Brees of the Saints was the only other quarterback to top 5,000 passing yards. He threw for 39 touchdowns and averaged 27.3 FPts/G.
While there was plenty of production at the quarterback position, fantasy owners didn’t need to overpay for it given the plethora of options at the position. In fact, if you didn’t land Manning or Brees, you would have been best served by waiting to grab a quarterback in the later rounds.
That is because the next 14 quarterbacks averaged between 20.5 and 23.6 FPts/G. And several of the players in that group were either drafted as backups (Andy Dalton, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger) or not drafted at all (Nick Foles, Sam Bradford, Alex Smith) in several leagues.
That will be an important consideration in building your 2014 fantasy squad. Let’s get on with my initial QB Rankings for next season.
1. Peyton Manning, Broncos – After setting records for most passing yards and passing touchdowns and putting together arguably the best regular season of any quarterback ever, Manning returns to a Broncos squad in 2014 that returns all of its key contributors in the passing game with only running back Knowshon Moreno and wide receiver Eric Decker question marks to return. With three big targets in Demaryius Thomas, Decker and Julius Thomas to go along with the best slot receiver of all-time in Wes Welker, Manning’s embarrassment of riches are, well, an embarrassment.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers – While Rodgers is likely the league’s top quarterback, he is no longer the top rated fantasy quarterback. It’s all about the weaponry and Green Bay’s group of receivers no longer stacks up to that of several other teams, which also has resulted in the Packers running the ball more. Rodgers missed Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley (who may retire) this year and James Jones might very well be the next Packer receiver out the door in 2014.
3. Drew Brees, Saints – Another quarterback who remains productive despite the talent erosion surrounding him is the Saints Drew Brees. Granted, it helps when you have the most dynamic receiving tight end and running back in the league in Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles. However, Marques Colston is clearly entering the final stages of his career as is Lance Moore and only Kenny Stills looks to have the potential to replace them. Reinforcements are coming and that usually results in a decline in production (see Tom Brady circa 2013).
4. Matt Ryan, Falcons – While the numbers don’t support that Ryan had the finest season of his six-year career, he may just have given his circumstances. Julio Jones and Roddy White, who might have garnered the title as the league’s most dangerous pair of wide receivers on any team in the preseason, combined to miss 14 games with White severely hobbled and not able to top 50 receiving yard in his first eight games. Throw in a key injury to running back Steven Jackson and it is clear Ryan was playing with less than a full deck in 2013. Despite that, he amassed over 4,500 passing yards and 26 touchdowns.
5. Cam Newton, Panthers – Newton become a more proficient passing in 2013, setting career highs in completion percentage (61.7%) and touchdown passes (24). However, both his passing and rushing yardage declined and he scored just six touchdowns after finding the end zone 22 times during his first two years in the league. The truth is that Newton became a better quarterback in 2013 and that hurt his stock as a fantasy quarterback. Given the decline of Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell’s inability to emerge as a go-to threat, Newton carries some risk next season.
6. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers – With Michael Crabtree in the lineup, Kaepernick averaged 21.8 FPts/G. Without him, he averaged, 19.2. And considering Crabtree wasn’t at 100% when he returned in Week 13, that difference could have been much larger if the sample size were greater. You have to figure the 49ers will find a way to re-sign Anquan Boldin and with Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis, that would give Kaepernick the weapons he lacked in 2013.
7. Andy Dalton, Bengals – Laugh all you want but Dalton has a cast of weapons that several other quarterbacks could only dream of. The Bengals run four-deep at wide receiver, have a pair of solid pass catching tight ends and one of the league’s most explosive young running backs in Giovani Bernard to pair with dependable veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis, not to mention a solid offensive line. That was enough to propel Dalton to the third place ranking amongst fantasy quarterbacks in just his third year in the league.
8. Nick Foles, Eagles – Foles averaged a whopping 26.1 FPts/G in the ten games he played meaningful snaps. Only Manning and Brees averaged more. While Foles may partially be a product of his environment, the Eagles boast the league’s top rated rushing attack, a solid offensive line and plenty of receiving options at wide receiver and tight end. With Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper likely to return, Foles figures to be a top 10 quarterback in 2014.
9. Matthew Stafford, Lions – After averaging 26.5 FPts/G over his first 12 games, the wheels came off for Stafford, the Lions and his fantasy owners at precisely the wrong time. Over the final four games of the season, Stafford threw for just 822 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions while averaging a woeful 12.5 FPts/G. He remains a work in progress and his lack of consistency drops him down the fantasy rankings at quarterback.
10. Tony Romo, Cowboys – If there’s one thing consistent about Romo, it is his consistency. Let’s run down his FPt averages since the 2007 season: 23.7, 21.6, 21.5, 21.3, 21.5, 23.0, 21.3. So if you’re looking for between 21 and 23 FPts/G, Romo’s your man. And there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a consistent performer who generally comes as a bargain to be your fantasy quarterback. While Romo is now 33, he hasn’t shown any decline.
11. Tom Brady, Patriots – With an array of rookies, journeymen and free agents added to the Patriots group of receivers as well as key injuries to Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, Brady struggled for much of 2013. However, he was solid when his weapons were healthy and decent enough in several games when they weren’t. While Brady is no longer the quarterback he was in his prime, he is still a solid fantasy option and expecting a bump in his production in 2014 isn’t far fetched given he should be more familiar with his group of receivers and they will have gained a year of experience in the Patriots offense. The outlook of Gronkowski clouds Brady’s value, which may make him a bargain on draft day.
12. Philip Rivers, Chargers – With the emergence of rookie Kennan Allen, the rejuvenation of tight end Antonio Gates and the addition of running back Danny Woodhead, Rivers had a renaissance season in 2013 at 32 years of age. He threw for the third most yards of his career with 4,478 and the second most touchdowns with 32, on his way to being the sixth highest ranked fantasy quarterback. Expect more of the same in 2014.
13. Andrew Luck, Colts – Luck is another example of quarterback improving on the field but seeing a decline in his fantasy production. The Colts were clearly more of a running team in 2013 with Luck seeing his passing yardage decline from 4,374 yards to 3,830. Not helping matters was the loss of Reggie Wayne, who figures to return next season at 35 years of age.
The best of the rest: Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Ben Roethlisberger, Sam Bradford.
By: Thomas Casale — December 31, 2013 @ 8:40 am
It was another wild week both in the NFL and for fantasy owners. Here’s a recap of every game in the Tuesday Morning Buzz.
Browns – Steelers
The Browns ended a tough season by firing Rob Chudzinski after only one year. I’ve always been a fan of Chudzinski and was surprised he got just one year; but on the other hand, if ownership isn’t happy with a coach, I don’t see waiting to make a move. That’s one of the biggest mistakes in sports. Why wait a year to fire a guy you don’t want to be your coach? Keep an eye on where Chudzinski lands next year as an offensive coordinator. Despite his 4-12 season as a head coach in Cleveland, the guy knows offense and will be a benefit to fantasy owners if he lands with a team that has a decent quarterback.
CJ2K’s future with the Titans is uncertain.
Texans – Titans
Chris Johnson ended the year on a high note, rushing for 127 yards and a score. I like to bust Johnson’s chops because he complains about everything. He makes excuses for his poor play, he throws teammates under the bus and he blames fantasy owners when he has a bad game. However, while Johnson may no longer be in Adrian Peterson’s class, he still has some productive years left in him if he stays motivated. It will be interesting to see where he ends up in 2014. Hopefully it will be with a team that gets him out in space more and utilizes his strengths better than the Titans did the last couple of years.
Redskins – Giants
This game was so dreadful no one even showed up to watch it. There are only a couple of things I can say about this game. I feel sorry for the team that hires Mike Shanahan. I mean, seriously, look at his record since 2006. I say it all the time: football changes, and just because a coach used to be considered good doesn’t mean that’s still the case. Just ask Monte Kiffin. Next year will be huge for Eli Manning. He’s coming off one of the worst seasons a big-time quarterback in his prime has had in my lifetime. One guy Manning may want to throw to more next year is Jerrel Jernigan. He played really well over the final three games. It was weird watching a Giants receiver that actually wanted to be on the field.
Jets – Dolphins
People spend so much time making fun of the Jets it should be recognized what a good job Rex Ryan did this season. The Jets had one of the worst groups of offensive skill position players I can remember, started a rookie quarterback, lost Darrelle Revis and still went 8-8. The Jets have to get more talent on the offensive side of the ball though. They need to draft a Julio Jones/A.J. Green kind of young receiver that can make big plays in the passing game. If New York drafts defense again in the first round, its fans should revolt. Ryan Tannehill has become the latest person to declare his dislike for Mike Sherman. Sherman better be careful. Soon he’ll be hated by more players than Todd Haley.
Lions – Vikings
This was the loser bowl featuring two pathetic coaches waiting to get fired. I would be jumping to get one of these jobs if I were a coach on the market. It’s obvious that Detroit has talent and Jim Schwartz just can’t coach his way out of a paper bag, but don’t sell Leslie Frazier short. He can’t coach worth a darn either. This is the guy who didn’t start using Cordarrelle Patterson until Week 11. The Vikings have talent too, they just need a quarterback. If Minnesota can bring in the right coach and quarterback like the Chiefs did last offseason, I can see them making a big leap in 2014.
Jaguars – Colts
It took offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton some time but it appears he finally realizes that he’s not at Stanford anymore. Hamilton spent much of the year trying to feature a non-existent power running game instead of letting his stud quarterback lead the offense. In college you can do that stuff because Stanford is playing Washington State and Colorado, but in the NFL if you have an elite quarterback the offense has to run through him. After 14 weeks the guy making a lot of money to run an NFL offense finally figured out what the rest of us knew in Week 2. Andrew Luck is now distributing the ball to all his receivers and Indianapolis is using the running game to complement him, not the other way around. If the Jaguars don’t draft a quarterback in Round 1 they should get kicked out of the league.
Ravens – Bengals
It’s funny because the Ravens are one year removed from winning the Super Bowl but I feel they have a lot of work to do this offseason. Marlon Brown was a nice surprise this year but Baltimore has to find more playmakers on offense to help Joe Flacco. Dennis Pitta will be healthy next season but I don’t care what Ray Rice says, he’s two years away from retiring. The Ravens need to accept that Rice is close to done and do something about their running game. I know the line didn’t block anyone but Rice also couldn’t find holes when they were there. Baltimore’s offense is going into an offseason of transition. The Bengals head to the playoffs, and while Marvin Jones stepped up a little this year, I feel like they are one slot receiver away from having a scary offense. If Cincinnati can find one of those quick slot receivers in the draft, its offense will be even better in 2014.
Falcons – Panthers
The last two weeks were the epitome of the Falcons’ miserable season. Atlanta had a chance to beat both playoff-bound San Francisco and Carolina but came up short each time. Tony Gonzalez is gone, but every time I see him I feel like I should be a Vegan. The guy looks 22. Still, the Falcons offense will be much improved in 2014. You saw how much better it looked with just Roddy White healthy. With Julio Jones and White both back next year Matt Ryan will have a big bounceback season. Carolina finished 26th in total offense under Mike Shula, just like I predicted. Thank God for Cam Newton and their defense.
49ers – Cardinals
The Cardinals came up short on Sunday against the hottest team in the league and just missed out on the playoffs, but Year 1 in Arizona under Bruce Arians was a success. The Cardinals have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Now they just have to figure out a way to defend the tight end. Arizona has a strong group of receivers and found a playmaker in the backfield with Andre Ellington. I don’t think the Cardinals can take the next step with Carson Palmer at quarterback but I’m guessing he’ll be the starter again in 2014. However, I also expect them to select a quarterback pretty high in the draft.
Chiefs – Chargers
The Chargers almost inexplicably blew a golden opportunity to get into the playoffs by barely beating the Chiefs’ B-team in overtime. I admit that I thought San Diego would win only three games this year, so I have to tip my hat to Mike McCoy. He did an excellent job in his first season getting a team I still don’t believe has a ton of talent into the playoffs. Knile Davis was a guy I had as a sleeper coming into the draft and then the Chiefs selected him higher than most thought he would go. Davis was once considered a potential second-round pick before injuries and fumbling problems hurt his draft stock in college. However, you saw some of his physical ability on Sunday. If Jamaal Charles were to ever go down in the future, Davis would be a strong fantasy option, assuming he can hang onto the football.
Rams – Seahawks
I bet $100 on Seattle to win the Super Bowl back in May. I’ll win $1,000 if the Seahawks win it all, and while I’m obviously happy they have home field advantage, I don’t think Seattle will get there. My main concern is that Russell Wilson has lost his confidence. If you watch Wilson closely, he’s leaving the pocket when there’s no rush now, he has nervous feet and he isn’t going through his reads like he used to. Seattle has had injuries on the offensive line and Percy Harvin never really played this year. It looks to me like Wilson is regressing a little bit. Watch for this in the playoffs because if Wilson struggles, I would be concerned that it could linger into next season.
Packers – Bears
I no longer have a doubt in my mind that Jay Cutler has a sexual crush on Brandon Marshall. If you could throw a Hail Mary up to any receiver in the NFL, who would it be? The right answer is Megatron but the second receiver is Alshon Jeffery. Very few receivers can go up and get the ball at its highest point like Jeffery. So what does Cutler do on the last play of the game with the Bears’ season on the line? He throws one up to Marshall. As good as Marshall is, Jeffery has a much better chance of going up and making that play. You have to hand it to the Packers. They stayed in it because they have a better coach than the Lions and Bears, got Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb back for the last game and those two made the play that sent Green Bay to the playoffs. A lot of people like the Packers to make a run in the playoffs. I’m not one of them. The 49ers are an awful matchup for Green Bay. It was a great job to get into the postseason but it will be one-and-done when San Fran comes calling next week.
Buccaneers – Saints
I’m always pleased when a jerk gets fired. The first time I saw the Buccaneers attack the line on the victory formation and Greg Schiano said, “We play until the final whistle,” I waited for the day to see him get fired. Go coach high school football, you jerk. I’ve worked in the NFL. Those guys will buy into that crap for about 10 minutes until they get bored with it. That’s the kind of nonsense that may work at Rutgers but it’s not going to work with guys making millions. Trust me, if we think it’s stupid, players think it’s stupid too. I thought Mike Glennon played well for a rookie getting thrown into the fire. Like Minnesota, I don’t believe the Tampa Bay job is a terrible job to get. If Glennon pans out, they have more talent than is reflected by their record.
Bills – Patriots
Man, your rush defense is bad when LeGarrette Blount is running for 189 yards and two scores. The Bills were competitive in Doug Marrone’s first year. Buffalo still needs some more pieces, but I thought Marrone got the most out of his talent. I will be interested to see if the team progresses in his second season. If you draft C.J. Spiller next year, you get what you deserve. Don’t come crying to me when he’s in and out of 10 games with multiple injuries, along with being a game-time decision every week. That soft SOB won’t even be on my draft board.
Broncos – Raiders
Peyton Manning broke every regular-season record but it’s not going to mean anything unless he plays well in the postseason. No player in recent memory has more pressure on him in the playoffs than Manning does this year. Even if the Broncos don’t win it all, he has to play well or the scrutiny on him will be relentless and, to be honest, well-deserved. I know Dennis Allen doesn’t coach for the best organization but he looks to be in way over his head. I don’t think he has any business being an NFL head coach. The guy constantly mismanages the clock, his personnel and game situations. You can’t blame Al Davis for that too.
Eagles – Cowboys
New year, different quarterback, same result for the Cowboys. Boy, I wonder what is the one thing that has been the same over the last 16 years? The players have changed. The coaches have changed. Yet, Dallas only has one playoff win in 16 years. I wonder what could be the real problem there. It’s a mystery. While Jerry Jones continues to count his money and pretend he cares about winning, the Eagles’ investment in Chip Kelly paid off. Kelly utilized all of his offensive weapons and the defense improved just enough to send the Eagles to the playoffs. Meanwhile in Dallas, 2012 Top 10 pick Morris Claiborne is now a nickel corner and last year’s second-round pick, tight end Gavin Escobar, finished the year with nine receptions. Keep up the great work, Jerry. In 20 more years I feel a Super Bowl coming.
By: Thomas Casale — December 24, 2013 @ 9:17 am
It was another wild week both in the NFL and for fantasy owners. Here’s a recap of every game in the Tuesday Morning Buzz.
Dolphins – Bills
The Dolphins rewarded fantasy owners playing in their championship games with squat. Miami got shut out and only put up 103 total yards. Fred Jackson had a big game for those who started him. Jackson rushed for 111 yards and a score. C.J. Spiller got one more carry than Jackson but as usual did far less, rushing for just 77 yards. Then again, if you’re still starting Spiller you probably stopped playing after Week 2 and aren’t reading this column, so who cares?
Brees posted a clunker as did many other QBs during Week 16.
Saints – Panthers
Drew Brees really put the screws to fantasy owners last week. After having a subpar game against the Rams, Brees put up a real stinker in Carolina, throwing for just 281 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. I’m not the kind of guy who would have benched Brees in the finals, but if you did, hopefully you replaced him with a better option. Cam Newton didn’t do much either. Newton threw for 181 yards, a touchdown and an interception. For a game that featured two elite fantasy QBs, this one didn’t deliver when its owners needed them the most.
Cowboys – Redskins
Kirk Cousins was a popular start last week but he ended up turning in an average performance. I even thought about playing him over Tom Brady. In the end they each finished with the same amount of points, which wasn’t good for me, so it didn’t matter. The one thing you can hang your hat on with the Dallas defense is that an opposing team’s top receiver will be wide open all game long. Pierre Garcon was targeted 18 times on Sunday, catching 11 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. DeMarco Murray rewarded his owners by going over 100 total yards and scoring twice.
Buccaneers – Rams
This game wasn’t expected to feature many fantasy studs and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Zac Stacy rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown, as he continues to eat up carries regardless of the opponent. The only other player who made a fantasy splash was Vincent Jackson. Jackson just missed a 100-yard game, catching five passes for 98 yards. Stedman Bailey was one of my top receivers coming out of this year’s draft. I have no idea why it took the Rams’ coaching staff so long to get him on to the field, but Bailey should be on your radar for 2014.
Browns – Jets
Speaking of games that weren’t expected to produce many fantasy stars, this is the epitome of one. With Jordan Cameron out for the Browns, Josh Gordon was probably the only player in this game started in most leagues. Gordon had a solid day, catching six balls for 97 yards. Some owners may have started Chris Ivory, who went over 100 yards on 20 carries but failed to score. The Jets have some of the worst skill position players in recent memory. They can fire their coach and get another quarterback, but if that team doesn’t get new receivers and tight ends, it won’t matter.
Colts – Chiefs
The Chiefs had been living off of their defense and Jamaal Charles, but only one of them showed up on Sunday. Charles racked up 144 total yards and a touchdown. Those numbers are modest after Charles exploded for five touchdowns two weeks ago but it’s still a strong outing overall. However, the Chiefs’ defense was ripped for 23 points and 367 yards and only recorded one sack despite the Colts missing two starting offensive linemen. Donald Brown closed with a big game, proving he should have gotten more touches all along, while Griff Whalen had his second strong fantasy outing in a row.
Vikings – Bengals
The Vikings’ pass defense is atrocious and Andy Dalton took full advantage, throwing for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Dalton has now maxed out his quota for big games in a season, so the Bengals can sit him next week. Adrian Peterson started but only rushed 11 times for 45 yards. Owners who were hoping for a big game out of Peterson in the finals probably wish he had been inactive for the second straight week instead. Cordarrelle Patterson continues to make plays. On Monday when Leslie Frazier gets fired it will be because it took him eight weeks to get Percy Harvin involved in the offense two years ago and 12 weeks to get Patterson involved this year. That’s great coaching.
Broncos – Texans
If you survived the Broncos’ poor offensive output two weeks ago, they made up for it on Sunday. Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, while Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas all had big games. I want to thank Demaryius Thomas for showing up on my fantasy team for the Super Bowl. At least someone did. The Texans are a trainwreck. When Andre Johnson starts dropping sure touchdowns, you know the end of a miserable season can’t get here soon enough.
Titans – Jaguars
It was a tough end to the season for Chris Johnson owners. Johnson ran for 90 yards on 20 carries but owners had to watch Shonn Greene ramble for 91 yards and a score on 19 carries as well. The Jaguars give up a ton of points to tight ends. I put an end to that. After losing Rob Gronkowski I started Delanie Walker last week and he did nothing other than drop passes and get overthrown in the end zone. Speaking of doing nothing, Maurice Jones-Drew had to come back just so he could kill the fantasy value of Jordan Todman. MJD was slow and ran nowhere but now he can go on the radio and joke about how he started himself. That was funny five years ago.
Cardinals – Seahawks
If you started anyone in this game other than the Seahawks or Cardinals defenses, you were obviously disappointed. Each team scored only one touchdown and Seattle was held to less than 200 yards of offense. If you were counting on Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch or Larry Fitzgerald in your fantasy championship, hopefully the rest of your team picked up the slack.
Giants – Lions
Reggie Bush owners got a kick in the stones after he was benched for fumbling. Joique Bell was the beneficiary, gaining 154 total yards, catching 10 passes and scoring a touchdown. If you rolled the dice and started Bell as a flex play, it paid off big. Calvin Johnson was another disappointment on Sunday. Megatron was dealing with multiple injuries and finished with just three catches for 43 yards on the day. If you’re sick of watching Jim Schwartz trying to coach, you’re in luck. He could be fired by the time you read this sentence.
Patriots – Ravens
Tom Brady and Shane Vereen helped put the fork in my fantasy season. I knew Brady was going to have a poor game but he was my best option. Vereen screwed owners for the second straight week. He’s one of those guys who can’t be trusted. Take him right off your draft board for next season. He’ll just end up getting injured again. People say you can’t predict injuries. I can. I predicted Beanie Wells would get hurt every year. I predict Darren McFadden will get hurt every year. Vereen will get hurt next season after a couple of games. He’s that guy. Mark it down.
Steelers – Packers
If you started a Pittsburgh receiver other than Antonio Brown, you probably thought he wasn’t playing. Out of Ben Roethlisberger’s 28 pass attempts, Brown saw 13 targets, catching six passes for 105 yards. Emmanuel Sanders did make the most of his two receptions, catching one for a score, but as it has been all season, Brown was a target monster on Sunday. Eddie Lacy might have nailed down Rookie of the Year honors by rushing for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Just think of where the Packers would be right now without Lacy.
Raiders – Chargers
If Lacy doesn’t win Rookie of the Year it will be Keenan Allen. Allen didn’t have one of his best games on Sunday but at least one of his three receptions went for a score. Allen’s poor game wasn’t entirely his fault. Philip Rivers was all over the place with his throws. He badly missed a wide-open Allen coming across the middle for what would have been another touchdown. Ryan Mathews continued his late-season surge by gaining 99 yards and scoring a touchdown. Meanwhile, Rashad Jennings was held in check and stood on the sidelines while that waste of space, Darren McFadden, vultured a touchdown. It was just nice to see McFadden take a hand-off without pulling something. That guy is a real trooper.
Bears – Eagles
The Bears’ run defense is so bad I’m starting to think my fat cousin could gain 100 yards on them. LeSean McCoy ran for 133 yards and two scores but that’s only because he got 18 carries. McCoy could have run for over 300 yards if the Eagles had needed him to. Heck, his backup, Bryce Brown, ran for 115 yards and a touchdown. While McCoy helped owners win a fantasy title, Matt Forte did just the opposite. The Bears got behind early and Forte was a non-factor. He only rushed for 29 yards and did nothing as a receiver. Maybe it’s just me, but I remember Chicago’s offense being a lot better when Jay Cutler was hurt.
Falcons – 49ers
The final game of Fantasy Super Bowl week had some strong performances. Matt Ryan threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. Colin Kaepernick had 248 total yards and scored twice. Roddy White rewarded the few owners still starting him by having his best game of the season. White caught 12 balls for 141 yards and a score. Michael Crabtree went over 100 yards, Frank Gore gained 97 yards and scored, Anquan Boldin caught six passes and found the end zone and Tony Gonzalez hauled in eight balls and scored a touchdown. Heck, everyone not named Vernon Davis produced for fantasy owners in this game. It was a great way to end the fantasy season. That is unless you’re in one of the 20 leagues that play into Week 17. If so, see you next Tuesday.
By: Dave Stringer — December 18, 2013 @ 1:18 pm
Kirk Cousins, Redskins
The Redskins are going to do everything possible to put Cousins in a position to succeed since they are desperate to move him in the offseason in order to recoup the draft picks given up in the RGIII trade. He threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns this week and gets to face the sad sack Cowboys defense in Week 16.
Matt Cassel, Vikings
Since taking over as Minnesota’s starter three weeks ago, Cassel has recorded 890 passing yards to go along with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He has averaged 24.3 PPG during that stretch (padded with a rushing touchdown this week), good enough to rank as the 9th best fantasy quarterback over that stretch. If you’re desperate, reach for Cassel, who gets the Bengals this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Titans
With trepidation, I present Ryan Fitzpatrick. No, really. This one’s for the truly desperate (read – if you can’t get Cousins or Cassel, try Fitzpatrick). While Fitzpatrick has been slightly better than Cassel over the last three weeks, he is also the more inconsistent of the two. The Titans get the Jaguars this week but that matchup might not be as juicy as it seems with Jacksonville limiting the Bills to just 168 passing yards last week.
Stafford’s two-game slump came at the wrong time
Matthew Stafford, Lions
In the Lions last two games, Stafford has thrown for 383 yards and one touchdown while completing 47.5% of his passes. Did I mention that he’s thrown nine interceptions in his last four games? This dude’s in a major slump at exactly the wrong time for his fantasy owners.
Matt Ryan, Falcons; Joe Flacco, Ravens
If I have to start these guys this week, I’m checking the wire to see what is available. Ryan faces the 49ers in a tough matchup while Flacco gets an easier job against the Patriots. Unfortunately, he has thrown for multiple touchdowns just once in his last five games and has thrown for more than 251 yards once in his last eight games.
Rashad Jennings, Raiders
Back from a concussion that sidelined him for Week 14, Jennings hit double-digit fantasy points for the sixth consecutive game, gaining 91 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries against the Chiefs. Even though Darren McFadden should return to the lineup this week, Jennings solid play has him entrenched as the team’s starter and he should continue his streak of double digit fantasy performances against a mediocre Chargers run defense in Week 16.
Jordan Todman, Jaguars
Todman has double digit fantasy points in each of the last two weeks and notched his first career 100 rushing yard performance this week against the Bills, carrying the ball 25 times for 109 yards and chipping in four receptions for 44 yards. The Titans 23rd ranked run defense comes to town this week and Maurice Jones-Drew is looking like he will be questionable.
Matt Asiata, Vikings
With Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart out of the lineup due to injury, Asiata got his first career start and managed to score three touchdowns despite gaining just 51 yards on 30 carries. He doesn’t have much wiggle but he can certainly move the pile in short yardage. The Vikings have said they expect AP back this week but that might just be their coaches playing games in advance of their Week 16 matchup in Cincinnati. If AP doesn’t go, Asiata should be a solid option in flex leagues.
Edwin Baker, Browns
While he had 12 touches for 84 yards and a score this week against the Bears, there are no guarantees he will get that usage in Week 16. And with the Jets on tap, Baker makes for a very risky option even as a flex player. He gets the Moving Up treatment but with a major risk warning.
Trent Richardson, Colts
Since the Colts signed former Chiefs running back Shaun Draughn this week in response to Donald Brown’s neck stinger, the writing seems to be on the wall that Brown could miss Week 16. That would move Richardson back into the starting lineup for Indianapolis’ road contest against a sagging Chiefs run defense.
Darren Sproles, Saints
Despite the Saints playing from behind plenty of two of their last three games, Sproles has just 166 yards on 29 touches over that stretch. And he hasn’t found the end zone in eight of his last nine games.
Danny Woodhead, Chargers
With Ryan Mathews on a hot streak, Woodhead has seen his usage decrease slightly. Over the Chargers last three games, Woodhead has 30 touches for 171 yards and a touchdown. At that pace, he is more of a flex option than the low end RB2 he has been for much of 2013.
Greg Jennings, Vikings
Coming off his 13 target, 11 reception, 163 yard, one touchdown performance last week against an admittedly less than stellar Eagles secondary, Jennings now has 32 receptions for 420 yards and four touchdowns in the five games that Matt Cassel has started. Don’t run to your calculator. That equates to 13.2 PPG. That caveat is that the Vikings get the Bengals in a road game this week.
Andre Caldwell, Broncos
Wes Welker still isn’t practicing and Caldwell filled in nicely last week against the Chargers, catching six of his 10 targets for 59 yards and a pair of scores.
Jerrel Jernigan, Rueben Randle, Giants
With reports indicating that Victor Cruz will likely be placed on injured reserve this week, there will likely be an open starting position at wide receiver for the Giants. While you might expect that Rueben Randle would fill that role, he was targeted just twice last week while Jernigan had eight looks, catching seven for 67 yards. The Lions porous secondary is on tap this week. Randle is inconsistent but he does have six touchdowns on just 68 targets this season.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
Baldwin is coming off a six reception, 71 yard, one touchdown performance against the Giants and has now topped 60 receiving yards in five of his last six games while scoring four touchdowns over that stretch. The Cardinals 17th ranked pass defense is on tap in Week 16.
Victor Cruz, Giants
Got paid and had the worst year of his career (not counting his rookie season in 2010). Expected to be placed on injured reserve, Cruz will finish the season with 73 receptions for 998 yards and just four touchdowns. In fact, those four scores came in just two games. While Cruz is a solid receiver, the Giants will need to think hard about whether they should re-sign Hakeem Nicks, a player with more upside.
Stephen Hill, Jets
Hill had a promising start to the season with 13 receptions for 233 yards and a touchdown in his first three games. However, after suffering a concussion in Week 4 and suffering pain in his surgically repaired left knee, he struggled, catching just 11 passes for 109 yards in his final nine games. With the Jets quarterback situation remaining a mess and Hill showing little progress during his first two years in the league, his dynasty prospects are fading quickly.
Zach Ertz, Eagles
As the season comes to a close, Ertz has moved to the front of the pile amongst the Eagles tight ends. He is coming off a nine target, six reception, 57 yard, one touchdown performance against the Vikings, giving him double digit fantasy points in three of the past five weeks. Of course, the two games were duds so buyer beware.
Andrew Quarless, Packers
Six receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown in each of the last two weeks.
Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
Finally healthy, Lewis has nine receptions for 122 yards in his last three games and has scored a touchdown in each contest. With Cecil Shorts headed to injured reserve, he should get enough looks to be fantasy relevant in Week 16.
Antonio Gates, Chargers
The 33-year old Gates has simply run out of gas as the season comes to a close. He has just one touchdown in his last 10 games, including none in his last four. He also hasn’t topped 52 receiving yards in his last five games and is averaging 40.1 receiving yards in his last nine.
By: Thomas Casale — December 17, 2013 @ 12:57 am
It was another wild week both in the NFL and for fantasy owners. Here’s a recap of every game in the Tuesday Morning Buzz.
Chargers – Broncos
Peyton Manning and Co. picked a terrible time to have one of their worst offensive outings of the season. Manning threw for 289 yards and two scores with an interception. Both of his scores went to Andre Caldwell, which was an absolute waste. Demaryius Thomas did nothing. Julius Thomas did nothing. Eric Decker did nothing. Knowshon Moreno did nothing. Montee Ball did nothing. The Broncos carried so many fantasy owners all season long and the irony is that those same players are the season why some owners aren’t advancing. For the Chargers, Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards and a score, while rookie sensation Keen Allen only caught two passes, but they both went for touchdowns.
Patriots – Dolphins
Boy, Shane Vereen picked a great week to put up a stinker. Vereen had been on a tear since coming back from a broken wrist but barely made the stat line on Sunday, costing some owners a win. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola both had huge games, combing for 23 receptions for 270 yards and a touchdown on 33 targets. I’ve played against Mike Wallace three times this year and he’s gone over 100 yards every time. In case you were wondering, Wallace has only four 100-yard games all year.
Bills – Jaguars
I went with my gut and started Jordan Todman this week over Frank Gore and Harry Douglas as my flex play. My gut was finally right, as Todman racked up 153 total yards and four receptions. He may have scored, too, if the Jaguars hadn’t wasted a handoff on Denard Robinson just to watch him fumble. Fred Jackson ran for 80 yards and C.J. Spiller ran for 67 yards. However, owners were expecting more against this poor Jacksonville rush defense, especially from Spiller. Spiller was a first-round pick in most leagues and a major disappointment this season. He had a chance to repay owners with a big game in the playoffs against a bad defense and didn’t do it. You couldn’t pay me to draft that soft SOB next year.
Texans – Colts
This game was a whole lot of fantasy nothing. It had some decent performances like Ben Tate’s 72 yards rushing and T.Y. Hilton‘s eight catches for 78 yards, but the two offensive touchdowns were scored by Griff Whalen and Trent Richardson. You remember Richardson, don’t you? People used to start him on their fantasy teams before they cut him. The big fantasy news from this game was Andre Johnson being held to four receptions for 18 yards.
Eagles – Vikings
Thank God people like me went out and spent the rest of their free agent money on Toby Gerhart last week. Gerhart sat next to Adrian Peterson on the sidelines and watched Matt Asiata score three touchdowns. Of course short scores are about all Asiata is good for, considering he ran for 51 yards on 30 carries (1.7 YPC). Nick Foles rewarded those owners who picked him up this year by totaling 469 yards and three touchdowns. It was a disappointing day for LeSean McCoy owners though. Shady saw only eight carries because the Eagles fell behind early, but he did contribute as a receiver, catching five passes for 68 yards.
Seahawks – Giants
If you didn’t start Marshawn Lynch, Doug Baldwin, Steven Hauschka or Seattle’s defense, this game was useless from a fantasy perspective. You notice I didn’t mention any Giants? Lynch caught six passes, racked up 120 total yards and scored. Baldwin caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Hauschka kicked three field goals and the Seattle defense pitched a shutout. To put the Giants’ day in perspective, their biggest offensive star was Jerrel Jernigan. Eli Manning threw five more interceptions. He’s having one of the worst seasons of any quarterback that I can remember.
49ers – Buccaneers
This game didn’t have a ton of offense but the good news for fantasy owners is that the guys who made the most noise where players likely to be in their starting lineups. Colin Kaepernick had a good game, while Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and Vincent Jackson all scored. Even Phil Dawson kicked four field goals for owners like me who started him. Some games don’t have a lot of offensive numbers but the right players put up the stats for fantasy purposes. This was one of those games.
Bears – Browns
Jay Cutler returned as the Bears’ starting quarterback and threw for 265 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. It took Cutler a while to get going but the Bears’ offense didn’t really miss a beat. Matt Forte rushed for 127 yards, while Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery each scored and combined for 11 receptions. The Browns know they really don’t have a running game when they can’t run the ball on the Bears. Chicago’s rush defense is so bad the Bears allow 20 yards per game more than any other team in the NFL. Josh Gordon was finally held to less than 100 yards but still scored, so it wasn’t a total disaster for fantasy owners.
Redskins – Falcons
If you had a hunch and started Kirk Cousins last week, it paid off big. Cousins threw for 381 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. I know it was against Atlanta, but Washington’s passing game sure looked a lot better with Cousins under center than Robert Griffin. Steven Jackson scored twice, so if you suffered with him all year, at least he delivered late. Then again you probably aren’t starting him anymore, so it doesn’t matter.
Packers – Cowboys
Do you think Monte Kiffin will win the award for top assistant coach this year? I mean when you’re embarrassing the Kiffin family more than Lane, that’s really saying something. Dallas’ joke defense allowed Matt Flynn to throw for just under 300 yards and four touchdowns. Eddie Lacy, at less than 100 percent, ran over the Cowboys for 141 yards and a score. It was nice to see Tony Romo finally throw the ball to Dez Bryant when he wasn’t throwing it to the other team. I’ve argued that Bryant can make catches even when he’s covered and he showed that on his touchdown reception. Bryant finished with 153 yards and the score on 11 receptions.
Jets – Panthers
You probably aren’t starting any Jets on your fantasy team at this point and that’s a good thing considering they are using a defensive lineman to rush for a touchdown. Deangelo Williams had his best fantasy day of the year, racking up 168 total yards and scoring a touchdown. Greg Olsen had a nice outing and Mike Tolbert scored, but other than that this game didn’t have much fantasy appeal, as was predicted.
Does Jamaal have anything left for Week 16?
Chiefs – Raiders
This game was all about Jamaal Charles. Charles caught eight passes for 195 yards and five touchdowns while adding 20 yards and a score on the ground. Owners who played against Charles last week just drew the short straw. I play against him next week for my fantasy title and I’m hoping he blew his wad. Rashad Jennings didn’t put up the same numbers as Charles but he continues to be a revelation for both the Raiders and fantasy owners. Jennings finished with 91 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Cardinals – Titans
Kendall Wright is always one of those receivers owners wonder if they should start or not. Hopefully last week you put Wright in your lineup because he blew up by catching 12 balls for 150 yards on 20 targets. You know any team playing the Cardinals is going to have a tight end that has a good fantasy day. This time it was Delanie Walker, who caught eight passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. You’d think by this point in the season Arizona would cover tight ends down by the goal line. Andre Ellington had a big game for the Cardinals, finishing with 158 total yards.
Saints – Rams
Drew Brees ended up throwing for 393 yards, but just like with Peyton Manning, this wasn’t the game owners were expecting out of him. Brees threw for one touchdown and rushed for another but also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. It wasn’t an awful game but it also wasn’t one of his 300-yard, five-touchdown performances either. Jimmy Graham went MIA at the worst possible time for fantasy owners. After dominating all year, Graham was held by the Rams to just 25 yards on two receptions. Zac Stacy has had a great rookie year and he helped fantasy owners who didn’t bail on him. Stacy ran for 133 yards and a touchdown after getting shut down in Week 14 by Arizona.
Bengals – Steelers
Le’Veon Bell started the year injured but paid off for fantasy owners in the playoffs with 107 total yards, five receptions and a touchdown. Antonio Brown has been putting up huge numbers all year and while this wasn’t one of his monster games he still caught five balls for 66 yards and a touchdown. He also scored on a punt return. A.J. Green caught nine passes for 91 yards but didn’t find the end zone. Giovani Bernard scored but did little else. Bernard is a great player, but one of the tougher things I’ve ever had to do in fantasy football is try to decide when to start that guy. I think I guessed right twice.
Ravens – Lions
Let’s go back to August. Who thought during the fantasy playoffs in a game that featured Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and Ray Rice that the star would be Justin Tucker? Tucker kicked six field goals, including a 61-yarder. Meanwhile, Stafford had an awful game, throwing for 235 yards, one score and three interceptions. Megatron caught six passes for 98 yards but it wasn’t one of his best performances. Johnson saw 14 targets but dropped more passes than were used to seeing. He could have had a much bigger night if it weren’t for the drops. Rice only had 56 yards but if he’s still in your starting lineup, you’re obviously not trying very hard to win a title.
By: Dave Stringer — December 11, 2013 @ 4:01 pm
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Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
After a pair of 300-yard performances in Weeks 12 and 13, Tannehill turned in a 200-yard, three touchdown performance this week against the Steelers. That gives him 77 fantasy points in his last three games. This dude’s been decent this year considering Miami’s struggles in the run game and along the offensive line… not to mention missing having tight end Dustin Keller for the entire season and third wide receiver Brandon Gibson for much of it.
Brady’s numbers without Gronk don’t inspire confidence.
Tom Brady, Patriots
In the seven games Rob Gronkowski was in the lineup, Brady averaged 23.3 PPG. In the six games Gronk was out of the lineup, Brady averaged 17.9 PPG. Enough said.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins
Benched? Seriously? Sure, RGIII’s benching has a lot more to do with head coach Mike Shanahan attempting to get himself fired (so he can collect his $7-million salary for 2014) than his actual play, but the truth is that Griffin has been awful in 2013.
Toby Gerhart, Vikings
Duh. With Adrian Peterson in a walking boot and likely out this week, Gerhart will likely step into the starting lineup this week against the Eagles 15th ranked run defense. That is, provided the hamstring pull he suffered at the end of his 15-carry, 89-yard, one-touchdown performance last week against the Ravens doesn’t keep him out of the lineup. Ahh, injuries.
Joique Bell, Lions
Reggie Bush re-aggravated a calf strain prior to the Lions Week 14 matchup against the Eagles and Bell stepped into the fray nicely, with 127 yards and a touchdown on 27 touches. With Bush’s Week 15 availability uncertain, Bell could be called upon to start against the Ravens in a home matchup the Lions must win.
Daniel Thomas, Dolphins
From looking like a third year bust and being a whisker away from being placed on injured reserve, Thomas returned to prominence this week with just the second 100-yard rushing game of his career (the first was in his first game of his career in Week 2 of the 2011 season). After Lamar Miller left the Dolphins Week 14 game against the Steelers with a concussion, Thomas took over and piled up 105 yards and a score on just 16 carries. While Miller is expected back this week, Thomas certainly has earned himself a greater share of the workload going forward.
Shane Vereen, Patriots
Can you say PPR demon? Vereen had three carries for nine yards and a touchdown this week against the Browns but did most of his damage in the passing game with 12 receptions on 17 targets for 153 yards. New England gets a soft Dolphins run defense in Week 15 but Vereen is still a decent bet to hit double-digit fantasy points given that he is averaging 13 PPG since returning to the lineup in Week 11. Somebody has to benefit from the absence of Rob Gronkowski and Vereen will definitely get some of the tight end’s looks.
Bobby Rainey, Bucs
Only when the matchup is sweet, my friends.
Marcel Reece, Raiders
With Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings out of the lineup (not sure Run-DMC should go first when I mention Raiders running backs), Reese stepped up this week against a very solid Jets run defense, gaining 123 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries while chipping in 38 yards on a pair of receptions. Jennings is expected back this week but McFadden still hasn’t practiced so Reese could shape up as a solid flex play in larger leagues in Week 15.
Zac Stacy, Rams
His run of strong play has slowed down with Stacy racking up just 25 yards and a score on 14 carries this week on the heels of a 19-carry, 72-yard performance in Week 13.
Fred Jackson, Bills
FJax has gone a bit cold of late, failing to find the end zone in four of his last five games. In addition, he is averaging just 54 yards per game over his last four.
Pierre Thomas, Saints
In his last two games, Thomas has 49 yards on 19 touches. Ouch.
Josh Gordon, Browns
Gordon has apparently taken up residence as the first wide receiver on the Moving Up list. Should I charge him rent? He will certainly be able to afford it when he signs his next contract. In Gordon’s last four games, he has 36 receptions for 774 yards and five touchdowns. Amazing.
Alshon Jeffery, Bears
Jeffery has apparently taken up residence as the second wide receiver on the Moving Up list. Okay, using the same pun twice is cheesy. Agreed. Jeffery’s touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone this weekend was just sick…, as his play has been during his second year in the league. Remember, the conditions in Chicago on Monday night were not exactly conducive to receiver’s having sticky hands but Jeffery still pulled off that reception. He shapes up as a low end WR1 in 2014… and for the remainder of this season.
Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Patriots
Edelman has 24 receptions for 275 yards and three scores over the last three games with Gronkowski in the lineup. Amendola’s been playing second fiddle to Edelman at wide receiver and while that may continue, he is in line for a bigger workload over the balance of the season.
Anquan Boldin, 49ers
Look who is turning it on with the playoffs just around the corner. No surprise here. Boldin has 27 targets over the past three weeks and has topped 90 yards in every game during that span while scoring two touchdowns. The Bucs and Falcons are up next.
Da’Rick Rogers, LaVon Brazill, Colts
They each scored two touchdowns this week but there probably won’t be enough work for both of them to be productive over the next few weeks. T.Y. Hilton was shut down this week and Darrius Heyward-Bey is in the doghouse so one of these two should be useful.
Victor Cruz, Giants
Just 149 yards over his past three games and no touchdowns over his last nine outings. Maybe the Giants will need to re-sign Hakeem Nicks after all.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers
Crabtree has been just so-so since returning to the lineup, catching 50% of his targets (six of 12) for 108 yards and no touchdowns. While it might be harsh to have him Moving Down after just returning to the lineup, the fact is that fantasy owners probably shouldn’t be relying him until he proves otherwise.
Golden Tate, Seahawks
What can I tell you? When you see this guy on the field, you want to smack him. Losah! And Tate is struggling as the season comes to a close with just 136 receiving yards over his last three games and just one score in his last five.
Dennis Pitta, Ravens
Pitta returned this week from the hip injury that sidelined him in training camp and was welcomed back warmly by quarterback Joe Flacco. With Anquan Boldin traded and Pitta out of the lineup, Flacco has been without two of his main security blankets for most of the season. He targeted Pitta a whopping 11 times and while the results were mixed (he had six receptions for 48 yards but his fantasy stats looked good due to a touchdown), the target count bodes well for Pitta’s value over the balance of the season.
Brandon Myers, Giants
Touchdowns in three consecutive games to go along with 12 receptions and 126 receiving yards.
Charles Clay, Dolphins
After struggling over a four game stretch from Weeks 7-10, Clay has turned it on over the last four games, catching six or more passes for at least 80 yards in three of those games while chipping in three touchdowns. In each of his last two games, Clay has hauled in seven of his 10 targets, totaling 177 receiving yards and a pair of scores.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Out for the year again. Status for the start of next year in doubt again. Dynasty league value declining again.
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