Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — December 4, 2012 @ 1:29 pm
Cam Newton, Panthers
After a lackluster season, Newton is getting hot at just the right time for his fantasy owners. Over his last two games, Cam has piled up 538 passing yards and five touchdowns to go along with 130 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Up next are the Falcons, Chargers and Raiders.
Tony Romo, Cowboys
Dez Bryant is heating up and so is Jason Witten and those factors are helping propel Romo’s fantasy production. The return of Demarco Murray this week also helps. Romo has thrown three touchdown passes in each of his last two games (giving him nine in his last four games) and 744 yards.
Michael Vick, Eagles
Benched for the season barring injury. Let me go on record as the first to predict that his new home in 2013 will be Arizona.
A dud against the Saints in Week 13 have Ryan owners concerned.
Matt Ryan, Falcons
Ryan was looking like a potential top five fantasy quarterback over the first half of the season but the wheels have fallen off lately. Over his last three games, Ryan has just two touchdown passes to go against six interceptions. The yardage totals are decent over those games (301, 353 and 165) but his dud against a soft Saints defense this week has to be cause for concern.
Bryce Brown, Eagles
This week, Brown proved that his Week 12 performance of 178 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Panthers was no fluke as he gained 169 yards and scored another pair of touchdowns against the Cowboys. He gets a stiffer test this week against the Bucs top ranked run defense but is likely to top 20 touches once again with LeSean McCoy unlikely to return to the line-up and Nick Foles now entrenched as the Eagles starting quarterback.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals
The Law Firm is on a roll with three straight 100-yard rushing games to go along with a pair of touchdowns in those games. Prior to that, he was looking like a low-end RB3 since he had scored just once in six games and hadn’t topped 82 rushing yards in those games. Up next are the Cowboys, whose injury problems at linebacker and at nose tackle have caused them to give up plenty of yards to Bryce Brown and Alfred Morris in their last two weeks.
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
Jonathan Stewart will likely miss at least another week or two with an ankle sprain, leaving Williams to shoulder the load for the Panthers running game. While Williams is on pace to finish with career lows in rushing yards removing his injury shortened 2010 campaign, he has a chance to finish the season strong as the Panthers face the Falcons (20th ranked run defense), Chargers (6th), Raiders (28th) and Saints (32nd).
DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
Despite it being readily apparent that Murray was not 100% percent healthy, he still looked solid this week against the Eagles, gaining 102 yards on 27 touches and finding the end zone once.
C.J. Spiller, Bills
Spiller had 15 touches to 27 for Fred Jackson so I guess Spiller isn’t the clear-cut number one guy after all. He was still decent with 84 total yards but Spiller owners were clearly hoping their guy was going to load up on touches and that didn’t happen.
Chris Ivory, Saints
After a pair of nice efforts in his first two games of the season in Weeks 9 and 10, Ivory has slowed down with just 75 yards in his last three games, including a three carry, four-yard performance this week against the Falcons.
Pierre Garcon, Redskins
Moving Up two weeks in a row. Last week, he got the nod based on solid health and his production during his two healthy games (nine receptions for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns). This week, Garcon was dynamite again, catching eight of his 11 targets for 106 yards and a score and helping ice the Redskins win over the Giants.
Danario Alexander, Chargers
Sure, having Alexander Moving Up is getting repetitive but the kid is on fire. Removing his first game of the season (a one target cameo in Week 8), Alexander is averaging 93.4 receiving yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game. That’s WR1 territory, folks. This week, he caught six of his 10 targets for 102 yards against the Bengals and it is now clear that he is the team’s top threat at wide receiver, having led the team in receiving yards in his last five games. The only downside to Alexander is a tough schedule over the next three weeks.
Chris Givens, Rams
Almost exclusively a big play threat for the first part of the season, Givens emerged as a threat all over the field this week, catching 11 of his 14 targets for 92 yards.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
Ryan Lindley is putrid. Despite attempting 31 passes, he failed to top 75 passing yards and he’s absolutely killing Fitzgerald’s fantasy value. In Fitz’s last three games, he has five receptions for 65 yards. With Kurt Warner at quarterback, he could post those numbers and more in a quarter.
Denarius Moore, Raiders
I never quite understood the fascination with Moore. He has ability, yes, but in two years, he has been remarkably inconsistent and he has failed to catch a high percentage of his targets. Last year, he caught just 33 of 76 targets, a woeful reception rate of 43.4%. This year, he’s caught just 38 of 87 targets, upping his completion percentage to 43.6%. And he’s slowing down as the season comes to a close, catching just four of 19 targets over the last three weeks for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Eric Decker, Broncos
With Demaryius Thomas clearly emerging as the Broncos top threat at wide receiver, Decker has been a bit of a forgotten man over the past three weeks with just 15 targets after averaging 8.1 targets per game over the first nine games of the season. He had 23 yards and a score in Week 11 but has followed that up with 64 and 17-yard performances, making him a risky play in the fantasy playoffs.
Brandon Myers, Raiders
Entering the season, you couldn’t have found a football fan who felt the Raiders had a starting caliber tight end on the roster. Turns out they may have a Pro Bowl quality tight end on the roster. Myers caught 14 of his 15 targets this week for a career-high 130 yards and a score. He is now on pace to finish the season with 92 receptions for 961 yards and five touchdowns.
Jason Witten, Cowboys
So much for a lacerated spleen slowing down the Cowboys 30 year-old tight end. Witten is on pace to finish the season with 117 receptions which would shatter the league’s record for most receptions by a tight end in a single season (currently held by Tony Gonzalez with 102 during the 2004 season). Unfortunately, he’s only caught one touchdown.
Scott Chandler, Bills
Last season, Chandler was basically a touchdown play, finishing the season with 389 receiving yards and six touchdowns. At the outset of this season, he was accumulating decent yardage totals (215 yards in his first five games) while continuing to find the end zone (four scores in those games. However, he has reverted to form over the past seven weeks with just 215 receiving yards (31 yards per game) and the touchdowns have dried up (just two in those games).
Dustin Keller, Jets
The quarterback situation isn’t helping and Keller now has to deal with an ankle injury but at least it isn’t of the high ankle sprain variety. Yeah, the good news isn’t exactly good and neither is his production over the last three weeks (nine receptions for 97 yards and a score).
By: Dave Stringer — November 30, 2012 @ 3:39 pm
1. It appears that the Eagles’ Andy Reid will not be back with the team in 2013, ending the era of the franchise’s most successful head coach. Reid’s success in that role has largely come about due to his offensive acumen as well as shrewd drafting that allowed the team to bolster their roster with young talent and avoid having to re-sign aging veterans to lucrative contracts. This season’s subpar effort will almost assuredly be Reid’s worst performance as the team’s head coach and that has been the result of numerous injuries to the team’s offensive starters as well as the continued poor showing on defense. This week against the Cowboys, it is possible that the Eagles will start six players who were not expected to fill those roles at the outset of the season. Three starting offensive linemen are on in injured reserve including arguably the team’s most valuable offensive player in left tackle Jason Peters while starting right guard Danny Watkins has struggled with an ankle injury and is not fully healthy. The team is also missing its top threat at wide receiver in the speedy DeSean Jackson, starting running back LeSean McCoy, and quarterback Michael Vick. It is little wonder why the Eagles rank 30th in the league in scoring at just 16.7 points per game and why Reid will be looking for a new employer in 2013.
McCoy may see extended time on the bench.
2.Sticking with the Eagles, don’t expect to see LeSean McCoy back in the line-up for at least another week and possibly longer. With the team out of the playoff picture and rookie 7th round pick Bryce Brown providing solid production in the team’s Monday night loss to the Panthers, Philadelphia has little incentive in rushing McCoy back. Not only that, the MNF announcers made it clear that he was still in the early stages of his recovery from the concussion he suffered in Week 11.
3.While much has been made of 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh sticking with second-year signal caller Colin Kaepernick over incumbent starter Alex Smith, the decision is hardly entrenched in stone. Harbaugh has left himself with plenty of wiggle room to go back to Smith, describing the situation as the team deciding to go with the hot hand at the position. While Kaepernick has played well and provided added dimensions in the deep passing game and running game, he will need to remain hot over the team’s final five games to enter the playoffs as the starter and there are plenty of roadblocks in the way of that happening. The 49ers Week 13 opponent played them to a tie in Week 10 and San Francisco also faces the Patriots and Seahawks over the next five weeks.
4.Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin has had an outstanding season but struggled this week against a Falcons defense that stacked the box and effectively bottled up the Buccaneers prized rookie. Prior to Martin’s 21-carry, 50-yard performance in Week 12, he had an amazing string of solid performances over his prior six games, amassing 1,019 of total yards and scoring seven touchdowns. Only two other rookies in the history of the league have accumulated 1,000 yards over a six game stretch, Eric Dickerson of the Rams in 1983 and the Colts Edgerrin James in 1999. Both players accomplished the feat twice.
5.With center Lyle Sendlein having suffered a torn left MCL during last week’s loss to the Rams, the Cardinals starting offensive line in Week 13 will feature just one holdover in the starting line-up from last season. Starting tackles Levi Brown and Jeremy Bridges were lost for the season in training camp and replaced by veteran journeyman D’Anthony Batiste and rookie 4th round pick Bobby Massie. Batiste was recently demoted in favor of rookie 7th round pick Nate Potter while Massie has struggled mightily. At guard, Adam Snyder was signed to replace Deuce Lutui, leaving only fellow guard Daryn Colledge as a returning starter from last season. The lack of continuity along the offensive line has clearly contributed to the poor overall play of the team’s offense due to their struggles in pass protection where they rank last in the league with 46 sacks allowed, nine more than the 31st ranked Packers.
6.While there is some noise emanating from Oakland regarding the fans wanting to see 2011 supplemental 3rd round pick Terrelle Pryor take the field at quarterback, the odds of him playing a meaningful role in the Raiders final five games are remote. Pryor hasn’t even be listed as the team’s 2nd string quarterback this season, with Matt Leinart having assumed that role behind Carson Palmer. However, head coach Dennis Allen has said the team needs to find out what they have in Pryor so there is a strong possibility that he will be used on a limited basis in a Wildcat or read-option role.
7.In Tennesseee, the unceremonious sacking of offensive coordinator Chris Palmer has owner Bud Adam’s fingerprints all over it. Known for meddling in his team’s affairs and influencing which players to take in the draft (remember Vince Young?) and sign in free agency (remember Peyton Manning?), Adams displayed his impatience with the team’s performance several weeks ago and threatened changes if it didn’t approve. Sure enough, Palmer was given his walking papers by head coach Mike Munchak this week and there is a strong likelihood that Adams will give Munchak his following the season if the Titans don’t finish the season strongly. After a solid rookie season as the team’s head coach in which the Titans finished 9-7 and missed making the playoffs on a tiebreaker, Tennessee is just 4-7 this season.
8.In what was very likely the worst performance of his career on Thursday night, Saints quarterback Drew Brees failed to throw a touchdown pass, ending his streak of 54 consecutive games with a passing TD. In addition, he threw a career-record five interceptions as the Saints were all but eliminated from playoff contention with their 23-13 loss to division-rival Atlanta.
9.Sticking with the Falcons, their 11-1 record is impressive but a closer look reveals that it’s not as impressive as it appears and another disappointing playoff run could be in order. Seven of their wins have been by seven points are less and the team’s running back has been shut down often this season, a situation that also occurred last season. The Falcons face the Panthers in a road game next week followed by games against the Giants, Lions and Bucs – a three game stretch that should tell us more about their chances to make a Super Bowl run in 2012.
By: Dave Stringer — November 27, 2012 @ 4:54 pm
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
Moving Up two weeks in a row with the speculation (not yet confirmed) that he will be the 49ers starting quarterback in week 13 against the Rams even though incumbent starter Alex Smith is ready to go. Maybe we need to change that to former starter since it appears that the starting gig now belongs to Kaepernick. He wasn’t as good last week against the Saints as he was a week earlier against the Bears but apparently 231 passing yards, a touchdown and a pick along with rushing productions (six carries for 27 yards and a score) has earned him the job. Great dynasty material.
The schedule looks favorable for Eli.
Eli Manning, Giants
Look who’s back. After a string of bad performances (11 or fewer fantasy points in three straight games and under 14 in four of five), Eli put it together this week in the Giants rout of the Packers, throwing for 249 yards and three touchdowns, his first multiple passing touchdown performance since Week 5. Up next are the Redskins (31st ranked passing defense), Saints (30th), Falcons (13th) and Ravens (23rd). Eli’s rolling and the schedule is favorable.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Four straight games with 20 or more fantasy points and multiple touchdown passes in four consecutive games (nine in total in those games). And the point total isn’t being overly padded with rushing production since he doesn’t have a rushing touchdown on the season and has just 108 rushing yards in his last four games. Wilson has a pair of easy matchups in Weeks 14 and 15 (Cardinals and Bills) surrounded by a pair of tough ones in Weeks 13 and 16 (Bears and 49ers).
Charlie Batch, Steelers
Back to the old folks home, my friend. Don’t forget your dentures and your leather helmet.
Beanie Wells, Cardinals
Wells was like found money this week, provided you kept him on your roster that is. With the Cardinals passing offense a complete mess and a rookie quarterback leading the show, Wells returned to the line-up and scored twice on his 17 carries. The 48 yards weren’t pretty but the bottom line is that the offense likely needs to go through him with Ryan Lindley at quarterback.
Bryce Brown, Eagles
With LeSean McCoy out of the line-up with a concussion, Brown stepped in and didn’t miss a beat, rushing for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Carolina. Sure, the two fumbles were ugly but the MNF announcers sure made it sound like McCoy will miss more than one week. Brown could be a playoff savior – grab him if somebody left him on the wire due to the Monday night start time this week.
Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
Last week, I told you Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball were Moving Up. Ooops. Moreno went from the doghouse to the penthouse, getting 24 touches (the most he has had since Week 14 of the 2010 season) and gaining 111 total yards. Meanwhile, Hillman got three and Ball got nada. Looks like Moreno is the man in Denver until he proves otherwise and the schedule gets favorable after this week’s matchup against the Bucs top ranked rushing defense with the Raiders (28th), Ravens (26th) and Browns (29th) on the schedule between Weeks 14-16. Given his surprise usage, Moreno is likely not owned in plenty of leagues and he is definitely worth grabbing.
David Wilson and Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
Andre Brown stole Wilson’s backup job and Wilson has now gotten it back courtesy of Brown’s regular season ending broken fibula suffered during the 4th quarter of this week’s win over the Packers. While Wilson isn’t built to be the effective short yardage presence that Brown has been for the Giants (eight touchdowns on the season), he figures to get a decent amount of touches while Bradshaw also benefits because he now figures to get all of the short yardage work.
Michael Bush, Bears
No definitive word yet on the extent of Matt Forte’s ankle injury but if he is out, Bush immediately becomes a solid option as a RB2.
Michael Turner, Falcons
Looks like this will be the final season for Turner as a starting back as his yards per carry average of 3.5 would set a career low for him and is a full yard below the 4.5 or better that he has produced in seven of his first eight years in the league. His two touchdowns in the last three games have saved him from being a complete disaster since he has just 78 yards rushing in those games while averaging a woeful 1.9 yards per tote.
Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
Apparently Broncos head coach John Fox wants a running back who can pass protect for a 39-year old Peyton Manning. That guy’s not Hillman.
Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
These guys were Moving Down last week because it was going to be a time share with a third string quarterback. Now we can add porous offensive line to the mix. Looks like Dwyer will move to the top of the depth chart but you don’t want to have to rely on him.
Andre Johnson, Texans
The former stud fantasy wide receiver is showing glimpses of his former self, gaining 461 receiving yards and scoring once over his last two games. Those types of performances can propel a fantasy squad to a championship and he’s on the upswing at just the right time.
Pierre Garcon, Redskins
It has been a tough year for Garcon and his owners but he appears to finally be healthy again and basically that’s only happened twice this year. He was healthy in Week 1 and this past week and in those two contests, Garcon has caught nine passes for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. I’d feel comfortable starting him the rest of the way.
Greg Jennings, Packers
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy stated that Jennings could have played this past week and that almost certainly means he will be in the line-up for Green Bay’s Week 13 matchup against the Vikings. That should make him startable in Weeks 14-16, just in time for his owners to finally get some production out of him.
Ryan Broyles, Lions
Broyles cemented Titus Young’s spot in the doghouse this week with a six reception, 126-yard performance in the Lions Thanksgiving Day loss to the Texans. He could be a PPR demon over the balance of the season.
Anquan Boldin, Ravens
While Boldin is on pace to finish the year with a respectable 973 receiving yards (which would be the most he has accumulated since 2009), he has just one touchdown on the season and has failed to find the end zone since Week 1. In most leagues, you need touchdowns to win the playoffs and it doesn’t look like Boldin is a preferred option in the red zone and he no longer has the speed to score on catch and runs, no matter how tough he is.
Steve Smith, Panthers
Another golden oldie who has put up decent yardage totals but can’t find the end zone. Smith also has just one touchdown on the season as defenses have focused on shutting him down and he no longer has the speed to beat double teams deep.
Brandon Lloyd, Patriots
It has been a tough first year for Lloyd in New England and it appears that he is a bit part in the offense even with tight end Rob Gronkowski out of the line-up. In Lloyd’s last five games, his yardage totals have been 6, 28, 45, 45 and 26.
Robert Housler, Cardinals
I grabbed this guy in a dynasty salary cap league, failed to put him on a multi-year deal and gave away a bundle to get Vernon Davis. Right after that, Housler started getting some looks in the Cardinals offense and this week he had the best game of his career with eight receptions on 11 targets for 82 yards. If only he could find the end zone.
Vernon Davis, 49ers
This guy is a yo-yo and there is neither rhyme nor reason to explain his usage. For the second time this season, he failed to notch a single fantasy point and he now has six games with fewer than four fantasy points. He’s going to kill a pile of fantasy owners in the playoffs.
By: Dave Stringer — November 20, 2012 @ 2:19 pm
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
His stat line this week wasn’t great (243 passing yards and two touchdowns with 12 yards rushing) but his overall performance was something to behold as he managed the game well, avoided costly mistakes and displayed solid accuracy, completing 16 of 23 passes. Head coach Jim Harbaugh stated that the 49ers will ride the hot hand at quarterback and with the Saints and their 31st ranked pass defense on tap, Kaepernick looks like a low end QB1 in Week 12 provided he gets the call.
Chad Henne, Jaguars
Subbing in for an injured Blaine Gabbert, Henne became the second quarterback to throw four touchdowns and no picks in a relief role. Head coach Mike Mularkey is going to rol1 with Henne who has a big arm and has put up some big numbers but is maddeningly inconsistent. However, the Jaguars wide receivers are rounding into form and MJD’s return is on the horizon. That bodes well for Henne’s fantasy prospects.
Matt Schaub, Texans
Schaub is here because I don’t want to get roasted for excluding him. He threw for the second most yards in NFL history this week (527) to go along with five touchdowns in an overtime win against the Jaguars. Unfortunately, he threw for 95 yards in Week 10 against the Bears and was averaging 16.8 FPts/G entering Week 11.
Joe Flacco, Ravens
He’s topped 16 fantasy points just twice in the last six weeks and had two sub-10 point games while failing to top 200 passing yards in four of those games. That’s ugly, folks.
Matt Cassel, Chiefs
Unless you’ve been hit on the head with a rock (very large one), you’re not relying on Cassel but that’s not going to stop me from pointing out that he hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in his last three games, that he’s thrown or just one touchdown in his last five starts and that he is averaging 148 passing yards in those five starts. If he’s back in K.C. next year, there will be a riot in the streets and plenty of empty seats in the stands.
Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball, Broncos
With Willis McGahee expected to miss six to eight weeks with a torn MCL and a compression fracture in his right knee, Hillman and Ball figure to see their roles expanded over the balance of the season. Hillman clearly has the most upside of the two backs but his struggles in pass protection could keep from taking over the full time role. Look for the two backs to split the work on a 2:1 touch ratio with Ball likely earning more touches if the Broncos jump out to big leads. With a pillowy soft schedule, that just might be the case.
Bryce Brown, Eagles
We don’t yet have definitive word on the extent of LeSean McCoy’s concussion but we do know Brown figures to be in line for a good chunk of the work if McCoy is out this week against the Panthers, which could be a plum matchup. The rookie 7th round pick is a bowling ball of a runner but he lacks pass receiving ability (one reception on the season) so he would likely come out on obvious passing downs in favor of Dion Lewis. He’s worth a gamble in the flex spot and as a desperation play as a RB2. Unfortunately, the Eagles play on Monday night.
Jalen Parmele, Jaguars
With Rashad Jennings not producing, the Jaguars went with Parmele this week against the Texans and he was decent, gaining 80 yards on 24 carries (3.3 yards a pop). Those aren’t eye-popping numbers but Houston has a solid run defense and next in line for the Jaguars are the Titans (27th ranked run defense), Bills (31st) and Jets (30th). Definitely a plug and play guy until MJD returns.
Marcel Reece, Raiders
Reece was solid last week with 104 total yards against the Ravens and even better this week against the Saints with 103 rushing yards to go along with 90 receiving yards on four receptions. The Raiders haven’t confirmed that Run-DMC will be back this week and the odds are he will miss another week. That would make Reece a solid play against a mediocre Bengals run defense in Week 12.
Vick Ballard, Colts
Not sure if Donald Brown’s knee was an issue this week but it appears that Ballard is the lead man with Brown getting worked into the mix and Delone Carter handling the goal line work.
Alex Green, Packers
No carries for Green this week and 25 for James Starks.
Ryan Mathews, Chargers
Somebody please tell Mathews where the end zone is (one touchdown on 157 touches this season).
Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
It’s a time share in Pittsburgh, folks, and with the offense now likely down to the third string quarterback, none of these guys are startable in standard leagues.
Daryl Richardson, Rams
Richardson has averaged 9.25 touches per week over the Rams last four games and head coach Jeff Fisher said this week that they want to get the ball more to Steven Jackson.
Is the light clicking on for Dez?
Dez Bryant, Cowboys
Looks like the light has finally gone on for Bryant. At least, mostly on since he’s thrown up a couple of duds over the last seven weeks. However, he had a career-day this week against the Browns, catching 12 passes for 145 yards and a score and he now has at least 87 receiving yards in five of his last seven games. Let’s call him a mid-tier WR2 with upside over the balance of the season.
Justin Blackmon, Jaguars
After an abysmal start to the season, Blackmon introduced himself to the league in a big way this week, posting the third highest receiving yardage total for a rookie in league history with seven receptions for 236 yards and a score. And it came against the Texans. And the Jags have benched Blaine Gabbert in favor of Chad Henne. And Laurent Robinson had just two targets this week.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts
Hilton has topped 100 receiving yards in two of his last three games and found the end zone three times over that span of games. Sure, he put up a donut in Week 10 against the Jags but he’s getting a fair number of targets and the schedule has the Bills, Lions and Titans up next.
Danario Alexander, Chargers
Meet San Diego’s new number one wide receiver. And the fourth ranked fantasy wide receiver over the last three weeks with 15 receptions for 291 yards and three touchdowns on just 21 targets.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
Seriously, this is what it has come down to? One catch for 11 yards? Is it a Federal offense to have a putrid quarterback paired up with one of the best receivers in football? Errrr, make that three putrid quarterbacks? See you later, Ken Whisenhunt. At least Arizona is a good retirement community.
Mike Wallace and all of the Steelers receivers
You watched the game right? Is Charlie Batch really worse than Byron Leftwich?
Brandon Marshall and all of the Bears receivers
Vernon Davis, 49ers
New quarterback, new result for Davis as he was targeted a season-high eight times, catching six passes for 83 yards and a score while looking like a studly beast against a tough Bears defense.
Jermichael Finley, Packers
In another case of look who’s back, we present Jermichael Finley, the Packers supremely talented and exceedingly inconsistent starting tight end. He made his three targets count against the Lions this week, catching all of them for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Garrett Graham, Texans
Who’s this dude? Good question. He’s the Texans 2010 4th round pick who just caught eight of his nine targets for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Jaguars. Sure, it’s the Jags, the Texans threw it plenty and there’s no guarantee that Graham will get nine targets over the balance of the season let alone in a single week but he looked good. He’s worth grabbing in larger leagues.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Gronk broke his left forearm blocking on an extra point and while he says he wants to return in Week 14, that seems very unlikely. Look for him to return in Week 15 at the earliest but if that happens, it will be tough to stick him in your starting line-up as the Patriots face a stout 49ers defense at home that week. If you need to go to the waiver wire, my recommendations include Dallas Clark, Marcedes Lewis and Tony Moeaki.
By: Dave Stringer — November 16, 2012 @ 2:04 pm
1. With the Dolphins in a freefall after their loss to the Bills last night and Reggie Bush a free agent at the end of the season, look for the Dolphins coaching staff to go with more of a committee approach at running back over the balance of the season. While Bush entered 2012 with a hot streak over his first two games after coming off a career year last season, opposing defenses have mostly contained him over the last eight games (he hasn’t topped 68 total yards since Week 2) and especially so over the Dolphins last three games, all losses. This week, Daniel Thomas, the team’s 2011 third round pick, carried the ball more than Bush (12 carries to 10) and it won’t be a surprise if he and rookie 4th round pick Lamar Miller, who is averaging a solid 5.4 yards per carry, assume a greater workload over the Dolphins remaining six games as the team tries to determine whether they need to re-sign Bush or add another running back in the draft. That doesn’t bode well for Bush’s fantasy prospects and his fantasy owners should be looking to add a replacement prior to league trading deadlines.
2. Another running back whose fantasy prospects are looking shaky over the balance of the season is the Giants’ Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw has struggled badly over the last four games, averaging just 57 rushing yards and failing to find the end zone. Foot and neck injuries are hindering his performance and he has lost the team’s short yardage role to Andre Brown, who has scored touchdowns in four consecutive games. With rookie 1st round pick David Wilson struggling (just three carries in his last two games), the team worked out several veteran running backs this week and that could be an indication that Bradshaw’s neck injury could cause him to miss time. Bradshaw owners might want to look for a replacement while Brown owners in flex leagues should feel comfortable using him as a flex option over the remainder of the season.
3. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is a wonderful talent but is beginning to earn the label of being injury prone with news this week that he will be a gametime decision on Sunday for Atlanta’s home game against Arizona. Jones suffered an ankle injury in the Falcons Week 10 loss to the Saints and was ineffective earlier this season in a Week 4 game against Carolina due to an injury. In addition, he missed three games and most of another during his rookie season in 2011 due to hamstring issues. While Jones has the talent to be a top 10 wide receiver and he was expected to be a top 10 fantasy wide receiver this season, it is beginning to look like Roddy White is the safer fantasy option of the two Atlanta receivers due to track record of remaining healthy (no missed games during his eight years in the league).
4. With a slew of injuries at the quarterback position in Week 10, there are likely a number of fantasy owners struggling to find starters at the position this week with the bye weeks not over until Week 12. The Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler of the Bears and Michael Vick of the Eagles are all likely to miss this week’s game and the 49ers Alex Smith will likely play but faces a tough matchup against a stout Bears defense. For those who need to grab a replacement from one of these teams, the options include Byron Leftwiich (against the Ravens), Jason Campbell (against the 49ers) and Nick Foles (against the Redskins). Given the matchups, the rookie Foles, taken in the 3rd round of this year’s draft, looks like the best option of the three. While he struggled somewhat in relief of Vick this past week against Cowboys, the Redskins represent a plum matchup due to their 30th ranked pass defense. In addition, Eagles head coach Andy Reid has never been known to change his offensive approach, which borders on “run only when necessary”. That should translate into plenty of targets and fantasy production for Foles.
5. With his 127 total yard performance this week against the 49ers, Rams running back Steven Jackson now has accumulated the 2nd most yards from scrimmage of any player in franchise history, moving past former Rams wide receiver Torry Holt. With a strong finish to the season, Jackson could overtake Isaac Bruce for the franchise record by season’s end.
Dwayne Bowe may take his show to another team in 2013.
6. Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe stated this week that he wanted to finish his career as a Chief. What remains to be seen is whether he is willing to finish his career as a Chief if it means signing a long-term contract extension at terms that are below his market value. The Chiefs and Bowe failed to reach a contract extension in 2011, forcing Kansas City to retain his services by placing the franchise tag on him. The reasoning may have been to ensure that his maturity is in check after a number of examples of immaturity during the early part of his career. However, he has performed admirably on a struggling team, taking that argument away from Chiefs management. Unfortunately for Bowe and Chiefs fans, general manager Scott Piolo has shown a tendency to be unwilling to sign players to a long-term extension unless they are on favorable terms. It certainly won’t be a surprise if Bowe is either back in Kansas City next season under the franchise tag or on the market looking for another team.
7. It’s official – James Starks is the man for the Green Bay Packers at running back, at least for now. Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt stated this week that Starks had earned the role but there are no guarantees that Starks will retain the starting position once veteran Cedric Benson returns to the team. Benson is eligible to come off the injured reserve list in Week 14, just in time for the fantasy playoffs. Starks has a chance to keep Benson on the bench with a string of solid performances but he has failed to remain healthy and productive during the first two and a half years of his career, making that prospect unlikely.
By: Dave Stringer — November 13, 2012 @ 4:27 pm
Josh Freeman, Bucs
Freeman has hit a hot stretch with five consecutive games with multiple touchdown passes and he’s managed at least 18.9 fantasy points over his last six games. With Mike Williams having a resurgence and Vincent Jackson on fire, Freeman is shaping up as a low end QB1 over the balance of the season.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers; Nick Foles, Eagles; Jason Campbell, Bears
I wouldn’t want to start any of these guys but if they are in and you’re desperate, sometimes you don’t have any other options.
Eli Manning, Giants
It’s one thing to have a pair of bad performances against the Cowboys and Steelers but the expected bounce back game against the Bengals didn’t happen, as Manning threw for 215 yards but failed to throw a touchdown pass. That gives him 27 fantasy points over his last three games and he’s currently sitting as the 18th ranked fantasy quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
A sprained shoulder on top of a torn rotator cuff might be a medical intern’s fantasy but it likely spells trouble for Big Ben’s owners and some time on the inactive list for Roethlisberger.
It's Spiller time.
C.J. Spiller, Bills
With Fred Jackson expected to miss at least a game with a concussion, Spiller will be a workhorse back for the Bills. He’s produced in that role this season as well as at the end of last season. There’s even a chance he will relegate Jackson to the backup role. Buy now.
Steven Jackson, Rams
It’s been a tough season for Sjax and his fantasy owners as he’s been sharing time with rookie 7th round pick Daryl Richardson. However, Richardson had only eight touches as Jackson carried the load during the Rams tie against the 49ers, topping 100 rushing yards for the first time this season and gaining 127 total yards and a touchdown on his 31 touches. Maybe this is a sign of things to come.
Andre Brown, Giants
Another game, another touchdown for Brown. That gives him a score in four straight weeks and he looked good against the Bengals, gaining 65 yards on seven carries and 29 yards on his five receptions. The Giants bye week gives Ahmad Bradshaw some time to heal but like the sun rising in the morning, he will be hurt again soon enough.
Michael Turner, Falcons
I’m not too down on Turner but his 13 carry, 15-yard performance against a Saints defense that was struggling badly made alarm bells ring, reminding me of his late season fade in 2011.
Reggie Bush, Dolphins
Moving Down last week and benched this week. Bush’s arrow is pointing straight down.
Fred Jackson, Bills
OUT. AGAIN. The word was that Jackson still had plenty of tread on his 31 year old body but that might have been wishful thinking (by me and others).
Taiwan Jones, Raiders
With Run-DMC and Mike Goodson out, the Raiders chose to ride Marcel Reese. Drop Jones in all formats other than dynasty leagues.
Sidney Rice, Seahawks
While he hasn’t topped 81 yards on the season or more than 55 in his last three games, Rice is on a touchdown tear with four scores in the last three weeks. Sure, he’s touchdown reliant but he’s rolling at the right time (although a Week 11 bye is unfortunate).
Danario Alexander, Chargers
Make it two solid performances in a row for Alexander after the Chargers plucked him off the street prior to their Week 9 game against the Chiefs. This week, he started again and his five reception, 134 yard, one touchdown performance has earned him a place in the starting line-up and some pine time for Robert Meachem. This kid has big time talent but grandpa’s knees.
Torrey Smith, Ravens
Every so often a guy who is playing just okay manages to put together a solid fantasy performance and that is the situation with Smith. Although he hasn’t topped 67 receiving yards in his last five games, he’s managed to score four touchdowns in that stretch, including a two reception, 67 yard, two touchdown performance this week against the Raiders.
Golden Tate, Seahawks
Here’s another example of a guy who has put up some solid performances this year but it’s all about the touchdowns. Tate’s been a big play guy for Seattle this season and he did it again this week with a two reception, 51 yard, one touchdown performance during their win over the Jets. That gives him three scores over the past two weeks and makes him a decent flex play or WR3 if you’re desperate.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
Fifteen receptions for 273 yards and a pair of touchdowns over his last four games. That’s WR3 territory, folks, and up next are the Saints (28th ranked pass defense), Bengals (18th) and Browns (22nd).
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
We weren’t sure what to expect with a healthy trio of wide receivers in Jacksonville but Shorts had 13 targets this week against the Colts, hauling in six receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. Looks like Justin Blackmon is the low man on the three wide receiver totem pole for the Jags. Two top-10 passing defenses and four ranked 21st or lower over the next six weeks for Jacksonville.
Danny Amendola, Rams
Back and back in fine form with 11 receptions for 102 yards on his targets this week against a stout 49ers defense.
Victor Cruz, Giants
Eli Manning’s struggles are torpedoing Cruz’s fantasy value as he has gone AWOL over the last three games with just ten receptions for 116 yards and no scores. The Giants have a bye this week to get things figured out and then they face a number of less than stellar pass defenses to finish the season.
Robert Meachem, Chargers
Danario Alexander has eight receptions for 195 yards and a touchdown in two games. Meachem, the Chargers not so prized free agent acquisition, has 13 receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns on the season. Meachem’s didn’t start this week and he’s not going to until something changes.
Tony Moeaki, Chiefs
Moeaki had his game of the season on Monday night, showing some athleticism and hauling in three receptions for 68 yards. That gives him 125 receiving yards in his last two games and that might be a signal that he is now fully recovered from the ACL tear that ended his 2011 season before it started.
Brandon Myers, Raiders
His second concussion of the season is worrisome and that has Myers Moving Down even though he has played well in recent weeks.
Brent Celek, Eagles
Celek’s production is way down in Philadelphia with just 143 yards over his last four games even though he averaged 6.25 targets per game in those contests. His fast start to the season is a distant memory at this point.
By: Dave Stringer — November 9, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
1. If there was ever any doubt that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is no ordinary rookie, he proved it last night at the end of Indianapolis’ 27-10 dismantling of the Jaguars. With the game in hand in the 4th quarter, Luck rolled out and took off running before sliding and taking a hard shot from Jacksonville safety Dawan Landry, which drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. With his teammates in a lather, Luck quickly hopped up and directed them back to the huddle before accepting Landry’s apology for the hit. If that wasn’t enough, he topped 20 fantasy points for the ninth time in ten games this season, throwing for a subpar 227 yards but rushing for two touchdowns, giving him five on the season. Despite lacking a proven threat opposite Reggie Wayne, injury issues at running back, a leaky offensive line and two rookies atop the depth chart at tight end, Luck is on pace to finish the season with just under 4,700 passing yards and 18 touchdown passes.
2. Sticking with the Colts, Wayne was expected to leave via free agency prior to the season but chose to stay in Indianapolis, a somewhat surprising decision especially considering the team’s struggles in 2011. However, he chose to stick around and is on pace for a career year in 2012. Coming off eight straight seasons with at least 70 receptions and 1,000 yard receiving seasons in seven of those years, Wayne is on pace to finish the season with career highs in receptions (123) and yards (1,655). Here’s to Wayne for not bailing on the Colts and being rewarded for staying to play for a rebuilding franchise that was expected to struggle with a rookie quarterback.
Redman's fantasy run may be coming to an end.
3. The Steelers backfield has been a fantasy mess this season as Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer have all taken turns in the starting lineup. Dwyer looked like a solid bet to maintain the lead back role after consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts in Weeks 8 and 9. Then Redman had a career game in Week 10 with Dwyer out with an injury, gaining 147 yards and a touchdown on the ground. However, it appears that Mendenhall will take over in the starting lineup as soon as he is ready to play. Despite Mike Tomlin’s comments this week that the Steelers would go with the hot hand at running back, both Dwyer and Redman as well as the team’s running backs coach, Kirby Wilson, have stated at various times this season that the starting job is Mendenhall’s due to his superior speed, power and agility. Don’t overpay for Redman or Dwyer in the hopes that they can fill a hole at running back on your fantasy roster.
4. With the sale of the Cleveland Browns finalized, it appears that Pat Shurmur’s run as the team’s head coach will come to an end once the season is over. New owner Jimmy Haslam III is expected to change directions at head coach as he looks to put his stamp on the organization. While Shurmur has hardly been overly successful, the bottom line is that he has been severely handcuffed by a roster devoid of talent at the skill positions in 2011 and at wide receiver and along the offensive line in 2012. Barring a miracle turnaround by rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden and strong development at wide receiver from Greg Little and Josh Gordon, Shurmur will almost assuredly be looking for work in 2013.
5. Dynasty leaguers might want to take note of the performance of third year Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen, who has hauled in 13 of his 20 targets for 178 yards over the past three weeks. Incumbent starter Fred Davis was lost for the season due to a torn left Achilles’ tendon and he may not return to the team for the 2013 season. Davis received the franchise tag this past offseason as the team preferred locking him up under a one-year deal rather than securing his services with a long term contract extension. While Davis played reasonably well, his off the field issues could cause the team to once again shy away from offering him a long-term deal, especially if Paulsen continues to play well.
6. 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree is coming off perhaps the best game of his four-year career and could be in line for a strong finish to the season. In a Week 8 win over the Cardinals, Crabtree badly outplayed Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson, catching all five of his targets for 72 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Crabtree regularly got separation from Peterson and also looked good running after the catch. With a Week 9 bye behind him, Crabtree faces a number of plum matchups over the next several weeks before facing a sturdy Seahawks pass defense in Week 16. Up next for the 49ers are the Rams (17th ranked pass defense), Bears (15th), Saints (28th), the Rams again, the Dolphins (29th) and Patriots (28th). While Crabtree has been up and down this season, his strong performance against Peterson coupled with a great schedule make him a must start over the next six weeks.
By: Aaron Williams — November 6, 2012 @ 9:02 am
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