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Because It’s Never Too Early: 2014 Quarterback Rankings


By: — January 10, 2014 @ 10:21 am
Peyton Manning

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.


Tuesday Morning Buzz – Week 17, 2013


By: — December 31, 2013 @ 8:40 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

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.

Chris Johnson

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.


Tuesday Morning Buzz – Week 16, 2013


By: — December 24, 2013 @ 9:17 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

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?

Drew Bress

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.


Moving Up, Moving Down – Week 15, 2013


By: — December 18, 2013 @ 1:18 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis

Quarterbacks

Moving Up

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.

Moving Down

Matthew Stafford

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.

Running Backs

Moving Up

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.

Moving Down

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.

Wide Receivers

Moving Up

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.

Moving Down

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.

Tight Ends

Moving Up

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.

Moving Down

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.


Tuesday Morning Buzz – Week 15, 2013


By: — December 17, 2013 @ 12:57 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

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.

Jamaal Charles

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.


Moving Up, Moving Down – Week 14, 2013


By: — December 11, 2013 @ 4:01 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis

Quarterbacks

Moving Up

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.

Moving Down

Tom Brady

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.

Running Backs

Moving Up

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.

Moving Down

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.

Wide Receivers

Moving Up

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.

Moving Down

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.

Tight Ends

Moving Up

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.

Moving Down

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Out for the year again. Status for the start of next year in doubt again. Dynasty league value declining again.


Tuesday Morning Buzz – Week 14, 2013


By: — December 10, 2013 @ 7:54 am
Filed under: Player Analysis

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.

Texans – Jaguars
The Texans’ 11th straight loss ended up getting Gary Kubiak fired. The good news is that Houston is now in the capable hands of Wade Phillips. Wow, a team that has lost 11 games in a row and has quit on the season being led by Wade Phillips. I set the over/under for players being at practice at 20. Houston may be struggling but Andre Johnson is still a force. He caught 13 passes for 154 yards on an absurd 21 targets. It came at a perfect time for owners that needed Johnson in the first round of fantasy playoffs. Maurice Jones-Drew left with a hamstring injury late but not before he went for over 100 yards on just 14 carries. Jacksonville has struggled covering the tight end all year and Garrett Graham took advantage by seeing 14 targets. Graham finished with eight catches for 73 yards and a score. He has now seen 47 targets through his last four games.

Raiders – Jets
Marcel Reece got the last-minute call to start when Rashad Jennings wasn’t cleared to play because of a concussion. Reece rewarded owners like me who inserted him in their lineups by racking up 161 total yards and scoring on a 63-yard run. Rod Streater also had a big game for Oakland, catching seven passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. Streater has emerged as the Raiders’ most consistent fantasy receiver this season. The Jets scored 37 points, which are more than they’ve combined for in about a month. Things went so well for the Jets on Sunday that even Ed Reed had an interception.

Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton’s big day came at just the right time.

Colts – Bengals
Andy Dalton had one of his five big fantasy days of the season, throwing for 275 yards and accounting for four touchdowns. And it came just in time for owners who started him in the first round of the playoffs. Giovanni Bernard just missed a 100-yard rushing day, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored twice. One week after realizing that Trent Richardson can’t play, the Colts did the same with Darrius Heyward-Bey. Although, to be fair, Richardson is Adrian Peterson compared to Heyward-Bey. Andrew Luck found chemistry with two young receivers on Sunday. Da’Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill combined for 160 yards and four touchdowns on nine receptions. I would recommend picking both guys up, but who knows what that idiot Pep Hamilton is going to do next week. He’ll probably want to run the fullback more.

Lions – Eagles
In what was the best of many snow games, the Lions and Eagles proved they could put up points in any conditions by combining for 54 in a blizzard. LeSean McCoy ran over the Lions’ defense for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for Reggie Bush owners, he didn’t run over anyone. Bush was dealing with a calf injury all week and then slipped in pre-game warmups. He never played a down and no doubt cost many owners a win. Joique Bell filled in for Bush and put up 127 total yards and a touchdown, although he did lose two fumbles in the snowy conditions. Brent Celek cost Nick Foles another touchdown because he slid down with less than 2:00 to go and the Eagles up by 14. Next time just score and do a snow angel.

Dolphins – Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger continues to have a strong fantasy season. He threw for 349 yards and three touchdowns, rewarding owners who started him in the playoffs. Lamar Miller left the game early with a concussion and Daniel Thomas took advantage by rushing for 105 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Antonio Brown had another huge game. He saw only five targets but caught all of them for 137 yards and a score. Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery also had touchdown receptions. It was Cotchery’s ninth of the season. Brown would have had another score on one of the craziest plays in NFL history but stepped out of bounds by two inches on the final play of the game.

Browns – Patriots
It’s really amazing how many bad teams choke against the Patriots. Don’t get me wrong, Tom Brady and New England deserve a lot of credit for coming back, but this was a game the Browns had to win. They dominated for much of the way and still lost. Then again, it’s hard when you’re playing against the officials too. What would happen if the Patriots played Notre Dame in Notre Dame? Would the refs just never throw a flag? Jason Campbell threw for 391 yards and three scores, Josh Gordon went for over 100 yards in the fourth straight game and Jordan Cameron caught nine passes for 121 yards and a score, yet the Browns still came up short. That’s because of Tom Brady and Shane Vereen. Brady threw for 418 yards and two touchdowns, while Vereen caught 12 passes for 153 yards and scored a rushing touchdown. Owners who dropped Vereen earlier this season must really be kicking themselves. The other big story from the game is the injury to Rob Gronkowski, who is out for the season with a knee injury. In my league where I had a bye, I’ve now lost Gronk, Reggie Wayne, Julio Jones and Justin Blackmon. It’s amazing I had a bye.

Chiefs – Redskins
I can’t fathom why teams still want to hire Mike Shanahan as their coach. Is he going to bring John Elway with him? Do you realize that since 2006 Shanahan has a record of 48-61? Even last year he needed a miracle run to avoid another losing season. Reports surfaced last week that Shanahan cleaned out his desk at the end of last season. Well, after Sunday’s 45-10 demolition, I have a feeling he’s going to be cleaning out his desk again. Don’t worry though because another team will be dying to hire him so they can go 7-9. The guy is the biggest fraud in the NFL. For most of the year it’s been good to own Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs’ defense. That was the case again on Sunday. Charles ran for 151 yards and scored twice, while Kansas City’s defense/special teams recorded six sacks, caused two turnovers and scored two touchdowns of their own.

Vikings – Ravens
In a game that featured one of the wildest final two minutes ever, the Vikings and Ravens scored four touchdowns over that span. The big story from this game besides the amazing finish was the injury to Adrian Peterson. Peterson left early with a foot injury, no doubt killing the chances of many fantasy owners. For those who survived, I’ve mentioned a couple of times that Toby Gerhart should be owned in all leagues by Peterson owners as insurance for the playoffs. However, now he has a “tweaked” hamstring, so his status for next week is up in the air as well. Cordarrelle Paterson has really been coming on and he torched the Ravens for 141 yards and a score. Dennis Pitta made an impact in his first game back, catching six passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. If you lost Rob Gronkowski, Pitta is a guy you should be targeting this week as a replacement. He looked pretty good, especially considering the conditions he played in.

Falcons – Packers
I was trying to think about what to write about this game but I realized I just don’t care anything about it. Can you believe that? This is a game that was supposed to feature two Super Bowl contenders but instead it ended up being a matchup only gamblers and fantasy football owners cared about. To make matters worse, owners of Aaron Rodgers didn’t even care about it. Even the guys who scored—Drew Davis and Andrew Quarless, for instance—were meaningless. Eddie Lacy ran for 65 yards and a score. Roddy White seems to be back. He had his second good game in a row with eight receptions for 74 yards. That’s about it though. Then after thinking this game was meaningless, I realized the NFC North is so bad that if Rodgers comes back next week the Packers will probably win the division. That Jim Schwartz is doing one hell of a job in Detroit.

Bills – Buccaneers
I guess the Bills are hoping the offseason gets here a little faster than the Bucs, because for a team that’s been pretty competitive this year, they didn’t have a lot in the tank against Tampa Bay. Last week I joked that Bobby Rainey’s big day was because he was playing against Atlanta’s awful rush defense. After I sent in the column I thought to myself, “Damn, he plays the Bills next week.” Well, Rainey did run over the soft Bills’ rush defense for 127 yards and a touchdown. The Bucs don’t have a soft rush defense, as C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson found out. The two combined for just 34 yards on 16 carries. EJ Manuel and Mike Glennon have had some good games this year but this wasn’t one of them. The two looked like rookies on Sunday, combining for six interceptions.

Titans – Broncos
It looked for a while like the Broncos might be in trouble, but then Peyton Manning and the offense got cranking and hung 51 points on Tennessee. Manning threw for another 397 yards and four scores, as he’s almost single-handily helping some owners to a fantasy title this year. Montee Ball had another good game, running for 77 yards and a score. Ball had 15 carries and Knowshon Moreno had 14. It stinks for Moreno owners because it’s coming at the worst time for them, but we officially have a committee in the Broncos’ backfield as Denver tries to keep Moreno fresh for the postseason. Matt Prater capped off a wild Sunday by kicking an NFL record 64-yard field goal.

Rams – Cardinals
Well, it’s not your week when you play against Larry Fitzgerald in the playoffs and he catches 12 of 12 targets for 96 yards and a touchdown. Not one ball thrown in the dirt? To make matters worse I also went against the Arizona defense, which racked up four sacks, caused two turnovers, got a safety and scored a touchdown. Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall both scored. Zac Stacy found the end zone as well but was held to just 25 yards on 14 carries by the stout Cardinals’ rush defense. Stacy should have a much better outing next week versus New Orleans, if you’re still alive in your league.

Giants – Chargers
For all the crap Geno Smith is taking in New York, Eli Manning has thrown just as many interceptions. I guess the difference is that Eli has won two Super Bowls. While Giants fans will tell you none of Manning’s interceptions are his fault, the bottom line is that he’s played terrible this year. Sunday was more of the same, as his passes sailed and he threw two more interceptions. He would have thrown a third but it got called back. Philip Rivers is on the other end of the spectrum. He’s had a bounceback season. Rivers threw three more touchdowns on Sunday, two to sensational rookie Keenan Allen. Allen has been a savior for both the Chargers and my fantasy team.

Seahawks – 49ers
You know, I love Russell Wilson, but doesn’t he need to have a good game against San Francisco once in his career before we put him in the Hall of Fame? For all the talk about him being a borderline MVP candidate, you have to play your best against the best defenses before you get put in that category. There weren’t many fantasy studs from this game. Frank Gore went over 100 yards but didn’t score. Marshawn Lynch was held below 100 yards but did score. I mean, when Luke Wilson is the big fantasy performer from the game, that’s all you need to know.

Panthers – Saints
The Panthers came in with the league’s best defense but it got sliced and diced by Drew Brees Sunday night. Brees threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns, two each to Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston. Cam Newton was bottled up all game long until a late touchdown pass to Steve Smith. One of the things I was noticing watching the Panthers is they run the ball well but they don’t have a running back. Their best rusher is Newton. Jonathan Stewart is always hurt, DeAngelo Williams is average and Mike Tolbert is more of a specialty back. So the Panthers have three running backs but they need to draft a running back. Carolina gets a chance for revenge in two weeks but they’ll need to play a lot better than they did on Sunday if they want to even the score at home.

Cowboys – Bears
Monte Kiffin did it again. There have been three games this year when a team hasn’t punted and two have been against Dallas, including Monday night’s game. Kiffin is the worst coach on the planet. You can insert whichever first name you want, either Lane or Monte, but the worst coach in the world’s last name is definitely Kiffin. If you started Josh McCown he rewarded you with 348 yards and five total touchdowns. Matt Forte went over 100 yards and Alshon Jeffery continues to be a monster. Tony Romo threw three touchdown passes but only 104 yards. DeMarco Murray ran for 146 yards against the worst rush defense in the NFL.


Moving Up, Moving Down – Week 13, 2013


By: — December 3, 2013 @ 10:28 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis

Quarterbacks

Moving Up

Tom Brady

Brady’s coming on at just the right time.

Tom Brady, Patriots
Since I pounded him when he was down, it is only fair that Brady get the Moving Up treatment this week. He threw for 371 yards and a pair of scores against the Texans, giving him a solid 1,443 yards and 10 touchdowns over the Patriots’ last four games. Can you say heating up at just the right time?

Moving Down

Tony Romo, Cowboys
When I go to the FFToday.com stat page and load up the average PPG for quarterbacks over the last three weeks, Romo is sitting as the 28th-ranked QB with 15.5 PPG. Up next are the Chicago Bears and a run defense that is struggling, so don’t expect a big game out of Romo in Week 14.

Running Backs

Moving Up

Donald Brown, Colts
The Colts finally did the obvious, benching Trent Richardson in favor of Brown. While Brown wasn’t spectacular, he was solid with 64 total yards and a score. The matchup this week isn’t great with the Bengals on tap, but you can likely bank on double-digit fantasy points in Weeks 15 and 16 against the Texans and Chiefs.

Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Could AP finally be at 100% after suffering through groin and hamstring injuries as well as having to deal with a tragic personal matter? He ran roughshod over a suspect Bears run defense, chalking up 211 yards on 35 carries. That gives him 357 yards over his past two games, with the Ravens, Eagles and Bengals up next.

C.J. Spiller, Bills
It’s a similar story with C.J. Spiller, who had his best game of the season this week against the Falcons with 157 yards and a score on 17 touches. After a tough matchup against the Bucs, he gets a pair of softies in the Jaguars and Dolphins.

Steven Jackson, Falcons
Another running back seemingly hitting his stride at an opportune time is the Falcons’ Steven Jackson. It took a soft Bills run defense but he finally got untracked this week, totaling 84 yards and a pair of scores on 23 carries. One game doesn’t make a run, mind you.

Rashard Mendenhall, Cardinals
You know what? After looking completely unimpressive in his first nine games as a Cardinal, Mendenhall has looked half decent over the last two weeks. He had 54 yards and a score on 13 carries against the Colts in Week 12 to go along with a 24-yard reception. This week, he looked even better against the Eagles, tallying 76 yards on 18 carries. He gets a soft Rams run defense in Week 14.

Lamar Miller, Dolphins
With Daniel Thomas out of the mix, Miller got the lion’s share of the work this week and the results were, not surprisingly, mixed. Against a stout Jets run defense, he managed just 72 yards on 22 carries. The sledding gets a little easier with the Steelers, Patriots and Bills on tap.

Moving Down

Trent Richardson, Colts
From Browns savior, to Browns retread, to Colts savior, to warming the bench. In a year and a half, no less. That is impressive. Or not impressive. Or maybe astounding. Or maybe just plain sad.

Stevan Ridley, Patriots
Healthy scratch. That makes Ridley a complete gamble with the fantasy playoffs starting up this week. Don’t overthink this one.

Wide Receivers

Moving Up

Josh Gordon, Browns
Moving Up two weeks in a row, and why not? You earn that distinction when you become the first player in NFL history to have consecutive 200-yard receiving performances. Over the past two weeks, Gordon has 24 receptions for 498 yards and three touchdowns. That’s just criminal. His fantasy owners are hoping that he can continue that hot streak over the balance of the season.

Alshon Jeffery, Bears
After a disappointing, injury-plagued rookie campaign, Jeffery has laid waste to any thoughts that he wasn’t worthy of being taken in the second round of the 2012 draft. With his 12-reception, 249-yard, two-touchdown performance this week, he went over the 1000-yard mark and sits at 1,109 with four games to go. Heck, he’s even carried the ball at least once in his last eight games.

Eric Decker, Broncos
After four less-than-stellar performances, in which he totaled just 13 receptions for 170 yards, Decker awoke from his slumber this week and absolutely torched the Chiefs with a number of big plays in crucial situations. And you can bet your bottom dollar that quarterback Peyton Manning took notice. The seemingly forgotten man in the Broncos receiving corps hauled in eight receptions for 174 yards and a nifty four touchdowns. Not bad for a player who is usually the third or fourth option in the Broncos passing attack.

Roddy White, Falcons
I’ve had Roddy penciled in to be Moving Up ever since he returned from an ankle injury, but it has taken him a few weeks to earn it. He did that this week with 10 receptions for 143 yards against the Bills, and he moves into must-start status for the fantasy playoffs.

Michael Floyd, Cardinals
After a pair of 100-yard outings (a combined13 receptions for 297 yards and a score against the Jaguars and Colts), Floyd was solid again this week with five receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown. He isn’t generating a lot of pub and that’s pretty much because he has just four touchdowns on the season. However, he is on pace to finish the season with 1,164 yards and is likely going to be ranked as a solid WR2 in 2014.

Moving Down

Jordy Nelson, Packers
No touchdowns in his last five games and just six receptions for 74 yards in his past two. And there are reports that the Packers are considering shutting quarterback Aaron Rodgers down for the rest of the season.

T.Y. Hilton, Colts
Hilton just isn’t ready for primetime as the Colts’ leading receiver. Since Reggie Wayne was lost for the season, Hilton has had two productive games. A bona fide seven-reception, 121-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Texans and a 130-yard outing against the Rams where he piled up yardage in garbage time. Over the last three games, however, he has 15 receptions for 128 yards. T.Y.’s a little dude and his extensive use might be catching up to him. Opposing defenses certainly have.

Tight Ends

Moving Up

Ladarius Green, Chargers
Mea Culpa. A week late on this one. Green topped 80 yards in Weeks 11 and 12, scoring his first career touchdown in Week 12, so he should have been Moving Up last week. And his two-reception, 45-yard, one-touchdown performance this week against the Bengals would have validated that. With 16 targets over his last three games, Green is a reasonably safe bet during the fantasy playoffs, but his real value is in dynasty leagues. With Antonio Gates slowing down as the season draws to a close, Green is clearly the future at the tight end position in San Diego.

Zach Ertz, Eagles
The Eagles second-round pick in this year’s draft, Ertz’s solid play has effectively nailed James Casey and his three-year, $12-million contract to the bench. After his five-reception, 68-yard, two-touchdown performance this week, Ertz is averaging a healthy 10.7 PPG over his last three weeks with touchdowns in two of those games.

Moving Down

Julius Thomas, Broncos
Inactive in each of the last two games with a knee injury, Thomas will clearly be a roll of the dice, provided he dresses for the Broncos’ home game this week against the Titans.


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