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Moving Up, Moving Down – Week 8, 2013

By: — October 29, 2013 @ 9:08 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis


Moving Up

Tom Brady

Tom Brady has a 55% completion rate through eight weeks.

Jason Campbell, Browns
After his 293-yard, two-touchdown, no-interception performance against a stout Chiefs secondary, Campbell is worth adding in most formats as your QB2.

Moving Down

Michael Vick, Eagles
While opposing defenders have had a hard time catching Vick, it appears that Father Time isn’t having that same problem. After three weeks of resting his injured hamstring, Vick lasted just three series before re-injuring it.

Tom Brady, Patriots
Another dud. Another Moving Down. There is no way that anybody should feel compelled to start him, provided they have a decent alternative. It’s called changing with the times, folks.

Running Backs

Moving Up

Andre Ellington, Cardinals
Don’t believe Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians when he says Rashard Mendenhall will get his job back when he returns to the lineup. Ellington has been flat-out the better of the two this season, averaging a nifty 7.7 yards per carry. Sure, he had an 80-yard touchdown run this week, but even with that play removed, he would still be at 6.0 yards per carry. And he also chips in as a receiver, with 22 receptions for 198 yards and a score on the year. He rates as a solid flex play or high-end RB3 over the balance of the season.

Frank Gore, 49ers
With a depleted and largely ineffective group of wide receivers, the 49ers have turned to Gore and the running game. End result: five straight wins. Let’s assume they won’t change their MO on offense. Gore has been a beast during the winning streak with 516 total yards and six touchdowns. After a Week 9 bye, the 49ers face a stingy Panthers run defense, but they follow that up with some plum matchups the rest of the way.

Darren McFadden, Raiders
Was it just a blip or is McFadden ready to reward his believers over the second half of the season? Pick your answer. He was effective this week against the Steelers with 73 yards and a pair of scores on 24 carries as the Raiders never trailed. Just remember, that doesn’t happen often and it definitely impacts his touches.

James Starks, Packers
Starks looked good this week, running for 57 yards and a score on seven carries and continuing his strong performance thus far in 2013. Unfortunately, injuries have derailed him once again, as has the presence of rookie Eddie Lacy. We all know about Lacy’s injury history, however, and Starks is now up to 244 rushing yards and a pair of scores on just 41 carries while averaging 6.0 yards a pop.

Moving Down

LeSean McCoy, Eagles
With the Eagles having problems at quarterback, McCoy’s production has suffered. He hasn’t found the end zone in three games and has produced just 81 and 65 total yards in his last two games. The upcoming schedule isn’t horrible but the quarterback play in Philadelphia just might be if rookie fourth-round pick Matt Barkley has to start until either Vick (hamstring) or Nick Foles (concussion) is ready.

Stevan Ridley, Patriots
His stat line this week was decent (14 carries for 79 yards and a score) but Ridley shared the load with Brandon Bolden (10 touches) and LeGarrette Blount (11). Bolden figures to lose his role when the Pats go no-huddle once Shane Vereen returns. Vereen also figures to cut into Ridley’s time in the base offense.

Rashard Mendenhall, Cardinals
Done as a starter and not active on game day due to a toe injury. The Cards have almost certainly moved on and so should you.

Wide Receivers

Moving Up

Marvin Jones, Bengals
Who else? After his eight-reception, 122-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Jets, Jones gets the nod. He is likely available in several leagues and it is becoming increasingly clear that he is the Bengals’ favored choice to start opposite A.J. Green, rather than fellow second-year player Mohamed Sanu. Jones has good speed and decent size and he is looking like the long-term starter in Cincinnati.

Calvin Johnson, Lions
Based on the games he has played (he missed one), Johnson is on pace to finish the season with 1,759 yards and 15 touchdowns, which would give him 265 fantasy points at season’s end—40 more than he had last season. If some bottom feeder in your keeper league is willing to let him go, you need to be asking what the price will be.

Kenny Stills, Saints
Marques Colston looks like a shell of his former shelf, Lance Moore just returned from injury, Robert Meachem has always been hit-and-miss, and Jimmy Graham is on a limited snap count. That means Stills just might be Drew Brees’ favored target over the balance of the season. The Saints average 14.2 yards per pass attempt on Stills’ targets and he has taken three of his 23 looks to the house. That warrants a bigger role in the offense.

Terrance Williams, Cowboys
If you didn’t already know it, all you had to do was see Williams 60-yard catch-and-run touchdown on a slant pattern this week to know that he is the real deal. The rookie third-round pick has touchdowns in four consecutive games and there is little reason to think that Miles Austin is going to eat into his targets, even if he gets healthy from the hamstring that kept him out this week.

Drew Davis, Falcons
Meet the Falcons’ new No. 2 receiver. And that means something when Harry Douglas is No. 1 (no, I’m not totally buying into Douglas’s impressive two-game run). Davis had five receptions for 77 yards and a score this week and should prove useful, at least until Roddy White returns. Whenever that is.

Aaron Dobson, Patriots
I told you Dobson, not Kenbrell Thompkins, was the Patriots’ rookie wide receiver to have. Dobson has more targets than Thompkins in the last three games with Thompkins getting just one look this week.

Moving Down

Marques Colston, Saints
I don’t know if he’s injured or on a steep, downhill slide into oblivion, but Colston has just six receptions for 44 yards in his last three games. At this point, he isn’t even startable in 12-team leagues that start three WRs.

DeSean Jackson, Eagles
Anybody who went into the season hoping to ride the Chip Kelly fantasy wave to a championship has had their team crash over the last couple of weeks (yours truly included). Jackson caught eight balls for 63 yards this week after his three-reception, 21-yard performance a week ago. However, he is most effective when Michael Vick is under center, and his performance figures to take a big hit if rookie Matt Barkley is forced to start this week.

Sidney Rice, Seahawks
Hurt. Again. Ineffective. Again. Take away the game where he beat up on the Jaguars and Rice has been abysmal this season. Again.

Tight Ends

Moving Up

Sorry, folks, nothing exciting at TE this week, so nobody gets the Moving Up treatment.

Moving Down

Garrett Graham, Texans
Based on his performance in a limited role in the Texans’ first four games (12 rec for 126 yds and 3 TDs), it seemed like Graham would be a solid replacement for the injured Owen Daniels. Not so much. In Houston’s last three games, Graham has hauled in just eight of his 17 targets for 78 yards with no touchdowns.

Tuesday Morning Buzz – Week 8, 2013

By: — October 28, 2013 @ 11:59 pm
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.

Panthers – Bucs
It’s hard to understand why Greg Schiano is about to be fired. He’s lost 12 of his last 13 games, he got the best cornerback in the NFL and is using him in zone coverage, his former players compare playing for him to being in Cuba, and his current players are publicly stating that they no longer believe in their coach. That’s an impressive resume. Things are looking up for Schiano though. Tampa Bay travels to Seattle this week. Mike James didn’t get a chance to do much in his first start because the Bucs fell behind early. James finished with 39 yards on 10 carries. I guess I can be thankful that I got outbid for James, because falling behind is going to be a trend in Tampa Bay as long as Schiano is on the sidelines. The good news is that that will likely only be for one more week. Back to running backs: with Mike Tolbert getting more touches and Jonathan Stewart set to return, Carolina’s backfield is a fantasy mess to avoid.

Josh Brown

Josh Brown: The Giants best fantasy player in Week 8.

Giants – Eagles
Did you happen to start Josh Brown? If so you had the bulk of the fantasy points in this game. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and DeSean Jackson put in solid fantasy days as well, but this was the second consecutive ugly offensive game the Giants have won. The best part about this game for me was when Daryl Johnson said Peyton Hillis reminded him of Mike Alstott. Really, Moose? Just like every white receiver on the planet—even if he’s 6’4″—reminds commentators of Wes Welker? I’m dying for there to be another white cornerback so I can hear, “He reminds me a lot of Jason Sehorn.” I guess all us white guys really do look alike.

49ers – Jaguars
I’m going to call it right now: The Jaguars will go 0-16. I always think a team will squeeze out a win at some point but I just can’t comprehend it with Jacksonville. I believe any other team can play their worst game and still beat the Jaguars by 10 points. The only good news is that Maurice Jones-Drew is finally showing signs of fantasy life. He racked up 122 total yards on 25 touches Sunday. I should probably take him off the bench now but then I would have to keep a straight face as I tell people that I’m starting a Jaguar. Colin Kaepernick ran for 54 yards and two scores on seven carries. To be honest, he could have run for 200 yards because the Jaguars fell for his option fake every single time. Luckily for the 49ers they were up by 21 before kickoff, so they didn’t need to risk running their quarterback that much.

Cowboys – Lions
We should all take a second to tip our hats to Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Oh sure, through eight weeks the Dallas defense has allowed four 400-yard passers, a 300-yard receiver and a franchise record for yards in a game (623), but Kiffin did manage to shut down Philadelphia’s offense with its backup quarterback. Let’s give Jerry Jones a round of applause for making another great coaching hire. Yes, Jones hires the coaches, not Jason Garrett. In other news, Dallas has won just one playoff game in the last 16 years. If you have any quarterback worth his salt going up against this Cowboys’ defense, expect a huge game out him. Moving forward, the Lions will benefit from the return of Nate Burleson because when they face a defensive coordinator that knows how to make an in-game adjustment, it will be more difficult for Megatron to catch 14 balls on 16 targets for the second most yards in NFL history. Burleson had 19 receptions in three games before getting hurt.

Browns – Chiefs
So apparently anyone who plays quarterback in Cleveland can do a decent job as long as that person isn’t Brandon Weeden? Jason Campbell certainly isn’t Bernie Kosar but he wasn’t as inept as Weeden either. Josh Gordon put up huge numbers. It will be interesting to see if the Browns move him or not this week. I hope for their sake they don’t. Cleveland already picked up a first-round pick after fleecing the Colts on the Trent Richardson deal. There’s no reason to get rid of all their good, young talent. For the first time in weeks, Jamaal Charles wasn’t the only Chiefs offensive player with fantasy relevance. Dexter McCluster caught seven passes for 67 yards and a score. How many people started him?

Dolphins – Patriots
I’ve gone as far as I can with Tom Brady. I’m telling you this because now that I’m benching him, you should get Brady in your lineup. I just can’t keep starting a QB that no longer has a chance to get me 20 fantasy points. The only two Patriots that had any fantasy relevance on Sunday were Stevan Ridley and Aaron Dobson. Brady isn’t just killing his own fantasy value; his poor start is killing the fantasy value of the entire Patriots offense right now. I don’t know how injured his hand is but those images certainly didn’t look good. The Dolphins finally decided to give Lamar Miller more than seven carries and he gained 89 yards on 18 carries. They should try that more often.

Bills – Saints
My God, is there a tougher human being on the planet than Bad Thad Lewis? I saw him take at least five hits on Sunday that would have put most people in the hospital. I have to hand it to this Bills team and first-year coach Doug Marrone, they fight every week. Even against the Saints they wouldn’t go away quietly, despite being outmatched on the road. Kenny Stills exploded in this game for 129 yards and two touchdowns. I really like Stills in dynasty leagues. He was a big-time player at Oklahoma before injuries and some off-the-field issues sidetracked him. If he keeps his head on straight, Stills has a bright NFL future. Jimmy Graham was obviously not 100 percent Sunday. However, he made the most of his three catches as two went for touchdowns. Darn, I wish I drafted him.

Steelers – Raiders
Terrelle Pryor scored on a 93-yard run early and the Raiders never looked back. Oakland hung on despite Pryor not really doing much after his long run. He totaled only 101 yards for the rest of the game. For all the talk of Le’Veon Bell he really hasn’t done much on the ground. He scored a short touchdown on Sunday but it was another 13-carry, 24-yard performance out of Bell. Luckily he caught five passes as well to salvage a decent fantasy day, but hopefully he starts finding more running lanes in the future. It’s not really Bell’s fault though. The Steelers’ offensive line is terrible.

Jets – Bengals
I considered for a second benching Brady in favor of the hot Andy Dalton but figured I would give it one more week because Dalton was facing a tough Jets defense. It goes to show what I know. While Brady looked like my two-year old son trying to throw a football, Dalton went for 325 yards and five touchdowns. Dalton has now recorded three straight 300-yard games and has thrown 11 touchdowns in that span. So Andy Dalton is my new Tom Brady. Amazingly, four of Dalton’s five scores went to Marvin Jones. A few weeks ago I called Jones a hump. Again, shows what I know. Since that time Jones has been the most improved receiver in the NFL. Last week I said to keep an eye on David Nelson, but after 12 receptions for 160 yards in two games, you may want to grab him off the waiver wire.

Redskins – Broncos
It’s amazing but the Broncos didn’t play that well. Peyton Manning was banged up and threw three interceptions, yet they still beat Washington 45-21. The thing I would be concerned with is that it’s pretty obvious Manning is struggling with those ankle injuries. Even though his bye week is coming up, Manning is 37 and we’re only halfway through the season. Also, remember that Denver’s offensive line is banged up too. The Broncos want to get Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson more involved in the offense in the coming weeks to keep Knowshon Moreno fresh. Ball had 11 carries on Sunday. It will be interesting to see if Denver runs the ball more over the second half of the season to limit the hits on Manning, because he has taken quite a beating over the first eight games.

Falcons – Cardinals
With Rashard Mendenhall injured, Andre Ellington got the start and gained 154 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run. Ellington is clearly the most talented running back in Arizona and should finally start getting 20 touches a game moving forward. Harry Douglas had another big game and Drew Davis caught seven passes for 77 yards and a score. Matt Ryan did throw the ball 61 times in this game, but there’s another receiver I want to mention. Darius Johnson caught four balls for 40 yards and saw nine targets. Johnson was my top deep sleeper in the draft coming out of SMU. He started the year on Atlanta’s practice squad. There may not be room for Johnson when Roddy White comes back, but with another injury, you never know. Johnson has already gone from absolutely no fantasy value to nine targets, so keep an eye on him.

Packers – Vikings
Adrian Peterson should have received two MVP awards last year. He really did have a season for the ages. How in the heck did that team win 10 games? Leslie Frazier is a miserable coach and there’s little talent on this Vikings squad outside of AP. The Packers are going to be tough with that battering ram Eddie Lacy to go along with Aaron Rodgers. Lacy ran for 94 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. The Vikings currently have two first-round quarterbacks on their roster. Unfortunately for them, those two quarterbacks are Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman. So guess what Minnesota has to select in Round 1 of next year’s draft.

Seahawks – Rams
It was a defensive kind of night in St. Louis as Russell Wilson was harassed all game long by the Rams’ defense. Wilson was sacked seven times but was still able to find Golden Tate for two scores. I actually went into this game tied in a match-up. I had Zac Stacy and my opponent had Marshawn Lynch. Luckily for me my running back didn’t flip off his coaching staff last week. Apparently Pete Carroll isn’t happy with Lynch because not only did he have just eight carries in a tight game but Lynch didn’t even see a touch near the goal line. Instead, Carroll decided to let his 200-pound franchise quarterback take more punishment. It was odd playcalling to say the least but expect Lynch to get a lot more than eight carries next week against Tampa Bay.

Fantasy Highlights: Calvin Johnson dominates

By: — @ 9:04 am
Filed under: Player Analysis
Calvin Johnson

Megatron has 200+ yards receiving in five games during his career.

Over a three-week stretch from late September to early October, Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson totaled seven catches for 69 yards and a touchdown as he battled a knee injury that forced him to miss a game. Life has gotten exponentially better for the Lions and his fantasy owners since. “Megatron” proved to be more machine than man in Week 8, setting career highs with 14 catches for 329 yards and a score in a thrilling comeback win against the Dallas Cowboys.

In addition to posting his fifth career 200-yard game – tying Hall-of-Famer Lance Alworth for the most in NFL history – Johnson’s yardage total fell just seven yards short of Willie “Flipper” Anderson’s all-time record. By comparison, Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (three receptions, 72 yards and two touchdowns) – who created a stir earlier in the week when he compared himself favorably with Johnson – created as much chaos on the sidelines with his teammates as he did on the field, but delivered the goods in fantasy just as he has most of the season.

Detroit piled up 623 yards of total offense, so QB Matthew Stafford (season-high 488 yards and a TD) and RB Reggie Bush (122 total yards and a score) came through for fantasy owners in a game that featured only 20 points through three quarters, but turned into a shootout thanks to a 41-point fourth quarter.

Other Week 8 fantasy highlights:

— Were it not for Johnson threatening a NFL record, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (332 yards and five touchdowns) would have stolen the show in fantasy. Rookie WR Kenny Stills (three catches, 129 yards and two touchdowns) and TE Jimmy Graham (three receptions, 37 yards and two TDs) did plenty of damage with their limited opportunities. Graham’s effort was particularly impressive after the team revealed he has a partially torn plantar fascia late this week.

— The San Francisco 49ers figured to have their way with the winless Jacksonville Jaguars in London and did not disappoint. QB Colin Kaepernick (164 yards passing, 54 yards rushing and three total touchdowns) baffled the Jaguars with zone-read runs for the second straight week while Frank Gore (71 rushing yards and two TDs) scored twice on the ground as well. TE Vernon Davis (three receptions, 52 yards and a touchdown) got in on the action before San Francisco took the air out of the ball in the second half.

— For at least one week, it didn’t matter that Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon (five catches, 132 yards and a score) and TE Jordan Cameron (four receptions for 81 yards) were working with their third different quarterback in Jason Campbell, who kept his team close for most of the day with 293 yards and two touchdown passes in a loss against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. It was easily the best performance a Cleveland quarterback has enjoyed since Brian Hoyer was lost for the season, so perhaps not all is lost with Campbell after all.

— In the same game, WR Dexter McCluster (seven receptions, 67 yards and touchdown) posted his second straight strong effort – especially in PPR leagues. McCluster will always struggle to see a full complement of snaps due to his slight build, but his ability to get open in the short-passing game should continue to be an asset in a Chiefs’ offense that rarely takes a shot downfield.

— The New England Patriots trailed 17-3 at halftime, mustered only 252 yards of total offense for the game and still managed to win rather handily despite 116 yards passing from QB Tom Brady. Rookie WR Aaron Dobson (four catches, 60 yards and a TD) was the only Patriot receiver to enjoy much of a day as TE Rob Gronkowski (two receptions for 27 yards) and WR Danny Amendola (three catches for 15 yards) were held in check. RB Stevan Ridley (79 yards and a score) continued his resurgence and has found the end zone four times over his last three games.

— New York Giants K Josh Brown entered the weekend with seven field goals on the season. However, thanks to the continued red-zone struggles from his offense, he accounted for all of his team’s scoring with five field goals against the listless Philadelphia Eagles to carry the day for the few fantasy owners that started him.

Dave’s Take: Fantasy Football Tips, News & Notes – Week 8, 2013

By: — October 25, 2013 @ 2:00 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis

Josh Gordon

A trade of Josh Gordon is unlikely.

1. Usually when there is smoke, there is fire but that may not be the case with the constant trade rumors flying around Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon has been on a tear since returning from a two-game suspension, catching 27 passes for 450 yards and two touchdowns over the last five weeks. In essence, he has played so well that he has made it nearly impossible for Cleveland to move him. A 2nd round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft, Gordon has elite physical skills that are not matched by his level of maturity. With two strikes against him in the league’s substance abuse program, another failed test will likely result in a year long suspension. That makes it unlikely that another team will offer the Browns a 1st or 2nd round pick to acquire his services although his upside and recent production compel Cleveland to hold onto him unless they receive such an offer. Add it all up and the odds are strong that fantasy leaguers can go ahead and assume he will remain in Cleveland for the duration of the 2013 season.

2. Sticking in the AFC North, Bengals third-year quarterback Andy Dalton is on the most impressive run of his young career with 709 passing yards and six touchdowns over the past two games. Long criticized for his inability to consistently connect on deep passes, Dalton connected with A.J. Green for an 82-yard catch and run touchdown this week and is averaging a career-high 7.7 yards per attempt which ranks 10th in the league. With a surrounding cast of young skilled position players, Dalton’s stock in keeper leagues is on the upswing.

3. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is currently ranked 3rd in FPts/G but his owners have to be asking themselves when the carnage around him starts to affect his production. With Randall Cobb on short term injured reserve, James Jones likely to miss his second consecutive game due to a knee injury and tight end Jermichael Finley out indefinitely with a bruised spinal cord suffered on a frightening looking play this week, Rodgers no longer has the weapons at his disposal that he is accustomed to having. With Jarrett Boykin (nine career receptions) starting at wide receiver and Andrew Quarless (28 career receptions) subbing in for Finley, Rodgers could be in line for a number of sub-300 yard passing games. His owners will have to hope that he pads his fantasy production with touchdown passes and in the ground game.

4. Jets quarterback Geno Smith has been surprisingly productive in his rookie campaign, throwing for 1,723 yards with eight passing touchdowns and two rushing scores over the first seven games of his career. He has topped 200 passing yards in every game but one (he had 199 yards against the Falcons) and has thrown touchdown passes in five of seven games. While those numbers aren’t earth shattering, they are impressive especially considering that he has been without the team’s leading receiver in Santonio Holmes and fellow wide receiver Stephen Hill has been slowed due to a concussion. Hill, second-year player Jeremy Kerley and Bills castoff David Nelson have lead a no name group of receivers and that may continue for the foreseeable future with Holmes stating this week that he had no idea when he would return to the lineup. Hill and Kerley rate as sneaky additions if you are looking for fill ins at the wide receiver position in larger leagues.

5. Brett Favre to the Rams tells you all you need to know about Kellen Clemen’s viability as St. Louis’ starting quarterback over the balance of the season. Outside of running back Zac Stacy, who rates as no better than a flex play or bye week fill in, the Rams don’t have a single player that should see the starting lineup of a 12-team fantasy league.

6. Watching Thursday night’s Panthers-Bucs game, it was hard not to come to the conclusion that Carolina has done a very poor job of managing their salary cap. Despite having DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart locked up on lucrative long-term deals, the Panthers signed Mike Tolbert to a multi-year contract prior to the 2012 season. While that is an impressive array of talent at the running back position, the salary cap space used to acquire it could have been better spent at the wide receiver position where an aging Steve Smith starts alongside Brandon LaFell with Ted Ginn Jr. in reserve. With Smith in his 13th season and averaging a very pedestrian 10.5 yard per reception, Carolina must replenish their wide receiver depth chart or else they risk wasting some of the best years of quarterback Cam Newton’s career. While Newton is clearly a fantasy stud, his upside is limited by the team’s lack of explosive weapons in the passing game.

7. The Lions released backup tight end Tony Scheffler this week, crystallizing their obvious desire to hand that role over to 2013 undrafted rookie free agent Joseph Fauria. Fauria has been a surprise with eight receptions for 81 yards and three touchdowns on just 13 targets. With the team’s wide receivers not named Calvin Johnson having underwhelming performances in 2013 and tight end Brandon Pettigrew in the final year of his rookie contract, Fauria, who has solid size at 6’7” and 255 pounds, could make another move up the depth chart in 2014. Dynasty leaguers might want to use stash him on the back of their roster in the event the disappointing Pettigrew is not re-signed.

Moving Up, Moving Down – Week 7, 2013

By: — October 23, 2013 @ 1:50 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis


Moving Up

Andy Dalton

Dalton heading into QB1 territory?

Andy Dalton, Bengals
Is Dalton ready to emerge as a solid QB1? Maybe. Over the past two weeks, he has thrown for 709 yards and six touchdowns with just one interception. Sure, it was against the Bills 22nd ranked pass defense and the Lions 27th ranked unit but the Bengals face five pass defenses ranked 12th or worst over their next eight games.

Josh McCown, Bears
Only if you’re truly desperate.

Moving Down

Tom Brady, Patriots
After passing for at least one touchdown in 52 consecutive games, Brady has now failed to throw for a touchdown in two of his last three games. The return of tight end Rob Gronkowski to the lineup was supposed to help cure what ails the Patriots passing game but that didn’t happen this week. In his last three games, Brady has thrown for 694 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions while completing 51.2% of his passes.

Sam Bradford, Rams
Out for the year.

Brandon Weeden, Browns
The Browns have yet to compile a win in 2013 with Weeden as their starter and he was awful this week against the Packers with just 149 yards and a touchdown on 42 attempts. A trip to the bench will give Jason Campbell the start in Week 8.

Running Backs

Moving Up

Chris Ivory, Jets
Ivory had his most extensive use of the season this week with 34 carries for 104 yards in the Jets overtime win over the Patriots. While the Jets claimed that the game plan was to use Ivory’s hard charging running style against a banged up New England front seven, it’s worth noting that Bilal Powell is becoming an afterthought in the Jets offensive game planning (see below). The upcoming schedule looks rough but Ivory will rate as a decent flex option provided he takes over the starting role, which seems likely.

Mike James, Buccaneers
Meet the Buccaneers new starting running back. That is, unless they sign a veteran off the scrap heap but with a Thursday night game, James gets at least a week to prove that he is Da’ Man. He figures to take over for Doug Martin (see below) and the rookie 2013 6th round pick didn’t look horrible this week against the Falcons with 45 yards on 14 carries.

Roy Helu, Redskins
Reading Helu’s stat line of 11 carries for 41 yards and three touchdowns, you might jump to the conclusion that Alfred Morris was injured this week but that wasn’t the case. It was more a case of the Redskins coming out with a package of plays that Helu plays in and that package being effective against the Bears. That being said, look for the Redskins to continue using Helu in the red zone until opposing defenses figure out how to shut him down.

Moving Down

C.J. Spiller, Bills
With Spiller seemingly ready to handle a full load this week against the Dolphins, he totaled just nine touches to 15 for Fred Jackson. Not good but even worse was what he did with his touches, gaining just seven yards. Spiller is certainly in the running for Fantasy Bust of the Year as he has just 410 total yards, 15 receptions and a single touchdown in seven games. The schedule looks nice but if I’m a Spiller owner, I’m ready to cut bait if I get a decent offer for him.

Trent Richardson, Colts
Two questions. One, why did the Colts trade for Richardson? Two, how is it that Donald Brown isn’t starting? If you watched the Colts-Broncos game this week and came away with the opinion that Richardson is the superior player, I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.

Bilal Powell, Jets
Over the past five weeks, Powell’s touches have declined from 29 to 17 to 13 to 12 to just three this week. That looks like a pattern. And it’s a pattern that has killed any fantasy value he had.

Doug Martin, Bucs & Arian Foster, Texans
Foster suffered a hamstring injury but with the Texans on a Week 8 bye, he might not miss any time. That won’t be the case with Martin who went down with a shoulder injury in the Bucs loss to the Falcons and left the stadium with his arm in a sling. He may be out for the year with a torn labrum in his shoulder.

Lamar Miller, Dolphins
It looks like it is officially a timeshare in Miami. Not what Miller owners were hoping for entering the season.

Wide Receivers

Moving Up

Harry Douglas, Falcons
Turns out Douglas is better than I gave him credit for. With the Bucs refusing to put Darrelle Revis on him, Douglas had a career day with seven receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Drew Davis had one target and Kevin Cone didn’t get any. Looks like Douglas is the lead man in Atlanta until Roddy White returns.

Jarrett Boykin, Packers
Gets the Moving Up treatment two weeks in a row courtesy of his eight receptions, 103 yards and one touchdown performance this week against the Browns.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Colts
DHB has been a bit of a flop in his first year in Indianapolis, catching 18 of his 35 targets for 190 yards and a touchdown during his first seven games with the Colts. However, he was solid this week with a four-reception, 44-yard, one-touchdown performance (he also chipped in a 30 yard run) and Reggie Wayne is out for the season with a torn ACL. That sounds like opportunity for the former 1st round pick

Mike Brown, Jaguars
For deep leaguers only. Brown has nine receptions for 169 yards over the past two weeks but there is a decent chance he will lose playing time to Ace Sanders once the rookie returns from a concussion. If you need a bye week filler in large league, you could do worse than Brown.

Moving Down

Victor Cruz, Giants
Opposing defenses seem to have slid their coverage towards Cruz over the last three weeks. He is still getting plenty of targets (24 in those games) but the big plays have dried up as he has put up just 166 yards and failed to find the end zone.

Nate Washington, Titans
Washington appeared on the verge of reclaiming his role as the Titans leading wide receiver after his four-reception, 105-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week 4. In the three games since then, he has seven receptions for 107 yards and no touchdowns.

Austin Pettis, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Rams
Hey, Kellen Clemens is at quarterback. I’m not even sure he can pile up production in garbage time. Up next are the Seahawks.

Miles Austin, Cowboys
Either Austin’s hamstring is still bothering him or he is being phased out in Dallas. He was targeted just three times this week after being targeted four times in Week 6. He failed to catch a pass in either game and has just 125 receiving yards and no touchdowns in five games this year.

Tight Ends

Moving Up

Jordan Reed, Redskins
Reed was lights out this week against the Bears, catching all nine of his targets for 134 yards and a touchdown. The rookie 3rd round pick has a stranglehold on the tight end position and is averaging a very respectable 8.4 FPts/G despite seeing limited action early in the season.

Robert Housler, Cardinals
Housler has been quietly effective over the past two weeks, catching four of his five targets for 32 yards against the 49ers in Week 6 and all seven of his targets this week against the Seahawks for 53 yards. Look for him to be a bigger part of the Cardinals offensive game plan over the next few weeks as head coach Bruce Arians uses him on short and intermediate routes to help slow down opposing pass rushers.

Moving Down

Greg Olsen, Panthers
Since there are no really great options to have Moving Down at tight end this week Olsen gets the nod courtesy of his lack of production over the Panthers last two games (six receptions for 56 yards and no touchdowns) as well as his inability to find the end zone thus far in 2013 (just one touchdown).

Tuesday Morning Buzz – Week 7, 2013

By: — October 22, 2013 @ 8:44 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.

Seahawks – Cardinals
I still believe Bruce Arians is a good hire for Arizona but right now he doesn’t have the horses on the offensive line or at quarterback to make his offense run consistently. The Cardinals have talent at the skill positions but when they face a defense like Seattle their line is simply overmatched. It’s nice to know that while Chris Johnson may not care about fantasy owners, Marshawn Lynch is thinking about us. He was so “upset” the Seattle coaches called a pass play at the one-yard line that he turned around and gave them the one-finger salute. Knowing the way Pete Carroll runs things, my guess is it was done in a joking manner, but you never know with Lynch. I guess the coaches just figured the tight end would be open. Arizona gave up two more touchdowns to tight ends on Thursday night. Through seven games, the numbers Arizona has allowed to opposing tight ends are in the historically bad neighborhood.

Danny Woodhead

Danny Woodhead is fantasy gold in PPR leagues.

Chargers – Jaguars
I have Justin Blackmon in one of my leagues and I kind of want to trade him, only because I feel like taking a shower for starting a Jaguar. This team is so bad right now they’re hard to watch. I joked that Keenan Allen should fake an injury because every San Diego receiver gets hurt, and then he actually got injured on Sunday. Luckily, he returned to the game, but his absence ruined what was a strong start to another big fantasy day. I’ll say it again: I felt like Danny Woodhead didn’t do much, and then at the end of the game he had four receptions, 76 yards and a touchdown. The great thing about Woodhead is that he can still have a big fantasy day in a game where Ryan Mathews rushes for 110 yards and a score. The guy is fantasy gold in PPR leagues.

Bengals – Lions
This game included two of the NFL’s top receivers: Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green. It was almost a dead heat as Green caught six passes for 155 yards and a score on eight targets while Megatron caught nine balls for 155 yards and two touchdowns on 15 targets. Both Matthew Stafford and Andy Dalton threw for over 350 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. The only losers in this contest were the running games and the defenses, although the Bengals are used to that, considering they still give BenJarvus Green-Ellis double-digit carries.

Rams – Panthers
The big story from this game is the injury to Sam Bradford. Who will Jeff Fisher and Brian Schottenheimer find to throw all those 4-yard passes if Bradford is out? Apparently the guy will be Kellen Clemens. How can he still be in the NFL? Do you know how long ago it was that I used to watch him play at Oregon? Talk about someone who should thank his lucky stars over the life he’s been given. No player in NFL history has been worse and had a longer career than Clemens. So yes, the Rams’ offense can get worse, in case you were wondering. I hope you aren’t playing against the Seahawks’ defense this week.

Bills – Dolphins
These are two of the more perplexing teams in the NFL. If you play in one of those picks contests, games involving Buffalo and Miami are usually tough to pick because they’re both hard teams to read. Miami started out 3-0 and have since lost three straight. Buffalo had been terrible on the road and is now playing a quarterback off its practice squad, but they almost upset Cincinnati and then beat Miami. Hey, let’s hear it for C.J. Spiller though. He really gutted it out with six carries for 11 yards. I don’t think we need to hold nominations for the biggest fantasy bust of 2013. Spiller already has that award locked up. Oh wait, Trent Richardson and Ray Rice really want a piece of that award too.

Patriots – Jets
Rob Gronkowski made his much-awaited 2013 debut and delivered with eight catches for 114 yards on 17 targets. Gronk might have caught more passes but Tom Brady is just off right now. I have Brady in a league and at this point I may drop him for Thad Lewis for Christ’s sake. I’m sure everyone started Chris Ivory expecting him to get 34 carries for 104 yards. If you don’t get headaches, try figuring out the Jets’ backfield from week-to-week. David Nelson is a guy to watch. He was on the verge of becoming a productive slot receiver in Buffalo before injuries derailed his career.

Cowboys – Eagles
You get these two teams together and a defensive slugfest is just bound to break out. Nick Foles may have played the worst game of any starting quarterback in 10 years. It was so bad I feel like Mike Vick threatened him to play poorly to avoid a quarterback controversy. Regardless of what you think of Foles, that performance was head-scratching. Dallas didn’t do much on offense either but they didn’t have to. I said before that Joseph Randle is average. He was average on Sunday. Terrance Williams has now scored in three straight games. I bought a carton of milk and Miles Austin’s picture wasn’t on it. Apparently he was found and no one cares.

Bears – Redskins
Well, either the Bears’ offense doesn’t miss Jay Cutler or Washington’s defense is just awful. Cutler left with a torn groin and Josh McCown replaced him to throw for 204 yards and a touchdown. McCown also added 33 yards on the ground. Alshon Jeffery continues to dominate. He had his third 100-yard game on Sunday and is on pace for a 1000-yard season as I predicted back in the summer. See, I’m not always wrong. The Redskins haven’t had a good tight end in a while. They do now in Jordan Reed. Alfred Morris ran for 95 yards on 19 carries but Roy Helu scored three touchdowns. Mike Shanahan is back.

Buccaneers – Falcons
I picked up Harry Douglas in all of my leagues. Unfortunately, I didn’t start him in any of them. I thought people were slow to grab Douglas. Think about the trash owners have on their rosters. Douglas was at least worth a stash. With Julio Jones and Roddy White both out, Douglas exploded for 149 yards and a touchdown on seven catches. He won’t do that every week but he’s worth a roster spot. I’m guessing that won’t be an issue this week. The Bucs are a mess and now Doug Martin is hurt. Although, that may be a blessing in disguise for Martin owners because his fantasy value was about dried up anyway. At least now you won’t have to bang your head against the wall every week.

49ers – Titans
Let me take you back to August. Remember in a lot of drafts when people were taking Colin Kaepernick over Peyton Manning? Wouldn’t it be great if we could play a month, turn back the clock and then re-draft? Then I wouldn’t take C.J. Spiller, even if he was on the board in Round 10. Kaepernick, who many of us (including me) thought would be one of the more spectacular quarterbacks in the NFL, has turned into a game manager. So basically he’s a more mobile version of Alex Smith with a stronger arm. Whatever he is, if you drafted Kaepernick over Peyton you must be sick. Luckily for me, I have Brady, so I’m beyond sick. Oh, and I said I would mention if Chris Johnson did something. He finally did something. It only took seven weeks. Congratulations.

Ravens – Steelers
There’s nothing better than writing about a game where Shaun Suisham is the fantasy star. Actually, I really don’t have anything to say about this game other than starting Ray Rice is almost like starting a player on a bye week. A guy in my league just offered Rice for a glazed donut. I wouldn’t do that deal and I’m a Type I diabetic.

Browns – Packers
The Packers with all of their injuries may not be rolling on offense yet, but they had more than enough to dispose of the Browns. Eddie Lacy continues to run well and Jarrett Boykin had a big game catching eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Weeden stinks. He’s one of those players that’s so bad I want to punch him when I watch him, despite the fact that he’s done nothing to me personally. The only thing I can think of when I watch Weeden is “How bad is Jason Campbell?” Of course, I know the answer to that question, so I’m really just amusing myself.

Texans – Chiefs
Case Keenum got his first career start and played pretty well, connecting on 15 of 25 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown in one of the NFL’s toughest environments. Some people think there’s a quarterback controversy. I don’t. Keenum has earned another start in my opinion, after his performance against one of the NFL’s best defenses. As usual, the Chiefs’ offensive statistics were basically Jamaal Charles and a bunch of average performances. You either start Charles or the Chiefs’ defense, or don’t expect much fantasy-wise from anyone wearing a Kansas City uniform.

Broncos – Colts
I could talk about a lot of different things from this game but I want to discuss the myth that is Trent Richardson. Did you know that in 21 career games Richardson has reached 70 yards rushing only seven times? Did you also know he hasn’t reached that mark since Week 13 of last season? Yet, for some reason, we keep treating this guy like he’s an RB1 or RB2 instead of a player who should be benched most weeks. Richardson is averaging 43 yards per game in 2013 and he’s scored twice. He’s the 30th-ranked RB in PPR leagues, and that doesn’t even include guys like Eddie Lacy, Stevan Ridley, C.J. Spiller, Le’Veon Bell and Zac Stacy, who have either been hurt or just started playing. In reality, Richardson isn’t only far from being a RB2, he’s barely hanging on to RB3 status right now. Things can turn around, but after seven games Richardson has been a big disappointment and an average running back dating back 13 games. And that’s behind two different offensive lines. Those are just the facts.

Giants – Vikings
This game had “stink” written all over it and it certainly delivered. Josh Freeman had no business being on an NFL field. If the Vikings’ organization had any self-respect they would give Leslie Frazier the Lane Kiffin treatment and fire him as soon as the plane touches down in Minnesota. I think Frazier is the worst coach in the NFL even though he fell backwards into 10 wins last season, so I’m not surprised he’s destroying the Vikings just one year later. He will get fired. It’s going to happen because Frazier can’t coach, so Minnesota may as well save itself the time and trouble and do it now. The lone interesting fantasy nugget came courtesy of Peyton Hillis who out gained Adrian Peterson on the night. Hillis’ 18-36-1 and 5-45 stat line was good enough to rank him 12th among fantasy running backs for the week.

Fantasy Highlights: Griffin rounding back into form

By: — October 21, 2013 @ 9:53 am
Filed under: Player Analysis
Robert Griffin III

RGIII is back to his running ways.

The United States government brought a close to its shutdown this week and the Washington Redskins ended their own unproductive stretch in the nation’s capital when they outlasted the Chicago Bears in what was a fantasy-point bonanza. Washington QB Robert Griffin III, who began to show his rookie form last week, put together the kind of performance that became the norm last season with 298 yards passing, 84 yards rushing and two scores. Griffin may not be all the way back until next year, but he will continue to be an every-week start in all leagues.

Bears RB Matt Forte (109 total yards and career-high three rushing touchdowns) had four carries for nine yards and a TD at halftime, but continued his push to the top of the fantasy football mountain at his position. With Chicago playing the last two-plus quarters without QB Jay Cutler (groin), Forte almost singlehandedly carried the offense – becoming the first Bear since Rashaan Salaam in 1995 to run for three touchdowns in the same game.

Redskins rookie TE Jordan Reed (nine receptions, 134 yards and a score), who was already beginning to emerge as a low-end TE1 option in PPR leagues as a player with the ability to create mismatches in the same way Aaron Hernandez did in New England, has likely ascended into an every-week fantasy starter – regardless of format. Washington RB Roy Helu Jr. (48 total yards and three rushing TDs) overshadowed starter Alfred Morris (95 rushing yards) and may have forced his way into more playing time as a result.

Other Week 7 fantasy highlights:

— The story of the week was supposed to be how TE Rob Gronkowski‘s return was going to spark the New England Patriots’ offense and, more specifically, QB Tom Brady‘s return to fantasy prominence. Gronkowski (eight catches, 114 yards) came on with some big plays late and rewarded his owners after a six-week layoff, but Brady (228 yards and an interception) was held without a touchdown for the second time in three games in a loss to the New York Jets

— The Atlanta Falcons might have been without their top two receivers, but that didn’t keep two other wideouts from putting up Roddy White and Julio Jones-like numbers in the Georgia Dome. Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson (10 catches, 138 yards and two touchdowns) scored two times for the second straight week while Falcons WR Harry Douglas burned the Bucs for seven receptions, 149 yards and a touchdown. While the effort doesn’t mean Douglas is an every-week starter, owners can feel better about using him going forward.

— It may be time to start giving Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton (372 yards and three touchdowns) a little bit of credit after his second straight 300-yard, three-TD performance. In addition to going toe-to-toe with Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (357 yards and three scores) in fantasy box scores, Dalton helped silence his critics with an 82-yard scoring strike to WR A.J. Green (six catches, 155 yards and a score). Lions WR Calvin Johnson announced his return to fantasy prominence as well after dealing with a recent knee injury, grabbing nine balls for 155 yards and two touchdowns.

— Two running backs who may have become fantasy afterthoughts – the San Diego Chargers’ Ryan Mathews (110 rushing yards and a touchdown) and the Jets’ Chris Ivory (104 rushing yards) took advantage of soft matchups in wins over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Patriots, respectively. Both backs are long on talent and short on durability, giving their owners a nice week-long window with which to trade the injury-prone players for upgrades at other positions.

— In addition to Cutler, owners will need to keep an eye out for a handful of prominent injured fantasy players over the next week. Bucs RB Doug Martin was forced from the game after suffering a shoulder injury, Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles left with a concussion and St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford did not return after a left leg injury. While Rams backup QB Kellen Clemens can be left on waivers, owners may need to consider Bucs RB Mike James or Eagles rookie QB Matt Barkley (assuming Michael Vick is still sidelined by his hamstring next week).

Dave’s Take: Fantasy Football Tips, News & Notes – Week 7, 2013

By: — October 18, 2013 @ 3:42 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis

Matt Schaub

The Texans have more issues than just their quarterback play.

1. Come on, Texans fans. Don’t cheer an injury to your quarterback even if he has been struggling. While Matt Schaub will never be considered an elite quarterback, he has a solid 46-40 record as the Texans starter and led the team to their first .500 season, their first winning season, their first playoff berth, their first division title and their first playoff win. He has played in the Pro Bowl and clearly is the Texans best option to make a playoff run in 2013. There isn’t a franchise passing record that he doesn’t own. Don’t kick a man when he’s down and giving his best effort. This team has more issues than just its play at quarterback.

2. Come on, Jim Irsay. Really? Irsay, the Colts owner who never misses an opportunity to put himself in the spotlight, this week lamented the fact that Indianapolis only won one Super Bowl during Peyton Manning’s illustrious 14-year career as a Colt. Even if Irsay’s comments were fully or partially directed at former president Bill Polian, his decision to air his dirty laundry during the week of Manning’s return to Indianapolis as the Broncos face the Colts was unnecessary and insensitive. And let’s face it, if Irsay weren’t so eager to be front and center so often, he may have been given the benefit of the doubt in this situation. However, that’s the not the case and even if his target was Polian, this was still a classless move.

3. Come on, Brandon Weeden. You’re not Brett Favre or Doug Flutie or any other really athletic quarterback. You’re not athletic enough to flip the ball 25 yards backhanded and high enough to get it over a defensive back. While Weeden’s performance has improved this season, it is these types of plays that will likely convince the Browns to go in another direction in 2014. Dynasty leaguers can safely part ways with Weeden since it seems clear that he will lose his starting role next season.

4. Come on, Jabari Greer. Your team has a chance to win on the road against the Patriots and on the game’s deciding play, you line up too close to the line of scrimmage, then you get caught looking into the backfield and then you miss time your leap, allowing Kenbrell Thompkins to score the game winning touchdown.

5. Come on, Emmanuel Sanders. In the midst of one of the Steelers worst seasons in recent memory with the team at 0-4, Sanders did a flip into the end zone this week during Pittsburgh’s 19-6 win over the game but overmatched Jets. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin promptly voiced his displeasure over Sanders showboating. Hey, when you are a highly touted former 3rd round pick that has taken four years to emerge as a starter and you have scored five touchdowns during your first three and a half years in the league, you take whatever opportunity you can get to bring attention to yourself. The lack of touchdown production and Sanders’ diminished role in the offense with running back Le’Veon Bell and tight end Heath Miller returning to full health are reasons to keep him off your fantasy squad.

6. With reports indicating that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play, fantasy owners are anxiously awaiting to see how Tom Brady doles out the targets with his top threat back in the lineup. The team has a trio of solid slot receivers in Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Austin Collie but Amendola’s heavy usage during his time in the line up (27 targets in what amounts to roughly two full games) are a clear indication that the team has big plans for him. Edelman is the team’s second best option out of the slot with Collie getting a pair of targets in his first game action this week. Rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and 2nd round pick Aaron Dobson have been target machines (49 and 37 respectively) but one or both of them will likely lose playing time with Gronkowski healthy. While Thompkins has the better numbers currently with 21 receptions for 318 yards and four touchdowns, he has hauled in just 42.8% of his targets while displaying shaky hands. Dobson hasn’t been as explosive with 19 receptions for 230 yards and a touchdown while also suffering several drops. However, he has caught 51.3% of his passes and clearly possesses outstanding speed and plenty of upside. If you want to roll the dice on which rookie produces more down the stretch, Dobson is the bet you want to make.

7. Packers rookie running back Eddie Lacy has put together a pair of solid games since his return from a concussion. He had 23 carries in each game, totalling 219 rushing yards but failing to score. He rates as a great buy low, buy now candidate given Green Bay’s injury issues at wide receiver. With Randall Cobb being placed on short term injured reserve and James Jones expected to miss at least this week with a sprained MCL, the Packers are down to Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin as their starting wide receivers with undrafted rookie free agent Myles White just called up from the practice squad. Even if tight end Jermichael Finley assumes some responsibilities at wide receiver, the Packers figure to run the ball plenty until Jones returns to the lineup. That figures to translate into a heavy workload for Lacy and once he starts finding the end zone, his fantasy value will skyrocket.

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