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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: HANDICAPPING THE BUFFALO BILLS BACKFIELD FOR WEEK 8

Week 7 was a horror show injury-wise for the Buffalo Bills backfield as both Fred Jackson (groin/out a month) and C.J. Spiller (broken collarbone/out for season) went down injured.  Thus as Week 8 approaches, the two names that have moved to the front of the running back rotation are power back Anthony Dixon and the speedy but fumble-prone Bryce Brown.  There have been conflicting reports about how the carries will be divided for this week, with Dixon being the starter the general consensus at the very least regarding who will get more touches.  Be that as it may, let's dig in a bit more on each and see what they can bring to the fantasy football table.

Bryce Brown:  We all remember Brown from his big three-game stretch for the Philadelphia Eagles the second half of 2012 when he scored four touchdowns and averaged 4.9 yards per carry filling in for an injured LeSean McCoy.  He was not a big factor last season as McCoy went nuts and soon Brown was flipped to the Bills in a 2014 draft-day deal.  Brown has yet to record any action for the Bills this season but he is expected to be the speed complement to Dixon in Week 8.  If a time-share is put in place, Brown will be the PPR weapon in that he will play on third-down due to his pass-receiving ability and speed running.  Dixon however should get the goal-line work which severely knocks his value down in standard setups.

Anthony Dixon:  Dixon is a veteran power back who was a fourth round pick of the San Francisco 49ers back in 2010.  He has scored two touchdowns in each of his 4 seasons as a spare runner who was used in some goal-line situations.  Brown has next-to-no receiving skills so that part of the game will be covered by Brown.  That also means Dixon has little value in PPR formats.  Dixon has appeared in all seven games for the Bills this season and the fact Brown has not indicates he will likely get the lion's share of carries for at least Week 8.  Those in standard formats should take Dixon out for a spin if they are desperate for a body to help out.  Still Dixon has not been a starter since entering the league for a reason as his lack of speed prevents him from being a major weapon.

There you have it.  Let us know who you prefer over the other.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 8 QB RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 8 QB rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Peyton Manning
2.  Aaron Rodgers
3.  Andrew Luck
4.  Philip Rivers
5.  Tom Brady
6.  Drew Brees
7.  Nick Foles
8. Tony Romo
9.  Russell Wilson
10. Matthew Stafford
11. Carson Palmer
12. Jay Cutler
13. Joe Flacco
14. Cam Newton
15. Ryan Tannehill
16. Alex Smith
17. Matt Ryan
18. Ben Roethlisberger
19. Kyle Orton
20. Andy Dalton
21. Austin Davis
22. Mike Glennon
23. Teddy Bridgewater
24. Robert Griffin III
25. Derek Carr
26. Ryan Fitzpatrick
27. Geno Smith
28. Brian Hoyer
29. Colt McCoy
30. Blake Bortles

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 8 ADDS

Week 8 is almost here which means more fine-tuning for your roster is in order.  Let's see who are the prime pickups for your squad as Thursday night football beckons.

Robert Griffin III:  By now it is obvious that RGIII is the Washington Redskins starting QB for better or worse as Kirk Cousins is fresh off a benching for Colt McCoy last Sunday.  Griffin has not been cleared to play yet but he could return as soon as Week 9.

Johnny Manziel:  Brian Hoyer could be turning back into a pumpkin as we speak as he comes off a truly horrific performance in a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars of all teams.  Reports circulated that Mike Pettine thought of replacing Hoyer with Johnny Manziel and a change could come quickly this week if the former struggles again. 

Tre Mason:  Mason should be the top waiver claim of the week as he got 18 carries last week in his second game back from injury while Zac Stacy received zero.  There is an explosive aspect to Mason's game that Stacy and Benny Cunningham doesn't have and the Rams know it.  Could be a sweet add.

Bryce Brown/Anthony Dixon:  There are conflicting reports on whether Brown or Dixon will be the primary ballcarrier in place of the injured Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller.  My bet is on Dixon as Brown fumbles too much and the Bills are surprisingly competitive. 

Denard Robinson:  Comes off a 100-plus rushing game which no other Jaguars runner can claim this season.  Robinson has big-time speed and has been anointed the starter for now which automatically means RB 2 value. 

Doug Baldwin:  With Percy Harvin out of town, Baldwin steps into the number 1 wide receiver slot.  While Baldwin may not be up to such a lofty task, Russell Wilson has to throw it to someone. 

Brandon LaFell:  LaFell is playing great over the last month which happens to coincide with the re-emergence of Tom Brady as a prime fantasy football weapon.  The top hasn't popped off yet so you still might be able to steal LaFell away on waivers.

Owen Daniels:  Daniels is fitting in seamlessly with the Baltimore Ravens as he takes over the top tight end spot over he injured Dennis Pitta.  We have seen solid production from the guy in the past which means this is no shock.  Get him in there as the Ravens and Joe Flacco have been potent on offense.

Jermaine Gresham:  Gresham is a forgotten guy but he comes off a 10-catch day that shows you his ability.  Andy Dalton is looking for weapons with A.J. Green injured which is why Gresham has seen such a lofty increase in targets the last two weeks.

 

Monday, October 20, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: COLT McCOY TO START SUNDAY FOR REDSKINS

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden announced Monday that Colt McCoy will start at QB for the team in Week 9 and not the benched Kirk Cousins.  Cousins will fall to number 3 on the depth chart when Robert Griffin III returns as well.

Analysis:  Wow.  How quick Cousins' stock fell.  McCoy looked good last week in leading the team to a comeback win over the Tennessee Titans but he has zero value in all fantasy football leagues.  Meanwhile Cousins can be dropped in all formats if you haven't done so already.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 7 INJURY REPORT: BUFFALO BACKFIELD A HUGE MESS

Once again injuries are a major topic of conversation as fantasy football Week 7 unfolded.  Let's get to all the latest.

-It was a bad day to be a Buffalo Bills running back to say the least.  First co-starter Fred Jackson went down with a groin injury that necessitated him being carted off the field.  Jackson immediately admitted afterward he was out for Week 8 and the team later confirmed it could be a month before he gets back onto the field.  Making matters worse, not even one half later C.J. Spiller was lost for the season with a broken collarbone.  No sooner had we typed out the piece about how Spiller would finally get his chance to shine as the clear-cut starter with Jackson out and yet another setback falls into his path.  For Spiller, his career has been defined by unmet expectations and disappointing numbers that are not totally his fault.  Injuries have been a huge problem going back to his Clemson days and have followed him to the NFL.  The maddening committee that the Bills have always operated since Spiller was drafted have also ruined his potential. 

The fallout here is that third-stringer Tashard Choice gets dusted off and will be the bell cow back until Jackson returns.  We could be looking at 4-6 games where Choice is the clear starter and that alone makes him worth picking up.  He has shown some solid running in the past to go along with some receiving skills so Choice will be a solid pickup in all formats this week.

-Reggie Bush continues to be hobbled by an ankle injury that flared up again Sunday.  Overall Bush got only 9 touches and Joique Bell pretty much did all the work out of the backfield.  Bush is not likely to practice much this week and his availability is in question for Week 8 given the fact he team has to fly to England to play early Sunday. 

-A shoulder injury knocked out New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas but this is only newsworthy in PPR formats.  With Mark Ingram back in the fold, Thomas was not getting much at all on the ground and is almost always dependent on receptions. 

-Trent Richardson suffered a hamstring injury that didn't allow him to finish Sunday's win over the Cincy Bengals.  His status is in question for Week 8 and Ahmad Bradshaw will get most of the work in his place.  Bradshaw has been very solid this season both in the running and receiving game and he will be a good RB 2 option this week no matter if Richardson plays or is on the bench.

-

Sunday, October 19, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 7 WRAPUP

Ryan Tannehill:  25/32 for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Tannehill is on a hot streak the last two weeks which of course coincides with some bad opposing defenses.  He remains a QB 2 in two passer formats and nothing more as we have yet to see him take that complete next step.

Matt Forte:  12 carries for 49 yards and 1 TD to go along with 6 catches for 60 yards and another score.  It was a miserable offensive day for the Chicago Bears overall but Forte did his job.  He has been a monster receiver out of the backfield this season, now with 28 catches in the last three games which is ridiculous.  No one is even close in PPR formats and overall only DeMarco Murray has been better. 

Roddy White:  9 catches for 100 yards and 1 TD.  Julio Jones was not the receiving star for the Atlanta Falcons Sunday as White had his best game of the season.  Overall the Falcons have major issues on their offensive line which will limit Matt Ryan's downfield throws.  That hurts Jones immeasurably and benefits White who will be a weapon in the short and intermediate game. 

Giovani Bernard:  7 carries for 17 yards to go along with 2 catches for -1 yard.  Ugh.  One of those days for Bernard and the Bengals as a whole.  Nothing went right for Cincy against the Indianapolis Colts so just throw this away.  Bernard remains a near top-five back in all fantasy football setups.

Russell Wilson:  23 for 36 for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns to go along with 106 rushing yards and another score.  Wilson will likely go down as the highest-scoring passer in Week 7 and really he did anything he pleased despite the team losing to the St. Louis Rams.  I have knocked Wilson in fantasy football terms due to the lack of high impact passing yardage but his work on the ground is unparalleled and his passing efficiency is never better.  He is now a firmly top ten passer overall this season.

T.Y. Hilton:  7 catches for 107 yards.  Hilton has firmly taken control as the number 1 receiver for Andrew Luck, as this is the third time in the last four games he has gone for 100 yards,  Hilton is not just serving as a big-play guy either as he has been a PPR weapon as well.  Upwards we go.

Tre Mason:  18 carries for 85 yards and 1 TD.  Meet your new St. Louis Rams starting RB.  After seeing first Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham fumble away the starting chance, Mason has come off injury and sparked the teams backfield with explosive runs the last two weeks.  Blessed with top end speed, Mason could score whenever he touches the football.  If he wasn't last week, Mason will eb the top waiver claim for Week 8.

Aaron Rodgers:  19 of 22 for 255 yards and 3 TD.  Pretty much a perfect game for Rodgers who is clicking on all cylinders.  This is the best Rodgers has looked since the start of 2013 and when he is playing like this, he is unstoppable.  Now challenging Peyton Manning for the top QB spot.

Denard Robinson:  22 carries for 127 yard and 1 TD.  Forget Toby Gerhart or Storm Johnson, Robinson is now the guy to own in the Jacksonville backfield.  He has always been an explosive runner going back to his QB days in Michigan and his top-end speed looks like a nice fit for the Jags.  While the Jaguars are horrible, anyone in need of a RB 2 should bite.

Golden Tate:  10 catches for 154 yards and 1 TD.  So it clearly looks like playing in the run-heavy Seattle Seahawks offense held Tate back from his true potential.  He has been a monster WR 1 the last three weeks with Calvin Johnson injured.  Even when Megatron comes back, Tate has been way to good for the Lions to move away from him.  Already one of the best values in the game this season.

-Speaking of Zac Stacy, he played all of one snap and received no touches which speaks volumes about his place in the St. Louis Rams offense.  Tre Mason is the clear starter now so Stacy can be dropped in all formats as his rookie season a year ago is looking like a fluke.

-We warned all of you before the games about the risk in playing New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and the results backed us up as he was held without a catch Sunday.  Graham was clearly not himself as he battles a shoulder ailment but he should be better for next week. 

-Randall Cobb caught 6 balls for 121 yards and another touchdown in the team's win over the Carolina Panthers.  Cobb has been a top 5-7 fantasy football wideout and is only slightly behind his teammate Jordy Nelson in the rankings.  As long as Cobb remains healthy, he is a huge weapon in all formats given the ferocity of the Green Bay Packers passing game.  With 8 touchdowns already, Cobb is making a run at 15.

-It certainly looks like Buffalo Bills rookie WR Sammy Watkins is the real deal.  The change from the awful E.J. Manuel to veteran Kyle Orton has paid immediate dividends.  Watkins was a machine Sunday in catching 9 balls for 122 yards and two scores.  Blessed with monster athleticism and speed, Watkins is destined for WR 1 status very soon.  Those who gambled on his rookie status are paying off now.

-Odell Beckham Jr. was an obvious add last week when Victor Cruz was lost for the season and even though he picked up only 34 yards on 4 catches, 2 went for scores.  Beckham Jr. figures to be the big-play guy for the Giants and the number 1 red zone threat so he warrants every week consideration going forward.

-Another week and monster game for Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray.  He has now run for over 100 yards in all 7 games this season as he went for 128 yards on an insane 28 carries and one touchdown.  The workload is a major concern going forward for one of the more injury-prone players in the game and honestly I would not scoff at selling high here.  We all know Murray is an injury waiting to happen and his value can't get any higher.  You can name your price right now for Murray and getting a LeSean McCoy and another piece would be worth it. 

-Andre Ellington has done a better impersonation of Jamaal Charles than the player himself.  In the summer Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said that Ellington would be used like the Chiefs use Charles and so far the results have been spectacular.  Ellington rushed for 88 yards on 24 carries Sunday while also catching 6 balls for another 72 yards.  The workload is very impressive and shows that Ellington is now a clear number 1 back in all formats. 

-Speaking of Charles, he rushed for a solid 95 yards on 22 carries while also hitting the end zone for a score.  Charles has been good but not anywhere near as dominant as he was last season and so far is not living up to his number 1 overall price tag.  Still in a season where guys like Montee Ball and LeSean McCoy have failed either miserably or a bit, Charles has been solid.





 

FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: IT IS SHOWTIME FOR C.J. SPILLER WITH FRED JACKSON HURT SUNDAY

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson has suffered the most noteworthy injury Sunday as he was carted off with what looks like a serious groin injury.  That means finally C.J. Spiller gets the starting allotment of carries all his own which is what his fantasy football owners and all of us interested in seeing how good he can be have been waiting for.  Jackson is likely out a few weeks bare minimum like what is going on with Montee Ball and maybe longer.  Spiller meanwhile could do a Giovani Bernard impression now that he is the starter.  Pick him up where available. 

UPDATE:  Not even one half later, Spiller goes out with a shoulder injury and will not return.  On and on it goes. 

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: I WARNED YOU ABOUT MATT RYAN

Another game and another injury for an Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman.  Two weeks ago I suggested all Ryan owners (which includes myself) to sell high on the Falcons passer due to hard to fathom amount of serious injuries affecting his line.  We have now reached the point of no return for Ryan as he has had no chance to throw the football Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.  The Falcons trail 17-0 at the half and Ryan has lost a fumble and tossed for only 54 yards.  In addition, Julio Jones is being neutered in that his big-play ability has no chance with Ryan having zero time to throw.  It is now too late to sell high here and Ryan is now moving into only backup status.  Unreal.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: CALVIN JOHNSON (ANKLE) OUT AGAIN SUNDAY

                                         

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson is out of the lineup again on Sunday due to ongoing ankle issues that go back to Week 3.  Still no word on how much longer Johnson will be out but Golden Tate figures to be heavily involved again.

Analysis:  All Tate owners are rejoicing about Johnson being out another week because is a borderline WR 1 with him absent.  Those who do own Johnson are beyond frustrated by the absence of their number 1 draft pick but obviously you need to stay the course and wait this out.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: MARK INGRAM (HAND) ACTIVE SUNDAY

                                            

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram is active Sunday as he makes his return from his hand injury.  Ingram will get the starting nod over Khiry Robinson against a tough Detroit Lions defensive line.

Analysis:  Ingram was off to his best start ever before his latest injury and he really should be benched for another week as his first matchup is a real bear.  It is also safe to drop Robinson in all formats.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: MONTEE BALL ALREADY LOOKING LIKE HUGE FIRST ROUND BUST

                                           Montee Ball

As 2014 fantasy football drafts rolled around, the general consensus was that Denver Broncos second-year running back Montee Ball was a locked in first round pick due to the prime opportunity he was being handed as the new starting running back for the Denver Broncos.  After Knowshon Moreno put up the fifth-highest point total among all running backs last season for the Broncos despite the fact Peyton Manning set all sorts of passing records, the idea of the younger and more powerful Ball being just as good was almost set in stone.  Fast forward seven weeks and what we have now is the argument that Ball is already looking like the biggest potential first round bust.  Currently set to miss his second straight game with a groin injury (and watching backup Ronnie Hillman run for 100 yards in his place in Week 6), Ball has been nothing short of a bomb.  Even before he got injured, Ball was playing miserably as he averaged only 3.1 yards per carry and his highest rushing total in his four games was a mediocre 67.  Throw in the fact Ball had scored all of one touchdown and what you have here is a clear bust candidate.  Making matters worse is that word out of Denver is that Ball may not get his starting running back job back when he does return to the field.  If Hillman continues to play well, at most Ball would be on the short end of a committee and maybe relegated to the bench altogether.  No matter how you slice it, Ball has done next-to-nothing for his owners and is on the verge of irrelevancy altogether.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: PANTHERS WR KELVIN BEMNJAMIN (CONCUSSION) TO START

                                          

Carolina Panthers rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin has been medically cleared to start Sunday from last week's concussion.  Benjamin is already slated to start and barring any late issues, will get a full compliment of snaps according to a team source.

Analysis:  Good news here as Benjamin has been a solid WR 3 on a receiver-needy team.  The Panthers are going to have to throw a bunch against a Green Bay Packers squad that is hitting on all passing cylinders.  Get him in there.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: JIMMY GRAHAM TO BE ACTIVE BUT WON'T START

                                           

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will be active Sunday but won't start as he continues to battle the shoulder injury he suffered back in Week 5.  The Saints had a bye last week and originally Graham was expected to miss 2-3 weeks so his return is a nice surprise for the team.  He is only expected to play a number of snaps however which the team did not discuss publicly.

Analysis:  Graham is a big risk to play due to chance of re-injury and for the unknown numbers of snaps he might take.  Still Graham is by far the top tight end in fantasy football and sitting him down whenever he is active is a tough pill to swallow.  Flip a coin.