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Friday, September 30, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 2 RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football running back rankings for Week 4 based on opposing matchups.

1.  Le'Veon Bell
2.  David Johnson
3.  DeMarco Murray
4.  Lamar Miller
5.  C.J. Anderson
6.  Ezekiel Elliott
7.  Melvin Gordon
8.  Todd Gurley
9. Mark Ingram
10. LeGarrette Blount
11. Charles Sims
12. LeSean McCoy
13. Christine Michael
14. Jordan Howard
15. Matt Forte
16. Carlos Hyde
17. Frank Gore
18. Spencer Ware
19. Devonta Freeman
20. Tevin Coleman
21. Latavius Murray
22. Matt Jones
23. Isaiah Crowell
24. Jamaal Charles
25. Dwayne Washington
26. Theo Riddick
27. Jerick McKinnon
28. Chris Ivory
29. Justin Forsett
30. Orleans Darkwa
31. Rashad Jennings
32. Cameron Artis-Payne
33. Terrance West
34. T.J. Yeldon
35. Duke Johnson
36. Derrick Henry
37. Matt Asiata
38. Fozzy Whittaker
39. Chris Thompson
40. DeAngelo Williams
41. Alfred Morris
42. Bilal Powell
43. James White
44. Jalen Richard
45. Jacquizz Rodgers  


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: DELANIE WALKER (HAMSTRING) TO BE GAME-TIME CALL

Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker will be a game-time decision this Sunday despite practicing Friday as he battles ongoing hamstring soreness.  Team insiders expect Walker to be able to give it a go but he is far from certain to play a full allotment of snaps.

Analysis:  Walker is a big risk this week even if he plays as one false move could send him out of the game early.  The Titans desperately need him back as the offensive attack has ground to a halt but you might want to go with a more dependable option this week at tight end if you can. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: ALSHON JEFFERY (HAMSTRING) EXPECTED TO PLAY SUNDAY

While he is being listed as questionable, Chicago Bears wideout Alshon Jeffrey is expected to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions. 

Analysis:  Jeffery is a firm staple on the injury report every week and his chronic leg/hamstring injuries are really making him annoying to own.  I had big expectations for Jeffrey this season like I did a year ago but he can't stay in one piece.  It would be big if he can go this week as the Bears should be in an aeriel shootout versus the Detroit Lions. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: ANTONIO GATES (HAMSTRING) OUT SUNDAY

San Diego Chargers tight end Antoino Gates is OUT Sunday due to his ongoing hamstring trouble that will now cost him a second game.  Hunter Henry will once again get the start in Gates' place. 

Analysis:  Not unexpected as Gates is a very slow healer and is older then dirt.  Zach Miller would be a tremendous pickup in Gates' place, while Henry also did well enough to earn another look.  Meanwhile we are getting close to the point of cutting Gates as he just can't stay healthy. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: J.J. WATT (BACK) OFFICIALLY DONE FOR 2016

Houston Texans All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt has officially been ruled out for thre rest of the 2016 season due to a setback with his previously injured back that required surgery on Thursday.

Analysis:  Just a terrible bit of news here as Watt is arguably one of the biggest stars in the game and the Texans are going to take a major hit in fantasy football in terms of their team defense. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: DEZ BRYANT (KNEE) OUT SUNDAY

Dallas Cowboys ace wideout Dez Bryant is OUT for Sunday's game versus the San Francisco 49ers due to the fractured knee that was diagnosed days ago.  The Cowboys had left open the door toward Bryant possibly playing a few snaps but he will now aim for Week 5 instead. 

Analysis:  Hope you picked up Cole Beasley like I told you to do as he will be set for a major PPR-type impact this Sunday.  Terrance Williams will be a bigger weapon in standard formats as he should get more red-zone looks.  As far as Bryant is concerned, the hope is now it will be just one missed game but he is driving his owners crazy again.


FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 4 LINEUP ISSUES: JAMAAL CHARLES (ACL) TO DEBUT SUNDAY

Finally after three weeks of waiting, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles will make his deason debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night.  By now all of Charles' owners are just grateful to have him back despite the fact he will likely back up Spencer Ware for at least one more game.  It was a painstakingly slow process for Charles coming back from last year's seocnd torn ACL in his knee but Andy Reid apparently was happy with his explosiveness in practice this past week and so that is why he earned the green light.  We did say from the beginning to avoid Charles due to his age and the fact he was coming back from a second ACL year but Ware is not going away as at least a 50/50 timeshare partner.  This limits Charles' status to clear RB 2 in all formats and ideally you want to go with someone else for Week 4 given the uncertainty of the workload.  However bask in the fact that Charles will be active again as he is a terrific talent who will make his fantasy football hay at some point.


FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 4 QB RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 4 rankings based on opposing matchups.  

1.  Matthew Stafford
2.  Philip Rivers
3.  Cam Newton
4.  Drew Brees
5.  Andrew Luck
6.  Ben Roethlisberger
7.  Kirk Cousins
8.  Carson Palmer
9.  Matt Ryan
10. Blake Bortles
11. Derek Carr
12. Blake Bortles
13. Joe Flacco
14. Eli Manning
15. Brock Osweiler
16. Alex Smith
17. Dak Prescott
18. Sam Bradford
19. Trevor Siemian
20. Jameis Winston
21. Ryan Fitzpatrick
22. Brian Hoyer
23. Marcus Mariota
24. Tyrod Taylor
25. Cody Kessler
26. Blaine Gabebrt
27. Case Keenum
28. Jacoby Brissett


FANTASY FOOTBALL THURSDAY INJURY REPORT: RUSSELL WILSON READY TO GO, ANTONIO GATES NOT SO MUCH

Lots of injury news to get to as always so let's dive right in as fantasy football Week 4 gets ready to launch.

-As we have said all week, Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is expected to start Week 4 versus the New York Jets despite suffering an MCL sprain in his knee.  Wilson is as tough as they come and thus it is no shock he will be out there.  He has underperformed though this season with just 2 touchdown throws and he now gets a very good Jets defensive line that will attack one of the worst offensive lines in the game.  Bench Wilson outright.

-Both Jimmy Garappolo and Jacoby Brisett got in a limited practice on Thursday so at least one of them should be able to go Sunday versus the Buffalo Bills.  The smart money is that Brissett will be back in there as Grappolo still doesn't have full range of motion in his injured shoulder.  The injury makes Garappolo a risk against a Buffalo Bills defense that just got done intercepting Carson Palmer four times last week.

-Jonathan Stewart could be out another four weeks according to Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera so that means more of the two-headed attack of Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whittaker.  Artis-Payne got 3 more carries then did Whittaker (13-10) which means this is a strick timeshare best avoided.  Meanwhile those who own Stewart are getting royally hosed on the investment so far as his hamstring injury is worse then originally thought.

-A big scare developed late Thursday as Detroit Lions 400-plus yard instant star wideout Marvin Jones appeared on the injury report with a hamstring issue.  Jones hurt the hamstring in practice and this bears close watching in terms of practice tomorrow.  A late week hamstring injury is always a big deal and this could result in a close call for Sunday which then would mean the nearly invisible Golden Tate would get a chance to show he is still in the NFL.

-You can forget about New York Jets wideout Eric Decker playing Sunday against Seattle.  He is in a lot of pain with his shoulder and had an MRI on the joint Thursday.  We haven't gotten the results of the injury but Decker is as good as out.  Quincy Enunwa will step into a more prominent role and be a must start as Brandon Marshall figures to draw a bunch of coverage his way.

-Still no word on whether Jamaal Charles will debut Sunday as Andy Reid continues to throw cold water on his prospects.  Spencer Ware has been ordinary the last two weeks after his garbage time special in Week 1 so Charles has the chance to be the clear numbre 1 guy again if he can just get on the damn field,.

-Lots of trouble at tight end around the league as Tyler Eifert missed the Thursday Night Game and Antonio Gates will miss his second straight outing Sunday as he continues to battle a bum hamstring.  Gates looks shot and that would not be a surprise given his advanced age.  Hunter Henry remains a good alternative, as does Zach Miller of Chicago.

-Jimmy Graham did not practice on Thursday due to his knee but we don't know if it was a maintenance day off after his big game on Sunday or if he felt renewed soreness.  Either way Graham still has to do more to earn our trust as an every week guy again.

-Arizona Cardinals wideout Michael Floyd will be a go on Sunday as he practiced in full Thursday after being cleared from the concussion protocol.  Floyd remains quite inconsistent though and I wouldn't use him.

-Dez Bryant is out Sunday due to the fracture in his knee and that was a given from the moment the diagnosis was made despite any reports to the contrary.



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CINCINNATI BENGALS (-7.5) VS. Miami Dolphins:  Once again we reiterate that home teams in the Thursday Night Game cover at a very high rate and the Bengals looks like an extra good bet as they will be very focused coming off their ugly loss last week to the Denver Broncos.  Andy Dalton has played well all season drespite the light TD total and the Miami secondary has trouble with Cody Kessler of all people last week.  Also the Dolphins are down to their third-string center and without tackle Branden Albert whihc means the good Cincy pass rush will make it rough on Ryan Tannehill during the game.  THE PICK:  Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5) 


FANTASY FOOTBALL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL WRAPUP: BENGALS/DOLPHINS

Yeah it was a blowout Thursday night as the Cincinnati Bengals did whatever they wanted to the Miami Dolphins.  Let's get to all of the relevant fantasy football happenings coming out of the game.


Andy Dalton:  22/31 for 296 yards with 1 TD.  Dalton has been light on the TD's so far this season but his yardage has been tremendous and the offense is in fine working order.  You always want to try and do better as your QB 1 but Dalton as your QB 2 in two passer formats is big-time.

Ryan Tannehill:  15/25 for 189 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  It is just not happening here as Tannehill took 5 sacks and threw another pick on top of the two last week.  Guy is a good athlete but with three good to very good wideouts at his disposal, Tannehill should be so much better. 

Jeremy Hill:  21 carries for 71 yards.  Hill appeared to hurt his shoulder early on but he was fine thereafter.  Decent but not great day and no scores hurts Hill more than most since he doesn't catch many passes.  Still just a starting RB 2 in standard leagues and borderline in PPR.

Gio Bernard:  10 carries for 18 yards to go with 3 catches for 24 yards.  Second dud in a row for Bernard who is being hurt by the comeback of Hill the last two weeks.  Even in PPR it is getting tough to start him.

Jay Ajayi:  6 carries for 33 yards.  So much for Damien Williams (2 for 9) getting the start.  The Miami backfield is the biggest joke in fantasy football and should not be touched under any circumstances.

A.J. Green:  10 catches for 173 yards and 1 TD.  The Dolphins had no answer for Green which was apparent from the start.  That makes it two video-game like outings in four weeks for Green who has been every bit the target fiend we said he would be with the lack of a supporting cast in the passing game.  Top-3 wideout this season.

Jarvis Landry:  7 catches for 61 yards.  Landry has just one catch at the half so this qualifies as a garbage-time special.  Hey as long as the receptions are there in PPR we are happy.

DeVante Parker:  2 catches for 20 yards.  Thought Parker would doso much better but the Cincy defense had its way with the Miami offense.  Nothing else the kid could have done as Tannehill had no time to get it to him down the field.  Waste of a week. 


Thursday, September 29, 2016

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PICK: BENGALS/DOLPHINS

CINCINNATI BENGALS (-7.5) VS. Miami Dolphins:  Once again we reiterate that home teams in the Thursday Night Game cover at a very high rate and the Bengals looks like an extra good bet as they will be very focused coming off their ugly loss last week to the Denver Broncos.  Andy Dalton has played well all season drespite the light TD total and the Miami secondary has trouble with Cody Kessler of all people last week.  Also the Dolphins are down to their third-string center and without tackle Branden Albert whihc means the good Cincy pass rush will make it rough on Ryan Tannehill during the game.  THE PICK:  Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5)  


FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: JOSH GORDON ENTERS REHAB, DOUBTFUL FOR 2016 RETURN

Cleveland Browns wideout Josh Gordon was a popular sleeper in 2016 fantasy football drafts due to the fact that he was slated to be suspended for just four games to begin the year and then make a triumphant return to being a prime WR 1.  That was the dream for those who drafted Gordon but with things never go according to plan when it comes to the guy as we have seen countless times.  Now we getword Thursday that Gordon has entered rehab which was then followed by another report that he will never play another down for the Browns.  Obviously Gordon won't return in Week 5 and it is likely he won't be on the field for all of 2016 as well.  Gordon is already going down as one of the biggest "waste of talent" guys we have seen in awhile as he was a top five receiver on the field but constant drug problems have ruined a once promising career.  If you are a Gordon owner, feel free to cut him loose or hold for another week or so to see if the Brown even entertain the idea of moving him to another club.  Highly unlikely but still a smidge of hope to get something out of him this season. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: MIAMI TRYING DAMIEN WILLIAMS AT RUNNING BACK FOR TNF

Another week and another different starting running back for the Miami Dolphins who will go with Damien Williams and not Kenyan Drake or Jay Ajayi for Thursday Night Football.

Analysis:  On and on it goes with this team and their pathetic running game.  Williams has some speed and did a decent job in the second half last week replacing Drake but who knows here.  Arian Foster could be back for Week 5 though which limits any upside. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL LINEUP NEWS: JARVIS LANDY/DEVANTE PARKER BOTH ACTIVE THURSDAY NIGHT

Both Miami Dolphin wideouts Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker are ACTIVE and will start for the team Thursday night versus the Cincinnati Bengals.  Landry was battling a sore shoulder and Parker a hamstring issue leading into the game but both were deemed well enough to give it a go. 

Analysis:  Nothing surprising here as both were expected to play.  Parker is starting to take off and realize the potential that came with being a first round pick prior to last seaso, while Landry remains one of the best PPR receivers in the game.  Both are worth using tonight against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that was torched by Trevor Siemian and the Denver wideouts last week. 


2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL UPDATED QB RANKINGS

Here are the updated QB rankings through 3 weeks of the season.

1.  Aaron Rodgers
2.  Cam Newton
3.  Ben Roethlisberger
4.  Andrew Luck
5.  Drew Brees
6.  Philip Rivers
7.  Matt Ryan
8.  Derek Carr
9.  Andy Dalton
10. Tom Brady
11. Carson Palmer
12. Russell Wilson
13. Eli Manning
14. Matthew Stafford
15. Carson Wentz
16. Jameis Winston
17. Blake Bortles
18. Kirk Cousins
19. Dak Prescott
20. Joe Flacco
21. Trevor Siemian
22. Marcus Mariota
23. Ryan Tannehill
24. Tyrod Taylor
25. Jay Cutler
26. Sam Bradford
27. Alex Smith 
28. Ryan Fitzpatrick
29. Brock Osweiler
30. Blaine Gabbert
31. Cody Kessler
32. Case Keenum

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 4 START/SIT: MIAMI/BENGALS

Our first START/SIT is on tap for Week 4 so let's check out who should be in or our of your lineup from the Miami/Cincinnati game.

START (most expected points first)

1.  A.J. Green
2.  Jarvis Landry
3.  Jeremy Hill
4.  Andy Dalton
5.  Ryan Tannehill
6.  Cincinnati Bengals Defense 
7.  DeVante Parker

SIT

1.  Brandon LaFell
2.  Gio Bernard
3.  Kenyan Drake
4.  Kenny Stills


FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: TREVOR SIEMIAN QB DENVER BRONCOS

When NFL training camps got underway this summer, it was widely assumed that veteran Mark Sanchez would earn the starting QB job with the Denver Broncos over the untested second-year man Trevor Siemian.  While Sanchez was far from dependable, his vast experience edge over the former 7th round pick out of Northwestern would surely win out.  Well as the preseason went along, it became clear that Siemian was the better passer and thus it was no surprise in the end when he was officially named the starter.  Still the designation carried zero fantasy football positivity as Siemian was way too green of a passer to defend on in our fake game and this despite the fact he was surrounded by big-time offensive talent such as wideouts Demaryuis Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and C.J. Anderson.

Fast forward three weeks and what we have now is a QB in Siemian who all of a sudden became a hot waiver target in fantasy football leagues all across the country.  That is what will happen when you go out and throw FOUR touchdown passes and 312 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals.  Showing big-time poise and accuracy in the pocket, Siemian looked like a young Peyton Manning as he helped both Thomas and Sanders go over 100 yards.  For the season now, Siemian has 5 touchdown passes and 3 interceptions and he has a great matchup versus the porous Tampa Bay Buc's defense this week.  Those in two-QB formats now should get the green light to start using Siemian, while those in single-passer leagues should bring him aboard as a backup.  Keep in mind that with Thomas and Sanders on the outside and Anderson's running keeping defenders honest, Siemian has one of the best setups in the game for a passer.  Completing 65.7 percent of his throws, Siemian's accuracy is his best attribute and helps overcome a moderate throwing arm.  Be that as it may, Siemian is no a story worth checking out this week and perhaps beyond.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: "NO CHANCE" ANTONIO GATES (HAMSTRING) PLAYS WEEK 4

It will be the Hunter Henry show again in Week 4 for the San Diego Chargers as a team source said there was "no chance" Antonio Gates would be able to go as he continues to battle a hamstring strain. 

Analysis:  Gates is older than dirt and his body has always been fragile.  Throw in the fact he is a perpetually slow healer and Gates' season is already beginning to look like a disaster.


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: ERIC DECKER HEADED FOR MRI AS FEARS GROW ON SHOULDER

Updating an earlier item, New York Jets wideout Eric Decker is headed for an MRI on his injured shoulder amid growing concerns there could be some significant damage in the joint. 

Analysis:  Wow this is sounding pretty dire so it has to be something like a labrum tear which would finish decker for 2017.  Anyone who owns stock in Decker should already be going out looking for a replacement, while those who own Quincy Enunwa could see their guy's value soar.


FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 4 ISSUES: GROWING DOUBT ABOUT ERIC DECKER PLAYING VERSUS SEATTLE

NewYork Jets number 2 wideout Eric Decker gutted it out last week against the Kansas City Chiefs as he battled a sore shoulder that limited his practice reps and had his status at one point iffy for the game.  Decker showed clearly that he was not 100 percent when he caught just one pass in the game but the fact he was active dulled any lingering concern about the shoulder.  Well those who own stock in Decker are not out of the woods yet as the news came down on Wednesday that he has even MORE pain in the shoulder and that there is growing doubt he will be able to suit up against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4.  Decker is not expected to practice again on Thursday and already he could be headed for a game-time decision call or worse.  If Decker were to sit, Quincy Enunwa and new tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins would get more looks from embattled QB Ryan Fitzpatrick but either way this needs to be watched closely the next few days. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL INJURY FALLOUT: HAIRLINE FRACTURE THE LATEST MALADY SUFFERED BY DEZ BRYANT

Another year and another injury for Dallas Cowboys ace wideout Dez Bryant.  There was growing concern about Bryant over the last 48 hours after Bryant underwent an MRI on the knee he injured in last Sunday's night win over the Chicago Bears and the results were not immediately announced.  This got myself and many others to speculate something was found on the MRI and that is exactly what happened as it was revealed Bryant suffered a hairline fracture in his knee that will likely keep him out for Weel 4 and possible up to 3 weeks total.  No surgery is needed but the injury is anothe reminder of how fragile Bryant has becomes the last few years and it comes on the heels of him missing half of 2015 with a broken foot.  I told you all to avoid Bryant in drafts this season due to that injury risk and for the uncertain QB situation even before Tony Romo got hurt and this is why.  While the Dallas coaching staff is saying Bryant is not automatically out Week 4, we are hearing firmly he will in fact miss the game and the prognosis is 1-3 weeks total.  Meanwhile Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and Jason Witten will all see an uptick in receptions; with Beasley especially becoming more of an instant fantasy football asset given his already firm rapport with QB Dak Prescott.  I myself got Beasley off the waiver wire this week and will be tempted to use him in Week 4 since we use PPR in the Experts League.  Either way those who do own Bryant and back down that injury road yet again early in the season. 


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: EZEKIEL ELLIOTT RB DALLAS COWBOYS

When it came to 2016 fantasy football drafts, quite possibly the most polarizing player was Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott.  After Elliott was picked fourth overall by Dallas in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, expectations immediately went through the roof in terms of what the former Ohio State Buckeye could accomplish behind the best offensive line in the game.  With Elliott showing he was both a fantastic runner and receiver in college, his three-down back ability immediately put him in the first round of most 2016 fantasy football drafts.  Very rare is the rookie that can make such an immediate leap but Elliott was that guy.  We on the other hand advised against it for a number of reasons.  The first centered on the fact the Cowboys still had veterans Darren McFadden and free agent signing Alfred Morris in the fold.  Also Elliott dealt with injuries in college and his work habits were not exemplary there.  Fast forward to training camp and there was nothing but bad news surrounding Elliott as he showed up to camp overweight, he dealt with some aches and pains, he was seen spotted walking into a marajuan shop, and he was accused of hitting his girlfriend in a domestic violence indident.  While Elliott was cleared of the latter, he still was anything but a sure bet going into the season as Morris outplayed him by a wide margin in the preseason. 

Despite all this, the Cowboys began Week 1 with Elliott as their starter and they fed him a steady diet of carries.  While he got a very high total of 20 carries, Elliott was a disappointment as he rushed for just 51 yards (2.6 average) and lucked into a touchdown from in close.  He also was not a factor in the receiving game as he grabbed just two passes.  Week 2 was not much better as Elliott fumbled twice which overshadowed a better rushing game (83 yards on 21 carries) and then saw Morris come on to score a TD on an impressive drive.  So through two weeks of games Elliott was anything but a RB 1 he was drafted to be, while at the same time getting big heat from Morris. 

Week 3 though seemed to be a turning point for Elliott as he had his first 100-plus yard rushing game in picking up a massive 140 yards on 30 carries and chipped in another 2 catches.  The fact the Cowboys gave Elliott 30 carries showed that they were ready to take the training wheels off and make him the unqeustioned number 1 guy.  Yes the Chicago Bears defense is accomodating to everyone but it as still nice to see such a big game out of the kid.  So as we move to Week 4, Elliott's stock is moving northward and quickly.  He is not much of a factor yet in the passing game with just 6 catches but the running numbers have improved to an average of 3.9 per carry and he also has collected two scores.  While we still worry about the nonsense, Elliott is starting to show what all the hype was about. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 4 ISSUES: MIAMI TO USING FOUR BACKS, SORRY KENYAN DRAKE OWNERS

The Miami Dolphins will use a four-man committee for Week 4 according to head coach Adam Gase, ruining the once interesting fantasy football outlook of Kenyan Drake.  Drake of course was the hot last-minute pickup for Week 3 as the news came down early Sunday that he would be the starter over Jay Ajayi but by the end of the team's win over the Cleveland Browns, Gase wound up using those two plus Damien Williams and Isaiah Pead.  With veteran Arian Foster expected to sit out again for Week 4, Gase said on Tuesday that he plans to use the four-headed committee once again which means this is one situation you want to AVOID for fantasy purposes.  That is a real shame as Drake looked good in the first quarter and he has good running/receiving skills that made hims especially attractive in PPR formats.  However that is a moot point now as you can't get even a decent workload from any of the four. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: DEVONTA FREEMAN/TEVIN COLEMAN RB ATLANTA FALCONS

If you are a fantasy football owner of Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, the first two weeks of the season did not go according to plan.  If you are an owner of Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman, the first two weeks of the season supplied some very good value and intriguing upside numbers.  The difference between the two centered on their draft price, with Freeman ending up as a late first round pick in PPR formats and in Round 2 in standard, while Coleman was nothing but a mid-to-late round grab.  We warned over the summer though that Coleman would be a big threat to Freeman's numbers as the Atlanta front office drafted the former and were going to give him every chance to succeed.  Meanwhile Freeman's average was not impressive in 2015 despite a big start and other than his receptions, he seemed limited.

So as the first two games got underway, my prediction came true as Coleman got half of the rushing carries for the Falcons and also was the primary goal-line back.  Meanwhile Freeman failed to do anything to stand out the first two games which heightened the stress for his owners.  Enter in the truly horrific New Orleans Saints defense Monday night and all is right both in the Coleman and Freeman worlds.  First let's start with Freeman who ran for a monstrous 152 yards on 14 carries while also catching 5 passes for 55 yards and a score. Freeman showed his tremendous speed and cutting ability in the game and at least for one week, has re-established himself as a top RB 2.  Meanwhile all Coleman did was rush for 42 yards on 12 carries while also picking up three touchdowns on the ground.  Coleman did his PPR part as well with 3 catches for 47 more yards.  So right now what we have is one team possessing two fantasy football starting-caliber runners which both Freeman and Coleman are now.  Both are RB 2's though given the split work but both guys are playing very well.  Now as far as the future is concerned, it is becoming clear how both will be used.  Freeman will be a prime receiving back and get most of his carries from the 20 to the other 20.  Meanwhile Coleman will get the goal-line work and also get half the carries and a few receptions.  Thus it is easy to see Coleman being the better standard runner and Freeman the better in PPR.  No matter how you slice it, both should remain in your lineups for Week 4 and for Freeman owners especially, breathing some sighs of relief is now recommended.


FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 4 WAIVER ADDS

Week 3 is in the books in fantasy football which means the only thing we need to do is focus in on Week 4 which starts with the top weekly adds.  Let's see who you should target this week.  

Orleans Darkwa:  With Shane Vereen out for the season with a triceps injury that requires surgery, Orleans Darkwa moves up a notch in the New York Giants' running back hierarchy.  Darkwa played well in splitting work with Vereen Sunday and he also showed a spark when on the field in 2015 as well.  Rashad Jennings is not a lock to play in Week 4 and at worst the Giants have hinted at a committee when if the veteran returns.

Cole Beasley:  Clearly Dak Prescott loves throwing to his PPR wideout as Beasley who has caught 7, 5, and 8 passes the first three games.  Again those in PPR should be especially intrigued here and Beasley should be a top pick this week.

Jordan Howard:  Chicago Bears starting RB Jeremy Langford suffered an ankle injury that will likely keep him for a few weeks.  Even before he got hurt, Langford was catching a ton of heat from speedy rookie Jordan Howard and now it looks like there is a changing at the top of the pecking order.  Howard has a huge chance this week to cement the starting job and his ability to both run and catch make him the top pickup this week.

Dwayne Washington:  If Washington was not picked up last week, then he should see fierce competition this week as Theo Riddick proved Sunday he is not a runner and only a receiver.  Washington has the power and speed to be an instant impact guy and the Detroit Lions knows how to move the football.

Trevor Siemian:  Throwing four touchdown passes in any one game will get anyone's attention and such is the setup now for Denver Broncos QB Trevor Siemian.  The kid has shown great poise and got both Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryuis Thomas fully involved Sunday to great success. He also has a plus matchup on tap versus the awful Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense.

Zach Miller:  Lots of tight end injuries the last few weeks and so the search for a replacement should center here.  Miller comes off a big Monday night outing where he caught 8 passes for 78 yards and 2 scores.  With tight end-loving Brian Hoyer likely to start again next week, Miller should remain a big part of the offense.

Richard Rogers:  Again with lots of tight end injuries around the league; which includes now Green Bay starter Jared Cook; Richard Rogers becomes interesting in deeper formats as he already caught a touchdown Sunday replacing his hurt teammate.  We all know by now that Aaron Rogers likes to spread things around which means Rogers doesn't have a ton of PPR value but in standards he makes the grade. 

Terrell Pryor:  With no one else left standing in the Cleveland offense, we are now down to former QB Terrell Pryor as the top receiving threat on the team.  Pryor has great athleticism and caught 8 balls for 144 yards Sunday.  Cody Kessler seems to have taken an instant liking to Pryor so on opportunity alone this is worth a look. 

Kenyan Drake:  It was assumed that Jay Ajayi would start in place of Arian Foster on Sunday but it was the speedy Drake who averaged 4.1 per carry and caught 2 passes.  Noting earth-shattering but given Arian Foster's ongoing injuries, Drake is a must add. 



Monday, September 26, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 3 INJURY REPORT: MCL SPRAIN FOR RUSSELL WILSON

We already went in-depth on the season-ending injury to New York Giants running back Shane Vereen but there were other newsworthy items worth talking about in terms of fantasy footbal.  Let's get to it.

-Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson finally looked like his Pro Bowl self on Sunday as he completed a bunch of passes to Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham (putting both above the 100-yard receiving mark) and a passing score as well.  Then trouble struck as Wilson saw his left knee bent in a way a human knee was not supposed to bend which resulted in an MCL sprain.  Luckily the ACL was fine and already Wilson is saying he will play in Week 4.  While Pete Carroll wouldn't go there just yet, the telling story was that the Seahawks didn't sign a quarterback and have no plans to do so which means they expect Wilson to go to.  The question now becomes if Wilson is even worth using as the Seahawks face a tough New York Jets defense whose strength lies in getting after the passer.  With only 2 touchdows in three games, Wilson has not played well and is clearly less than 100 percent.  I said in this year's draft guide that I wouldn't expect Wilson to replicate his 2015 numbers as the latter seemed like an outlier and was a product of the team losing Marshawn Lynch to a season-ending injury.  Wilson was forced to go out and throw more than Carroll liked and that is why the TD numbers exploded.  Now what we have here is an offensive line that is arguably the worst in the league which is not allowing Wilson time to throw and making his susceptible to more injuries.  Bench Wilson for Week 4 for all the above reasons.

-It looked bad for Green Bay Packers tight end Jared Cook as he was carted off the field Sunday with an ankle injury.  It turned out it was a foot injury and the Packers don't believe it is a season-ending deal for Cook but either way he will be down for a few weeks.  Richard Rogers caught a TD in his place and those who are truly desperate for a tight end can look at him as a possible replacement. 

-More bad new for Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls who will be out for a few more weeks according to Carroll.  Carroll now is calling it a fibula injury and so we will get more of Christine Michael in Week 4 as he comes off a huge 100-plus yard and 2 TD performance Sunday. 

-We still have not gotten word yet on the MRI conducted on Dallas Cowboys ace wideout Dez Bryant who hurt his knee during the team's Sunday night win over the Chicago Bears.  Bryant went out to get the knee looked at and was able to return.  However the coaching staff wanted the MRI which means there was some concern here about an underlying injury.  While Dak Prescott has played so much better than anticipated, I told you to stay far away from Bryant this season given his growing health woes and the lack of cohesion in the deep passing game.

-Owners of Philadelphia Eagles running back Ryan Mathews thought they really had something going with the veteran after seeing him rush for two scores in Week 3.  Well Mathews saw the injury bug rear its ugly head again as he came down with an ankle injury Sunday and now will be in a strict committee with Darren Sproles according to head coach Doug Pederson.  Also rookie Wendell Smallwood is getting more and more work and remember I did a feature on his during the summer saying he was a big threat.  The story of Mathews' career has been underperformance and injuries and that is once again happening. 

-Chicago Bears running back Jeremy Langford has been pretty awful this season running the football and Sunday night he got hurt with an ankle injury that initially seemed very serious.  Well Langford escaped any season-ending trouble there but he did suffer a high ankle sprain which is usually more than one missed game.  The bigger story is the fact that rookie Jordan Howard is clearly the better runner and his explosive speed makes him a big potential fantasy football story.  Anyone who owns Langford, get ready to cut him loose.


FANTASY FOOTBALL INJURY FALLOUT: SHANE VEREEN DONE FOR 2016 WITH SHOCKING TRICEPS INJURY

Well no one saw that coming.  Prior to the start of the 1:00 games on Sunday, the news that the New York Giants would be without starting running back Rashad Jennings sent many owners scramling to their league's waiver wire to snatch up PPR dynamo Shane Vereen would now be getting the start.  Throw in the weak Washington Redskins defense as a matchup and just like that Vereen was a terrific last minute add for Week 3.  Vereen certainly did his part early on in the game as he was effective both running and catching the football but a late fumble in the second quarter started speculation when Orleans Darkwa began the second half in the Giants' backfield.  While Vereen did return for a few more snaps, there was no word both during and after the game that he had suffered any sort of injury.  Well Monday brought forth disaster as the Giants announced that Vereen was done for 2016 with a triceps injury that needs surgery.  Just like that Vereen is gone and so the fallout here moves up Darkwa to a very interesting spot as he could be a bellcow back for the team in Week 4 if Jennings needs to miss more time.  Also speedster Bobby Rainey will likely be used on passing downs as well in that situation.  On the positive side, Jennings is reportedly ready to return which limits any upside Darkwa would bring.  Don't go crazy adding Darkwa on waivers just yet but keep tabs on this situation as the week goes on. 


Sunday, September 25, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 3 WRAPUP

-Terrell Pryor is now the guy for the next few weeks in the Cleveland Browns passing game and by default he had a good game Sunday in catching 8 balls for 144 yards.  The former QB has always had intriging speed and athleticism and he is now putting it to use with rookie QB Cody Kessler.  Based on the high amount of targets he is getting now with Corey Coleman injured, Pryor is worth an add as a WR 3.

-Finally fantasy owners of Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy got something positive out of the veteran this season as he rushed for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns on only 17 carries Sunday.  McCoy also added 3 receptions for six more yards against a very tough Arizona defense.  The reception totals have really dropped off since his early Philly days but McCoy is the very rare workhorse back in today's fantasy football and this game shows he is not finished yet.

-In a very ugly day for the Arizona Cardinals, it was John Brown who had the best game out of the three wideouts in the starting offense and he caught 6 passes for 70 yards.  Dogged by a concussion during the summer, Brown has not done much in terms of fantasy football this season and the excellence of Larry Fitzgerald continues to overshadow him despite the latter's poor game on Sunday.  Brown should stay a backup bye-week wideout which is a drop from his preseason WR 3 status. 

-We said in this year's draft guide that Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles was headed for a regression in his numbers this season and that is exactly what has happened early on.  It was a very ugly Sunday for Bortles as he completed 24-of-38 passes with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.  Despite hooking up twice with Allen Robinson for scores, Bortles has been very turnover-prone.  Now 0-3 on the season, things are getting nasty in Jacksonville as Gus Bradley is already in trouble.

-Speaking of Robinson, he finally busted out Sunday by catching 7 passes for 57 yards and 2 scores.  Very quiet the first two weeks, Robinson benefitted from the Jags having to play catchup.  Not the PPR weapon that some other upper level fantasy football wideouts are, Robinson is a top standard league guy due to his yardage and TD prowess.  While his QB is struggling, this was a nice sign.

-It was a slow start Sunday but David Johnson eventually got going for Arizona as he rushed for 83 yards and two scores on 19 carries while also catching 3 passes for 28 more yards.  So far Johnson has fully lived up to his top 3 status for 2016 fantasy football as he has topped 100 total yards in every game this season. 

-Ryan Tannehill still makes you bang your head against the wall (like when he threw a pick-six Sunday) but the Miami passing attack is really looking up as he completed 25-of-39 passes for 319 yards with 3 scores and 2 picks.  He also lost a fumble which shows how you mistake-prine Tannehill remains and that is why it is tough to depend on him outside of two-QB formats.  You can't argue wit his starting wideouts though in Jarvis Landy and DeVante Parker. 

-Sometimes Carson Palmer can look downright hideous and you wonder if he should retire.  Such as last potseason and Week 3 when he completed only 26-of-50 passes for 261 yards and 4 INT's.  Palmer also put up  bagel in the scoring column as Rex Ryan totally befuddled the Arizona offense.  It is almost impossible not to throw for at least one score with Palmer's trio of excellent wideouts but that is exactly what happened today.  Listen everyone has a bad day at the office so we won't worry yet but at Palmer's age, he better make sure this is remedied next time out. 

-It had reached a crisis point for Cincinnati Bengals power back Jeremy Hill coming into Week 3 after two complete duds the first two weeks of the season.  In fact many cast Hill aside after last week and no one could blame those owners given how rough 2015 was and how shaky he was early on in 2016.  Well Hill re-established himself Sunday by rushing for 97 yards and 2 scores on 17 carries.  Gio Bernard did next-to-no running which was nice to see and possibly now the Bengals will have Hill be their bellcow back which is in precious short supply this season in fantasy football.  Hill is now back in our good graces for Week 4 but he has to keep it up. 

-The Carolina Panthers offense got swallowed whole by the Purple People Eater 2.0 Minnesota Vikings defense.  The biggest victim was ace wideout Kelvin Benjamin who caught ZERO passes and was targeted only once.  It was a spectacularly awful performance from Benjamin and this just shows you how dominant the Vikes' defense was.  Don't blow this one out of proportion though as Benjamin was terrific in Week 1 and 2 and the Vikings defense is making a lot of people look bad this season. 

-Demaryuis Thomas was knocked endlessly in the summer and into the season as a guy who should not be considered a WR 1 anymore given the uncertain QB situation in Denver.  Well those worries seem to be working out just fine as Thomas caught 6 balls for 100 yards and a touchdown Sunday.  One of the catches was for a 55-yard score which skewed things some but it is good to see him acting like a WR 1 again.  While he is likely to still finish as a WR 2, we can feel a bit better about this situation now.

-As good as Thomas was on Sunday, his teammate Emmanuel Sanders was even better as he caught 9 passes for 117 yards and 2 socres.  Sanders was doing his PPR loving thing with short and intermedate receptions and his rapport with QB Trevor Siemian.  That makes sense as a young QB will look for shorter outlets which is where Sanders fits perfectly. 

-The Denver Broncos might really have something here with Semian as he completed 23-of-35 throws for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Siemian was incredible Sunday and he really is starting to get comfortable in the offense.  We could be getting to a point now given the excellent pair of starting wideouts that Siemian should be picked up and uses as a backup who could start weekly is this keeps going. 

-It was like old times for Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray as he rushed for 114 yards on 16 carries and one score while also catching 5 passes for 41 yards.  What the Titans are doing and why Murray is going well right now is that the are letting him take the handoff and go straight upfield instead of to the sides like Chip Kelly had him due last season.  Clearly it is working and now Murray is beginning to save his fantasy football career. Considering that Murray is one of handful of bellcow backs left in the game, he could end up being a monster value if he can keep playing like this. 

-It was another typical day at the office for Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers as he completed 15-of-24 passes for 205 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Nothing else really needs to be said here that hasn't already been talked about in terms of how spectacularly great Rodgers is and his status as a top 12 fantasy football player is back in play. 

-There were video-game nunbers coming out of Detroit Lions widoeut Marvin Jones as he did a garbage-time special in collecting 6 passes for 205 yards and 2 touchowns.  That is two monster games in a row now for Jones who we said was set to be the value WR play of the year and so far he is living up to that label.  Wow. 

-Nothing doing for Kansas City Chiefs wideout Jeremy Maclin who caught only 4 balls for 35 yards in the team's win over the New York Jets.  Not much was needed to be done on offense as Ryan Fitzpatrick was literally giving the football away all game long.  Maclin remains a low-end WR 2. 

-Another week and another touchdown for San Diego Chargers feature back Melvin Gordon.  Gordon picked up his fourth rushing score of the year Sunday by picking up 35 yards on 16 carries while also catching 4 balls for 43 more yards.  It was nice to see the receptions as Gordon is now the full bore back in the San Diego backfield with Danny Woodhead out for the season.  The rushing average was very poor which was especially troubling against the weak Indianapolis Colts defense though and that makes it two weeks in a row Gordon has failed to impress there.  While the touchdowns are nice, Gordon is still a work in progress with his running. 

-Kelvin Benjamin had company in the receiving bagel category as Tyler Lockett failed to grab one pass Sunday despite the Seattle Seahawks having a big offense game.  Both Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham had monster days but Lockett was a complete non-factor.  It is time to cut him.

-With Donte Moncrief out for the next 4-6 weeks, there were more passes up for grabs among the Colts receivers and that bodes well the next few weeks for T.Y. Hilton who grabbed 8 passes for 174 yards and one score against the San Diego Chargers.  Hilton's stock is pointing upwards.

-Eric Decker was part of the New York Jets abomination Sunday as he caught just one pass for 31 yards agains the Kansas City Chiefs.  Nothing went right for the Jets so this was a complete throw away game.  Keep starting Decker as your WR 2.

-How about Jimmy Graham?  It looked like Graham was back in New Orleans as he caught 6 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.  This was the first positive game for Graham pretty much since his days as a Saint but the immediate injury to QB Russell Wilson tempers things a bit.  Still given all the injuries to hit tight ends lately, Graham should be picked up this week.

-I mean you couldn't have scripted a more horrific outing than what we saw out of New York Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday.  He actually managed to throw six interceptions in the game, with in all fairness three of them being deflected.  Still this was hideous and it is the kind of outing that gets people whispering about a change.  That is not going to happen here though as Fitzpatrick was excellent just the week before in dissecting the Buffalo Bills defense.

-San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde did a garbage-time special in rushing for 103 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries while also catching a pass for two yards.  Hyde has no receiving skills but his running is solid and he works as your RB 2 in standard formats.

-Doug Baldwin has quickly shown this season that his insane second-half of 2015 has carried over into 2016 as he caught 8 passes for 164 yards and a score.  While the QB injury to Wilson is concerning, we have seen quite a bit of evidence to have him on the border of the WR 1  realm this season. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: RUSSELL WILSON EXITS WITH LEG INJURY

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was forced out of the team's game Sunday with the San Francisco 49ers with an apparent leg injury.  Already battling a sprained ankle, Wilson was in obvious pain after taking a third quarter hit and soon was replaced by Trevon Boykin.  The real shame is that Wilson was having a good day with a scoring toss to Jimmy Graham earlier. 

Analysis:  Tough start to the season for Wilson and now we have to see what his status will be going forward as he is battling two injuries now.  Stay tuned on this one. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL HALFTIME 1:00 GAMES NEWS AND NOTES

-It must be nice to own Aaron Rodgers.  Try four first half touchdown passes, with 2 to Jordy Nelson.  Also Jared Cook was carted off with ankle injury.  Didn't look good. Richard Rogers becomes important.

-Eli Manning owners are throwing food at the TV for a second straight week.  Two in close scoring chances became running scores for Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen.  Vereen having bit running/receing day but he also fumbled twice (losing one) which is a problem.  Also in the game, DeSean Jackson goes out with an ankle injury that looked ugly.

-Trevor Siemian looks more and more comfortable by the week as he hooked up twice with Emmanuel Sanders for scores among their 7 connections.  Nothing doing for CJ Anderson and D.Thomas just 2 catches for 11 yards.

-Zero catches for Kelvin Benjamin in first half for Carolina?  Seriously?  Also Cameron-Artis Payne got almost every carry in first half but not for a lot of yards as Fozzie Whittaker went bust.

-Matt Asiata 3 carries for 3 yards in first half.  Sorry if you started him.

-Jeremy Hill is the star of the day so far with two rushing scores and over 80 yards on the ground.  Did nothing first two weeks and was cut in a lot of leagues.  This game will drive you to drink.

-Ryan Tannehiill hooked up with DeVante Parker for a score. Also tossed an INT which was returned all the way.  Always the good and the bad with Tannehill.

-Blake Bortles has been awful this season and I told you all this summer he was a regression candidate.  Tossed another INT but also a scoring throw to Allen Robinson.

-Kenyan Drake got off quick but was very quiet in second quarter.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: JARED COOK GOES TO LOCKER ROOM ON CART

Green Bay Packers tight end Jared Cook went to the locker room on a cart after injuring his ankle during the first half of Sunday's game versus the Detroit Lions.  Richard Rogers came on in his place and caught a touchdown throw from Aaron Rodgers. 

Analysis:  The narrative remains the same with Cook not living up to his athletic ability and now it looks like he is seriously hurt.  Rogers has some waiver appeal this week but don't go overboard. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: THOMAS RAWLS OUT SUNDAY

Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls is out Sunday with a shin injury and will be replaced by Christine Michael in the team's backfield. 

Analysis:  Rawls is a joke and pure fantasy football garbage.  I told you all last summer to avoid him like the plague and Michael should be graded as a RB 2 Sunday against the weak San Francisco 49ers defense. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: MATT ASIATA STARTING FOR VIKES

The Minnesota Vikings will start Matt Asiata at running back over speedster Jerrick McKinnon Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Analysis:  Remember I said from the beginning that Asiata was the better fantasy footbal investment as he will get goal-line work and he can catch the football as well.  Still with the uncertain workload this week, Asiata should be graded as a RB 3. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: STEFON DIGGS (GROIN) OUT SUNDAY

Minnesota Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs is ACTIVE Sunday despite being limited in practice this past week with a sore groin.

Analysis:  Diggs is coming off a huge game last Sunday night versus the Green Bay Packers and is the new PPR darling.  Start him with confidence. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: RASHAD JENNINGS (THUMB) OUT SUNDAY

New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings is offically OUT Sunday with an injured thumb and he will be replaced in the starting lineup by Shane Vereen.

Analysis:  Orleans Darkwa could sneak in goal-line work but Vereen is a good RB 2 PPR option.  Meanwhile Jennings should be back for Week 4 as the thumb injury is not considered serious. 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: DELANIE WALKER OUT SUNDAY

Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker is OUT Sunday with a hamstring injury after feeling pain in warmups. 

Analysis:  This is what we have been saying all along as Walker is not a quick healer and he was facing an uphill battle there.  Hunter Henry, Jesse James, or Trey Burton are fill-in options. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL LINEUP NEWS: ANDREW LUCK (SHOUDLER) STARTING SUNDAY

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck will start Sunday against the San Diego Chargers despite dealing with soreness in his throwing shoulder.  Luck hurt the shoulder last week against the Denver Broncos as the Colts' offensive line struggled. 

Analysis:  Once again the Indy offensive line is letting Luck down and this is a sizable problem that bears watching considering what happened last year.  Luck is a special talent no doubt but his upside is lacking given the chance of injury and the loss of wideout Donte Moncrief for a few weeks with injury. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: AMEER ABDULLAH (FOOT) LIKELY DONE FOR SEASON

The Detroit Lions coaching staff believes that starting running back Ameer Abdullah is done for the season with the foot injury that has him sitting out Sunday's game versus the Green Bay Packers.  ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the news early Sunday in citing a torn ligament in Abdullah's foot.

Analysis:  This is news that should make Dwayne Washington owners excited.  While Theo Riddick no doubt will see his role grow in the Lions offense, he is not a good between-the-tackles runner which should allow Washington to take hold of a decent amount of the running. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: 911 CALL MADE AT 3 AM FOR JOSE FERNANDEZ

Updating an earlier item, the body of Jose Fernandez was found in an overturned boat after a crash at 3 A.M.

Analysis:  Details continue to trickle out and we will post them here.  Hoping it was not a hit-and-run crash but this is all we know right now. What was ironic is that Fernandez was pushed back to Monday instead of his original Sunday start which opened up his Saturday night for an outing.  Tragic. 


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JOSE FERNANDEZ NOW CONFIRMED DEAD IM BOATING ACCIDENT

Updating an earlier item, Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez has been confirmed as killed in a boating accident late Saturday night. 

Analysis:  Tragic beyond belief.  I was a huge fan of Fernandez as he was a special talent that comes around once in a blue moon.  Only 24-years-old, this is a brutal sports news day. 


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: MARLINS ACE JOSE FERNANDEZ KILLED IN BOATING ACCIDENT

In truly horrific news, Miami Marlins ace SP Jose Fernandez was killed in boating accident late Saturday night.  No details have yet to emerge on this as this is a fast-breaking story.

Analysis:  Oh my goodness.  Just horrible, horrible news as Fernandez was the best young pitcher in the game by far and is a monster loss both on and off the field.  Just numb on this.


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: SAMMY WATKINS (FOOT) OUT SUNDAY

Updating an earlier item, Buffalo Bills ace wideout Sammy Watkins will be OUT Sunday with ongoing soreness in his surgically-repaired foot.  Marquise Goodwin will be the feature receiver in the team's game versus the Arizona Cardinals.

Analysis:  We said this on Monday and there was no reason to change that assessment the past week.  Watkins is a disaster health-wise each and every season and we would suggest avoiding him from now on as he can't stay on the field.  It is going to be a long day for Tyrod Taylor and Rex Ryan. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: KENYAN DRAKE STARTING FOR MIAMI SUNDAY

The Miami Dolphins will go with Kenyan Drake and NOT Jay Ajayi as the starting running back Sunday versus the Cleveland Browns.  Drake passed Ajayi on the depth chart last week when he ran more decisively and also for the fact the latter went AWOL on the team prior to Week 1. 

Analysis:  No shock here as I have been saying Ajayi is a joke and this confirms it.  He has no ability and a bad attitude and so the Dolphins are doing the right thing.  Pick up Drake if available as a late plug-in play as he has good speed and can catch the bal.

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: RASHAD JENNINGS OUT SUNDAY WITH THUMB INJURY

In what can only be taken as shocking news, New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings will be OUT Sunday with the thumb injury that has limited him the past week.  Jennings has more damage to the thumb than initally found and so Shane Vereen will now start in his place.

Analysis:  Wow this is huge as Vereen all of a sudden has TREMENDOUS PPR value today versus the leaky Washington Redskins defense.  Stunning is the only word to use as Jennings' owners are left in the lurch Sunday morning.  

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: BRANDON MARSHALL (KNEE) WILL START SUNDAY

New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall will be ACTIVE and START Sunday versus the Kansas City Chiefs despite being limited all week with a knee injury. 

Analysis:  We got this on good authority but pretty much all week it was expected Marshall would be able to go.  He should be started in all formats as Marshall is not one to come out of games early. 


Saturday, September 24, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL START/SIT: BROWNS/DOLPHINS

START (in order of most expected points downward)

1.  Jarvis Landry
2.  Miami Dolphins
3.  DeVante Parker
4.  Ryan Tannehill
5.  Gary Barnridge

SIT

1.  Isaiah Crowell
2.  Terrell Pryor
3.  Jay Ajayi
4.  Duke Johnson
5.  Cleveland Browns Defense
6.  Jordan Cameron
7.  Cody Kessler

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL START/SIT: LIONS/PACKERS

START (in order of most expected points downward)

1.  Aaron Rodgers
2.  Matthew Stafford
3.  Jordy Nelson
4.  Marvin Jones
5.  Golden Tate
6.  Theo Riddick
7.  Eddie Lacy
8.  Eric Ebron
9.  Randall Cobb

SIT

1.  Dwayne Washington
2.  Jared Cook
3.  Detroit Defense
4.  Davante Adams
5.  Green Bay Defense


FANTASY FOOTBALL START/SIT: CHIEFS/JETS

START (in order of most expected points downward)

1.  Matt Forte
2.  Eric Decker
3.  Ryan Fitzpatrick
4.  Brandon Marshall
5.  New York Jets Defense
6.  Travis Kelce
7.  Quincy Enunwa

SIT

1.  Spencer Ware
2.  Kansas City Defense
3.  Jeremy Maclin
4.  Alex Smith


FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 3 START/SIT: RAVENS/JAGUARS

START (in order of most expected points downward)

1.  Allen Robinson
2.  Dennis Pitta
3.  Mike Wallace
4.  Baltimore Ravens Defense
5.  Chris Ivory
6.  Julius Thomas

SIT

1.  Blake Bortles
2.  Allen Hurns
3.  Justin Forsett
4.  Steve Smith Sr.
5.  T.J. Yeldon
6.  Jacksonville Jaguars Defense

 


FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 3 START/SIT: GIANTS/REDSKINS

START (in order of most expected points downward)

1.  Eli Manning
2.  Odell Beckham Jr.
3.  Jordan Reed
4.  Sterling Shepard
5.  DeSean Jackson
6.  Rashad Jennings
7.  New York Giants Defense

SIT

1.  Pierre Garcon
2.  Victor Cruz
3.  Kirk Cousins
4.  Shane Vereen
5.  Matt Jones
6.  Washington Redskins Defense
7.  Larry Donnell

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: JULIO JONES (CALF) TO START MONDAY

Atlanta Falcons wideout Julio Jones is expected to start Monday night despite the fact he hardly practiced during the past week due to a calf strain. 

Analysis:  There was never any indication that Jones would sit out as he has gutted out nagging injuries in the past.  He will clearly be less than 100 percent though and so far his production is down on a per game basis.  Start him though with confidence as this one will likely be a shootout. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: BRANDON MARSHALL (KNEE) EXPECTED TO GIVE IT A GO SUNDAY

New York Jets wideout Brandon Marshall is expected to suit up Sunday and give it a go despite being severely limited over the last week due to a knee injury suffered in last Thursday's win over the Buffalo Bills.  Marshall himself spoke of not "feeling right" on Friday but his history of durability is likely to win out in terms of playing. 

Analysis:  Marshall is one of those guys you just never have to doubt in terms of playing but instead what we got to worry about is if he will be on a snap count.  We saw how bad that was for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski this past Thursday and so that makes Marshall a risk for this week.

 

FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: DELANIE WALKER (HAMSTRING) TO SIT OUT SUNDAY

Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker is expected to be OUT Sunday due to the hamstring he strained in last Sunday's game.  Walker himself spoke early on Saturday about his doubts in terms of playing as the pain has not subsided enough for him to practice. 

Analysis:  Scratch Walker as the latest tight end to miss Sunday's game, joining Zach Ertz and Antonio Gates.  Possible fill-ins center on Larry Donnell, Jesse James, Dwayne Allen, or Eric Ebron. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: WILLIE SNEAD (TOE) GAME-TIME DECISION FOR MONDAY

New Orleans Saints wideout Willie Snead failed to practice again on Saturday and is now considered a game-time decision by the team Monday night versus the Atlanta Falcons. 

Analysis:  Oh no.  The Snead injury was not considered a major deal when it first broke but now he stands a realistic chance of not playing in what is expected to be a shootout.  Snead has been a monster PPR performer the first two weeks of the season and so his loss would be a big blow.  Rookie Michael Thomas or Brandon Coleman would repalce Snead, with Coleman more likely to be the one to own. 

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ZACK GREINKE SP ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS



While they certainly made a supreme effort to buy their way into contention for the 2016 baseball season, pretty much nothing went right for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Right at the top of the setback list was the at times ghastly performance of ace starting pitcher Zack Greinke.  The same Grienke whom the D-Backs earned a whole bunch of ridicule for after signing him to a ridiculous six-year contract worth $206.5 million.  Instead of purchasing a pitcher they believed could front their rotation and help them reach the postseason, the D-Backs instead got a 4.37 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a year pockmarked by injury setbacks.  Greinke never looked comfortable for an extended stretch in his first go round in the desert and his season as a whole was disturbing on a number of levels.  For starters, Greinke had THREE months where his ERA was 5.50!!!! or above and he also missed the whole month of July with a left oblique strain.  Putting a topper on the whole mess,  Greinke was not able to finish out the month of September after developing shoulder soreness.  All of this from the same pitcher who was arguably the most dominant starter in all of baseball the year prior when he registered a 1.66 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and 200 strikeouts.  So how could things go from one extreme to the other in just one year?  Well when digging into the numbers, some ugly truths emerge.  Let us first start out by saying that 2016 marked the fourth straight season where Greinke saw his average fastball velocity decrease.  Once a 97-mph dynamo with the heater while with the Kansas City Royals, Greinke is now barely in the 90-91 range.  We are talking Jered Weaver or C.C. Sabathia here in terms of fastball decline and that alone has made Greinke so much more hittable that ever before.  In addition, Greinke went from one extreme to the other when it came to home ballpark.  Dodger Stadium has for years been one of the best pitcher parks in the game, while Chase Field in Arizona has been known as a home run haven.  Chase Field is a bad marriage for a pitcher whose fastball is betraying him and who even in his best days, gave up home runs are a high rate.  Thus it was no shock to see Greinke’s HR/9 rate soar to 1.30 and his hit rate jump up as well.  Also while Greinke’s control was solid, his BB/9 rate went from 2015’s 1.62 to 2016’s 2.33 which added some more baserunners for him to deal with.  Finally, the erosion of Greinke’s fastball has cut down his margin of error in that he no longer can escape trouble as often with the strikeout.  After putting up a dominant 9.21 K/9 rate in 2014 with the Dodgers, the last two years have seen that number dip dramatically.  In 2015 Greinke lost more than ONE K/9 as he posted an 8.08 mark there and last season was even worse at a very mediocre 7.60.  With the league average around 7.50, Greinke is nothing more than a middling K pitcher right now and that further adds to all the trouble.  In fact it is staggering how badly things have turned here and almost completely across the board in all categories.  Add in the ugly recent health and Greinke is a guy I wouldn’t go near for 2017 fantasy baseball.  That should be obvious. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 3 DEFENSE RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football week 3 defense rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Denver
2.  Miami
3.  Carolina
4.  Seattle
5.  Arizona
6.  Los Angeles
7.  New York Jets
8.  Cincinnati Bengals
9.  Kansas City
10. Minnesota
11. Pittsburgh
12. Tampa Bay
13. New York Giants
14. Baltimore
15. Green Bay
16. Oakland
17. Dallas
18. Chicago
19. Detroit
20. Philadelphia

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 3 TIGHT END RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football tight end rankings for Week 3 based on opposing matchups.

1.  Greg Olsen
2.  Jordan Reed
3.  Travis Kelce
4.  Delanie Walker
5.  Dennis Pitta
6.  Eric Ebron
7.  Julius Thomas
8.  Jacob Tamme
9.  Kyle Rudolph
10. Jason Witten
11. Gary Barnridge
12. Dwayne Allen
13. Jared Cook
14. Coby Fleener
15. Jesse James
16. Zach Miller
17. Clive Walford
18. Virgil Green
19. Jordan Cameron
20. Vance McDonald
21. Jimmy Graham
22. Trey Burton
23. Hunter Henry
24. Antonio Gates
25. Charles Clay

FANTASY FOOTBALL FRIDAY INJURY REPORT: PATS DOWN TO FOURTH-STRING QB?

Friday is when we update all of the injury news around the league and boy is there a ton.  Let's get right to it.

-The New England Patriots just reported that third-string QB Jacoby Brissett is headed for surgery on a thumb he injured in Thursday night's victory over the Houston Texans to improve the team to 3-0 despite not playing one snap with Tom Brady.  With Brady still suspended, Brissett likely out for weeks, and Jimmy Garappolo not a lock to come back from his "painful" shoulder injury, the Pats might have to pick up somebody off the street or go with former Kent State QB turned top tier wideout Julian Edelman.  No matter what happens though, the Pats keep on winning but their skill position players really are hurting because of all this.  Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Martellus Bennett were all non-factors Thursday night and you will probably have to bench them all for Week 4.

-The New York Giants have listed starting running back Rashad Jennings as questionable with a left thumb injury that will require he wear a cast if he plays.  Shane Vereen would get the start in his place and become an immediate RB 2 in all formats if that happens. Word is though that Jennings will be able to give it a go but he is suddenly shaky as a RB 2 given the injury and threat of not being able to finish the game versus Washington.

-Julio Jones failed to practice on Friday and has done little all week as he battles ankle woes.  Everyone associated with the Atlanta Falcons though believe Jones will be out there and he is in the running to be the top fantasy football wideout in an expected shootout versus the New Orleans Saints.

-Bad news for Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker who is battling a sore hamstring amid growing doubts he will be able to Sunday.  Walker is no stranger to injury and his loss is a decent one considering the rapport he has with QB Marcus Mariota.  Some possible replacements would be Jesse James, Dwane Allen, or Zach Miller.

-San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates is going to be OUT Sunday as he battles his own hamstring trouble.  Always a slow healer, Gates has little chance to play and will be replaced by the intriguing Hunter Henry who can catch.  In fact anyone who owns Gates and Delanie Walker should consider Henry a top replacement choice.

-As expected both Miami Dolphins RB Arian Foster and the Carolina Panthers' Jonathan Stewart are OUT Sunday with groin and hamstring injuries respectively.  Jay Ajayi will head a committee in Miami, while Cameron Aris-Payne will split reps with Fozzie Whittaker.  Both Payne and especially Ajayi are risky plays given the fact we don't know how much work they will get.

-Andy Reid opened eyes Friday when he refused to rule out Jamaal Charles from making his debut versus the New York Jets.  That is a very tough matchup though and we still think Reid will gie Charles one more week and go with Spencer Ware who looks himself like a shaky play against a potent Jet defensive line.

-Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is calling RB Thomas Rawls a game-time decision this week but we expect the power back to sit out as he did nothing in practice this past week and is still hurting from a shin injury.  Christine Michael would look like a very good RB 2 option for this week agianst the San Francisco 49ers.

-Minnesota Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs showed up on the injury report Friday as he missed practice with a groin injury.  Head coach Mike Zimmer says it was only precuationary and that he will be fine.  Let's hope so as Diggs is now as hot a commodity as there is in the game. 


FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 3 WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football wide receiver rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Antonio Brown
2.  Odell Beckham Jr.
3.  Julio Jones
4.  Brandin Cooks
5.  Amari Cooper
6.  Allen Robinson
7.  Kelvin Benjamin
8.  Alshon Jeffery
9.  A.J. Green
10. Mike Evans
11. Jordy Nelson
12. Dez Bryant
13. Jarvis Landry
14. Brandon Marshall
15. Larry Fitzgerald
16. Marvin Jones
17. Jordan Matthews
18. T. Y. Hilton
19. Eric Decker
20. Stefon Diggs
21. Willie Snead
22. Travis Benjamin
23. Randall Cobb
24. Doug Baldwin
25. Will Fuller
26. Jeremy Maclin
27. Michael Crabtree
28. Demaryuis Thomas
29. DeVante Parker
30. Quincy Enunwa
31. Allen Hurns
32. Sterling Shepard
33. DeSean Jackson
34. Golden Tate
35. Victor Cruz
36. Tyrell Williams
37. Tajae Sharpe
38. Sammy Watkins
39. Mike Wallace
40. Mohamud Sanu
41. Philip Dorsett
42. Tavon Austin
43. Michael Thomas
44. Steve Smith Sr.
45. Tyler Lockett
46. John Brown
47. Cole Beasley
48. Terrell Pryor
49. Jamison Crowder
50. Kenny Britt


FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 3 RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 3 running back rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  DeAngelo Williams
2.  David Johnson
3.  Melvin Gordon
4.  C. J. Anderson
5.  Matt Forte
6.  Mark Ingram
7.  DeMarco Murray
8.  Todd Gurley
9.  Ezekiel Elliott
10. Eddie Lacy
11. Latavius Murray
12. Ryan Mathews
13. LeSean McCoy
14. Tevin Coleman
15. Spencer Ware
16. Frank Gore
17. Isaiah Crowell
18. Theo Riddick
19. Deonvta Freeman
20. Jamaal Charles
21. Christine Michael
22. Rashad Jennings
23. Charles Sims
24. Carlos Hyde
25. Jeremy Langford
26. Matt Jones
27. Gio Bernard
28. Jerrick McKinnon
29. Fozzie Whittaker
30. Thoams Rawls
31. Jay Ajayi
32. Jeremy Hill
33. Matt Asiata
34. Dwayne Washington
35. Duke Johnson
36. Shane Vereen
37. Darren Sproles
38. T.J. Yeldon
39. Derrick Henry
40. Chris Ivory
41. Justin Forsett
42. Cameron Artis-Payne
43. Terrance West
44. Alfred Morris
45. Chris Johnson
46. Arian Foster
47. DeAndre Washington
48. Charcandrick West
49. James Starks
50. Chris Thompson