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Monday, November 20, 2017

BE SURE TO GET YOUR COPY OF THE FANTASY SPORTS BOSS 2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE TODAY!!!!

After hours and hours of endless work, the 2018 Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide as our EARLY OFFSEASON EDITION is now available for purchase which will then be followed by our POST-FREE AGENCY EDITION that will be out in mid-January.  Our yearly guides are always lauded for the literally hundreds of pages of information; including going a paragraph or more on over 600 players.  We also have updated position eligibility, compiled prime sleepers, busts, and rookies for 2018; not to mention our Injury Risk Pitchers To Avoid column. Use the BUY NOW tab below to pick up your copy.  Already have sold over 100 copies so the initial wave is going fast.  Get yours for the holiday season.



2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 11 WRAPUP

-The insane production by the New Orleans Saints running backs continued unabated Sunday as Mark Ingram rushed for 134 yards and a score on 11 carries, while also adding 3 catches for another 21 yards.  For Ingram, this marked the fourth monster week for him in the last five games and he has fully moved into top tier status among running backs in fantasy football.  Meanwhile rookie teammate Alvin Kamara kept up his end of things as well by rushing for 42 yards on 11 of his own carries, while adding 6 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.  Kamara is putting up WR 1 numbers this season despite being a running back and he has done enough to help on the ground as well to also put himself in the RB 1 class in PPR formats.  Just ridiculous production out of the two this season and anyone who owns stock here going into the playoffs will be a force to be reckoned with.

-Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette got himself back on track after a couple of rough weeksby rushing for 111 yards on 28 carries in the team's win over the Cleveland Browns.  Fournette's average was not great but the fact the Jags gave him so much work despite being questionable with an ankle injury tells us the ailment is not going to be an issue moving forward.  Yes Fournette is still chasing his September excellence but at least he is looking sound health-wise for now.

-Doug Martin is absolutely killing his fantasy football owners right now as he put up yet another dud Sunday in rushing for 38 yards on 19 carries, while adding just two catches for another 6 yards.  Martin has been horrific for the second year in a row now for the team and it might be time for the Tampa Bay Bucs to take a look at someone else.  Simply put, Martin should not be started in fantasy football moving forward considering how had he has been.

-DeShon Kizer has been absolutely abysmal as a rookie for the Brown in 2017 and he reached a new low Sunday by turning the football over four times in the team's loss to the Jaguars.  Kizer completed just 16-of-32 throws for 179 yards with 1 TD and two INTs, while he also added two lost fumbles.  Late on his throws and unable to read defenses, these are very bad signs for Kizer long-term.

-Nothing doing for Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson who rushed for just 26 yards on 14 carries, while adding one catch for another 13 yards.  After an initial burst from Peterson when he arrived in Arizona, he once again looks like a washed-up back.

-Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins was terrific again on Sunday despite a continued suspect collection of receivers; completing 22-of-32 throws for 322 yards.  The loss of Chris Thompson to a broken leg is a big problem for Cousins though but the guy seems to get his numbers no matter who his receivers are.  Cousins remains one of the most underappreciated players in all of football.

-Every week Minnesota Vikings wideout Adam Thielen makes an appearance in this space and it speaks to how big a season he is having.  Thielen went nuts again Sunday in catching 6 balls for 1223 yards and one score and he has been every bit the WR 1 this season despite being drafted as a WR 3.  We venture to guess Thielen will end up on a good number of league champions this season.

-Boy does Miami Dolphins wideout Kenny Stills love playing with QB Matt Moore.  Once Jay Cutler exited with a concussion, it was the Still-Moore show like a few weeks ago as the two hooked up 7 times for 180 yards and a score.  If Moore gets the start next week, Still is well worth a WR 3 add.

-Jarvis Landry kept up his recent TD binge as he scored once as part of his 6-catch day for 95 yards.  Jay Cutler has certainly unleashed some nice TD potential from Landry this season and that has put him more in the WR 2 mold in all leagues as opposed to his previous WR 3 standing.

-Robert Woods was in the midst of another huge afternoon for the Los Angeles Rams but then was forced out with a shoulder injury.  Prior to getting injured, Woods caught 8 balls for 81 yards as he continued a big three-week stretch where he has put himself on the fantasy football map.  Check back on the injury status of Woods during the week and get a replacement in place just in case.

-Samaje Perine has a big workload ahead of him now that Chris Thompson has been lost for the remainder of 2017 with a broken leg and he looked good Sunday in rushing for 117 yards and a score on 23 carries, while adding one catch for nine yards.  There is little in the way of competition now for carries on the Washington Redskins and if still on the wire, Perine should be added everywhere.

-Carson Wentz fantasy football owners had to be a bit annoyed to see a few rushing scores by the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half of the team's blowout win over the Dallas Cowboys but in the end the second-year passer got his numbers in completing 14-of-27 passes for 168 yards.  Wentz also added 13 rushing yards and 3 converted two-point conversions for good measure as he remained the top producing QB in 2017 fantasy football by a solid margin.  What a year. 

-Devontae Booker may finally be the one emerging from the mess that has been the crowded Denver Broncos backfield by the looks of things on Sunday.  Booker rushed for 44 yards on 14 carries, while adding five catches for another 54 yards in the team's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.  With Jamaal Charles falling by the wayside, Booker now seems to have nudged ahead of C.J. Anderson in a 60/40 split.  While not ideal. Booker should be added in PPR formats if still available. 

-Andy Dalton has always run hot-and-cold for the Bengals and his fantasy football owners by the meter pointed upward Sunday as he tore apart the Broncos defense to the tune of completing 15-of-25 passes for 154 yards and 3 scores.  Right now Dalton is protecting the football and he is trending upward with a delicious matchup on tap for Week 12 against the winless Cleveland Browns.

-New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was more of a decoy than anything Sunday as he managed just 3 catches for 36 yards.  The totality of Gronk's season so far as has been quite underwhelming but there is simply no way you can ever bench him in any given week.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL 1:00 INJURY WATCH: CHRIS THOMPSON ADDED TO REDSKINS RUNNING BACK INJURY WOES

Just a few days after losing starting running back Rob Kelley for the remainder of the season, the Washington Redskins now look like they will be without pass catching dynamo back Chris Thompson after he was carted off during Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints with a leg injury.  The scene was ugly as Thompson got rolled up from behind and that never seems to end well for the victim.  A possible torn ACL is certainly in play and this late in the year, Thompson could very well be out for the rest of 2017.  That means rookie Samaje Perine will see even more work moving forward and so he is a must add this week if he escaped being claimed for Week 11.

-Miami Dolphins QB Jay Cutler had a nice matchup versus the brutal Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense Sunday but his day ended early with a concussion.  Cutler is no stranger to injury and so those who own him in two-QB formats should prepare for him to be out for Week 12. 

-Having opened eyes with two touchdown runs Sunday, Houston Texans rookie power back D'Onte Foreman looked like a major waiver ad for Week 12.  Unfortunately he didn't finish the game as Foreman was carted off with a left ankle injury.  There is a chance Foreman will escape with nothing major but it certainly didn't look good.  

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 11 ISSUES: STERLING SHEPARD UNLIKELY TO GO PRESENTS LATE SETBACK FOR HIS OWNERS

Wow.  An illness of all things will likely keep New York Giants emerging wideout Sterling Shepard from suiting up on Sunday versus the Kansas City Chiefs according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.  The absence will thus rob Shepard's fantasy football owners of an excellent matchup against a very leaky Chiefs secondary and thus present a late lineup hole to fill.  Yours truly is dealing with such a problem and my initial solution was to grab Cincinnati's Brandon LaFell as a stopgap in figuring A.J. Green will be bottled up a bit by Broncos QB Aqib Talib.  Either way, this is not the way owners of Shepard want to begin the Sunday action. 


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 11 RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 11 running back rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  LeSean McCoy
2.  Kareem Hunt
3.  Leonard Fournette
4.  Todd Gurley
5.  Mark Ingram
6.  Jordan Howard
7.  Marshawn Lynch
8.  Melvin Gordon
9.  Alvin Kamara
10. Adrian Peterson
11. Alex Collins
12. Jerrick McKinnon
13. Isaiah Crowell
14. Jay Ajayi
15. Chris Thompson
16. Lamar Miller
17. Latavius Murray
18. Tevin Coleman
19. Joe Mixon
20. Jamaal Williams
21. Alfred Morris
22. Samaje Perine
23. Doug Martin
24. Kenyan Drake
25. Orleans Darkwa
26. Ameer Abdullah
27. Rex Burkhead
28. Duke Johnson Jr.
29. C.J. Anderson
30. Dion Lewis
31. LeGarrette Blount
32. James White
33. Austin Eckler
34. Damien Williams
35. Danny Woodhead


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 11 QB RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 11 QB rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Tom Brady
2.  Russell Wilson
3.  Carson Wentz
4.  Alex Smith
5.  Dak Prescott
6.  Kirk Cousins
7.  Derek Carr
8.  Drew Brees
9.  Jared Goff
10. Jay Cutler
11. Matthew Stafford
12. Matt Ryan
13. Philip Rivers
14. Eli Manning
15. Case Keenum
16. Ryan Fitzpatrick
17. Andy Dalton
18. Blake Bortles
19. Brock Osweiler
20. Joe Flacco
21. Brett Hundley
22. Mitch Trubisky
23. Tom Savage
24. DeShon Kizer
25. Blaine Gabbert
26. Nathan Peterman


Friday, November 17, 2017

2017 FANTSAY FOOTBALL ISSUES: LEONARD FOURNETTE (ANKLE) BECOMING BIG QUESTION MARK

Being a Friday practice downgrade is never a god thing when it comes to fantasy football availability and that now is becoming the case with Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette as we move closer to Sunday's Week 11 games.  After being a limited practice participant both Wednesday and Thursday, Fournette missed Friday's session which sent off alarms around his fantasy football owners.  Having already noted his aversion to playing in cold weather, Fournette can now be only be considered a 50/50 deal to suit up versus the Cleveland Browns.  After a tremendous first 8 weeks of his rookie campaign, Fournette has really hit the skids of late as he was suspended for one game and then missed another with the bum ankle.  For a guy who has had endless foot problems going back to his LSU days, we are seeing the risks that went with drafting Fournette last summer.  Get T.J. Yeldon ready just in case or try and make a small trade (if you league deadline has not passed) for an Alex Collins or someone of that ilk. 


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: BRUCE ELLINGTON WR HOUSTON TEXANS

Yes we all run for the hills when we hear the name "Tom Savage" when it comes to the twisted world of fantasy football but we are also in the business of presenting to you untapped potential sleepers that can help the DFS crowd and those looking for help as the bye weeks wind down.  That brings us to the Houston Texans and specifically wideout Bruce Ellington who all of a sudden looks like an interesting value play for Week 11 based on a number of key reasons.  While the shortcomings regarding Savage are ugly and obvious, the fact of the matter is that ace Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins is going to have his hands full with top Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson this week and that means more targets for everyone else.  Right at the top of this list should be Hopkins' counterpart Ellington who will replace the injured Will Fuller for this week's game and thus be a highly-targeted outlet for Savage in the short-to-intermediate range.  The word has not really gotten out here as well which makes Ellington even more of a potential find this week.  So while the numbers may not jump off the statistical map, Ellington is well worth checking out due to the solid short-term upside. 


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL THURSDAY NIGHT WRAPUP: TITANS/STEELERS

When the Pittsburgh Steelers offense is running on all cylinders, it is a thing of beauty and this is what we all witnessed Thursday night when Ben Roethlisberger and company went to town on the Tennessee Titans.  Meanwhile it was another horrid game for DeMarco Murray who looks like he needs to take a seat.  Let's get to all the relevant fantasy football results that ultimately came out of the game.

-While he had played well of late, the totality of Roethsliberger's season leading up to Thursday night's game was overly disappointing and even more so when you take into the fact that he has arguably the most awesome collection of offensive weapons at his disposal.  It all came together Thursday night as Big Ben completed 30-of-45 passes for 299 yards with 4 TD's and even 10 yards rushing.  This is what Roethlisberger is fully capable of on a weekly basis and the Steelers using the no-huddle seems to unleash his best.  With another decent matchup in the Green Bay Packers on tap for Week 12, Roethlisberger should be fully back in the circle of trust.

On the other side, the Titans' Marcus Mariota was simply dreadful as he tossed four interceptions as part of his 22-of-33 day for 306 yards.  While he did toss for one TD and rush for another, Mariota simply can't be depended on outside of two-passer leagues and overall it is a giant step back for him after an emerging 2016 campaign.

-The Titans really need to strongly consider benching DeMarco Murray so that he can heal up from his myriad injuries.  We said back in the summer to avoid Murray given his age (29) and the fact he came off a very heavy workload in 2016 and we are seeing why.  Simply put, Murray has been terrible and last night he rushed for just 10 yards on 8 carries.  He did help a bit in PPR by catching 5 balls for another 37 yards but Derrick Henry (32 yards on 7 carries) needs to be given more leash.  At the very least, Murray needs to be benched in all standard setups.

As far as the Steeler's Le'Veon Bell is concerned, the game plan centered on the pass which is why he got just 12 carries for 46 yards (and narrowly missed a running score).  However Bell was terrific on the receiving end as he hauled in 9 balls for 57 yards to secure a very good night in PPR.  While the overall numbers on Bell have fallen below expectations, he still is without peer at the running back position.

-Speaking of without peer, we have known for awhile that was the stats of Steelers wideout Antonio Brown at the position.  What he did last night was silly as Brown caught 10 passes for 144 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The third score got former New York Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree up off his couch cheering for sure as Brown snagged the ball against the side of his helmet as he stayed in bounds to collect the score.  Tremendous stuff and it is a reminder that there is Brown and then there is everyone else among the wide receiver hierarchy. 

With regards to the supporting cast, JuJu Smith-Schuster added 4 catches for 47 yards which keeps him in the WR 3 mode for PPR formats but Martavis Bryant (2 catches for 30) remains an enigma. 

On the Tennessee side, Delanie Walker led the way as usual with 6 catches for 92 yards but he somehow dropped a gift of a touchdown pass that had to have his owners banging their heads against the wall.  Also Corey Davis just can't seem to get going as he caught just three passes for 27 yards.  Keep the faith here however. 


Thursday, November 16, 2017

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL POSSCRIPT: MARWIN GONZALEZ INFIELDER HOUSTON ASTROS

While it didn't get the same type of attention that the unexpected breakouts of Scooter Gennett or Justin Smoak engendered, there was no denying the surprising and at the same time shocking offensive performance of Houston Astros utility ace Marwin Gonzalez in 2017.  Known more for his glove and ability to literally play all over the diamond than anything he did with the bat prior to the start of last season, Gonzalez wound up setting career-bests in runs (67), RBI (90), homers (23), and batting average (.303).  Add in 8 stolen bases and eligibility at virtually every spot in the field and Gonzalez had his place secured on the "All-Value Team" for 2017.  Perhaps Gonzalez began hinting at this type of ability the year prior when he posted a 13/12 split in the home run/steal columns but no one could have possibly foreseen him blowing way past any sort of previously established norm.  The fact he turns just 29 in March does place Gonzalez in the beginning of his prime years which could legitimize the breakout to an extent but the best course of action is to not pay for the career year.  Instead simply embrace the fact Gonzalez qualifies everywhere but third base for 2018 fantasy baseball and place his baseline at around 15/10/.280.  Anything above that should be treated as a nice bonus.
2018 PROJECTION:  .270 19 HR 88 RBI 74 R 11 SB

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: EZEKIEL ELLIOTT IN PLAY FOR CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

After months of exhausting and very annoying appeals when it came to the six-game suspension of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence, the decision was made by the player himself on Wednesday to no longer challenge the case in court.  That means Elliott will miss the next five games for Dallas which wipes him out for all but Week 16 in terms of fantasy football.  Of course Elliott's owners need to continue holding him in hoping they get the chance to throw him back out there against Seattle in Week 16 but making a play for him in a trade is also an interesting idea as well.  Consider a scenario where the Elliott owner is in pure panic mode right now in trying to keep their team afloat and they get a low-ball offer of let's say Orleans Darkwa or Duke Johnson for him.  If you are on the border of the playoff picture in your league, you do that deal in playing for tomorrow and not weeks from now.  So if you are a team in good playoff standing, making a play for Elliott is a smart move and could net you a first-round talent when the stakes are the highest.  Yes there should be some rust and Seattle's defense is no picnic but the bottom line is that Elliott will be a factor once again in a few weeks.  Try and get your hands on him before then. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: MARINERS PICK UP CHEAP POWER BOOST IN RYON HEALY

The Seattle Mariners made yet another in what has been an endless string of trades during the last two years when they added 1B/3B Ryon Healy from the Oakland A's late Wednesday for RHP Emilio Pagan and infielder Alexander Campos.  Healy figures to slide right into the first base spot on the Mariners that will be vacated by free agent Yonder Alonso and he certainly has power to offer as he comes off a 25-home run campaign in 20167.  Turning just 26 in January, Healy has some hitting approach warts however; which primarily center on a severe lack of walks (just a laughable 3.8 BB/9 a year ago) and his 235 K/9 rate is nothing great either.  Be that as it may, Healy is certainly a backup 1B/3B for 2018 fantasy baseball mixed leagues and he carries decent starting status in AL-only formats.  Solid but unspectacular is the word here. 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 11 ISSUES: QB TURMOIL IMPACTING SCORES OF SKILL-POSITION PLAYERS

It was a lively day in the QB world on Wednesday as two changes were made in preparation for Sunday's and there are some fantasy football ramifications that go with it.  First came word the Arizona Cardinals would go with third-string QB Blaine Gabbert since backup Drew Stanton is dealing with a knee injury.  Then later the Buffalo Bills announced that Tyrod Taylor would be benched for rookie Nathan Peterman despite the team being 5-4.  Let's tackle each one in terms of the impact on the skill players involved.

Arizona:  Boy have things gone completely off the rails for the Cardinals who are absolutely decimated with injury.  Going with Gabbert and his noodle arm is never a good thing for those wideouts and runners who make up the rest of the offense and so that means more bad news for Larry Firtzgerald, John Brown, Adrian Peterson and company.  Fitzgerald is the only one who we would still sign off on starting in a WR 3 sense given his slot position and how inferior QB's like Gabbert use him as a safety outlet.  Peterson comes off a brutal Week 10 performance and he will continue to see 8 men in the box which is trouble.  Consider him right on the RB2/3 border.

Buffalo:  It is ridiculous how the Bills have treated Taylor; who while he does have faults; is also a competent enough to win games for you.  New head coach Sean McDermott is obviously not a fan and he is now risking possibly playoff contention by going with the green Peterman who looked terrible in the preseason.  While running back LeSean McCoy seems matchup proof, wideout Kelvin Benjamin may need to be benched this week as we watch to see how Peterman performs in Sunday's game.  

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL CRISIS POINT: MELVIN GORDON RB LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

You knew this was coming right?  Ever since the summer when I first began to hedge about drafting Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, I knew at some point he would be featured here.  While Gordon was a popular first round pick in fantasy football drafts this summer based almost solely on an expected heavy workload for the Chargers to at least begin the year, we are now seeing the red flags that have always emanated around him begin to overwhelm the picture here.  As we look ahead to a very important Week 11, it is now crystal clear that Gordon is nothing but a below-average running back who has yet to average a modest 4.0 yards per carry as he moves further into his third year in the league.  Throw in constant injury flare-ups and the fresh presence of super-speedster Austin Eckler and we have a full blown crisis on our hands with the fantasy football playoffs approaching.

So how did we get here?  Well honestly we have always been here with Gordon who has now averaged 3.5, 3.9, and 3.8 yards per carry his first two-plus years in the NFL which is a terrible collection of numbers that have never gotten enough attention in fantasy football circles.  Throw in the injuries that have once again hobbled Gordon on a weekly basis and he is becoming a gigantic headache and question mark moving forward.  Then of course there is Eckeler who shot right to the top of waiver adds this week coming off a big Week 10 performance where he rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries, while adding 5 catches for 77 yards and two scores.  Eckeler has tremendous pure speed and was arguably the fastest offensive player in the 2017 NFL Draft but his Western State background in college left him well off the radar.  That is not the issue no longer and what we have here is a guy with Alex Collins speed (another mid-season popular waiver add) but with terrific receiving hands that his Baltimore counterpart doesn't have.  While the sample size is small, Ecekler is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has caught 19 passes in a backup role.  That role should grow as the Chargers clearly have a talent on their hands that needs to be looked at more closely.  This of course comes at the expense of Gordon who has now fallen into high-end RB 2 value.  But you knew trouble was coming anyways right?  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 11 WAIVER WIRE ADDS

Week 11 means it is now officially crunch time in fantasy football and so these adds could help push your team into a playoff contention.  Let's see who made the cut this week:

Rex Burkhead:  Burkhead has been trending up the last few weeks as Mike Gillislee has fallen completely out of favor in the crowded New England backfield and Sunday night we saw the versatility as he scored on a pass reception and also has helped in the running game.  This is a FLEX play all the way though as Dion Lewis prevents RB 2 status.

Jamaal Williams:  We already delved in on Williams yesterday so nothing new to add here.  Williams is a pure power back who will pick up tough yardage and be in line for goal-line scores with little in the way of receiving numbers.

Corey Coleman:  While he is not worth starting this week due to likely having to face ace CB Jalen Ramsey, Coleman has tremendous physical talent but who has become a forgotten man due to numerous injuries.

Samaje Perine:  Rob Kelley is hurt AGAIN and so that means Perine is in line for a nice rushing workload this week versus the New Orleans Saints.  Chris Thompson will take most of the receiving numbers though so this is strictly a standard league play.

Arizona Defense:  Anytime you get to face awful Houston Texans QB Tom Savage, it is a win-win deal.

Latavius Murray:  The Minnesota Vikings seem set on giving Murray the majority of carries and especially goal-line work over the shifty Jerrick McKinnon and so anyone in need of a short-term help can benefit here.


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL MONDAY NIGHT WRAPUP: DOLPHINS/PANTHERS

It was the Cam Newton show Monday night as his fantasy football owners were no doubt put over the top in their matchups after the passing/running dynamo went to town on the Miami Dolphins.  Let's get to all the latest fantasy football news emanating from the game.

-Speaking of Newton, he was spectacular Monday night as he completed 21-of-35 throws for 254 yards with four touchdown passes, while also rushing for 95 yards in the bonanza game.  While Newton had a slow September, he is fully back on the gravy train in terms of fantasy football numbers that yield QB 1 status.

Meanwhile on the other side, Miami's Jay Cutler worked some garbage time magic as he completed 22-of-37 passes for 213 yards with 2 TD and 1 INT.  Sense the sarcasm which was intended as Cutler continued to underachieve despite a nice batch of receivers.  Only for the two-QB crowd. 

-Jonathan Stewart has been overshadowed all season by hot shot rookie Christan McCaffrey but Stewart showed he is not done yet by rushing for 110 yards on 17 carries.  The problem was that McCaffrey scored twice as he rushed 5 times for 23 yards and a score, while adding his usual PPR game receiving numbers by catching 3 passes for another 27 yards and the second TD.  McCaffrey has really picked up steam since the middle of October when he was barely a RB 2 in standard formats and he shows no signs yet of slowing down from the grind of his first NFL season.

On the Miami side, Kenyan Drake really needs to get the ball more as the explosive speedster peeled off 82 yards and a score on just 7 carries, while adding two catches for ten more yards.  Meanwhile Damien Williams was ineffective with 19 yards on 9 carries, to go along with 2 catches for 20 yards.  While Williams is the better receiver, Drake has the stuff to be a very solid RB 2 if he can gain the additional carries. 

-In terms of the receiving game, Devin Funchess showed he has the stuff to be a top wideout on his own team as he hauled in 5 balls for 92 yards and two scores.  Funchess became a borderline WR 1 in standard leagues almost overnight once Kelvin Benjamin was traded away and that will be his status (along with WR 2 in PPR) going forward.  Ed Dickson added the other receiving score for the Panthers as part of his 3-catch day for 33-yard day.  With Greg Olsen getting close to returning, Dickson's days are numbered in terms of any fantasy football viabilty. 

On the Miami side, Jarvis Landry really must love having Cutler under center because now he is scoring TD's regularly as he did again last night.  While Cutler is spreading the ball around, Landy still had a nice night in catching five passes for 42 yards and the score.  DeVante Parker also added five catches for 66 yards; while Kenny Still did his job as well with a 5-67-0 line.  Feel free to use Parker as a rock solid WR 3 going forward, while Stills is more boom-or-bust. 


Monday, November 13, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: JAMAAL WILLIAMS RB GREEN BAY PACKERS

The mantra "next man up" has certainly been the theme of the injury-ravaged Green Bay Packers so far during the course of the 2017 fantasy football season.  Not only has the team lost star QB Aaron Rodgers likely for the year with a broken collarbone, the running back corps has been torn apart with health woes as well.  This point was driven home this past Sunday when first rookie runner Aaron Jones was carted off with a knee injury and then was followed by Ty Montgomery exiting with another rib injury.  Both Jones and Montgomery are long shots to play in Week 11 and so that leaves rookie BYU product Jamaal Williams as the last man standing.  Replacing Jones and Montgomery Sunday. Williams was not very impressive as he picked up 67 yards on 20 carries; while also adding one catch for 7 more yards.  Nothing earth-shattering by any means but Williams will likely be a bellcow back in Week 11 which should make him a popular add in most fantasy football leagues.  Even going back to his BYU days, Williams was known primarily as a plodding power runner who lacks flash and doesn't do much in the receiving game. That makes him more of a standard league priority, while in PPR we would prefer Rex Burkhead or Danny Woodhead as a better waiver pick.  

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 WRAPUP

-A real changing of the offensive guard seems to be taking place in the New Orleans Saints offense and it won't make the fantasy football owners of QB Drew Brees happy.  With the running game going bananas, Brees completed just 18-of-25 passes for 184 yards and ZERO passing scores.  He did score a rushing touchdown but one has to wonder now if the Saints offense is going to put a hurting on Brees' numbers moving forward.  For now we are inclined to think this was a one-game deal but the fact of the matter is that Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been tremendous since the start of October.  Something to watch.

-Meanwhile on the other side in the Saints-Bills tilt, Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor was pulled early after completing just 9-of-18 throws for 56 yards and a pick.  Taylor became a popular add this week after accounting for a boatload of scores last week versus the New York Jets but it needed to be noted that much of that was achieved in garbage time.  The fact of the matter is that Taylor remains very flawed as a pure passer and his status in fantasy football is that of a backup in single-passer formats.

-Ridiculous is the only way to describe the rookie campaign of Saints running back Alvin Kamara after he went all video game Sunday in rushing for 106 yards and a score on 12 carries, while adding five catches for 32 yards in the team's blowout win over the Buffalo Bills.  Kamara has become an even better Darren Sproles in the Saints offense and in PPR formats he is a stud of a RB 1.  Incredible.

-Not to be outdone, fellow Saints back Mark Ingram picked up three more rushing scores on the ground as he picked up a total of 131 yards on 21 carries.  Ingram had a tough one last week but he has been tremendous in three if the last five games running the ball.  Ever since Adrian Peterson was sent on his way, Ingram has really pushed toward RB 1 status despite the great rookie year of Alvin Kamara.

-An ugly day at the office was had by Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard whose all-or-nothing results this season have really tested the patience of his fantasy football owners.  Howard managed just 54 yards on 15 carries and he did nothing in the passing game with zero receptions.  The ascension of rookie QB Mitch Trubisky certainly has not helped Howard's chances of putting forth big games since he is now facing a steady stream of 8-men in the box and so he should just be graded as a RB 2 going forward.

-While overshadowed by the running game, Saints wideout Michael Thomas reaffirmed his WR 1 status as he hauled in 9 passes for 117 yards in the win over the Bills.  Yes he has been light on scores but Thomas being a number 1 target in arguably the most potent offense in the league is a big deal.

-Davante Adams has been the only Green Bay Packers wideout that has actually yielded some useful numbers since Aaron Rodgers went down and he kept that going Sunday by catching five balls for 90 yards and a score.  Adams is more of a short-yardage target which is why raw QB Brett Hundley keeps looking his way at a high level and not to deep-threat Jordy Nelson and that will keep him in WR 3 territory for the time being.

-Adam Thielen is really starting to elevate himself to the upper echelon of receivers in fantasy football as he continues to pile up the numbers on a weekly basis.  Thielen caught 8 balls for 166 yards and a score Sunday as the Minnesota Vikings held off the Washington Redskins.  Especially in PPR formats, Thielen has been something else and in those formats you can say he is at WR 1 territory.

-More injury woes at QB for the Packers as now Brett Hundley is hurt as he tweaked a hamstring Sunday in the team's win over the Bears.  Hundley had a decent day despite the injury as he completed 18-of-25 throws for 212 yards with 1 TD.  He had some good deep throws and protected the football which were encouraging signs. The biggest takeway here would be that every win the Packers can pick up would make it more likely the team will allow Aaron Rodgers to come back onto the field is he can later in the season.

-Matthew Stafford has been a stud in almost every game this season for both the Detroit Lions and his fantasy football owners and Sunday was more of the same as he completed 17-of-26 throws for 249 yards with 3 TD's and a pick.  Stafford is as pronounced a gunslinger as there is in the entire NFL and his game is perfect for fantasy football purposes.  Keep riding him as a QB 1.

-The Packers may now be down to third-string back Jamaal Williams after both Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery left injured Sunday.  Williams still just managed 67 yards on 20 carries and added one only catch for another 7 yards.  The fact of the matter is that the rookie back has not shown much when given the chance to play but he figures to be a bellcow back next week if both Jones and Montgomery are out.

-Stefon Diggs has not found much in the way of consistency in his career but he still flashes nice ability overall.  He caught four balls for 78 yards and a score Sunday but right now in PPR formats he is a just WR 2 and in standards a 3 until that consistency is discovered.

-On paper New York Jets running back Bilal Powell had a nice matchup Sunday versus a weak Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense but the guy apparently didn't get the memo as he rushed for just 30 yards on 10 carries, while adding 1 catch for six yards.  The lack of receptions was especially disappointing for Powell and the rough game could give the team more incentive to go with rookie Elijiah McGuire next week.

-The rookie season of Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has gone off the rails the last two weeks to say the least.  After earning a suspension by the team in Week 9, Fournette was terrible on Sunday in rushing for just 33 yards on 17 carries, while adding two catches for another 13 yards.  In other words, it was a complete bomb of a day for Fournette.  Despite the ugly two weeks, we still love the overall ability here and would even make a play on Fournette if his owners are getting antsy.

-Elijiah McGuire could be picking up some steam as a runner for the Jets as he rushed for 22 yards on 8 carries, while adding four catches for another 36 yards.  While not a good outing overall, McGuire has terrific speed and could be in line for some more work moving forward.

-It is getting tough to watch Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray hobble through each week but at least he is getting some scores as he picked up two on the ground Sunday as part of his 14 carry day for 42 yards.  Murray did add four catches for 30 more yards but Derrick Henry is always breathing down his neck to make his owners a bit uncomfortable.

-Austin Ekeler may be a popular add off waivers this week after the Los Angeles Chargers speedster rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries, while adding five catches for 77 yards and two scores.  This is not what Melvin Gordon's owners want to see but there could be some room for Ekeler on fantasy football rosters going forward based on this game.

-Sometimes there are some mid-season waiver wire gems that come out of nowhere and that is especially true with a previously mediocre veteran.  Case in point is wideout Robert Woods who has literally exploded onto the fantasy football map the last two weeks and on Sunday went nuts to the tune of 8 catches for an obscene 171 yards and two scores.  With the Los Angeles Rams offense looking like the Greatest Show on Turf, Woods needs to be utilized as a WR 2 each week.

-Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan may finally be getting the hang of the Steve Sarkisian offense as he was hot again Sunday in completing 22-of-29 throws for 215 yards with 2 TD and 1 INT.  Ryan has thrown for two scores in each of the last three games and his fantasy football owners should feel more secure running him out there moving forward.

-Maybe the San Francisco 49ers don't need Jimmy Garappolo after all?  Rookie QB C.J. Beathard made his case for the starting job on Sunday by dissecting the pathetic New York Giants defense by completing 19-of-25 passes for 288 yards with 2 TD and 1 INT.  Beathard also added at third score on the ground in picking up 18 yards rushing to give the 49ers their first win of the season.  Be that as it may, Beathard will be supplanted by Garrappolo real soon and thus has zero fantasy football value.

-Now the number 1 receiving target on the Giants, second-year wideout Sterling Shepard showed his ability in major terms Sunday by catching 11 balls for 142 yards in the team's loss to the 49ers.  Shepard has always hinted at big-time talent and he showed that off Sunday.  While scores may be tough to come by, Shepard has some top WR 3 ability in fantasy football terms.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 INJURY WATCH: MARQUISE LEE (KNEE) GOOD TO GO SUNDAY

Jacksonville Jaguars wideout Marqise Lee will start Sunday for the team versus the Los Angeles Chargers despite having been listed as questionable with a knee injury. 

Analysis:  Lee has been a nice PPR play this season as he graduated into the number 1 target role for QB Blake Bortles.  While the touchdowns will never be impressive, Lee has earned the right to be a weekly play in fantasy football.  Get him back out there in a nice matchup versus a leaky Chargers defense. 


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 INJURY WATCH: JAMISON CROWDER (HAMSTRING) SET TO GO SUNDAY

Washington Redskins slot wideout Jamison Crowder will start Sunday for the team versus the Minnesota Vikings despite drawing a questionable tag with a hamstring injury that cost him Week 9.

Analysis:  Good news here as Crowder has very good PPR potential given the fact QK Kirk Cousins is still trying to nail down a number 1 wideout on the team.  Crowder can be that guy and pile up the receptions like he was starting to do before the hamstring went bad.  Pick him up where available. 


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 INJURY WATCH: DEZ BRYANT (KNEE, ANKLE) TO START SUNDAY

Dallas Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant will suit up and start for the team for Sunday's game versus the Atlanta Falcons despite being hobbled by knee and ankle injuries leading up to it.  Bryant missed all but Friday's practice this past week but he pronounced himself feeling good after the session and overall he should be a firm WR 1 play in a game that is expected to be a shootout. 

Analysis:  Bryant has earned more trust from QB Dak Prescott this season and so his numbers have seen a nice uptick after floundering a year ago.  He is still capable of WR 1 production on a weekly basis but the dynamic Bryant from 2015 seems to be a thing of the past due to all the recent injuries. 


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 10 running back rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Le'Veon Bell
2.  Todd Gurley
3.  LeSean McCoy
4.  Leonard Fournette
5.  Melvin Gordon
6.  Mark Ingram
7.  Jordan Howard
8.  Alvin Kamara
9.  Bilal Powell
10. Carlos Hyde
11. Devonta Freeman
12. Jerick McKinnon
13. Christian McCaffrey
14. Orleans Darkwa
15. Lamar Miller
16. Doug Martin
17. Alfred Morris
18. DeMarco Murray
19. Chris Thompson
20. Isaiah Crowell
21. Joe Mixon
22. Kenyan Drake
23. Ameer Abdullah
24. Tevin Coleman
25. Damien Williams
26. Duke Johnson
27. Derrick Henry
28. C.J. Anderson
29. Devonta Booker
30. Dion Lewis
31. Aaron Jones
32. James White
33. Ty Montgomery
34. Latavius Murray
35. Frank Gore


Friday, November 10, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 INJURY REPORT: JULIO JONES/DEZ BRYANT SET TO SUIT UP SUNDAY

It was a big Friday practice day across fantasy football as Week 10 Sunday approaches.  Some big names returned to practice during the day and that helped to clear up a few of their statuses before the games kick off.  Let's get to the latest.

-Atlanta Falcons ace wideout Julio Jones returned to practice on Friday after sitting out every previous session this week due to what is believed to be a high ankle sprain.  This bodes very well for Jones to be out there at the start in the team's expected shootout versus the Dallas Cowboys.  While Jones continues to frustrate with his crazy inability to score, his very high volume of catches makes him a firm WR 1 in all formats.

-Also returning to practice on Friday was Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant.  Battling his own ankle sprain and also a knee injury, Bryant reportedly "moved well" according to a team reporter and even included a one-handed catch.  That makes it a good chance Bryant will suit up but have Terrance Williams close by just in case.

-Denver Broncos wideout Demaryius Thomas was removed from the team's injury report after he missed practice earlier in the week with a tweaked hamstring.  Like with Julio Jones, Thomas is one of those guys who always seems to be battling some sort of injury.  The big problem here of course is the fact Thomas has seen some of the worst QB play in the league the last season-plus and things are not looking to be any better this weekend with the awful Brock Osweiler under center. 

-You can safely scratch New England Patriots wideout Chris Hogan from your lineups in Week 10 as his injured shoulder is simply not ready yet for him to return to action.  Hogan has been straddling the WR 2/3 line all season but his recent work has been shaky even before the injury. 

-Both Washington Redskins wideout Jamison Crowder and tight end Jordan Reed draw the questionable tag this Sunday, with Reed looking like the more iffy proposition in terms of whether he will go or not.  That means backup Vernon Davis will be another excellent streamer this week, while Ryan Grant is the backup option in PPR formats for Crowder. 

-Matt Forte has been ruled out for Sunday by the New York Jets due to a knee injury and that means backup Bilal Powell and third-stringer Elijiah McGuire will split reps in Sunday's game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Powell is arguably the best backup running back in football and he can be a seriously good PPR back when he gets the carries as he should in this one.  Play him as a firm RB 2.

-Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walkeri s once again listed as questionable with an ankle injury but the fact he got some work in on Friday means he will likely be out there.  Already one of the more underrated tight ends in the game, Walker is in the TE 1 mode this week. 


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL THURSDAY WRAPUP: SEAHAWKS/CARDINALS

Boy was that ugly.  In between a ridiculous amount of penalties, the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks played a putrid game that included some massive injuries that included a torn ACL for star CB Richard Sherman.  Let's get to all the carnage/fantasy football news that came out of this slopfest. 

-Russell Wilson was under siege for most of the game as the Seattle offensive line struggled yet again but he still managed two more touchdown passes as part of his 22-of-32 day for 238 yards.  Wilson also rushed for 19 yards on 5 carries and didn't turn it over which made for another very good day at the fantasy football office.  While I have been slow to embrace Wilson in the past, there is no denying his bona fides as a weekly top five fantasy football QB.

On the other side, Drew Stanton was not horrible as he threw for one score and 273 yards overall.  A good chunk of the yardage did come during garbage time though but it still counts.  Be that as it ma, John Brown and J.J. Nelson should be dropped in all formats as only Larry Fitzgerald seems a viable receiving option with Stanton under center. 

-Adrian Peterson had a rough matchup coming in against the very stout Seattle run defense and he predictably fell on his face in rushing for just 29 yards on 21 carries and losing a fumble.  Peterson did add one catch but he was a complete bomb after a big performance a week ago.  The workload figures to remain very high with Stanton at QB though so Peterson will retain QB 2 value on that aspect alone. 

Meanwhile Thomas Rawls was typically terrible himself with just 27 yards on 10 carries, while adding two catches for another 12 yards.  The Seahawks really need to take a long look at J.D. McKissic who has Jamaal Charles explosion and who picked up 26 yards on just 5 carries.  With c.J. Prosise also injuring his OTHER ankle, the time is now for a move on McKissic. 

-Larry Fitzgerald is a QB's dream and that goes for an average one like Stanton in that he serves as a classic safety net/outlet.  Stanton zeroed in on Fitz from the start and he completed 10 passes for 113 yards to the ageless wonder.  In PPR formats Fitzgerald remains very potent but in standard, he goes down to WR 3 range.  The only other weapon was tight end Jermaine Gresham who caught five balls for 64 yards and on score.  You can do better. 

On the other side, we are seeing the New Orleans Saints version of tight end Jimmy Graham the last few weeks as he is simply impossible to defend in the red zone as he showed Thursday night by catching 6 balls for 27 yards and two scores.  Graham is as healthy as he has been in years and is ranking right up there with Zach Ertz as supreme values considering how their draft prices dropped this past summer.

In addition, Doug Baldwin did his thing to the tune of 5 catches for 95 yards which included a ridiculous circus-like catch from a scrambling Wilson.  It needs to be seen by all. 


Thursday, November 9, 2017

2017 FANTASY SPORTS BOSS FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM CRASHING AND BURNING

What a difference a month makes.  A 4-0 start for yours truly in the Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Football PPR Experts League has now devolved into a 5-4 struggle which coincided with losing QB Aaron Rodgers likely for the year with a broken collarbone.  Losing four out of five is enough to test the patience of any owner but the beats have been severe and frustrating as well due to other injuries/underperformance. 

Since the last time I updated you on my team (which was 4-2 at the time), I have made a series of moves to try and hold the fort for the stretch run.  Now taking a top two seed (and a first round playoff bye) is pretty much over and instead I am focusing on just getting into the top six (I have one more win than the first team that is currently out of the playoffs).  Prior to my last post on my team, I was riding Ben Roethlisberger as my QB stoppage after dealing away Ty Montgomery the day Rodgers got hurt.  Well since then I have traded Big Ben, Jeremy Maclin, and Chris Hogan (prior to getting hurt) in a deal for Sterling Shepard and Matt Ryan in buying low on Ryan who has excellent playoff week matchups and Shepard who is now the top wideout in NY for the Giants.  In addition, I traded Packers running back Aaron Jones straight up for wideout Keenan Allen (before Jones laid an egg in Week 9) and also flipped Mark Ingram straight up for Dez Bryant.  So my once very weak wideout corps (led by the brutal off-year of Mike Evans) now has Bryant, Evans, Allen, and Sheppard which works nicely.  Also Ryan played well last week and still has nice weapons around him.  Of course my running back depth has been depleted after dealing away Ingram and Jones and so I have to go with Orleans Darkwa this week who has an excellent matchup versus the San Francisco 49ers who have given up the most points to back this season. 

As far as the rest of my roster, Zach Ertz missing last week with injury really screwed me bad and replacement Austin Hooper has been nothing special.  I did pick up Danny Woodhead off waivers with an eye toward Week 11 in this PPR format and also have the upside of Marlon Mack and wideout Corey Davis on my bench.  All could be factors before too long.  Finally, I dumped the Denver Broncos defense which has been a huge bust and picked up Detroit who has a series of great matchups on tap going forward.  So this is what my taking on water 5-4 team has now.

QB-Matt Ryan
WR-Dez Bryant
WR-Mike Evans
WR-Keenan Allen
RB-Le'Veon Bell
RB-Orleans Darkwa
TE-Zach Ertz
K-Harrison Butker
DEF-Detroit

BENCH
Chris Boswell (using this week)
Corey Davis
Danny Woodhead
Marlon Mack
Terrance Williams (insurance for Dez injury)
Austin Hooper (using this week)


It has been a struggle but I think I can make it into the playoffs and it is always a new game from that point onward.  How do you think I am shaping up right now?  Honest answers please. 


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 ISSUES: BIG NAME WIDEOUTS HURTING

Week 10 is upon us as the Seattle Seahawks get set to take on the Arizona Cardinals Thursday night but ongoing bye weeks and some notable injury question marks circling the top-end of the wide receiver hierarchy has many rosters in a state of flux as the playoff push begins.  Let's get to the latest:

Julio Jones:  Once again Atlanta Falcons ace wideout Julio Jones is a walking medical dictionary and like Ryan Braun in fantasy baseball, he is constantly in an injury-marred fog on a weekly basis.  This time around Jones is dealing with what is believed to be a dreaded high ankle sprain that kept him from practicing Wednesday.  Jones is no stranger to missing practice in his career as he seemingly deals with foot/leg ailments from the start of the year to the finish and his maddening lack of touchdowns further make owning him stressful.  While Jones is expected to suit up Sunday versus the Dallas Cowboys, the fact he is hobbled once again as the stretch run begins is very disconcerting.  It is always something with the guy who is beginning to take on a whiff of being overrated given the lack of scores and constant injury worries.

Dez Bryant:  Opposing Jones for Sunday's Falcons-Cowboys game is Dez Bryant who himself is dealing with his own high ankle sprain.  Bryant also did not practice on Wednesday but he said after Week 9's game that the injury was not serious and that he would play Week 10.  We are a bit more worried about Bryant's status for Sunday then we are for Jones given his inability to play through some injuries in the past but at least for now the consensus is that he will be out there in an expected shootout.  At the very least, Terrance Williams needs to be added everywhere given the fact the speedster can perform like a WR 1 if Bryant sits out.

Chris Hogan:  Don't count on seeing New England Patriots wideout Chris Hogan on Sunday as he is still in a sling from the shoulder injury he suffered back in Week 8.  Hogan has been beat up a bit as he endures his first season as a starting wideout but it looks like Week 11 will have to be the next possible return date.  Meanwhile Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola will see an uptick in receptions from QB Tom Brady this week. 



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 10 QB RANKINGS

Here are the fantasy football Week 10 QB rankings based on opposing matchups.

1.  Matthew Stafford
2.  Dak Prescott
3.  Tom Brady
4.  Russell Wilson
5.  Drew Brees
6.  Cam Newton
7.  Ben Roethlisberger
8.  Jared Goff
9.  Matt Ryan
10. Tyrod Taylor
11. Marcus Mariota
12. Josh McCown
13. Jay Cutler
14. Kirk Cousins
15. Andy Dalton
16. Ryan Fitzpatrick
17. Philip Rivers
18. Case Keenum
19. Eli Manning
20. Blake Bortles
21. Jacoby Brissett
22. Brett Hundley
23. Brock Osweiler
24. Tom Savage
25. Drew Stanton
26. Mitch Trubisky
27. DeShon Kizer
28. C.J. Beathard


THE FANTASY SPORTS BOSS 2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE EARLY EDITION NOW ON SALE FOR $22.99

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2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: EVAN ENGRAM ALREADY PROVING TO BE TOP TIGHT END IN 2017 CLASS

Leading up to and during the 2017 NFL Draft, it was widely considered that Alabama tight end O.J. Howard was the top player at his position and even a top ten prospect overall as pundits talked up his insane athletic gifts and developing receiving ability.   Once Howard went off the board early, these same pundits were in agreement that Miami's David Njoku was the next tight end that should hear his name called.  Third would be Ole Miss' Evan Engram and this was the order that was seen virtually everywhere in the draft guru world.  As it turned out, however, the New York Giants had their own order and they went with Engram over Njoku during the first round this past May which caused some to question the selection.  The Giants instead talked up how Engram was a wide receiver in a tight end's body and how he would become an instant nightmare for opposing defenses.  

Fast forward to present day and the Giants have in Engram by far the most productive rookie tight end in the game and his numbers dwarf those of both Howard and Njoku from the receiving standpoint.  Engram has been every bit the nightmare for opposing defenses as his bit speed and frame have made him an impossible cover and he goes into Sunday's game with 34 receptions for 412 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Count on the targets to continue being of the very high variety due to the fact the Giants have nobody left to catch the football after losing Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall to season-ending injuries and so Engram and wideout Sterling Shepard are going to get 80 percent of the Eli Manning throws the rest of the way.  Engram certainly seems up to the task and he is already giving off the vibe of a tight end who could snare 90 passes real soon.  This is one stock that is moving up sharply and in 2018 fantasy football drafts, Engram should be in the Greg Olsen-Travis Kelce conversation as the next tight end off the board once Rob Gronkowski gets tabbed.  


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: CLAYTON KERSHAW SP LOS ANGELES DODGERS

For the first time in a very long while, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is no longer the consensus number 1 pitcher in fantasy baseball.  While on raw stuff alone Kershaw has almost no peer, the blockbuster 2017 campaign of the Boston Red Sox' Chris Sale and the continued excellence of Max Scherzer has at least made it a debate about which pitcher should come off the board first in drafts this spring.  What has turned this into a talking point in regards to Kershaw is the fact that he has become somewhat of an injury risk after two straight years of back trouble that led to extended DL stints.  Last season Kersahw missed a month-and-a-half with a back strain and that kept him to just 175 innings which was not the haul his fantasy baseball owners anticipated after spending a first round pick on the Dodgers lefty.  While the ratios were still dominant (2.31 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 10.39 K/9), Kershaw is leaking a bit of air in the statistical tires.  Perhaps most concerning is the fact Kershaw's average fastball velocity declined for the third straight year, going from 94.3 in 2015 down to 93.1 a year ago.  In a possibly related development, Kershaw posted a career-worst 1.18 HR/9 last season as opposing batters got better swings on him then ever before.  This may seem like nitpicking at the highest level given the annually ridiculous numbers Kershaw supplies but at the very least the increasing health problems should knock Kershaw out of the first round for the first time in awhile.  Back problems tend to become chronic and we are now two seasons and counting with flare-ups there for Kershaw.  Throw in the decline in velocity and Kershaw is no longer the flawless monster he was prior to 2016.
2018 PROJECTION:  18-5 2.51 ERA 0.99 WHIP 225 K  
Clayton Kershaw:  For the first time in a very long while, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is no longer the consensus number 1 pitcher in fantasy baseball.  While on raw stuff alone Kershaw has almost no peer, the blockbuster 2017 campaign of the Boston Red Sox' Chris Sale and the continued excellence of Max Scherzer has at least made it a debate about which pitcher should come off the board first in drafts this spring.  What has turned this into a talking point in regards to Kershaw is the fact that he has become somewhat of an injury risk after two straight years of back trouble that led to extended DL stints.  Last season Kersahw missed a month-and-a-half with a back strain and that kept him to just 175 innings which was not the haul his fantasy baseball owners anticipated after spending a first round pick on the Dodgers lefty.  While the ratios were still dominant (2.31 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 10.39 K/9), Kershaw is leaking a bit of air in the statistical tires.  Perhaps most concerning is the fact Kershaw's average fastball velocity declined for the third straight year, going from 94.3 in 2015 down to 93.1 a year ago.  In a possibly related development, Kershaw posted a career-worst 1.18 HR/9 last season as opposing batters got better swings on him then ever before.  This may seem like nitpicking at the highest level given the annually ridiculous numbers Kershaw supplies but at the very least the increasing health problems should knock Kershaw out of the first round for the first time in awhile.  Back problems tend to become chronic and we are now two seasons and counting with flare-ups there for Kershaw.  Throw in the decline in velocity and Kershaw is no longer the flawless monster he was prior to 2016.
2018 PROJECTION:  18-5 2.51 ERA 0.99 WHIP 225 K  

Alex Wood:  Long a favorite sleeper recommendation in these pages, it finally appears as though Alex Wood has fully unleashed the talents that made him such a talked about commodity while he coming up the Atlanta Braves system.  While the Wood flashed ace-level stuff during his early years with the Braves; injuries and a rough start to the 2015 season resulted in a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers midway through the year.  Once out West, Wood began to set the stage for what became a truly monster 2017 performance.  Flashing pinpoint control to go with a moving fastball, Wood posted a 2.72 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and won 16 games in just 152.1 innings.  Having not even been drafted in some leagues the previous spring, Wood became a blockbuster value play who pitched like an ace on a per start basis.  The numbers simply don't lie here as Wood has combined his terrific control (2.25 BB/9) with deceptively good strikeout ability (K/9 rates of 9.85 and 8.92 the last two years).  While Wood still has issues staying healthy (a long bout with shoulder trouble last season needs to be watched somewhat closely), the fact of the matter is that this is an SP 2 talent who doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
2018 PROJECTION:  15-6 3.35 ERA 1.10 WHIP 180 K  

Max Scherzer:  Already with two Cy Young Awards under his belt, it can be argued that Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer had his best season ever in 2017 as he established new career-bests in ERA (2.51), WHIP (0.90), and K/9 rate (12.02).  Simply put, there is not a better or more consistent strikeout artist in all of fantasy baseball as Scherzer has now logged six straight seasons of 230-plus K's; with the last 3 coming in over 260.  Those are crazy numbers to say the least and with an average fastball velocity holding steady at 94.3, Scherzer should once again post a silly number there again in 2018.  What really thrust Scherzer to stardom a number of years back was become a stellar control pitcher after some early years of struggle there and with stuff that is as hard to hit as anyone in baseball, opposing hitters have almost no chance against the guy.  About the only negatives we can discuss here were the injuries that cropped up during the course of last season.  It began with the fractured finger in spring training that turned out to be a non-issue but then morphed into an August DL stint for a neck problem.  Then during his final start of the year, Scherzer walked off early with a hamstring cramp.  While none of those ailments were overly serious in the long run, we do have to acknowledge the fact that Scherzer will turn 34 in July and that he has thrown a massive amount of innings the last five years.
2018 PROJECTION:  19-8 2.67 ERA 0.98 WHIP 248 K  

Gio Gonzalez:  For those who remain skeptics of the usefulness of advanced statistics, be sure to take a look at the last two years of numbers from Washington Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez.  In 2016 Gonzalez was a pariah in fantasy baseball as he posted a horrid 4.57 ERA but in actuality didn't pitch as bad as the surface numbers would indicate as he suffered from a very unlucky .316 BABIP.  Gonzalez' adjusted FIP (3.76) and XFIP (3.80) ERA's in fact showed a pitcher who was pretty good when you dug deeper.  Then in 2017, Gonzalez was a fantasy baseball darling again as he logged a dominant 2.96 ERA but in fact received a lot of help due to a lucky .258 BABIP.  Again when adjusted for the luck, Gio's FIP (3.93) and XFIP (4.24) ERA's were much worse.  Driving this point home even more was the fact that Gonzalez' K/9 (8.68/8.42) and HR/9 (0.96/0.94) rates were nearly identical the last two seasons respectively despite the wildly differing ERA's.  So when it comes to 2018 fantasy baseball, Gonzalez should be projected right down the middle from his numbers the last two years and that would make him a solid SP 4 candidate on a team that will help line up wins.  While Gonzalez has always walked too many batters, he remains a decent strikeout guy who carries good durability.
2018 PROJECTION:  14-10 3.78 ERA 1.29 WHIP 179 K 

Corey Kluber:  If the month of April was removed from the MLB calendar, then Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber would never give up a run.  While that is overstating things a bit, the fact of the matter is that Kluber has cemented his reputation as arguably the most dominant second-half pitcher in the game.  For his career, Kluber's ERA in April is a very shaky 4.04 but then that number drops to the following for the remaining 5 months:
May:  3.66
June:  2.74
July:   2.52
Aug.:  2.77
Sept.:  3.35

Clearly Kluber does his best work as the weather heats up and his strikeout ability is already off-the-charts as 2017 was the fourth straight year the righty reached the 220 K mark.  What is interesting is that Kluber doesn't always get included in the discussion of who the best pitchers in baseball are but he absolutely deserves a seat at the table.  2017 was arguably Kluber's best work as he posted career-bests both in ERA (2.25), WHIP (0.87), and K/9 (11.71).  Other than missing some time in May with a back strain, Kluber was as dominant as any pitcher in baseball.  While Kluber has leaked some fastball velocity (four straight years of decline and counting), he front a rotation on one of the best teams in baseball which mean plentiful wins to go with the splendid ratios/K's.  If you choose to use an early pick on a pitcher, this is a great place to start.
2018 PROJECTION:  19-7 2.73 ERA 0.95 WHIP 235 K 

Carlos Martinez:  For the third season in a row in 2017, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez' hard-throwing approach resulted in quiet ace-like numbers for both the team and his fantasy baseball owners.  While Martinez gets overlooked a bit when it comes to identifying the SP's 1 around the game, the numbers are clear evidence the righty has potent stuff to front a fantasy baseball staff.  A few themes have emerged with Martinez since he became a firm part of the Cardinals rotation in 2014 and they mostly center on his high-K/poor control approach that is equally exciting/frustrating.  On the strikeout front, Martinez was never better in 2017 as his 9.53 K/9 was a new career-high and it result was a trip to the 200-K plateau for the first time (217 in 205 IP).  On the flip side, the massive movement on Martinez's stuff continued to result in a high number of walks, with last season marking the fourth year in a row where the BB/9 rate went over 3.00 (3.12).  With a composite ERA of 3.64 and WHIP of 1.22, Martinez was a big asset to his owners no matter how many walks he gave up.  One last thing to note here as well is the significant fact that Martinez had no shoulder flare-ups during the year which was not the case both in 2015 and 2016.  Given the fears of any shoulder injury for a pitcher, no further trouble there allows one to feel much more comfortable investing in Martinez for 2018.
2018 PROJECTION:  15-8 3.50 ERA 1.22 WHIP 205 K  

Jake Arrieta:  Some serious red flags abounded all over the Chicago Cubs starting pitching staff entering into the 2017 season given the massive workloads that were accumulated the year prior as the team won the World Series.  Included in that grouping was former consensus top five ace Jake Arrieta who in 2015 engineered one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory (1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 236 K).  Unfortunately Arrieta has been a steady decline since then and his past as an injury-prone hurler are becoming a topic of conversation again.  The best place to start with Arrieta concerns a leaking velocity; a potentially big problem for any pitcher.  In Arrieta's case, he has now lost velocity on his fastball for three straight seasons; going from 94.9 in 2015 all the way down to 92.6 a year ago.  That is a big drop and is a prime reason Arrieta's K/9 has moved from above the 9.00 mark to the mid-8.00 range.  Also likely related to the velocity drop is the fact Arrieta is giving up home runs at a rate never seen before in his career (1.23 in 2017) and we all know how much of a potential problem that is for any starter.  Finally we have the injuries and last season was a bad one on that front as Arrieta hit the DL on two occasions (the first for shoulder trouble and the second for a hand ailment).  Remember that the Baltimore Orioles gave up on Arrieta due to his rampant injury problems and the fact that is becoming an issue again is a bad omen moving forward.  So while Arrieta did finish strong in 2017 (ultimately posting a solid 3.53 ERA), this is a shell of the ace pitcher who put himself on a pedestal just a few years ago.  You get the overwhelming feeling when evaluating Arrieta that more trouble is on the horizon and so avoiding an investment here looks like a good idea.
2018 PROJECTION:  14-8 3.44 ERA 1.17 WHIP 175 K  

Aaron Nola:  Finally!  Allow us to bask in the glory that was Aaron Nola's pitching performance during the course of the 2017; a year where the Philadelphia Phillies righty showed why our staff had such undying faith in the guy's talent.  Having started hyping Nola back in 2015, we wound up eating a bunch of crow and hearing more than a little criticism for tabbing him as a must have sleeper prior to the 2016 season.  The result was Nola producing a truly horrendous year that included a 4.78 ERA and our inbox filling up with nasty comments.  Despite all that, we went right back to the well on Nola for 2017 in arguing that it was his elbow injury the year prior that derailed things more than the stuff itself.  Fast forward six months and there is no arguing that Nola made us look very smart as big-time numbers flowed from all direction.  The strikeout ability that was always burgeoning under the surface exploded for Nola as he registered a potent 9.86 K/9 (184 K in 168 IP) and the control was spot on (2.63 BB/9) which was the holy grail daily double young pitchers needs to aspire to.  Even more exciting was the fact Nola's .309 BABIP was a bit unlucky and so his adjusted ERA's came in even lower.  Still just 24, Nola has future fantasy baseball ace written all over him and so you need to take our advice again to do whatever you can to make sure the guy is on your team this spring.
2018 PROJECTION:  16-8 3.26 ERA 1.19 WHIP 189 K  

Mike Clevinger:  Everything went right for the Cleveland Indians during the course of the 2017 regular season and getting contributions from unexpected sources is always part of such a development.  The Indians certainly got that on the pitching front in the form of righty prospect Mike Clevinger who came up in May and pitched to a 3.11 ERA and won 12 games in 21 starts.  While Clevinger went back to the minors for a bit during the summer, he continued to pitch well when called back up down the stretch of the season which speaks highly to the confidence level here.  Of course it took to the age of 26 for Clevinger to carve a consistent spot for himself in the majors due to the fact he has struggled terribly with control.  Even with the Indians last season, Clevinger's 4.44 BB/9 was a joke but he made up for it with a darting fastball that resulted in 137 strikeouts in just 121.2 innings.  It is likely that the Indians have seen enough positives from Clevinger last season to hold a rotation spot for him in 2018 but this is something to watch out for in spring training.  Ultimately we would be more comfortable owning Clevinger in Al-only formats as the guy still to show the walks and likely adjustments hitters will make for the coming season won't conspire to make 2017 one big fluke.
2018 PROJECTION:  12-9 4.10 ERA 1.32 WHIP 170 K

Marcus Stroman:  After having virtually the entire 2016 season taken away from him due to a spring training 

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL MONDAY WRAPUP: LIONS/PACKERS

Matthew Stafford remains in the midst of a big season, while the Green Bay skills players continue their path to irrelevancy with Aaron Rodgers remaining out.  Let's get to all the latest fantasy football news and notes emanating from the game. 

-Speaking of Stafford, the guy is phenomenal and continues to serve as one of the best QB value play investments on a yearly basis.  Last night he completed 26-of-33 for 361 yards with 2 TD and a third rushing score.  With the Lions running game remaining non-existent, Stafford will have to keep slinging it all the way through the fantasy football playoffs.

On the other side, we can concretely say that Packers QB Brett Hundley can't play as he was simply abysmal yet again in completing 26-of-38 throws for 245 yards with zero touchdowns.  Yes Hundley added a rushing score but he is right there as one of the worst fantasy football starting QB's in the game and Mike McCarthy might even be thinking of making some sort of change moving forward.  Those who are holding onto hope that Rodgers will return are seeming that fleeting chance grow more dim as the team won't bring him back if there is zero shot at the postseason which seems to be the case here.

-So who is the starting running back in Green Bay NOW?  Ty Montgomery?  Aaron Jones?  Edgar Bennett?  Just when it looked like the rookie Jones was about to take off, he throws in a complete dud (5 carries for 12 yards) and saw Montgomery go for 33 yards on 5 carries.  Montgomery looked fresh and completely over his previous injuries and so he could now be forcing a 50/50 split which is fantasy football death to both guys.  Can't anything ever go smoothly? 

The Lions themselves have major running problems as well, with Ameer Abdullah picking up a lousy 48 yards on 21 carries.  While he did score, Abdullah also lost a fumble and caught just one pass for 9 yards.  Theo Riddick remains a pain to Abdullah's owners as he caught four balls for 62 yards and thus is the back of choice when it comes to the passing game.  Both Riddick and Abdullah are nothing but RB 3's.

-Golden Tate looked spry in catching 7 balls for 113 yards but it was Marvin Jones who was the receiving man Monday night for the Lions as he hauled in 7 passes for 107 yards and two scores.  Jones is the guy that Stafford looks toward first in the red zone and that limits Tate to WR 2 status in PPR and WR 3 status in standards.  Also Eric Ebron (3 catches for 35 yards) remains nothing but an enigma. 

On the Packers' side, Jordy Nelson managed just four catches for 35 yards and has to be downgraded all the way to WR 3 status.  Nelson of course has been a TD monster over the years who made big plays down the field but Hundley is just not capable of reaching him in that capacity.  Davante Adams led the Packers with 7 catches for 53 yards (a bunch during garbage time) but he too is just in WR 3 territory. 


Monday, November 6, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL INJURY WATCH: BUC'S QB JAMEIS WINSTON DOWN AT LEAST TWO WEEKS, MORE BAD NEWS FOR DOUG MARTIN/MIKE EVANS

Clearly laboring the last few weeks with a shoulder injury, the news that Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jamies Winston will miss at least the next two games while recovering from the ailment is no shock to anyone who witnessed the sorry state of the team;s offense lately.  Winston's struggled have had a severe negative impact on top wideout Mike Evans and to a lesser extent fellow receiver DeSean Jackson and tight end Cameron Brate.  Both Evans and Brate caught just one pass in the team's loss to the New Orleans Saints this past Sunday and running back Doug Martin picked up all of 7 yards on 8 carries.  Martin is now going to face stacked 8 men in the box while Winston is out as backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick won't strike fear in any defense and good luck to Evans picking up meaningful numbers as well.  Anyone who owns stock in Evans knows how frustrating this recent stretch of games have been as his numbers are WAY off last years tremendous pace and now the Winston injury just compounds the matter.  Obviously, the word is out in the sorry state of the Bucs' offense and so you won't be getting equal value back in any prospective Evans trade.  The best course of action is to ride this out with Evans and Brate but Jackson owners need to send him to the bench. 


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL CRISIS POINT: A.J. GREEN WR CINCINNATI BENGALS

When the most noteworthy "contribution" made to a game was an ugly fight with an opposing player, such a player more than deserves a mention in the "Crisis Point" realm.  Such was the case for ace Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green on Sunday as he was ejected from the team's game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars after going all Mike Tyson on CB Jalen Ramsey.  It was an ugly enough situation that could net a suspension for Green for Week 10 and it came after he caught all of one ball for 6 yards in the game.  The no-show performance has continued a recent trend with Green who has not gone over 50 yards receiving in each of his last three games and the poor play of QB Andy Dalton is no doubt a longer-term issue that will likely continue to eat into the prospective numbers.  On talent alone obviously, Green is a top WR 1 in fantasy football but Dalton's struggles and the mess the entire offense is under are really knocking him down a peg or two.  A buy low is an intriguing move here but anticipate a one-game suspension coming here as the league won't stand for what Green did Sunday.  Overall I still think Green will be just fine but his status as a first round pick this past summer is not looking like such a good investment in hindsight.  


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 9 WRAPUP

-Think Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff has improved just a bit?  Wow was Goff insanely good on Sunday as he took full advantage of a decimated New York Giants defense to complete 14-of-22 throws for 311 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Goff has been tremendous in his sophomore NFL campaign and he is moving into every week starting status in even single-passer formats.  Believe in the kid.

-The already difficult season for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans continued and with added ugliness Sunday as he caught just one pass for 13 yards in the team's loss to the New Orleans Saints.  To make matters worse, Evans could be facing a possible suspension after he took a cheap shot at Marshon Lattimore.  With QB Jameis Winston at less than 100 percent, Evans is looking incredibly shaky right now in fantasy football despite going as a mid-first round pick this summer.

-Alshon Jeffery has overall been disappointing for his fantasy football owners for the majority of 2017 but Week 9 was a rare big day for the deep threat as he caught 6 balls for 84 yards and two scores as the Philadelphia Eagles did a number on the Denver Broncos defense.  Jeffery seems much more in tune with QB Carson Wentz the last two weeks and it came at the expense of Nelson Agholor who was Wentz' main target the first few games of the season.  This is one stock moving upward.

-Going along for the ride in the massive offensive performance by the Eagles Sunday was the unheralded Corey Clement who rushed 12 times for 51 yards and a score, while also adding a second score on his only catch for 15 yards.  So now what we have here is a very crowded Eagles backfield that contains Clement, LeGarrette Blount and the newly acquired Jay Ajayi. In fact the Ajayi acquisition seems puzzling given how Clement was a favorite of the coaching staff.

-Speaking of Ajayi, he only got 8 carries in his debut with the Eagles but turned them into 77 yards and a touchdown.  Unfortunately Ajayi's upside doesn't look great on an Eagles team that has a hew toy in Corey Clement and remaining big back LeGarrette Blount.  All three are RB 2's.

-Jacoby Brissett has really done a nice job for the Indianapolis Colts since coming over from the New England Patriots via trade.  Brissett threw for two touchdowns Sunday in completing 20-of-38 throws for 308 yards in the team's win over the Houston Texans.  Brissett has played well enough to be streamable going forward if your starter has a bye.

-Brock Osweiler didn't solve the ongoing QB woes for the Denver Broncos and that was no shock as he completed just 19-of-38 passes for 208 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT's.  Armed with one of the slowest releases in the game, Osweiler is pure garbage who is helping to drag down the fantasy football values of wideouts Demaryuis Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

-For the first time in 16 games, Thomas scored a touchdown as he caught 8 balls for 70 yards and the score for the Broncos Sunday.  A lot hat production was in garbage time as the Broncos were destroyed by the Eagles and his overall value continues to get destroyed by the awful team's QB play.

-New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees was his usual efficient self as he completed 22-of-27 throws for 263 yards with 2 scores Sunday in the team's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Nothing new here as Brees remains on top of his game and right there as the best fantasy football passer in the game.

-While he typically struggles on the road, it was a big road game performance by Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton who caught 5 passes for 175 yards and two scores Sunday.  It has been a typical hot-and-cold batch of games for Hilton this season but at least Jacoby Brissett is not a complete zero at QB for the Colts.

-Eagles QB Carson Wentz is the favorite for fantasy football MVP as he went crazy again Sunday in completing 15-of-27 throws for 199 yards and 4 touchdowns in the team's win over the Denver Broncos.  The only bummer for Wentz' owners is that he is on a bye in Week 10.

-Dak Prescott continues to show that he can be a consistent top tier fantasy football QB on Sunday as he completed 21-of-33 passes for 249 yards with 2 TD's, while adding a third rushing score on 3 carries for 27 yards.  Prescott is on some roll right now and is vastly outpacing his superb 2016 rookie numbers.  We are clearly past the time in saying that Prescott is completely legit as a star QB in this league.

-Rob Kelly only picked up 18 yards on 14 carries Sunday for the Washington Redskins but two of them went for scores which at least saved his day and reveals a major quirk of fantasy football.  Kelley on paper had a horrendous day doing his main job of running the football but got the two close scores which changes the whole scoring narrative. 

-For some strange reason, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is limiting the touches of prized rookie back Kareem Hunt and it is driving his fantasy football owners crazy.  Hunt carried the football just 9 times for 37 yards Sunday but did add four catches for another 24 yards to at least help those in PPR.  We wonder if Reid is trying to curb the workload a bit in order to keep Hunt fresh for December but that doesn't help his owners right now.

-Adrian Peterson rumbled for 159 yards on an insane 37 carries Sunday and even added two catches for another 8 yards as the Arizona Cardinals completely relied on him with Carson Palmer out.  Peterson still has some ability left in the tank but counting on him on a weekly basis might be pushing things some. 


Sunday, November 5, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 9 INJURY UPDATES

Some early Sunday injury updates to help shape your roster for Week 9.

STARTING

Jay Cutler, Jameis Winston, Rob Kelley, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Marquise Lee, Zach Ertz

-Cutler has a tremendous matchup versus the Oakland Raiders and so those in two-QB formats need to be all over this.  He also gets DeVante Parker back.  Winston meanwhile has been brutal of late and he goes against a resurgent New Orleans Saints defense.  Not the automatic start he was earlier in the season. 

Sanders and Ertz are both must-starts this week, while Kelley is only going to get a few carries as he continues to battle an ankle injury. 

OUT

Jamison Crowder

-We already talked about how Ryan Grant is a great start in PPR leagues this week since Richard Sherman will be on Josh Docston or Terrell Pryor and he will operate out of the slot.  

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 9 ISSUES: RYAN GRANT, CURTIS SAMUEL GOOD LATE PLAYS

Lots of chaos this week in fantasy football as we had an MLB-like trade deadline where big names relocated to new locales.  Injuries also are doing their weekly thing to stress out the fantasy football community as well.  With that said, here are two good plays for those who are scrambling a bit to fill wideout slots for Week 9. 

Ryan Grant:  Coming off a five-catch game, the Washington Redskins' Ryan Grant will move into the slot today now that Jamison Crowder is sitting out Sunday's game versus the Seattle Seahawks with a hamstring injury.  This is a decent spot for Grant as top Seahawks CB Richard Sherman will be on either Josh Docston or Terrell Pryor and QB Kirk Cousins has used quite a high number of check downs so far this season.  Those in PPR should be especially intrigued with Grant who also has two receiving scores this season.

Curtis Samuel:  Speed, speed, and more speed here as Samuel moves up a run on the Carolina Panthers' receiving hierarchy now that Kelvin Benjamin has been traded to the Buffalo Bills.  Samuel looks a bit like Tyreek Hill on Kansas City and that alone makes him intriguing.  The rookie from Ohio State can help both in the run and receiving game and QB Cam Newton could be throwing a lot in a shootout versus the Atlanta Falcons. 


Saturday, November 4, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL STATUS REPORT: LAMAR MILLER RB HOUSTON TEXANS

The shock and despair for those fantasy football owners of Houston Texans QB DeShaun Watson continues to hang in the air on Friday; fresh off the staggering news he would miss the remainder of the 2017 season with a torn ACL suffered in practice on Thursday.  The easy fallout centered on how wideouts DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller would see a sharp decrease in value with the awful Tom Savage under center but running back Lamar Miller is in trouble as well.  Last year's draft darling, Miller went bust for those who used a mid-first round pick on him last summer as a very heavy workload early in the season and constant 8-men in the box conspired to ruin his numbers (just a 4.0 per carry average, 5 rushing scores, 31 catches).  There was some optimism and buy low appeal for Miller this time around as his draft stock fell leading into the new season however as the workload was still expected to be potent but once again the results have not been good.  As we move toward Week 9, Miller is averaging an even worse 3.6 per carry compared to a year ago and has just 426 yards total on the ground.  Miller has seen an uptick in catches (18 for 194 yards) and a total of four scores is decent but now the going will be much tougher as 8-men in the box will return in earnest this week with Savage throwing passes and not Watson.  So if you do own stock in Miller, try and see what you could possibly get for him in trades.  While it may not be much, Miller looks like a big problem the rest of the season given the current QB setup.


Friday, November 3, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL ALL-INJURED TEAM

Halfway through the 2017 fantasy football season, the NFL has a big problem on their hands and it has nothing to do with protests.  Instead the league's stars are falling by the wayside with massive injuries and the NFL as a whole is stuck between a rock and a hard place since more legislation to protect them will soften up the game even more.  Flat out, the league is in trouble with everything that has gone on and the injuries are a big part of it.  So as per CBS Sports, just take a look at the All-Injury Team just halfway through the season.

QB
Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, DeShaun Watson

RB
David Johnson, Dalvin Cook, Spencer Ware

WR
Odell Beckham Jr., Julian Edelman, Allen Robinson, Quincy Enunwa, Cameron Meredith

TE
Greg Olsen, Charles Clay, C.J. Fiedorowicz

OT
Joe Thomas, Jason Peters, Taylor Decker, Zack Strief, Joe Staley

OG
Marshal Yanda, Mike Iupati, Jack Mewhort, Larry Wardorf, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

C
Ryan Khalil

DEFENSIVE LINE
J.J. Watt, Stephon Tuitt, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Jonathan Allen, Cliff Avril, Shariff Floyd

LB
Dont'a Hightower, Markus Golden, Jordan Hicks, Jerell Freeman, Whitney Mercilus, Tamba Hali, Denzel Perryman

CB
Stephen Gilmore, Jason Verrett, Ronald Darby, Tavon Young, Delvin Breaux, Deshawn Shead

S
Eric Berry, Jimmie Ward, Malik Hooker, Quintin Demps

This is a truly staggering list and underscores how bad the situation is.  Yes there will always be injuries but wow look at the star power here.  

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL BREAKING NEWS: EZEKIEL ELLIOTT PLAYING WEEK 9 AFTER BEING GRANTED MOTION

On and on it goes for Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott who will now play Week 9 after being granted a motion stay of his six-game suspension.  The whole situation is becoming a big joke for the NFL and the fantasy football community as Elliott continues to skate the suspension with endless appeals and stays.  The league as a whole is in trouble with the protests and declining ratings and the never-ending Elliott saga is just piled on top of the mess.  While those who own fantasy football stock in Elliott are overjoyed, the fact this continued to go on is ridiculous.  Bench Alfred Morris yet again. 


2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL THURSDAY WRAPUP: JETS/BILLS

Hope you took new Buffalo Bills wideout Kelvin Benjamin out of the lineup before kickoff as the recent acquisition surprisingly was a healthy scratch for the Thursday night game versus the New York Jets.  With that said, here are the fantasy football-worthy numbers to come out of the game.

-While he only threw for 140 yards (14-of-20), Jets QB Josh McCown kept on going with the scores as he rushed for a TD and tossed another.  McCown has been terrific in pretty much every start this season and we amazingly have reached a point where he is an every week start and even in single passer leagues.  Those who just lost DeShaun Watson should have McCown at the top of your replacement list.

Also on the potential Watson replacement list would be Bills QB Tyrod Taylor who is in the midst of his own career-year.  Even without new toy Benjamin, Taylor completed 29-of-40 passes for 285 yards with 2 TD and also rushed for 35 yards and another score.  Despite being under siege from the Jets pass rush all game, Taylor was tremendous and it continues the pattern of quietly very good week-to-week outings this season.  Taylor has always had the big arm and athleticism but not the accuracy.  That has not been the case the season and he too should be under the every-week-starting tier. 

-I guess Matt Forte lit a fire under his own behind after popping off in the media this past week about the Jets' game plan in Week 8.  After being talked to by coach Todd Bowles, Forte made the most of his 14 carries Thursday by rushing for 77 yards and two scores, while also adding 4 catches for 19 more yards.  As Tony Romo said during the CBS broadcast, Forte still has some "juice" left to him.  The problem is that Bilal Powell (9 carries for 74) yards remains to take a bunch of work away.  That leaves Forte as barely worth RB 2 value in PPR leagues only. 

 On the other side, a rare off game by Bills running back LeSean McCoy put his owners in an early week hole as he rushed for just 25 yards on 12 carries and amazingly didn't catch a single pass.  You couldn't draw it up any worse for McCoy's owners who literally got nothing out of him after he went wild the previous month.  Ahhh fantasy football.

-The Jets really have something with Robby Anderson as the undrafted Temple speedster scored yet again as part of his 4 catches for 48 yard day.  Feel free to drop Jermaine Kearse (2 catches for 38 yards) as he has been completely passed by Anderson in the Jets' receiving hierarchy.  Meanwhile tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a TD taken away when he pushed off and overall had just 2 catches for 20 yards. 

-With Benjamin out of the game, it was Deonte Thompson who was the receiving star of the game for the Bills as he caught 7 balls for 83 yards.  Of course it took Zay Jones getting injured for Thompson to get those additional looks but it was still a nice game.  Don't go crazy picking him up however since Benjamin will be back next week to take the number 1 wideout spot. 

-So that Buffalo defense that was performing so well all season got absolutely destroyed last night.  In the Experts League I am starting at a -4 for the night as the Bills for some reason could not get a hold of the Jets attack.  Again one of those fantasy football things I guess.