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2014:Random thoughts: Fantasy uncertainty – FA Week 3

All these situations are very fluid as you all know.  Between, the remaining FA, trades and the Draft, things can change in an instant, weakness become strengths.   However, at this point, this is how we see it…


Who is catching passes in Carolina?   Beats me.  Beats the Panthers.  As of press time today, the biggest FA that has been signed is Jericho Cotchery.  Let that sink in.   Brandon LaFell is in New England.  Steve Smith has been jettisoned and is now in Balitmore.  Ted Ginn, who had a resurgence last year with the team, was left to test the market and landed in Arizona.   Now I am sure there is some sort of contingency plan in Carolina, but legitimate options are getting slim.  How is Jason Avant not on speed dial?  I mean, fantasy implications aside, he is one of the best slot WR’s in the league and could be a great addition and safety blanket for Cam.  Sidney Rice?  Miles Austin?  Trade for DeSean Jackson?

With Miles Austin still on the FA market and set to not return, look for Terrance Williams to have an increased role.  The salary cap is tight in Dallas.  Only WR’s willing to accept the veteran minimum are options here.

The #2 receiver role in Cleveland, KC, NYJ, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville are still very much up in the air.  In Pittsburgh, Markus Wheaton could be the man to replace Emmanuel Sanders.  Mike Brown might be the guy in Jacksonville with Justin Blackmon suspended indefinitely.  Jeremey Kerley is looking like the #2 WR on the Jets with Stephan Hill in the doghouse.  Greg Little and Donnie Avery are not going to cut as #2’s  in Cleveland and KC respectively.  I could easily see all of these teams drafting at least one WR in a deep WR draft.

Where is DeSean Jackson going to end up?  According to ESPN’s Sal Palantonio, “Jackson’s act has worn thing with Chip Kelly”  A big cap number presents an interesting situation in the city of brotherly love.  If I am Carolina, the Jets, KC or Oakland, I am definitely asking about this guy.

Since the draft is so deep at WR this year,  I  could see some of the older veteran WR’s being signed after the draft.   It would be prudent for teams to try and address needs via the draft and fill in the holes afterwards.   This not only financially beneficial, but it keeps the team young and, in most cases, they retain the rookies rights longer.


Chris Johnson- He is being paid way more than his production is worth and is on the trade block.  I don’t think anything happens until after the draft.  I know that fantasy players don’t want to hear this, but I think he will be most effective in a time share situation regardless of where he goes.

Latavious Murray – I really can’t believe that McFadden came back to the Raiders.  He took a very modest one year deal.   He has to prove he can stay healthy.   If Murray can impress in training camp, he could secure the #2 RB role in Oakland and be a very valuable handcuff moving forward.  That, however, is a long ways off.

Maurice Jones Drew- MJD wants more money than the market is willing to bare at this point.  I  have read that he wants 3.5 mill. a year.   I still think he can be an effective player.  Like most players at this point in their career, his situation will have a greater bearing on his value than his skill level.

Giants RB situation – Well, this is an interesting mishmash of players.  Rashad Jennings was signed in FA, played well for the Raiders down the stretch last year, but has been nondescript for much of his career. The Giants still have David Wilson  who is coming off of neck surgery his value and career is up in the air. They also resigned Peyton Hillis. Picking up another RB in the draft would not surprise me at all.   Training camp will be needed to sort this mess out.

Jags back up? – This situation really surprised me.  I did not see Toby Gerhart going there.  As of now Jordan Toddman and Denard Robinson are the top backups.   I cant see the Jags going to the season with such shallow depth.  keep and eye here for opportunity.

Muddled in Phily? – McCoy, the newly traded for Sproles, Chris Polk and Bryce Brown combine for a muddled situation in Phily.  McCoy is one of the best players in the league, but i can see Sproles cutting into some of McCoy’s touches. The back up situation is anyones guess at this point.  If McCoy was to go down, his back up, at this point, is non-defined.  McCoy is still the man, but with four quality backs, his touches could be curtailed.  Good news for McCoy’s career and bad news for fantasy owners.

Back ups in Chicago and in Minnesota – Both teams have top-level starters and both teams have let their back-ups go.  These are handcuff situations to monitor.  Dynasty leagues wise, I would pay attention to what both do in the draft here.

Stefan Taylor Vs Jonathan Dwyer – Who is the power back that replaces Rashard Mendenhall who retired this off season?  These are the two candidates.  Keep taps on this situation throughout the offseason as the winner could garner 10-15 touches once the season picks up.


Cleveland – After missing out on Matt Schaub, the Browns seems destine to be drafting a QB early.  Brian Hoyer is the only legitimate QB on the roster.  He played well for the few games he was in last year, but is coming off of a torn ACL.   I could really see them brining in another vet at some point to help fortify a questionable position.

Jacksonville – Believe it or not, there are several scenarios where the Jaguars don’t draft a QB in the first round.  Chad Henne is not a world beater, we know this. The Jaguars brass knows this and will not reach for a QB when the team still has needs all over the place.  Henne is adequate enough for the WR’s of Jacksonville to be draftable at this point in the offseason.


2013 – Week 6 Waiver Add/Drop

2 weeks ago we recommended this WR Terrance Williams and RB Andre Ellington.  (and for the record Jeremy Kerley as well). We saw the trends – hopefully you did too.  Both players move up on the priority list and  are shorter term adds as described below, but they can help you get through the bye weeks.

As always what we’ll do here is make recommendations on 3 levels. Level 1 guys are so obvious that they were either drafted in your league on draft day already, or you will have to fight with other owners over them on the wire. Level 2 guys are decent risks that may not always pan out, but more of them may be available in your league to serve your purposes.  And finally level 3 guys are more of the longshot homerun guys – but if your need is great, or if you play in a deep league – these might be the only guys you have a chance at….

Level 1

TE Garret Graham– Owen Daniels is out for 4 to 6 weeks with a broken leg.  Even with Daniels in there he was a borderline “get.”  Now he is a top tier get.  Yes, the QB situation could be in flux with Houston, but with daniels out, Graham becomes the defacto #2 target behind Andre Johnson.

QB Nick Foles – Yep, I’m advising the add of a guy that hasn’t won a job yet.  Chip Kelly can give all the endorsements to Michael Vick he wants, but the simple truth is, if Vick doesn’t go this weekend – and Foles plays well – consider the possibility that the Eagles starting QB is on your league’s waiver wire right now.  But, but – Nick Foles isn’t the same player as Vick they won’t tie themselves to him longer than the injury to Vick?  Won’t they?  Can Chip Kelly not adapt if Foles proves a better play to win?   Will Vick struggle with injuries all year?  All I know is this – after being on the outs and being droppable even in medium size dynasty leagues this past offseason – Foles has moved up to dynasty prospect for certain, and in my mind almost a 50% chance at being a fantasy factor in 2013.  Own Michael Vick in a league?  Probably time to grab Foles.  Don’t own Vick, and have a player to drop?  Absolutely take a chance and see how this pans out over the next few games.

QB Brandon Weeden – Listen, I know what you thinking, Brandon Weeden, really?  He is the clear cut #1 in Cleveland now.  Freeman isn’t a threat as he landed in Minnesota and Jason Campbell was the #3 QB a few weeks ago.  He is not a top flight player by any means, but he could end up being a good bye and/or injury replacement.  QB’s are hard to come by at this point in the season if you absolutely have to have a warm body at the QB position currently with a job Weeden is an ok consolation prize to your Foles’ lotto ticket.

WR Vincent Brown- He has 14 catches the past 2 weeks.  Malcom Floyd is out for the year.  Brown and Keenan Allen(who you should have picked up last week)  are the starters.   Rivers is playing well and looking for Brown.  He is a WR3/flex play based on opponent and bye /injury situation.

Level 2

RB Andre Ellington- He is slowly supplanting Rashard Mendenhall at RB.  After this week, I think he is worth a flex play.  If he is still available in your league, he is a great pick up moving forward.  Last week.  7 carries for 52 yards and 4 catches for 31yards.

RB Zac Stacey –  The Rams are a mess, I think Benny Cunningham is a better player, and 78 yards doesn’t normally scream fantasy stud. But all that said, Stacey played well enough to get his turn at the Rams starting job – and as at least the 2nd most talented RB on the team he could very well win the job with 2 solid games in a row. Will that happen? I don’t know, and if it does you’re likely in for a lot of temporary flex play production as opposed to RB2 style returns. However, at this time of year starting RB’s are hard to come by, so take your chances.

DEF Cardinals – Did you see what they did to the Panthers last week?  Darryl Washington is back and he is a monster.  If you don’t know him, watch this guy. He and Dansby had great games last week. They have a good front and Patrick Peterson.  A match up play, but they will match up well against most teams especially at home.

WR Harry Douglas – Ok, Harry, I am sorry. I don’t really like you much. It’s nothing personal.  It’s not you it’s me.  However, you are good pickup this week based on the news that Julio Jones if out for the year and that Roddy White tweaked his ankle again.

WR Terrance Williams – He is probably gone after last week’s performance, but if he is still there grab him.  He will remain a good WR3 until Miles Austin gets back. Then, it will be interesting to see how he is used and how many targets he gets.  He is worth a roster spot for a few weeks, especially if you have the roster space.

DEF Jets – This is another team with a great front seven (Panthers, Browns) that we like.  I don’t think they will be world beaters every week, but if you are struggling on D they are definitely worth the pickup.

TE Jeff Cumberland- Holmes is out.  Winslow is getting phased out and there aren’t a lot of options at TE out there.  He is inconsistent at best with Geno Smith at QB, but if you are desperate, he might be worth a look.

Level 3 Preemptive Strike! Dynasty league or deep redraft pay attention. We are talking to you all here.

QB TJ Yates – Oh Matt Schaub… You know all about his troubles.  The man looks to have lost his confidence.   He soon might lose his job.   If you have the roster space and are in need of a 3rd QB.  You might want to think about grabbing him. Houston still has a great running game and  2 good WR’s.  He would be good insurance moving into the playoff push and you would keep him away from other teams in your league

RB Andre Brown – Andre.  Remember that movie about the seal named Andre?  It reminds me in no way of Andre Brown.  Brown is recovering from his surgery and nearing his return.  Brandon Jacobs is slow and is running that way.  David Wilson has a bad neck and host of other issues. Get him now before the rest of your league catches on.

WR Percy Harvin – He is probably a couple of weeks away from being back. Do not wait until they announce he will be playing to pick him up. If you do, you might get beat out for him.  If you have the roster space and are weak at WR.  He could be just what you need for your playoff push.


Rams D – The served their use against the Jags this past week.  Aside from that game, they have been awful.   Drop them for a better option.


:by Ron & Mike

2013: Start ’em or Sit ’em Week 4

We’re nearly at the quarter mark of the NFL season.  Going by too fast, as usual.  Hopefully your fantasy team(s) is/are making you smile more than not.  However, even successful fantasy football teams face indecision – especially now during the start of the bye weeks.  So we’ve got some friendly advice for you on this week’s starts or sits – and we’ll try not to make it condescendingly obvious either.  If you need even more analysis on specific players not listed here, please leave us a message – we’d be happy to give you some insight.

49’ers at Rams (tonight!)

Start ’em RB Frank Gore: This one might be a little obvious, but I just wanted to take a moment here to comment about Gore’s baffling usage in week 3.   Gore had 11 carries for 82 yards, and added 2 catches for 21 yards….so why didn’t he get more than 13 touches?  Even he wants to know – and the story broke this week about him getting in an argument with Jim Harbaugh about it.  The Rams defense is tough to figure – they should be doing better with the talent they have, but they’re by no means invincible right now – even given their good history for playing the Niners hard.  On a short week the games tend to be a little sloppy and with Gore calling for the football, the smart plan for the Niners would be to lean on him for at least 25 carries.   Will that get done?  I don’t know…but I think so…

Sit ’em TE Jared Cook:  Maybe this is just me trying to reverse jinx Cook since I own him in a few leagues.  Or maybe this is just me watching the Rams’ offense regress with every quarter of football played.  The Rams smaller WR’s and RB’s are getting manhandled most weeks, and Cook is paying some of the price for that as Sam Bradford’s confidence and play decline.  The Niners defense has given up a surprising 24 points or more,  in 8 out of their last 9 games.   They are banged up and they aren’t what they once were right now.  So the Rams should score points in this one, but trying to predict who scores  those points is insanely difficult.  I mean can you start a guy like WR Austin Pettis, and hope he has one 2 yard catch for a TD? I don’t know…I wouldn’t.  On paper Cook is a safer option, but I can’t back him this week with any confidence until that offense shows me some consistency.

Ravens at Bills

Guys you want to Sit but probably can’t: RB Ray Rice & RB CJ Spiller: Both have disappointed owners so far in 2013 after being top 8 picks (or higher) in most redraft leagues this year.  Both are now nursing injuries, although both are thought at this point to be in for Week 4.   If you own them, you know the deal: you drafted these guys as the centerpiece of your team and if they play you’re not likely to have better options.   Spiller may be the healthier of the two this week, but the Ravens defense is ranked 4th against the run in 2013. Unless you have a player behind them almost assured to get you 10 or more points in your league’s scoring sitting behind them,  you will have to grin and bear it this week and hope they at least show you some kinds of life.

Start ’em WR Torrey Smith: Did you see what Geno Smith and Santonio Holmes did to Bills CB Justin Rodgers last week?  The Ravens saw it.  And Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith are better players, could be a long day for the Bills back 4.

Bengals at Browns

Start ’em Bengals Defense:  I know, I know – some of you tried the Minnesota D against Hoyer and the Browns last week and got semi-burned by it.  (Depends how your league scoring for defenses works).  But, let me be clear about this that was a matchup play rather than a talent play – meaning that we expected Hoyer and Rainey in their 1st games as starters,  and Josh Gordon in his 1st game back – to have their issues.  It was about the Browns in otherwords, not about the Vikings.  This week it’s more about the Bengals than the Browns themselves. The Bengals defense is much better than the Vikings – and let’s not forget Brian Hoyer is still learning the QB position.   The Bengals should be able to equal or better the 4 turnovers the Vikings got last weekend, plus hold the yards and scoring against them down much lower.

Sit ’em All Browns except for maybe TE Jordan Cameron:  Again Hoyer had a nice debut – but in addition to 300 yards and 3 TD’s..he also threw 3 INT’s.  WR Josh Gordon had 146 yards and a TD, but 47 of them and the TD came on a coverage blown so badly that no one was within 10 yards of him.  RB Willis McGahee, newly acquired to be the starter managed just 9 yards on 8 carries.   Let me reiterate: The Bengals Defense is much better than the Vikings – all of the positives the Browns had from last week can be minimized, and all of their stumbles amplified.   TE Jordan Cameron is a possible exception – I have doubted him all season as a “sleeper” TE, but he has proven me wrong.  I don’t think he manages a big game here, but he might have passable (6 for 65 and a TD or so) starter’s production if he is your TE starter.

Bears at Lions

Start ’em WR Ryan Broyles: You never know how long Broyles will play given his knee issues, but you do know that Nate Burleson got hurt reaching for a pizza box and broke his arm.   The absurdity of that statement does not in any way make it less of a fact.  Here’s another fact: for all the accolades the Bears’ defense gets annually for creating turnovers, they are actually usually a pedestrian defense in yards allowed – this year they are 24th in the league vs the pass.  Reggie Bush will be back and playing for the Lions,  so he will take some of that short passing game work – but Broyles can still have a role over the middle in the slot, and the best news of all is that the Lions have said they will finally let him play a full game.   “If healthy” is a question with Broyles you may have to ask as soon as next week – but right now he’s going out there full bore and could be a very nice Wr3 or flex play this week.

Sit ’em WR Alshon Jeffery:  Again this may be an attempt to reverse jinx because we have recommended him here before, but until I see the Bears even look Alshon’s way near the endzone I don’t think you can make him a weekly start.  Even against a potentially good matchup like this one you probably have better options.

Colts at Jaguars

Start ’em RB Ahmad Bradshaw: Turns out that lost in the hoopla over the Trent Richardson deal is that Bradshaw still intends to fight for his football life. 95 yards against San Francisco put that game away with tough running, and it’s clear for at least the next few games that Bradshaw will be out there to produce in some type of rotation with Richardson.   If you own Bradshaw and were ready to send him to the bench after the Richardson trade, it’s time to put him in against good matchups as a flex. (Edit: As of Friday – Bradshaw now appears to be sitting out this weekend due to injury, he may be a starter for you in the future…but not this week,)

Start ’em WR Cecil Shorts:  With Henne or Blaine Gabbert back there it really doesn’t matter.  Shorts may have disappointed owners in the 1st 2 weeks of the season, and last week his 143 yards were mostly during garbage time of a blowout…but Shorts is starting to find his groove this season and he has to be the main target in that offense by default.   It may not produce draw dropping numbers, but Shorts could be a legitimate WR2 this week against Indy.

Giants at Chiefs

Start ’em: WR Hakeem Nicks: I know, I know – The Giants and their offense were a tire fire last week.  And yes,  I usually use this spot to advise you to bench RB David Wilson (haven’t been wrong about that yet)…but the Giants passing offense is much better than they showed last week.  I know the Chiefs have a solid defense (fantasy owners will get it confused as a “great” defense because of last week), but the fact is there’s no reason the Giants shouldn’t turn in a better performance this week.  Nicks had some of his comments about not being able to “throw himself the ball” exaggerated this week in typical NY press style, but the fact remains he’s unhappy with his play and his role.  As you know from what I predicted about Mike Wallace after Week 1,  I love it when a WR is upset early in the season (the 1st time – after that the returns seem to lessen) – I think the Giants look to appease Nicks early and often in this one.

Sit ’em WR Dwayne Bowe:  You can’t completely give up on Bowe yet for 2013, but until he shows you something he can be left on your fantasy bench if you have options.  Bowe simply has had a hard time meshing with QB Alex Smith’s conservative short passing game – and while the team is winning, Bowe will not see his role change much.  The Giants are a great matchup for him on paper, but unless the Chiefs get behind by a bit I can’t see Bowe having a breakout or even serviceable game.

Steelers at Vikings

Sit ’em RB Le’Veon Bell: This is normally where I advise against starting any Pittsburgh RB, but since the hype is building for Bell’s potential return this week I feel like I have to single him out.  Let’s review why Bell is a hot name this week: 1.) Many of you are getting desperate to either turn around your team’s fortune, or to get some production from a guy you drafted in the middle of your fantasy football drafts.  2.) Others of you “cleverly” won Bell off of waivers in recent weeks when a frustrated owner dropped him.  3.) Everyone, even the media always has a a good ole case of “rookie fever”.  We love the potential of the unknown, we love a potential savior. 4.) And hell, as a flex what could it hurt right?  He’s playing Minnesota’s defense that got whopped by the lowly Browns.

But here’s the cold water reality: Pittsburgh’s offense is in shambles, they simply cannot move the ball on the ground – and it’s not all about the RB “talent”, it’s about the offensive line.  Ben Roethlisberger has been quoted this week to the affect that it’s clear he doesn’t expect Bell to walk right in and fix the situation.  He’s said he flat out “has no idea” if Bell can help…or even play.   And this great matchup?  The Vikings defense was beat (almost inexplicably) to death through the air last week, not on the ground – in fact on the ground they held the Browns to about 3 YPC.

So if you hear that Bell will play, or even start this weekend – and think “well, I have my flex player”…I’m advising against it.  Strongly.  Look it may be that Bell turns into a great flex play or even RB2 by the end of the season – but he’ll need time to find out how he fits in a very battered offense right now.  Try someone else while you can, if you owned him since your draft patience is key – don’t rush now.  Check back in a week or two….

Sit ’em The Vikings every single one of them except Adrian Peterson: Maybe I’m just mad the Vikings knocked me out of my survivor pool this weekend, maybe I just can’t imagine an injured Christian Ponder being any better than a non-injured Christian Ponder or a healthy *gulp* Matt Cassel, or maybe I just want this game to be so unwatchable that London promptly tells Goodell – thanks but no thanks to the future of American football in the U.K. In any case, think about it?  Who (other than AP) would you want to start in purple this week?

Redskins at Raiders

Start ’em RB Darren McFadden: This is the week McFadden goes from “flex” play or low end RB2 to bonafide stud potential.   It’s a combination of things: QB Terrel Pryor’s concussion may not be cleared by then, but even if it is – he’ll likely be more conservative with scrambling and pass attempts.  The Redskins defense is starting to collapse even up front against the run, which was one of their “strengths” last season and earlier this season (watch Joique Bell run through them this past weekend for example) – and in theory, this should be a close game for most it  meaning McFadden should get traditional hand-offs to compliment his short pass repertoire.   So, if you some weeks have McFadden and bench him for a close option – this is the week to give him the edge.

Sit ’em TE Fred Davis: After advising most fantasy teams that have even one semi-reliable option to drop Davis flat out this week, I promise this will be the last time I use him here.  I just want to use this space to get the message across one last time.   Davis cannot be trusted at all this year – good matchups, bad matchups – does not matter: he’s hurt, his starter’s job is in question, he’s on the last year of his deal in DC…the hopes of him being top 10 or even top 15 at the TE position seem dead.

Seahawks at Texans

Start ’em – Russell Wilson:  Houston’s strong defense will pose a problem for the Seahawks depleted offensive line, this will surely be a low scoring game, but I think Wilson will have the best game of the lot. He isn’t a high level start, but if you are facing a bye week I think he is a good play.

Start ’em – Seahawks Defense:  Seattle is #1 against the pass this season.  Andre Johnson is injured and may not play.  Seattle should contain the run game.  This will be a low scoring game where turnovers and field position will reign supreme. Seattle is turning the ball over this season on defense and Chris Clemons came back last week to bolster the pass rush.

Sit’ em – Matt Schaub: He hasn’t played particularly well lately, he is going against the #1 defense with the #1 pass defense in the league averaging 147 passing yards allowed a game. Does not compute to a start. A big game against the worst pass D in the league (Chargers) and decent second half agaisnt the Titans make his stats look pretty good, watch the games.  He was terrible last week and has trouble when he is moved off his spot in the pocket.

Cardinals at Buccaneers

Start ’em – Cardinals Defense:  I don’t love their defense, but also I don’t love Rookie QB’s making their first start with his two starting wideouts banged up.  I really like this play.

Start ’em – Doug Martin: He might get 30 carries with a Rookie QB and banged up WR’s…

Sit’ em – Cardinals Running Backs:  The commitment to the run isn’t really there and their O-line is  below average at best.  Tampa still has a very good run D regardless of what happened last week.   I would avoid them all unless you are in a bind.  Mendenhall is the only back to consider, but he is a RB3 at best.

Jets at Titans  

Start ’em – Santonio Holmes: Titans have a pretty good defense, but I think their secondary is a bit of a weakness.  Holmes is the Jets best route running WR and a clear #1 target.  Geno Smith seems to developing a report with Holmes as he works his way back to health.  A borderline WR2 play this week.

Sit’ em – Chris Johnson: The Jets defense is quietly having a very good year.  They have a strong front 7 and have been playing the run very well.  They are only giving up 79 yards a game.  Save for breaking a long run, I can’t see Johnson having big day. I wouldn’t count on him for any big numbers.

Eagles at Broncos  

 Start ’em – Broncos WR’s: Any 3 of them are a must start until further notice.  The biggest problem here would be if the Broncos got a huge lead and stopped throwing. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where, Welker, Thomas or Decker aren’t in your starting lineup regularly.  Feel confident starting any of the three.

Start ’em – LeSean McCoy:  He is playing the best of any RB in the league right now.  Not that you weren’t going to start him, but man, this guy is having a MVP type year through 3 games.

Sit’ em – Mike Vick: If you aren’t penalized for turnovers in your league, this isn’t a bad play, but I can see him turning the ball over several times in this game while playing catch up. Any numbers he puts up will be tempered by the turnovers.

Cowboys at Chargers  

 Start ’em – Dez Bryant and Tony Romo: Miles Austin and Terrence Williams are hurt and the Chargers have the worst pass defense in the league.

Sit’ em – Ryan Mathews :  Most people who own him can’t afford to not play him.  He just isn’t getting enough carries at this point in the season to justify his top 4 round draft status.  The Dallas defense is playing fast this year.   A good game for Mathews here, would seemingly give the team more confidence in his ability to carry the load moving forward.

 Patriots at Falcons

 Start ’em – Steven Ridley:  Don’t worry about Blount and Bolden getting touches.  I think he gets nearly 15 touches and is effective as the Pats try and grind down the Falcons and keep Matty Ice off the field.  He does the little things that Belichick likes and this will keep him on the field.

Sit’ em –Jacquiz Rodgers:  Yes, he might get some yards on draws, screens and in spread sets, but he just doesn’t score touchdowns. Jason Snelling is the TD vulture.   I would avoid him if you have a better option. Flex play at best.

Dolphins at Saints  

Start ’em – Mike Wallace: I think he has a break out game on Monday night.  This could be a shootout between two undefeated teams in Louisiana.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see him get deep against the Saints blitz heavy scheme.

Sit’ em – Lance Moore:  They just aren’t throwing to this guy thus far in the season.  Not to say he might break out at some point, but he is a very risky WR3 play this week.  I would look elsewhere.

-Ron and Mike

2013 Week 3: We Told You So

It’s that time of the week again, where before we release our Sit and Starts for Week 4, that we have to look back on our calls from Week 3.   From the Browns and Colts winning to the Giant collapse in Carolina,  Week 3 was the most unpredictable one we’ve had yet in 2013.  Reviewing our fantasy advice from last week reflects that difficulty, but as an owner you have to make the calls that make sense to you and let fate play it out.   Let’s check our some of our report card…

We Told you so…

Sit ’em: TE Brent Celek – 2 catches for 18 yards.   Celek is a solid TE in a great situation, but he’s not so talented that he’s an every week play.  The Chiefs continue to hold the TE position in check.

Sit ’em RB David Wilson: 11 carries for 39 yards.   I maintain Wilson will have some fantasy use ahead (he had a TD called back in this one), but the Giants are a mess right now so he’s tough to trust.   Why did he not catch a pass in this one?

Start ’em RB DeAngelo Williams: My slam dunk of the week.  120 yards for Williams, with the normal complaint that they just can’t find him the endzone.

Sit ’em RB James Starks:  14 carries for 55 yards, and then he got hurt.  Next up Jonathan Franklin. The Green Bay RB situation is a constant temptress that will break your heart again and again….unless you checked our advice 🙂

Sit ’em RB Steven Ridley: Ridley owners I think you should be more worried than David Wilson owners. 11 carries for just 35 yards.  Wilson is force fed the ball despite struggling, Ridley is being phased out right in front of our eyes.  It’s clear New England would rather roll with the Shane Vereen or Brandon Bolden pass catching type than the hard-nosed Ridley 3 YPC.  When Vereen comes back Ridley may well be a fantasy bench mainstay.

Sit ’em RB Mark Ingram: Mark Ingram missed Week 3 with a toe injury.  He had about the same production he usually has….boo-yah!

Sit ’em WR Eddie Royal – Royal had just 2 catches for 34 yards.  He was due to come back to earth, he still has potential as a fantasy reserve in most leagues.

Start ’em TE Antonio Gates: 5 catches for 55 yards and a 1 TD.  Gates will never be the #1 fantasy TE at this point in his career, but he is still very capable of getting it done with good matchups.

Start ’em RB Joique Bell: And I made this call when I thought Reggie Bush would play a little. 63 yards on the ground, 69 yards in the passing game, and a TD.  Bell is a viable flex starter when Bush is healthy, when he’s not like this past weekend Bell is a viable RB2.  There’s just too much production in the Lions’ offense right now.

Sit ’em TE Fred Davis: Davis was injured for this game and didn’t suit up.  No one really noticed, because he’s being phased out of the weekly gameplan in DC.  When healthy he’ll be a desperation TE play only.

Sit ’em RB Steelers whomever it is: RB Jonathan Dwyer and RB Felix Jones totaled 73 yards together and nearly split that down the middle.  Their receiving total was about 20 yards and they split that as well.  Isaac Redmon watched from the bench.  Let this be a warning to hopeful Le’Veon Bell owners – it’s going to be a tough road for the Steelers this year.

Oops we missed…

Start ’em WR Anquan Boldin: Boldin’s 5 catches for 67 is actually kind of impressive considering how bad the Niners’ offense looked.  He was hurt by the lack of a secondary option like TE Vernon Davis who was out with injury.

Start ’em: RB Ben Tate: I’m convinced Tate is put on this earth to confuse and frustrate me.  9 carries for 36 yards against a tough Ravens’ run d, Tate remains a tease – but it’s not like starter Arian Foster tore it up either.

Sit ’em: RB Bernard Pierce –67 yards and a score. It was just about a 3 yard average but Pierce was named the full starter for this one after I made the call to sit ’em (of course) and his 24 carry workload got him the production.  In his regular role we would’ve been correct.

Start ’em TE Tyler Eifert: It’s official Andy Dalton is having trouble connecting with the rookie.  1 catch for 7 yards? Eifert’s talent is currently being wasted.

Sit ’em RB Demarco Murray: My biggest miss of the week – 175 yards and a TD, plus 28 yards in the air?  I was right that the Rams have an overrated defense…I just did not think the Cowboys would use him that much. Wow.

Sit ’em WR Josh Gordon: 147 yards and a long TD.  In his 1st game back?  With Brian Hoyer chucking it?  Yeah this was completely unforeseeable.  Gordon did have an insane 19 targets, and his TD happened not with anything special he did, but rather a terribly blown coverage that had no defender within 10 yards of him.  So the stats don’t tell the whole story.  Still this is fantasy football so the stats are what matters.  It was an incredible 2013 debut.

Start ’em WR Andre Roberts:  For the 2nd week in a row, Roberts had a TD look robbed – in Week 2 it was pass interference against him, this week Carson Palmer overthrew him when he was wide open.  Instead he finished with just one catch for 6 yards.  Oh what could’ve been…

Start ’em RB Chris Ivory: Ivory had one carry, got hurt again…and then watched Bilal Powell run well with a real workload.   Ivory indicated after the game that his hamstring has been hindering him since training camp, and given his history the Jets may shut him down for many weeks.

Start ’em RB Knowshon Moreno: Coming off a big week it makes sense that Denver would give him only 12 carries.  God damn this is Green Bay but worse.  I’m not saying Moreno is a worldbeater (he managed a little over 3 YPC), but how can rookie Montee Ball get 11, and Hillman get 9…when both of them have proven to have fumble problems?  I mean Ball fumbled again in this one late…is it because they spent draft picks on these guys?  Any hope of Moreno putting the stranglehold on this job, just went out the window.

Some examples of our “pushes”…

Start ’em: QB Alex Smith – This one depends on your expectations and league scoring.  That Smith had no TD’s was disappointing, but he did finish with 273 yards, no turnovers, and kicked in 32 yards rushing.   That may not scream starter to you…but if say you had a guy like QB Eli Manning starting instead of him in week 3…wouldn’t you kill for this type of day?

Start ’em Minnesota Defense: Depends a lot on your league scoring, but they definitely disappointed allowing Brian Hoyer to pass for over 300 yards and 3 scores.  However, they did somewhat salvage their day with 4 turnovers and 3 sacks – so again depends on how much your league penalizes for points/yardage vs rewards turnovers/sacks.

Sit ’em WR Kendall Wright: 6 catches for 71 yards.  With a long of 19 yards, Wright beat my expectations by a little, but he’s still primarily a short possession guy.  This would’ve been about a 7 point fantasy production in standard leagues, would that have been good for you?  Depends on what you needed from him.

Sit ’em RB Jacquizz Rodgers: Inexplicably the Falcons gave their lighter scat back style RB 18 carries, and he only got one catch.  While they gave Jason Snelling (a real rb) 11 carries and 4 catches.  Rodgers produced 86 yards and no scores, and frankly without the 18 carries he wouldn’t have gotten much done.  8 standard fantasy points is yours to judge.

:by Mike

2013 Week 1: We told you so…

This is a review of our Start’em and Sit’em in week one.  Unlike other sites, we hold ourselves accountable.  This is a weekly review of how we did.

We told you so…Week 1

Start ‘em- Andre Johnson- 12 for 146. Rumors of his demise look to be unfounded.
Start ‘em –Miles Austin-10 for 72 a PPR dream. He looked healthy. Could be a boon for the few that took a chance on himin the draft.
Sit ‘em – Cardinals Running backs –26 carries for 86 yards. Mendenhall looked OK, Alfonso Smith was ineffective. Weak line play all around. Not a great situation
Start ‘em-Vernon Davis- 6 for 98 and a TD. If he and Kaep are on the same page this year…watch out.
Sit ‘em – Lamar Miller- 11 touches for 10 yards. That is not going to cut it. Be very worried if you own him.
Sit ‘em – BenJarvis Green Ellis- 14 rushes for 25 yards… salvaged the day for anyone who started him by scoring a TD. It might be time to get concerned here.
Start ‘em- Martellus Bennett – 3 for 49 and a TD Could have had more as he was targeted 6 times
Start ‘em- Greg Olsen – 5 for 56 and would have had more if he didn’t have 2 or 3 drops. 10 targets is promising.
Start ‘em- Russell Wilson – 320 yards and a TD. Red zone miscues cost him a few more opportunities.

Sit ‘em – Cecil Shorts – 3 for 40 yards on 11 targets. Yikes. 11 targets, at least he is getting chances. I love the talent but his situation worries me some.
Start ‘em – Jamaal Charles – 77 yards rushing, 23 receiving and a td. He would have had more if he didn’t get dinged up in the 3rd quarter.
Sit ‘em – Jets – Only Rookie Geno Smith and TE Kellen Windslow did anything here. If you started either of those guys, you are either clairvoyant or a liar.
Sit ‘em- Jake Locker – 11 for 20 and 125 yards… Jake you still have to prove to me you are worth a start.
Start ‘em – Torry Smith- 4 for 92. Probably would have gotten more if Jacoby Jones didn’t get hurt.
Start ‘em – Demarius Thomas – 5 for 161 and 2 TDs. This guy is a monster.

Sit ‘em – Greg Jennings- 3 for 33. This is not a good sign vs. a leaky Lions secondary. Hopefully is just a one week anomaly

We swung, we missed

Sit ‘em – Any Raider unless it’s Darren McFadden – Terrell Pryor, we are sorry. You are fantasy relevant.
Start ‘em- Frank Gore – 21 for 44 and a TD. Not bad, but we were expecting more.
Start ‘em- Chris Givens- 2 for 27. He didn’t get behind the D like we expected him to.
Start ‘em – Steven Ridley- 9 rushes for 46 yards. If he could only hold onto the ball…

Sit ‘Em Mike Vick –  We sure missed here, but going into Week 1 with no knowledge of the offense or how Vick was going to be used, I think this was a strategic sit.

The rest of our picks were pushes, neither good nor bad


2013 Week 1 – Waiver Add/Drops

Ok, so win or lose in week one you should always be ready to try to improve your team. The weekly waiver wire/or FA pool in your league will always be monitored by your league mates for gems so you need to do that as well.

It’s tough to make generalizations over who to actually add every week – everything depends on your individual team and the makeup of your league. So what we’ll do here is make recommendations on 3 levels. Level 1 guys are so obvious that they were either drafted in your league on draft day already, or you will have to fight with other owners over them on the wire. Level 2 guys are decent risks that may not always pan out, but more of them may be available in your league to serve your purposes. And finally level 3 guys are more of the longshot homerun guys – but if your need is great, or if you play in a deep league – these might be the only guys you have a chance at….

Level 1

TE Julius Thomas – loved his talent in the last 2 preseasons, and have been waiting for that to translate to the regular season. It finally did with a 2TD performance on opening night. It’s true that with TE’s production can be streaky, and in Thomas’ case he is in an offense that has a lot…and I mean a lot of mouths to feed. However, I believe Julius Thomas will continue to be a redzone guy, and a deep middle look – with Welker handling more of the shallow middle – and Demarius Thomas handling more of the deep outside. Thomas has top 10 TE potential and absolutely has to be rostered – even if some weeks he gets a little lost in the shuffle.

RB Joique Bell – Yes as I thought after we did our 2013 mock draft, Reggie Bush is the man, and a borderline RB1 in this offense. But, there is room for a more traditional RB in this offense as Bell showed us with his week 1 2 TD performance. Some might balk a little and complain that you can’t rely on TD’s week to week for a player’s production, and they would be right. However, Bell is the clear handcuff in a high scoring offense, on top of being the goaline back. He simply runs hard and represents a great value add to your fantasy bench. To be used as a bye week, injury replacement, or flex play – Bell could be one of those guys that sneakily keeps your team afloat.

QB Terrell Pryor – He’s only a “level 1” guy because of the always limited options at QB during the season. He’s a poor real life NFL QB, but that can sometimes lead to big fantasy points. He runs a ton – so you get yards there, plays with a bad defense – so he will always need to air it/run it out, and if you play in a league where you start 2 QB’s he’s a great upside pick. Again, judge your own situation – if you like your QB’s don’t dump one for Pryor b/c he may not keep the job all season – but he could be fun to watch for the 1st half of the season.

WR Kenny Stills – the rookie had a fantastic preseason, and opened with a day of 2 catches for 86 yards. Obviously in a dynasty league this guy should’ve been drafted – and maybe in a lot of other leagues as well. But, if he’s sitting out there you can’t pass on the potential of the Wr3 in the Saints offense. Ignore the fact the Robert Meachem is back on the Saints again. Stills has stolen the role that Meachem and Devery Henderson once had and could be on the way to similar production.

Level 2

WR Julian Edelman – Edelman likely just had his best week of the season with 79 yards and 2Td’s. Then again with the Patriots in complete flux offensively – rookies everywhere and Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola hurt, suddenly tossing your hat in the Pats possession passing game with the veteran Edelman can look appealing. Simply put: Julian is not the most talented guy they have – but going into week 2 he’s the most reliable among the currently healthy. He’s probably a short term add, but you could do a lot worse than taking a chance on him as a WR4 on your team and potential flex play.

RB Jackie Battle – Who the heck saw this one coming? I mean its only one week, but Jackie Battle received 8 carries for 21 yards and a goalline carry in which he scored a touchdown. Now, if this stays the course, that means that Battle is out performing high priced free agent Shonn Greene. I wouldn’t go dropping any proven guys on your team to pick him up, but if you have the roster spot he might be worth a few week trial to see if he maintains the goal line back role.

RB Kendall Hunter – Now there is a chance he could be gone in your league, but if he is there, snatch him up. Regardless if LaMichael James comes back from injury, Hunter is the more complete back and should be the undisputed back up to Gore. With 6 carries for 24 yards last week, I think you could expect more from him as he gets his legs under him(he is recovering from offseason surgery). In addition, Frank Gore is 30 and the 49ers will want to persevere their bell cow back for the stretch run.

RB Brandon Jacobs – I feel guilty typing that, and I also feel like RB David Wilson will get his act together enough to stop fumbling once every 5 carries or so. But, you can’t deny Jacobs will probably be super motivated (he openly pined for the Giants when he was languishing in San Fran), and his only competition for primary backup duties will be the unknown (and not particularly impressive) Da Rel Scott. Andre Brown is out for at least another 2 months – so this is not as temporary a situation as you might think on the surface. In the end he’s probably more hype than help – but you may not be able to pass on a guy that could slide into a primary backup role for a struggling starter.

RB LaGarrette Blount – He has much the same going for him as Jacobs does, only with the added benefit of having practiced with the team and being in football shape. Steven Ridely is in the doghouse for fumbles, Shane Vereen is out for 8 weeks, and Brandon Bolden is still struggling with injury as well. Blount for the moment appears to be a guy that could take a primary backup role, and possibly even some redzone carries.

WR Doug Baldwin –Baldwin was Russel Wilson’s #1 target this week, catching 7 for 91 – you know Seattle’s story – Percy Harvin is out til at best midseason and probably later, Sidney Rice can’t stay healthy, and Golden Tate – well he has a lot of “just a guy” moments. Baldwin is a guy you pickup and wait a few weeks to see if he gets that consistency in targets and production, if he does you may have just scored a solid WR3.

WR Brandon Gibson – 7 catches for 77 yards on 10 targets. His high priced counterpart Mike Wallace, one catch for 15 yards on 5 targets. Gibson directly benefited from Dustin Keller’s injury. He will be looked to early and often as the slot/3rd down option. I liked him when he was with the Rams, but never seemed to get the targets he deserved. Now, I don’t think the is anything more than a WR4 at the most, but he could provide quality depth in deeper leagues.

Panthers Defense – As stated before, we love this team’s talented front 7. They will give teams fits all year. Now their Db’s are weak and may will give up some plays to teams with good passing games, but this defense could be a great matchup play against weaker offenses. If you don’t like your back up D, keep and eye on this up and coming unit.

Level 3

WR Terrence Williams – Now I am not in love with this guy at all, but I like his opportunity. I especially like it if Dez Bryant is out for an extended period of time. He definitely has talent. He also has a case of the dropsies. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt being it’s his first game as a rookie. Dynasty leagues should snatch him up now if he wasn’t drafted. He is worth a flyer in most other formats if you have the room, especially is Bryant’s foot keeps him out for a length of time.

WR Leonard Hankerson – lost in a terrible 1st half effort was the role Hankerson played in some garbage time in the 2nd half for Washington. He wound up with 2Td’s and has oyuth and a longer tenured contract on his side over starter Josh Morgan – the team has just been waiting for the light to go on with Hankerson, who can give inconsistent effort to go with inconsistent hands. I’m not sure he’s out of it…but his ceiling could be as high as the #2 WR for Rg3 by year’s end.

RB Jonathan Dwyer – Could go from the real life free agent pool to the Steelers starter, less than 2 weeks after being cut by them. It’s a crazy ride – and it’s also a very uncertain situation. Dwyer was let go for not having focus, and supposedly a lack of effort – I suppose a dash of reality in being released could wake him up. What then of Isaac Redmon who Tomlin says will get another shot to (literally) hang on to the job? What of Le’Veon Bell’s eventual return? What of how terrible the Steelers OL has played in preseason and the last game? Other fantasy advisers might have Dwyer as one of their top adds…but because of all of these questions – I’m doubting against Dwyer having a lot of fantasy significance. The odds are someone in your league will pick him up, the question is will it be you? Depends on what you need…but tread cautiously here.

RB Brandon Bolden – The lesser attractive option in the competition that is the New England backfield, it is possible that once Bolden finally recovers from his injury- which may be very soon – that he could beat LaGarrette for short yardage and primary backup work. It’s a longshot based on talent over current situation.

RB Da Rel Scott – if you liked what you saw from Scott in his time vs the Cowboys, you may believe he will beat out newly signed Brandon Jacobs for work. In theory Scott knows the system better, and should be in better shape physically – it’s a bit of a lotto ticket.

WR Josh Boyce – I liked Boyce most among the Patriots rookie WR’s on paper when he came out of college. And I still think in the future (so he absolutely must be rostered in dynasty leagues) he will be a terrific player for them – possibly even in the coveted slot. The question is, how soon is this future? Well, we’ve seen Amendola’s health – we know Edelman has limitations and some injury history, and we have seen Kenbrell Thompkins and Zac Sudfeld not exactly light it up when the games meant something. So it’s possible Boyce plays this Thursday, does incredible, wins a job and becomes a fantasy asset for 2013 no one saw coming. In all probability though, this is probably someone you pick up ahead of the buzz if you have a roster spot being filled by someone you know is a dud – and you can then wait a few weeks to see if Boyce emerges.

TE Charles Clay – With the injury to Dustin Keller in the preseason, someone had to emerge as a TE for this team and Clay is the man. He isn’t great at any one thing, but he is clearly the #1 TE in Miami’s apparent pass heavy attack. This is mostly due to the fact they couldn’t run the ball against Cleveland’s stout run D. He’ll never be more than a TE2 in most situations, but follow him. He may be worth a pick up if you backup TE is underperforming and could save you on a bye week.

-Ron and Mike

2013: Start ’em or Sit ’em Week 1

Ravens at Broncos

  • Start ‘emDemarius Thomas – Though I like the Raven pass rush, I don’t like their corners much, save Lardius Webb and he  is coming off an injury. The Broncos passing offense should have a good day
  • Start ‘emTorry Smith – The lack of a pass rush is going to give Flacco time and Torry Smith will be open.
  • Sit ‘emBroncos Defense– Shawn Philips will be their only legit presence off the edge with Von Miller on suspension. I see this game as a shootout.

Patriots at Bills

  • Start ‘em – Steven Ridley– I have a feeling this game could get out of hand at some point and the Pats will salt away the game with the run.
  • Sit ‘em – Anyone on buffalo aside from CJ spiller. This is a tough spot for the Bills. Though I think a few guys will get some points in garbage time, nothing can be counted on here.

Titans at Steelers

  • Start ‘em- Ben Rothlesburger – I have little confidence in the Titans Defense. Big Ben was having a great year last year until he got hurt. He and Todd Haley will continue where they left off last year an have a good week 1.
  • Sit ‘em- Jake Locker – He has to show me something this year before I can start him on the road in Pittsburgh. Sorry Jake

Falcons at Saints

  • Start ‘em – Aside from the obvious guys here, I really like Stephen Jackson this week. I think he will start his Falcons career with a bang.
  • Sit ‘em – The Defenses – Would you really consider starting any of these defenses against these offenses? Pick your other defense this week. Starting one of these defenses could actually lose you points.

Buccaneers at Jets

  • Start ‘em –Bucs Defense – Do I really love this defense? No. Do I really dislike the Jets offense? Yes.
  • Sit ‘em – Jets – Yes, sit anyone on the Jets this week. This team will need a few weeks to find itself and gain confidence. In addition, there is a Rookie QB playing for the first time and the starting Running back situation is up in the air.

Chiefs at Jaguars

  • Start ‘em – Jamaal Charles – OK, so I know there was little chance you weren’t going to start him, but he is a great play this week.
  • Sit ‘em – Cecil Shorts – with the QB situation in Jax a gametime decision, I am not confident this week in Shorts. He could get some garbage time yards, but I don’t think he is a guy to count on this week. This offense might take a little time to develop.

Seahawks at Panthers

  • Start ‘em- Greg Olsen – I think he will be the main target for Cam in this game. As talented as the Seahawks defense is, I think Olsen will have a good game.
  • Start ‘em- Russell Wilson – though I like the Panthers front 7, I think they have some serious problems in the secondary. Wilson passes for 250 and 2 tds
  • Sit ‘em – DeAngelo Williams. He seems to be on the decline and going against Seattle’s D. even though they are depleted on the D line, D willy still not a good play.

Bengals at Bears

  • Start ‘em- Martellus Bennett – As much as I like the Bengals D, I don’t love their safeties. He could have a big game.
  • Sit ‘em – BenJarvis Green Ellis- Yes, he should get goal line carries, but I am not sure how many touches he actually gets in this game. Unless you have to, I would avoid this start

Dolphins at Browns

  • Start ‘em- Devon Bess – He is starting for Josh Gordon, he should be a sneaky good WR 3 play if you are looking for a guy for that slot this week
  • Sit ‘em – Lamar Miller – I like Clevelands Defense a lot this year, particularly their front 7. Miller has not shown me a lot yet. Of course if you drafted Miller as your RB2, you might not have a choice of not starting him.

Vikings at Lions

  • Start ‘em- Kyle Rudolph – I think he has a big game against a perpetually leaky Lions secondary
  • Sit ‘em – Greg Jennings – I am not sure if the Vikings Offense will feature him and we need to see if Ponder takes the next step at QB. Wait and see here.

Raiders at Colts

  • Start ‘em- Reggie Wayne – He will have a big day. The Raiders can’t cover anyone.
  • Sit ‘em – Any Raider unless it’s Darren McFadden- you believe in Terrell Pryor? Ya, I didn’t think so.

Packers at 49ers

  • Start ‘em- Frank Gore – With all the focus on Kaepernick, I think Gore has a very effective day.
  • Start ‘em-Vernon Davis- Who else is Kaep gonna throw to? In addition, you know the Packers will be looking to stop the read option. The 49ers embarrassed the Pack in last years playoff win. Davis should find room in against the Pack
  • Sit ‘em –Eddie Lacy- Starting any RB against that defense is a test. Starting a rookie with an average line is not a prudent move.

Cardinals at Rams

  • Start ‘em- Chris Givens – A lot of talk about Tavon Austin this offseason, but Givens is a burner who had a very good rookie year. He makes a few plays this week.
  • Sit ‘em – Cardinals Running backs – I don’t like the Cards line and the Rams have a very good front 4. Medenhall is nicked up. I think the Cards throw the ball a lot.

Giants at Cowboys

  • Start ‘em –Miles Austin- I like him to bounce back this year, if he stays healthy. He should have plenty of One-on-one matchups on the outside.
  • Sit ‘em – Bret Myers – Let’s see if the Giants are really going to use this guy


Eagles at Redskins

  •  Start ‘em- Pierre Garcon – If healthy, he and RG3 will have a great year together.
  • Sit ‘em – Mike Vick- don’t get me wrong I like Vick this year, but that all stems from how they use him in this offense. Wait and see with him.

Texans at Chargers

  • Start ‘em- Houston Defense – Until the Chargers offense gets on track, has better line play, and can run the ball… the opposing Defense is a good play as long as they can pressure the QB and Houston can do just that.
  • Start ‘em- Andre Johnson- of course you were going to start him, right? He should have a big game against a secondary that is not very good.
  • Sit ‘em – Philip Rivers – If you get penalized for turn overs in your league, stay away from this one. Houstons Defense will be all over Rivers in this game


What we learned from Preseason 2013

As the real games get ready to kickoff and your fantasy drafts are completed, it’s easy to quickly close the book on yet another preseason.  To fantasy owners the consternation shifts from hoping that 12th round “sleeper” pick is really available in the 12th round to which WR or RB is best for my flex play?

We’ll have plenty of articles (and a few podcasts) here during the season about who to start or who to add in your leagues.  Understand,  however that before we get there we need to have a grasp of some of the preseason.   The “next man up” from your league’s waiver wire, or from your own team’s bench (if you drafted well)  is formed in the preseason.  So here’s a review of what went down this last month or so….

Things we Know

1.) The Eagles will move the football.  I don’t know how many wins they’ll get, or how many games QB Michael Vick will be healthy for, but overall you have to think they’ll be plenty of productive Eagles in fantasy football this year.  Guys like Vick,  RB LeSean McCoy, and WR Desean Jackson may seem like obvious plays, but as the season goes on and the roles of Chip Kelly’s offense become more defined you may see players like TE Brent Celek, WR Jason Avant, and RB Chris Polk (potential goaline work) emerge as weekly plays. The truth is no one puts their whole playbook on display in the preseason – but the Eagles philosophy was clear in each of their games.  I’m attaching the nickname “pace and space” to it, and I think there will be several Eagles who can help out your fantasy team this season.

2.) The Raiders OL is going to cap fantasy production.  Sure they have some guys hurt who could return during the season, but right now they are selecting their QB because he can run – not so much run as a weapon – but run from the unblocked pass rush.  It is possible that QB Terrell Pryor has some useful fantasy weeks as he breaks off some long runs in garbage time of games the Raiders are behind, but good luck predicting when those will happen.  The guy is throwing jump passes whenever I see him – this is not a successful NFL formula.  Guys like WR Denarius Moore, WR Rod Streater, and WR Bryce  Butler (a rookie with a very nice preseason) could all be weekly teases as well.  The weak offensive line is going to make most of the Raiders struggle this season – and I would advocate looking to deal them after they have big fantasy weeks to owners with short term memories.

Particularly valuable in this regard would be RB Darren McFadden.  I love McFadden and early in the preaseaon was very happy to take a shot on him as a RB2 with stud potential.   But that has changed, and the more I see from Oakland – the OL, the jump pass QB,  the coach not revealing the jump pass QB is officially his week 1 starter for “competitive advantage”…it screams trouble.  So if McFadden has a good game here and there, or hopefully 2 in a row – it might be good to find an owner in your league who still believes in him.  They’ll be one, there always is – and then maybe you can work out a deal for a more consistent player.

3. The Giants don’t currently have a NFL quality backup RB on their roster.  This is one to watch, because of the injury to RB Andre Brown.  Brown who’ll be out at least 8 weeks, was going to play a key part in absorbing touches this year that the Giants didn’t want starter RB David Wilson to carry.  I think the Giants feel Wilson is good for about 15-20 touches a week – he won’t be a grinder and they need to keep him fresh all season.  The current next men up on the Giants are RB’s Da’rel Scott and Michael Cox – a very inexperienced duo.  Personally I like Cox, but I just can’t see the Giants making him a part of the plan – as a playoff contender they’ll want a steadier option.

So, it’s very likely that your league’s 1st waiver feeding frenzy will be for whomever the Giants sign in Week 2 at RB.  In the NFL, if you sign a guy after week 1 the contract you give them no longer becomes guaranteed for the year.  This makes it easier for teams to take chances on veteran players: The Giants could bring in RB Michael Turner or RB Willis McGahee – or lesser talent guys that have experience in their system like RB Tim Hightower or Brandon Jacobs.

As for whether it’ll be worth it for you to get caught up in this frenzy – well it depends on who the Giants sign.  I mean we’ll be talking about a part time job, for only part time – but if it’s a more talented player it could be an indication that Brown’s injury history (he broke the same leg last season) has worried the Giants  enough that his replacement could stick with the team even after Brown returns.

4.) Youth should be served at WR – this rookie class wasn’t very top heavy with super elite talent.  What it did have however was useful NFL depth WR’s for 2013, which makes them useful border fantasy starters.  DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Stills, Quinton Patton, Robert Woods, Marcus Wheaton, Kenbrell Thompkins , and Cordarrelle Patterson  are the ones I like best.  All of them are worth monitoring to some degree b/c many of them can be found on your average league’s waiver wire.

The noticeable absence of WR Tavon Austin and WR Keenan Allen may raise some eyebrows here….but it’s likely Austin was drafted in your league, and if you did it you likely don’t want to hear me rail against him again.   Allen is a mix of bad situation and brittle body – he may produce in 2013, but it’s likely that you’ll have to put up with a lot of bad weeks of having him rostered – as opposed to being able to add a guy from the above group as solid depth.

What we don’t know

1.) The Denver running game.  If you were hoping the preseason was going to sort this one out, it may have just made things a lot worse.  Oddly enough I think the guy best suited to the gig is RB Knowshon Moreno, but the Broncos seemed to have passed on him awhile ago.  The current “starter” Ronnie Hillman I don’t think is a full time RB, and rookie Montee Ball is a guy of average talent.

To make things completely insane the latest reports out of Denver is that they may rotate these guys in and out series-by-series.   Fantasy owners if you’re looking for one trend to root against with all your might, root against this one – because if this works and becomes a NFL strategy, fantasy football will become impossible.

2.) The Steelers running game Le’veon Bell was drafted so he could be the bellcow 25 carry guy.  He got hurt in camp, then he got hurt 4 plays into his 1st preseason game.  So the Steelers went out and made a semi-surprise Jonathan Dwyer cut (he was their leading rusher last year), and instead went out and picked up Felix Jones (Jones had been cut from Philly).

Jones was a hot name for a few minutes, until it looked like the Steelers had settled on slightly banged up RB Isaac Redman to be atop their depth chart.   It’s a little bit of a mess at this point. Head coach Mike Tomlin has said that they don’t plan on using a running back committee (yay for the oldschool!) and the starter will get 25-30 carries.

But it’s far from clear that Redman is worth a fantasy investment.  For one thing, his injury history is bad- even currently he’s got a pinched nerve.  Then there are the reports that Le’veon Bell is trying to come back in week 2 or 3, which would certainly pose a threat to Redman’s job.  And the capper to these concerns is that the Pittsburgh offensive line has looked terrible in preseason.  Not quite Raiders terrible mind you, but not all that much above it.

I think for now you have to hold whatever cards you have in this game.  If you drafted Bell, you should still feel ok with that- albeit discouraged by injury. If you own Redman start him while you can, and trade him if Bell overtakes him to the Bell owner.  If Redman is on the waiver he’s worth an add based on potential.  Felix Jones is worth an add only if the end of your bench is very weak, and becomes a cut if Bell comes back and he hasn’t surpassed Redman on the depth chart.

3.) The Patriots passing game.  There are some things we do know about this situation QB Tom Brady will be fine.  Maybe, maybe, not super elite in fantasy – but right in that top 5 conversation.  And to do it he’ll get WR Danny Amendola and TE Rob Gronkowski (when he returns from injury) plenty of looks.

Beyond that though, there’s some pretty interesting scenarios.  Most popular is the 2 TE “Patriot Way” idea with rookie TE Zac Sudfeld.  Sudfeld is a large target at 6’7, but they seem to want to use him as the “move” TE to replace Aaron Hernandez.   And this is the plan for him I think from week 1, even without Gronkowski there – which is a little odd to me.   Sudfeld is slower than Hernandez,  and hasn’t demonstrated that he has the same hands (a fumble in preseason temporarily got him benched) – so I wonder if this “move TE” thing is a fit or if it’s a force b/c they’ll have nowhere else to put him when Gronkowski returns.   Sudfeld’s got a lot of hype in fantasy leagues right now, and I think he’ll be a productive player – but you really can’t say whether you’re going to get a guy who’s borderline top 5 at the position (like Hernandez) or borderline top 12 – making him a fringe ffl starter.

Ironically, the rookie Sudfeld might get more looks because of all the rookies at WR vying for time on the outside.   WR Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, and Kenbrell Thompkins were all brought in this offseason to contend for playing time.   Right now the winner of the preseason appears to be undrafted FA  Thompkins.  Thompkins targets remain to be determined – Brady has had players on the outside before like Deion Branch, and David Givens who were much better actual football players than fantasy producers, and it’s unknown if any of these rookies can get in-sync enough to be Brady’s 1st read – with all the plays undoubtedly that will be scripted for Amendola, Gronk, and Sudfeld.

Another wildcard is RB Shane Vereen who could take over a good portion of the Pats’ short passing game on screens and passes to the flat.  Vereen is a very talented player and probably worth a flex play in your fantasy lineup.

So there are  a lot of mouths to feed, and several Patriots could be fantasy factors in 2013, being patient and taking chances on a few of them despite week to week inconsistencies may be the best strategy.


:by Mike


The Dust is Starting to Settle

We will have more detailed analysis of all the roster cuts around Tuesday.   The rosters on most teams will continue to churn until about Tuesday or so.  Most teams install their game plans on Wednesday for that Sundays game.  All roster moves should be complete before then.


Preseason 2013 Week #4: Final Cuts – Notes and Nuggets

Preseason Week 4:

Things to look for tonight

• Injuries!!! Its way easier to pick up an undrafted back up now than when the season starts this is essential
o Pay attention to any backups that go down. That 3rd stringer could     become fantasy relevant

• A good majority of the players that get extended playing time tonight usually fall into one of two categories. This is far from absolute, but it can give you an idea

o Coming back from injury and need a week to get some work
o Fighting for a roster spot

• Pay attention to position battles. This game could very well decide the back 5 to 10 roster spots on the final 53.
• Special teams play is essential for most non-starters to make the team. Many great players have cut their teeth here.
• The teams loaded with talent, Seattle, San Fran, Cincinnati, Green Bay, etc… will have several of their 75 to 53 cut players signed elsewhere. Monitor these; you never know when a backup will be a starter down the road.
• Expect a few low level trades for players. Some teams won’t want to wait for a players release and want to secure the player so they don’t hit the open market.
 o Chris Harper 2013 4th round pick of the Seahawks might fall into this category. He might not make the team, but still has shown good potential.
• Cuts like this are agonizing for teams. Wasting a resource (4th round pick) and having the possibility of him being a cut is a real bind. Some teams will cut the better player because of the resource allocation.
Additional notes
• Just because they make the final 53 man roster does not mean they will be on the roster past week 1.
o Veteran’s salaries are guaranteed when signed prior to week 1. Most teams will sign vets after this to avoid guaranteeing the salary. Doing this means one of the players on the back end of the final 53 will get cut.
•Pay attention to who gets signed to the practice squad. Many successful NFL players have spent time here.