Category Archives: Dallas Cowboys

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…

WR’s

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.

RB’s

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.

QB’s

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.

-Ron

2013 – Week 7 Waiver Add/Drop

So, last week we told you to grab QB Nick Foles, RB Zac Stacey,  and RB Andre Ellington – to go along with our exemplary record of grabbing guys before the rush in your league is on (in weeks even older than that we advised WR Josh Gordon, WR Justin Blackmon, WR Keenan Allen, TE Jordan Reed etc).  You may not have a chance at any of them now, but if you do pull the trigger…if not…it’s time to read along here and start taking us seriously.  Feel free to go back and read our waiver advice to look for names that may still be available in your league – we are going to go ahead and assume you want “brand” new guys this week.

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

WR Percy Harvin – We recommended Harvin last week, and have had good success watching Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon be picked up right before their successful season debuts.  Harvin is a different case coming back from major injury, but you still can easily afford to drop someone for his homerun potential.  The new rumors are Harvin will be ready in 1-2 weeks, and even if it takes 3-4 weeks picking him up before he comes back is an excellent idea.  yeah you don’t know what you’ll get with him, but he’s a dymanic top 10 fantasy WR when ready to go.  It’s not a lot to ask to cut the last guy on your bench for him.

RB Brandon Jacobs – We have recommended just about every Giants RB this season as a pick up, including Jacobs about 3 weeks ago.  If Jacobs is still on your league’s waiver wire be prepared to fight for him this week.  He’s a little banged up, and David Wilson may be back sooner than expected from his neck injury…but when you look at the RB’s we’re going to recommend for level 2 this week there’s no harm in going in for Jacobs – he’s the lead back in NYG for as long as he’s healthy and the only back to run well there all season.  It may be a very short window, but Jacobs could produce RB2 numbers during these critical bye weeks.

TE Jeff Cumberland – Cumberland is only this high because we’ve been talking about him for weeks, and this is really the last time I want to mention him. With Kellen Winslow suspended for 3 games, and Santonio Holmes still nursing an injury Cumberland could even improve on his play that for the last 3 weeks has looked like 34 and a TD, 79 and a TD, and just this week 59 yards.  Cumberland may struggle to be a full TE1 for you, but if you recently had an injury to Jimmy Graham, or Owen Daniels – or have a very inconsistent TE like Kyle Rudoplh , Cumberland is worth a pickup to rotate in based on matchups.

TE Jordan Reed – Exactly the same as Cumberland, sick of mentioning him – he should be owned.

Level 2

RB Joseph Randle – Randle will be involved with Demarco Murray on the shelf for a game or 2.  Randle to me is no special talent, but Jerry Jones reportedly really likes the kid and in Dallas that still means something.  I expect Randle to be a mid level flex play while Murray recovers – he’s only worth a chance if you specifically need RB help, and is not worth passing on  WR or TE or QB that you may need.

RB Chris Ivory – Oh how times have changed for Ivory.  In the spring Ivory was considered a fantasy sleeper back with a lock on the Jets’ starting RB job.  Well someone forgot to set his alarm clock, b/c after weeks of playing with injury and running poorly Ivory appeared to be no better than the RB3 on his own team.  Well with RB Mike Goodson lost for the year, Ivory once again becomes a potential factor in the Jets offense.  He is a tease no doubt, a solid brutal runner – an injury prone Marshawn Lynch perhaps – but if some owner let him go over the past few weeks and he’s on your waiver wire there is still a chance Ivory could regain the starting job in NY by the end of the season.  Admittedly, this would take a drop off in play by Bilal Powel, but hey….MUCH stranger things have happened.

WR Jacoby Jones – Jones played his 1st game since Week 1 of the season this weekend and responded with 2 catches for 42 yards and a TD.  Jones will be a frustratingly inconsistent fantasy player as he is every season, but there’s little doubt Baltimore missed his veteran presence and his targets should increase as he gets even healthier.  A potential WR 4, or Wr3 during your bye weeks.

RB Khiry Robinson – Very quietly Robinson is running hard in New Orleans.  This past weekend he took 7 carries for 53 yards and a TD, while again filling in for the Mark Ingram role in that offense.  Robinson’s week to week value will be challenged by how many touches he gets vs Pierre Thomas, and then when Ingram comes back from injury – he will have to fight the former Heisman winner for playing time….so this is sort of a lotto ticket.   But, I am betting the Saints will let Robinson have Ingram’s spot when they finally judge the 2 head to head.  Ingram really has been that bad as a pro.

Level 3

WR Kris Durham – For some reason know only to the mind of Matt Stafford, Durham has taken on the role of secondary WR to Megatron that seemed clearly marked for Ryan Broyles.  While Burelson remains sidelined it’s possible Durham remains fantasy relevant, but with Calvin Johnson getting healthier his targets seem destined to remain low.   In deep leagues he’s worth a pickup for a few weeks as a desperation play and nothing more.

QB Thaddeus Lewis – Miss out on bad real life/good fantasy QB Terrell Pryor?  Well for a month or so this guy might be Pryor 2.0.  Lewis seemed to have the deep ball in his arsenal over the weekend, as well as mobility in the pocket.  His average pass per attempt was only 6.8, so we can’t get too excited…and further complicating matters was his “mild” foot sprain injury he confessed to having after the game. Monitor the status of his injury for week 7 before making a claim on him, but if you are deseperate at QB, Lewis to me is worth a look over a guy like TJ Yates on your waiver wire – who has already proven he can’t do the job.

WR Jarret Boykin – James Jones is out for a game or two, Randal Cobb is out for more than a game or two.  Boykin is next in line in a good passing attack, he’s probably only a 1 or 2 game rental at this point….but those can be very valuable this time of year.

TE Joseph Fauria – His value is massively overinflated right now, so don’t pass up players like Cumberland and Reed at the position just because this guy scored 3 TD’s over the weekend.  Fauria is the ultimate boom or bust play having just 7 catches in 6 games with 5 of them for Td’s.  Odds are you can do better, but if you can’t pick him up and play him only when your other TE is hurt or has a terrible matchup – the fact is you just won’t see his awful TD dances enough during the season to make him reliable.

DROPS

RB Mike Goodson – Suspension and now season ending injury.  I suppose if you own Goodson in a dynasty/keeper format you can take some solace in the fact that he beat out Chris Ivory for a spot before going down.  But, even long term in 2014 and beyond I would bet against this guy doing much of anything.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – although Jake Locker doesn’t look like he’ll suit up for week 7, new reports say he may only be a game or two away.  Fitzpatrick played a tough Seattle defense last weekend and struggled, and now gets the 49’ers as a reward in week 7.  He hasn’t played very well, so if you were desperate and picked him up hoping to catch lightening in a bottle – well that plan has short circuited.  Time to release him for the next flyer at the position.

:by Ron/Mike

2013 Week 4 – Waiver Add/Drop

Well, if you’ve been following us and our advice on add drops – you’re going to know that 3 of this week’s higher waiver adds in standard leagues are guys we recommended either last week or the week before.  So if you’re looking for why you should pick up WR Josh Gordon or WR Santonio Holmes after their monster weeks – well, good luck competing with your entire league for them.   I tried to warn you last week 🙂  Similarly, albeit with less authority I am not going to bring up RB Brandon Bolden as a potential add this week – b/c I advocated him in deeper leagues during week 1.  He gets a bump to Level 2 type of guy this week.

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

RB Fred Jackson – I believed in CJ Spiller more than most, I bought the hype.  Fred Jackson just continues to hang around though and look like the better runner.  Spiller is flash and talent – Jackson is a plodding workhorse – but for the Bills after 3 weeks Jackson seems to be what they need.  Spiller is banged up a little right now (and I’m not advising Spiller owners to panic), but even when healthy Jackson gets meaningful work.  3 games is a large enough sample size for this guy to be owned – so if somehow he’s available in more shallow leagues…pick him up.

RB Bilal Powell – Powell was likely drafted in your league, but maybe some owner got frustrated with him and tossed him out.  This is the time to get him, because with Ivory hurt for the 1,000th time in his career,  Powell has job security and is producing.  Powell is a lot like Fred Jackson – he seems to be a plodder, but unlike the hype for his backfield mate,  Powell is producing quietly and fighting for every yard.  The Jets offense is not going to light teams up most weeks, but Powell could start for your team as an RB2 if you’re having issues at the position.

WR Kenbrell Thompkins – Thompkins appears to have beaten fellow rookie Aaron Dobson for playing time and for targets.  Most importantly he seems to have shaken off an erratic week 2 and will remain in the Patriots’ plans.  He needs to be owned in all leagues, and if someone else hasn’t done it – it should be you based off his future potential as a high end WR3.

TE Heath Miller – Quietly Heath Miller is returning to action for 2013.  His 3 catches for 35 yard debut may have also gone unnoticed in your leagues….just as I’m sure people forgot that in 2012 Miller had over 800 yards receiving and 8 Td’s.  I know Pittsburgh’s offense is bad, Miller is slower, he may have to block more etc…. but the fact remains Miller and Big Ben have a chemistry together over many years and the Steelers will be throwing the ball a lot this season.  Pick Miller up if you need TE help – put him on your bench for a week or two more and then in under a month you may have a top 5-6 TE  week to week.  That’s a good deal.

Level 2

RB Jason Snelling – I’m a buyer of this guy on the news that Steven Jackson may be out another 3 weeks or more.  Snelling is just a better RB than Jacquizz Rodgers and he may get more goalline work than him before long.  Rodgers may be owned in your league, or even higher on some’s waiver priorities – use that to your advantage and take Snelling as a potential flex play.  Then, you can laugh while Rodgers gets tackled for a -1 loss every 3rd time he touches it.  Snelling won’t light the fantasy world on fire, but with Jackson out and older – by year’s end Snelling could become a very viable flex or bench player for you.

RB Jonathan Franklin – Ugh, here we go again with Green Bay’s backfield.  Look here’s what we know – Ed Lacy will be back in the picture as early as this week.  James Starks was slated over Franklin, and Franklin had a late game fumble against the Bengals that pretty much cost Green Bay the game.   Now here’s what works in his favor: he’s healthy.  Starks has a knee sprain and may be out multiple weeks, Lacy will be back but coming off a concussion, so it’s tough to see him getting the lion’s share of the workload right away.   So for at least a few weeks Franklin will have an opportunity to work this thing into a full time split.   So the question you need to ask is do I need to ride this situation long term?  Do you believe Franklin will beat Lacy out for touches by the end of the year?  I don’t – but if you need a flex play for the next 2-3 weeks in a bad way….then you might as well try this lotto ticket.

WR Nate Washington – Washington had a big day in Week 3 with 8 catches for 131 yards, more importantly he seems to have taken the Wr1 role in Tennessee (from Kenny Britt – who we advised you last week to drop in standard size leagues).  The Titans are not going to light it up very often, and Kendell Wright and Justin Hunter are young players the team will want to take looks at (and targets toward) – but Washington clearly has a role and that means some measure of weekly production.  He’s worth an add if you’re currently unhappy with your WR3 or Wr4 situation and are willing to deal with some inconsistency.

WR Davone Bess – We’re big fans of Bess here at the artofscore, but it’s only really this week that he becomes worth consideration for a roster spot. For one thing, Brian Hoyer shocked us all this weekend – and looked a little competent (more on him below), and the bigger factor is that with the Browns supposedly shopping Greg Little and Josh Gordon, Bess could be a defacto WR1 by season’s end.  He has already beaten Little out for the Wr2 job.  Optimism for the real player is capped a little by Hoyer and the rest of the Browns offense which for now includes Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron – who will probably account for 80% of the Browns’ passing scores going forward.  But in the end, Bess could be a very consistent Wr3 especially should Josh Gordon leave town.

Level 3

TE Jordan Reed – Reed may not have officially beaten out Fred Davis for the starting TE job in Washington, but the writing is on the wall.  Reed is currently banged up so check on his status before making the add, but this is more of a long term buy anyway.   Reed has looked much better in the offense than Davis, and while the 2 may oscillate looks for a few weeks – Davis is on the last year of his deal, and as the team falls out of contention Reed should take more and more of the work – as he already seems more dynamic.  He’s an add if you’re desperate for a 2nd TE, and a guy like Heath Miller isn’t available…maybe by the end of the year he’s more than that.

QB Brian Hoyer – Over 300 yards and 3 Td’s.  Shocking.  One of them was a game winner!  Lost in the celebration (rightfully) of Cleveland backers this week is 2 fold..1 Minnesota’s pass defense was awful, they may wind up being in the bottom 5 in the league this year.  And 2ndly, we need to see it again before we add him for fantasy.  Hoyer has no dependable history and despite the performance had some troubling signs – like the 3 Int’s he threw.   If he struggles against better defenses can he even keep the job?  Has he even won it?  Brandon Weeden is not in favor in Cleveland for sure, but will the Browns put him back in to showcase him for other teams, or to give him a last chance to advocate for his roster spot in 2014?  These are questions that are very legitimate and not to be swept under the rug of Hoyer-mania….if there is such a thing.  Anyway, in very deep leagues I suppose Hoyer is worth an add as a backup fantasy QB, especially with guys like Terrel Pryor getting hurt etc..but in most leagues we need to see it at least twice to make him worth a pickup.

WR Ryan Broyles – I love Broyles’ talent and his situation, I just hate his knees.  Broyles was finally used in a game this weekend and is working his way slowly back from injury.   He looked quick and strong, and remains my pick to easily out work Nate Burleson by the time the season ends.  In average leagues you may not need to grab him this week – just monitor him….but in deep leagues the time to grab him is before he’s played too many games and shown too much of his comeback. (Edited on the news that Nate Burleson has broken his arm – Broyles is now a high level 2, or low level 1 add for this week – b/c he will be the 2 WR almost immediately in the wake of this news)

WR Terrance Williams – I don’t particularly like Williams as a talent, but very quickly he could be in a very good situation.  WR Miles Austin is battling again with his hamstring…and even though right now he’s not scheduled to miss time, with his history that’s not a good sign for him.  For Williams if Austin were limited or out that would be pretty fantastic considering Dallas’ upcoming opponents are horrific against the pass:  Chargers, Broncos (the one tough matchup), Redskins, Eagles, Vikings, Saints, Giants, and Raiders.   I mean look at that schedule! You’d start anyone starting against those teams right?  Well Williams may be a starter for some or all of them and this will be a chance to buy low on that speculation.

RB Bryce Brown – McCoy got dinged up on Thursday night, and he came back fine….but the lesson should not be lost.  Bryce Brown is talented and would step into a fantastic situation should McCoy have to miss time.   If he’s not owned in your league based off this speculation, it may be time to add him.  I just don’t know how Chip Kelly’s high volume offense is going to affect his players after say the season mid-point. Will he burn guys out, or expose them to injury risk?  I’m not selling the Eagles short here, I’ve been impressed…but the questions about health will begin to creep in.   Brown could be your insurance or your lottery ticket.

Players to Drop

TE Fred Davis – Jordan Reed has cut into his passing looks, and even Logan Paulsen saw time Sunday as the inline blocker TE over Fred, while Fred was “hurt”.   Davis may be hurt, but I’d say it’s not only due to injury that he’s sliding down in playing time.  Those who drafted him thinking he had top 10 position potential – I agreed with that.  I no longer agree, even if Fred holds his starting job I have a tough time imaging Washington will use him if they continue to lose b/c Davis is on the last year of his deal (something that at the start of the season could’ve been very helpful to him) and they will want to see more of Reed in the attack.   Davis’ shot at even being a top 15 TE this year look bleak and there are likely better options on your waiver.

RB James Starks – From add one week to potential drop the next – these are the days of our Greenbay Fantasy Football Lives.  If you are desperate at RB in a deep league keep him, otherwise it’s time to move on.  Starks is injured (again) and now with Jonathan Franklin emerging and Lacy returning it’s tough to think of him as any more than RB3 on his own team.

TE Brandon Pettigrew – Much like Fred Davis, Pettigrew looks lost and unused in this offense.  Hell, he played this week against Washington and had the same # of catches as Fred Davis who didn’t play.  Think about that.

:by Mike

 

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

Truth or Fiction from NFL Week 1

Before we get into what one can potentially recognize from the 1st week of football.  I want to stress that- just like the real NFL – a week 1 win, or loss does not set up/or ruin your 2013 fantasy season.  Sure some of you may have more work to do than others, but if you follow along with what’s happening in the NFL there’s always waiver work to do, and potentially even trades to make.

The NFL has changed, preseason doesn’t help starters out the way it used to – and as a result some of your fantasy players may have let you down this week.  On the other hand some players may simply have been benefits of unique situations that temporarily inflated their value.

Sure, we’ll have weekly articles on who to grab from your waiver wire, or who to trade for/away – but really the most important part of being a fantasy owner is to evaluate your players and the NFL trends weekly – and then to put those in the proper context.

So for our 1st weekend of NFL football I’m gonna put out there some of the bigger potential fantasy stories and what I think is really going on with them.  Then using this analysis, I’ll attack my league’s waiver wire – or my week 2 starting lineup, or my trade offers (you shouldn’t do a lot of trading early in the year unless you feel like you’re getting overwhelming value).

TRUTH

1.) The Eagles Offense will be a hot spot for everyone as long as Michael Vick stays healthy.   I wrote about this a lot this preseason – and this is a very tough game to truly evaluate if the Eagles will have the league’s best offense or whether several early Washington mistakes inflated the stats.  What is undeniable though is that this offense fits their skill players perfectly.  WR Desean Jackson and TE Brent Celek can now safely be thought of as fantasy weekly starters, while QB Michael Vick and especially RB Lesean McCoy can now be thought of as fantasy MVP caliber players.

2.) QB Colin Kapernick is not a one year fantasy wonder, and the Niners will continue to open up their offense for him.  Sure, it was against the terrible Packers D – but the trend for Harbaugh to allow his QB to throw has to make fantasy owners happy.  And they should continue to do this even against better defenses.  Kap’s chemistry with WR Anquan Bolidn (208 yards!) may have been the story of the day, but I think the story of the 2013 season will be his emerging connection with TE Vernon Davis.  The Niners will not be a pass 1st team by season’s end, but it is safe to throw out the notion that their passing game will be conservative.

3.) Pittsburgh’s rushing attack, if not their whole offense looks headed for disaster.  Again, everything depends on your league size and team needs – but I would be getting out of the Steelers backfield as soon as possible.  The passing game may still provide moments and stars this season – but the running game is going to be dead in the water for most or all of 2013.  Losing their all-pro center Maurkice Pouncey for the season was the deathblow.  A final stroke that was set up for a team that lost RB Le’Veon Bell for 2 months earlier in the preseason, and a team that lost scat back RB LaRod Stephens-Howling in this one also for the season.  Starter Isaac Redmon – got all of about 9 yards before fumbling problems had him on the bench.  How bad is Pitt’s RB situation?  They brought back Jonathan Dwyer – a guy they cut only a few days before b/c he lacked dedication to the job.  Isn’t that inspiring?  If you own a Pittsburgh back in fantasy they are at their lowest value, so you either drop them for a promising player, or you wait til they have a good week and move them…if any one of them ever has that good week.

4.) New England’s offense is still very much in flux.  Paging super sleeper (for some) TE Zac Sudfeld?  Are you awake Zac? Are you alive?  Yeah, after 1 game the next move TE in the New England offense has as many receptions for as many yards as I do.  And now he seems to have hamstring problems.  RB Steven Ridley a very popular RB2 choice for fantasy – and likely a 2nd round pick in most formats – was clearly outplayed, and seemed to have quite literally fumbled away his job – with an early fumble.   Unfortunately for the Patriots when RB Shane Vereen came in and went for an all purpose day of over 150 yards – he broke his wrist and will miss the next 4 games.  Likewise WR Danny Amendola who caught 10 passes, also got hurt for the 1,000th time in his career and looks to be unavailable for week 2.   Nothing is settled for workload or targets right now, and the biggest winners this week are probably Steven Ridley owners who will get a 2nd chance on life.

FICTION

1.) RB David Wilson will lose his starting RB job any time soon.  I know I’m not his biggest fan – and fumbling, especially twice is a good way to get benched.  But when RB Andre Brown went down the reality is the Giants had a bare cupboard behind Wilson.  Now I know the big story is who the Giants will bring in this week (as we mentioned in our preseason articles) – and whomever they bring in is worth a look in fantasy on the waiver wire (depending on the talent of the guy they are bringing in)…but the reality is, whomever comes in will be competing only to take some of the workload away, not the job.  Not yet anyway.  The Giants have been very publicly supportive of Wilson after the game – b/c they know that they need Wilson’s speed in the offense.   For now and for the 1st half of the season he should be safe and is worth a buy low trade offer if you can grab him…..but, it does come with the risk that he continues to shot himself in the le…umm foot.  Sorry I confuse that saying when it comes to the G-men).

2.) The Seattle Offense will under perform vs expectations this year.  Right now, file this under fiction.  People will look at Kapernick, Luck, and Rg3’s (who got most of his in garbage time) stat sheets for week 1 and be ready to dump on Mr Wilson.  Personally, and this is no slight to Russell Wilson, but I think his fantasy ceiling is naturally the lowest of those 4 anyway – and this game did nothing to change that opinion.  And it shouldn’t change anyone’s opinion that Wilson can still very easily be a top 8-10 fantasy QB.  Likewise, owners have to be upset with RB Marshawn Lynch’s 40 something yard effort.  It’s gonna be ok – and believe me you will be able to start them in road games, even on the east coast.  The problem in this one, (aside from opening week rustiness) was the Carolina front 7.  Carolina’s front 7 are very talented and they play the run game especially well – in boxing “styles make fights”- and in this one the Panthers just matched up very well with the things Seattle likes to do.  There will be much bigger fantasy days ahead for the Seahawks.

3.) It’s panic time on RB CJ Spiller, WR Dez Bryant, and WR Calvin Johnson.   I lumped these guys together – 3,2, and 3 would be their week 1 point totals in most leagues, and I really added Johnson to highlight the absurdity of worrying about these 1st and 2nd round fantasy picks.  These guys had bad weeks due to schemes and due to circumstance – no one wants this to happen, but it does.  There are some guys like maybe WR Mike Wallace and WR Kenny Britt that you can start looking for the red flag, but even on them – after one week it’s not time to raise it.

And so these are just a few of the Week 1 fallouts – whether you won or lost in your week 1 matchups, just like the real guys it’s on to week 2 and planning for that.  We’ll have some waiver articles up soon for you to help with that plan.

:by Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Preseason Week 3: Cincinnati at Dallas

CINCINNATI

So here’s something you don’t see everyday.  WR Brandon Tate had a 75 yard TD in this one on a punt return.  But that wasn’t the “real” story here.  The real story is that it came about on the 2nd attempt of the punt, b/c the 1st punt attempt by the Cowboys hit the bottom of their giant scoreboard/video screen (!!) and had to be blown dead (after review).  It’s too bad this didn’t happen in a real game, namely: that the house that Jerry built blew up in his face.

DALLAS

I hate talking about the Cowboys’ running game.  To me they are all a bunch of the same medium talent level dudes.  RB Demarco Murray – looked bad early on with a fumble, got benched came back ran hard, finished with 12 carries for 51 yards against the Bengals 2nd string defense.

But, the running game was pretty much opened up by the passing game (we’ll get to that) and Murray is not markedly all that much better than the guys behind him.   Add to that his fumbles and injury history and his current ADP in 12 team leagues of rd 3 or 4 looks like a compulsory pick with the theory that he’s not currently in an official timeshare.   To me a guy like RB Philip Tanner is  perfectly capable of replicating most of the things Murray does (although not the speed) – but he’s not worth drafting in fantasy unless an injury happens before week 1 – or if you’re in a particularly large league.  All of the Dallas RB’s – even Murray are “just a guy” – you draft Murray reluctantly because he has the lead job that could get you the carries – but you can’t be overly excited about it.

You have to be excited about the Cowboys passing attack however.  Everyone knows about the potential for WR Dez Bryant.  So what I can’t figure out is why QB Tony Romo’s ADP started so low…it’s starting to climb now into the high 6th round, but that may even be value there depending on your league rules.   This is a case where Romo’s real life struggles with crazy style turnovers and late season failures has sort of overshadowed his elite-ish fantasy output.

If you like Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, and Matt Stafford why not like Tony Romo?  Romo will be in a similar high production offense, with high attempts – has a similar below average OL working in front of him (with the exception of Russel Wilson in Seattle), and is surrounded by talented skill players.  I can make a good case that Tony Romo should go off the board even in the company of Cam Newton or Rg3 – Romo really does belong in the QB 5-7 conversation for 2013, and I don’t see it happening.  So before his ADP rises anymore based off his good preseason – it’s time to start planning on Romo as your “backup” plan at the QB spot.  If you miss a Cam or a Stafford – don’t worry pick another position there and target Romo in the 5th or 6th rounds.  He’ll be worth it – and best yet you’ll get to pair him with someone you took in the 2nd or 3rd rounds (instead of a QB) to help you out.

By extension this line of thinking also brings us to WR Miles Austin (4 catches for 59 and a TD in this one).  But “he’s made of glass” you scream.  “I know” I say – “and not even good glass – like the original I-Phone screen glass” you continue…“it’s a risk I admit” I reply….but here’s what I’m looking at….

4 of the last 5 seasons Austin has finished with 900 yards and 6 TD’s as his minimum.  In other season of those 5, he wasn’t on the field enough to get 900, but he had already 7 TD’s at that point to go with about 500 yards.

And did you know in 3 of the last 5 seasons Miles actually played all 16 games?  Now I’ll admit some of those games to get to 16 he was banged up badly enough that it clearly affected his play.  Still perception on this guy isn’t always reality – as I watched him cover up his body, slide early at times, and drop a pass because he was worried about taking a shot – where most people probably thought ‘this brittle dude could get knocked out at any time”… I was thinking “well at least he’s trying to take care of himself.”

Miles Austin’s current ADP in a 12 team league is late 7th early 8th round.  He’s coming off the board after guys like WR Stevie Johnson and WR Antonio Brown.

Fun Fact: In 2012, Miles Austin outscored WR Antonio Brown in most non-Ppr and PPR formats.   Does that sound right to you?  Does it match your perception of this guy?

If you get Miles Austin as your fantasy football Wr #3 you’re ahead of the game, even if he misses a few games here and there…and if he plays more than normal you’ll be getting a high end WR 2 in the 8th round of fantasy draft!!

Fight your 1st thought, and look deeper on guys in fantasy football.

:by Mike