Category Archives: Jacksonville Jaguars

Post Draft Rookie Positional Rankings: WR

 

nfl-head-hitContinuing our way too soon rankings for you fantasy fans that can’t get enough, and you dynasty leaguers with deadlines to draft very soon.  We’ll tackle the clear marquis position from the 2014 draft:  The WR, lots of good value here – but who makes the best value, who makes the longest term contributions, who is ready to play right now?

Let’s take an initial look, put them in your input file, and let’s watch how they change over the course of the summer.

1.) Mike Evans – Buccaneers – Remember because these are early rankings without having seen this play out, my rankings are heavily influenced by who has the longest term value as a fantasy player over their career.   Evans is the top of a very good group, even though I’m not in love with his initial landing spot.   Evans is a massive target, runs well, and opposite Vincent Jackson will see a lot of single coverages in 2014.  But I think his real value is a few years down the line when Lovie finds a long term answer at QB, and when Jackson has relinquished primary redzone status.  I’m putting Evans at the top, just slightly ahead of Watkins because I really hate Watkins’ situation – and I feel Watkins is overrated to a degree.

2.) Sammy Watkins – Bills – Let’s get this out of the way, I don’t like the Bills giving up a ton to move up to grab Watkins.  It was a deep WR draft, therefore it was a stupid move. You do that for a once in a generational WR talent like Calvin Johnson, you don’t do it for a guy with very similar measurables to his former teammate DeAndre Hopkins.  There is a guy (or two) like Watkins every year. Anyway, a more practical reason to hate the move is for fantasy owners that are now staring at Watkins in Buffalo, with the cold, and the low output offense, and EJ Manuel.  I actually think Manuel could be better than people think, but better than people think doesn’t mean Watkins will be fantasy relevant in 2014.  He should be used a ton since the Bills fully committed to him, but the output of that commitment to me seems very much in flux.  In a few seasons if Manuel stabilizes himself Watkins could be a top 10 fantasy WR – so in rookie drafts I couldn’t blame you for taking him #1, there’s just a little too much hype, and a little too much situational discomfort for me to rank him 1st.

3.) Jordan Matthews – Eagles – This guy might be the best physical prospect in the draft.  I’m not kidding.  It’s tough to rank him over Evans and Watkins because he does need to polish a little bit of his game.  But in 2 seasons, he could very easily be the best WR in this class with some more instruction on route running.  I believe in him, and I definitely believe in the extremely high output Chip Kelly offense.  If he gets a one on one matchup in an uptempo offense he’ll be terrifying.  In dynasty drafts I would not blink if you put this guy as your your 1st pick, I’m higher on him than some – but I really feel in a short time you will see him rise to top 10 fantasy WR status.  In 2014 redrafts however, he’s little more than a late round flier as a WR 4 or 5.

4.) Brandon Cooks – Saints – Another WR with freaky measurables that landed in a fantastic spot.   Cooks actually is probably in the best position of these top 4 to contribute right away – he’s a burner on a nearly legendary passing offense.  But Cooks isn’t just a speedster he’s very strong for his 5’10 frame and should be able to handle press coverages at this level without much issue.    I think he also has a legit chance to pass Watkins during his career, but I’ll temper it with the fact that he may be saddled at some point with a complete change of offense after Drew Brees moves on.  In redraft leagues right now he’s the top guy I’m taking from this class – you could probably do a lot worse than having him as your fantasy team’s # 3 option in 2014.

5.) Odell Beckham – Giants – Beckham’s great combine really helped pushed him onto the charts.  How much so?  Well that the Giants took him 12th overall.  I don’t doubt that Odell can be productive in the NFL and in a jack-of-all-trades type of way if they let him explore his returner capabilities.   I do have some doubts about his explosiveness, as against better SEC competition in college he really struggled.  Ron and Tim would probably have Beckham at the same level, and higher than some of the 4 above.  I have him clearly as number 5.  And there’s nothing really wrong with that – heck for 2014 I could easily see him outproducing everyone from this class except for Cooks.  In redraft leagues right now think more low end WR3 high end Wr4 – in dynasty you’re welcome to take him higher than 5th, but to me he’s not quite there.

6.) Allen Robinson – Jaguars – In many ways I think Robinson the most underrated WR in this draft.  I know putting him above Lee and Benjamin probably seems ridiculous at 1st glance….but I believe he’s better physically than his new teammate Lee (although he is slower), and he’s got better instincts and moves than Benjamin.  The caveat here is Jacksonville – rookie QB, competition with Lee, and overall rookie growing pains on a bad team.  It’s a risk pick in dynasty that many people won’t make because they’ll assume Lee will be given more rope, and Robinson may not get a chance to shine.  So I wouldn’t blame anyone for flipping these 2 selections – but I want it on record that I think Robinson is the better player right now.  In 2014 redrafts you can delay this debate for another year – because Robinson is worth waiver wire consideration only.

7.) Marqise Lee – Jaguars – How the years have changed, last year at this time as people were looking forward to who might be the best WR in the following draft – Lee’s name was mentioned early and often.  Now with how deep the WR class became he’s almost relegated to an afterthought.  Lee’s in a tough spot here for a lot of reasons: my disdain for  Blake Bortles has already been mentioned (not that a rookie QB is usually a good thing regardless),  physically he’s not exceptional – not the biggest, not the fastest, and finally he’s got plenty of competition from Cecil Shorts & Allen Robinson.  Lee is probably a solid NFL WR but I don’t think he ever gets to elite status – and it’s certainly harder to see that in  Jacksonville where they need to define their entire offense for the 4th time in 6 years.  In redrafts for 2014 Lee may have value if the Jags force the ball his way to get him involved…I still let someone else take that risk.  In dynasty it’s not out of the question that Lee becomes a top 25 WR in 2 or 3 years.

8.) Cody Latimer – Broncos – Here’s a risky one that at 1st doesn’t seem like it.  I mean who wouldn’t want to be paired with Peyton Manning?  Well, how about a guy who’s just starting out may have to be eased into his role, and by the time he gets it his team has moved on to a new QB and a new philosophy?  I love Latimer’s strength, speed, and hands – but I’m not sure how big a part of the Broncos offense he’ll be in 2014 – and if you handicap Peyton with a 2 year window or so, I can’t guarantee Latimer will see the field enough with the Manning offense.  If I could do that,  Latimer easily jumps into top 4 of this draft – I believe in his talents that much.  I also believe long term he will make a great “Eric Decker” like prospect over the course of his career.  A solid fantasy #2, but for 2014 you really have to track reports out of Denver to see how he’ll be used.  He’s either a potential rookie sleeper, or a deep stash in dynasty.

9.) Kelvin Benjamin – Panthers – My dislike of how “stiff” a player Benjamin is cannot be overstated.  He’s like Plaxico Burress at 36, not Plaxico in his prime like what he’s been compared to…still he lands in a pretty good situation for himself.  The Panthers, as we discussed numerous times throughout the offseason, were cobbling together a WR corps after cutting Steve Smith.  Drafting Benjamin in the 1st round clearly shows their commitment to building a passing offense around him.  The problem is, for all the progress Cam Newton made last season, he’s largely still a check down, scramble QB leading a heavy run offense.  Benjamin doesn’t have much gamebreaking ability to create for himself and so will be tied very heavily to redzone usage – where his incredible height may give him an advantage – but he may not be top in the pecking order down there.  As he watches Cam run in another draw, I’m sure fantasy owners will appreciate his blocking.  He’s too big to write off completely, so in dynasty mid 2nd round pick, in redraft late flier if you’ve built your team well….but to me he has very high bust potential.

10.) Davante Adams – Packers – Adams initially is probably a fantasy non-factor in 2014.  But man, his landing spot – after this season the Packers will have to come to contract discussions with Jordy Nelson and Randle Cobb.  My guess is they’ll probably only sign one of them, leaving Adams in 2015 with competition from only Jarret Boykin & fellow rookie Jarred Abrederis for the #2 in an Aaron Rodgers’ offense.  Oh sure, the Packers could trade or draft someone prior to 2015 – but Adams is a solid option for them in house and should just be waiting in the wings for more and more playing time.  He’s riskier than guys like Benjamin or Lee, but his payoff if things break right could be very nice.  If you like upside guys dynasty leaguers aren’t out of their minds to draft him in the late 1st, early 2nd rounds of rookie drafts.

THE REST

Donte MoncreifColts – solid but not great measurables, won’t become the coveted future “go-to-guy” for Andrew Luck, but could hang around for years being a productive player.

Paul Richardson – Seahawks – they like his deep ball skill set.  But will they use it?  What overlap does that have with Percy Harvin’s game?

Jarvis Landry – Dolphins – I don’t think he’s special at all, but Dolphins will give him every chance to make it work.

Bruce Ellington  – 49’ers – Above average talent, but will he be buried on that roster?  Even if Crabtree leaves in 2015 and Boldin moves on after that he fits the burner role rather than the possession role the Niners have coveted.

Martavis Bryant – Steelers – Draft stock tumble was probably warranted – average possession level WR, could be useful career fantasy Wr3.

Jared Abbrederis – Packers – Bit of a wildcard good pass catcher, not fast, potentially a #3 in Green Bay which could spike value.  But may not be polished enough to grab gig and get lost in shuffle.

Devin Street – Cowboys – Underrated player chance to supplant Terrance Williams, but certainly no lock to do so.

Michael Campanaro – Ravens – One of my favorite sleepers, but on a traditionally low output offense shifting toward heavy TE use – he may be a story more of never was, than will be…

John Brown – Cardinals – To take this guy in the 3rd round shows the Cardinals must have plans for him.  Doesn’t mean those plans will pan out however.

Josh Huff – Eagles – Same as John Brown on a much better offense.

Quincy Enunwa – Jets – The best of a truly odd trio the Jets brought in to pair with Geno Smith. Long term he might work out….short term betting against it.

Jeremy Gallon – Patriots – There’s just too much competition for him – smallest WR drafted by Patriots since Bellichik took over, likely views him as special team coverage player.

Robert Herron – Bucs – Could carve out a speed role in a land of giant WR, but not confident the Bucs offense will utilize him.

Matt Hazel – Dolphins – I might be among the very few that wouldn’t be shocked by him beating out Jarvis Landry for playing time.

TJ Jones – Lions – I’m not so sure TJ makes the team, I know there is some fantasy teasing with a Lions WR, but not sure he can handle being a 3rd or 4th option at the pro level.

Ryan Grant – Redskins – No, not that Ryan Grant.  Great hands, average measurables, and a very crowded WR crew have him pegged for a preseason cut or practice squad.

Kevin Norwood Seahawks – Long odds to make the team, steady but not any kind of standout player.

Shaq Evans – Jets – Shaq Evans a 4th rd pick?!!  Oh you wacky Jets.

Jalen Saunders – Jets – Jalen Saunders a 4th rd pick even higher than Evans?!!!! Oh Jets….no…

 

:by Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Draft Rookie Positional Ranks: QB’s

We here at the Art of Score realize the amount of over-saturation and further more, the absurdity of handing out draft grades to players and teams before guys have even played one down of professional football.  However, we also realize the demand for some type of fantasy feedback, particularly for those of you in dynasty drafts who will be drafting players before you get to see any of these guys in pads.

As such, we’re going to give you these positional rankings now – put them in your input file, and let’s watch how they change over the course of the summer.

QB’s

1.) Teddy Bridgewater – Vikings – I’ve felt all along from a talent perspective Bridgewater was the best QB in this draft.   Going to Minnesota is pretty good for him for a few reasons.  First if he struggles in camp and isn’t ready for the season there’s no QB in the NFL that says “stopgap” more than Matt Cassel – so the Vikes shouldn’t feel pressured to start Bridgewater if he’s not ready.  Second, Norv Turner apparently pushed for Ted (I feel weird to keep calling him “Teddy”) so Turner believes in him and will design the offense for him.  And third the Vikings will still emphasis the run game under Adrian Peterson – as anyone will tell you a heavy run game can slow down pass rushers, and give an inexperienced QB more time to make quality decisions.  In redraft leagues, unless Bridgewater clearly wins the job out of preseason, and looks very good doing it – I’m probably not drafting him – even as a low end backup.  He’s going to take some time I predict – but in dynasty drafts he’s one of the few QB assets I’d like to have from 2014.  Probably a mid 2nd round dynasty pick.

2.) Tom Savage – Texans – Ok I know the next two guys on this list have more hype, seem more pro-ready, and have zero chance of not starting at some point in 2014.  But to me with Savage you play the long game here and see if you win.  You’ll hear a lot of buzz about Ryan Mallet coming to Houston and if that happens it probably pushes off Savage’s debut 2 seasons or so (I don’t believe in Mallet).  And in 2-3 years Arian Foster and Andre Johnson could be gone from what was an explosive offense.   However, what makes Savage attractive in spite of this uncertainty is that he has better tools than most at the position – he has better size, better accuracy, and better decision making than Manziel, and he’s got a better arm than Bortles.  In redraft leagues he’s a non draft for 2014 – on the off-chance he comes in as the 2014 starter, a backup to a low risk starter (Manning, Rodgers, Brees, etc) might be feasible.  In dynasty rookie drafts – if you have a development roster spot – spending a 3rd or 4th rd pick on him may yield you a top 15 QB in a few seasons.

3.) Johnny Manziel – Browns – Crazy is as crazy does.  In less than a week, Josh Gordon has started to face the possibility of a year long suspension, reports have surfaced that most of the Browns scouting department and coaches wanted Teddy Bridgewater, and that the owner Jim Haslam apparently overruled everyone on the advice of a homeless dude.  Now, whether that last part is just an urban legend, or a terribly misguided PR move – I don’t know, and I don’t care.   Look Manziel is polarizing, so no matter what I say about him you are going to have your opinion on whether he can play in this league.   I think he’s the type of guy to have 3-4 seasons of a few highlight plays, be generally mediocre – be loved or hated way beyond that level, and then slip into the ether. He’s smaller and slower than RG3, doesn’t seem to have the decision making that Russel Wilson has, and lacks the accuracy of Andrew Luck.   Yet I’m supposed to believe somehow that this guy is the league’s next superstar?  Not buying it.  Assuming he starts this year in Cleveland in redraft formats he may be worth looking at from the perspective of his scrambling – but keep in mind that usually has a shelf life (as RG3 found out) – and he has low end backup value on that.  In rookie drafts, the guy is going to be drafted 2nd round, whether it’s by you depends whether you think Manziel has game beyond his legs.  If I was drafting in dynasty I would pick him if I thought he would have a highlight or two his rookie year and then try to trade him.

4.) Blake Bortles – Jaguars – Well the Jags believe in him so he’ll probably be given the keys to drive asap. Bortles has great height and weight for an NFL QB, and he’s fairly mobile – but I am highly skeptical of his ability to throw the ball. In college he had a ton, and I mean probably the majority of his time in a one read system – complete with extremely short drops of 2 or less.  A lot of QB’s look great in bubble screen systems – but can he throw the ball down the field?  I say not really, but based on a draft position this guy will be a starter in the league for at least 2-3 seasons.  For redraft purposes he is undraftable to me even if he’s the opening day starter, I mean if he heats up you can also try a waiver wire on him.  In rookie drafts, if you’re fairly desperate for a backup QB you can take him in the late 3rd or 4th rounds knowing that at least he’ll start some games this year.

5.) Jimmy Garoppolo – Patriots – A testament to how weak this QB class seems to me is that I’m putting Garoppolo over players that have a much clearer path to starting.  If the Pats hadn’t chosen Jimmy he may well have been the 2nd or 3rd best QB fantasy option in this draft.  As it stands right now Garoppolo is undraftable in redraft leagues, and in dynasty leagues is a high risk pick that depends a lot on how you view him.  I think Jimmy is talented, I think learning under Brady would be good for him, but I also think it’s impossible to know if he’s the next Pat’s QB.  And if he’s not New England’s successor than you have to check the trajectory of guys like Matt Cassel and Ryan Mallet (to be determined) and figure out if you like his FA chances in 3 seasons.   I would take a flier on him in dynasty leagues if you have a developmental spot he seems to be exactly the player you hold that spot for, and unlike Mallet I believe that the possibility of the Pats job may be up for grabs by the end of his rookie contract.  I’d take him over Bortles in dynasty at about the same spot in the draft if my team already had a competent backup QB on the roster.

THE REST

Derrick Carr – Raiders – nobody wants to get involved with the Raiders’ mess do they?

Logan Thomas – Cardinals – The most fascinating of the QB’s to me unpredictable.  A better Cam Newton?  Or out of the league in 2 years?

Zach Mettenberger – Titans – Not a great potential guy, but path to QB may only be blocked by shaky and often injured Locker.

Aaron Murray – Chiefs – Small, lack of arm strength, and recovering from a torn ACL.  May have some intangibles.  May also have been drafted solely for contract leverage with Alex Smith.

David Fales – Bears – Getting to work with Trestman is nice, working with Cavanaugh is even better.  Capable backup player – ironically may have a career a lot like recently departed Josh McCown.

AJ McCarron – Bengals – McCarron seems to have some potential starter traits good arm, size, decision making average.  But he’s missing something elite – and he’s not going to find it in Cincy behind Dalton.

Tajh Boyd – Jets – A run 1st QB 3rd string back up to Geno Smith and Michael Vick. I don’t see Boyd ever starting an NFL game.

Keith Wenning – Ravens – Wenning is probably a better QB than 2 or 3 of the guys that went ahead of him in the draft.  But he’s clearly on track for NFL career backup…although that career may last longer than people think.

Garret Gilbert – Rams – Possible conversion to WR? Either way Bradford has nothing to worry about from QB competition.

 

:by Mike

 

 

2014 Postcast: Free Agent Review WR’s and TE’s

Check out our second installment of our award winning podcasts.  This episode we talk over the WR and TE signings that have happened thus far.  We also give our worst and best of FA so far.   The recording date was 3/27/14.  Subscribe on iTunes!

 

Intro Music – Carcass – Buried Dreams

Outro Music – Blackalicious – Clockwork  

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 8 Waiver Add/Drop

Last week we warned you for the last time to go out and grab TE Jordan Reed & RB Chris Ivory before it was too late.  Actually we shouted about it for weeks – now wouldn’t Reed be good on your team if say you had Jermichael Finley go down with injury this weekend? Or Ivory as an option if you owned Doug Martin? I’d also like to remind everyone that we advised picking up WR Percy Harvin ahead of the crowd last week as well…you may still have time on him if you didn’t…but time is running out.

And week 7 in the NFL had several significant injuries, but only some of them provide opportunity for you as a fantasy owner.  It’s a cruel reality, but someone else’s misfortune can be your gain. We’ll help you turn those salty tears into gumdrops.

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 Ben Tate – Tate may not be owned in more shallow leagues, and though I am hesitant to recommend a player that fumbles, and to over exaggerate any injury to Arian Foster – I need to recommend adding him anywhere you can.  Tate has broken rib issues, and Foster has a bye to help get healthier on his hamstring…but as insane as this sounds rib injuries are better for a RB to be dealing with, and as the Texans fall out of contention they are likely to continue to ease Foster’s workload if they can.  The Texans will have to add someone new to the mix, since they cut 3rd string RB Cierre Wood for pot smoking over the weekend – but it’s tough to see anyone new really challenging a banged up Tate for work.  Tate sometimes lives off of hype so don’t expect clear sailing if you get him, but he could be a great RB2 over the next few weeks for you.

RB Mike James – James is worth a level 1 grade for now, because it’s about to be week 8 and there are really very few options on the waiver wire for starting RB’s.  Doug Martin’s shoulder injury may have him on the shelf for the season – or at the very least significant time, and in that time “someone” has to get the workload.  I think James is fairly talented, but buyer has to beware here – the Buccaneers couldn’t get Doug Martin going, there’s no real reason to believe James will have good success.  Personal favorite RB Bobby Rainey was picked up by the Bucs off of waivers as well – but make no mistake you should be way more concerned about the general offensive challenges of the team rather than the competition.  But fantasy football is a lot about supply and demand at the RB spot, so if you need a RB3/flex type of option…James is worth the add.

Level 2

RB Roy Helu – Even in some average size leagues I suspect Helu is available.  This was with good reason, as the Redskins have been slow to define his role this season.  But, Helu is starting to be used more and more – particularly in the Redskins no huddle offense, and was a huge performer with 3 TD’s over the weekend.  Alfred Morris owners need not panic (although they should pick up Helu if available), but Helu does present another option to teams looking for flex level RB play.  Helu is more talented than Mike James, and probably more than Ben Tate – but his workload going forward will be much more erratic than those two and without a general “touch” number week to week starting him will be a matter of matchup and luck.  Still Helu needs to clearly be owned in all leagues at this point even if just for bench depth.

RB Shane Vereen – Speaking of a guy with talent, Vereen finally took his cast off at practice last week – which may be a sign of him returning in a few weeks.  Vereen’s brittle injury history combined with a logjam at RB in New England – may not scream to you that he should be added weeks before he is announced as being ready to play.  However, Vereen’s outstanding season opener (159 total yards) should put him on track to some sort of significant role in the New England offense when he returns.  The big question here, is when?  So do you pick him up now when he may still be out for 2-3 games?  This depends on your roster space and your team’s need to have producers over the next few weeks, if you can squeeze him on the team do so, because if somehow he is available to play soon he’ll be a level 1 type of guy without question and your whole league might get in on trying to grab him.

WR Brandon Gibson – Gibson was quietly moving up the Dolphins passing pecking order this season (74 vs Balt in Week 5 before the bye) until this weekend’s 2 TD explosion.  With 29 catches on the season Gibson is probably a better PPR start than non, but he has interesting flex value when the Dolphins play teams with weak secondaries (I notice they play NE this week).

WR Marvin Jones –   In each of the last 2 weeks Jones has caught a TD pass and appears to be winning the 2nd WR spot for the Bengals.  I like Jones’ overall game, and the questions only remain for me about his role and targets – but you have to like the fact that they are trending up.  He may not initially have the production of Douglas or Gibson – but to me his upside is much higher.  If he goes out and has a 3rd solid game this weekend he’ll be a no brainer add….get him before then if you need WR help.

WR Harry Douglas – Look, the Falcons don’t have much else at this point so while it’s unlikely Douglas will go 149 yards and a 1 TD every week, he does have weekly flex fantasy starter material written on him.  When Roddy White returns – Douglas will lose some targets perhaps, but he is assured playing time and targets as long as he’s healthy.  He probably just had his best game of the season, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help your team going forward.

TE Coby Fleener – I don’t love Fleener’s talent, and even as TE’s go he can be inconsistent.  But if he’s sitting out there in your league and you need TE help here’s a guy that might see more targets with WR Reggie Wayne being lost for the season to ACL injury.  Don’t drop a good TE2 for him, but if you have an ok TE starter and a questionable backup it may be time to add Fleener.

Level 3

RB Daniel Thomas – Thomas may have been cut by some owner earlier this season, b/c let’s fact it: nobody wants to own or draft Daniel Thomas.  And I am loathe to bring him up here – and only advise this as a desperation add. But, Thomas looked pretty good vs the Bills this weekend with 60 yards on 12 carries, and appears to be in the mix at the RB position.  He’s not very talented and this has to be more of a hurt to Lamar Miller owners than a fantasy option…but should Miller get even a little banged up – it appears Thomas is ready to go.  I mean 12 carries is a lot of work for a “backup” RB….Thomas appears to be creeping into RB committee territory and could be useful to a (very) desperate fantasy team.

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey – Our own Tim Brown championed Bey during the preseason as a sleeper for 2013.  Bey had a tougher time than we expected transitioning to the Colts’ offense, but like Fleener above, Reggie Wayne’s injury should open the door to more looks for Bey.  Bey won’t elevate to WR2 level in all likelihood,  but he could provide your team with some WR3 low level flex play -and gets even a little more boost in a PPR league.

QB Case Keenum – Keenum is the only QB of those thrust into action this week (McCown in CHI, Clemmens in STL, Campbell in CLE?) who will be worth rostering on potential.  It’s not that he’s great.  He’s not – he arguably has a bad NFL arm and may struggle as teams get tape on him.  But he does manage a good offense with weapons and has a bye week to presumably learn more with the 1st team.  I don’t know if he’s won the Texans starting job, but in deep leagues, or 2 QB leagues, or dynasty leagues he’s worth a speculative add – because while he may not have the job for long, or only have it for this season – there’s the slim chance he performs well enough to win the job outright.  And that’s a shot the other “fill-in” QB’s just don’t have.  Dynasty league value here is probably the highest, but if you have a redraft league with QB issues – as a lotto style backup option he may be worth a look.

WR Mike Brown – With Cecil Shorts struggling due to injury, Jacksonville has another WR getting garbage time points.  Brown’s huge 5 catch 120 yard day came out of nowhere and isn’t likely to be duplicated again this season – but if you need WR4/5 depth on your roster he may be worth a flier.  For you PPR players Brown has 9 catches over his last 2 games – and should Shorts continue to nurse injury – I expect Brown’s targets to remain steady.

DROPS

WR Tavon Austin – Austin did finally get behind a defense this week for a big play – but that play was canceled out by a tripping penalty.  The rookie WR, who I felt was terribly overhyped coming out of college has had a rough transition to the NFL game, and now with QB Sam Bradford out for the season there is no reason to own this guy in redraft leagues, even in very deep leagues he’s a questionable keep.  I don’t advise dropping TE Jared Cook just yet, because new QB’s tend to rely on TE’s to dump off the ball to….but Cook may also become a Kellen Clemmens causality drop in a game or two.

RB Chris Ogbonnaya – If you picked him up based off his week 6 80 total yards 1 TD performance it may be time to drop him already. 4 touches coming off of that game? 4?!!  And now he’s in a committee with Fozzy Whittaker behind McGahee?!!  The Cleveland Browns are infuriating for fantasy this year….total wild cards.

:by Mike

2013 – Week 5 Waiver Add/Drop

Another week, another opportunity.  Last week we told you to get out ahead on guys like WR Kenbrell Thompkins, WR Nate Washington and TE Heath Miller – who will all be higher priority adds for teams looking for depth and starting options during the bye weeks. WR Terrance Williams and  WR Robert Woods we advised as a deep buys – ( in Woods’ case 2 weeks ago!!)…to me they both get bumps towards a level 2 guys right now. They are great WR 4 plays (and Williams a potential Wr 3 for a few more weeks) if you need one.  Also, we gave a tentative endorsement to QB Brian Hoyer – I would say you now have to upgrade that endorsement on the back of a 2nd strong game.  Hoyer can be thought of as a borderline “level 1” guy in waivers this week – but if you already have a good fantasy backup QB – target some of the other players 1st – it remains to be seen if Hoyer can sustain this longterm.   We’ve got a great record with our recommendations so far in 2013 so take note and keep reading…

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 Le’Veon Bell – Bell is probably not available in a ton of leagues, but if he’s there he’s a must grab.  I thought Bell would start slow at best, and even recommended sitting him this past weekend to see what he was about.  Well, 57 yards and 2 TD’s later it’s safe to say Bell is an option at RB going forward.  Now the Steelers are on bye coming up this week, and he won’t have the luxury of 2 TD’s bailing out an under 100 yard performance every week either, but Bell has RB2 potential – especially in 12 team standard leagues.   If you need him and he’s free, I hope you’re #1 on the waiver order this week.

WR Justin Blackmon – Just as we saw with Josh Gordon 2 weeks ago, a potential #1 WR is coming off suspension this week and has the potential to be just sitting out there on your league’s waiver wire.  Last year as a rookie and with a subpar QB, Blackmon had 865 and 5 TD’s.  Now, Blackmon doesn’t have as good a situation as Gordon (how does that feel Jacksonville? Hoyer > Gabbert/Henne!)….but Blackmon makes an intriguing add based on the sheer amount of targets he’s likely to see this season.  I warned you about a slow start on Josh Gordon which turned out to be wrong, but I think with Blackmon you really will have to get him now and wait 2-3 games to see a return.  I don’t see him as consistent enough to be a WR2 for you, but WR3 or flex play with high upside is possible depending on the week.

RB Danny Woodhead – Now Woodhead was probably drafted in your leagues, but if you play in a league with a short bench some stupid owner (read as myself) may have let Woodhead go for a gamble elsewhere.  Now Woodhead is nowhere near the priority of trying to get Le’Veon Bell – his production isn’t going to look like 80 all purpose yards and 2 TD’s every week.   Woodhead however can be a valuable flex add and even RB2 if you have injuries or bye week issues.  Unfortunately, based off of Week 4 you will be fighting many owners to get him if you are in a league where he’s free, but you may grab him as a consolation prize to Bell or Blackmon.   If you do, hold him through his ups and downs…

Level 2

RB Roy Helu – When Alfred Morris left the game this weekend with a rib injury, people were briefly reminded why 2 years ago the Redskins thought their RB of the future was Helu.  Helu fits the one cut Shanhan scheme, and adds a pass catching element that may help the Redskins struggling offense even more.  Morris’ injury doesn’t sound too bad, and the Redskins have a bye in week 5 to help – but rib pain can be a lingering and tricky issue so Helu is worth an insurance pick in most leagues.   It’s possible that the Redskins involve Helu even more just to keep Alf a little healthier even in the games where Morris is able to play.  Helu is a grab now, before Morris is ruled out of any action – b/c by then it will be way too late.

RB Rashad Jennings – It may not be that much of a surprise that starter Darren McFadden is dealing with injury.  What you may have missed though is that RB/FB Marcel Reece is also struggling with a knee injury.  This frees things up for a larger temporary workload for Jennings – b/c even if McFadden is able to suit up Jennings will have no competition for spell touches.  In deeper or even average size leagues with bye week issues, Jennings could be a risky flex start to help stop your team from bleeding dry.  Pick him up if you have a need at RB4 on your roster and monitor the injury reports on McFadden coming out of Oakland to determine if you start him.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – Jake Locker’s hip injury opens the door for Fitzpatrick for a month or even two.  So, if you have a bad QB situation and want to take a gamble – you could do worse than rostering him and seeing what develops.  Locker was pretty terrible, but it wasn’t due to him having a lack of weapons.  I’m not saying Fitzpatrick is any better (he very well could be though), but anytime you have Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, and Justin Hunter to look at you could stumble into some good fantasy weeks.  Hell, imagine if Fitzpatrick can find a way to involve Kenny Britt?!!  Tennessee has too much invested in Locker not to bring him back as the starter when he’s ready to play again… but in the meantime Fitzpatrick may see action in as many as 8 games enough to have him worth considering should you need help there.

WR Jeremy Kerley – Just as the Jets passing game was starting to solidify a little around Santonio Holmes’ return and Stephen Hill’s promise – both get injured.  Holmes has a hamstring issue – which as we know can be the most troublesome to predict injury a player can have…followed closely by a concussion which is the injury Hill suffered this weekend.  Now Kerley himself had a concussion in week 2 this season, however he passed his test and has played the last two weeks without issue.  I think with Holmes and Hill slowed, or potentially out week to week here, Kerley has a chance to come back to his WR3 fantasy type of potential.  He’s a dependable WR who knows the offense and that can help Geno Smith out – as Smith continues to learn the game.  Kerley isn’t going to wow you in real life often, or in fantasy most weeks – but he can give you that 7 or 8 point ffl production when you have roster issues, and to me he’s worth owning at least until Holmes and Hill are considered back to full strength.

DEF Browns –    This Defense is becoming a good play against most offenses. Now that the offense has shown signs of life it will help put the defense in good position.  Joe Hayden is playing as good as any CB in the league and the strong front seven are a formidable as they come.   Defensive coordinator Ray Horton is underrated and is one of the best in the league. After watching his time with Arizona, he is very creative and has a great scheme.

Level 3

RB Benny Cunningham – He’d be even higher for me if the Rams weren’t an absolute mess right now.  1 year after being drafted as their back of the future – Isiah Pead was a healthy scratch in week 4 (more on this later).  Starter Daryl Richardson averaged 1.3 ypc last week and for the season is well under 4 YPC.  To me Benny Cunningham looks like the most “NFL” rb on the roster, as he runs hard between the tackles and at 5’10 210lbs he’s more built to take punishment than Richardson.  I know this isn’t a great situation for any RB right now, and I know that Richardon’s role in the the short passing game isn’t likely to get him fully replaced in the linuep, but Cunningham’s touches have been increasingly the last 2 games.  I know 5 touches doesn’t sound too exciting…but, consider that it now appears Cunningham is ahead of both Zac Stacey (remember him?) and Pead…you won’t find too many clear backups sitting on your league’s waiver in Week 5.  And if you do, you’re not likely to find a guy with a worse starter in front of him.   Benny could be the Rams 1st and 2nd down rb in a few weeks.  If you have a need at RB, he’s worth a speculative add.

TE Garret Graham – It’s tough to like guys that are the 2 TE on a team (at least those not convicted of murder), but in a year where guys like Fred Davis, Bradon Pettigrew, and many others have dissapointed – the other TE Graham could be a viable option for you.  Graham has caught a TD in 3 out of the 1st 4 games now – so he’s a clear red zone target.  Without the TD’s you can only expect 3-5 pts from him weekly, so he is a gamble – but some of you may be at that point where it’s better to bet on upside than to live with disappointment.

TE Mychal Rivera – Want a deeeeeeeeeeeppppppp TE flier?  Rivera caught his 1st TD pass of his career this past weekend, and as been averaging just 20-30 yards per game.  However, in deep leagues or dynasty leagues Rivera may be worth an add on the speculation that he’ll be the #1 TE receiving threat on Oakland before the midway point of the season.  Now that may not translate to too much fantasy love production, but if you pick him up and he starts to get redzone looks than you may have a solid TE2 in a few weeks.  He’s probably left best on the wire in your league until we see him catch another TD, but if you have needs and are in a deep league you may not be able to afford to wait.  I started him in one league this weekend over Fred Davis, and I was rewarded with a solid 8 points.

WR Keenan Allen –   I loved this guy coming out of college.  I know he had a knee issue going into the draft, but he was great at high pointing balls, running routes and was an explosive player.  He finally looks healthy and has flashed what I saw coming out of college. If you have the roster spot, it might be worth to buy low now and give him a few weeks.  If Rivers continues to play great and if Rivers and Allen remain in sync, Allen could become a viable flex play.

TE Sean McGrath – Firstly, he has a awesome beard. Secondly,  this Seahawks cast off(cut in the last round of preseason cuts) McGrath has made the most of his opportunity in KC. Last week he had 5 catches for 64 and a touchdown.  Now, it will remain to be seen if he keeps getting looks when Fansano and Kelce come back from injury, but he could be worth a look in a deep league.  Probably nothing more than a fill in, but keep an eye on him to see if he keeps getting targets.  Wait and see on him.

 WR- Deonte Thompson –   We are going “balls deep” here. The Ravens are still looking for someone to take over for Jacoby Jones as he recovers from injury  and even  after he returns, they still need a 3rd WR.   D Thompson caught 4 balls for 50 yards against the Bills.   He is probably only worth a spot in a really deep or dynasty league, but he is one to monitor moving forward if he can grab that WR3 job in Baltimore.

Players to Drop

TE Brandon Myers – I liked Myers in Oakland and assumed that the Giants liked him enough as their Martellius Bennett replacement to involve him heavily in the offense this season.  Not only has Myers not been a key figure in the offense, he hasn’t even made an impact in garbage time recently.  And when you get blanked on the stat sheet when your team loses 38-7, as they did this past weekend that’s a terrible sign.  Myers is probably droppable now in standard size leagues – he’s just a victim of the Giants offense collapsing right now.

RB Isiah Pead/Zac Stacey – Face it.  You’ve been holding on to these guys as lotto tickets and they are just about bust for 2013.  Pead was a healthy scratch last game on team that has known RB issues, and Stacey who was supposed to benefit from that scratch got no action in the game either.  It’s possible both Pead and Stacey manage to eek out a start for the 2013 Rams, with the team just trying to find any answers, but neither is likely to do anything with the state of the Rams run blocking.  To top it off to even get these chances they will have to wait til the Rams are done giving Benny Cunningham and Daryl Richardson looks.   Unless you play in a very deep league, or a dynasty league there are better prospects on your league’s waiver right now.  Drop these dudes and move on, the dream is over.

WR Golden Tate – Tate might have a game here and there this season that makes him worth rostering, or even starting – but good luck getting out the ouja board to figure out when that will be.  I’m not saying he’s a clear cut in all formats, but a guy that has under 200 yards receiving and no TD’s in 4 games is not automatically a fantasy bench guy for your team even if he is a starter in real life.  Check your waiver wire, and if a WR with some upside is sitting there that you feel intrigued by – cut Tate without much hesitation.

TE Zach Miller – With all the injuries to Seattle’s O-line, Miller will be blocking quite bit.  I would drop him for just about anyone at this point.  Keep an eye on him later in the season, but as of now, free up that roster spot if you haven’t already and cut him.  Those 2 touchdowns in week 3 were a mirage.

-Ron and Mike