Category Archives: New Orleans Saints

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 3 – Waiver Wire Add/Drop

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

WR DeAndre Hopkins – Even before Hopkins 7 catch 117 yard, game winning TD performance this weekend – he was a trendy late round fantasy draft pick.  Now, if he’s somehow available in more shallow leagues – he will be a top priority add for most.  I would make the pickup if you can, but temper expectations – at best Hopkins is still the 4th target on the team in the redzone.  Better to think of him as a potential Wr3 than anything more if you’re adding him,  but if Andre Johnson’s concussion lingers he could be a WR2 for a few weeks.

RB Knowshon Moreno – Again in your league the window to acquire this guy may have passed, but if not grab him up.  All preseason I have thought Moreno was clearly the best RB option Denver had- and the only question was opportunity. He’ll be an inconsistent performer thanks to the style of offense, but Moreno is finally looking like a NFL starter.  Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball have been just awful , and the Broncos schedule over the next 6-8 games has some of the softest run defenses in the league on it.

WR Josh Gordon – Josh should be owned in all leagues, but I know he’s not.  Some people don’t like drafting players who are guaranteed to miss time and so in shallow leagues Gordon could be sitting out there.  Gordon is coming off of his 2 game suspension and looks to slide right back into his #1 WR spot in Cleveland.   It’s not all good news, he has to come back to either Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell at QB – but Gordon had good chemistry with Weeden last season – and you’re just not going to find many #1 targets sitting there on the waiver wire in week 3.

Level 2

WR Eddie Royal  – If I had told you that Eddie Royal would’ve had 5 touchdowns this year – you would have smiled a little in disbelief and then said something like “well, that’s good for him”.  If I had told you he’d have 5 TD’s after 2 weeks you’d probably just walk away from me without saying a word – and probably in a very hurried manner muttering fearfully under your breath.  And yet, here we are – to some degree it makes sense.  Royal is the most veteran WR on the Chargers – heck after the injury to D. Alexander and Malcom Floyd’s horrific looking neck injury – he’s the only NFL veteran WR really on the club.    Is he going to go stretches where you can’t count on him?  Probably.  But right now he has a very good thing going with Philip Rivers – and I’m a firm believer that he will stay in the mix there b/c they simply need his experience.

TE Charles Clay – Everyone’s looking for consistency at the TE position, and while I’m not ready to lock Clay up as the next big thing at the position – he certainly should be in your consideration for an add.   He seems to be a favorite of Tannehill in the short passing game, and they even game him a goal line carry as a sort of fullback hybrid.  If Clay joins your team as a TE2 or a matchup dependent TE there’s a decent chance by year’s end he’s your starter over some of the guys that turn out to be disappointments.  After Clay’s huge game this weekend this will likely be the last week you can even try to get him off the wire – but for those of you struggling at tightend he has to be worth rostering.

RB James Starks – I’m not a huge believer in Starks.  In fact, neither were the Packers to the point where they nearly cut him this preseason.  But this is opportunity that you can’t pass up.  The concussion injury to rookie RB Eddie Lacy isn’t likely to be a long term issue, but Starks is the primary backup even with Lacy healthy – and can work his way into 3rd down looks at worst.  The time to grab Starks may have already passed in your league – but if not, try to pick him up.  In the worst case scenario he’s a flex play for a few weeks.

WR Santonio Holmes – Holmes looked good in the downpour vs New England.  He looked healthy most of all and that alone makes him worth considering in most leagues.  Unfortunately he has a rookie QB on a bad team to work with, along with his own personal mental lapses at points.  He’s worth a gamble as a Wr4 with the hopes that the chemistry between him and Geno can grow over the season.

Level 3

RB Donald Brown – To me, I look at Donald Brown and see talent – NFL starting talent.  The problem is, the Colts don’t seem to share my opinion.  Brown started the year behind the brittle Ahmad Bradshaw, and the underwhelming Vic Ballard.  Now with a season ending  injury to Ballard, it would seem like Brown should be in line for carries and passing game touches while being right behind an injury prone starter in a good offense.  Should be fantasy gold potential right?  Well, it’s the Colts and they don’t like him – word out of Indy is they will look at adding a veteran RB to come in and try out.  For the time being Brown is a tentative add with the hopes that his team doesn’t block him from time.

RB Andre Ellington – The rookie seems to have won the 3rd down running back gig in Arizona.  Ellington is fast, and to me little else….however, he plays behind Rashard Mendenhall who is coming off major knee surgery and his 60 total yards 1 TD performance this weekend may out him on the radar in deep leagues.   Yes, the primary backup in Arizona officially right now is Alfsono Smith – but Smith’s 2.1 YPC has been terrible and there’s no upside to owning him at all.  Ellington by contrast is at least involved in the passing game and again in deep league’s may be worth monitoring while he’s actually on your roster.

WR Robert Woods – A deep league add as a WR5 with a small chance to move up to WR3 this season,  Woods is coming off a nice 4 catch 68 yard day.  As EJ Manuel improves throughout the year Woods is due for an increase in targets, and I like what I’ve watched from Woods so far this year.  Fantasy owners slotted him in behind rookie WR’s like WR Marcus Wheaton or Keenan Allen, but it’s clear early that Woods was more NFL ready than those guys and others.  In dynasty formats Woods was likely drafted and currently owned, but if you’re playing a deep redraft league (especially PPR) and are having WR issues – Woods is looking more and more like a WR add and hold.

Players to Drop

RB Ronnie Hillman – How far down has Hillman’s stock fumbled?  Consider that this past weekend against the Giants, Montee Ball fumbled near the goalline and was benched.  Knshown Moreno came in to take the bulk of the work,  and Montee Ball was even seen in the game again near the goalline late in the game.  All while Hillman got one carry for 3 yards.   It’s time to face the facts if you own Hillman your Denver RB “lotto” pick is bust.

WR Kenny Britt – If you’re in a deep league, or a dynasty league I guess you hold him and bench him for possibly all of 2013 – barring your own personal emergency.  But in redraft leagues of standard size – it’s time to let Britt go.  I know it hurts – he really does have amazing potential. The problem is…Jake Locker does not.  Britt is only going to get more frustrated and then disinterested as the year goes on.

RB Mark Ingram – You can only really cut Ingram in shallow leagues because of his high profile potential and workload but man, if you can…that has to feel good.  No more watching him plod for about 2 yards a carry, no more watching him go down like he took a shot from a cannon every time a defender grazes him, no more sub 5 point days from your fantasy starting RB (or flex RB).  If you can somehow drop him for Moreno, do so and you may never stop smiling.

 

 

:by Mike

 

2013 Preseason Week 3: Saints at Texans

Saints

  • Pierre Thomas looked solid in this game.  He started the game and had a long catch and run on a check down.  He may be the defacto starter in this RBBC
  • Nick Toon looks the part at WR.  I am not sure he will be a huge part of the offense, but he will make the roster
  • WR Kenny Stills looks like a 5th round steal.  He beat Jonathan Joseph to the post on a with a great corner move for a TD and made a great catch on a long pass in the second quarter.  He is a player and can be had late in most redraft leagues
  • RB Mark Ingram looks noticeably slimmer and faster.  He will never be a shifty back, but he does look quicker than in the past.  If he gets goal line carries, he could be a factor as a RB3.
  • Lance Moore is always under rated. He always produces and gets more TD chances than most WR’s his size.

Texans

  • Matt Schaub had a good game, but the man is a statue in the pocket.  No mobility whatsoever.
  • Andre Johnson looked healthy.  I think the speculation of his decline might wait another year.  I’m not saying he will put up the number he did last year, but he will not fall off the map.
  • Ben Tate will be able to carry the load if Foster gets hurt.   He looked decisive and quick.  He also took the ugly 3 to 4 yards given to him instead of dancing around.  Showed  patience.
  • Kicker Bullock has a big leg.  Nailed a 55 yarder.
  • DeAndre Hopkins did not play as he recovers from his concussion.

Ron

2013 Preseason Week 2: Oakland vs New Orleans

Oakland

Oakland’s already below average OL was coming into this one missing starters, and it nearly got QB Matt Flynn killed.  In total against all Raiders QB’s the Saints tallied an insane 7 sacks, so what’s even a little more nonsensical is that somehow Flynn finished with a statline of 12 for 16 for 124 yards and a TD.   I don’t believe Flynn is a fantasy starter unless you’re in a league of 15 or more, or you start 2 QB’s….but I will say after privately making fun of this guy’s weak arm…that the rest of his body must be made out of steel to take this kind of abuse and still get something done.

WR Denarius Moore caught the TD from Flynn, and may be the only semi-reliable weekly player in this passing offense.  But the guy standing out over the 1st 2 preseason games is rookie WR Brice Butler.  Butler is 6’3 and 213 and in this one he got a lot of playing time with the starters.  In 2 preseason games Butler has 5 catches for 108 yards and a TD.   I don’t think many Raiders will be very valuable this year, but this guy has me at least watching to see how much he’s involved in the 3rd preseason game.  In re-draft leagues he’s undraftable right now, but in dynasty leagues it is time to put this guy on your radar.

RB Darren McFadden started, got 5 carries, and didn’t get hurt.  That is all you want to hear about him – his draft stock in all formats is lower than it’s ever been, but if he plays even 10 games this season he could win you a league.  Risk/reward thy name is McFadden.

New Orleans

New Orleans was its typical “spread the love and the scoring” offense that fantasy players have come to love and hate.  The players leading the touches with the starters in this one: RB Darren Sproles and RB Mark Ingram.

Sproles got his typical balance 5 carries for 9 yards, and 5 catches for 35 yards.  The numbers aren’t standout “fall in love” with, but it speaks to his involvement in so much of the Saints offense.  Some people see the Saints RB’s as a mess – Sproles, Thomas, and Ingram should all cannibalize each other right?

I see opportunity, and Sproles leads that vision. Sproles is the one with the most unique skill threat of the 3.  He’s fast, catches the ball well, and blocks, and he’s tougher than he gets credit for… sure at the end of the year he’s gotten his numbers atypically for a RB, but if at the end of the season he has 900 total yards and 8-9 Td’s  he’s well worth taking a flier on as a RB2.

The real problem here is for anyone who wants to select one of the 2 remaining Saints RB’s:  Mark Ingram to me has looked like a grade A (or F really) dud since he hit the league.  But he claims he’s healthier this season than ever before and he is still getting those little goaline carries in the preseason.  It seems once again he’s been given the opportunity to lead this backfield- while poor Pierre Thomas- one of the most underrated RB’s in all of football has to settle for scraps.  My usual advice is to pass on Ingram, and then see about a flier on Pierre very late in your drafts- in case Ingram gets hurt – Pierre would then represent RB2 value as well…

WR Kenny Stills 4 catches for 64 yards and a TD – is a rookie looking for that WR3 job.  He ran with the starters and looked pretty good, a productive college player he’s in quite a fight with WR Nick Toon.  Toon – a 2nd year player, caught a 56 yarder in this one to state his case – but it was his only catch.   Both guys got reps with Brees so the battle will continue – redrafters and dynasty players alike should keep their eyes on these 2 to see what develops.   One of them may even have a chance to move up to the WR2 position this season as Marques Colston’s foot injury (chronic plantar fasciitis) has him as a good bet to miss some playing time in 2013.

:by Mike