Category Archives: New York Giants

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 – Week 10 Waiver Add/Drop

Listen, if you read this blog, you know we know our stuff. Go back and look at our track record.  We have called out waiver wire picks weeks before those “other sites.”  We do not state the obvious.  We do the work and you get the results.

At this time of the year, the waiver wire gets slim. if you are in a smaller or shallow league, look back at our posts from the past few weeks, those guys might still be out there in your league.

The playoff push begins now!

RB Andre Brown – He is coming back.  We told you to get him last week, if he is still there get him now! He could be inline for some serious carries if David Wilson is out even longer.

WR Mike Brown – Another Brown here.   Justin Blackmon is suspended and  Brown is the next man up.  He has been fairly impressive on his limited opportunities thus far. 13 catches for 226 and a TD.  In this offense I don’t see him more than a WR4, but at this point in the season when the waiver wire is bare he could be worth the risk.

WR Jericho Cotchery – He is probably still out there in your league.  He has been very inconsistant and has had inconsistant opportunities, but he did  have 3 TD’s last week.  It wouldnt suprise me if he cut into Sanders or Antonio Brown’s workload some.  I mean, Brown was benched for part of the 4th quarter last week.

RB Shonne Greene – He received 9 carries for 38 yards and a TD last week. If he is finally healthy, this could be the type of workload to expect moving forward.  Very much a depth kind of pickup, but in this RB thin part of the year, he may be worth the roster move.

RB Rashad Jennings – Firstly, he is McFadden’ sback up so he should already be on your radar. Secondly, he had 176 total yards and a TD last week.  Yes, this was mostly in garbage time, but he still put these numbers up. As long as he is starting for the injured McFadden, he is a boarderline flex play.

Browns Defense – They are sitting out there a little over of half the leagues.  Now that the offense is functioning at a reasonable level, there is no reason not to pick this team up for your playoff run.  They have a great front 7, Joe Hayden, and a great defensive coordinator.

-Ron

2013 – Week 9 Waiver Add/Drop

So it seems like every week I’m able to say we’ve gotten a sleeper for you (if you’ve followed our advice) that likely won your week or even saved your season.  We told you about TE Jordan Reed (and then reminded you) before anyone knew he was on pace to be fantasy’s 3rd overall TE.   WR Terrance Williams was our choice before he was the star’s. We told you about RB Andre Ellington before he became the only RB to own in Arizona.  We advised you to pick up Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon prior to their triumphant returns from suspension…. as well as making literally dozens of other correct calls over the previous 8 weeks.

Last week we advised most of you to go and grab WR Marvin Jones – all he did was go out and drop 4 TD’s on the world this past weekend.

So look we have a really good track record at this – but now as the season passes its midpoint there will be less game changers and options on your league’s waiver wire.   Also, with Ron on vacation some of this site’s content will be in “lite” mode this week.

And with these 2 factors in mine I present a scaled down version of our Add/Drop – without our normal leveling system.  I am just going to list some players and their potential benefits to your team.  If the last month is any indication 1-2 of these players will really impact your team.

WR Percy Harvin – Like with TE Jordan Reed this is your last warning from us to get this guy.  And as with Gordon and Blackmon the time to get him is before he is ready to play a down – because once his 2013 season debut kicks off that’s it.  Average size leagues likely still have him available, and again we know it won’t be for 2-3 more games, but Seattle just lost WR Sidney Rice for the season- they need a playmaking WR and Golden Tate just used up all his TD’s this weekend.  When Harvin comes back he will be the clear focal point of Seattle’s passing attack.  There is no one sitting out there on waivers like this – too much potential to not pick him up and wait.

RB Andre Brown – I’m sort of grouping Harvin and Brown together.  Brown has far less potential than Percy as a player – but in fantasy I’m actually pretty hopeful for him.  Brown is due to return from injury likely as soon as the Giants get back from their bye in week 9.  Here’s the current state of the NY Giants running game: David Wilson started the year fumbled a hundred times (I rounded up) got benched, then got hurt in the neck – which is always a difficult injury to predict.  The Giants cut D’arrell Scott then resigned him 50 times (I rounded up) to where he’s currently cut.  Rookie Michael Cox sucks his own last name, and Brandon Jacobs had the best night of any Giants RB all year and then promptly got hurt.  This means when Brown returns his primary competition for starter’s carries will be Peyton Hillis.   Hillis had an ok game vs the Eagles (90 total yards), but he walked in off the street and isn’t exactly durable himself.  Brown is younger and more talented than Hillis, and hopefully soon he’ll be just as healthy.  Get Brown while the Giants are on bye this week – then in 2-3 weeks laugh as you think about how a starting RB was just sitting there quietly on your waiver wire.  As with Harvin make us stop reminding you multiple times – just go and make your move already.

WR Dexter McCluster – McCluster’s 3.5 year career has been a case of talent without opportunity.  I’m not gonna argue the Chiefs have completely figured out a way to keep McCluster involved (or even upright) – but he is trending in the right direction since switching from RB to WR 2 seasons ago.  Instead of grooming McCluster to be a change-of-pace homerun style rb, and instead of making him a typical downfield slot WR, the Chiefs are settling on a nice compromise (finally) of working Dexter as a major part of their short yardage passing attack.  It’s perfect for McCluster’s ability to quickly accelerate underneath and work with dump offs.   Last week he was targeted 10 times, and in the last 2 games he’s had about 140 total yards and a TD.   In a PPR league McCluster is probably must own right now for his potential as a flex play, but this does come with some caution: McCluster has disappeared before, so you are sort of placing some faith in the Chiefs to keep him in their plans.   Right now, I’d make that gamble.

WR Rishard Matthews – Matthews is a little deeper grab than McCluster, but I like his talent.  Brandon Gibson’s season ending injury (before which we recommended picking him up and he got a very early TD before going down) has opened up a job for Matthews.  Matthews in my mind is as talented or moreso than Gibson, but the issue here is chemistry with QB Ryan Tannehill.  Matthews got 6 targets last week in 3/4th’s of a game after Gibson left – if he sees 6-8 targets a week he will be a borderline flex play or Wr3, but if he develops more of a relationship with Tannehill as the season continues and his targets are 8-10, than we’re talking a Wr3 play or solid flex play especially in PPR.

RB Deji Karim- Here’s your uber longshot of the week.   I don’t even know if Karim will play a down of football this season – but with starter RB Arian Foster and top back up RB Ben Tate injured right now for the Texans, it’s possible that at least for a few weeks one of the 3 players the Texans brought in for RB depth becomes a fantasy factor.  Of the 3 – Ray Graham, Dennis Johnson, and Deji Karim- I actually really like Johnson’s talent best.  But Karim is a veteran of the league better suited to have an all around NFL ready game (pass protection etc), and Karim was sort of the leader of the 3 during the Texans preseason (until Ciere Wood stole the gig- and then smoked it away).  So here you are in the middle of the week, you don’t know if both Foster and Tate will miss action, you know Karim is no fantasy factor if they both can play, and you have doubts about him producing if he’s the just the backup to any one of them individually.  But, he should be the 1st one they turn to if they have to – both of the guys in front of him have nagging style injuries (hamstring, ribs) which could mean time for Deji in some form for multiple weeks.  And let’s face it the Houston run game makes people productive – if you have the bench room add him and see if this develops into a spot where a role player on a real team becomes a RB2/3 on a fantasy team.  Oh yeah, and dump him for Dennis Johnson if Johnson gets in and shows any sign of life 🙂

RB Jonathan Stewart – You thought I was gonna say RB Mike Tolbert didn’t you? Well I say, take your pick.  Tolbert has been a little hot lately – scoring 3 TD’s in the last 3 games, and last Thursday totaling 64 yards to go with a TD.   But, Tolbert’s value is dependent on the Panthers  being up, and most times being near the goaline.  Jonathan Stewart is due back from injury in the next game or 2 (so the Panthers say), when he comes back he will undoubtedly eat into Tolbert’s fantasy value – maybe even to the point where Tolbert loses his precious goalline work.   So you have Tolbert who is just a solid guy, and Stewart who is more talented, but has proven so brittle in the past…and that they both will see time if active with DeAngelo Williams….it seems like something every owner should avoid.  And you should…except well, in it’s easy to say “you don’t want that guy- too much risk”, but in reality, when you play in leagues with 10-12 teams you are going to have issues, you are going to need to take chances on guys for starts or flex plays, or bench depth.  And for that both of these guys are in play….if you’re struggling now and need a RB to help spot start or take RB3 or flex value…Tolbert could be your guy for a few games.   If your team is sorta set up well at RB right now and you have a roster spot to speculate…why not grab Stewart (if someone like Andre Brown isn’t available)?  Stewart is the only one of the two with a chance to win starter quality carries, and again may even get those valuable goalline looks if he stays upright.  Both Tolbert and Stewart are worth considering, but only Stewart has that true “sleeper” potential – albeit it with much more risk.

:by Mike

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 6 Waiver Add/Drop

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

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

Level 1

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

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

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

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

Level 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drops

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

 

:by Ron & Mike

2013 – 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

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

What we learned from Preseason 2013

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

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

Things we Know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What we don’t know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

:by Mike

 

2013 Preseason Week 3: NY Jets vs NY Giants

NEW YORK JETS

Just when you think the Buffalo Bills had a bad preseason week 3 at QB, just when you think QB Mark Sanchez was the king of insane turnovers, and just when you think Rex Ryan and company couldn’t get any bat shit crazier…I present this game…and 1st up…

QB Geno Smith didn’t look like he was bothered by his previous ankle injury, and he started out with some nice safe one read throws- some out of the bootleg.  Heck on his 2nd possession Smith (aided by 4 defensive penalties) led the team down the field for a TD.  So what came after was baffling.  His 1st INT was just a lazy throw that was behind his WR just enough for the DB to make the play.  Most times that sort of pass is knocked away or dropped – but no doubt the throw was soft.

Then on his next series he threw another interception when he was faced with some pressure up the middle and he sailed a pass high over the middle.  The game just seemed to start moving too fast for him at this point – he’s not evolved enough at this point to deal with adversity in the pocket or to read defenses.

The 3rd Int about a quarter later was because Geno couldn’t see DE Justin Tuck drop back into coverage.  He was just flat out fooled and had terrible zone recognition as he tried to dump it short.

What do you do to top off 3 int’s?  Simple.  You” Orlovsky” that shit.  Sure enough in the 4th quarter – Geno overreacted to some simple pressure, inexplicably sprinted backwards toward the end line, stepped over it, and launched a ball while falling away that landed just in bounds on the sideline (so that even had he not stepped over the line, he would’ve gotten a safety on intentional grounding).

The game just seems too big and too fast for Geno right now.  And that’s ok, he’s a rookie.  He would benefit from sitting behind someone for a season or 2 – and then maybe he can look back on this and laugh.

So of course, the Jets – insisting there’s a QB competition, even  after this debacle send Mark Sanchez out there against 4 stringers?  I mean the only thing that could keep Sanchez from starting opening day after that is injury…so…

Yeah, you see where this is headed…

Sanchez’s injury will be one of the most over analyzed controversies of the preaseason.  As such you can find numerous takes on it-including the continuing absurdity of Rex Ryan’s press conferences.  So I won’t add much on that front – on the fantasy front it is actually horrible news – b/c Sanchez was at least looking like someone who could play the position.  Geno looks like someone too raw to do much of anything.   The 2013 New York Jets offense could resemble a tire fire.

RB Bial Powell who looked like he might actually upset Chris Ivory for the starting RB job, took a step back in this one…he was terrible in the passing game dropping 2 easy ones, before getting 2 for 18 yards, and bad in the running game 11 carries for 16 yards (with a 6 yard TD).  The Jets lack of a run game this preseason is alarming..”ground & pound”  may just wind up being “pound” beginning of the season – where pound = defenses pounding into them.

NEW YORK GIANTS

The highlight for the Giants came on their very 1st offensive play when RB David Wilson took the ball 84 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.  The play was blocked superbly and all he had to do was run through the hole and use his speed.  It didn’t showcase any great moves or vision, just speed.  And Wilson continues to represent a dilemma for me in ffl – as he seems to be a big play back based on speed- but he worries me in the boom or bust department.  Aside from his 84 yard run – he had 4 other carries for just 8 yards.  He also caught 2 passes for a net total of zero yards.  So overall, outside of the 84 yard run – he had 6 touches for 8 yards.

Wilson’s ADP has been moving up steadily all preseason and is now about the late 3rd, high 4th in 12 team leagues.  It’s not bad value, but from what I’ve seen if he doesn’t hit a big play during his day, he won’t grind out yards – that to me means he’s a risk pick.  So if you’re taking him, make sure the next RB at the position is a little more traditional in their output/workload – lower ceiling, but higher floor type of guy.

Defenses are so unpredictable that I very rarely make comments about team defenses….but, this if any is the year to pass on taking the Giants D in fantasy as a #1 team defense.  They have not looked good in the preseason, they have lost starter S Stevie Brown for the year and they play in a division with 3 potentially very good offenses.   At one point early in this game the defense committed penalties on 4 straight plays – their stat sheet for the game looks good because of Geno’s meltdown, but they are not a defense to invest in.

:by Mike

2013 Preseason Week 2: Indy vs NY Giants

Indy

This just in: QB Andrew Luck is pretty good.  In leagues that penalize for turnovers Luck’s 2012 rookie season in fantasy was a little underwhelming compared to his hype.  If you assume with another year in the offseason, and Indy’s attempt to rebuild a below average OL that Luck’s turnovers will drop – then you have to be excited about his top 10 potential for 2013.   He absolutely looked the part in this game he was 9 of 13 (with a few bad drops in there by his targets) for 107 and 2 Td’s.   It should be noted that one of his TD passes was a ball that CB Aaron Ross batted up in the air and should’ve had an INT on- but that happened b/c the Giants pass rush clobbered Luck as he was throwing.

I don’t know what’s wrong with TE Coby Fleener, but I’m beginning to think he should give about half his paycheck to Luck every year for getting him drafted so high.   They either don’t game plan for him, or he’s below average at getting open – and I’m starting to think it’s a lot of the latter.  He dropped the only target I saw and was held off the stat sheet.

Don’t look now but WR Darius Heyward-Bay may be coming back to life.  Right now the Colts are using him a lot in that intermediate depth outside the lines type of passing game (WR screens, curl routes at the marker), and it’s clear his new home has done wonders for his confidence.  I don’t know if Bay becomes a guy you draft late, or whether you wait and watch waivers…but our own Tim Brown believes he’s worth taking a flyer on,  as potentially a WR 4.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw is becoming a popular “sleeper” pick with drafters, but he once again did not play in this one.  It was all about his homecoming to NY and he left it at that.  Bradshaw concerns me from a health standpoint,  Vick Ballard is not really a threat to him – but his own health is very much a problem.  In standard 12 team redraft leagues I want no part of him before the 7th round.

NY Giants

I’m coming around a little bit on RB David Wilson. I don’t think he has RB1 potential, and I do think that RB Andre Brown is a better football player…but it’s clear the Giants want to use this guy.    He had some excellent vision on some runs, but the other side of that is that he’s not going to move many piles.  Wilson has RB2 written all over him, and that’s perfectly fine for his current ADP of round 5 or 6.

Wilson’s whole situation with Andre Brown baffles me.  It’s like opposite day.  Wilson is the smaller, faster guy who catches passes – and yet he gets the early down work.  Andre Brown the larger, tougher runner (not without his own speed) is in on 3rd downs b/c apparently David Wilson can’t learn how to blitz pickup.   The only time it “felt right” to me in this game was when they asked Andre Brown to try a 4th and short pickup – and he failed at that.

Wilson finished with 8 carries for 34 yards, but 21 of them came on one carry.  Andre Brown finished with 8 carries for 36 yards – so?  50/50.

Wilson will lead this running back committee  b/c Andre Brown is a square peg running back in a round hole Giants pass 1st philosophy.    The days of Big Blue hammering it between the tackles is gone, and while Wilson is not a great all-around RB, he is clearly the guy that fits the philosophy.  The only x-factor for Brown’s value will be goaline carries – and I don’t think we can assume he will get all of them.

More opposite day in this one: WR Hakeem Nicks’ 2 grabs for 40 yards stat sheet looks impressive…and it is encouraging.  But there’s no doubt Nicks is not 100% healthy – you can see him dragging his feet a little and looking sluggish as he rehabs – to me that’s a bigger concern for a guy who’s hurt every season, than say WR Victor Cruz’s  ankle injury which got all the press.

Cruz will be fine and he’s the WR to own from the Giants – again not b/c his talent is overwhelming, but b/c of his rapport in the offense and his (relative) health.  Panic not G-men fans: Cruz will be ok.

:by Mike