Category Archives: Pittsburgh Steelers

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 4 – Waiver Add/Drop

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

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

Level 1

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

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

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

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

Level 2

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

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

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

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

Level 3

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

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

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

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

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

Players to Drop

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

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

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

:by Mike

 

2013 Week 1 – Waiver Add/Drops

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

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

Level 1

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

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

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

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

Level 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Level 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Ron and Mike

Truth or Fiction from NFL Week 1

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

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

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

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

TRUTH

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

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

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

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

FICTION

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

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

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

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

:by Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Preseason Week 2: Pittsburgh at Washington

Pittsburgh

You can’t be encouraged by virtually anything the Steelers showed on offense in this game.  Their OL looked terrible – guys like C Maurkice Pouncey, and G David DeCastro who are well thought of players – looked lost and gave up tons of pressure all of the 1st half.

RB Le’veon Bell ran the 1st 4 plays of this game.  He seemed to be a little slow, but he was finishing his short runs by at least moving the pile.  Then he developed a foot injury (to go with his recovery from a minor knee injury) and had to leave the game.  Bell has to be frustrating dynasty owners, who have now seen so little of him after probably drafting him high, and frustrating re-drafters who are trying gauge his value as a 5th-7th round back.   All I can say is cross your fingers and hope we get to see him in at least one more preseason game before you draft – b/c this guy is quickly becoming a “buyer beware” type of player.   He had average talent and was drafted into a fantastic situation, but if he’s not healthy enough to win the starting RB job in his rookie season his value takes a huge hit even for future seasons.

2 offensive  players who did look like they were ready for the season were WR Emmanuel Sanders & Marcus Wheaton. Sanders made some great catches in traffic and appears ready for his contract year break out season.   He has had health issues in the past, but barring injury he’s a great WR 3 or 4 for your fantasy team this season.  Rookie Marcus Wheaton hauled down a 57 yard TD, on a route that was basically just a speed on a fly patter – when he beat a 3rd string CB. Wheaton’s value is higher in a dynasty league right now – but he will get his chances this season as well working out of the Wr3 role.

I don’t often do this, and even players in IDP leagues won’t necessarily benefit from this guy this season…but S Shamarko Thomas is a man crush of mine.  He seems to be a combo of Ryan Clark (who’s already on the Steelers) and Bob Sanders (who was a game changer).   The Redskins who had a great need at safety this season ignored Thomas in the draft instead taking TE Jordan Reed (more on him below), and Shamarko repaid them in this one by making several bone crushing hits including causing a fumble.  If you play IDP in a dynasty format this guy should be a 1st round pick – he has to wait his turn behind the vets in Pittsburgh but he is going to be a major player in this league.

Washington

QB Kirk Cousins led the injured cast of Redskins from this one.   He left after being tackled awkwardly trying to get out of bonds and has a sprain of his right foot.  The MRI is to come with the dreaded “lisfranc” being a concern.   I’m not that concerned.  For 1 thing Lisfranc injuries are rare, but we focus on them like it’s the only type of mid foot pain one can have.  There are stats out there that suggest  x-rays can pick up 85% of lisc franc injuries, so on top of a rare injury there’s only a 15% chance that you’ll find one by the time you get to the MRI stage.

And for the 2nd thing:  Kirk Cousins is a backup QB people.  Sure there’s an outside chance he starts a game or 2 a season – even the 1st week (although RG3 was seen in good spirits joking with Shanahan and Dr James Andrews during the game), but for ffl in 2013 and probably beyond he has no real fantasy relevance.  Cousins may give the Redskins chances to win games in a pinch, but you’ll have better QB’s on your fantasy roster should any of your QB’s go down.

WR’s Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson also suffered minor leg injuries in this one.  Both of these guys are deeper WR 4 or 5’s for your 2013 season.

TE Jordan Reed made his debut in this one.  He’s a “move TE” that people like to compare to Aaron Hernandez (or at least they did before that murder thing) – he caught one short pass, dropped another, and ran such a terrible route on one that he caused a Rex Grossman interception b/c he was nowhere in the right area.  He’s a project player at best (and they could’ve had Shamarko!!)

RB’s Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison made their NFL debuts in this one.   Jamison ran well, but against the absolute last stringers in “give up” time.  Thompson an intriguing speedback,  ran the ball twice got blasted by Shamarko Thomas and fumbled the ball.  He also had a minor shoulder injury that he recovered enough from to check back into the game.  These 2 are competing for 1 spot behind RB Roy Helu – and Helu cemented his role on the team by ripping off a 30 yard TD on his only carry.

:by Mike

Preseason Week 1: New York Giants at Pittsburgh

New York Giants

WR Victor Cruz had the highlight in this one with his 57 yard TD from Eli.  From a real life perspective I’ve always maintained a bunch of WR’s could do what Victor does in this offense.  I get a lot of flack for that…but I stand by it, he’s a good WR – but it’s more about him being in the right place with the right QB and gameplan to get him open.  In fantasy however, he is the player to own from this team – ranking higher for fantasy purposes at his position than even QB Eli Manning.  Re-drafters shouldn’t pay a 2nd round pick for him, but anything below that might give you fantastic return on value.

WR Rebuen Randle and RB David Wilson who are both thought to be the “next man up” at their positions and possible fantasy sleepers did nothing in this one to impress.  While you may get value on Randle in a league or two – the David Wilson hype train is in full swing right now.  But I’m not hopping on the “fantasy sleeper” bus for this guy.  1st because his ADP is around the 5th or 6th rd in redraft leagues and that would seem to be about right for his situation (not a sleeper if the adp value isn’t there). And 2ndly I’m not sure Wilson gets many redzone looks (he got 1 redzone carry from the 5 in this one and got stoned for no gain).

RB Andre Brown is actually the guy I like here, especially as a value play.  If he can take the redzone looks from Wilson in any kind of split backfield he will be well worth spending a fantasy roster spot on. The two things we have to learn about him though are 1.) how much will the Giants commit to the running game this year?  It’s not the old Big Blue – they are a passing team these days.  I think Brown’s bigger body style and potentially punishing style is a strange fit for them.   2.) He did fumble in this game, and that normally gets you sent down the depth chart with Head Coach Tom Coughlin.  Fortunately for Brown he has the rest of the preseason to make up for it, and his competition Mr Wilson has been known to cough up more than a few fumbles himself.

Pittsburgh

Here’s how you know it’s preseason: RB  LaRod Stephens Howling worked with the 1st team and led the team in rushing with 7 carries for 40 yards.  He’s not seriously in the Steelers plans at a full time RB, but with rookie RB Le’von Bell shelved due to a minor injury, LaRod made the best of it.

RB Jonathan Dwyer and RB Issac Redman did not make the best of it – they looked old and slow – which is surprising given they’re both under 30.  Only one of these guys will be worth owning in ffl for 2013 and that will be as a handcuff or deep bench player.

Rookie WR Marcus Wheaton saw limited work  (1 rush for 10 yards, 1 catch for 8 yards), but he already looks like the next Steelers WR to come out of nowhere.  For re-drafters he’s not worth much-maybe a very late round flier, but keep your eyes on him during the season for waivers.  For dynasty players if you haven’t drafted yet grab him….if you have drafted see if you can pry him away from an owner on the cheap.