Category Archives: Washington Redskins

DeSean Jackson to the Redskins: Now Gang Sign free

As a Redskins’ fan even I’m not sure how to feel about WR DeSean Jackson being kicked to the curb by the green, only to find refuge in the burgundy and gold.  There are several elements to this new deal – from a reality and a fantasy football perspective -so let’s deal with the early impressions for each.

IN REALITY

This whole DeSean Jackson story is puzzling to those of us outside the NFL’s inner personnel offices.  What was the Eagles real motivation behind releasing the team’s 2013 leading WR?  Was it conflict with the head coach Chip Kelly?  Was it conflict with teammates?  Was it potential contract demands?  Or was it something more sinister?  Like Jackson’s reported gang ties, and other assorted off field behavior?

I have to think by process of elimination that we are dealing more with one of those personality conflicts between coach and player, and possibly player and player – rather than the sensationalized “Crips” association.   Don’t believe that?  Like the soap opera storyline better?  Ok, but let’s examine what’s happened in the last 48 hours.

Washington signed Jackson to a reported 3 year 24mil  (could actually be a 4 year 32mil deal – but the 4th year is team voidable) dollar contract late last night.  The contract has about 16mil guaranteed and breaks out to about 8mil a season.  Those #’s are fairly high, but by no means are they out of a majority of teams’ budgets.  Greg Jennings for Minnesota is making more per season by comparison (ouch Vikings, ouch).  So I think we can rule out contract demands as a source of Jackson’s Philly release.

Also, one has to believe that the Redskins did some due diligence on researching DeSean’s off-field associations, before handing out that contract.  I know they probably didn’t find everything about him, and I know it’s certainly possible he does hang with shady dudes.   But let’s be real about this, every NFL team is willing to deal with some level of “shadiness” if the player can play.  If it helps, the LA Police department came out publicly on twitter to say to their knowledge  Jackson has no official ties to any gang or other criminal activity  in the LA area.

As a Redskins fan I am very familiar with what happens inside organizations when a player and a coach fall out.  I thought Mike Shanahan’s treatment of players was despicable last season -and the relationship between him and Robert Griffin was ugly and public.  In its aftermath, when Shanahan was fired at the end of the year we had Shanahan’s people leaking stories to Adam Schefter and others – while the Redskins organization leaked its own stories to the press to try to counteract the PR damage.  It was a mess full of exaggerations, lies, and stuff that was just better left unsaid.

The point is I see a lot of these types of things happening now with the DeSean Jackson story.  Philly 1st reported clashes between him and headcoach Chip Kelly, then it was his asking for a new contract, then it was going to get worked out, then it wasn’t, then some teammates came out against him, and finally the gang stories surfaced – just as the Eagles were getting ready to tear up his deal.  The root of the  issue is what makes sense – Jackson was no longer a part of Chip Kelly’s philosophy on how to run a team.

And that’s valid – but it probably seems extreme to many football outsiders (fans for example) to just cut a player outright, and that leads to the other “layers” of the story – gang ties and contract demands, but let’s not be fooled here.  At least part of the “other stuff” is a Philly state sponsored story to defend themselves for the move. How much of it is real- is probably somewhere in the middle – missing meetings for example sounds plausible, running with the Crips sounds less so.  Whatever Jackson and Kelly really had conflict with we’ll never know – we just now have a he said/he said thing to sort through and frankly, it may not even mean much in the end.

POSITIVES OF THE DEAL

The positives for Washington in the new arrangement are fairly obvious: Jackson completes a WR overhaul in DC that was desperately needed.   It’s hard to argue for example that Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, and Andre Roberts aren’t a massive upgrade in talent over 2013’s Garcon, Leonard Hankerson, and Aldrick Robinson.

The contract as a 3 year 24mil dollar (or 4 for 32mil) deal is also a win for them – in the sense that if things do go south for DeSean Jackson in DC, the Redskins can at least mitigate their losses to only a season or two.  And if rumors are true – the shorter deal may be better for Jackson – as he may want to re-evaluate what he’s worth after bigger seasons.

For Philly the positives are that Chip Kelly, who remember has only coached one NFL season, has become the “sheriff” in town.  He’s won the battle vs Jackson and has front office, and seemingly lockeroom support for his move.  Kelly had a terrific offense last season, if he keeps it anywhere close to that – the number of Eagle fans who regret losing Jackson will probably vanish.

NEGATIVES OF THE DEAL

For Washington they are assuming risks here.  Jackson in all likelihood does have some rough edges as a team player.  As with most top WR’s there’s a degree of diva in him – but whether this means that he gets in a few minor shouting incidents with teammates or coaches, or whether that escalates into skipping meetings and whining about his payday to the press – we just don’t know.  1st year headcoach Jay Gruden will have to learn how to manage him when he gets temperamental – and we simply don’t know how that will go.

Also, Jackson’s 1332 yards last season was a career high – in previous years he’s been banged up a bit, and has had bouts of wild inconsistency in production. How much of that was a QB problem?  How much of his recent production was a result of Chip Kelly?

And that’s a risk Kelly is taking on his side as well.  If Jackson succeeds in Washington and the Eagles offense falls off a bit – how will Kelly be viewed by the Front Office?  Wining is everything, and if they don’t win – will letting Jackson go be a part of the criticism’s against him? Almost certainly.

IN FANTASY FOOTBALL

WR DeSean Jackson: I expect Jackson’s #’s to come down a bit from last season, but I think that was fair to assume in any case since it was a career high year for him.  Beyond that, it’s tough to forecast – certainly he will fill a similar role in Washington that he did in Philly – he’ll be the deep threat on a team that desperately needs one.  Good news here for Jackson’s fantasy value is that I anticipate Jay Gruden going downfield with passing more than Mike Shanahan did – it just fits Gruden’s profile and now he has the downfield weapon to exploit that.  Fantasy Football players will have to watch preseason to see if we’ll get a hint of Jackson’s new situation – but there’s no serious need to bump him up or down in value at this point.

QB  Robert Griffin III  – RG3 has to be excited by this move, and IMO he’s the only clear fantasy winner in this situation.  Gruden will want him to throw more this season – and instead of being just Garcon and a bunch of dudes – Jackson gives him another prime weapon.  Robert was probably due for a bounceback year as it was, because he’s now more recovered from his knee injury than he was in 2013 – but having a legitimate deep threat will now take the pressure off him a little more.  It may even open up more running room for him, since teams will be less inclined to walk a safety down into the box on non-obvious passing downs.

WR Pierre Garcon – I think Pierre is, from a talent perspective, still the best WR on the Redskins’ roster – and this is a complicated case.  He won’t be getting the same amount of targets with Jackson there, so it’s unlikely he’ll come close to the 113 receptions (which led the NFL) that he had last season.  On the other hand Garcon will no longer have the entire opposing defense making him a priority – and this may help him improve on his TD total ( 5 in 2013). Also, as Garcon tends to suffer nicks and bruises at a higher rate than average – hopefully this will keep him healthier throughout all 16 games.  In PPR leagues his value may suffer a little from what he was projected to be in 2014 before this deal, but RG3 loves looking his way – and he still has fantasy WR1 potential.

WR Andre Roberts – Roberts is probably the Redskins player hurt most by the deal.  And it’s unfortunate as he had an opportunity to play inside and outside on offense before the deal, and now it looks like mainly slot work for him.  As a Redskins fan I love the idea of Garcon, Jackson, and Roberts working together – but as a fantasy owner of Roberts in a dynasty league I feel a little deflated that Roberts won’t get the volume of chances he probably should.  WR3 or WR4 in fantasy now feels like the right place for him – instead of WR2 high WR3 that I previously had him tracking at.

TE Jordan Reed – Reed was target option #2 for RG3 last season and you have to think that changes now.  Reed, who has proven a little fragile thanks to a severe concussion last season that put him on the shelf for over 5 games, has never really gone multiple games without being banged up somehow.  He remains a risk/reward TE choice – flirting with top 5 TE numbers when healthy, but this season it’s safer to assume with added options for RG3 that his ceiling may be a little lower – like top 10 TE and that’s IF healthy.

WR Leonard Hankerson/Santana Moss – one or both of these guys may not make the club now.  Moss is a veteran leader, but is clearly at the stage where that’s his biggest asset to a team.  Potential perhaps to be clutch on 3rd down – but from a fantasy perspective worthless if he remains in Washington.  Hankerson, is a little more difficult – he’s much younger, fits a possession WR mold the Skins could use, but he’s currently recovering from a torn ACL and won’t be ready til mid-preseason at best.  He’d also suffered a serious knee injury 2 seasons ago, and has never really developed sure hands.  He could be a useful NFL player – but he may even get IR’d for 2014 – and if you’re a dynasty owner of him right now it may be time to give up his roster spot if you need the room.

WR Jeremey Maclin/Riley Cooper – Well we were wondering if Maclin coming back from his 2013 season ending injury would impact Cooper’s targets.  With Jackson gone now, there should be plenty of targets for both of these guys – if Maclin’s recovery goes according to plan. It’s safe to assume in a high volume passing attack these guys are both high end WR2 plays that have chances to become WR1’s.   Cooper was a Foles favorite last season, so he may have the early edge on targets here.

QB Nick Foles -There’s a lot we don’t know about Nick Foles – can he repeat his excellent 2013 level of decision making?  Will defenses around the league “catch up” a little to Chip Kelly and Foles tendencies?  What wrinkles will Foles be able to insert with another year of experience in Kelly’s system?  And now what will Foles do without his leading WR from last season?  I have a feeling  he’ll be ok…but there is a risk of an adjustment period and Foles not reaching the stats of 2013.  Regardless I think it’s safe to draft Foles as your QB1 – just don’t overpay for him because he very well could fall out of the top 6 or 7.

RB Darren Sproles – We know McCoy will get his carries and catches, but there had been some debate (listen to our offseason podcasts) over how much usage Darren Sproles will get.  That’s still an unknown, but with an unproven group trying to be Wr3 – it’s possible we see Sproles split out as a WR more – possibly even to compliment increased uses of the TE’s Ertz and Celek.  I think Kelly will find some very creative ways to generate that third passing threat – and Sproles has to be on the list.  Track comments about him over the preseason – wait and watch.

The Rest of the Eagles WR’s: On the Philly side this is to me where it gets interesting.  Your top 2 WR’s are Riley Cooper who has had exactly one year of proven worth, and Jeremy Maclin who has an injury history.  You’ve lost the deep/speed threat on your offense, and out of the remaining guys on the depth chart WR Damarias Johnson and Brad Smith  seem to be the most promising.  This is an important spot as even the 4th or 5th option in a Chip Kelly offense could bring fantasy depth to your team.  Personally I can see the team getting a cheap veteran like resigning WR Jason Avant, and then drafting a speed style WR in the mid rounds of the 2014 draft.   Whatever happens keep an eye on it there’s some great fantasy potential here – particularly if Cooper or Maclin stumble.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There is a lot to think about with this signing as it was clearly one of the biggest moves of the 2014 offseason.  There aren’t many clear answers right now to some of the biggest questions – will DeSean behave himself?  How will Philly replace his speed and production?  What does this mean for DeSean’s production?

For fantasy you will have to monitor everything in preseason, as with any other player – but remember in uncertainty comes opportunity.  We’ll update these players and more as the offseason rolls on.

:by Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2013 – Week 8 Waiver Add/Drop

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

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

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

Level 1

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

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

Level 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Level 3

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

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

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

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

DROPS

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

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

:by Mike

2013 – Week 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 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

2013 Preseason Week 3: Buffalo vs Washington

BUFFALO

You know it was a rough day for the Bills when the best news of the day was that RB CJ Spiller came back from what initially looked like a bad leg injury.  As it turns out, it was only a cleat to the leg and a minor cut – Spiller checked back into the game and escaped without further problems.   Spiller remains a high 1st round pick in all formats, probably between 1.2 – 1.6

The Bills were not so lucky with QB Kevin Kolb who sustained a concussion- or something very concussion-like in this game.  There’s some talk out of Buffalo now that Kolb may retire – since he has had many previous concussions.  And with rookie QB EJ Manuel also sidelined with a knee injury, things at the QB position are down to QB Jeff Tuel who was an undrafted rookie free agent.

Tuel is not going to be an answer for them – he has a light arm, questionable accuracy, and (as with most rookies) problems going through his progressions.  Does he ruin the Bills offense for fantasy in 2013?  I don’t think so for a few reasons:

1st he shouldn’t be the QB that long, Manuel will probably be ready to go by week 2 or 3(if he can’t go week 1).

2nd Spiller appears immune to questionable QB play, since he is a rare combo of big play and workhorse – meaning that if the offense stalls, he could still rip off a 50 yard TD on reduced attempts.

3rd The passing game value does take a hit, but even if Kolb was ready to start the season, at some point Buffalo would be turning to a rookie QB in Manuel to play anyway, and that carries a lot of risk in itself.  So you shouldn’t have rated any WR’s or TE’s too high in your draft targets anyway.

WASHINGTON

While the Bills went with Tuel for most of the game, the Redskins countered with a rotation of QB Rex Grossman and QB Pat White.  White has been interesting this preseason and went from “camp body” to in a battle for the QB 3 job.  It’s just a nice story and doesn’t mean much for fantasy in 2013 and probably beyond.

The Redskins took their opening drive marched down the field and targeted WR Pierre Garcon twice in the redzone, connecting with him the 2nd time on a slant for a td.  Garcon has super upside this season and while his ADP is the 4th rd in 12 team leagues – he has a shot to outproduce that as a borderline fantasy  WR 1.   He’s someone you should target “sneakily” in drafts and def pounce on if you find him sitting there in the 5th or 6th rounds.

RB Roy Helu had 13 carries for 70 yards, and added 1 catch for 21 yards in what is becoming a very productive preseason.  The Redskins will find a way to use Helu this year behind Alfred Morris – so keep him in mind as a late RB stash in drafts, he could be a very nice RB 5 or 6 on your team this year.

:by Mike