Tag Archives: Roy Helu

Post Draft Rookie Positional Rankings: RB

 

toast-beer

When looking at the rookies from a fantasy perspective, there is no silver bullet.  With any scouting, whether it’s fantasy or real life, there is a lot of subjectivity.   You would think with the amount of advanced statistics available you could mitigate the risk by using metrics. Though useful, they are only part of the equation.  Maybe there is a magic algorithm somewhere in the ether that will eventually reduce this to a numbers game.  Until the string theory of scouting is discovered, I use this.

Tape- What does he look like on tape? TV, youtube etc… Did he dominate?  Was he running people over, making people miss and running by them?  Do these skills translate in to the NFL?

Situation- How many players at his position are in front of him?   What are their skill levels? Age? Years remaining on their contracts?  Salary cap concerns?

Talent- How did he measure up in the combine and pro day?  Did he dominate on the field? Does he have a unique characteristic that can make him successful? Is he too small to be anything more than a 3rd down back or are his hands so bad he is only a 2 down back?

Scheme- What scheme is he playing in?  This is not always an absolute, but you should have idea of what type of offense he is in.  Does he fit what the team wants in a RB?  How does this scheme impact the player?

Run/Pass Ratio- How much do they pass?  How much do they run?  Be careful with this one.  EX. Drafting a WR4 on Seattle is not going to help you much unless you feel he can become more than a WR4 down the road.

Preseason Games – This is where you can tell a lot about what the team thinks of the player, how they will use him and how he stacks up against NFL competition.  Be careful watching a player going against 2nd and 3rd string players…

These rankings are slanted towards Dynasty Leagues

 

1          Sankey, Bishop           Titans

He has it all.  College Production, combine metrics, good tape and he’s in a situation where his only competition (Shonn Greene) is coming off knee surgery.

2          Williams, Andre          Giants

The Giants running back situation is muddled. Hillis is an aging RB. Jennings parlayed a good 5 game stretch into a nice FA contract, but is only a part time back.. David Wilson is coming off an injury and he has ball security issues.  Dynasty wise, he is a good bet.  Great college production and tough running style.

3          Hill, Jeremy                 Bengals

With BJE, aging and slowing, which now makes him really, really slow, Hill is the heir apparent for the power back role here.  He has the pedigree but there are character concerns. Could be the thunder to Gio Bernard’s lightening.

4          Freeman, Devonta       Falcons

I like, but don’t love Freeman from a talent perspective.  I really like his situation.  Jackson is on his last legs, Rodgers is just an average back.  Antone Smith might have been their best back last year.  This situation is wide open and he should have a great shot of getting significant playing time.

5          West, Terrance            Browns

He is firmly behind Ben Tate who signed a FA deal this offseason.  I can firmly say that Tate gets hurt every year.  He should be the unquestioned #2 here next year.  He played at a small school, I hope he can handle the speed of the NFL game.  If he can, he could eventually overtake Tate

6          Hyde, Carlos               49ers

This situation is different.  He is currently buried on the 49ers depth chart.  However, each guy he is behind has their warts.  Gore is aging, Lattimore is still recovering from that terrible knee injury, Hunter seems to be regarded as a change of pace (even though I think he can be more) and James seems to not have a role.   Where does that leave Hyde?  Beats me, but he has great talent and a great scheme fit in SF.  I wouldn’t expect immediate returns, but he has the talent to be an impact NFL player when he gets his shot.

7          Johnson, Storm           Jaguars

Perfect scheme fit. One cut and go for the zone scheme.  He is only really behind Gerhart.  Jordan Todman and Dennard Robinson seems to have undefined roles.  This bodes well for Johnson.  He could end up the #2 behind a guy that never has had to carry the load.

8          Mason, Tre                  Rams

Mason has average measureables, great production, good scheme fit and he is buried behind two capable RB’s in Stacy and Cunningham.   Pead and Richardson are wildcards, but candidates to be cut after a disappointing 2013. Mason seems to be a long term investment at this point.

9          Gaffney, Tyler            Panthers

Don’t expect to get an immediate return unless the panthers release Stewart or Williams.  Both are aging, injury prone and have cripplingly high salary cap numbers.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see Gaffney getting significant carries later in 2014.  He could be the future if he can adjust to the NFL.

10        White, James               Patriots

I like White.  Why did the Patriots select another RB when they have 3 capable on the roster?  Ridley and Vareen’s contracts are up after this offseason.  I would imagine only one would be back.   Vareen gets hurt a lot and Ridley has butterfingers so take your pick.  Brandon Bolden could also not be back.  White could conceivably be the starter in 2015.

11        Carey, Ka’Deem          Bears

It’s open season for the Bears back up running back position.  Carey can get the carries if he proves himself.  His value could really get an uptick if he plays well in the offseason.

12        McKinnon, Jerick        Vikings

A.P. is the man. He is one of best running backs of his generation. He is also getting older. He is coming off groin surgery. He has no back up RB.  Matt Asiatta is not enough.  Take a flyer late on this guy.

13        Blue, Alfred                Texans

Can do everything.  Can’t stay healthy.  Intriguing RB behind Foster.  Fosters’ age and health are becoming a factors.

14        Taliaferro, Lorenzo     Ravens

Ray Rice is having…legal issues.  Pierce is having shoulder issues.  Taliaferro could get some carries early.  Uncertain situation for sure.

15        Andrews, Antonio        Titans    

You never know when that UDFA beats out the higher ranked player.   A weak depth chart in front of him makes him draftable in dynasty leagues providing you have the roster depth.

15        Mairon Grice                   Chargers

Buried in a deep Chargers backfield.

16        Jerome Smith                   Falcons

Could be the Yin to Freeman’s Yang moving forward.  A player to watch.

17        Williams, Damien        Dolphins 

Crowded backfield situation.  Seems suited to the spread offense. Wait and see here.

18        Archer, Dri                  Steelers

Gadget back for the Steelers at this point.  Could he develop into Darrren Sproles?  History says the odds are against that, but his speed is elite.

19        Seastrunk, Lache         Redskins

See Damien Williams above. Possible replacement for Roy Helu who is in his contract year.

 

-Ron

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2013 – Week 8 Waiver Add/Drop

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

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

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

Level 1

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

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

Level 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Level 3

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

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

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

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

DROPS

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

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

:by Mike

2013 – Week 5 Waiver Add/Drop

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

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

Level 1

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

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

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

Level 2

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

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

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

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

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

Level 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Players to Drop

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

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

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

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

-Ron and Mike

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

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: Washington vs Tennessee

After writing about why it’s ok to miss the 1st week of preseason from a FFL perspective – we here at the Art of Score thought we’d highlight just a few things from each game, in case you took our advice and were curious as to what went down.

Washington

Kirk Cousins is an ok QB.  In this one he looked great mainly because the Titans starting d offered little pressure – and then the few times they were in Kirk’s face their secondary largely forgot to cover anyone.  On his lone TD pass to TE Fred Davis the entire Titans secondary bit on a bootleg and Fred was the 1st and only read needed on the play since he was so wide open.  Fred’ s lined up up for a very nice year in fantasy if he gets these goal line looks in the regular season.  I think his upside is top 5-7 TE status and he’s worth taking a shot on if you’re taking a TE in the middle rounds of your fantasy draft.

WR Leonard Hankerson and RB Roy Helu:  are fantasy players from Washington to watch going forward in the preseason.  Helu got a lot of touches behind the starting Washington O-line and performed a little better than average.  To me it doesn’t look like he has all his speed back yet, but he ran harder than I remember.  There was some talk about him being on the roster bubble, but I think it’s safe to say he’s on the team in Sept, and probably as the number 1 backup to Alfred Morris.    Hankerson had an up and down night, as he finished strong with a TD on a great 2nd effort – but he was also spoken to about not laying out his body earlier in the game for a 1st down.  Hankerson’s hands have been in question throughout his short career, but on this night he was one of the only WR’s that didn’t have a bad drop (Aldrick Robinson & Dezmond Briszcoe lowlighted those)

Tennessee

QB Jake Locker’s 7 for 11 for 58 yards seems like the typical conservative stat sheet for a starting QB warming up in a preseason game.  But, if you watched the game you’d notice it was far from it.  Locker faced uneven pressure as the Redskins forced 2 sacks of him, but he was also playing against a secondary that was comprised of 2 or 3 rookie starters on each of his attempts.  Instead of taking advantage of this,  he was a captain checkdown and even in those situations he sometimes lacked the zip on the ball required to make the throw – one throw to WR Kenny Britt in particular allowed the Redskins corner to close about 5 yards and bat it away on a simple toss in the flat.   Locker needs this preseason badly to improve his overall game, and should focus next week on building his repertoire of attempts as the Titans put in more of their gameplan.

WR Kendall Wright had a bad drop, and WR Justin Hunter blew a 1st down by catching a ball beyond the marker, and getting tackled back behind it while trying to fake out defenders.  Right now it’s tough to like anything Tennessee is doing in the air.

However, the story of this for the Titans on offense was their running game.   RB Chris Johnson’s 58 yard TD was a good thing to see….but we have to value it correctly as it came on a completely busted play by what has to be an embarrassed Redskins’ defense.   There was no containment by the team and then no one at the 2nd level took any kind of proper tackling angle.  So, while it was good to see Johnson recognize and perform the cutback, he really didn’t have to shed any tackles or make any moves on the play once he made the one cut.

RB Shone Greene the new acquisition to backup Chris Johnson ran hard as well.  He made several good reads, and cuts – and his TD came on an excellently blocked off tackle play.  We still don’t know how the Titans will (if) use Greene in the redzone this season as a short yard back, but he’s a player to monitor if he does get some of those.