Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week 5 fantasy moves to make now


It is already officially that time of the season - coaches are being fired (Dennis Allen is out in Oakland) and quarterbacks are being benched (Kyle Orton will take over for an ineffective E.J. Manuel in Buffalo). Likewise, you may need to shake things up on your fantasy team. Let's take a look at some top targets heading into Week 5.

First let's take a look at quarterback. I spotlighted Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota) and Blake Bortles (Jacksonville) last week so hopefully you already made the move. Rookies or not, they both look exceptional. If somehow they are still on your waiver wire, they are the prime quarterbacks to target. 

Kyle Orton will get the start in Buffalo. You had to see this one coming after Buffalo surprisingly signed Orton to a 2-year, $11M deal in late August, plus E.J. Manuel just doesn't look like a starting NFL quarterback. Through two seasons, Manuel has a career 58.6 completion percentage. Orton is worth adding for desperate teams. He was the 14th best fantasy quarterback in 2009 - still, I am saying only for desperate teams. The move should really help rookie receiver Sammy Watkins however. 

Who is next to get benched? It could be Jets' quarterback Geno Smith, who threw his 5th interception of the season this week (and lost a fumble) in a 7-point home loss to the Lions. Michael Vick seems likely to get the nod at some point. This is football blasphemy and I am not saying this is anywhere near on the horizon, but Tom Brady looks washed up. In the later part of the season, it is possible the Patriots turn to rookie Jimmy Garoppolo - crazier things have happened. In Philadelphia, Nick Foles' job is safe, but he is taking a beating. Mark Sanchez could find himself with the keys to the Philadelphia offense at some point. 

Jerick McKinnon finally got some touches in Minnesota, and he looked exceptional. His athletic skills are on a completely different level than that of Matt Asiata. McKinnon carried the ball 18 times for 135 yards (7.5 yards per carry) and showed why he was a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. That said, Asiata will still start (for now) but expect the workload to move closer to a 50/50 split. McKinnon is likely your top waiver wire claim this week if he is available in your league. 

I mentioned Lorenzo Taliaferro last week and he remains a priority add if Taliaferro is still available (or he is a good trade target). Justin Forsett had the better fantasy game, but I would much rather have Taliaferro for the rest of the season based on his upside. Taliaferro led the Ravens with 15 carries and he scored a 1-yard TD this week. Bernard Pierce didn't see a single touch.

The war of attrition that has decimated Carolina's backfield has left Darrin Reaves as the last man standing. Reaves has good size (5'10", 220 lbs.), but was unimpressive in Week 4 totaling just 26 yards on 12 carries (2.2 yards per carry). Games against Chicago next week and Green Bay in week seven might help the running game, but it's hard to get excited about a running back on a team that has yet to surpass 75 rushing yards in a game. Reaves is an emergency BYE week cover play at best.

Marvin Jones (Cincinnati) is slated to make his 2014 debut after recovering from a broken foot in pre-season. It's not the same offense as last year, but Jones scored 10 TDs last season. He is worth adding if on your waiver wire. 

It's hard to know what the Raiders offense will look now that Dennis Allen is out (offensive line coach Tony Sparano is expected to be the interim head coach but there are some rumors that they are trying to woo Jon Gruden to come back), plus Derek Carr left Week 4 with a sprained MCL and a high-ankle sprain, but wide receiver Andre Holmes is a good deep sleeper. Rod Streater (foot surgery) is out and could be miss the season while Holmes got the start this week and collected 74 yards with a TD. Holmes has big-play potential. 

In Tampa, Mike Evans injured his groin and he will be out a few weeks. Louis Murphy should draw the start in his absence. Murphy seemed to quickly earn the trust of quarterback Mike Glennon this week (they likely have been practicing together as backups), seeing 11 targets and converting six of them for 99 yards. Murphy is worth adding if you need BYE week help. The Evans injury, should also mean more targets for tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (he saw 7 pass targets against the Steelers and he played in 71-of-71 snaps this week). Give it a week to sink in, but Mike Evans will make for a good buy low target if an impatient owner doesn't want to wait this one out. 

Based on ownership numbers, fantasy owners are leery of trusting Eddie Royal (San Diego) after his torrid start in 2013 (10 receptions, 114 yards, five TDs in weeks one and two) led to diminishing returns as the season progressed. In 2014, Royal has done more of the same in weeks three and four with 13 receptions for 147 yards and four TDs. Royal should remain a viable target for Philip Rivers, but don't expect the TDs to continue to come in bunches. 

Jarius Wright (Minnesota) showed to have a good rapport with Teddy Bridgewater (they also have been practicing together as backups). Wright was targeted 10 times this week and converted eight for 132 yards. Rookie QBs tend to rely on the short and intermediate receivers as they get acclimated to the speed of the NFL, playing right into the wheelhouse of Wright as Minnesota's slot receiver. Wright has appeal as a BYE week filler or occasional flex starter but he’s only really a target for deeper leagues. 

Other fantasy notes 
Carson Palmer (shoulder) could be back soon. Most importantly, that would be good news for Michael Floyd. Through three games Floyd is averaging a lethal 22.9 yards per catch but he has no touchdowns yet. You might be able to target Floyd in a trade at some discount. Regardless of who starts this week for the Cardinals, Floyd is a good buy-low target. 

Now might be a good time to try to trade Andre Johnson (Houston) based on name value. Through four games, Johnson is on pace for 88 receptions, 1,048 yards but zero touchdowns. Meanwhile, his teammate DeAndre Hopkins has 3 TDs on the season. 

Speaking of moving a player with solid name value, consider dealing Jets running back Chris Johnson. Chris Ivory simply looks like the better back (in fact, Ivory looks like a poor man’s Marshawn Lynch). Johnson scored a 35-yard TD run this week and that might also help to create some added buzz to move him and get a decent return. 

During Monday Night Football, I was engaged with several people saying how they would not trade tight end Travis Kelce for Rob Gronkowski straight up, and how Kelce is the new Gronk. Good points - Kelce does look like the new Gronk. You might want to try to work a trade like this if you own Gronkowski (and maybe you can still get something extra in return). For those on Twitter, you can follow me at @Speedkills_FFW

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week 4 fantasy football tips for your lineup

Week 4 is upon us with six teams on a BYE (Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Seattle and St. Louis) and two franchises about to officially start a new chapter as Jacksonville will start Blake Bortles this week at quarterback and Minnesota will start Teddy Bridgewater. Here's a look at tips for Week 4 and sleepers to consider for your lineup. 

WEEK 4 TIPS
Uh-oh, it is likely the week that many in Charlotte were either dreading or greatly looking forward to - the Panthers will square off against Steve Smith in a Ravens' uniform. It sure will be interesting. Look for Smith to be ultra-motivated and if you own Steve Smith, you start Steve Smith. 

Have the Montee Ball, Matt Forte and Eddie Lacy blues? Join the club. We will need to wait a week for Ball as he's on a BYE, but look for both Forte and Lacy to get going this week as the Bears and Packers square off – hey, it  starts with belief! Lacy has faced three top five defenses to start the year (and they have been super stingy, the Jets at 55 rushing yards per game, Detroit at 64 and Seattle at 72), while Forte has faced three top seven defenses to start the year. As they go up against one another, Lacy faces the Chicago (defense 26th against the run) while Forte faces the Packers (30th against the run - and Forte was outstanding last year in two games against the Packers with 4 TDs). 

If you own Nick Foles (Philadelphia), don't let the San Francisco name scare you. They are a middle of the pack defense this year. Foles has yet to pass for under 320 yards in a game this season, and he is on pace for 5,216 passing yards. 

It looks like the heyday for Tom Brady has come and gone. He will have better days as he is pace for a tepid 3,371 passing yards and 16 TDs - but at Arrowhead this week, I'll pass. It may sound crazy, but I think I would rather start Blake Bortles (Jacksonville) in his first NFL start this week (it's close anyway). With most young quarterbacks, they play kind of scared, but not so with Bortles, and he has a lively arm and gets the ball down the field. Bortles averaged a very healthy 9.3 yards per attempt and 15.9 yards per completion last week. Bortles also led the NFL at 16.3 yards per completion average in pre-season. Amaze your friends and beat them with a Blake Bortles - Allen Robinson combo this week. Make sure Robinson is not on your waiver wire. 

Both the Indianapolis running backs have value. Ahmad Bradshaw is a touchdown-catching machine. He has three receiving touchdowns the last two weeks and he is currently the 6th best running back in point-per-reception scoring. Bradshaw makes for a solid number two running back for the foreseeable future, although the Colts will continue to get Trent Richardson the ball plenty. Richardson's yard per attempt have gone up from 3.3 in Week 1 to 3.8 in Week 2 and 4.1 last week. It's progress. 

You don’t need me to tell you to start Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh), but start him with confidence anyway – when/if Brown collects has five receptions this week he will have done so in 21 straight games. He'll be the first player in the history of the NFL to have done so. Brown gets Jacksonville who has allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other team this season. Likewise, teammate Markus Wheaton makes for a solid spot-start during a heavy BYE week. 

Daily fantasy football: Jordy Nelson, where were you last week? My Week 4 lineup is: QB Drew Brees ($9,200), RB DeMarco Murray ($9,000), RB Donald Brown ($6,300), WR Michael Crabtree ($7,000), WR DeAndre Hopkins ($6,400), WR Brandin Cooks ($6,200), TE Antonio Gates ($58000), K Nick Novak ($5,200), Pittsburgh Defense ($4,900). 


SLEEPERS FOR WEEK 3
Donald Brown (San Diego) averaged just 2.0 yards per carry last week at Buffalo but that will greatly increase this week at home against Jacksonville, who rank 29th against the run. I am aggressively ranking Brown as the 5th best running back for the week. Be sure to get Brown in your lineup. 

If you are really hurting at running back, Branden Oliver (San Diego) will also get mixed in with Danny Woodhead out for the season. Oliver had just three touches last week but he will get more reps this week with a full week to prepare as the new number two running back for the Chargers. Likewise for a super deep sleeper, Darrin Reaves (Carolina) will likely get reps after being called up from the practice squad last week. For running backs, half of the equation is opportunity. 

LeGarrette Blount (Pittsburgh) gets to face his former team Tampa Bay. You can easily imagine Blount getting across the stripe in this one. 

Antonio Gates (San Diego) had an off-week last week with one catch but he should get back to being super productive this week with Ladarius Green now questionable with a hamstring issue while Gates gets the Jaguars who has allowed a touchdown to tight ends in every game this year, and twice as many touchdowns to tight ends as to receivers (4 to 2). 


There are many prime defensive match-ups this week to roll the dice on. In terms of defenses that may be on your waiver wire, I particularly like San Diego at home against Jacksonville, Miami at Oakland, and Pittsburgh at home against Tampa Bay. The Detroit Defense is also a strong play (Jets' quarterback Geno Smith is improving but he is a pick-six candidate in any given game) - the Lions are the surprise #1 ranked defense in total yards allowed through three games. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 4 fantasy football rankings

Below are Week 4 fantasy football rankings based on potential performance in this week's games for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, kicker and team defense.

Quarterback
1 Drew Brees, New Orleans at Dallas 
2 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at Chicago 
3 Andrew Luck, Indianapolis at Tennessee ... Luck is the #1 fantasy quarterback through two weeks
4 Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco vs. Philadelphia 
5 Kirk Cousins, Washington vs. N.Y. Giants 
6 Nick Foles, Philadelphia at San Francisco ... Foles has yet to pass for under 320 yards in a game this season, on pace for 5,216 passing yards
7 Matt Ryan, Atlanta at Minnesota ... Ryan historically dips in outside conditions versus being in a dome
8 Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. Jacksonville 
9 Matthew Stafford, Detroit at N.Y. Jets 
10 Tony Romo, Dallas vs. New Orleans 
11 Jay Cutler, Chicago vs. Green Bay 
12 Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay 
13 Cam Newton, Carolina at Baltimore 
14 Tom Brady, New England at Kansas City ... Tom Brady on pace for 3,371 passing yards and 16 TDs
15 Alex Smith, Kansas City vs. New England 
16 Blake Bortles, Jacksonville at San Diego ... Bortles will make his first NFL start
17 Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota vs. Atlanta ... Bridgewater will make his first NFL start
18 Geno Smith, N.Y. Jets vs. Detroit 
19 Ryan Tannehill, Miami at Oakland ... Tannehill could get yanked for Matt Moore if he doesn't step it up
20 Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants at Washington 


Running Back
1 DeMarco Murray, Dallas vs. New Orleans 
2 Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay 
3 Matt Forte, Chicago vs. Green Bay ... Forte is averaging just 3.2 YPC but Green Bay ranks 30th against the run
4 Eddie Lacy, Green Bay at Chicago ... Let’s hope Lacy gets going but he has faced three Top 5 run defenses so far
5 Donald Brown, San Diego vs. Jacksonville 
6 LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia at San Francisco 
7 Lamar Miller, Miami at Oakland 
8 Jamaal Charles, Kansas City vs. New England ... Charles (ankle) is expected back but you won't know for sure until Monday Night
9 Alfred Morris, Washington vs. N.Y. Giants 
10 Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis at Tennessee 
11 Arian Foster, Houston vs. Buffalo ... Foster (hamstring) needs to be monitored
12 Rashad Jennings, N.Y. Giants at Washington ... Washington ranks 3rd against the run
13 Pierre Thomas, New Orleans at Dallas 
14 Doug Martin, Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh 
15 Reggie Bush, Detroit at N.Y. Jets 
16 Chris Ivory, N.Y. Jets vs. Detroit 
17 Frank Gore, San Francisco vs. Philadelphia 
18 Darren Sproles, Philadelphia at San Francisco 
19 Trent Richardson, Indianapolis at Tennessee 
20 Steven Jackson, Atlanta at Minnesota 
21 C.J. Spiller, Buffalo at Houston 
22 Fred Jackson, Buffalo at Houston 
23 Khiry Robinson, New Orleans at Dallas 
24 Matt Asiata, Minnesota vs. Atlanta 
25 Joique Bell, Detroit at N.Y. Jets 
26 Shane Vereen, New England at Kansas City 
27 Carlos Hyde, San Francisco vs. Philadelphia 
28 Stevan Ridley, New England at Kansas City 
29 Knile Davis, Kansas City vs. New England ... Jamaal Charles (ankle) is expected back but you won't know for sure until Monday Night
30 DeAngelo Williams, Carolina at Baltimore 


Wide Receivers
1 Dez Bryant, Dallas vs. New Orleans 
2 Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay ... If Brown catches 5 passes he will set the NFL record for 20 straight games with 5 catches
3 Julio Jones, Atlanta at Minnesota 
4 Jordy Nelson, Green Bay at Chicago 
5 Calvin Johnson, Detroit at N.Y. Jets 
6 Alshon Jeffery, Chicago vs. Green Bay 
7 Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina at Baltimore 
8 Julian Edelman, New England at Kansas City 
9 Pierre Garcon, Washington vs. N.Y. Giants 
10 Randall Cobb, Green Bay at Chicago 
11 Michael Crabtree, San Francisco vs. Philadelphia 
12 Steve Smith, Baltimore vs. Carolina ... Look for Smith to be extra motivated this week against his former team
13 Andre Johnson, Houston vs. Buffalo 
14 Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia at San Francisco 
15 Victor Cruz, N.Y. Giants at Washington ... Pretty crazy, Cruz scored his first TD last week since Week 4 of last season
16 Brandin Cooks, New Orleans at Dallas 
17 Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota vs. Atlanta ... Shifting to Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback should be a plus for Patterson
18 DeSean Jackson, Washington vs. N.Y. Giants 
19 Brandon Marshall, Chicago vs. Green Bay ... Marshall (ankle) will be questionable and had just 1 catch last week
20 Keenan Allen, San Diego vs. Jacksonville 
21 DeAndre Hopkins, Houston vs. Buffalo 
22 Mike Wallace, Miami at Oakland ... Wallace has caught at least 5 passes each game this year
23 Terrance Williams, Dallas vs. New Orleans 
24 T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis at Tennessee ... Hilton (ankle) needs to be monitored but should be good to go
25 Roddy White, Atlanta at Minnesota ... White (hamstring) needs to be monitored but should be good to go
26 Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh 
27 Sammy Watkins, Buffalo at Houston 
28 Allen Robinson, Jacksonville at San Diego 
29 Anquan Boldin, San Francisco vs. Philadelphia 
30 Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia at San Francisco 
31 Kendall Wright, Tennessee at Indianapolis 
32 Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis at Tennessee 
33 Golden Tate, Detroit at N.Y. Jets 
34 Mike Evans, Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh 
35 Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay 
36 Jeremy Kerley, N.Y. Jets vs. Detroit 
37 Justin Hunter, Tennessee at Indianapolis 
38 Greg Jennings, Minnesota vs. Atlanta 
39 Marques Colston, New Orleans at Dallas 
40 Eric Decker, N.Y. Jets vs. Detroit ... Decker hamstring injury was aggravated last week so he will need to be monitored
41 Torrey Smith, Baltimore vs. Carolina 
42 James Jones, Oakland vs. Miami 
43 Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City vs. New England 
44 Kenny Stills, New Orleans at Dallas 
45 Rueben Randle, N.Y. Giants at Washington 
46 Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville at San Diego 
47 Eddie Royal, San Diego vs. Jacksonville 
48 Steve Johnson, San Francisco vs. Philadelphia 
49 Devin Hester, Atlanta at Minnesota 
50 Harry Douglas, Atlanta at Minnesota ... Douglas (foot) needs to be monitored but should be good to go


Tight End
1 Jimmy Graham, New Orleans at Dallas 
2 Rob Gronkowski, New England at Kansas City 
3 Martellus Bennett, Chicago vs. Green Bay 
4 Greg Olsen, Carolina at Baltimore 
5 Vernon Davis, San Francisco vs. Philadelphia ... Davis (ankle) will need to be monitored
6 Larry Donnell, N.Y. Giants at Washington ... Donnell has 18 receptions this year, 6 more than any other N.Y. Giant
7 Niles Paul, Washington vs. N.Y. Giants 
8 Delanie Walker, Tennessee at Indianapolis 
9 Travis Kelce, Kansas City vs. New England 
10 Jason Witten, Dallas vs. New Orleans 
11 Zach Ertz, Philadelphia at San Francisco 
12 Ladarius Green, San Diego vs. Jacksonville 
13 Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Jacksonville 
14 Heath Miller, Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay 
15 Charles Clay, Miami at Oakland 
16 Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis at Tennessee 
17 Owen Daniels, Baltimore vs. Carolina ... Daniels will start with Dennis Pitta out for the year
18 Mychal Rivera, Oakland vs. Miami 
19 Coby Fleener, Indianapolis at Tennessee 
20 Brent Celek, Philadelphia at San Francisco 


Kicker
1 Stephen Gostkowski, New England at Kansas City 
2 Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis at Tennessee 
3 Nick Novak, San Diego vs. Jacksonville 
4 Justin Tucker, Baltimore vs. Carolina 
5 Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay 
6 Matt Bryant, Atlanta at Minnesota 
7 Shayne Graham, New Orleans at Dallas 
8 Cody Parkey, Philadelphia at San Francisco 
9 Mason Crosby, Green Bay at Chicago 
10 Phil Dawson, San Francisco vs. Philadelphia 
11 Caleb Sturgis, Miami at Oakland 
12 Dan Bailey, Dallas vs. New Orleans 
13 Dan Carpenter, Buffalo at Houston 
14 Nick Folk, N.Y. Jets vs. Detroit 
15 Blair Walsh, Minnesota vs. Atlanta 
16 Alex Henery, Detroit at N.Y. Jets ... Nate Freese is out, Alex Henery is in for Detroit at kicker
17 Kai Forbath, Washington vs. N.Y. Giants 
18 Robbie Gould, Chicago vs. Green Bay 
19 Randy Bullock, Houston vs. Buffalo 
20 Graham Gano, Carolina at Baltimore 


Defense
1 New England DT, at Kansas City 
2 San Diego DT, vs. Jacksonville 
3 Miami DT, at Oakland 
4 Pittsburgh DT, vs. Tampa Bay 
5 Houston DT, vs. Buffalo 
6 Carolina DT, at Baltimore 
7 Buffalo DT, at Houston 
8 Baltimore DT, vs. Carolina 
9 Detroit DT, at N.Y. Jets 
10 Washington DT, vs. N.Y. Giants 
11 Green Bay DT, at Chicago 
12 Indianapolis DT, at Tennessee 
13 Atlanta DT, at Minnesota 
14 Philadelphia DT, at San Francisco 
15 Kansas City DT, vs. New England 
16 New York Jets DT, vs. Detroit 
17 New Orleans DT, at Dallas 
18 Chicago DT, vs. Green Bay 
19 San Francisco DT, vs. Philadelphia 
20 New York Giants DT, at Washington 

For full Week 4 rankings, click here to access at Fantasy Football Warehouse...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 4 fantasy moves to make now


Week 3 is in the books, with the Panthers licking their wounds unfortunately, and perhaps some of you doing so as well with injured players continuing to mount or with early draft picks that are not getting it done. Let's take a look at some top targets that may still be available in your fantasy leagues.

The Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota) and Blake Bortles (Jacksonville) eras are set to begin in full form this week as both will make their first NFL start. I think Bridgewater will be an upgrade for Cordarrelle Patterson owners, but Bortles is the quarterback of the two you want to pick up. Bortles has a lively arm and he gets the ball down the field - Bortles averaged a very healthy 9.3 yards per attempt and 15.9 yards per completion this past week, and he piled up 223 yards passing in just one half of football against the Colts. Bortles also will add to the bottom line with above average rushing production (he had 30 rushing yards this week - note that Bortles had 17 rushing TDs in three seasons at Central Florida). 

Allen Robinson (Jacksonville) has seen his targets, receptions and yards increase in each of the first three weeks of the season, and he is easily the No. 1 Jacksonville wide receiver to own if you ask me. Blake Bortles looked his way often last week in his NFL debut. It is a deep and talented rookie wide receiver class and that includes Robinson, who set the Penn State record with 77 receptions in 2012 and then broke his own record with 97 receptions in 2013. Definitely add Robinson if he happens to be on your waiver wire. 

In place of Arian Foster, Alfred Blue (Houston) had a successful day rushing this week with  78 yards before game flow limited his touches against the Giants. Blue looks like a high-value handcuff going forward. 

Lorenzo Taliaferro (Baltimore) from Coastal Carolina had a big day replacing Bernard Pierce this past week, to the tune of 91 yards rushing on 18 carries and a touchdown. Taliaferro displayed plus power and he is a load to bring down at nearly 230 pounds. Taliaferro will likely still be in a complement role but he should get liberally mixed in and he is the Ravens' running back you want to own and he should be one of this week's top pick-ups (although I wouldn't start him just yet and not this week against the Panthers). 

Speaking of the Panthers, someone in your league probably has released DeAngelo Williams. He isn't going to win you titles, but Williams should be the main back with Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert injured, and the Panthers down to Darrin Reaves as their only other healthy running back (signed from the practice squad last week). Williams should be busy – surely the Panthers will try to run more? 

Dennis Pitta (Baltimore) dislocated the same hip that he broke/dislocated in training camp last year and unfortunately there is a good chance his career is over. Owen Daniels steps in as the main tight end, and he knows the offense well having played for offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak when they were at Houston together. That said, I don't see Daniels as being a fantasy-difference maker. 

If you want to get ahead of the curve, add rookie wide receiver Donte Moncrief (Indianapolis) if you have room. Moncrief has seen his playing time increase each week and he has caught six of his seven targets on the season. Moncrief is still the fourth WR in Indianapolis, but he may push for more playing time as the season progresses or if an injury open up a spot. Moncreif is an absolutely sensational athlete and draws poor-man Dez Bryant comparisons. 

I mentioned Kirk Cousins (Washington) last week – he is legit. Cousins racked up 427 yards and 3 touchdowns this week and he looks in command of the offense with five touchdowns to one interception this year. He doesn't have RG3's athleticism of course but Cousins is simply a better quarterback. 

I also mentioned Donald Brown (San Diego) last week and will spotlight him again. Brown averaged just 2.0 yards per carry last week but you have to like the workload (36 touches). Brown will find things much easier this week at home against Jacksonville and with Danny Woodhead lost for the season Brown will again be very busy. I expect Brown will end up remaining the Chargers' starting running back even when Ryan Mathews eventually returns, with Matthews playing the Danny Woodhead role in the offense. 

This is way down the list as a deep sleeper, but if you have room Antone Smith (Atlanta) is worth a cheap deep flyer. Steven Jackson has had a hard time staying healthy of late, Jacquizz Rodgers is more of a change of pace back and Devonta Freeman is averaging 2.1 yards per carry. At some point, Atlanta may give Smith more work as all he does is make big plays. Also on the deep sleeper list is Jacksonville's Denard Robinson. The reality is Toby Gerhart simple isn't fast enough or talented enough to be a starting NFL running back (Gerhart is averaging 2.4 yards per carry this year). Look for Robinson to get more work and he had 8 carries last week, just one fewer than Gerhart. 

At kicker, after missing four of seven field goal attempts Nate Freese is out in Detroit, Alex Henery is in. Henery played three years in Philadelphia and sports a solid 86.0 field goal accuracy percentage. Henery isn't a kicker that is going to connect on many 50+-yard field goals (he has just two in his career) but the kicker for Detroit has the potential to put up a lot of points. 

Other fantasy notes 
I have been spotlighting rookie wide receivers breaking out each week, and how the 2014 rookie wide receiver class potentially is the best in "Fantasy History" and it could end up being one of the best in NFL history. Week 1 saw Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin have strong weeks, Sammy Watkins had a big game in Week 2 - next up, Jordan Matthews (Philadelphia) for two scores. Matthews has Pro Bowl potential written all over him. Mathews (cousin to Jerry Rice) was the first Vanderbilt WR to earn all-SEC 1st team honors last year (ever) and he has massive hands (and great size) to dominate in the end zone – with a 10-3/8 hand size, Matthews topped all WRs at this year's Combine (and actually Matthews would have tied as having the largest hands among this year's tight ends).

Are you sitting on more good tight ends than you can start? If so, target the Kyle Rudolph and Dennis Pitta owners who likely suddenly find themselves in need of a starting tight end. 

Eddie Lacy (Denver) and Montee Ball (Green Bay) sure have been disappointing thus far. They will see better days. If you own then, don't panic and if you don't own them you may want to try to target them in a trade as owners may be willing to sell at a decent discount. 

Likewise, stay the course on T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis). Hilton hasn't scored yet but he will have big days. Andrew Luck is playing exceptional and Hilton is his No. 1 option. The targets have been there (Hilton ranks tied for 10th among wide receivers with 28 targets). Hilton was well on his way to potentially a big day last week but was sat down with an ankle sprain (and the game was already well in hand; the ankle injury is not considered serious). 

On the flip side, is it time to stick a fork in Marques Colston (New Orleans) and Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona)? I think so. They are just big names. Try to sell for anything reasonable. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Week 3 fantasy football tips for your lineup

On to Week 3 we go with the Panthers still undefeated and hopefully you undefeated as well or atop your board in total points leagues, but likely needing to do something different this week after the volume of injuries last week.  Here's a look at tips for Week 3 and sleepers to consider for your lineup. 

WEEK 3 TIPS
I mentioned last week that Jeremy Hill would (and should) get more touches. Cincinnati did just that last week giving Hill 17 touches and he responded with 96 yards. Giovani Benard had 32 touches himself - there is going to be enough work for both of these backs, and especially this week with A.J. Green likely out or at least limited. 

Green Bay's Eddie Lacy makes for a nice buy low target. Amazingly, Lacy has fewer fantasy points than Atlanta 3rd-string running back Antone Smith. Lacy may find it tough this week as well however against Detroit who sports the #2 defense against the run. That said, I still would keep Lacy in the lineup. 

Is Arian Foster ready to lead the league again? Foster has 270 yards from scrimmage for Houston through two weeks and has been super busy (27 carries in Week 1, 28 carries in Week 2). That doesn't seem sustainable (a pace for 440 carries of course is not) but Foster is a must start this week. 

It looks like former-Panther Steve Smith Sr. stole new teammate Torrey Smith’s lunch money (and his targets). Baltimore's Torrey Smith has just four catches for 60 yards through two weeks. He will hit at some point but Torrey Smith is a bench until further notice. 

Need a tight end for Week 3? I asked the same question last week and spotlighted Larry Donnell (N.Y. Giants) and Niles Paul (Washington). They both remain good options for this week if they are still on your waiver wire or you added them last week. 

DeMarco Murray is your current NFL rushing leader, and on pace for 2,280 rushing yards. That would set the NFL record (Eric Dickerson had 2,105 yards in 1984) and Murray would become just the 8th player in NFL history to crack the 2K mark. Murray should provide more good times this week for Dallas at St. Louis who is 28th against the run. 

Phillip Rivers has thrown 65 touchdown passes to Antonio Gates, the most in NFL history between a quarterback and a tight end. Look for Gates to come back to earth this week, especially as the Chargers go cross-country for an east coast game. 

Daily fantasy football: If you rolled with the lineup I had here the last two weeks you likely have done well. Let's try to go for three straight strong weeks...my Week 3 lineup is: QB Russell Wilson ($8,300), RB Khiry Robinson ($4,700), RB Darren Sproles ($6,000), WR Calvin Johnson ($9,000), WR Jordy Nelson ($8,600), WR Golden Tate ($5,000), TE Jimmy Graham ($8,400), K Dan Carpenter ($5,300), Cleveland Defense ($4,700). Robinson and Sproles both seem under-priced at running back allowing the option to load up on stars Graham, Johnson and Nelson. 

SLEEPERS FOR WEEK 3
It was somewhat surprising that San Diego was able to defeat the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks last week, but it was extremely surprising that they were able to do so with a time of possession of 42:15 compared to 17:45 for Seattle. Look for Seattle to come out fired up at home in a Super Bowl re-match against the Denver Broncos. I think Russell Wilson tees off this week. I have Wilson slotted as the #5 QB for the week, four spots ahead of Peyton Manning. 

I spotlighted Daren Sproles last week in this section. Sproles looks like he is running in fast motion. Sproles is the #1 running back in fantasy right now. That won't continue, and he sure isn't a "sleeper" anymore, but let's let it roll.

With Knowshon Moreno out for up to two months, Lamar Miller will start but Damien Williams is a guy to get on your radar. Miller has not shown he can carry the load. Although he went undrafted, Williams has ideal running back size and impressed with a 4.45 time in the 40 at the Combine (the best time of any back at or over 220 lbs.) and Williams had the 2nd-best time in the Shuttle drill showing off his quickness. Williams went undrafted in part because he had been kicked off the Oklahoma team last year. 

After a nothing in Week 1, Green Bay rookie receiver Davante Adams had five catches and 50 yards on seven targets in Week 2. Meanwhile, Jarrett Boykin has three targets and one catch for the year. The WR3 spot is there for the taking. Buy Adams low now before he has a big game and Adams is a good sleeper play this week at Detroit in what should be a shootout. Given Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson’s injury history, Adams could be starting at some point. In two seasons at Fresno State, Adams had an unreal 233 receptions, 3,031 receiving yards and 38 TDs. 

Eagles' tight end Zach Ertz already has 6 catches of over 20 yards in two games (last year Jimmy Graham led all tight ends with 19 catches of 20-plus yards). 

With Adrian Peterson out, Matt Asiata will start but he is simply not talented enough to be a starting NFL running back. Rookie Jerick McKinnon is worth a flier, even for this week as he could collect receptions once the Vikings fall behind at New Orleans. A former college quarterback at Georgia Southern (although he was sort of a running back really in their triple option offense), McKinnon has unique athletic ability and strength for his size. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Week 3 fantasy football rankings


Below are Week 3 fantasy football rankings based on potential performance in this week's games for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, kicker and team defense.

Quarterback

1 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at Detroit 
2 Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Minnesota 
3 Matthew Stafford, Detroit vs. Green Bay 
4 Russell Wilson, Seattle vs. Denver 
5 Andrew Luck, Indianapolis at Jacksonville ... Luck is the #1 fantasy quarterback through two weeks
6 Nick Foles, Philadelphia vs. Washington 
7 Cam Newton, Carolina vs. Pittsburgh 
8 Matt Ryan, Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay 
9 Peyton Manning, Denver at Seattle ... Manning and company get their first road game, at unfriendly CenturyLink Field for this Super Bowl matchup
10 Tom Brady, New England vs. Oakland 
11 Tony Romo, Dallas at St. Louis 
12 Ryan Tannehill, Miami vs. Kansas City 
13 Andy Dalton, Cincinnati vs. Tennessee 
14 Jay Cutler, Chicago at N.Y. Jets 
15 Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco at Arizona 
16 Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh at Carolina 
17 Kirk Cousins, Washington at Philadelphia ... RG3 is out for up to two months, Kirk Cousins is your new Washington starter
18 Philip Rivers, San Diego at Buffalo 
19 Geno Smith, N.Y. Jets vs. Chicago 
20 Jake Locker, Tennessee at Cincinnati  



Running Back

1 LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia vs. Washington 
2 Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati vs. Tennessee 
3 DeMarco Murray, Dallas at St. Louis 
4 Arian Foster, Houston at N.Y. Giants 
5 Marshawn Lynch, Seattle vs. Denver ... He should be good to go but Lynch missed part of last week with back issues
6 Alfred Morris, Washington at Philadelphia 
7 Rashad Jennings, N.Y. Giants vs. Houston 
8 Matt Forte, Chicago at N.Y. Jets 
9 Darren Sproles, Philadelphia vs. Washington ... Sproles is the surprise #1 running back in points per reception scoring after two weeks
10 Eddie Lacy, Green Bay at Detroit ... Lacy should get going strong at some point but Detroit is #2 against the run after two weeks
11 Knile Davis, Kansas City at Miami ... This ranking assumes that Jamaal Charles (ankle sprain) will be out this week
12 Pierre Thomas, New Orleans vs. Minnesota 
13 Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh at Carolina 
14 Zac Stacy, St. Louis vs. Dallas ... Stacy received 19 carries to 6 for Benny Cunningham last week 
15 C.J. Spiller, Buffalo vs. San Diego 
16 Reggie Bush, Detroit vs. Green Bay 
17 Joique Bell, Detroit vs. Green Bay 
18 Shane Vereen, New England vs. Oakland 
19 Terrance West, Cleveland vs. Baltimore 
20 Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis at Jacksonville ... Bradshaw is the #6 running back in points per reception scoring after two weeks
21 Lamar Miller, Miami vs. Kansas City ... With Knowshon Moreno out, Miller becomes the lead back in Miami
22 Donald Brown, San Diego at Buffalo ... Ryan Mathews (sprained MCL) is out, Donald Brown will start
23 Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay at Atlanta ... Doug Martin is now expected to be OUT
24 Stevan Ridley, New England vs. Oakland 
25 Khiry Robinson, New Orleans vs. Minnesota ... With Mark Ingram (broken hand) out, Robinson should get the start
26 Andre Ellington, Arizona vs. San Francisco 
27 Chris Johnson, N.Y. Jets vs. Chicago 
28 Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati vs. Tennessee 
29 Frank Gore, San Francisco at Arizona 
30 Trent Richardson, Indianapolis at Jacksonville 


Wide Receivers

1 Calvin Johnson, Detroit vs. Green Bay 
2 Jordy Nelson, Green Bay at Detroit ... Nelson is the #1 wide receiver in points per reception scoring after two weeks
3 Julio Jones, Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay 
4 Dez Bryant, Dallas at St. Louis 
5 Brandon Marshall, Chicago at N.Y. Jets 
6 Demaryius Thomas, Denver at Seattle ... Thomas had 13 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown against Seattle in the Super Bowl
7 Randall Cobb, Green Bay at Detroit 
8 Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh at Carolina 
9 Percy Harvin, Seattle vs. Denver 
10 Alshon Jeffery, Chicago at N.Y. Jets 
11 Julian Edelman, New England vs. Oakland 
12 Mike Wallace, Miami vs. Kansas City 
13 Andre Johnson, Houston at N.Y. Giants 
14 Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota at New Orleans 
15 Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina vs. Pittsburgh 
16 Brandin Cooks, New Orleans vs. Minnesota 
17 Keenan Allen, San Diego at Buffalo 
18 Sammy Watkins, Buffalo vs. San Diego 
19 Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay at Atlanta 
20 Michael Floyd, Arizona vs. San Francisco 
21 DeAndre Hopkins, Houston at N.Y. Giants ... Hopkins carries a 2-game scoring streak into Week 3
22 Victor Cruz, N.Y. Giants vs. Houston 
23 Golden Tate, Detroit vs. Green Bay 
24 T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis at Jacksonville 
25 Pierre Garcon, Washington at Philadelphia 
26 Emmanuel Sanders, Denver at Seattle ... Sanders has 75 more yards than teammate Demaryius Thomas thus far
27 Michael Crabtree, San Francisco at Arizona 
28 Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati vs. Tennessee ... A.J. Green is likely out making Sanu the team's #1 wide receiver for Week 3
29 Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. San Francisco 
30 Kendall Wright, Tennessee at Cincinnati  
31 Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh at Carolina 
32 Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia vs. Washington 
33 Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis at Jacksonville 
34 Roddy White, Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay ... White (hamstring) needs to be monitored but White is supposed to be able to go
35 Wes Welker, Denver at Seattle ... Welker will likely make his 2014 debut this week
36 Kenny Stills, New Orleans vs. Minnesota 
37 Anquan Boldin, San Francisco at Arizona 
38 Steve Smith, Baltimore at Cleveland 
39 DeSean Jackson, Washington at Philadelphia ... Jackson left Week 2 with a sprained shoulder but should be able to play this week, returning to Philadelphia
40 Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland vs. Baltimore 
41 Eric Decker, N.Y. Jets vs. Chicago ... Decker left Week 2 with a hamstring injury and will need to be monitored (but you won't know for sure until Monday night)
42 Torrey Smith, Baltimore at Cleveland 
43 Marques Colston, New Orleans vs. Minnesota ... Colston saw his 86-game streak with a catch snapped last week
44 Mike Evans, Tampa Bay at Atlanta 
45 Brian Quick, St. Louis vs. Dallas 
46 Justin Hunter, Tennessee at Cincinnati  
47 Terrance Williams, Dallas at St. Louis 
48 James Jones, Oakland at New England ... Jones is the surprise #9 fantasy wide receiver after two weeks
49 Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City at Miami 
50 Rueben Randle, N.Y. Giants vs. Houston 


Tight End

1 Jimmy Graham, New Orleans vs. Minnesota 
2 Julius Thomas, Denver at Seattle 
3 Rob Gronkowski, New England vs. Oakland 
4 Greg Olsen, Carolina vs. Pittsburgh 
5 Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota at New Orleans 
6 Antonio Gates, San Diego at Buffalo 
7 Martellus Bennett, Chicago at N.Y. Jets 
8 Zach Ertz, Philadelphia vs. Washington ... Ertz already has six catches of 20+ yards through two weeks
9 Delanie Walker, Tennessee at Cincinnati  
10 Niles Paul, Washington at Philadelphia ... This ranking assumes Jordan Reed (hamstring) will miss Week 3
11 Travis Kelce, Kansas City at Miami 
12 Larry Donnell, N.Y. Giants vs. Houston 
13 Jason Witten, Dallas at St. Louis 
14 Jordan Cameron, Cleveland vs. Baltimore ... Cameron (shoulder) should return but needs to be monitored
15 Dennis Pitta, Baltimore at Cleveland 
16 Heath Miller, Pittsburgh at Carolina 
17 Charles Clay, Miami vs. Kansas City 
18 Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis at Jacksonville 
19 Vernon Davis, San Francisco at Arizona ... Davis left Week 2 on crutches (ankle) and will be questionable for Week 2
20 Eric Ebron, Detroit vs. Green Bay 


Kicker

1 Stephen Gostkowski, New England vs. Oakland 
2 Justin Tucker, Baltimore at Cleveland 
3 Steven Hauschka, Seattle vs. Denver 
4 Cody Parkey, Philadelphia vs. Washington 
5 Matt Bryant, Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay 
6 Shayne Graham, New Orleans vs. Minnesota 
7 Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis at Jacksonville 
8 Mason Crosby, Green Bay at Detroit 
9 Dan Carpenter, Buffalo vs. San Diego ... Carpenter is the #1 kicker after two weeks
10 Phil Dawson, San Francisco at Arizona 
11 Dan Bailey, Dallas at St. Louis 
12 Caleb Sturgis, Miami vs. Kansas City 
13 Graham Gano, Carolina vs. Pittsburgh 
14 Mike Nugent, Cincinnati vs. Tennessee 
15 Nick Novak, San Diego at Buffalo 
16 Nick Folk, N.Y. Jets vs. Chicago 
17 Randy Bullock, Houston at N.Y. Giants 
18 Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona vs. San Francisco 
19 Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis vs. Dallas 
20 Billy Cundiff, Cleveland vs. Baltimore 


Defense

1 New England DT, vs. Oakland 
2 Carolina DT, vs. Pittsburgh ... Carolina DT is the #1 fantasy defense after two weeks
3 Houston DT, at N.Y. Giants 
4 Cleveland DT, vs. Baltimore 
5 Miami DT, vs. Kansas City 
6 San Francisco DT, at Arizona 
7 Baltimore DT, at Cleveland 
8 Cincinnati DT, vs. Tennessee 
9 Arizona DT, vs. San Francisco 
10 New Orleans DT, vs. Minnesota 
11 Seattle DT, vs. Denver 
12 Buffalo DT, vs. San Diego 
13 New York Jets DT, vs. Chicago 
14 Kansas City DT, at Miami 
15 Philadelphia DT, vs. Washington 
16 St. Louis DT, vs. Dallas 
17 San Diego DT, at Buffalo 
18 Indianapolis DT, at Jacksonville 
19 Denver DT, at Seattle 
20 Dallas DT, at St. Louis 


For full Week 3 rankings, click here to access at Fantasy Football Warehouse...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 3 fantasy moves to make now

Week 2 is in the books, and high-profile injuries dominate the headlines as Jamaal Charles, A.J. Green, Robert Griffin III, DeSean Jackson, Ryan Mathews and Knowshon Moreno all leave Week 2, and now Mark Ingram is also going to be out for some time. It's time to take stock as when one door closes, another ones opens and some players will have more opportunity for playing time. 

Here are some potential free agent pickups to focus on for your league waivers this week. 

Robert Griffin III has fallen yet again, and it appears we won't be seeing him again anytime soon. Griffin's dislocated his ankle early against the Jaguars and it was not a pretty site. Kirk Cousins once again showed well in relief of RGIII, leading Washington to an easy win. Cousins completed his first 12 passes and he went 14-of-15 through the 1st half, ultimately finishing with 250 passing yards and 2 TDs. Cousins won't get to play Jacksonville every week, but he should be a serviceable QB as BYE weeks start and in two-QB leagues.

After finally getting through a season unscathed last year and putting up strong numbers, Ryan Mathews reverted to his injury-prone ways this week. Mathews was carted off due to a knee injury (MCL sprain). Donald Brown should be a high priority add and the Chargers have a very favorable schedule over next month-plus. 

DeSean Jackson left this game with a bruised AC joint and did not return while Jordan Reed (hamstring) was unable to go, giving former Nebraska wide receiver Niles Paul (converted to tight end) significant opportunity. Paul has made the most of it with 12 receptions and 185 yards to start the season - Paul is 7th in the NFL after two weeks with 185 receiving yards. Paul has played well enough that he should be part of the game plan even with Jordan Reed returns. 

Bobby Rainey had an impressive outing this week with 144 yards on 22 carries, and added another 30 yards on 3 receptions (and he had two 100-plus yard games last year in relief as well). Doug Martin should be back for Week 3 but Rainey needs to be added and should continue to get work given his performance. 

Jamaal Charles sprained his ankle in the first quarter and did not return to the game, leaving Knile Davis to pick up the slack (Davis was the 2nd-best fantasy running back this week). Reports are that Charles' sprain is minor so he should be back soon. Charles owners that don't own Knile Davis may want to make a plan to try to obtain Davis to handcuff Charles (although I wouldn't overpay and that might be hard after last week's game so perhaps wait a week or two). 

After missing Week 1, Kenny Stills made his 2014 debut this week and quietly had three receptions for 25 yards. Make sure Stills isn't on the waiver wire. Stills has a ton of upside and he (easily) led all receivers in the NFL in yards per target last year at 12.8. Stills played just 29 of 72 snaps this past week but that should grow as he rounds into game shape.

Losing Mark Ingram (broken hand) for what should be a solid month is a major blow to those who scored Ingram on the cheap in drafts this year. If you have Ingram on your roster you will need to ride this one out and wait for him to return. If Khiry Robinson is on the waiver wire he is arguably the #1 priority add for this week. 

The injuries to Marvin Jones (broken foot suffered in the preseason) and now A.J. Green (strained toe ligament) make Mohamed Sanu the most experienced wide receiver on the active roster. Cincinnati has a week four BYE, and most expect Green and Jones to return after the BYE so Sanu may be more of a one-week filler so don't overpay, but Sanu should hold some value as Cincinnati’s third WR regardless and Jones might not be able to step into a major role anytime soon. Sanu draws a nice match-up this week at home against Tennessee

Week 1 darling Knowshon Moreno left with a dislocated elbow on his first carry. Moreno reportedly has a 4-8 week timetable for this injury. We'll see if Lamar Miller can actually take the reigns but I am not overly optimistic. Miller might be a good sell candidate, especially after this week if he can deliver at home against Kansas City. If you are in deep leagues, rookie running back Damien Williams is suddenly the next man up and should get mixed in with Miller. 

Other fantasy notes 
Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers attacked the vaunted Seahawks' defense and not only managed to win the game, but also turn back the clocks five years. Gates looked fantastic, skying over defenders and making highlight grabs en route to a 3-TD day. He led all players in scoring in standard leagues. Gates might be a good sell-high option if you have him as your second tight end. 

Jeremy Hill played the "thunder" to Giovani Bernard's "lightning" for the Bengals, with the duo combining for 265 total yards. Hill finished with 74 rushing and a touchdown. Hill will make for a nice flex start again this week at home against the Titans. The Bengals will again lean on the run with A.J. Green out. 

Last week I talked about the 2014 rookie wide receiver class potentially being the best in "Fantasy History" and it could end up being one of the best in NFL history. Week 1 saw Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin deliver big fantasy results, this week Sammy Watkins got into the mix. Watkins had a huge day for the 2-0 Buffalo Bills, racking up 8 catches for 118 yards and a TD.