Thursday, October 23, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Week 7 brought us some great, close games with dramatic endings, new injuries that will re-shape the fantasy football landscape, some familiar faces continuing to do extraordinary things, and a record-breaking clinic in Denver. Major congratulations to Peyton Manning who has set the all-time NFL record for most passing TDs in a career. When Manning is done, it's seems unlikely we will see that record touched in our lifetime. Like Jerry Rice on touchdowns scored, Manning will be in his own stratosphere where he's done. For me, I have been playing fantasy football for 25 years and not only cheered or jeered for all of Brett Favre's then record 508 TD passes but now all of Peyton Manning's 510.
Before we even get into the action, the week started off with a bang as Percy Harvin was suddenly traded from Seattle to the N.Y. Jets. Despite a hefty price to acquire Harvin (including a 1st round pick) and paying him a ton of money (including a $12M signing bonus), the Seahawks has had enough. Doug Baldwin is a high-target free agent pickup if he's available. Baldwin was miscast as a perimeter receiver. He's much more comfortable in the slot and we saw this week with a 7-catch, 100+ yard game and a score. Rookie Paul Richardson also should be on the radar. Richardson quietly had 4 receptions this week and he should be a benefactor of more playing time with the Harvin trade. At Colorado in college, amazingly, Richardson average length of touchdown exceeded 40 yards on 21 scores.
The Buffalo Bills came into the day with a tandem of starting running backs in one of the league's most run-centric offenses. What the Bills left with is a lot of uncertainty and the icing on the bitter cake for C.J. Spiller's disappointing season. The Bills lost both Fred Jackson (groin) and Spiller (broken collarbone) in a short span Sunday, and both were removed from the field on carts. Jackson will likely be out about a month while Spiller is done for the year. Journeyman Anthony Dixon filled in and may start but Bryce Brown (4.6 yards per carry career average) has more upside (Brown had two straight games of 160+ rushing yards back in 2012). Both should be owned.
Jacksonville continues to look for a spark to help their ground game and for a week they found one in former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson who darted through the Cleveland defense for 127 yards and a touchdown. I don't personally expect this performance to be the norm, especially considering Jacksonville's upcoming schedule, but nonetheless Robinson made a big statement and is a also must add if you are looking for running back help.
Jonas Gray looks to be New England’s #2 RB for now. He had just three carries last week but Brandon Bolden had zero, and Gray played on 12 snaps. It's hard to guess New England running back splits on any given week but if you are desperate Gray is worth a look with Stevan Ridely out for the season.
The Rams backfield may finally becoming clearer as Tre Mason (St. Louis) looks to have taken the reigns. Mason got the start this week and played very well helping the Rams to defeat the Seahawks at home (averaging 4.7 yards per carry against Seattle). Mason touched the ball 18 times versus 7 for Benny Cunningham, while Zac Stazy didn't even log a carry. Mason has big-time upside and he should hands-down be the #1 waiver claim if he is available. Mason gets to top speed quickly and despite his size he has a nose for the endzone (Mason scored 24 times for Auburn last year and he broke Bo Jackson's single-season Auburn rushing record last year with 1,816 yards en route to being named 2013 SEC Offensive Player of the Year).
Sticking with the Rams, Tavon Austin has been a major disappointment thus far in the NFL, especially as Austin was the first receiver selected in the 2013 NFL Draft as the 8th overall pick (who St. Louis traded up to get). Austin hasn't done a ton but he is getting consistent touches at least (including 8 carries the last two weeks). He's worth a deep roster stash.
Donte Moncrief (Indianapolis) played more snaps than Hakeem Nicks this week (23-19), perhaps setting the stage for Moncrief to get more snaps in the second half of the season. Moncrief has a tremendous amount of upside and it looks as though Reggie Wayne will miss a few weeks. Definitely take a flier on Moncrief if he is available in your league.
In Cleveland, wide receiver Andrew Hawkins collected his first-ever 100-yard game in the NFL. Hawkins remains a solid fantasy asset (although he has yet to score a touchdown this season). Josh Gordon shouldn't be on your waiver wire, and if he is on a roster in your league you may be able to acquire him from a team needing fantasy production now. Gordon is eligible to return Week 12.
Robert Griffin III (Washington) is close to returning to the field from his dislocated ankle. Make sure he isn't on the waiver wire as he could be a nice boost and still has upside. RG3 was back on the practice last week and there is a chance he could return for this week's game against Dallas on Monday Night Football. Washington's offense remains littered with a lot of offensive weapons to make noise.
I don't see Geno Smith (N.Y. Jets) as a fantasy starter, but he has to get a significant positive bump with the Percy Harvin trade. Smith does come off a game where he failed to turn the ball over for the first time this season, he's adding to the bottom line with some rushing yards (Smith is on pace for 318 yards rushing this season) and Smith now has a nice collection of pass-catchers in Harvin, Eric Decker and Jace Amaro.
If you're looking for a better tight end option, Gavin Escobar (Dallas) could offer some upside down the stretch. Escobar comes off a 2-touchdown game and now has three scores on the season (versus one score for Jason Witten). However, Escobar still is going to be a hit or miss in terms of workload as Escobar isn't likely to overtake Witten this season. It's may seem odd, but Witten doesn't really need to be owned right now.
Other fantasy notes
Also, major congratulations to DeMarco Murray who has run for 100+ yards in seven straight games to start the season, breaking a Jim Brown record that had lasted for 56 years.
Your scoring leader for the week was none other than Russell Wilson of the (surprise!) .500 Seattle Seahawks. Wilson overcame a slow start against a rejuvenated Rams front seven to throw for 313 yards and two touchdowns, while again rushing for over 100 yards (106) and another touchdown. The 300-yard passing and 100-yard rushing performance was the first in NFL history!
Ronnie Hillman (Denver) again looked excellent on the ground. I don't see any way Montee Ball gets his job back.
I have been talking about the uniquely gifted rookie receiver class of 2014 all off-season and this year. They are having tremendous impact. Sammy Watkins (Buffalo) and Odell Beckham Jr. (N.Y. Giants) both had two scores this week while Allen Robinson (Jacksonville) found the end zone for the first time in his career against the Browns. Robinson is averaging 8.3 targets per game since Week 2 has quickly become a solid low-end #3 starting fantasy receiver.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Below are Week 7 fantasy football rankings based on potential performance in this week's games for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, kicker and team defense.
2 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay vs. Carolina
3 Peyton Manning, Denver vs. San Francisco ...Manning needs just 3 TDs to set the NFL record for most passing TDs in a career (Brett Favre in lead at 508, Manning at 506)
4 Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. Kansas City
5 Cam Newton, Carolina at Green Bay
6 Jay Cutler, Chicago vs. Miami
7 Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco at Denver
8 Drew Brees, New Orleans at Detroit
9 Matthew Stafford, Detroit vs. New Orleans ...Detroit offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi goes against his former Saints
10 Tony Romo, Dallas vs. N.Y. Giants
11 Matt Ryan, Atlanta at Baltimore ...Matt Ryan and the Falcons are now 0-3 on the road, travel to Baltimore this week
12 Joe Flacco, Baltimore vs. Atlanta
13 Tom Brady, New England vs. N.Y. Jets
14 Carson Palmer, Arizona at Oakland ..."Revenge game" - Palmer returns to Oakland
15 Russell Wilson, Seattle at St. Louis
16 Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. Houston
17 Andy Dalton, Cincinnati at Indianapolis
18 Ryan Tannehill, Miami at Chicago
19 Kirk Cousins, Washington vs. Tennessee
20 Derek Carr, Oakland vs. Arizona
2 Matt Forte, Chicago vs. Miami
3 Arian Foster, Houston at Pittsburgh
4 Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati at Indianapolis
5 Andre Ellington, Arizona at Oakland ...Carson Palmer targeted Ellington 9 times last week
6 Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh vs. Houston
7 Jamaal Charles, Kansas City at San Diego
8 Branden Oliver, San Diego vs. Kansas City
9 Reggie Bush, Detroit vs. New Orleans ...Big "revenge match-up" - Bush faces his former Saints team
10 Justin Forsett, Baltimore vs. Atlanta ...Forsett is averaging an amazing 6.4 yards per carry this season
11 Lamar Miller, Miami at Chicago ...It's all Lamar Miller with Knowshon Moreno out for the season
12 Alfred Morris, Washington vs. Tennessee
13 Marshawn Lynch, Seattle at St. Louis
14 Ben Tate, Cleveland at Jacksonville
15 Eddie Lacy, Green Bay vs. Carolina
16 Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati
17 Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota at Buffalo ...McKinnon looks to have taken over as starter, although Minnesota has said they want to give Matt Asiata more work than they did last week
18 Andre Williams, N.Y. Giants at Dallas
19 Ronnie Hillman, Denver vs. San Francisco
20 Joique Bell, Detroit vs. New Orleans
21 Fred Jackson, Buffalo vs. Minnesota
22 Shane Vereen, New England vs. N.Y. Jets ...With Stevan Ridley out for the season, will Vereen get more work?
23 Pierre Thomas, New Orleans at Detroit
24 Frank Gore, San Francisco at Denver
25 Bishop Sankey, Tennessee at Washington
26 Trent Richardson, Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati
27 Antone Smith, Atlanta at Baltimore
28 Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland at Jacksonville
29 Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati at Indianapolis
30 Chris Ivory, N.Y. Jets at New England
2 Jordy Nelson, Green Bay vs. Carolina
3 Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh vs. Houston
4 Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina at Green Bay ...Call it a hunch but Benjamin is due for a 2-TD game against banged up Green Bay secondary (assuming Benjamin passes his concussion protocal but it looks likely)
5 Julio Jones, Atlanta at Baltimore
6 Demaryius Thomas, Denver vs. San Francisco
7 Dez Bryant, Dallas vs. N.Y. Giants
8 Alshon Jeffery, Chicago vs. Miami
9 Steve Smith, Baltimore vs. Atlanta
10 Golden Tate, Detroit vs. New Orleans ...The Tate ranking is assuming Calvin Johnson is out again this week
11 T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati
12 Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati at Indianapolis
13 Randall Cobb, Green Bay vs. Carolina
14 DeSean Jackson, Washington vs. Tennessee
15 Rueben Randle, N.Y. Giants at Dallas
16 Brandin Cooks, New Orleans at Detroit
17 Michael Floyd, Arizona at Oakland
18 Emmanuel Sanders, Denver vs. San Francisco
19 Mike Wallace, Miami at Chicago
20 Andre Johnson, Houston at Pittsburgh
21 Sammy Watkins, Buffalo vs. Minnesota
22 Odell Beckham Jr. , N.Y. Giants at Dallas ...Beckham will take over for Victor Cruz (out for the year)
23 Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati
24 Keenan Allen, San Diego vs. Kansas City
25 Roddy White, Atlanta at Baltimore
26 Terrance Williams, Dallas vs. N.Y. Giants
27 Marques Colston, New Orleans at Detroit
28 Pierre Garcon, Washington vs. Tennessee
29 Torrey Smith, Baltimore vs. Atlanta
30 DeAndre Hopkins, Houston at Pittsburgh
31 James Jones, Oakland vs. Arizona
32 Julian Edelman, New England vs. N.Y. Jets
33 Andre Holmes, Oakland vs. Arizona
34 Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona at Oakland
35 Michael Crabtree, San Francisco at Denver
36 Anquan Boldin, San Francisco at Denver
37 Justin Hunter, Tennessee at Washington
38 Eric Decker, N.Y. Jets at New England
39 Doug Baldwin, Seattle at St. Louis ...Baldwin should have a more prominent role with Percy Harvin traded
40 Davante Adams, Green Bay vs. Carolina
41 Kendall Wright, Tennessee at Washington
42 Allen Robinson, Jacksonville vs. Cleveland
43 Wes Welker, Denver vs. San Francisco
44 Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville vs. Cleveland
45 Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland at Jacksonville
46 Brandon LaFell, New England vs. N.Y. Jets
47 Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City at San Diego
48 Brian Quick, St. Louis vs. Seattle
49 Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh vs. Houston
50 Robert Woods, Buffalo vs. Minnesota
2 Rob Gronkowski, New England vs. N.Y. Jets
3 Jordan Cameron, Cleveland at Jacksonville
4 Greg Olsen, Carolina at Green Bay
5 Martellus Bennett, Chicago vs. Miami ...After scoring 4 TDs in the first three games, Bennett has gone three straight games without a TD
6 Jordan Reed, Washington vs. Tennessee
7 Travis Kelce, Kansas City at San Diego
8 Delanie Walker, Tennessee at Washington
9 Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Kansas City
10 Jason Witten, Dallas vs. N.Y. Giants ...Witten is on pace for a meager 637 yards receiving
11 Vernon Davis, San Francisco at Denver
12 Jace Amaro, N.Y. Jets at New England ...Amaro comes into Week 7 comes off a 10-catch game
13 Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati
14 Larry Donnell, N.Y. Giants at Dallas
15 Heath Miller, Pittsburgh vs. Houston
16 Clay Harbor, Jacksonville vs. Cleveland
17 Owen Daniels, Baltimore vs. Atlanta
18 Tim Wright, New England vs. N.Y. Jets
19 Eric Ebron, Detroit vs. New Orleans
20 Jared Cook, St. Louis vs. Seattle
2 Stephen Gostkowski, New England vs. N.Y. Jets
3 Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona at Oakland
4 Dan Bailey, Dallas vs. N.Y. Giants
5 Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati
6 Nick Novak, San Diego vs. Kansas City
7 Steven Hauschka, Seattle at St. Louis
8 Robbie Gould, Chicago vs. Miami
9 Dan Carpenter, Buffalo vs. Minnesota
10 Mason Crosby, Green Bay vs. Carolina
11 Matt Prater, Detroit vs. New Orleans
12 Billy Cundiff, Cleveland at Jacksonville
13 Brandon McManus, Denver vs. San Francisco
14 Graham Gano, Carolina at Green Bay
15 Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh vs. Houston
16 Matt Bryant, Atlanta at Baltimore
17 Phil Dawson, San Francisco at Denver
18 Caleb Sturgis, Miami at Chicago
19 Blair Walsh, Minnesota at Buffalo
20 Shayne Graham, New Orleans at Detroit
2 New England DT, New England vs. N.Y. Jets
3 Cleveland DT, Cleveland at Jacksonville
4 Buffalo DT, Buffalo vs. Minnesota
5 Arizona DT, Arizona at Oakland
6 Denver DT, Denver vs. San Francisco
7 San Diego DT, San Diego vs. Kansas City
8 Chicago DT, Chicago vs. Miami
9 Houston DT, Houston at Pittsburgh
10 Washington DT, Washington vs. Tennessee
11 Baltimore DT, Baltimore vs. Atlanta
12 Detroit DT, Detroit vs. New Orleans
13 Minnesota DT, Minnesota at Buffalo
14 Tennessee DT, Tennessee at Washington
15 Dallas DT, Dallas vs. N.Y. Giants
16 Green Bay DT, Green Bay vs. Carolina
17 New Orleans DT, New Orleans at Detroit
18 Jacksonville DT, Jacksonville vs. Cleveland
19 Pittsburgh DT, Pittsburgh vs. Houston
20 Miami DT, Miami at Chicago
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Last week I highlighted new running backs bursting onto the scene of major fantasy football relevance last week and that they did. This week, we have our first real big season-ending injuries as Victor Cruz and Stevan Ridley both go down for the season. Below are some of the top pickup options if available in your leagues.
Branden Oliver (San Diego) draws his final spotlight here if he is still somehow available (he was only 78 percent owned in Yahoo leagues coming into the week). Oliver ignited for another 124 yards this past week. Going forward, I don't see much rationale why the Chargers would bench Oliver when Ryan Mathews comes back. Oliver is a big-time hold.
Ronnie Hillman (Denver) got the start and left no question as to who is the main back for the Broncos this week. Hillman had 24 attempts to just 8 for Juwan Anderson (and C.J. Anderson didn’t get a touch). Hillman gets a tough draw this week against the 49ers but he will be hard to bench.
Another week, another long, sudden Antone Smith touchdown for the Falcons - it's unreal. Smith is a Top 7 or so running back on the season depending on your rules, and he's touched the ball just 23 times. I recommend Smith a few weeks back and I will keep playing him as a flex in leagues until he stops scoring 50-yard touchdowns every week.
I recommended getting Storm Johnson (Jacksonville) on the radar last Tuesday and he drew the start. Pretty uneventful as it turned out, just 21 yards on ten attempts (although he scored). Still, Johnson will probably start again this week.
Is it time to "Feed the Crow" in Cleveland? Rookie Isaiah Crowell continues to look like he could be an elite running back and would be a good trade target. Crowell averages 5.4 yards per carry with 4 touchdowns on the season. This week, at Jacksonville, maybe they see what he can do with 15-20 carries (Crowell collected 77 yards on 11 carries this past week). It sure would be fun to see what he can do with a full workload.
With Steven Ridley out for the year in New England, opportunity comes a-knocking for some running back. Perhaps Shane Vereen gets more involved, but I doubt it as he’s really disappointed on the season. I would put fliers out on Brandon Bolden and James White. Bolden will be the more popular pickup but give me White to have a chance to surprise here.
New York Giant rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. became a must add last week after breaking out in his first game of action, and Beckham becomes an even whiter hot prospect this week with Victor Cruz (knee) now out for the year. Beckham instantly slides into the Victor Cruz slot for the Giants.
Last week, Davante Adams (Green Bay) was spotlighted as a rookie who has not really busted out yet, but could on any given week - that has happened. Adams posted a career-best six receptions and 77 yards this past week. Adams is a legit fantasy option on any given week as a weapon for the Packers in the passing game, who play mainly in three wide receiver sets.
Andre Holmes (Oakland) should be a high-priority target this week. Since the Raiders fired Dennis Allen as head coach, Holmes has been spotlighted in the offense and collected 3 TDs on 9 receptions over the last two games.
It's hard to ignore the stats that ex-Panther Brandon LaFell (New England) put up this week, and delivering a few really nice plays. That's two out of three weeks that LaFell has hit for big fantasy production. He is probably going to be really unpredictable, but LaFell has some WR3 appeal.
If Carson Palmer (Arizona) was dropped in your leagues, he becomes an instant waiver-wire target. Palmer has on-going risk with the nerve damage that sidelined him, but Palmer has low-end QB1 potential on any given week if he’s starting.
Jimmy Graham (New Orleans) will be sidelined for a few weeks with a shoulder injury. Both Ben Watson and Josh Hill have some short-term value while Graham is sidelined. The Saints will also get Mark Ingram back this week and perhaps they get Kenny Stills more involved to help pick up the slack with Graham is out.
Other fantasy notes
Is DeMarco Murray (Dallas) one of the greatest running backs in the history of the NFL? The statistics certainly would suggest it. Murray leaves Week 6 with 100-plus yards rushing in six straight games to the start season – only he and Jim Brown can say that. Murray goes for the NFL record Sunday.
Julius Thomas (Denver) is on pace for a ridiculous 28.8 TDs this season, while Matt Forte (Chicago) is on pace for 123 receptions.
Malcolm Floyd (San Diego) easily leads all receivers at 21.3 yards per completion (minimum 10 receptions).
Steve Smith (Baltimore) continues his torrid pace (another touchdown, another 100-yard game) - Smith is on pace for a 93/1528/11 season.
How about that Cam Newton (Carolina), who roared back onto the scene in a big way this week, finally dusting off his legs and putting together the highest single fantasy output of the week. Cam remains a must start this week in an attractive and interesting match-up at Green Bay. Check back Thursday for Week 7 rankings!
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
What a Week 6 with Peyton Manning setting personal bests, Tom Brady and the Patriots re-grouping and standing tall against Cincinnati on prime time, the Panthers pushing to 3-2 and alone atop the chaotic NFC South and new running backs bursting onto the scene of major fantasy football relevance. Let's start with the prime new running backs you will want to aggressively try to add in your waivers.
First, welcome Branden Oliver (San Diego) who was the top fantasy running back this week. Especially if you are in need of a running back shot to the arm, I would say go all in with waiver dollars more or less to acquire Oliver. This kid is for real. I spotlighted him two weeks ago to pick up. The undrafted free agent out of Buffalo racked up 114 rushing yards off just 19 carries, caught four passes for 68 yards and scored two touchdowns this week. Donald Brown went down with a concussion and Ryan Mathews is still out for a few more games. Oliver has drawn comparisons to Darren Sproles because he's short and wears the same number, but Oliver is more powerful than the former Charger.
Rashad Jennings was bound to suffer some sort of injury due to his workload and that happened Sunday, although Jennings avoided major injury (sprained MCL). He will be out a few weeks leaving Andre Williams to be the lead back in the meantime for the Giants, including a nice match-up this week at Philadelphia. Williams is a downhill runner with tremendous power and he can deliver punishment. Williams was the recipient of the 2013 Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back last year at Boston College with 2,177 rushing yards, the 5th-most in a season in FBS history.
Montee Ball (Denver) was knocked out with a groin injury against the Cardinals, and fantasy GMs are probably glad they won't need to play him anytime soon. Ronnie Hillman will get the start and he is a priority add for this week as well. Hillman rushed for 64 yards after becoming the featured back this past week after Ball left the game. If nothing else, Hillman has a lot more speed and wiggle. C.J. Anderson was a healthy scratch this past week (mainly as he doesn't play special teams) but he will figure heavily as well and Anderson could end up as the starter down the road (and Anderson arguably has more upside).
Another week, another long, sudden Antone Smith touchdown for the Falcons - I also spotlighted Smith two weeks ago for pick-up and will do so again this week. Smith now has four long touchdowns and he is one of the top fantasy running backs in any scoring format (especially touchdown-heavy formats of course), and despite the fact that he's touched the ball just 17 times! How does Atlanta not give this guy more work and just sees what happens at this point? It's unreal. Falcons' Head Coach Mike Smith did say after Sunday’s game that, "We need to have more plays designed for Antone."
Get Storm Johnson (Jacksonville) on your radar. Jacksonville needs all the offensive sparks it can get and Johnson was easily their best back this last week albeit on limited touches (27 yards rushing on four carries). Johnson runs hard and has a nice combination of vision and quick feet, and he also is solid out of the backfield as a receiver. As an added plus, Johnson was a teammate of Blake Bortles at the University of Central Florida.
Zac Stazy (St. Louis) left the game against the Eagles in the third quarter with a calf injury and was immediately shut down for the rest of the game. Benny Cunningham filled in just fine collecting 71 total yards on ten touches and a rushing touchdown. Stacy however is not expected to miss Week 6 (but Cunningham remains a good addition).
If you miss out on all those guys, George Winn could get the start in Detroit pending the status of Reggie Bush (ankle) and Joique Bell (concussion). Winn took his 11 carries for 48 yards against a tough Bills run defense on Sunday, although Bush is expected to be available for Week 6.
Turning to other positions, New York Giant rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is a must add if available as well. Beckham has a ton of talent (he was the 12th pick in this year's NFL Draft), and it was just a matter of getting over a hamstring injury to show it. In his NFL debut this week against Atlanta, Beckham caught four passes for 44 yards and caught the game-winning touchdown. The rapport between Beckham and Eli Manning should only improve as they get more time together on the field. Beckham missed nearly all of the summer and the first four games with the hamstring issues.
Speaking of rookie wide receivers, one that has not really busted out yet, but certainly could on any given week is Davante Adams (Green Bay). Adams scored his first NFL touchdown on Thursday night. While he caught just 1 of 4 targets, it was a blowout in which Aaron Rodgers threw just 17 times. Adams has the #3 wide receiver job for Green Bay locked down and Adams is just one injury away to either Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson from major fantasy production.
It looks like it is time to start taking quarterback Austin Davis (St. Louis) a little more seriously. Davis turned in his second-straight 300-yard, 3-TD game on Sunday. He has good weapons and is slinging it. The only negative is the Rams have San Francisco and Seattle as their next two opponents.
Tight ends Luke Willson (Seattle) and Tim Wright (New England) are your top two grabs at that position for the week.
Other fantasy notes
There were three note-worthy NFL accomplishments this week as well.
In addition to throwing a career-best 477 yards this week, Peyton Manning collected his 500th, 501st, 502nd and 503rd career passing touchdowns. Only Manning and Brett Favre are in the 500-touchdown club. Favre currently leads the NFL record books at 508. Manning is going to demolish that record.
Tom Brady re-grouped and led the Patriots to a nice win over the then-undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. Along the way, Brady passed the 50,000-yard plateau and is now at 50,232. Only six quarterbacks in NFL history can make that claim (Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Drew Brees, John Elway and now Brady).
Wes Welker collected seven receptions this week giving him 854 for his career. With it, Welker passed Rod Smith and Welker is now the leader for most receptions by an undrafted player in NFL history. Welker hasn't really got going in his two games back, but he remains a solid start in this Bronco offense (13 receptions, 118 yards and no touchdowns in two games).
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Week 5 is here with just two teams on a BYE (Miami and Oakland who played in London last week), and off a week where the (once) great Tom Brady looked like he is swiftly ready for the fantasy football waiver wire (Brady is under 60 percent for the season on completion percentage and averaging a paltry 197.8 yards passing per game). I called this last week saying the heyday for Tom Brady has come and gone (and start Blake Bortles instead). So, let's continue to work to stay one step ahead! Here's a look at tips for Week 5 and sleepers to consider for your lineup.
WEEK 5 TIPS AND NOTES
DeMarco Murray has opened with four straight games to start the season with 100 rushing yards and score a rushing touchdown - it is truly rarified air. Jim Brown owns the record at 6 games, followed by O.J. Simpson (5), and then Emmitt Smith and now Murray at 4. Murray remains the top back in fantasy for Week 5.
Eli Manning is finding his groove. It's not surprising that Manning started slow as the team installed a completing new offense new Ben McAdoo. Manning completed just 61% of his passes in Weeks 1 and 2 (that’s darn near Tom Brady levels!), but he’s completed 73% the last two weeks. He’s on fire and impossible not to start this week at home against the Falcons. Manning threw his 238th career touchdown last week, passing Jim Kelly and moving into 20th all-time.
Staying with the Giants, I have running back Rashad Jennings as a Top 3 option this week. The Atlanta Falcons have been an absolute sieve on defense against the run (ranked 28th, including getting shredded for 241 yards last week at Minnesota). Jennings had just 13 carries in the Giants’ last game, but that was mainly due to that game being out of hand and letting rookie Andre Williams get some game action. Prior to that Jennings was averaging 25.3 touches per game. A full 10 days to rest since their last game is a plus as well.
Everything adds up here for Matthew Stafford to tear it up this week. Buffalo has been super stout against the run (4th against) while weak against the pass (27th against) - if Detroit is going to do damage, it will be via the air (especially with Joique Bell likely out with a concussion). Perhaps most importantly, Calvin Johnson should be back healthy, while Lions look to move to 4-1.
Look for Cam Newton to get his act together fantasy-wise a little this week. His ribs are another week healed and his ankle is reportedly feeling better as well - head coach Ron Rivera has said they plan to let Cam be Cam a little bit more this week. They need to after getting demolished last week against Steve Smith and the Baltimore Ravens. The Panthers have fallen to 2-2 and need to come out and get a win. I think they do so this week. Kelvin Benjamin is on pace for 84 receptions, 1,316 yards and 12 TDs for the season. Benjamin could have a 2-TD game in this one.
Giovani Bernard is simply a super safe elite back - he was the 14th-best running back in Week 1, the 3rd-best running back in Week 2, and the 8th-best running back in Week 3. He is also due to take one to the house. The Bengals are off a BYE and have had plenty of time to devise a gameplan, and did you see the way Jamaal Charles abused the Patriots defense last week?
Nick Novak has now made 27 field goals in a row and is the number one kicker heading into Week 5. Keep him locked in your lineup – the Chargers don’t have their BYE week until Week 10.
Daily fantasy football: My lineup from last week was a little middle-of-the-pack (Donald Brown was a brown banana in particular) so let’s work on a winner here. My Week 5 lineup is: QB Eli Manning ($7,300), RB DeMarco Murray ($9,000), RB Rashad Jennings ($7,200), WR Percy Harvin ($7,600), WR Kelvin Benjamin ($7,100), WR Sammy Watkins ($6,600), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($4,700), K Steven Hauschka ($5,200), Philadelphia Defense ($5,300).
SLEEPERS FOR WEEK 5
Percy Harvin isn't a sleeper per se, but I think he is a sneaky play for a Top 10 week on Monday Night Football. The Seahawks have had a week off to prepare for this one and face a Washington team whose strength on defense is stopping the run. Look for Russell Wilson to Harvin to have a strong game. Washington has allowed 300-plus yards in back-to-back games and 82 points in their last two games. Harvin is also from Virginia so this is a bit of a homecoming game for him as an added wild card factor.
With Mike Evans out for a few weeks there is an opportunity for targets for someone in Tampa. Louis Murphy should draw the start in his absence. Murphy saw 11 targets last week and converted six of them for 99 yards. He and Mike Glennon had a chance to work together on the reserve team. The other sleeper is tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who saw 7 targets last week and played in all 71 snaps. This week’s game could be a shootout against the Saints, and they rank 30th against the pass.
I am adding Joe Flacco here. Joe Flacco? Sleeper? Flacco has two 300-yard games on the season, and 7 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions - the Ravens likely will need to keep up with the Colts in the dome.
St. Louis wide receiver (and former Appalachian State star) Brian Quick has come into his own here in his third year. He’s posted between 14-17 fantasy points every game this season and should be good for another solid game. He and Austin Davis have developed a nice rapport and the Rams will likely have plenty of snaps in this game playing against the Eagles and their up-tempo approach.
Someone has to carry the ball this week in Carolina and it looks like undrafted rookie Darrin Reaves will have to carry the bulk of the load this week. I certainly would prefer to have better options but if you are in a bind somehow Reaves should be available on your waiver wire.
Starting Cleveland Brown receivers may not sound super attractive but Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins are both legit #3 fantasy receivers. Austin comes into Week 5 with touchdowns in back-to-back games and Hawkins is ranked 19th in targets among receivers (and despite already having had his BYE week).
Thursday, October 2, 2014
1 Peyton Manning, Denver vs. Arizona
2 Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
3 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay vs. Minnesota
4 Matthew Stafford, Detroit vs. Buffalo
5 Andrew Luck, Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
6 Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. N.Y. Jets
7 Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
8 Russell Wilson, Seattle at Washington
9 Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco vs. Kansas City
10 Nick Foles, Philadelphia vs. St. Louis
11 Jay Cutler, Chicago at Carolina
12 Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants vs. Atlanta
13 Matt Ryan, Atlanta at N.Y. Giants
14 Cam Newton, Carolina vs. Chicago
15 Tony Romo, Dallas vs. Houston
16 Andy Dalton, Cincinnati at New England
17 Alex Smith, Kansas City at San Francisco ... Alex Smith makes his first return back to San Francisco since being traded to Kansas City
18 Blake Bortles, Jacksonville vs. Pittsburgh
19 Tom Brady, New England vs. Cincinnati
20 Joe Flacco, Baltimore at Indianapolis
1 DeMarco Murray, Dallas vs. Houston ... Murray has 100 yards rushing and a rushing TD in each of the first four games, only Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson and Emmitt Smith and now DeMarco Murray can make that claim
2 Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
3 Rashad Jennings, N.Y. Giants vs. Atlanta
4 Matt Forte, Chicago at Carolina
5 Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati at New England
6 Jamaal Charles, Kansas City at San Francisco
7 Marshawn Lynch, Seattle at Washington
8 LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia vs. St. Louis
9 Andre Ellington, Arizona at Denver
10 Reggie Bush, Detroit vs. Buffalo ... Joique Bell (concussion is likely going to be out in Week 5)
11 Eddie Lacy, Green Bay vs. Minnesota
12 Montee Ball, Denver vs. Arizona
13 Matt Asiata, Minnesota at Green Bay
14 Zac Stacy, St. Louis at Philadelphia
15 Arian Foster, Houston at Dallas ... Foster remains less than 100% and questionable
16 Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
17 Darren Sproles, Philadelphia vs. St. Louis
18 Frank Gore, San Francisco vs. Kansas City
19 C.J. Spiller, Buffalo at Detroit
20 Chris Ivory, N.Y. Jets at San Diego
21 Doug Martin, Tampa Bay at New Orleans
22 Ben Tate, Cleveland at Tennessee ... Tate projects to make his return this week
23 Justin Forsett, Baltimore at Indianapolis
24 Trent Richardson, Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
25 Bishop Sankey, Tennessee vs. Cleveland ... Sankey will reportedly get much more work this week
26 Fred Jackson, Buffalo at Detroit
27 Shane Vereen, New England vs. Cincinnati
28 Alfred Morris, Washington vs. Seattle
29 Pierre Thomas, New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
30 Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati at New England
1 Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
2 Dez Bryant, Dallas vs. Houston ... Bryant has scored a TD in three straight games
3 Calvin Johnson, Detroit vs. Buffalo
4 A.J. Green, Cincinnati at New England
5 Jordy Nelson, Green Bay vs. Minnesota
6 Demaryius Thomas, Denver vs. Arizona
7 Julio Jones, Atlanta at N.Y. Giants
8 Randall Cobb, Green Bay vs. Minnesota
9 Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina vs. Chicago
10 Brandon Marshall, Chicago at Carolina
11 Emmanuel Sanders, Denver vs. Arizona
12 Alshon Jeffery, Chicago at Carolina
13 Percy Harvin, Seattle at Washington
14 Victor Cruz, N.Y. Giants vs. Atlanta
15 Steve Smith, Baltimore at Indianapolis
16 Michael Floyd, Arizona at Denver
17 Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia vs. St. Louis
18 Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay at New Orleans
19 Wes Welker, Denver vs. Arizona
20 Andre Johnson, Houston at Dallas
21 Keenan Allen, San Diego vs. N.Y. Jets
22 Julian Edelman, New England vs. Cincinnati
23 DeAndre Hopkins, Houston at Dallas
24 Golden Tate, Detroit vs. Buffalo
25 Michael Crabtree, San Francisco vs. Kansas City
26 T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
27 Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota at Green Bay
28 Brandin Cooks, New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
29 Sammy Watkins, Buffalo at Detroit ... Kyle Orton under center should be an upgrade for Watkins
30 Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona at Denver
31 Roddy White, Atlanta at N.Y. Giants
32 Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland at Tennessee
33 Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
34 Eric Decker, N.Y. Jets at San Diego
35 Terrance Williams, Dallas vs. Houston
36 Brian Quick, St. Louis at Philadelphia
37 Anquan Boldin, San Francisco vs. Kansas City
38 Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
39 Allen Robinson, Jacksonville vs. Pittsburgh
40 Marques Colston, New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
41 Allen Hurns, Jacksonville vs. Pittsburgh
42 Eddie Royal, San Diego vs. N.Y. Jets
43 Rueben Randle, N.Y. Giants vs. Atlanta
44 Pierre Garcon, Washington vs. Seattle
45 Greg Jennings, Minnesota at Green Bay ... Grudge match opportunity for Jennings
46 Miles Austin, Cleveland at Tennessee
47 Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City at San Francisco
48 John Brown, Arizona at Denver
49 Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati at New England ... Marvin Jones was slated to return although he tweaked his ankle Wednesday and is TBD
50 Davante Adams, Green Bay vs. Minnesota
2 Julius Thomas, Denver vs. Arizona
3 Martellus Bennett, Chicago at Carolina ... Wow, Bennett is the #1 tight end in fantasy after 4 weeks
4 Greg Olsen, Carolina vs. Chicago ... Olsen faces his former team
5 Larry Donnell, N.Y. Giants vs. Atlanta
6 Rob Gronkowski, New England vs. Cincinnati
7 Delanie Walker, Tennessee vs. Cleveland
8 Travis Kelce, Kansas City at San Francisco
9 Jordan Cameron, Cleveland at Tennessee ... The BYE week came at a good time for Cameron who should be back to full strength this week
10 Heath Miller, Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
11 Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. N.Y. Jets
12 Vernon Davis, San Francisco vs. Kansas City
13 Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Houston ... Witten is on pace for just 624 yards
14 Zach Ertz, Philadelphia vs. St. Louis
15 Jordan Reed, Washington vs. Seattle ... Reed (hamstring) has a fair chance to return this week but a Monday night call makes him an iffy gamble
16 Eric Ebron, Detroit vs. Buffalo
17 Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
18 Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay at New Orleans
19 Clay Harbor, Jacksonville vs. Pittsburgh
20 Owen Daniels, Baltimore at Indianapolis
1 Steven Hauschka, Seattle at Washington
2 Nick Novak, San Diego vs. N.Y. Jets
3 Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
4 Cody Parkey, Philadelphia vs. St. Louis
5 Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
6 Dan Bailey, Dallas vs. Houston
7 Justin Tucker, Baltimore at Indianapolis
8 Phil Dawson, San Francisco vs. Kansas City
9 Mason Crosby, Green Bay vs. Minnesota
10 Mike Nugent, Cincinnati at New England
11 Stephen Gostkowski, New England vs. Cincinnati
12 Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona at Denver
13 Blair Walsh, Minnesota at Green Bay
14 Josh Brown, N.Y. Giants vs. Atlanta
15 Brandon McManus, Denver vs. Arizona ... Arizona has allowed one field goal all year long for what it's worth
16 Shayne Graham, New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
17 Robbie Gould, Chicago at Carolina
18 Alex Henery, Detroit vs. Buffalo
19 Matt Bryant, Atlanta at N.Y. Giants
20 Dan Carpenter, Buffalo at Detroit
2 San Diego DT, San Diego vs. N.Y. Jets
3 Philadelphia DT, Philadelphia vs. St. Louis
4 Denver DT, Denver vs. Arizona
5 Cleveland DT, Cleveland at Tennessee
6 Detroit DT, Detroit vs. Buffalo
7 Pittsburgh DT, Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
8 Buffalo DT, Buffalo at Detroit ... Jim Schwartz will return to Detroit as the Bills defensive coordinator
9 San Francisco DT, San Francisco vs. Kansas City
10 Cincinnati DT, Cincinnati at New England
11 New York Giants DT, N.Y. Giants vs. Atlanta ... The Giants lead the league with 7 INTs, and Atlanta lost two starting offensive lineman last week
12 Carolina DT, Carolina vs. Chicago
13 Chicago DT, Chicago at Carolina
14 Green Bay DT, Green Bay vs. Minnesota
15 Dallas DT, Dallas vs. Houston
16 Kansas City DT, Kansas City at San Francisco
17 New Orleans DT, New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
18 Houston DT, Houston at Dallas
19 New England DT, New England vs. Cincinnati ... Andy Dalton has yet to take a sack this season
20 Tennessee DT, Tennessee vs. Cleveland