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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fine or Pine, Week 4

By Adam Filadelfo (@FNTSYArchitect)

Week four is upon us and that can only mean one thing for fantasy football owners. Time to get those lineups in. With six teams on bye this week, setting your lineup will be more challenging than it has been the last three weeks but fear not. The Fantasy Sports Brain has you covered this week and every week.

Quarterback

Fine- Philip Rivers- San Diego Chargers- Between Philip Rivers sporting a six to one touchdown to interception ratio and the Jacksonville Jaguars passing defense allowing almost 25 fantasy points per game to the opposing quarterback, Philip Rivers should be more than capable of giving your fantasy team a boost in week four. Rivers is also averaging over 22 fantasy points per week himself so you can start him with confidence.

Pine- Alex Smith- Kansas City Chiefs- Alex Smith is not an option at the quarterback position usually but since so many teams are on bye weeks, some fantasy owners may be thinking of starting him. I'm here to tell you don't start Alex Smith unless he's one of a few quarterbacks left to start for you. He's averaging under 20 fantasy points per game and the defense he faces on Monday night isn't going to do him any favors. The Patriots pass defense is allowing under 10 fantasy points per game to the quarterback position and Alex Smith's four to three touchdown to interception ratio doesn't bode well for him against a defense that has a knack for causing turnovers.

Wide Receiver

Fine- Antonio Brown- Pittsburgh Steelers- Of course you'd start Antonio Brown this week and every week that the Steelers aren't on a bye. But the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is allowing a whopping 34.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers is even more reason to get Brown into your starting lineups. In the first three games of the season, Antonio Brown is averaging over 16 fantasy points per game and has almost 300 yards receiving to go with three touchdowns.

Pine- Dwayne Bowe- Kansas City Chiefs- I realize bye weeks may cause you to have to play Dwayne Bowe, but like his quarterback, Bowe has a tough matchup this week versus the Patriots. The New England defense is allowing a league best 12.3 fantasy points per game to the wide receiver and is also best in the NFL at allowing 20 yard plays as well. The pass defense just doesn't allow big plays downfield. To make matters a little worse, Bowe has only 11 targets on the season in two games (he was suspended the first game of the season) and of those 11 targets has six catches for 72 yards. He's averaging under four fantasy points per game and with a shaky run defense in the Patriots, the air game could be a problem for the Chiefs on Monday night.

Running Back

Fine- Donald Brown- San Diego Chargers- With Donald Brown expected to get a boat load of the carries with Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead out, fantasy owners can start Donald Brown with confidence knowing the Jaguars run defense is allowing a league worst 30 plus fantasy points per game to the opposing running back. Brown had over 30 touches combined last week and against the worst run defense in fantasy football should have another big workload in week four yet again.

Pine- Reggie Bush- Detroit Lions- Bush faces the best run defense in fantasy football in week four in the New York Jets. The Jets defense have shut down PPR backs the last couple of games in Eddie Lacy and Matt Forte so fantasy owners shouldn't expect too much production from Reggie Bush this week. The Lions will look to establish more of a passing game against a Jets team that ranks fourth versus the pass.

Tight End

Fine- Jimmy Graham- New Orleans Saints- With a matchup versus the Cowboys on tap this week, Graham will look to post big numbers against a team that is ranked next to last as far as allowing tight end points at 18.2 fantasy points per game. Jimmy Graham himself is averaging 12.5 fantasy points per contest and should have a big night for his fantasy owners.

Pine- Greg Olsen- Carolina Panthers- While I like Greg Olsen every week, I'm not a fan of the matchup in week four. The Baltimore Ravens are second best in fantasy football at allowing tight end points per game with four fantasy points per game. It's always possible Greg Olsen has a big game but based on his matchup this week, could just as easily have a dud.

Defense

Fine- Detroit- Even though the Lions are on the road versus the Jets this week, their defense is still allowing the second least amount of fantasy points to the opposing quarterback at 12 fantasy points per game. Couple that with the fact that Geno Smith already has four interceptions in three games and the Lions defense looks like a defense that fantasy owners may want to stream this week.

Pine- San Francisco- The 49ers defense is allowing 19 fantasy points per game to the opposing signal caller and Foles is completing over 61 percent of his passes as well as over 25 fantasy points per game. That combination does not make the 49ers defense a must start in week four.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Keepers, Sleepers, and Jeepers: Week 4

By Adam Filadelfo (@FNTSYArchitect)

It's time once again to get your waiver wire claims in before the start of week four. Just one problem. Which players should be added and which players were just a flash in the pan? Read on to answer those questions.

Keepers

Allen Robinson- Wide Receiver- Jacksonville Jaguars- Allen Robinson has had 19 targets in the first three games of the season. Now that Cecil Shorts III is back in the starting lineup, fantasy owners may expect Robinson's value to drop. While Shorts may cut into some of Robinson's targets, Shorts is always banged up and new quarterback Blake Bortles has some chemistry with Robinson. Even with Shorts and Hurns, Robinson will continue to see his share of balls thrown his way and since Jacksonville likes to pass a lot, look for Robinson to maintain his fantasy value.

Blake Bortles- Quarterback- Jacksonville Jaguars- Speaking of Bortles and the Jaguars, fantasy owners may want to keep an eye out for Bortles now that he's assumed the role of starting quarterback. Whether you play in a two quarterback league or are looking for that backup quarterback to cover a bye week, Bortles may be just what you're looking for. He came into a game that was well out of hand and threw two touchdowns to go along with two interceptions. Bortles also passed for 250 yards in less than four quarters of action and should have put himself on fantasy radars moving forward.

Teddy Bridgewater- Quarterback- Minnesota Vikings- Bridgewater didn't come in and impress like fellow rookie quarterback Blake Bortles did but he was impressive enough to look at for fantasy owners. Bridgewater threw for 150 yards and rushed for another 27. He may not have eye popping numbers right now, but the value may end up being in his legs more than his arm. He can score points both through the air and on the ground.

Sleepers

Davante Adams-Wide Receiver- Green Bay Packers- While the Packers offense underwhelmed in week three, there is obviously plenty to love in Green Bay. Rookie wideout Davante Adams being one of those. Fantasy owners took notice when it appeared Adams passed Boykin on the depth chart during week one and that hasn't seemed to change much over the last few weeks. Over the first three games of the season, Adams has 10 targets and seven receptions for 61 yards. While he is the third receiver on the depth chart, it may be difficult for him to get enough targets behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb but he is worth owning should one of those top playmakers go down with an injury.

Malcolm Floyd- Wide Receiver- San Diego Chargers- The knock on Floyd the last few years was he couldn't stay healthy. While that may be true again at some point this season, right now he's healthy and he's producing. He has 11 targets and has hauled in six of them for 148 yards and a score. He's averaging just under seven fantasy points per game and with Woodhead done for the season, could see more targets tossed his way.

Denard Robinson- Running Back/Wide Receiver- Jacksonville Jaguars- Denard Robinson is more of an upside stash at this point seeing how Toby Gerhart is the lead back but Gerhart isn't exactly getting the job done for the Jaguars. Whether that be due to injury or not, Robinson has gotten a few chances and has done more with less. He may not be productive right now, but he may be a player fantasy owners want to add to their watch list and revisit at some point in the season.

Lorenzo Taliaferro- Running Back- Baltimore Ravens- The first two games of the season, Taliaferro didn't do anything to make fantasy owners think twice about him but week three saw him rush for 91 yards and a touchdown. Granted that was with Pierce out but Taliaferro showed he could play in the NFL, and Bernard Pierce hasn't looked great in his chances to play. At some point, Taliaferro will get the starting job and fantasy owners should start to jump on board now while he's still available on waiver wires.

Jeremy Kerley- Wide Receiver- New York Jets- With or without Eric Decker in the lineup, Kerley is getting his targets. On the young season, he has 24 targets and caught 15 of them. Should Decker miss any time with his hamstring injury, Kerley could easily run with the number one receiver job for the Jets.

Jeepers

Eddie Royal- Wide Receiver- San Diego Chargers- I will make this simple. Eddie Royal will make fantasy owners think he's turned the corner then completely fall off the face of the earth and not be heard from until next season. Eddie Royal has one or two big games in him every year and isn't worth using a waiver priority on. He had two touchdown catches last week and should not be counted on again.

Miles Austin- Wide Receiver- Cleveland Browns- Even though the Browns are on a bye for this week, Miles Austin can be a name fantasy owners throw around a bit in the coming weeks to cover byes for them. When he's healthy, Austin is a good receiver but his problem has always been health. He has 20 targets on the season and looks to be a red zone target as well for Hoyer but it's difficult to trust him at all with his injury history.

Owen Daniels- Tight End- Baltimore Ravens- With Dennis Pitta set to miss the rest of the season , fantasy owners can expect Owen Daniels to slide into the starting role for the Ravens being he's been in Gary Kubiak's system for some time dating back to the Houston Texans days. While Daniels is capable of producing big fantasy numbers, he's completely inconsistent and has a penchant for getting injured more often than not. With two top tight ends going down in the same week, Owen Daniels is a must add for fantasy owners that just lost a tight end. Just don't expect too much from him and ride him while he's still in the starting lineup.

Jordan Matthews- Wide Receiver- Philadelphia Eagles- With all of the hype surrounding rookie wide out Jordan Matthews to start the season, he only has 17 targets and isn't seeing consistent balls thrown his way to warrant getting into a starting lienup. As long as Jeremy Maclin is healthy, Matthews probably won't see consistent playing time but can just as easily move up with the way the Eagles like to spread the ball around. Let's say Jordan Matthews is a Jeeper right now with the potential to be a Sleeper.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fine or Pine, Week 3

By Adam Filadelfo (@FNTSYArchitect)

It's that time of the week again. Time for fantasy owners to give serious consideration to their starting lineups. Injury reports are out and fantasy owners know for the most part who has a chance to play and who doesn't. Of course there are always a few questionable players heading into Sundays but that won't stop us from setting our lineups anyway.

Quarterback

Fine- Jay Cutler- Chicago Bears- Cutler gets a weak pass defense on Monday night when the Bears face the Jets and since the Jets can defend well against the run, expect the Bears to pass a ton to play to the weakness of the Jets. As of this week, the Jets are allowing over 21 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks while Jay Cutler is averaging over 26 fantasy points per game. With Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jefferey healthier than last week, fantasy owners can expect a big game from the Bears signal caller this week.

Pine- Brian Hoyer- Cleveland Browns- While Hoyer hasn't played bad at all the first two weeks of the season, he does face a tough Ravens defense that is allowing only 12 fantasy points per game to the opposing quarterback. Brian Hoyer himself is averaging just under 15 fantasy points per contest and those numbers could equal trouble when Hoyer faces the Ravens defense this week.

Running Back

Fine- Arian Foster- Houston Texans- Hopefully I'm not going to the well one too many times with Foster but barring his hamstring issues keeping him out for this week's game, Foster should have another fantasy relevant game in him when he faces the Giants. New York is giving up over 20 fantasy points to the running back position on average and Foster is averaging 16.5 fantasy points per week. Until the Giants defend against the running backs, expect teams to have success versus them.

Pine- Matt Forte- Chicago Bears- I'm going bold again on my running back prediction. Last week it was Eddie Lacy, this week is Matt Forte. I realize that this move can also work against me but the matchup for Matt Forte this week doesn't look good and with a bad pass defense, one can expect the Bears to pass more than run. The Jets are allowing barely six fantasy points per game to the opposing running back and Forte himself was held to under nine fantasy points last week by the San Francisco defense. The combination does not bode well for the Bears back.

Wide Receiver

Fine- Dez Bryant- Dallas Cowboys- The Rams defense is allowing almost 40 points to opposing receivers and Dez Bryant is as good as receivers come. Dez is averaging almost 11 fantasy points per game and Romo seems to only look for Dez or DeMarco so fantasy owners can expect another big game from the Pro Bowl wide out in week three.

Pine- James Jones- Oakland Raiders- Let me start off by saying that James Jones could end up with some garbage time points in this contest but waiting on those points could give fantasy owners fits. The New England defense has been vulnerable to the run more than the pass while giving up just over 13 fantasy points per game to wide receivers while getting torched for over 24 points per game on the ground. Again, Jones could end up with some fantasy points late if the Patriots go up big and ease up on defense but it's hard to wait on garbage time points when fantasy owners have other options.

Tight End

Fine- Julius Thomas- Denver Broncos- Regardless of how stout the Seahawks defense may be, somebody's got to catch passes from Peyton in this game. Orange Julius seems like a more likely candidate to make the plays seeing how the Seattle defense is allowing 15 fantasy points to the tight end position and Thomas is averaging over 19 fantasy points the first two weeks of the season.

Pine- Martellus Bennett- Chicago Bears- I realize I said the Bears will probably be throwing a lot this week versus a poor Jets pass defense but I think the wide receivers get more action in this game than the tight end. The Jets are allowing under three fantasy points per contest to tight ends and the Bears seem to have a healthy Alshon Jefferey and Brandon Marshall going in this matchup.

Defense

Fine- New England- How can the Patriots defense not be the overwhelming favorite to play this week? They face the hapless Raiders at home and the New England defense is giving up the second lowest amount of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks at under 12 per game. Couple that with a rookie quarterback facing a Bill Belichick defense and this has all the makings of the Patriots defense being a top fantasy unit in week three.

Pine- Seattle- I realize the last time these two teams met, the Seattle defense made Peyton look like a rookie but fantasy owners shouldn't expect those results again. I think the Broncos put up a few more points in this one.  Manning is averaging almost 25 fantasy points per game this season while the Seahawks are middle of the pack in passing against the Quarterback giving up almost 18 fantasy points per contest to them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Keepers, Sleepers, and Jeepers - Week 3

By Adam Filadelfo (@FNTSYArchitect)

So two weeks of fantasy football is in the books and owners are preparing for week three the only way they know how. By hitting the waiver wire. Week two saw a rash of injuries to key players making this week for pickups more important than the last two. Every position saw a major injury that is sure to affect many fantasy owners and replacing those players now is extremely vital for fantasy success this week and the coming weeks as well.

Keepers

Kirk Cousins- Quarterback- Washington Redskins- With the ankle injury to Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins will take over an offense with plenty of weapons. Cousins proved he could move the ball downfield as he passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns and provided over 20 fantasy points off of the bench in week two. Week three has Cousins as the starter against an Eagles team that will force him to throw to keep up. The extent of the RG3 injury is unspecified at this time but most fantasy owners have to believe that Cousins will start enough games to warrant a top waiver wire priority this week.

Larry Donnell- Tight End- New York Giants- Not much has gone right for the Giants offense the last two weeks but Larry Donnell has been one of the few bright spots in a otherwise dismal showing. In the two games played so far this season, Donnell has been targeted 17 times for 12 receptions and 137 yards and a touchdown. He's averaging close to double digit fantasy points and could be a valuable replacement for fantasy owners that have Vernon Davis on their roster.

Knile Davis- Running Back- Kansas City Chiefs- As of this time, the only information we have regarding the Jamaal Charles injury is it's a high ankle sprain. How much time if any Charles will be sidelined has yet to be determined. Regardless of the answer, Knile Davis is a must own especially for Charles owners heading into week three. Coming off of the bench last week, Knile Davis totaled 105 yards and two touchdowns. In the two games he saw action this season, he's averaging over 11 fantasy points per game and should have no problem producing big fantasy numbers going forward should Charles miss a significant amount of time.

Bobby Rainey- Running Back- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Doug Martin was a late scratch heading into week two and Bobby Rainey owners reaped the benefits. Rainey is averaging almost 13 fantasy points the first two weeks of the season and gets a poor Falcons defense on Thursday night if Doug Martin isn't able to go. Rainey clearly looks to be the better back at this point and is worth a pickup whether Doug Martin plays or not.

Mohamed Sanu- Wide Receiver- Cinncinnati Bengals- With the injury to A.J Green, Mohamed Sanu looks to be the Bengals downfield threat. Fantasy owners are still in limbo as to how much time if any Green will miss so Sanu should be owned regardless. Through two games, Sanu has nine targets and seven receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. He's averaging over nine fantasy points per game and should Green miss any time at all, fantasy owners can expect an increase with those numbers.

Sleepers

Niles Paul- Tight End- Washington Redskins- With the constant injuries to Jordan Reed, Niles Paul is starting to emerge and seemed to have a good connection with Kurt Cousins. Seeing how Cousins is expected to make the start in week three, Paul could be a sleeper for owners in need of a tight end. He's averaging over 12 fantasy points per contest and has 15 targets through two games. Paul has caught 12 of those targets for 185 yards and a touchdown and should help tight end needy owners.

Matt Asiata- Running Back- Minnesota Vikings- Since the recent events surrounding Adrian Peterson, Matt Asiata may be a sleeper for fantasy owners to keep an eye on. If AP should miss any more time, Asiata could provide a fantasy boost from the running back position. Week two had Asiata starting in place of AP and saw him provide a boost in PPR leagues where he had six catches for 53 yards and managed to find the end zone. He is worth holding onto until the drama with AP is finalized.

Khiry Robinson- Running Back- New Orleans Saints- With the hand injury to Mark Ingram, fantasy owners may want to take a shot on Khiry Robinson. He'll end up splitting time with Pierre Thomas but in an offense that can score a ton of points in a hurry, may be worth the stash. He was averaging six fantasy points per game with Ingram in there and an uptick of touches without Ingram is not out of the question.

Donald Brown- Running Back- San Diego Chargers- With Ryan Matthews expected to miss four to five weeks with his MCL sprain, it appears Donald Brown will be sharing touches with Danny Woodhead. Brown proved last season he could be a reliable fantasy back with Indianapolis when he averaged over eight fantasy points per game and could be a PPR asset as well with his 27 receptions from last year.

Jeepers

Jonathan Dwyer- Running Back- Arizona Cardinals- Even though Dwyer vultured a touchdown against the Giants last week, he doesn't get enough touches to warrant adding to a fantasy roster. Andre Ellington is proving that his foot issue isn't hampering him very much and as long as Ellington is in there, Dwyer isn't going to see much playing time.

Damien Williams-Running Back- Miami Dolphins- Williams is on the Jeepers list because at this time, it's unknown how much playing time he'll actually get. That will depend on the severity of the ankle injury Lamar Miller sustained last week. There hasn't been any news on Lamar Miller since the injury occurred and that could be good or bad. Up until this point, Williams has had five carries for 19 yards and won't be given too many opportunities unless the injury to Miller is more severe than fantasy owners were lead to believe. In that case, Damien Williams would make the jump up to Sleepers status.

Jerick McKinnon- Running Back- Minnesota Vikings- I will put McKinnon in the same category as Damien Williams to a certain point. If AP misses time, the Vikings have Asiata to fill his role. Should Asiata not quite produce like expected, there is a chance Jerick McKinnon gets a shot and runs away with the job (no pun intended). At this point, there is little value to McKinnon seeing how two running backs are ahead of him on the depth chart but if he were to get an opportunity to play, would jump up to Sleeper status like Damien Williams would.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fine or Pine, Week 2

By Adam Filadelfo (@FNTSYArchitect)

Even though it's only week two for fantasy football, so many questions arise this week in terms of which players to start and which players to sit (Fine or Pine as we like to call it here). You've made moves to claim players off of your waiver wire and now you're wondering if you should play those players or stick with the players you drafted not too long ago. Well that's why you're probably reading this article. You're looking for help on who to play and who to let keep your fantasy bench warm. Read on for some help.

Quarterback

Fine- Andrew Luck- At this point, the only chance the Indianapolis Colts have of putting up any points is via the passing game and that obviously bodes well for their third year signal caller Andrew Luck. Luck will be forced to throw the ball again since the run game is not much of an option right now for them. Luck will also be forced to pass a lot due to the Colts Monday night opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles. Everybody is expecting a shootout and with the suspect defenses of both the Colts and the Eagles, that's most likely a smart bet. Last week against the Broncos, Luck passed for 370 yards and two touchdowns. He provided fantasy owners with over 34 fantasy points in week one and his owners should expect that trend to continue in week two.

Pine- Eli Manning- Hopefully no fantasy owner is faced with the decision to start Eli Manning this early in the fantasy season. The Giants offense looked lost in week one and Eli looked even worse. He threw for 163 yards and a touchdown but also had two interceptions. He scored just over 12 fantasy points in the game versus the Lions and gets an even tougher defense in week two when the Giants face the Arizona Cardinals. Good defensive line and strong secondary for the Cardinals does not bode well for a struggling Eli Manning.

Running Back


Fine- Arian Foster- Maybe the demise of Arian Foster was exaggerated a little bit. Week one saw Foster rush for over 100 yards and provide fantasy owners who were trusting enough to start him score double digit fantasy points and even managed to have a couple of receptions in there as well. Week two is an even better matchup for Foster as he faces the Oakland Raiders who last week gave up almost 32 fantasy points to the Jets running backs. Fantasy owners should expect another productive week from Arian Foster.

Pine- Eddie Lacy- Let me start off by saying I'm not in favor of benching stud players (Especially this early in the season) but between the matchup and the recent concussion, unless you have better options, Eddie Lacy is a risky play in my opinion. (For the record, this could totally backfire on me). Last week, the Jets only allowed 4.5 fantasy points to the Raiders and while the Packers are nowhere near as bad as the Raiders, the Jets run defense has been historically stingy under Rex Ryan. It's their passing defense that needs work and that could allow Aaron Rodgers to find receivers all game long giving Lacy a bit of a breather this week.

Wide Receiver


Fine- Justin Hunter- Last week, Hunter was targeted eight times by Jake Locker and hauled in three passes for 63 yards. Obviously not numbers that jump out at a fantasy owner heading into week two but the Titans face the Cowboys defense this week and Justin Hunter should have himself a better game this time around. He looks to be the deep option and the Cowboys secondary doesn't look like it's able to do much in the way of stopping anyone any time soon. The Titans should be able to move the ball with ease and the receivers for the Titans should benefit from that.

Pine- Victor Cruz- Maybe it's his quarterback or maybe it's just him but Victor Cruz hasn't been very fantasy relevant lately and week one wasn't any different. The matchup isn't in the Giants favor this week and Cruz looks like he's a forgotten man in the offense. Cruz saw six targets in week one and hauled in only two for 24 yards. He provided his fantasy owners with barely two points last week and can't be trusted moving forward. There's a big game in Cruz somewhat but good luck figuring out when that will be.

Tight End

Fine- Zach Ertz- Coming off of a week one that saw Ertz targeted five times, he caught three of those targets for 77 yards and a score. Ertz managed over 13 fantasy points for his owners and looks to get goal line targets as well. With the expected shootout coming in week two versus the Colts, Ertz looks to be a top option for week two.

Pine- Marcedes Lewis- Hopefully many if no fantasy owners are faced with this dilemma in week two but Marcedes Lewis should not be an option heading into the Jaguars matchup against the Redskins. Lewis did have six catches in week one but other than that, was a complete dud. He scored 3.5 fantasy points and the Redskins played the tight end tough in week one so hopefully you have a better option at the tight end position.

Defense

Fine- Houston- Last week, the Texans defense gave up under 11 fantasy points to Robert Griffin and the Redskins and in week two get the Raiders and their rookie quarterback Derek Carr. There's no reason the Texans defense shouldn't finish as a top fantasy defense this week.

Pine- Kansas City- The second half of last season saw the Chiefs defense decline and the first week of this season isn't looking to promising either. Last week, the Chiefs gave up 20 fantasy points to Jake Locker and this week face Peyton Manning and the Broncos. This a perfect week to pine the Chiefs defense.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Week 2: Keepers, Sleepers, and Jeepers

By Adam Filadelfo (@FntsyArchitect)

It's that time of year again. Time to put in those week one waiver claims for your fantasy football league. Regardless of how great owners think they drafted, or even if owners came away with a week one victory, most owners will put in a claim or bid for at least one player on their waiver wire immediately following the week one games. Here is a list of hot hands that will be claimed before week two kicks off on Thursday in Baltimore.

Keepers

Allen Hurns- Wide Receiver-Jacksonville Jaguars- Allen Hurns is an undrafted free agent and had himself an outstanding preseason that he carried over into week one of the regular season. With no Cecil Shorts for the Jaguars, Allen Hurns stepped up in a big way to the tune of four catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Another positive takeaway from Hurns' performance in week one was Chad Henne trusted him enough to target him nine times. Hurns was quiet in the second half of that game but the damage was already done and Hurns earned himself a starting spot on a lot of fantasy rosters heading into week two. Putting up 23 fantasy points will tend to do that for a player. With Cecil Shorts banged up quite a bit for the Jaguars, expect Hurns to produce for an unknown Jaguars receiving squad going forward. Just don't expect 23 fantasy points per game from him on a weekly basis but he should do enough to warrant a roster spot moving forward.

Justin Forsett- Running back- Baltimore Ravens- With the news of Ray Rice being suspended indefinitely and cut from the team, the Ravens will look to Justin Forsett to take on some of the work in their backfield. While Forsett may not be the man for the job long term, he does have familiarity with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's system from their days in Houston. Forsett made his presence known in week one versus the Bengals when he scored over 14 fantasy points and averaged over six yards per attempt. Forsett also had six balls thrown his way and caught five of then for 14 yards. For the time being, Justin Forsett is worth the pickup seeing how he will get his share of touches for the Ravens for the foreseeable future.

John Brown- Wide Receiver- Arizona Cardinals- Another receiver that had himself a good preseason is John Brown. While he didn't exactly light up the Chargers in week one, he was targeted five times by Carson Palmer and did find the end zone for his first career touchdown in the NFL. With Larry Fitzgerald not having a catch until late in the game and Michael Floyd commanding more attention from defenses, John Brown could be a breakout receiver in a pass heavy offense. He's definitely worth a stash in PPR leagues and should continue to see targets tossed his way as he did see significant playing time on Monday night.

Terrance West- Running Back- Cleveland Browns- While the severity of the injury to Ben Tate is unclear at this time, it pays for Tate owners to put in a claim for who appears to be the backup to Tate, Terrance West. West managed to hit the century mark in his first NFL game and scored double digit fantasy points in the process. While West may end up in a committee with Isaiah Crowell if Tate misses time, West did out carry Crowell 16-5 in week one which would make fantasy owners think West would handle a majority of the carries.

Bernard Pierce- Running Back- Baltimore Ravens- While Pierce was slated to be the primary ball carrier in the absence of Ray Rice, Pierce was pulled early for a fumble and gave way to Justin Forsett from there on. Pierce didn't do much of anything prior to his benching and in the little action he had last year and this year hasn't really impressed coaches or fantasy owners but seeing how he is a starting running back, he should be owned for the time being. The Ravens backfield is still unclear at this time heading into week two but sooner or later should show itself. For the time being, Pierce has to be considered a player to hang onto until proven otherwise.

Josh Gordon-Wide Receiver- Cleveland Browns- This has become a huge headache (at least for me) with the reports of he's suspended for the season, he has a chance to appeal the suspension, he's going to sell cars, oh wait, a new agreement can be reached which could overturn the suspensions of Josh Gordon and Wes Welker. Bottom line is if there is a chance that Josh Gordon will play this season, he has to be worth the waiver claim. Surely there is a player that you drafted in the later rounds that you aren't that convinced will do as much as Josh Gordon can and that is worth taking a chance right there. Adding Josh Gordon to your fantasy team can win you your league. With his eye popping numbers from 2013 where he missed the first two games and still managed 87 receptions for over 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging over 16 fantasy points per game, if Josh Gordon is still sitting on your waiver wire, stop reading this and add him. If he doesn't play in 2014, there's always another player to come along and fill that spot. He's worth the headache.


Sleepers

Bobby Rainey-Running Back- Tampa Bay Buccaneers-With the injury to Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey is worth an add since fantasy owners are familiar with his production based on 2013. He filled in admirably for Doug Martin last season and may be called upon to do so again. At this time, the extent of the injury to Martin isn't clear but what is clear is that Bobby Rainey is capable of carrying the load. Week one saw Rainey rush for 12 yards but he did get two targets which bodes well for owners playing in PPR leagues.

Khiry Robinson-  Running Back- New Orleans Saints- Khiry Robinson didn't have much of a fantasy impact in week one but he did score a touchdown which makes him somewhat relevant to owners. With the three headed monster that is the New Orleans backfield, Khiry Robinson could be a decent option in PPR leagues but Ingram seems to be the lead back as of right now. Khiry Robinson did score almost nine fantasy points so he could be worth looking at if you're looking for running back depth but barring injuries to Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas, Robinson probably won't provide much value on a weekly basis.

Mark Ingram- Running Back- New Orleans Saints- Since coming into the league, Mark Ingram hasn't lived up to his hype but 2014 could be a turning point for the former Alabama tailback. Ingram looked to be the lead back in his week one matchup versus the Falcons scoring twice. He only rushed for 60 yards but since the scores were there, fantasy owners will take notice. He gave fantasy owners over 18 fantasy points and could be a week two gem versus the Browns who gave up 127 yards on the ground to the Steelers in week one.

Isaiah Crowell- Running Back- Cleveland Browns- Once Ben Tate went down with his injury, the Browns used Crowell and West and even though West had a majority of the touches (16-5 in favor of West), Crowell did score twice and scored over 15 fantasy points in the process. Week two could be a committee once again but Crowell could end up being the goal line back and that alone is worth owning him. Of course if Tate is back for week two, that could decrease the value of Crowell but for now, a bid isn't out of the question.


Jeepers

Brian Quick- Wide Receiver-St.Louis Rams- The Rams offense looked abysmal as a whole but Brian Quick was one of the few bright spots. The third year receiver had been on radars some time ago but when he didn't produce, fantasy owners quickly forgot about him. Fast forward to week one of the 2014 season and Brian Quick caught seven passes on nine targets for 99 yards. While Quick had a good week one, fantasy owners can be hard pressed to expect consistent production from him seeing how the quarterback situation in St. Louis remains murky. Quick has shown flashes in the past but he may have to show fantasy owners a little more before being considered worth an add.

Rod Streater- Wide Receiver- Oakland Raiders- There wasn't much to talk about in week one when it came to the Oakland Raiders. Rod Streater did show a little something with rookie signal caller Derek Carr by hauling in five of his seven targets for 46 yards and a touchdown. He did post double digit fantasy points but it's very difficult to expect consistency from him but then again, Streater could end up emerging as the Raiders number one option so that alone makes him worth an add. Just don't expect too much from Streater at this time.

Devin Hester- Wide Receiver- Atlanta Falcons- While Hester had a productive week one and start to his time in Atlanta, fantasy owners should be familiar with what Hester brings to the table at this point. He did have five catches for 99 yards but expecting Hester to provide fantasy relevance on a consistent basis is asking for too much. His week one performance was more a product of Matt Ryan getting all of his receivers involved against a Saints defense that wasn't looking to stop anybody.

Marcedes Lewis- Tight End-Jacksonville Jaguars- Lewis made this list simply because some fantasy owners may be looking for a tight end to add to their roster and Lewis did have nine targets. Other than the targets, Marcedes Lewis doesn't provide much fantasy value other than possibly a bye week fill in.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fantasy Football Tools (with links!)

Here is an overview of a few things I've found while looking around.  Fantasy football tools that I use:

My Rankings - I've developed my own Top 400 rankings that I use.  It's got the VAST and VEST metrics that I came up with... Available only by signing up for the never-spam list.  (You can click that link or.... See that box at the top of the page??)

3P3Z - Read the book (Amazon has it on sale both for Kindle and Prime-shipped physical copy) or get "The Program" to understand.  Devilishly simple, and simultaneously brilliant.  #selfpromotion

Fantasy Pros Rankings - I'm honored to be one of 122 experts who provide rankings for FantasyPros.com.  The beauty of this site is that it tells you what ought to be happening in drafts based on the best possible view of the value of players... Not just the value of them on the one site on which you are drafting.  More than that, it is a composite ranking so any individual biases are washed out.  Sometimes you do see values increase or decrease for various reasons, but the swings are much more subtle and rational than they would be in one person's individual rankings.

Fantasy Football Calculator - This is where most of the pros that I've spoken to go for their ADP rankings.  The results are always up-to-the-minute since the default setting is to give you results from the previous two days.

Fantasy Gameday Spreadsheet - If you are more of a spreadsheet person and you'd like to be able to see the data and slice-and-dice it yourself, look no further than the ADP and Scarcity Report from FantasyGameday.net.  They have done a ton of research for you and even broken players down into tiers for you.  The best part?  It's only three bucks.  Check it out!

Podcasts - I am a podcast junkie.  The information is fresh and there is a ton of it.  I'm loving "Living the Stream" with my man JJ Zachariason.  Awesome stuff...  He wrote "The Late Round Quarterback" which takes my "back-to-back-quarterback" strategy to the extreme.  You also cannot go wrong with The Football Guys - both The Audible and On the Couch, plus their individual team breakdowns and interviews with beat writers.  Awesome stuff.  Also, you really ought to listen to the ESPN Fantasy Focus show because it is the most popular one out there... Chances are that there are people in your leagues that are listening to this so it is good to have as a baseline.  It's also entertaining.  The advice can be hit or miss, but it's a good place to get a feeling for prevailing wisdom.

PlayerLine -  I love, love, love the clean interface of the PlayerLine app.  (I'm not sure what to put for a link... I use it for iPhone, so if you have one too you can just search for PlayerLine in the app store.  It's got a red logo with all lowercase letters.)  Do you want to know what news is available on players in the NFL?  Of course you do!  PlayerLine is just an app that simply lists news for you in a stream.  You don't have to sort through promotional stuff or filler or anything else.

League Apps - Man, the app for your league has come a long way.  How do I know where you play?  Doesn't matter.  Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, NFL.com, and MFL have all updated their apps extensively and they are all quality.  In fact, I find MFL's app to be more user-friendly than their website (too much stuff on the site makes it hard to navigate for me).  You may not believe this, but check it out, I did an entire ESPN draft on their app last night.  No foolin'.

Magazines - I'm not contractually obligated to list this one because I write for the RotoWire magazine.  I do, but I'm not.  There is an interesting thing about magazines and one where you can take a perceived weakness of the format and turn it into a strength.  People that play a lot of fantasy football look down on magazines since it is dated information.  And it is true, those magazines were written 3 or 4 months ago.  However, they are a time capsule of information for you and I think that can give you an edge on the "group think" out there.  If you think about it, what has really changed since the NFL draft?  Other than injuries, not much.  We've seen a few pre-season games, but that stuff is really hard to use for player evaluations. (Except Emmanuel Sanders... go get that guy.)  I say it is very powerful to look at certain players and how their value has changed over the past three months.  Was there any reason why, or is it group think?  If a player has shot up in value for no real reason you may want to avoid him.  And the opposite for one that has dropped... maybe that is good value?  I believe that in the right context this information is invaluable.

Site Rankings - The very best thing you can do to prepare for a draft is to take the rankings for the site on which you are drafting and compare it to a composite rank like Fantasy Pros or the composite ADP in Fantasy Football Calculator.  People default to what they see on their screen.  Even the best fantasy players won't scroll down too far to find one of their guys.  In other words, if ESPN ranks Andre Ellington at #46 but Fantasy Pros ranks him at #26 for the same format, you've got yourself a buying opportunity.  You could take Ellington anywhere from #27-#45 and get some extra value.  Obviously the opposite can be true as well.  Peyton Manning may be ranked #8 by ESPN and #21 on Fantasy Pros.  If you stay away you won't get stuck in a trap.