Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Waiver Wire Situation: Week 11

Fantasy owners can rejoice in the final round of byes as we enter the final stretch. The good an bad news about this point is that we still have 1/3rd of the season left. For those of you who are worse than 4-6, your odds of making the playoffs are extremely slim (assuming you use the traditional 4-team playoff bracket), but for anyone who is 4-6 or better, odds are that you have a shot at making the playoffs. Naturally this all depends on your current league standings; if the top 4 teams are all 8-2 then 4-6 likely won't cut it. Statistics suggest that the 4th place team is likely 6-4, meaning that 4-6 teams are on the outer bubble. For everyone out there freaking out about fantasy playoffs, most of you still have a chance.

Speaking specifically to week 10, we had a lot of new injuries come about. Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, and Michael Vick were all injured. The good news is that the bye week quarterback stock is pretty weak. If it weren't for the fact that Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Russell Wilson, and Eli Manning are the QBs on bye we would have serious issues. Even still, 8 starting quarterbacks (let's not count Gabbert, just to be distinct about our definition of "starting quarterback") will not be starting this week. There is a good chance that the owners of Roethlisberger and Vick will be slumming through the quarterbacks trying to find a replacement this week.

The running back situation is a bit different. Bradshaw, Peterson, Lynch, and even Chris Johnson are all starting running backs. That's 4 of the top 15 (and 3 of the top 10) running backs in fantasy out for the week. To top that list off, the resurgent Fred Jackson is also down for the game. Spiller owners (myself included across three leagues) are very excited. Fred Jackson owners are not. Owners of Darren McFadden have to be wondering whether this is like his injury last year where he was always just about to come back but never did.

The wide receiver and tight end positions are much less affected. Sure, players like Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Percy Harvin, and ... well that's about it actually. Even those guys didn't show up in week 10 (but at least you didn't play Harvin). The loss at wide receiver was minimal.

Finding a Replacement:

The quarterbacks have really fanned out in terms of ownership. On Yahoo! there are 13 quarterbacks with 90% or greater ownership and there are an additional 5 quarterbacks with at least 70% ownership. Of that second category, Andy Dalton and Matt Schaub are probably more guaranteed points than anyone with under 70% ownership. If they are available you should start them in place of your injured or bye-week starter.

Assuming those players are taken, you're going to need to branch out and look for a different replacement. Carson Palmer (59% owned) is probably the guy with the best matchup this week. He's someone I would definitely target if I were in need of a quarterback. As an added bonus, for those of you with long term problems (Big Ben or Vick), Palmer has a very favorable schedule over the next few weeks. My next best bet would be starting Nick Foles. Sure, he definitely looked bad against the Cowboys, but he did score about 9 fantasy points in one half. The Cowboys have been allowing 12.8 points per game to opposing quarterbacks, so Foles really didn't do so poorly. I think he has a lot of potential and will be a huge waiver acquisition after this week.

If you are in desperate need of a running back, Marcel Reece, Joique Bell, Daryl Richardson, and Daniel Thomas are all owned in fewer than 40% of leagues. I would start them in that order, with Reece being the best option and Thomas being the worst. Chris Ivory is a guy with plenty of potential, and I'm still waiting for my bold prediction about Travaris Cadet to come true. I could see that guy scoring a touchdown this week. (A guy can hope)

Fortunately the wide receiver position is much more volatile. There are always guys who are going to have great games if you can locate them. Darrius Heyward-Bey is still only about 50% owned, and the Raiders play New Orleans this week. Cecil Shorts has been extremely productive, and should be viable (even against Houston). Donnie Avery and TY Hilton both have the potential for a big game against New England this week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Waiver Wire Wednesday: Post Week 8

I've been in hiding for a week. Running from a mountain of work and a hurricane that fortunately only knocked out my power for 36 hours, I'm ready to get back in the habit of writing fantasy football related articles. I'll admit that I am going to be extremely swamped over the next week with the end of the quarter and the coming presidential election (is anyone else out there as bloody excited as I am about this???), but I love writing fantasy and I love playing fantasy...even if the hurricane did take away my ability to watch some football this weekend. Without further ado, let's talk a little about waiver wire acquisitions for the second half of the season.

Cecil Shorts [12% owned] - If you are going to own a Jaguars wide receiver, it looks like Shorts is your guy. I doubt he will give you 10 points per game, but he should be a consistent contributor of at least 50 yards per game.

Titus Young [44% owned] - I missed basically an entire week of fantasy football news, and had no idea that Burleson broke his leg. If I'd known, I would have been grabbing Titus Young everywhere. He has to be the top waiver option this week.

Danny Amendola [57% owned] - I know his owned percentage is a little high, but that's probably because of guys like me who picked him up in all of their leagues before Sunday. The Rams are on BYE, but you aren't going to get him if you wait. This is one of your few opportunities to get a long term option off waivers.

Jonathan Dwyer [46% owned] - I'm not ready to trust Dwyer yet, but running backs are scarce and he might just be a valid option going forward. I would be surprised if his value increased from here.

Unfortunately, there isn't really anyone else I'm looking forward to picking up this week. I would consider offering trades for the players mentioned above (especially Amendola and Young). If they are going to be sitting on the bench for an opponent, they might be willing to part with them for cheap...especially since they didn't pay much for them in the first place.

Similarly, consider trading for players like Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, Reggie Bush or C.J. Spiller at running back, Andre Roberts or Denarius Moore at WR, and Owen Daniels at TE.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Week 6 Rankings Results

At first I thought I had done a horrible job this week compared to the top experts from FantasyPros, but it turns out that I held my own through most categories. I had a terrible time of running backs, but I excelled at predicting quarterbacks and wide receivers. Here are the results...

 I was amongst the best at predicting the rankings of quarterbacks within my own top-12 rankings, did exactly average with top-12 inclusion, and then finished second in ranking all quarterbacks this week. Definitely not a bad week.

The running backs were pretty awful for me. My top-24 inclusive was the worst, and my RB-all was also the worst. Those data are slightly skewed because other experts tend to list 40+ running backs. When you are comparing your top guy to a third stringer you don't end up with great data, but even without that number it was still a bad week there.

I had the best rankings amongst all experts at correctly ranking my top-24 receivers, I had a mediocre inclusion rating (12 of my 24 top receivers were actually in the top-24), and my WR all looks weak. Again, that has a lot to do with the fact that Jodi Smith has like 65 receivers on his list. The guys at the bottom had very very few points, but I set up the rankings so I can't really complain.

This week I will be comparing myself to Jody Smith, Tags Fantasy, the Sablich brothers, Brad Evans, and Rotoworld. I have a strong suspicion that the Sablich brothers are cheating their readers and falsely inflating their ratings on FantasyPros. My reasoning is as follows. Last week I took my snapshot of player rankings on Friday and Saturday. The Sablich brothers did not have Antonio Brown listed in their rankings, but they DID have Mike Wallace and Kenny Britt listed. I have a hard time believing that on a list of 50 NFL wide receivers Brown doesn't make that list (especially since Brown was a top-25 receiver for all other experts). Similarly, Rashard Mendenhall was listed 40th (below Redman) despite being ranked 21st or better by all other experts. Now they do say that players will be moved before the weekend games, but you would naturally expect them to keep some sort of consistency rather than cheating the system. I'm going to see what happens this week. Maybe they were just genuinely convinced that Brown and Mendenhall would underachieve...I wish they would have notified me about that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

W7 Preview: Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts

Week 7 Previews

Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts - 1:00pm EST Sunday

The Browns and Colts are two bad teams, but you never really know what you're going to get from them. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson seem to have good games at random, and the Colts managed to beat the Packers (although I'm still bitter about the fumble that was recalled because of a terrible penalty call) and then promptly got steamrolled by the Jets. Reggie Wayne is probably among the most consistent receivers to this point in the season, but odds are that this will be a relatively ugly game. The positive here is that neither team is especially adept at creating turnovers, so fantasy enthusiasts should have the opportunity for plenty of points.

Fantasy Outlook: Good

7th Andrew Luck - Luck has been good all season with the exception of a few games. I don't think this week will disappoint too much. Luck isn't a lock to crack 18 points, but he should approach that number if he can avoid turnovers. The Browns allow opposing QBs over 20 points per game on average, so there is definitely the possibility for Luck to have an amazing game.

18th Brandon Weeden - I want to have Weeden a lot higher than this, but he's this far down the list because no one is going to bet their fantasy season on him. There is no one above him on this list that I would bench in his place if the season were on the line. Thus, while Weeden has been playing very well lately, he just isn't consistent enough to really instill confidence in fantasy owners. The Colts allow nearly 17 PPG from opposing QBs.

Running Backs:

4th Trent Richardson - I'm giving Richardson another chance near the top against an Indianapolis defense that is allowing 26.52 points to opposing running backs every week. Those numbers are staggering, and if Richardson can get 75% of that it will be an amazing fantasy week. He has the potential if he isn't injured. This rookie has big talent and should be a top-10 pick next season barring some unforeseen occurrence.

29th Vick Ballard - I brought up the shortcomings of Ballard to a number of people last week and gave him almost no vote of confidence, but I will admit that putting him at 26th was far too high. This week he is even lower. He would be even lower if the Browns didn't give up 19.4 points per game to running backs. Donald Brown would come in somewhere around 14th if he were healthy.

Wide Receivers:

2nd Reggie Wayne - The Colts receivers are going up against a defense that allows 33.52 points per game to opposing receivers. Wayne has a good portion of the Colts receiving points, and the Browns defense does not seem like they will be capable of slowing him down. Anything less than 100 yards and a touchdown would be a disappointment from a fantasy perspective for Reggie Wayne. I expect great things from him this week.

22nd Josh Gordon - I wrestled with the placement of Josh Gordon. He definitely isn't a 1-week-wonder at this point, but how can you trust starting him in an impotant fantasy week? His boat is the same as Weeden's, but with the Colts giving up 26.7 points per game to receivers you can feel confident betting with him as a bye week filler.

24th Donnie Avery - I really liked Austin Collie coming into the season, so this is a great game for Avery to step into that role. He has enough football talent, but he needs to prove that he can be the number two guy for Luck. This is a great opportunity.

32nd Greg Little - Little has been on the outs due to his ball dropping ability. This is a good game for him to prove he still wants to be a receiver on this team. The Colts will start focusing on Gordon after the last two weeks.

33rd T.Y. Hilton - Hilton is also fighting for the WR2 spot with the Colts. Really, this defense is bad enough to support 3 decent fantasy receivers, and Hilton should see enough targets to be valuable in deep leagues this week.

W7 Fantasy Preview: Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans

Week 7 Previews

Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans - 1:00pm EST Sunday


On Monday night I made what I considered to be a relatively serious move to get Arian Foster on my team. I offered Marshawn Lynch and Hakeem Nicks to the individual who currently owns Arian Foster. He is starting Andre Roberts this week and started Andre Roberts and Briant Hartline when he lost his first game to me two weeks ago. Given his situation I figured it was a fair trade attempt...and the thought of starting Ray Rice and Arian Foster in a game against eachother just seems too incredible a fantasy story to pass up. For one glorious moment the two best running backs in the league (everyone who drafted LeSean McCoy ahead of these two now knows why I spoke out against him before the season) will be going up against each other. Everything else is an afterthought for me in terms of fantasy. On a completely unrelated note, the song I'm Only Sleeping by the Beatles is stuck in my head. If you like the Beatles and don't know it, it's a lovely song...if it isn't a bit depressing.

Fantasy Outlook: Good (and historic)


6th Joe Flacco - Did you see what Aaron Rodgers did to this defense last week? I don't expect Flacco to throw for 6 touchdowns, by any means, but it is ridiculous to think that the Packers didn't expose something here. The play action and screen game should beat what the Packers did, and then the Ravens receivers should be able to take care of this secondary. I feel like Torrey Smith has been drawing the top corner lately, and I think Flacco will be able to take advantage with his strong arm. I'm excited about starting Flacco this week. Houston has been very good against quarterbacks, but they haven't exactly played the top level...except for Rodgers.

20th Matt Schaub - This could be low for Schaub, but I worry about what I saw last week. The injuries to the Ravens defense should give this team a little more operating room, but I just can't get past the fact that Schaub has only had one really good game this season. Every other game he has been good for about 200 yards and 1 touchdown. That's all the Texans need from him to win most weeks.

Running Backs:

1st Arian Foster - Foster is the best running back in fantasy football going up against a defense that is injured and has been unusually lax against the run game. It's great when we actually get rankings correct at the top, and this is another great matchup for Foster and this Texans run game.

2nd Ray Rice - Ray Rice isn't always the second best running back, but the Texans haven't been very good against the run lately. Sure, they held back the Packers' second string runner, but they gave up more than one of the best defenses in the NFL should. The real success of the Houston run defense has been in keeping runners out of the end zone. They are the only team in the NFL who has not allowed a rushing touchdown, but there is nothing to suggest Ray Rice can't fix that...and he could always just catch a 70+ yard touchdown pass.

35th Ben Tate - You never know when Tate is going to have a big game. He's been pretty quiet most of this season, with one exceptional game. Try not to play him if you can avoid it.

Wide Receivers:

13th Torrey Smith - Smith has been very variable this season, but I think this is going to be a good game for him. The Texans' cornerbacks have been vulnerable lately, and Torrey Smith is the kind of guy who can take advantage of those discrepancies. The Texans allow an average number of points to receivers, so nothing is stopping Smith from breaking out.

15th Andre Johnson - I worry that even this is too high for Andre Johnson. I worry that even this is too low for Andre Johnson. I can't tell if age or lack of offensive diversity, or great defense, or amazing running game is getting to him. Something has happened, and most of those issues can be fixed...but age and injuries cannot. I think Johnson is probably a decent WR2/3, but he hasn't been reliable. 

29th Anquan Boldin - Boldin is trying to have his best year since moving east, and it is likely because of the support from Torrey Smith. The lack of a true deep threat has allowed defenses to crush Boldin over the middle, but things are opening up this season and he is prospering. You have to like where things are going for Boldin.

Tight Ends:

Owen Daniels - We hold TEs to lower standards, but Daniels has been decent so far this season. The Ravens allow under 7 points per game to tight ends.

Dennis Pitta - Pitta fell off the map after a few good early games, but this is a chance for him to redeem himself. The Texans are allowing over 8.5 PPG to tight ends.

W7 Fantasy Preview: Dallas Cowboys @ Carolina Panthers

Week 7 Previews

Dallas Cowboys @ Carolina Panthers - 1:00pm EST Sunday


I'm certainly not the only one out there who is extremely worried about Cam Newton at this point (and I don't even own him in fantasy). The guy is an excellent player, but he's blaming himself way too much and opposing defensive coordinators are taking advantage of his often reckless play. On the other side of the ball, Tony Romo finally calmed down to some degree last week, and it wasn't necessarily his fault that the Cowboys lost. He could have done more, but it isn't his job to make place kicks or tackle returners. The Panthers are an abysmal 1-4 coming off a bye week where they really needed to just take a mental break. This team isn't as bad as they have been playing, and it's fantasy owners especially who are hoping to see more out of this offense. The Cowboys defense is ranked well in every important fantasy category, so this will likely be a tough game for the Panthers.

Fantasy Outlook: Mediocre


8th Tony Romo - Romo has been impossible to predict this season, but I have a feeling that the game against the Ravens and Bryant's ability to catch the ball makes Romo a good play this week. The Panthers haven't been good or bad against the pass this season, and it would be a disappointment for fantasy owners if Romo couldn't reach 18 points this weekend. It will be tough, but with Felix Jones running the ball and two good receivers, Romo isn't someone you should shy away from this week. 

16th Cam Newton - Newton has the potential to explode every week. He proved that as a rookie. Newton also has the ability to implode every week. He's proved that multiple times this season. I don't want to pile on to Newton, but given that he probably won't ever read my blog, I won't feel bad about it. The guy needs to act like a leader and he needs to do it now. When Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers throws an interception you don't see them hiding under a towel. Newton needs to man up. That won't be easy this week against a Cowboys team that is averaging 12.48 points per game for opposing QBs.

Running Backs:

6th Felix Jones - Against the 5th most favorable run defense in the league, it's very hard not to like Felix Jones this week...especially given his performance last week. The backup running back ALWAYS plays better in Dallas. This is a team that always makes their backup look amazing. Even last season, Felix Jones amazed us the game after DeMarco Murray got hurt by racking up 131 scrimmage yards. It probably won't last past this week, but Jones is a guy to play this week. The Panthers give up a lot of receiving yards to running backs.

26th DeAngelo Williams - I never know which one of these backs to rank higher. They have enough potential to be ranked, and they're both talented enough to be ranked, but that doesn't mean the score points. It's hard to imagine Williams going over 12 points. You really need a touchdown out of him, but the Cowboys have a seriously tough run defense. 

28th Jonathan Stewart - I always hate writing about Williams and Stewart because it makes me think about how good these guys would be if they got twice as many carries. Anyways, he's rarely a good start, but I like him catching the ball against this Cowboys team to some degree. If you play him, you better hope he scores a touchdown.

Wide Receivers:

18th Dez Bryant - The Panthers have been efficient at slowing down wide receivers this season, so Dez takes a drop even though he has been improving steadily. I'm most worried about the likelihood that he finds the end zone this week. The Panthers are allowing fewer than one touchdown to wide receivers per game this season. If you are looking for a sure thing you can look elsewhere.

21st Steve Smith - The Cowboys lead the league by holding opposing wide receivers to an average of 16.24 points per game. That is an unbelievable low number to be split between multiple receivers. Smith would need to monopolize that to be a valuable fantasy player. Smith is always a fantasy starter because he is a great source of yardage, but he has yet to find the end zone this season. That is really hurting fantasy owners and his standings here.

26th Miles Austin - Like I mentioned with Bryant, this defense is good against opposing wide receivers. Bryant's boon has been Austin's bain, with the latter losing his streak of 4 consecutive games with over 10 fantasy points. He hasn't been blowing it up this season, and with a tough defense he's probably better left on the bench this week. He could get lucky and score a touchdown, but that might be pushing it. With so many bye weeks you likely have no choice, though.

Tight Ends:

Jason Witten - I'm not ranking tight ends this week because it is a waste of time (in my opinion), but I will tell you that the Panthers allow just over 8 points per game to tight ends this season.

Greg Olsen - This guy is a staple of the Panthers offense, with Olsen looking like Newton's second target. The Cowboys have allowed 7.5 points per game to tight ends.

Week 7 Player Rankings

There are six teams on bye in week 7 -- Falcons, Broncos, Chiefs, Dolphins, Chargers, and Eagles -- meaning that a lot of fantasy owners are going to be hurting to find enough worthy replacements for their lineups. I didn't do a big waiver post this week, but here is the concise one.

The rankings are going to be done a little different this week. Each player's name will be linked to an in-depth fantasy review of their matchup, and I'm going to scrap the points ranking system because I prefer to have consistent numbering. The results episode from last week among QBs, RBs, and WRs is (in the process of being) posted, and I compared my rankings to some of the biggest names on FantasyPros. I'll be doing that weekly at this point, because it's fun to have some competition. I do not expect to win many contests, but stiff competition is always a good thing. I hope you enjoy, as always.

  1. Aaron Rodgers @ STL
  2. Drew Brees @ TB
  3. Eli Manning vs WAS
  4. Robert Griffin III @ NYG
  5. Tom Brady vs NYJ
  6. Joe Flacco @ HOU
  7. Andrew Luck vs CLE
  8. Tony Romo @ CAR 
  9. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs TEN
  10. Carson Palmer vs JAX
  11. Ben Roethlisberger @ CIN
  12. Matthew Stafford @ CHI
  13. Matt Hasselbeck @ BUF
  14. Andy Dalton vs PIT
  15. Jay Cutler vs DET
  16. Cam Newton vs DAL
  17. Blaine Gabbert @ OAK
  18. Brandon Weeden @ IND
  19. Sam Bradford vs GB
  20. Matt Schaub vs BAL
  21. Josh Freeman vs NO
  22. Christian Ponder vs ARI
  23. Mark Sanchez @ NE
  24. Alex Smith vs SEA
  25. Russell Wilson @ SF
  26. John Skelton @ MIN

Running Backs:
  1. Arian Foster vs BAL
  2. Ray Rice @ HOU
  3. C.J. Spiller vs TEN
  4. Trent Richardson @ IND
  5. Darren McFadden vs JAX
  6. Felix Jones @ CAR
  7. Maurice Jones-Drew @ OAK
  8. Stevan Ridley vs NYJ
  9. Ahmad Bradshaw vs WAS
  10. Chris Johnson @ BUF
  11. Adrian Peterson vs ARI
  12. Marshawn Lynch @ SF
  13. Alfred Morris @ NYG
  14. Doug Martin vs NO
  15. Fred Jackson vs TEN
  16. Matt Forte vs DET
  17. Rashard Mendenhall @ CIN
  18. Alex Green @ STL
  19. Darren Sproles @ TB
  20. Mikel LeShoure @ CHI
  21. Frank Gore vs SEA
  22. BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs PIT
  23. Steven Jackson vs GB
  24. LeGarrette Blount vs NO
  25. Shonn Greene @ NE
  26. DeAngelo Williams vs DAL
  27. Daryl Richardson vs GB
  28. Jonathan Stewart vs DAL
  29. Vick Ballard vs CLE
  30. Mark Ingram @ TB
  31. Mike Goodson vs JAX
  32. Montario Hardesty @ IND
  33. Isaac Redman @ CIN
  34. David Wilson vs WAS
  35. Ben Tate vs BAL
  36. Brandon Bolden vs NYJ
  37. William Powell @ MIN
  38. Robert Turbin @ SF

Wide Receivers:
  1. Calvin Johnson @ CHI
  2. Reggie Wayne vs CLE
  3. A.J. Green vs PIT
  4. Victor Cruz vs WAS
  5. Kenny Britt @ BUF
  6. Vincent Jackson vs NO
  7. Jordy Nelson @ STL
  8. Marques Colston @ TB
  9. Brandon Marshall vs DET
  10. Hakeem Nicks vs WAS
  11. Percy Harvin vs ARI
  12. Stevie Johnson vs TEN
  13. Torrey Smith @ HOU
  14. Larry Fitzgerald @ MIN
  15. Andre Johnson vs BAL
  16. Wes Welker vs NYJ
  17. Mike Wallace @ CIN
  18. Dez Bryant @ CAR
  19. Pierre Garcon @ NYG
  20. Denarius Moore vs JAX
  21. Steve Smith (CAR) vs DAL
  22. Josh Gordon @ IND
  23. Brandon Lloyd vs NYJ
  24. Donnie Avery vs CLE
  25. Brandon Gibson vs GB
  26. Miles Austin @ CAR
  27. Mike Williams vs NO
  28. Antonio Brown @ CIN
  29. Anquan Boldin @ HOU
  30. James Jones @ STL
  31. Donald Jones vs TEN
  32. Greg Little @ IND
  33. TY Hilton vs CLE
  34. Randall Cobb @ STL
  35. Sidney Rice @ SF
  36. Andre Roberts @ MIN
  37. Michael Crabtree vs SEA
  38. Justin Blackmon @ OAK
  39. Darrius Heyward-Bey vs JAX
  40. Kendall Wright @ BUF

W7 Fantasy Preview: Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills

Week 7 Previews

Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills - 1:00pm EST Sunday

If there is any game this week with the potential to be extremely ugly while providing lots of fantasy points, this definitely has to be it. These teams have allowed 26 passing touchdowns (13 each in 6 games each) and 14 total touchdowns to running backs (8 for the Bills, 6 for the Titans). To go along with all of these terrible defensive stats, neither team is especially bad at generating turnovers and both offenses are certainly adept at playing really ugly football on occasion. The great news for fantasy owners is that most of us couldn't care how ugly the game is as long as there is lots of running and lots of scoring. This game should end up being about 28-24 with plenty of yards to go around. This game should finally answer the C.J. Spiller/Fred Jackson question. I was surprised by the success of both players last week, and it is difficult to assess the long-term potential of either player when they are going up against three tough run defenses in a row (NE, SF, and ARI). This should be a good week for everyone involved if the weather in Buffalo cooperates.

Fantasy Outlook: Excellent

9th Ryan Fitzpatrick - Fitzpatrick has been very successful against weaker passing defenses, and the return of his running backs to the passing game is a huge asset. The last two weeks against the 49ers and Cardinals have been very bad for Fitzpatrick, but no quarterbacks have been great against those two defenses. Anything less than 18 fantasy points out of Fitzpatrick is probably a disappointment, especially since C.J. Spiller is so good at taking screen passes to the house. If your QB is a bye-week casualty, Fitzpatrick is a great replacement. The Titans allow over 20 points to quarterbacks each week, the lowest point total for any QB against this defense was Matt Schaub going for 15.88 points.

13th Matt Hasselbeck - Hasselbeck has been averaging about 10 points per game to this point, but the Bills represent a unique opportunity for Hasselbeck to start against the best fantasy defense for opposing quarterbacks (the Bills allow over 22 points per game to opposing QBs). I think you could easily anticipate Hasselbeck with 275 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1-2 interceptions. That's around 17 points depending on your scoring settings, so he's a great add in deeper leagues. I love the way Kenny Britt and Hasselbeck play together.

Running Backs:

3rd C.J. Spiller - I'm going to throw my support behind Spiller this week. He has been extremely and unbelievably productive whenever he has touched the ball. The Spiller-Jackson dilemma looks like it will be resolved in the short term with a 2 series on, 2 series off system for each player. As long as both players are extremely productive, this system will last. I believe that C.J. Spiller, who is boasting a 7.6 YPC on 60 carries (I wouldn't be surprised if that weren't approaching a record of some sort) is going to be immensely productive with the 15-20 touches he should get each game in the run-happy offense. It should be easy for Spiller to breach 100 yards and 1 touchdown against this Tennessee defense. Easy. 

10th Chris Johnson - I would go higher on Johnson if it weren't for his spotty performance all season. There are weeks when you can play Johnson confidently. I traded Shonn Greene for Chris Johnson a few weeks ago, and I played him last week against the Steelers. The Steelers haven't been great all season against the run. Alternatively, I sat him the week before against the Vikings, because they are excellent against the run. We're going to figure this guy out, and this week should be easy for him. 

15th Fred Jackson - There are a lot of reasons that I have Jackson listed lower than Spiller. The most important reason is that Jackson sustained a bigger injury and is much older than Spiller. Yes, there is definitely tread on the tires, but Jackson just doesn't have the explosion that Spiller does. Every single time Spiller touches the ball he could score a touchdown. I just don't have the same confidence in his ability to perform excellently with 15 touches a game. 

Wide Receivers:

5th Kenny Britt - Britt won me over last week against the Steelers. The Titans are suddenly stacked at receiver compared to most teams in the NFL and Matt Hasselbeck loves throwing to a healthy Kenny Britt. Odds are that Britt sees 10-15 targets this week as this offense tries to keep up with the Bills offense. It definitely helps that the Bills have allowed 11 touchdowns to receivers already this season with nearly 200 yards per game. If you own Britt, he's a starter.

12th Stevie Johnson - Johnson has been about as good at Ryan Fitzpatrick all season. Given that Fitzpatrick should have a great game against the Titans. The only exception to this trend was the game against NE when Scott Chandler caught all the touchdown passes and Donald Jones broke a long one. You have to like Johnson's chances this week.

31st Donald Jones - With Fitzpatrick scoring big, Donald Jones should have a nice game.

40th Kendall Wright - Wright has been improving as the year has progressed. I think his raw talent plays better against the Bills than Washington's routes.

W7 Fantasy Preview: Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers

Week 7 Previews

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers - Thursday Night


The Thursday Night game always seems to disappoint from a fantasy standpoint. It was just last week that I started both Rashard Mendenhall and Antonio Brown to end up with a devastating 3 point loss. Naturally C.J. Spiller was happily sitting on the bench...right next to Shonn Greene. It was a tough week. Things like that happen all the time in fantasy; the point is that Thursday Night games are the things nightmares are made of. This game should be a nice 17-13 style slug-fest between two of the most run-heavy teams with game-manager quarterbacks and strong defenses. Any prediction to the contrary would be misinformed. I'm not saying it won't be high scoring (just look at the way the Giants demolished the 49ers last week), but the odds are stacked against it.

Fantasy Outlook: Meager


24th Alex Smith - Smith had a miserable game against the Giants. Secretly we were all probably wondering when "Old Alex" would come back out to play, but I think the 49ers should get things back in order this week, at least when compared to last week. Smith has been scoring right at the opponent's average allowed points for quarterbacks each week, so with the Seahawks allowing a superior 11.26 PPG you can't expect much from Smith.

25th Russell Wilson - Despite his great game against the Patriots, Wilson is ranked as the second worst starting QB in fantasy this week. I loved the guy coming into the season, but I think Matt Flynn is the better option at QB this week. That being said, neither one of them would rank very high against a 49ers defense that allows and average of 12.56 PPG to opposing QBs. I wouldn't bank on Wilson reaching that number.

Running Backs:

12th Marshawn Lynch - Lynch it ranked much higher than all of my previous running backs facing the 49ers because of his history and what the Giants did last week. You can bet that Pete Carroll is going to watch as much tape of that Giants game as he possibly can and incorporate whatever pieces he can into the offense. He might not have the quarterback or receivers that the Giants have, but he definitely has the defense and the power runner. Lynch was the one man who breached the 49ers defense last season, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and bet he can play admirably this week. Not great; admirably.

21st Frank Gore - Gore does not get the same vote of confidence that Lynch does despite the fact that both defenses have the exact same points allowed per game (9.73 each). Frank Gore has been good this season, but the odds are definitely stacked against him this game. The Giants laid out a plan for how to stop this 49ers rushing attack, and I think the Seahawks have a strong enough defense to make use of the game tape. Gore will get his carries, but running backs haven't been beating this Seahawks defense.

Wide Receivers:

35th Sidney Rice - Rice is still a great player, and he seems like he's healthy for the first time in years. That being said, Russell Wilson is not willing (or allowed, perhaps) to throw the ball into dangerous situations like Favre would for Rice. No matter how you cut that, and these policies are certainly helping the Seahawks win big games, it means reduced production and extreme inconsistency from Rice. It's hard to get behind a receiver with only 40 points through six games.

37th Michael Crabtree - It's a mystery whether Crabtree would have grown into an elite NFL receiver on a different team, but that is neither here nor there. The 49ers have far too many receiving options for Crabtree to be a reliable option. He has basically the exact same number of fantasy points through six weeks as Rice does.

Tight Ends:

Vernon Davis - Vernon Davis is the second highest scoring tight end this season with approximately 10 points per week. The Seattle defense is neither especially good nor especially bad against opposing tight ends.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Short Waiver Overview After Week 6

I've been focusing on work and defensive matchups more lately. By now most people know which receivers and quarterbacks are going to perform on a weekly basis. You also don't need me to keep telling you to not pick up players off waivers. My opinion isn't changing on most players. There are a few guys who will be exploding over the next few weeks and offer unique opportunities.

1. Felix Jones - Jones is looking at 1 or more weeks in the driver's seat for the Cowboys. DeMarco Murray's sprain adds a long term potential to this addition, so there is absolutely nothing that should stop you from adding Felix Jones. He scored over 16 points last game and he played quite well after Murray went down last season.

2. Josh Gordon - It seemed like only a matter of time until Josh Gordon broke out...but then it happened two weeks in a row. This might just be for real with the big arm of Weeden syncing up with the receiver who was compared to Randy Moss entering the supplemental draft. I'm going to pick him up as a solid WR4/5.

3. LeGarrette Blount - Blount is slowly growing into the Buccaneers offense with Martin not living up to expectations. The rookie year is tough for any running back, and if Blount is healthy and productive he might get more looks as the season goes forth. It's looking like his touches will be creeping up towards 15 per game going forward.

4. Brandon Gibson - Gibson lived up to the hype this week, and he might just be the guy to own on the Rams offense. It will definitely take another week before we can be sure, but if he can get 9 targets a week he will be a long term option.

5. William Powell - Powell proved that the Cardinals can run the ball against terrible run defenses, but I don't think I trust this guy against good run defenses. None of the Cardinals runners have done well against good run defenses, so he might be worthwhile to plug in on bye weeks when the Cards have good matchups.

6. Daryl Richardson - Richardson is pushing Steven Jackson out of the starting role, so he definitely could be a good play moving forward in deep leagues. I think he's the kind of guy you could definitely hold onto in case something happens to Steven Jackson.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Week 6 Player Rankings

This is one of my favorite posts of the week (and one of the only I've finished this week) because it is something you can actually call me out on. You might be able to say something about my trade suggestions or waiver acquisition suggestions, but the real meat of fantasy football is making weekly waiver predictions. As you guys may know, I have designed a method of analyzing and assessing weekly player rankings (I've been told that it is confusing, but the article can be found here) and I look forward to making comparisons between my rankings and other notable fantasy minds from this week forward. I expect that I will be completely blown out of the water, but that's the fun of fantasy; you are in direct competition with so many people and the results are absolutely tangible and final (although I completely disagree with the reassignment of the Mendenhall lateral into a forward pass).

This week I'm going to be basing my predictions much more heavily on defensive rankings (you can see a week 4 post about them here), so expect a few surprises compared to other sites. I'm going to try to get my spreadsheet up for everyone to see with defensive point totals and player point totals and projections, but it is still in a rough state right now and might not be ready until Saturday. It's something I can easily update weekly, but it was a lot of work in the short term and it kept me from writing. Anyways, I am always happy to field questions, comments, and complaints; differing opinions is the beauty of fantasy football. As always, I wish everyone the best in their Week 6 matchups. We're getting towards the halfway point, and four teams -- Jaguars, Bears, Saints, and Panthers -- have their BYE in week 6.

If you want a historical record: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, and Week 5.


Over 18 Fantasy Points:
  1. Matt Ryan vs OAK - Matt Ryan is up against one of the worst defenses in fantasy football. The only worry is that they stop throwing in the second half.
  2. Peyton Manning @ SD - It's hard to argue with 3 consecutive weeks over 20 fantasy points. The only bad week was against ATL's 23rd ranked defense against fantasy QBs.
  3. Ben Roethlisberger @ TEN - The Thursday night game is typically bad on offenses, but this Tennessee team looks ripe for the picking. They're 3rd best for QBs.
  4. Aaron Rodgers @ HOU - The Houston defense is tough, but Rodgers is one of the best QBs in the NFL. HOU's defense hasn't stopped a real quarterback yet (Manning scored 21+).
  5. Andy Dalton @ CLE - Watch the weather on this one, but Dalton crushed the Browns defense once this year. It will be interesting to see if Haden makes a difference this week. 
  6. Tom Brady @ SEA - Seattle is probably the toughest overall defense in the NFL. Brady is going to have a tough game.
  7. Christian Ponder @ WAS - Ponder might be able to do some extra damage with his legs running away from Carriker. 'Skins are 4th best for fantasy QBs.
  8. Kevin Kolb vs BUF - Kolb has had one of the toughest schedules so far (SEA, PHI, MIA, and STL). Anything less than 18 points would be underachieving.
Between 15 and 18 Fantasy Points:
  1. Matthew Stafford @ PHI - For all the bad press on Stafford, he hasn't been that bad. He's a decent play this week.
  2. Matt Schaub vs GB - In the prime time spotlight Schaub should have a good game. I think the Packers are quick enough to make his stumble on some play action...but not every time.
  3. Andrew Luck @ NYJ - The Jets probably won't be shutting down Luck with Revis out. Cromartie is great, but not elite. With Brown out, Luck has to throw.
  4. Philip Rivers vs DEN - Second consecutive spotlight game. The Rivers-Cutler rivalry is over...which is awesome, because those guys were obnoxious. The Denver defense has been decent, not good.
  5. Brandon Weeden vs CIN - Weeden had a good game when they last met up. He should be decent against the 12th best defense for QBs.
  6. Tony Romo @ BAL - You can hate on my for this ranking, but I have a hard time believing Romo is that bad this season. Cassel, Weeden, Vick, and Dalton didn't have the Cowboys receivers.
  7. Michael Vick vs DET - It is hard to imagine that Vick stops turning the ball over against this defensive line. 
  8. Joe Flacco vs DAL - I'm starting Flacco this week because Brees is on BYE, but I wish I weren't I might try starting Kolb over him. This Dallas defense has been awesome.
  9. Robert Griffin III vs MIN - The Minnesota defense is strong, and I worry about him being help out or limited. I called a bust last week for Griffin. He was doing that before the injury.
  10. Josh Freeman vs KC - It's a real mystery where the one good season Freeman had went. Any quarterback going against KC should be higher than this.
  11. Eli Manning @ SF - It's hard to trust and quarterback at San Francisco. He could outplay this ranking.
  12. Mark Sanchez vs IND - Sanchez has been playing erratically without any real receivers. This week against the Colts is a little easier.
Below 15 Points:
  1. Sam Bradford @ MIA - The Dolphins defense has been one of the great surprises this season. The Rams have to work without Amendola for a while.
  2. Ryan Fitzpatrick @ ARI - I had faith in him until the 49ers defense stuffed him. The Cardinals defense is tougher on opposing fantasy QBs.
  3. Alex Smith vs NYG -  I know what he did to the Bills. Everyone does that to the Bills.
  4. Carson Palmer @ ATL - I promised a reader two weeks ago that I would cut Palmer a break if he played well against Denver. He didn't, and Atlanta is better.

Running Backs:

Over 16 Fantasy Points:
  1. Arian Foster vs GB - Foster is just the best RB in the NFL right now.
  2. Trent Richardson vs CIN - He is much healthier than last time these teams played.
  3. Darren McFadden @ ATL - I was so frustrated that the Redskins didn't just run a power stretch between the guard and the tackle every play. Atlanta doesn't stop the run.
  4. Rashard Mendenhall @ TEN - Mendenhall had a burst he just didn't have last season. The MCL myth has been busted by modern science, if last week is any indication.
  5. Ryan Mathews vs DEN - I put my vote in for Ryan Mathews a week too early, but I didnt back down last week. This guy is so much better than Jackie Battle.
  6. Jamaal Charles @ TB - When your running back gets 30+ touches per game you can't believe they won't get 16 points. How Charles doesn't find the end zone on all those yards is a mystery.
Between 12 and 16 Points:
  1. DeMarco Murray @ BAL - When did the Ravens stop crushing the run? They have been lax since they stuffed Stevan Ridley.
  2. Reggie Bush vs STL - Reggie should be back to nearly full health this week, and the Rams don't have an especially good run defense.
  3. Michael Turner vs OAK - Turner the Burner can finally have his nickname back. He should burn the Oakland defense...like every other running back.
  4. Ray Rice vs DAL - As a Rice owner it hurts me to put him here, but the Ravens are not committed to him. Last weekend against the Chiefs was atrocious.
  5. Frank Gore vs NYG - It always amazes me that the Giants aren't better against the run.
  6. Chris Johnson vs PIT - It is hard to say if CJ2k is going up against good defenses or if he is turning them into good defenses.
  7. LeSean McCoy vs DET - It looks like I may end up being right about the McCoy vs Mathews debate. Shady needs to score touchdowns.
  8. Doug Martin @ TB - I, like most fantasy owners, am starting to lose faith in Martin. I've traded him away in all my leagues now. If he gets 20 carries he could do something against the Bucs.
  9. Willis McGahee @ SD - I live in constant fear of McGahee getting injured. The matchup against the Chargers is actually a good one, relatively.
  10. Adrian Peterson @ WAS - The Redskins have been shutting down opposing running backs. Peterson is good, but the snap count is holding him back.
  11. Mikel LeShoure @ PHI - This is LeShoure's chance to cement his place as the starter. Best is looking at a return soon. 
  12. Marshawn Lynch vs NE - Now Lynch could definitely go for 100 yards and a touchdown, but the Patriots have been excellent against the run this season. This is much closer to the expected level of performance.
Between 8 and 12 Fantasy Points:
  1. BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ CLE - It seems like the early emphasis on the run game is long gone. The Law Firm hasn't been very productive lately.
  2. Alfred Morris vs MIN - I am starting him this week, but I don't expect a whole lot out of him against the Minnesota defense.
  3. Stevan Ridley @ SEA - The Seattle defense is the 3rd best against opposing runners. Don't expect another huge game.
  4. Shonn Greene vs IND - The schedule finally opens up for Greene. He needs to get 15-20 touches to get any real value.
  5. Jacquizz Rodgers vs OAK - The last time the Falcons blew an opponent out Rodgers got 15 touches for 67 yards and a touchdown. 
  6. C.J. Spiller @ ARI - It's hard to believe that a player can go from top NFL running back to serious afterthought in one week. He didn't even miss any time with his injury.\
  7. Vick Ballard @ NYJ - In most cases I wouldn't go for a guy like Ballard, but the Jets run defense is 5th best for opposing RBs.
  8. Ahmad Bradshaw @ SF - The 49ers have been allowing less than 8 points to running backs per game. Less than 3 yards per carry on nearly 20 touches per game is excellent.
  9. The Cardinals Starter vs BUF - I'm still not sure who it will be at this point and it's a shame. I would have liked to see Ryan Williams face this Bills defense.
Under 8 Fantasy Points:
  1. Alex Green @ HOU - As much as I love the Packers, I doubt Green will do anything special against the Texans. He might get lucky and score a touchdown, but the Texans have only allowed one touchdown to RBs this season...and that was through the air.
  2. Steven Jackson @ MIA - I was trying to decide whether I should put him above or below Blount. I put him above on the guaranteed carries.
  3. LeGarrette Blount vs KC - I see this Tampa team moving towards and RBBC.
  4. Fred Jackson @ ARI - Jackson is older and slower than Spiller, and the Cards have a tough run defense.      

Wide Receivers:

Over 16 Fantasy Points:
  1. Percy Harvin @ WAS - The Redskins give up the most points to WRs, and Harvin runs this offense.
  2. Roddy White vs OAK - I think Roddy is still the preferred target in Atlanta, and the Raiders can't seem to cover anyone.
  3. Calvin Johnson @ PHI - Megatron is still Megatron. They've had two weeks to prepare for this matchup.
  4. A.J. Green @ CLE - The return of Joe Haden drops Green to #4.
  5. Larry Fitzgerald vs BUF - Buffalo provides the 4th most points to receivers, unlike STL which provides the 28th most points. Gotta love that matchup.
  6. Dwayne Bowe @ TB - Despite the probable change in quarterback (I can honestly and unabashedly say I haven't followed the Cassel injury news), Bowe is still the best receiver on this team against a terrible TB pass defense.
  7. Reggie Wayne @ NYJ - A reader mentioned last week that I was finally giving Wayne his due credit. It sure payed off, didn't it. He was right around this spot last week, too.
  8. Demaryius Thomas @ SD - You have to think that eventually this guy will get back to 100 yards and a touchdown. The huge yardage and fumbles has been frustrating for fantasy owners (but still better than most receivers).
  9. Jeremy Kerley vs IND - I'm going to throw Kerley a bone and give him this week against the 6th best WR matchup.
Between 14 and 16 Fantasy Points:
  1. Julio Jones vs OAK - This is more fantasy points to WRs than the Raiders usually give up, but the Falcons don't carry your average offense around.
  2. Mike Wallace @ TEN - Mike Wallace has been playing pretty well, but he needs to make plays this week. He has huge potential.
  3. Stevie Johnson @ ARI - He gets plenty of targets, but he needs to make them count this week.
  4. Jordy Nelson @ HOU - It's hard to see Nelson falling this far, but he just hasn't produced. It's obvious that the Jennings and now Benson injuries are hurting the Packers offense.
  5. Dez Bryant @ BAL - I don't know where his hands went before the bye week, but if he got them back he should be a good play.
  6. Andre Johnson vs GB - Johnson could be a lot higher than this, but I worry about his recent lack of production. Their ground game is just too good.
  7. Wes Welker @ SEA - The yardage machine just isn't finding the end zone. The real Wes Welker is back.
  8. Victor Cruz @ SF - I can't decide if this Giants offense is going to buck the trend or just wither against the 49ers.
  9. Torrey Smith vs DAL - The Cowboys are one of the best in the league against opposing receivers, but Smith should get at least one good deep look this game.
  10. Denarius Moore @ ATL - I can't promise this, but I like Moore's chance this week. The Falcons are going to need to throw.
  11. Malcom Floyd vs DEN - Meachem got all the touchdowns last game, but Floyd got a lot of yards. I think things will go back to normal this week.
  12. Pierre Garcon vs MIN - He could have a nice game, but this defense is just so tough these days.
  13. James Jones @ HOU - It's hard to not have him higher, but the game with -0.1 points still haunts me.
Between 12 and 14 Fantasy Points:
  1. Antonio Brown @ TEN - Yardage and no scores: The story of Antonio Brown.
  2. Andre Roberts vs BUF - This guy is one of the leading scorers so far this season. Gotta love his consistency.
  3. Eric Decker @ SD - Nothing against Decker, but he just hasn't been getting the right looks. It's hard to put him down here so far, but I don't see this being his game.
  4. Miles Austin @ BAL - Miles Austin boasts the best worst game of any receiver in the NFL at this point in the season. All four games he's been over 10 points. 
  5. DeSean Jackson vs DET - The Lions defense is 26th toughest against receivers. That makes for a tough game this weekend.
  6. Vincent Jackson vs KC - The feeling I get from this guy is that he's good against good matchups and bad against tough ones. The Chiefs are 23rd toughest.
  7. Brian Hartline vs STL - He's no sure thing, but he has potential.
  8. Kenny Britt vs PIT - I still have no idea what to expect out of this guy. He could get 20 points or 2 points.
  9. Sydney Rice vs NE - A pure matchup play, the Patriots are 7th best for receivers. I wish Flynn would get some starts...word is his elbow is sore (correct me if that's the wrong body part).
  10. Andrew Hawkins @ CLE - If Haden has Green locked down, Hawkins could be in for a big game.
Below 12 Fantasy Points:
  1. Anquan Boldin vs DAL - Again, Dallas is allowing so few points to receivers this season, but Boldin has been productive. Beware a terrible game from him.
  2. Donald Jones @ ARI - I like Donald Jones a lot, but he needs to develop better chemistry with Fitzpatrick. 
  3. Brandon Gibson @ MIA - He should see more looks with Amendola out.
  4. Jeremy Maclin vs DET - Maclin hasn't looked right since coming back from injury. Maybe if Vick stopped turning the ball over he'd get more chances.
  5. Michael Crabtree vs NYG - Someone has to catch passes for this team, right? Maybe?
  6. Randall Cobb @ HOU - Cobb is going to be my sleeper pick for this week. He could see a lot of plays out of the backfield with Jennings and Benson injured.
  7. Greg Little vs CIN - I know he's been inconsistent, but he's still probably the best receiver at getting open on this team. I don't know how much that matters if he can't catch the ball.
  8. Brandon Lloyd @ SEA - I can't see a deep, timing receiver doing well against this pack of defensive backs.
  9. Domenik Hixon @ SF - This is a really tough matchup against the 49ers.
  10. Mario Manningham vs NYG - Manningham has become much more trusted on this offense lately.
  11. Brandon Stokely @ SD - Stokely is always a threat to score a touchdown and get 10 points.
  12. Donnie Avery @ NYJ - I still like him as a solid WR4/5.
  13. Davone Bess vs STL - Top 25 in yards but no touchdowns. It's an interesting mix.

Tight Ends: Just like everyone, I'm bad at predicting tight ends
  1. Tony Gonzalez vs OAK - He's been one of the best this season.
  2. Rob Gronkowski @ SEA - Not as consistent as last year, but still damn good.
  3. Vernon Davis vs NYG - The consistent receiver for the 49ers offense.
  4. Heath Miller @ TEN - Tennessee has given up the most fantasy points to tight ends.
  5. Owen Daniels vs GB - He has been excellent lately.
  6. Brent Celek vs DET - The Lions give up over 10 points per game to tight ends.
  7. Kyle Rudolph @ WAS - The Redskins give up the second most points to tight ends.
  8. Antonio Gates vs DEN - With the Broncos the 8th best for TEs, this is his chance.
  9. Martellus Bennett @ SF - The 49ers are only average against TEs.
  10. Brandon Pettigrew @ PHI - He seems consistent with multiple touches per game.
  11. Dennis Pitta vs DAL - Could have a nice game here, DAL is 11th best for TEs.
  12. Fred Davis vs MIN - The Vikings give up plenty of points to tight ends.
  13. Jason Witten @ BAL - Big game in garbage time before the bye.
  14. Jared Cook vs PIT - He has touchdown potential on every play. Unique for a TE.
  15. Aaron Hernandez @ SEA - Just in case he plays.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Post Week 5 Waiver Wire Wednesday

Week 6 seemed to be a very low scoring week. Sure, there were some huge performances from guys like Victor Cruz and Ahmad Bradshaw, but it was largely ho-hum from a fantasy perspective. A lot of big starting players are going to be sitting out in week 6 when the Panthers, Bears, Jaguars, and Saints have their week off. If you need a replacement player, look no further than this edition of Waiver Wire Wednesday. The last two weeks provided a number of advancements to this post, including the three tiered rankings and availability percentages from Yahoo!. If you see anything that doesn't make sense, look here for an explanation about the rankings and here for any other questions. If you don't find what you need, feel free to leave a comment.

Looking for past editions? Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4.

These predictions will utilize the First Quarter Defensive Rankings to help you make the best decision possible.


N.W.A. Ryan Fitzpatrick [56%] @ ARI - Ryan Fitzpatrick has been playing well this season, but he can't make it happen against good defenses. I don't know how much is because of Fitzpatrick and how much is the lack of serious receivers, but that's the history. The Cardinals have been better against opposing quarterbacks than the 49ers so far this season. I wouldn't hold my breathe on this guy.

N.W.A. Alex Smith [51%] vs NYG - Alex Smith performed extremely well against the Bills in week 5, and the Giants have been allowing a good number of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The 49ers offensive line is excellent, so the Giants pass rush will have much more trouble than they have most weeks. I'm not ready to jump on the Alex Smith bandwagon after only one great game, but this NYG secondary isn't very good.

D.N.A. Carson Palmer [45%] @ ATL - The Falcons have shut down every quarterback they've come across. There is almost no chance for Carson Palmer to buck this trend. Don't add him this week.

N.W.A. Josh Freeman [40%] vs KC - While Freeman has only been averaging about 10 fantasy points per game, he could be used in a pinch against this Kansas City team. I don't know what happened this week against the Ravens, but the Chiefs had been one of the worst teams against opposing quarterbacks. Odds are that the Ravens game was an exception. I'd still rather start Fitzpatrick or Smith.

N.W.A. Christian Ponder [28%] @ WAS - The Redskins are no good against opposing quarterbacks. While Matt Ryan had some early trouble, he ended up with a solid night overall. Ponder has a nice habit of running for a few extra points each game, so look for him to fill in if you can't get someone better.

W.A. Kevin Kolb [24%] vs BUF - Kevin Kolb takes a lot of shit (excuse my French) for things that he can't control. The best quarterbacks in the NFL can't have good games when they are being sacked 7 times a night. Even through all of this, Kolb has a 7:2 touchdown to interception ratio. The Bills defense is bad this season (they made Sanchez and Smith look like Rodgers and Brees), so Kolb should be a good fill in. I'm going to give him a vote of confidence this week.

D.N.A. Sam Bradford [20%] @ MIA - The Dolphins have been extremely tough against opposing quarterbacks so far this season, so Bradford likely won't be a good choice this week. Danny Amendola is going to be gone for a long long time.

N.W.A. Brandon Weeden [7%] vs CIN - In the very deepest of leagues, Brandon Weeden could work as a bye week fill in with his matchup against the Bengals. While Ryan Tannehill had difficulty piercing this defense, Weeden has a different set of weapons and a power running game to help open up this defense a little more.

Running Backs:

N.W.A. The Starting Cardinals Running Back come Sunday [2% or lower] vs BUF - The Bills are terrible against the run, so starting whomever is going to end up getting the 15 or so carries against this team is a great play. If Ryan Williams hadn't been injured he would be a good play here, but as it is you'll just have to wait until Satruday night or Sunday morning to make this decision.

W.A. Jacquizz Rodgers [48%] vs OAK - This isn't a strong plug, but the Raiders are really bad against running backs. This game should be a blow out (but how often do those predictions really come true?) meaning that this backup running back should be anchoring the Falcons for the better part of the second half.

D.N.A. Shaun Draugn [16%] @ TB - There will be games when Draugn is valuable as a bye week filler, but this is not one of those weeks. The Bucs have been solid against the run, so you're best off finding someone else to play if you absolutely have to have someone off waivers.

W.A. LeGarrette Blount [15%] vs KC - I have to believe that the Buccaneers are going to work back towards the RBBC we anticipated heading into the season. Doug Martin has been completely ineffective so far this season (most rookies are), so grabbing Blount now before the Chiefs come to town is a good idea if you can swing it.

N.W.A. Joique Bell [11%] @ PHI - Bell is more of a receiver than a running back, but he has the opportunity to score you a few points if you need him to. I can't really outline how the Lions use this guy, because I don't really get it, but he does have a good chance of not leaving you with a goose egg.

D.N.A. David Wilson [17%] @ SF - He had a few lucky plays Sunday against the lowly Browns, but don't expect that to continue. On a different note, if you're still holding on to Andre Brown you can lose him.

Wide Receivers:

W.A. Andre Roberts [58%] vs BUF - After facing a stiff pass defense in Week 5, the Rams get something of an easy matchup against the Bills. This team is quite bad against the pass and Kolb loves to throw to Andre Roberts. If you need a wide receiver, look for this guy. He's one of the top scorers this season.

N.W.A. Robert Meachem [42%] vs DEN - This guy will be heavily targeted after having his first breakout game of the season against the Saints. Keep in mind that the Saints have one of the worst defenses in the NFL and that Meachem had done absolutely nothing up to this point. If you have empty space on your bench (from dropping Amendola, perhaps) you could look towards Meachem. I'm leaving him on waivers, though.

N.W.A. Josh Gordon [2%] vs CIN - Gordon had his first big game after being taken by the Browns in the supplemental draft. I wrote a little about him at the time, but there are just so many different receivers around that it's tough to pin any one down as a start. Well this guy probably won't be a star this year. The Brandon Weeden attack just isn't powerful enough. If you are going to play him though, this is as good a week as any. The Bengals do not have an impressive secondary thanks to a plethora of injuries. Don't waste a waiver slot on him, though.

D.N.A. Santana Moss [33%] vs MIN - There are a lot of reasons not to pick up Santana Moss. He hasn't done anything before today and the Vikings are an extremely though defense.

W.A. Donnie Avery [21%] @ NYJ - We still need to see how the Texans do against this Revis-less defense, but I think Avery would be a great grab for someone in need of a receiver this week. Reggie Wayne isn't going to have 200+ receiving yards every game.

W.A. Davone Bess [32%] vs STL - Davone Bess is among the top 20 WR in receiving yardage this season with 346 over 5 games. Unfortunately, he hasn't scored any touchdowns to this point. Now I love to target players with big yardage totals and low touchdowns early in the season, because it's extremely difficult to keep up that pace. What are the odds that Bess ends the season with over 1,000 yards and no touchdowns? Virtually nonexistent. Pick him up now before he starts scoring. 

W.A. Jeremy Kerley [30%] vs IND - The Jets have no starting receivers left, so Kerley is turning into one of Mark Sanchez's favorite receivers. Admittedly that doesn't mean a whole lot, but he's getting plenty of targets in think lackluster offense. If you need serious receiver help you could use him. 

Tight Ends:

W.A. Jared Cook [49%] vs PIT - The Steelers aren't an ideal matchup, but Cook has been one of the few consistent tight ends in fantasy football this season. I think he would be worth picking up off waivers for anyone in serious need of a tight end.

N.W.A. Brandon Myers [5%] @ ATL - Despite the matchup, Myers might be one of the best waiver wire tight ends for people in deep leagues. Most of the consistent guys are already rostered; Myers has enough points in 4 weeks (22.8, all yardage) to warrant a chance for one game.

D.N.A. Dwayne Allen [2%] @ NYJ - The spectacular performance that Allen displayed against the Packers is unlikely to be repeated for the rest of this season. Don't pull your hair out; don't play him.