Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week 4 Player Rankings (Edited for Injuries)

There have been a lot of surprising injuries and returns (here's looking at you Matt Stafford) over the last week. In order to get a nice, finalized list I'm going to move some players around. Naturally, I will not move players from Thursday Night Football. That would be cheating. The original rankings can be found here.

You can click on the position headings to see reasoning behind the selections, but those have NOT been updated with injuries for integrity purposes. 


Quarterbacks:

Over 18 Fantasy Points (Players 1-6):
  1. Matt Ryan vs CAR
  2. Aaron Rodgers vs NO
  3. Tom Brady @ BUF
  4. Drew Brees @ GB
  5. Peyton Manning vs OAK
  6. Robert Griffin III @ TB
Between 15 and 18 Fantasy Points (7-17):
  1. Cam Newton @ ATL
  2. Matthew Stafford vs MIN (Stafford is probable for the game today and has a decent matchup against the Vikings)
  3. Joe Flacco vs CLE
  4. Andy Dalton @ JAX
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs NE
  6. Josh Freeman vs WAS
  7. Tony Romo vs CHI
  8. Christian Ponder @ DET - Probable, play if you need to.
  9. Michael Vick vs NYG - The Giants are still banged up in the secondary, so Vick could be better than this placement. He could also get injured.
  10. Blaine Gabbert vs CIN
  11. Eli Manning @ PHI
  12. Philip Rivers @ KC
Below 15 Fantasy Points (Players 18-21):
  1. Carson Palmer @ DEN
  2. Alex Smith @ NYJ
  3. Shaun Hill vs MIN - Shaun Hill is unlikely to see playing time with Stafford healthy.
  4. Jay Cutler @ DAL


Running Backs:

Over 16 Fantasy Points (Players 1-6):
  1. Arian Foster vs TEN - Probable, play him.
  2. Maurice Jones-Drew vs CIN - Rashad Jennings is probable for the game, but I doubt that will have much impact on MJD's carries. The Jags could prove me wrong though.
  3. Ryan Mathews @ KC
  4. Ray Rice vs CLE
  5. Marshawn Lynch @ STL
  6. Darren McFadden @ DEN - Probable, play him.
  7. Jamaal Charles vs SD - Peyton Hillis is doubtful, making Charles a great play this week.
Between 12 and 16 Fantasy Points (Players 7-23):
  1. LeSean McCoy vs NYG
  2. Adrian Peterson @ DET
  3. Doug Martin vs WAS
  4. Cedric Benson vs NO
  5. Ben Tate vsTEN
  6. Mikel LeShoure vs MIN- Mikel LeShoure is currently questionable with a groin issue in. The current belief is that he is just sore from his first real NFL action.
  7. Alfred Morris @ TB
  8. DeMarco Murray vs CHI
  9. Trent Richardson @ BAL
  10. Willis McGahee vs OAK- McGahee is probable and playing against a terrible Oakland run defense.
  11. BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ JAX - Bernard Scott is questionable, probably doesn't change much.
  12. Frank Gore vs NYJ
  13. Michael Turner vs CAR
  14. Pierre Thomas @ GB
  15. Reggie Bush @ ARI - Reggie Bush is still questionable with a knee issue. Given that his game is at 4pm, play someone to replace him if you can. He is a game-time decision.
  16. Andre Brown @ PHI
Between 8 and 12 Fantasy Points (Players 24-33):
  1. DeAngelo Williams @ ATL
  2. Michael Bush @ DAL - Forte is questionable to return. If he plays, Bush loses even more value.
  3. Chris Johnson @ HOU
  4. Jonathan Stewart @ ATL - Probable. Play him if you must.
  5. Steven Jackson vs SEA - Jackson is questionable with a groin injury still. He will probably be ineffective against the Seahawks even if he plays. Try to avoid him.
  6. Tashard Choice vs NE (Unless Fred Jackson is given an open workload)
  7. Ahmad Bradshaw @ PHI - Probable to be the starter, we still don't know how the RBBC will work out.
  8. Ryan Williams vs MIA - Williams becomes a better play with Wells on IR and Stephens-Howling doubtful for the Miami game.
  9. Darren Sproles @ GB
  10. Justin Forsett vs TEN


Wide Receivers:

Over 16 Fantasy Points (Players 1-9):
  1. Calvin Johnson vs MIN - Matthew Stafford is back, which may bode poorly for Megatron. On the other hand, the Vikings don't have very strong corners to corral him.
  2. Vincent Jackson vs WAS
  3. Percy Harvin @ DET
  4. Andre Johnson vs TEN - Probable, play him.
  5. Julio Jones vs CAR - Probable, play him.
  6. Brandon Marshall @ DAL
  7. Wes Welker @ BUF - Edelman is officially out. Wes Welker should be the guy in the slot this week.
Between 14 and 16 Points (Players 10-23):
  1. Eric Decker vs OAK
  2. Dwayne Bowe vs SD - Bowe is questionable this week, but history says he plays well against the Chargers. I'm going to bump him down a few but assume he'll play. 
  3. Larry Fitzgerald vs MIA
  4. Victor Cruz @ PHI - Hakeem Nicks is officially out. Cruz tends to play a little worse when he is the primary receiver in the offense.
  5. A.J. Green @ JAX - D.J. Cox (the Jags stating corner) is off the injury report, otherwise Green would be higher.
  6. Demaryius Thomas vs OAK
  7. Jeremy Maclin vs NYG - He is probable and should play this week. Last time he came back from this injury he played well...until he got hurt again.
  8. Hakeem Nicks @ PHI - Hakeem Nicks is officially out. Ramses Barden is a possible alternative, but this Eagles offense is much better than the Panthers offense from last week.
  9. Roddy White vs CAR
  10. Dez Bryant vs CHI
  11. Greg Jennings vs NO - He was limited in practice, but he is probable for the game. I still like him here.
  12. Malcom Floyd @ KC
  13. Danny Amendola vs SEA
  14. Steve Smith @ ATL
  15. Marques Colston @ GB - Colston is not on the injury report this week. Hopefully that means he is back to full strength for fantasy owners.
  16. Stevie Johnson vs NE
Between 12 and 14 Points (Players 24-35):
  1. Jordy Nelson vs NO
  2. Andre Roberts vs MIA
  3. Pierre Garcon @ TB - Garcon is likely to play this week, but everyone is unsure about how he will play. Unless you have no other starting options, I'd hold him to the bench.
  4. Sydney Rice @ STL
  5. Torrey Smith vs CLE
  6. Denarius Moore @ DEN - DHB is out for sure and Rod Streater is dealing with an eye injury. This could be a great combination for Moore.
  7. Donald Jones vs NE - Despite all of the Bills running backs being questionable this week, I still think Jones is a good play. The Patriots have been solid against the run.
  8. Santonio Holmes vs SF
  9. Mike Williams vs WAS
  10. DeSean Jackson vs NYG
  11. Miles Austin vs CHI - Probable with a hamstring issue. We'll see how that affects his play.
  12. Anquan Boldin vs CLE
Under 12 Points (Players 36-43):
  1. Kevin Walter vs TEN - Rookie Lestar Jean is out, making Walter a slightly better play.
  2. Cecil Shorts vs CIN - Laurent Robinson went from unlikely to likely for this week. It might be time to throw Justin Blackmon back into the fray. I think he finds himself this week.
  3. Kenny Britt @ HOU - Kenny Britt is very questionable officially out this week. Play Nate Washington if you need a fill-in.
  4. Brandon LaFell @ ATL
  5. Jerome Simpson @ DET
  6. Justin Blackmon vs CIN
  7. Brandon Lloyd @ BUF
  8. Andrew Hawkins @ JAX


Tight Ends:

Just one short grouping:
  1. Rob Gronkowski @ BUF - Questionable this week, but he seems like the kind of guy who will play no matter what.
  2. Jimmy Graham @ GB
  3. Tony Gonzalez vs CAR
  4. Martellus Bennett @ PHI
  5. Vernon Davis @ NYJ - Probable, play him.
  6. Kyle Rudolph @ DET - Probable, play him.
  7. Jermichael Finley vs NO
  8. Brandon Pettigrew vs MIN
  9. Jermaine Gresham @ JAX
  10. Fred Davis @ TB
  11. Brent Celek vs NYG
  12. Antonio Gates vs KC
  13. Jared Cook @ HOU - Jared Cook is questionable this week. There is no real replacement for him if he goes down that you should play.
  14. Dennis Pitta vs CLE
  15. Owen Daniels vs TEN

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Week 4: All Waiver Wire Team

Week three was good, once again, for my waiver wire team. The play of Ramses Barden absolutely set my team apart from the rest, but this week I'm shooting for 70 points. Here's how I'll do it. As always, anyone at or under 10% in Yahoo! leagues is fair game.

QB Blaine Gabbert vs CIN - It is amazing how many starting QBs are owned in over 10% of leagues, so Gabbert makes a return trip to the Waiver Wire team. I love the matchup against the Bengals even with Laurent Robinson out.

RB1 Justin Forsett vs TEN - With the best rushing team and one of the best defenses playing against one of the worst teams in the NFL, this is the perfect time for a guy like Forsett to have a big game. He gets the carries during the 4th quarter when the Texans are up big.

RB2 Lance Ball vs OAK - With McGahee injured, Ball is seeing the majority of the snaps this week (if McGahee comes back, he will likely be limited). I like his chances against a horrible Oakland run defense.

WR1 Donald Jones vs NE - With the running game uncertain, the coaching staff is going to plan for an aerial shootout with the Patriots. I anticipate a huge game from Jones...or a mediocre one at worst.

WR2 Cecil Shorts vs CIN - The big play machine out of Jacksonville should be in line for added snaps this week with Laurent Robinson currently sidelined with a head injury. The Bengals defense is bad, even compared to the Jaguars offense.

FLEX Jacoby Jones vs CLE - I love Jones tonight against Cleveland, but he is a risky play. I think he should haul in a touchdown reception and we will get to see how a real game is called (or we'll realize how all refs make bad calls, either way).

K Greg Zuerlein vs SEA - He is playing against Seattle who allows the 30th most points against opposing kickers! Three games in, and an absolutely ridiculous stat. Zuerlein has a huge leg and they're playing in a dome.

DEF ST. Louis vs SEA - Let's see what this defense can do with Lynch and Wilson. There is a very small group of defenses below 10% ownage, so I'm going to roll with these guys.

Week 4: Tight End Rankings

Week 4 Tight End Rankings

The tight end position is notoriously difficult to predict because there is so little consistency in player performance from game to game. Tight ends don't score enough points to make truly educated guess about how they will perform each week, and this is further hindered by the fact that there is such a huge discrepancy in the skill and usage of tight ends that we can't use the average numbers from previous tight ends to accurately predict the way we can for running backs and quarterbacks, especially.

1. Rob Gronkowski @ BUF - Despite the bad game last week, I just can't drop Gronkowski. Elite players have bad games.

2. Jimmy Graham @ GB - At some point he will probably have a few games without touchdowns...but I doubt it will be this week. Vernon Davis played well against the Packers opening weekend.

3. Tony Gonzalez vs CAR - Gonzalez has found the fountain of youth in this revamped Atlanta offense. He should be a big part of their game against Carolina.

4. Martellus Bennett @ PHI - I rebuffed someone who said Bennett would play a big part in the Giants offense this season. This is me eating crow; Bennett is getting looks to be elite. The Cowboys might wish they had him back right now.

5. Vernon Davis @ NYJ - Davis is a great TE and he is probably the best skill-position player on this team. He shouldn't falter against the Jets.

6. Kyle Rudolph @ DET - We all know what Jared Cook did to the Lions defense last week. This week it should be Rudolph. He has become a large part of the Minnesota offense.

7. Jermichael Finley vs NO - The New Orleans defense is bad, and Finley has been pretty good this season despite the poor Packers passing attack (in a relative sense). You have to like his odds this week.

8. Brandon Pettigrew vs MIN - I feel like I always overrate Pettigrew because he gets so many receptions and so few yards. He will probably start sliding down next week if things don't turn around.

9. Jermaine Gresham @ JAX - Gresham finally got into the offense last week and I expect it to continue into the future. If it doesn't he will slide again.

10. Fred Davis @ TB - Watching the Redskins game last weekend, I had to wonder where that Fred Davis had been for the first 5 halves of the season. Hopefully he is back to his old, productive self.

11. Brent Celek vs NYG - I never know what to expect from this guy. He has some good games and some terrible games. I like his odds this week.

12. Antonio Gates vs KC - The injuries must be worse than reported, because he just isn't playing the way he can. So much for feeling great this offseason.

13. Jared Cook @ HOU - Cook seems like more of a WR than a TE, and he can have great games with Locker...he will just have some bad games too. I think he has a shot this week against Houston.

14. Dennis Pitta vs CLE - I know I should be higher on Pitta at this point, but I'm just so used to dismissing performances by Baltimore TEs. He can work his way up with a big game this week. I just worry about him sliding into a slump of 40-60 yards and no touchdowns.

15. Owen Daniels vs TEN - If they weren't the best running team in the NFL I would put Daniels much higher. He should have a few good catches off play-action this week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Week 4: Wide Receiver Rankings

Week 4 Wide Receiver Rankings


Wide Receivers are probably the second most difficult group to predict of the big-4 because it is hard to know which of the multiple receivers on a team is going to catch the touchdown. That being said, my rankings for last week were quite successful and consistent and I look forward to another good week from this position.

1. Calvin Johnson vs MIN - Maybe Shaun Hill is the guy Megatron needs throwing the ball to him. More than likely, the SF and STL defenses just did a great job bracketing him. The Minnesota team has trouble in the secondary and Calvin Johnson is still the best receiver in the game.

2. Vincent Jackson vs WAS - I put A.J. Green first overall last week because of the matchup against Washington. This week Vincent Jackson scoots all the way up to second against this unit. This might be bold, but Washington really is that bad at this point in the year, and Jackson has been pretty consistent for the Bucs.

3. Victor Cruz @ PHI - I think Cruz more than Nicks has the tools to have a big game against the Eagles. Cruz plays much better as a WR2 for the Giants than the primary guy.

4. Percy Harvin @ DET - You have to love this matchup for Harvin. 10 catches, 120 yards and a touchdown through the air should be the bar for this week. Anything less than 18 points would be a disappointment to me.

5. Andre Johnson vs TEN - This pick scares me because the Texans could honestly just run the ball 100 times and win this game with 50 minutes of possession...but I think this provides a good opportunity for Johnson to run off the play action and get some big gains off double moves. The Texans can afford to run a max-protect with only one receiver, one TE and one RB going out to catch passes. The entire Titans defense will be prepped to stop the run.

6. Julio Jones vs CAR - The question about who is going to do better, Roddy White or Julio Jones is becoming much more clear. If I'm wrong I'll have to rethink my predicting strategy, but this should be a huge game for Jones by my estimation. The Panthers are better against the possession receiver than the deep guy.

7. Brandon Marshall @ DAL - I know we have been burned for the last two weeks by Marshall, but he is a great receiver. I don't know what has been going on, but I have to believe it is just a dry spell. The Dallas corners will have some issues holding him back as long as Cutler stops throwing the damn ball to the opposing defense. 

8. Wes Welker @ BUF - In much the same way I believe Julio Jones will be the guy this week for the Falcons, the Bills have excellent safeties, meaning Welker should get more touches than someone like Brandon Lloyd. The Bills also aren't the best tackling team in the NFL.

9. Dwayne Bowe vs SD - He didn't live up to expectations last week like he did in week two (where I predicted he would finish 5th despite the consensus being around 22nd), but you still ahve to like the looks he gets from Cassel. Bowe is a great route runner with a bad attitude. He is still a good play this week against the mediocre/bad SD defense.

10. Eric Decker vs OAK - There seems to be no rhyme or reason about which Broncos receiver will see more Manning passes, but I don't believe it will matter much this week against Oakland. If Decker doesn't perform this week I'm going to relegate him to good-defense-duty.

11. Larry Fitzgerald vs MIA - He's alive! He could be higher here, but I just don't see the Cardinals getting him the ball so many times every game. 100 yards and a touchdown is slightly optimistic from my viewpoint, so I like him here.

12. A.J. Green @ JAX - Full disclosure, I will always believe that Derek Cox is better than he really is. I got to talk to him about getting drafted by the Jaguars back in my freshman year at college (we both went to William and Mary), and he is actually a really great cover guy. He is going to hold A.J. Green down to about 80 yards and a touchdown. I fully expect him to get an interception this week. Also, he has intercepted a pass from Peyton Manning and I, being the little girl that I am sometimes, can't believe that I know someone who caught an interception off one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

13. Demaryius Thomas vs OAK - Again, both Decker and Thomas should have great games against the Raiders. I was tempted to flip them because Thomas is the more physically gifted guy and that should pay dividends this weekend...but I just love how Decker runs his routes. They are both great plays.

14. Jeremy Maclin vs NYG - I really like the way Maclin has been playing this year. I really hate the way Maclin has been injured this year. Oh well, when he plays he should be good to start. Just hope he injures his hip in the second half.

15. Hakeem Nicks @ PHI - I have to worry a little about the injury situation and the matchup against the Eagles' secondary, but Nicks is a great physical receiver. Eli Manning looks for him in the clutch, so I like him to have a solid 4th quarter. I just don't know what we'll get for the first three.

16. Roddy White vs CAR - You have to love the attitude Roddy had coming into this season. He seems like a class act and a wonderful team player. He's also a great football player and has excellent rapport with Matt Ryan. The Carolina defense should roll over for him this week.

17. Dez Bryant vs CHI - This is my last attempt at predicting success from Bryant. He is truly physically gifted and if he put half the effort he puts into going to jail into running his routes he would be a top receiver. As it is he is just a disappointment. I really believe he wants to be a good person, so this game at home against Chicago is his chance to prove it to me.

18. Greg Jennings vs NO - The Packers receivers have all but disappeared this season. Jennings should be in line for a touchdown and 6-7 catches this game against New Orleans. I think he will be fully healed and ready to go, but Rodgers needs to start playing better (coughcoughoffensivelinecough).

19. Malcom Floyd @ KC - I didn't believe in Meachem going into the season and he's been proving me correct so far. Floyd is the better target for Rivers thusfar, but Rivers is having trouble getting the ball to his own guys and away from defenders. Floyd is still a solid play this week against KC.

20. Danny Amendola vs SEA - If the Seattle D-line gets to Bradford the way they got to Rodgers, Amendola is going to have a pretty good game. He is the quick read guy, but how long can Bradford stay healthy if he gets hit like Rodgers did?

21. Steve Smith @ ATl - I just traded for Smith and plan on starting him this week, but top receivers have been having a difficult time against the Falcons defense. I'm not quite sure what the Falcons did to become so successful against the pass, but they managed something and Smith will probably pay for it this week.

22. Marques Colston @ GB - I think the injury to Colston is worse than the Saints are letting on, but he should be slowly healing. In the opener last season he was having a big game before being injured and fumbling the ball. I hope for moderate success from him this week, but he has proven me wrong before this season.

23. Stevie Johnson vs NE - I think Fitzpatrick is going to spread the ball around some this game. The top receiver is having a tough time against the Patriots this season, but you definitely can't bench Johnson in most leagues.

My Sleeper for this week is deep. Donald Jones of the Buffalo Bills. I love the Patriots matchup for him with the RB injury situation. Let me know if you start him...I probably will in at least one league where I have multiple BYE week receivers.

Week 4: Running Back Rankings

Week 4 Running Back Rankings


Chris Johnson burned me (and owners across the country, although I didn't draft him in any league) last week, but otherwise the running game has been a pleasant surprise this season. Teams are much more balanced than they were last season (Jamaal Charles had a ridiculous 233 RUSHING YARDS last week as proof). I love doing running back rankings because I feel like they are the most predictable. I'll write about the top-23 running backs.

1. Arian Foster vs TEN - All the Foster owners should be salivating over the prospect of him playing against the Titans. If Stevan Ridley and Mikel LeShoure can blow this defense up what is the best RB in the NFL going to do? You better hope he gets his points in the first 2 or 3 quarters...which he will.

2. Maurice Jones-Drew vs CIN - I was high on MJD last week, and I am even higher on him this week. The Cincinnati defense is a little tougher against the run than they are against the pass, but this is Pocket Hercules and he should have a second consecutive spectacular game. His lengthy holdout is a distant memory at this point.

3. Ryan Mathews @ KC - I am giving Mathews one more week to prove himself. He was out of commission for 6 weeks and came back in a game where his defense was demolished and the passing game couldn't get going. He racked up about 73 yards on his 15 touches before being removed from the game. If they stay in this one he should get closer to 25+ touches, and it is Kansas City.

4. Ray Rice vs CLE - Rice is amazing but I hate playing running backs on Thursday night. A bad game will haunt you all weekend, but I think Rice is good enough to have a great game against the Browns. It definitely helps that he is used in all phases of the game. Imagine what C.J. Spiller could have done in the last 3 quarters. I like Ray Rice's chances this week.

5. Marshawn Lynch @ STL - I was wondering whether Lynch was motivated for this season until I watched him play for 60 minutes against the Packers. He was running hard and finishing every single run. The Packers seem to have a better rush defense than the Rams, so I think 16+ points is easy to predict for Lynch.

6. Darren McFadden @ DEN - I predicted that McFadden would have a good game against the damaged Pittsburgh defense, and I don't think he is going to be slowed too much by the Broncos. He started off the season slow and worried a lot of owners, but he should be better from here on out. I am seriously worried about the blocking scheme being employed by the Raiders.

7. LeSean McCoy vs NYG - I had McCoy down below most other rankings last week because I knew the Eagles passing game would struggle. It did and McCoy paid for it. With Maclin back in business and the Giants having a mediocre defense, McCoy should have a solid game. I think his value lies more in consistency this season than huge point totals.

8. Jamaal Charles vs SD - I dislike ranking players because of what they did last week, but how can I keep Charles down after a nearly 300 yard performance (288 to be exact) and with a coming game against the Chargers? Peyton Hillis is proving to be everything we all should have known he would be, and Charles is the benefactor.

9. Adrian Peterson @ DET - You have to like this matchup for A.D. He would be above LeSean McCoy if it weren't for his 25 touch limit, but I think he should be able to do plenty with those touches against this Detroit defense. 

10. Doug Martin vs WAS - Doug Martin has been pretty consistently mediocre. I would watch out for Blount getting an increasing share of the carries, and I actually traded him away in one league. If he was ever going to have a big game, though, this would be it. The Washington defense is mediocre against the run at best, so I have to put him up here.

11. Cedric Benson vs NO - Benson might not have a better matchup this whole season than the one this weekend against New Orleans. Coming in to the season I was extremely worried that he wouldn't find his niche in the passing game, but his recent performances have soothed those worries. This could be his best game of the season.

12. Ben Tate vs TEN - Honestly, Ben Tate should see lots of carries this week. The Tennessee run defense has been sufficiently terrible for no less than three Texans running backs to appear on this list. 400 total yards and 4 TDs from the Texans running backs is not out of the question this week (270 rushing and 130 receiving).

13. Mikel LeShoure vs MIN - Speaking of the Titans run defense, I was lightly insulted last week for believing that Mikel LeShoure would outstrip Kevin Smith in his first game back...I won that battle. The question this week is whether LeShoure is really as good as he was against the Titans. I believe the Lions want to run the ball, especially if Matthew Stafford is seriously injured.

14. Alfred Morris @ TB - The Redskins did not sign Ryan Grant to play him this week against Tampa Bay in a featured role. While I wholeheartedly believe he is a better all-around running back when compared to Morris, the 'Skins have been content giving Morris 20ish touches a game, which is better than most backs in the NFL can say about their situation.

15. DeMarco Murray vs CHI - What happened to Murray after week 1? Fortunately I didn't believe in him and didn't draft him, but I think he has the potential to do much better than he has been. The weak passing game and weak offensive line have been hurting him. I know Chicago is tough, but I think he should be able to make something happen this weekend.

16. Trent Richardson @ BAL - This is a horrible matchup, but Richardson is good. The Browns need to be much more committed to the run (like 20-30 times per game) regardless of the score. It is their strength...even at 2.7 YPC or lower. Richardson is far and away better than anyone else on this offense at a skill position.

17. Willis McGahee vs OAK - I don't like McGahee and I don't think he's worth starting most weeks, but the Raiders are a special exception. As has been mentioned, they have a hard time stopping anyone and John Fox runs the ball when he can. This weekend is a time when he can, and 80 yards with 1 touchdown is pretty reasonable here.

18. BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ JAX - Have you ever noticed how run defense is typically directly correlated with the success of a team's own running game? I haven't done the math, but it seems to me that great running teams also usually have great running defenses (this explains the Texans and Titans pretty damn well). This matters here because BJGE is going up against a team with a great running back and a solid rush defense. I don't think this is going to be one of his best games this year, but the passing game should be good enough to get him near the goal line. I hope he isn't too shaken from his first career lost fumble last week.

19. Frank Gore vs NYJ - I don't know what to make of this guy, so I'm just stinking him in down here. The Jets lost Revis for the season, but they should still be good against the run. Gore can't decide if he is elite or not, so I'll just say he's middle of the road.

20. Michael Turner vs CAR - Turner actually lost some ground to J. Rodgers last game, but I think he will be more featured against Carolina. He still isn't a truly strong play, but he should help the Falcons beat up on the Panthers this week.

21. Pierre Thomas @ GB - This is probably the first time I've included Thomas ahead of Sproles, but I think he will be more utilized in the screen game and the power running game against the Packers than Sproles will be. If Thomas was a featured back instead of tied to a three-man committee he would actually be a great weekly play.

22. Reggie Bush @ ARI - Assuming he isn't more badly hurt than the tweets make him out to be, Bush should have a decent performance against the Cardinals. I think the Dolphins running game matches up a little better than the Eagles running game, in the sense that the Dolphins run Bush as a WR more often than McCoy. McCoy is an outlet receiver while Bush can play as a true receiver. He's also the best receiver on the whole Miami roster...

23. Andre Brown @ PHI - I went through the first part of this week convincing myself that Bradshaw would come back as the featured back, but I think Brown will actually be better this week. I wish one of them (Bradshaw or Brown) would be touted as the featured back, because he would become a top-12 guy against the Philly defense, but since that isn't happening I put Brown here and I'm expecting 60-80 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. A nice, solid performance.

 My Sleeper would be Tashard Choice this week. Fred Jackson is old and I'm worried about his cut and burst after only 3 weeks rest.

Week 4: Quarterback Rankings

Week 4 Quarterback Rankings


Aaron Rodgers is the only top-tier quarterback (with the exception of Matthew Stafford who was injured on the way) who has not put up a high quality game thusfar. It is easy to see that so far the Drew Brees owners are the only ones who are really happy with their decision to take a quarterback in the first round. That being said, it's been possible to find a top-5 QB on waivers pretty much every week this season. The good defenses are able to stop the pass regardless of how good the offense is, and this is a huge improvement over last season. This week Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger are both on BYE weeks, so the QB pool is a little more shallow than normal. This is the first week I've written reasons behind my rankings, so I hope you enjoy.


1. Matt Ryan vs CAR - Matt Ryan has probably been the single most successful quarterback this season when you look at statistics and team record. It is good to see that the hype about a player heading into the season can actually be underblown. If we knew he would be this good coming in he could have been a first round pick, and this week he plays the weak Carolina defense. Basically every Falcons player deserves a play this week, and you have to hope that the Panthers can do more against this defense than the Chargers did so that Matt Ryan can keep his foot on the peddle for at least 3 quarters.

2. Aaron Rodgers vs NO - This is an absolutely must-win situation for the Saints and the Packers. If the Packers don't win they fall to 1-3 and to the bottom of the NFC. They have won their only division game which would keep them afloat, but it would be a tough, uphill battle. Rodgers hasn't performed well this season, but McCarthy is going to find the right game plan against the reeling Saints and Rodgers is in-line for a big game. If he doesn't do it this weekend he might not do it all season.

3. Tom Brady @ BUF - Brady finally woke up from his slump last week and put out an amazing performance. This week against Buffalo should be nearly as good, even though the Bills have a good set of safeties. This means that Gronkowski and Welker will probably be bigger assets than Lloyd, but it doesn't really matter who catches the ball as long as Brady is slinging it around. I fully expect him to do that. Everyone who touted the NE run game was proven completely wrong against the Ravens; the game against the Titans was a fluke based on the weak Titans run defense. This team is still all about the pass.

4. Drew Brees @ GB - Just like I predicted in the offseason, this defense is atrocious and Drew Brees is benefiting from it. The Packers have actually been playing pretty good pass defense when the refs aren't calling phantom pass interference and awarding erroneous touchdowns, so Brees falls to the 3rd spot this week. The pass rush should be able to force a few mistakes from Brees, but the Packers have trouble with excellent tight ends so it should all balance out.

5. Peyton Manning vs OAK - Last week the matchup against Oakland vaulted Ben Roethlisberger to 6th on my QB list and he even outperformed that ranking (all other major rankings groups --ESPN, NFL.com, etc. overwrite their rankings each week so you can't see how poorly they did). Needless to say, the matchup here is spectacular for someone as great as Peyton Manning. The Raiders organization has let their two best corners -- Nnamdi Asomugha and Stanford Routt -- get away in the last few seasons and is seriously paying for it this year.

6. Robert Griffin III @ TB - Griffin has been great so far this season and the Bucs don't represent a huge hurdle. They have been surprisingly good on defense for the most part (they did fall apart against the Giants at the end of the game), and Griffin has been struggling to some degree without Garcon around. He should still be a great play this week.

7. Cam Newton @ ATL - Steve Smith was absolutely right to call out Cam Newton last weekend, because he has a terrible attitude when he's losing or playing poorly. He should feel bad, but that should make him try harder...not hide his head on the bench. This Falcons defense has been great against the pass but not great against the run, so Newton should be able to put up decent numbers. Oh yeah, and the Panthers defense is pretty terrible so he's better put up points or this is going to be a blow out.

8. Joe Flacco vs CLE - I'm a little worried about putting Flacco this high, but he definitely has earned it. He is playing well and this offense is better than I remember it ever being. The got a lucky win against the Patriots in a sense, but they should breeze past the Browns. 

9. Andy Dalton @ JAX - Is Andy Dalton the 9th best QB in the NFL? He certainly isn't. Fortunately for his fantasy owners, the Bengals defense is much worse than advertised for a number of reasons which means Dalton is slinging the ball all over the field. He's lucky to have A.J. Green who can always find space and Andrew Hawkins who is a big play machine (reminds me of Percy Harvin with fewer touches).

10. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs NE - The Patriots defense is better than last season, but Fitzpatrick should still be able to put up good numbers. He is just as good as he was at the beginning of last season, and without C.J. Spiller he is going to have to carry more of the load (don't tell me that Fred Jackson -- 31 years old -- is going to be amazing coming off a 4-6 week injury after 3 weeks). I look for a good game out of Fitzpatrick this week, and I've been flipping he and Dalton back and forth all week.

11. Josh Freeman vs WAS - Welcome to the top-12 Josh Freeman, you get a free ticket thanks to the Washington Redskins defense. They're terrible so distribute your fantasy points accordingly. Without Orakpo and Carriker this defense just doesn't pack a punch.

12. Tony Romo vs CHI - Romo is wearing on my last nerve. He played so well the first week that I started expecting great things from him, but the Chicago defense is the same hard-nose style that has stymied him for the last two weeks and I have difficulty seeing why he is going to rebound against Julius Peppers. He isn't bad, but they really need to get the run game going.

13. Christian Ponder @ DET - Ponder should be congratulated for beating the 49ers, but that has nothing to do with this ranking. Remember what Jake Locker did to this defense? Ponder is just as good and Percy Harvin should have a field day.

14. Michael Vick vs NYG - I'm upset that so many places distance themselves from their rankings every week (why should I believe them if there is no longitudinal consistency?), because I doubt most of them had Michael Vick as low as I did against the Cardinals. The Giants should be able to make Vick uncomfortable with their pass rush and Vick is on pace to break all sorts of turnover records, but he should still make some plays against this secondary. I mentioned exactly why Vick would do poorly last week in my Saturday Injury Report.

15. Blaine Gabbert vs CIN - Gabbert always lives up to my expectations, even if he does it with an 80-yard pass play to end the game. He has been consistently where I rank him every week (top-10 in Week 1, unranked in Week 2, and then top-16ish in Week 3). This week he gets the pushover Cincinnati defense, but he should give up some ground to MJD in the same way he did last week. The injury to Laurent Robinson (whose performance is actually above what I anticipated) could inhibit him to some degree.

16. Eli Manning @ PHI - Manning always proves me wrong, but I can see this being a frustrating game for him. The Eagles have the pass rush to fluster him and the defensive backs to make him pay. I think he will have a terrible first half, and then not quite as good a second half as he did against the Bucs. Those 2-3 turnovers will bring him down here. He just doesn't have great ball security which hurts his team. Not to mention the terrible Eagles run defense and the Giants have two solid running backs healthy in Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown.

I think the top-16 is plenty of reasoning for QBs. There are only 30 starting this week. My Sleeper for this week is Shaun Hill.

Week 4 Player Rankings

In week 3, Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green gave me the amazing performances I expected from them, Mikel LeShoure beat Kevin Smith by WAY more than I'd anticipated while Run-DMC had the big game I predicted against the Steelers, and Michael Vick finished with fewer fantasy points than Gabbert, Luck or Dalton. I'm most proud of calling Big Ben in the top-6 and he even outperformed that.

I also made some big mistakes last week. Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo didn't show up for their games the way they should have, Ryan Mathews was sidelined by the horrendous San Diego defense (although the nearly 100 yards in limited action is extremely promising), while Brandon Marshall and Jordy Nelson failed to live up to expectations. All in all, though, it was a pretty good week-3 for my rankings.

This week I am going to supplement these bland, numerical rankings with reasons behind my rankings in individualized position posts. How will you know if you disagree with me without my reasoning? The positional explanations are linked in each of the position headings. Here are the past rankings from Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3, as well as the Waiver Wire Wednesday report for week 3. As always, ask any questions you have. I happily answer them all.


Quarterbacks:

Over 18 Fantasy Points (Players 1-6):
  1. Matt Ryan vs CAR
  2. Aaron Rodgers vs NO
  3. Tom Brady @ BUF
  4. Drew Brees @ GB
  5. Peyton Manning vs OAK
  6. Robert Griffin III @ TB
Between 15 and 18 Fantasy Points (7-17):
  1. Cam Newton @ ATL
  2. Joe Flacco vs CLE
  3. Andy Dalton @ JAX
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs NE
  5. Josh Freeman vs WAS
  6. Tony Romo vs CHI
  7. Christian Ponder @ DET
  8. Michael Vick vs NYG
  9. Blaine Gabbert vs CIN
  10. Eli Manning @ PHI
  11. Philip Rivers @ KC
Below 15 Fantasy Points (Players 18-21):
  1. Carson Palmer @ DEN
  2. Alex Smith @ NYJ
  3. Shaun Hill vs MIN
  4. Jay Cutler @ DAL


Running Backs:

Over 16 Fantasy Points (Players 1-6):
  1. Arian Foster vs TEN
  2. Maurice Jones-Drew vs CIN
  3. Ryan Mathews @ KC
  4. Ray Rice vs CLE
  5. Marshawn Lynch @ STL
  6. Darren McFadden @ DEN
Between 12 and 16 Fantasy Points (Players 7-23):
  1. LeSean McCoy vs NYG
  2. Jamaal Charles vs SD
  3. Adrian Peterson @ DET
  4. Doug Martin vs WAS
  5. Cedric Benson vs NO
  6. Ben Tate vsTEN
  7. Mikel LeShoure vs MIN
  8. Alfred Morris @ TB
  9. DeMarco Murray vs CHI
  10. Trent Richardson @ BAL
  11. Willis McGahee vs OAK
  12. BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ JAX
  13. Frank Gore vs NYJ
  14. Michael Turner vs CAR
  15. Pierre Thomas @ GB
  16. Reggie Bush @ ARI
  17. Andre Brown @ PHI
Between 8 and 12 Fantasy Points (Players 24-33):
  1. DeAngelo Williams @ ATL
  2. Michael Bush @ DAL
  3. Chris Johnson @ HOU
  4. Jonathan Stewart @ ATL
  5. Steven Jackson vs SEA
  6. Tashard Choice vs NE (Unless Fred Jackson is given an open workload)
  7. Ahmad Bradshaw @ PHI
  8. Ryan Williams vs MIA
  9. Darren Sproles @ GB
  10. Justin Forsett vs TEN


Wide Receivers:

Over 16 Fantasy Points (Players 1-9):
  1. Calvin Johnson vs MIN
  2. Vincent Jackson vs WAS
  3. Victor Cruz @ PHI
  4. Percy Harvin @ DET
  5. Andre Johnson vs TEN
  6. Julio Jones vs CAR
  7. Brandon Marshall @ DAL
  8. Wes Welker @ BUF
  9. Dwayne Bowe vs SD
Between 14 and 16 Points (Players 10-23):
  1. Eric Decker vs OAK
  2. Larry Fitzgerald vs MIA
  3. A.J. Green @ JAX
  4. Demaryius Thomas vs OAK
  5. Jeremy Maclin vs NYG
  6. Hakeem Nicks @ PHI
  7. Roddy White vs CAR
  8. Dez Bryant vs CHI
  9. Greg Jennings vs NO
  10. Malcom Floyd @ KC
  11. Danny Amendola vs SEA
  12. Steve Smith @ ATL
  13. Marques Colston @ GB
  14. Stevie Johnson vs NE
Between 12 and 14 Points (Players 24-35):
  1. Jordy Nelson vs NO
  2. Andre Roberts vs MIA
  3. Pierre Garcon @ TB
  4. Sydney Rice @ STL
  5. Torrey Smith vs CLE
  6. Denarius Moore @ DEN
  7. Donald Jones vs NE
  8. Santonio Holmes vs SF
  9. Mike Williams vs WAS
  10. DeSean Jackson vs NYG
  11. Miles Austin vs CHI
  12. Anquan Boldin vs CLE
Under 12 Points (Players 36-43):
  1. Kevin Walter vs TEN
  2. Cecil Shorts vs CIN
  3. Kenny Britt @ HOU
  4. Brandon LaFell @ ATL
  5. Jerome Simpson @ DET
  6. Justin Blackmon vs CIN
  7. Brandon Lloyd @ BUF
  8. Andrew Hawkins @ JAX


Tight Ends:

Just one short grouping:
  1. Rob Gronkowski @ BUF
  2. Jimmy Graham @ GB
  3. Tony Gonzalez vs CAR
  4. Martellus Bennett @ PHI
  5. Vernon Davis @ NYJ
  6. Kyle Rudolph @ DET
  7. Jermichael Finley vs NO
  8. Brandon Pettigrew vs MIN
  9. Jermaine Gresham @ JAX
  10. Fred Davis @ TB
  11. Brent Celek vs NYG
  12. Antonio Gates vs KC
  13. Jared Cook @ HOU
  14. Dennis Pitta vs CLE
  15. Owen Daniels vs TEN

Monday, September 24, 2012

Post Week 3: Waiver Wire Wednesday

I'm going to get this edition out early. If you want to see my track record, check out Week 1 and Week 2.

Just like last week I'm going to break down prospects into three different categories: Waiver Acquisition (W.A.), Non-Waiver Acquisition (N.W.A.), and Do Not Add (D.N.A.). If those categories don't make sense to you, check out the explanation here.

The new addition this week is the owned percentages from Yahoo!. It will be listed after the player in italics, and the upcoming opponent will also be listed because that impacts whether I will list the player as W.A. or N.W.A. Enjoy!


D.N.A. Ramses Barden - WR [12%] @ PHI - Unless Hakeem Nicks is out again, Ramses Barden will go back to fantasy anonymity after this game. It might be tempting to believe that Barden will be the next Cruz, but I just don't see Barden producing without significant targets. Tampa Bay was a unique situation that will be difficult to replicate.

D.N.A. Andre Brown - RB [64%] @ PHI - If Bradshaw is out, Andre Brown is a must start. Unfortunately for Brown and his owners, Ahmad Bradshaw has been cleared for practice and will probably not play a major role in the game on Sunday. At this point dropping Brown is not advisable, simply based on Bradshaw's history of injury, but you don't need to put in a waiver claim if you haven't already used him.

D.N.A. Greg Olsen - TE [51%] @ ATL - The Panthers don't know how they want to use Olsen yet, but I think I'm more likely to release him from my team that add him if I can help it. The significant lack of touchdown production is disconcerting and should have been expected considering that the rushing game is the strength of this Panthers offense. He just isn't going to get the goal-line receptions that a TE like Heath Miller gets. If you are desperate for a tight end you could do a lot worse than Olsen, but someone like Jared Cook or Heath Miller are looking to be more consistent options with higher upside.

N.W.A. Brandon LaFell - WR [59%] @ ATL - Brandon LaFell let plenty of owners down in week 3, but odds are this was a fluke. Cam Newton was terrible this week, so we shouldn't really expect any of his receivers to play well. LaFell is still probably worthy of a roster spot, but if he is still on waivers you shouldn't bother adding him before Wednesday. The game against Atlanta is going to be a tough one for the Panthers, but I think he should be a contributor (think 6-10 points) because of how horrendous the Panthers defense is. They are going to have to pass the ball like crazy to keep up with the Falcons.

D.N.A. Kalil Bell - RB [0%] @ DAL - Bell played moderately well last season when Forte went down and then got far more touches than anyone would have expected playing behind Michael Bush. Bell definitely isn't worth an add at this point, but he does put a hard ceiling on Bush's value for the foreseeable future.

D.N.A. Alshon Jeffery - WR [36%] @ DAL - Jeffery is right between valuable and invaluable in fantasy. He definitely isn't worth starting with the way Jay Cutler is playing, but he seems to be consistent enough to warrant a bench spot in deep leagues. I doubt he will become a consistent contributor over the next few weeks, but he will certainly have a few good games throughout the season.

D.N.A. Tashard Choice - WR [10%] vs NE - My guess here is that 10% of people exist in leagues that don't lock players on waivers once they play, because I doubt that Choice was owned in 10% of leagues before C.J. Spiller got injured. Regardless, with Fred Jackson highly questionable for week 4, you might consider pulling Choice off waivers. I wouldn't necessarily do that. The Patriots defense is stout against the run and has been all season. If you pull him off waivers and Jackson or Spiller play, you're just wasting waiver priority and a bench spot. If anything, drop your defense or kicker for him so that you can hold on to a positional bench spot.

N.W.A. Donald Jones - WR [3%] vs NE - I have been surprised by how small a role Donald Jones has played in the offense to this point. My guess is that C.J. Spiller has been holding him back by being basically 100% of the Bills offense. Now that the run game is gone (their blocking scheme must be great since Tashard Choice racked up 80 yards), I anticipate the Fitzpatrick train to pick up steam until the weather turns in mid-November. 

N.W.A. Cecil Shorts - WR [2%] vs CIN - The Bengals defense has been playing as bad as any team in the league this season, and Shorts might be starting this week if Laurent Robinson is out for the game. I wouldn't go so far as to pick him up off waivers, but any starting receiver should be played against the Bengals this week. I would consider adding him and playing him for this one coming week. He likely won't be valuable in the long run.

N.W.A. T. Y. Hilton - WR [1%] on BYE - With Austin Collie likely out for the season, T.Y. Hilton might be this season's Victor Cruz. I am not a proponent of adding players off waivers who aren't going to help you this week (and he won't since the Colts have a bye this week), I think that adding him in the mid-week is an excellent idea. He could be a huge bust, but you aren't really giving anything up to get him. I like him more than Donnie Avery.

D.N.A. Jeremy Kerley - WR [11%] vs SF - Kerley has two solid games under his belt, but he just isn't my kind of player. He is averaging fewer than 3 receptions per game, meaning that you are going to end up with far fewer amazing games than you have disappointing games. Only add him in deep leagues or if you are desperate for WR help.

N.W.A. Bilal Powell - RB [3%] vs SF - The Jets are quickly losing patience with how ineffective their running game is, and Shonn Greene appears to be on the chopping block. Bilal Powell might be worth an add in the near future, but he definitely isn't going to produce well against the 49ers this weekend. He could end up starting somewhere down the road, but there is nothing certain here. We can't blame these rushing troubles on the offensive line, they are an elite unit, so we have to believe it is either Rex Ryan's blocking scheme or Shonn Greene. I think Ryan would blame Greene before he blames himself.

D.N.A. Daniel Thomas - RB [13%] @ ARI - Even if Reggie Bush isn't playing against the Cardinals, Thomas still isn't going to be a good play against the Cardinals defense. LeSean McCoy had enough trouble with the Cardinals to show that starting isn't going to net you a solid block of points. Also, Bush is probably going to play. He could be the Daryl Richardson of Week 4.

W.A. Kyle Rudolph - TE [39%] @ DET - If there was ever a time to add Kyle Rudolph, against the Lions is probably a great time. The Lions secondary is playing terribly while their offense continues to push forward. This presents Rudolph with a great opportunity to build on his two TD performance against the 49ers. I'd take him as a low-level waiver guy.

D.N.A. Shaun Hill - QB [1%] vs MIN - The Lions defense is nearly as bad as it was during their 0-16 season, but at least their offense is vastly improved. Hill is a serviceable or better backup and if Stafford is out for a significant amount of time he should play well. The Titans defense is pretty terrible, but Hill shouldn't be bad against the Vikings. The Lions have a great group of receivers and tight ends.

W.A. Mikel LeShoure - RB [59%] vs MIN - Unless you added LeShoure before last game you're going to have trouble getting a hold of him now. I had a number of people question me about adding him before the Titans game, and I had him ahead of Kevin Smith on my weekly running back rankings. That was also questioned. Now everyone wants a piece of this guy, and he should be your top waiver priority. There is absolutely no one you should go after ahead of him unless you have strange scoring or serious injuries.

D.N.A. Titus Young - WR [48%] vs MIN - I never bought into the Titus Young hype, but he finally had a big game. There is still no reason to add this guy. Given that 11.7 of his 16 points came on one Hail Mary, you really can't consider playing him. Do your best to trade him away if he carries any value in your league. If he is on waivers, don't consider adding him unless Burleson or Megatron get injured.

N.W.A. Nate Burleson - WR [25%] vs MIN - Burleson is finally looking like the player he has the potential to be, but he is still only a minor player in the grand scheme of the Lions offense. I think you can probably count on 50ish yards each game, but the touchdowns will be too sporadic to be valuable from a fantasy perspective. If you really need a bye-week fill in, Burleson should be a fine option against the Vikings.

N.W.A. Jake Locker - QB [38%] @ HOU - Locker is going to be a good play against bad defenses and a bad play against good defenses. This week at Houston will be one of the more difficult matchups he faces this week. He probably won't be a horrible start, but I highly doubt that he will be in the top-16 amongst QBs. If you aren't going to play him, don't bother wasting a roster spot on him.

N.W.A. Nate Washington [64%] @ HOU - While you might not end up playing Washington this week, he could be a valuable bye week asset over the next few weeks. Kenny Britt is still not playing up to his potential, and Washington seems to have a solid rapport with Locker. He definitely isn't worth a waiver add, but there are a few low level receivers (like DHB) who might be worth dropping for Washington.

N.W.A. Jared Cook - TE [52%] @ HOU - If you want to get your hands on Cook you're probably going to have to pull him off waivers. His big game against Detroit isn't going to become the norm, but he has the speed and agility to make big plays down the field on a relatively consistent basis. The upside is definitely there, and with the running game in shambles he should be a consistent play throughout the year.

W.A. Andy Dalton - QB [50%] @ JAX - Odds are that Dalton isn't going to have an amazing game against the Jaguars with Derek Cox back in the secondary, but he has had much more success than players like Jay Cutler and Jake Locker this season. It is hard not to add him over someone like Cutler, and he should be a decent play this week at Jacksonville. Andrew Hawkins makes him look better than he is, and the defense is so terrible that he is going to be involved in a shootout almost every week. Perhaps when they get healthy things will be different, but for now Dalton is a great play.

N.W.A. Andrew Hawkins - WR [25%] @ JAX - Hawkins is making his money on YAC, and that should continue against the Jaguars this week. I was worried about him heading into the game against Washington, but with 12 catches in 3 games he should be a solid play this week against the mediocre Jaguars pass defense.

D.N.A. Leonard Hankerson - WR [6%] @ TB - Hankerson just isn't that good. If he was going to be a big part of the Washington offense it would have been during Pierre Garcon's absence. He isn't really worth anything from a fantasy perspective at this point.

D.N.A. Damaris Johnson - WR [0%] vs NYG - Johnson was the one bright spot for the Eagles in an otherwise terrible game against the Cardinals. Unfortunately for Johnson, Maclin should be heading back to the lineup in Week 4 making Johnson practically useless. Don't add him unless you can afford to stash him and wait for another Eagles WR injury.

D.N.A. Ryan Williams - RB [36%] vs MIA - Even though Williams had a solid game against the Eagles, I highly doubt that he continues to have success this season. The Eagles game was a fluke on so many levels, so i wouldn't read too much into this Ryan Williams situation.

D.N.A. Kevin Kolb - QB [4%] vs MIA - Kevin Kolb has been consistent over the last few weeks and is unlikely to stumble against the Dolphins. He probably won't light up the scoreboard and is only worth an add if you are extremely desperate for a QB.

N.W.A. Andre Roberts - WR [6%] vs MIA - Roberts has been as consistent as any low-end wide receiver so far this year, but he is unlikely to really break out until the Cardinals offense drastically changes. He should have had about 30-40 more yards against the Eagles if Larry Fitzgerald hadn't been called for a block in the back. I highly doubt that Andre Roberts is going to lose you any games if you need 5-7 points, but he isn't good for much more than that at this point. I still like him in the long term.

N.W.A. Kevin Walter - WR [2%] vs TEN - Normally I would never advocate picking up Kevin Walter, much less playing him, but this game against Tennessee represents a unique opportunity for him to have a successful game. I would say only roll with him if you absolutely need him (say, for example, that you have Mike Wallace, Reggie Wayne, and Antonio Brown anchoring your receiving corps), but he could be an extremely sneaky play.

N.W.A. Brandon Stokley - WR [2%] vs DEN - The Broncos receivers have been more unpredictable than we could have imagined. Stokley is averaging just over 40 yards per game and has one touchdown on the season, and looks towards an amazing matchup against the Raiders pass defense. I still don't think you're going to win if you are counting on him for a big game and there is absolutely no reason to pick him up off waivers.

W.A. Heath Miller - TE [41%] on BYE - The Steelers are on bye, but Miller is looking to be one of the most consistent TEs in the league this year. With the absolutely miserable power running game for the Steelers, Miller has been getting plenty of looks in the red zone. If Mendenhall plays anything like he did last season, nothing is going to change on that front and Miller should be a solid play for the rest of the season. He doesn't carry the same big-yardage upside that some other tight ends do, but he should score points relatively consistently.

N.W.A. Julian Edelman - WR [4%] @ BUF - Wes Welker looked like himself against the Ravens on Sunday night, but Edelman was still a presence. No one really knows what is going on between the Patriots and Wes Welker, but Edelman is definitely taking a bigger role in the offense this season. He's not going to win you any games right now, but you won't be able to get a hold of him if something happens with Welker. I'd consider adding him now as wide receiver depth if you can afford the bench spot.

N.W.A. Jacoby Jones - WR [5%] vs CLE - Despite the fact that Torrey Smith had a great game on Sunday night, Jones has definitely been the more consistent of the two receivers. He is often drawing the third corner in coverage and is benefiting from playing a position between Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. I like his chances for another touchdown against the Browns, but he is definitely a risky play against such a poor offense. 

W.A. Dennis Pitta - TE [61%] vs CLE - Pitta should be a really solid play against the Browns this week if you can still grab him. He has been more consistent than any tight end for the Ravens over the last few years, which has kept his value down. Now might be the time to buy in if you didn't grab a top-end tight end in your draft.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Night Injury Roundup

Saturday Night Injury Roundup

Definitely Out

Matt Forte - Michael Bush should get the majority of the carries unless they plan on Kalil Bell being a significant part of the offense. The Rams have a few injuries on their defensive line, which will help Bush's style of running.

Kevin Boss - Tony Moaki may see a few more looks, but he still isn't worth carrying in most leagues. 

Jeremy Maclin - This means DeSean Jackson will get all of Patrick Peterson's attention. This injury plus King Dunlap's injury (Offensive tackle) means that the Cardinals defense could have a Michael Vick feast. 

Aaron Hernandez - Obviously we all know the situation here, but I like the impact on Brandon Lloyd and Rob Gronkowski the most.


Likely Out (Doubtful or especially Questionable)

Tony Scheffler - Scheffler had been taking a few catches away from Pettigrew. This week he probably won't be playing due to a calf injury.

Pierre Garcon - Garcon is still doubtful, but there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason about who RG3 throws the ball to. Aldrick Robinson is the most likely individual with 6 catches (tied for most on the team) and 92 yards over two games (second to only Garcon). 


Offensive Players Significantly Helped by Defensive Injuries

Darren McFadden - McFadden hasn't been playing especially well, but he is getting plenty of touches. With James Harrison and Troy Polamalu out, this matchup isn't as daunting as it otherwise would be.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Week 3: Player Rankings

Quarterbacks:

Over 18 Fantasy Points (Players 1-8):
  1. Drew Brees vs KC 
  2. Tony Romo vs TB
  3. Matthew Stafford @ TEN
  4. Aaron Rodgers @ SEA
  5. Matt Ryan @ SD
  6. Ben Roethlisberger @ OAK
  7. Robert Griffin III vs CIN
  8. Ryan Fitzpatrick @ CLE
 Between 15 and 18 Fantasy Points (Players 9-18):
  1. Tom Brady @ BAL
  2. Matt Cassel @ NO
  3. Jay Cutler vs STL
  4. Alex Smith @ MIN
  5. Peyton Manning vs HOU
  6. Philip Rivers vs ATL
  7. Andy Dalton @ WAS
  8. Andrew Luck vs JAX
  9. Blaine Gabbert @ IND
  10. Michael Vick @ ARI
 Between 12 and 15 Fantasy Points (Players 19-25):
  1. Joe Flacco vs NE
  2. Carson Palmer vs PIT
  3. Sam Bradford @ CHI
  4. Kevin Kolb vs PHI
  5. Mark Sanchez @ MIA
  6. Jake Locker vs DET
  7. Bandon Weeden vs BUF

Running Backs:
**If Jamaal Charles plays, insert BELOW Michael Bush and bump Ryan Williams.

Over 16 Fantasy Points (Players 1-8):
  1. Arian Foster @ DEN
  2. Ryan Mathews vs ATL (assuming he gets a 100% vote from Turner)
  3. Trent Richardson vs BUF
  4. Maurice Jones-Drew @ IND
  5. C.J. Spiller @ CLE
  6. Alfred Morris vs CIN
  7. Marshawn Lynch vs GB
  8. DeMarco Murray vs TB
Between 12 and 16 Fantasy Points (Players 9-23):
  1. Doug Martin @ DAL
  2. Ray Rice vs NE
  3. Frank Gore @ MIN
  4. LeSean McCoy @ ARI
  5. Chris Johnson vs DET
  6. BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ WAS
  7. Michael Bush vs STL
  8. Donald Brown vs JAX
  9. Reggie Bush vs NYJ
  10. Darren McFadden vs PIT
  11. Cedric Benson @ SEA
  12. Darren Sproles vs KC
  13. Mikel Leshoure @ TEN
  14. Kevin Smith @ TEN
  15. Adrian Peterson vs SF
Between 8 and 12 Fantasy Points (Players 23-35):
  1. Shonn Greene @ MIA
  2. Steven Jackson @ CHI (or Daryl Richardson if Jackson is out)
  3. Peyton Hillis @ NO
  4. Michael Turner @ SD
  5. Ben Tate @ DEN
  6. Willis McGahee vs HOU
  7. Steven Ridley @ BAL
  8. Beanie Wells vs PHI
  9. Pierre Thomas vs KC
  10. Shaun Draughn @ NO
  11. Kalil Bell vs STL
  12. Knowshon Moreno
  13. Ryan Williams vs PHI

Wide Receivers:

 Over 16 Fantasy Points (Players 1-8):
  1. A.J. Green @  WAS
  2. Calvin Johnson vs TEN
  3. Brandon Marshall vs STL
  4. Stevie Johnson @ CLE
  5. Dwayne Bowe @ NO
  6. Andre Johnson @ DEN
  7. Jordy Nelson @ SEA (If Jennings is out, otherwise around 15th)
  8. Julio Jones @ SD
Between 12 and 16 Fantasy Points (Players 9-21):
  1. Pierre Garcon  vs CIN (Assuming he plays)
  2. Demaryius Thomas vs HOU
  3. Dez Bryant vs TB
  4. Marques Colston vs KC
  5. Mike Wallace @ OAK
  6. Vincent Jackson @ DAL
  7. Roddy White @ SD (Thanks to stopmotionpoetry for pointing out that I missed him)
  8. Greg Little vs BUF
  9. Brandon Lloyd @ BAL
  10. Wes Welker @ BAL
  11. Malcom Floyd vs ATL
  12. Reggie Wayne @ JAX
  13. Danny Amendola @ CHI
  14. Andrew Hawkins @ WAS
Between 8 and 12 Fantasy Points (Players 22-41):
  1. Kenny Britt vs DET
  2. DeSean Jackson @ ARI
  3. Greg Jennings @ SEA (Assuming he plays)
  4. Percy Harvin vs SF
  5. Miles Austin VS TB
  6. Larry Fitzgerald vs PHI
  7. Justin Blackmon @ IND
  8. Antonio Brown @ OAK
  9. Darrius Heyward-Bey vs PIT
  10. Sidney Rice vs GB
  11. Anquan Boldin vs NE
  12. Eric Decker vs HOU
  13. Austin Collie vs JAC (Assuming he is healthy)
  14. Leonard Hankerson vs CIN
  15. Andre Roberts vs PHI
  16. Nate Burleson @ TEN
  17. Michael Crabtree @ MIN
  18. Santonio Holmes @ MIA
  19. Laurent Robinson vs IND
  20. Randy Moss @ MIN

Tight Ends:
  1. Rob Grownkowski @ BAL
  2. Jimmy Graham vs KC
  3. Antonio Gates vs ATL (Assuming he plays)
  4. Tony Gonzalez @ SD
  5. Owen Daniels @ DEN
  6. Scott Chandler @ CLE
  7. Brent Celek @ ARI
  8. Jermichael Finley @ SEA
  9. Vernon Davis @ MIN
  10. Coby Fleener vs JAX
  11. Jason Witten vs TB
  12. Brandon Pettigrew @ TEN
  13. Dennis Pitta vs NE
  14. Jared Cook vs DET
  15. Kyle Rudolph vs SF

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week 3 All Waiver Wire Team

Last week was pretty solid for the waiver wire team, but this week will be even better. Just like last week, you have to be at or below 10% ownership on Yahoo! to qualify (and I don't think Andre Roberts will be available this week).

QB - Blaine Gabbert - There is a surprising amount of equality amongst quarterbacks this season, and after picking Gabbert to be a top-10 QB in week 1, I completely left him off my list in Week 2. This week he is back, and while I would rather start Matt Cassel (16%), Gabbert should be a solid play this week. He should score about 15th overall.

RB1 - Shaun Draughn - With Charles aching, Draughn should continue to see some sort of production this week. Draughn might be the biggest unimportant surprise of the season. Who knew that Draughn would be the leading fantasy scorer of the Kansas City running backs at this point in the season? With the limited points from that team in general, it isn't a difficult thing to do.

RB2 - Bernard Scott - I'm not a huge fan of Scott, but he should see a few carries this week against Washington. The Bengals offense has been pretty lackluster to this point despite the success of their running game. Hopefully Scott can help create a better screen game to slow down the pass rush and give Dalton time to find Green down the field.

WR1 - Andre Roberts - I was wrong, Roberts is still available and should be worth a few more points this week. He is one of the favorite targets in Arizona.

WR2 - Ramses Barden - This Giants receiver is being bumped up into the starting role tonight and should be good for a few fantasy points. The Carolina defense is much worse than their offense, so Eli Manning should be throwing the ball to keep up.

FLEX - Julian Edleman - The Patriots are putting Edleman on the field more and more. He might not break the game open for you, but he will probably score more than Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones, or Dez Bryant did last week.

K - Blair Walsh - The 49ers aren't going to let the Vikings get far into field goal range. Good thing the Vikings aren't afraid of giving Walsh shots at 50 yard field goals. He has two already this season...and the league is 13-16 at large. Incredible.

DEF - Washington - They allow points but generate turnovers. WHy not try (The loss of two dominant defenders hurts them).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

C.J. Spiller's Journey to Stardom

C.J. Spiller's Journey to Stardom

Who else are we missing?

By the time we got to the final week before the season, Fred Jackson was going in the 3rd round while C.J. Spiller was going in the 12th or later. The reason, of course, was that the Bills were going to ride Fred Jackson the way they did last season before he got injured and C.J. Spiller, who was averaging about 16 fantasy points per game during Jackson's absence, would be relegated back to the bench. Things were going exactly as anticipated until Fred Jackson went down with an injury (which, in itself, was probably equally anticipated at some point) after having a relatively lackluster start to the game. Then C.J. Spiller stepped up and destroyed the Jets defense despite limited carries with the Bills down big. Spiller rode that wave of momentum into the game against the Chiefs and gashed them. At this point Spiller is leading the NFL in rushing yards (292) and is averaging about 200 scrimmage yards (182, to be exact) per game. The questions has to be; Why was C.J. Spiller not starting for this team?

Regardless of how good you think Fred Jackson was going to be, leading the league in rushing was probably not part of the assumption. Everyone with C.J. Spiller should count themselves lucky, because they have an obvious and unfair advantage over their opponents by getting Spiller at such a ridiculously low price. The issue here is the player assessment process that went on in the Bills training camp and goes on throughout the league. You have to wonder how many phenomenal players are being held back by good starters ahead of them. C.J. Spiller proved how good he was at the end of last season, so why didn't he get the start? The biggest question for fantasy would be; How can I find these players before they break out?

Andre Brown represents one real possibility to be the next C.J. Spiller. This guy performed well when he played this week after Ahmad Bradshaw went down, and he is obviously preferred over David Wilson. The Giants are a good running team that loves to use a solid RBBC. Brown could break out and become a significant contributor in this offense. Daryl Richardson is another player who had an amazing game but is stuck behind Steven Jackson. I'm not going to say that Richardson deserves to leapfrog Jackson, but you have to wonder how much Steven Jackson's name helped him out this offseason and whether Richardson is truly as good as he seems. There is nothing to say that either of these players or any other is really better than the people ahead of them, but there are some players out there that deserve to be on the field who aren't. You have to wonder whether the system is broken in terms of putting the best players on the field or if C.J. Spiller isn't as good as he seems.

The Amazing 2012 Season; Kicking

2012: The Year of the Kicker

A lot (a whole lot) was made of the fact that Week 1 of the 2012 season was the highest scoring in NFL history. The issue is that no one really investigated what made it the highest scoring in NFL history. For the most part, it was just chalked up as the demise of defenses and the rise of offenses in the NFL...but I have to disagree. The biggest difference between the 2011 and 2012 opening week was the number of field goals kicked. In fact, there were 24 more made field goals on the first week in 2012 (67 made vs 43 made), while there were 2 fewer offensive touchdowns (four more rushing and six fewer passing) compared to 2011. There were four fewer special teams touchdowns while there were two more defensive touchdowns. 

The most amazing part of this season is that there have been 129 attempted field goals already this season with only 8 total misses. No single kicker has had more than one miss, and the league as a whole is 13 - 16 on kicks of fifty yards or greater; the average is close to 50%. This trend looks as though it may continue, but you can't blame more field goals on defenses. If anything, the no-huddle offenses are creating more field goal opportunities against notably tougher defenses that aren't allowing as many touchdowns. Don't blame the defenses; blame the offensive coordinators.

Week 2: Waiver Wire Wednesday

This weekend didn't see a whole lot of break-out performances from any position except for quarterback, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of players worthy of being on your team this week. Players will be broken down into 3 different categories; Waiver Acquisition, Non-Waiver Acquisition, and Do Not Add. A waiver acquisition player is someone who has imminent potential for next week and the future, worthy of losing your waiver position for, a non-waiver acquisition is someone worth adding based on potential but not someone you would start this week, and do not add means that there is very little chance that said player will perform this week or in the future.


Quarterbacks:

Sam Bradford (N.W.A.) - Sam Bradford has played well this year, but it is highly unlikely that you will be starting him often this season if you have an alternative available. His six combined games against the 49ers, Cardinals, and Seahawks provide an inherently tough schedule, and both Bradford and the Rams receivers have a habit of getting injured. He could be a nice weekly fill-in for teams with weak or committee quarterback situations.

Carson Palmer (N.W.A.) - While Palmer isn't exactly blowing up the stat sheet, he isn't playing terribly and is racking up plenty of yards. He plays in a relatively easy division, and could be a good situational matchup depending on opponent.

Alex Smith (N.W.A.) - Alex Smith is as advertised this season. Not winning you games, but he isn't losing them either. He is very efficient and consistent. The running game has been better than anticipated, which has opened up some different passing options for him, and he is gaining confidence in the pocket. Again, this isn't someone you want starting for you, but he is probably worth grabbing if you have an injury and a solid supporting cast.

Matt Cassel (D.N.A.) - Cassel's numbers have been unnaturally expanded over the last two weeks by the garbage time touchdowns in two lopsided contests, and it certainly helped me with the high praise for Bowe this week. It could be sustainable...but you have to ask yourself why he has been so inept until the 4th quarter. Only the Manning brothers can get away with that while maintaining fantasy relevance.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (D.N.A.) - We've read this novel before with Fitzpatrick. Struggling quarterback has respectable first half of season only to implode down the stretch. He isn't worth a place on your team now, despite the fact that the defense looked much better this week. Spiller is the guy in Buffalo at the moment.


Running Backs:

Mikel LeShoure (W.A./N.W.A.) - Depending on your waiver priority, I would go ahead and grab this guy now. Anything past 6th is probably worth jumping in for, and going earlier isn't a terrible idea either. If he slides through waivers, make sure you grab him Wednesday afternoon before the Lions go to visit the Titans; the team with the worst rush defense to this point. LeShoure can be a bust and he can be worthless, but if the alternative is a 10-14 point per game running back it is worth jumping in on. I wouldn't be surprised if he became the starter this weekend, but there is no promise attached to that. Drop your Arizona running backs for this guy.

Pierre Thomas (D.N.A.) - You will have more heartburn starting this guy than eating cheap Chinese. Outside of Darren Sproles, who is a perfectly serviceable flex back, running with Ingram or Thomas is nothing more than a gamble. Thomas might have 1-2 more games like this Sunday, but you'll have to sift through the other 10+ games with under 6 points to find them. He could be a situational starter, even potentially this week against the Chiefs, but I'm not going to be starting him unless Ingram gets injured...and even that would be dicey.

Shaun Draughn (D.N.A.) - So there is no one in fantasy, except maybe Shaun's mother, who would have expected that Shaun Draugn would have more fantasy points than Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles by week two, but that's the world we're living in. Everyone who tried to explain away the RBBC worries for Charles and Hillis failed to account for a third running back taking a third of the important carries...and so they've all been pretty worthless through week 2. Don't add Draughn unless Hillis and Charles get injured. Odds are that this meager performance is a fluke.

Andre Brown (W.A.) - The Giants don't like David Wilson as much as everyone wanted you to believe before the start of the fantasy season, and then Ahmad Bradshaw got injured, just like everyone told you he would. We're left with a very interesting situation where we have no idea what comes next. The most obvious answer is that Brown is going to be the starter against a relatively weak Carolina defense, but has to play on Thursday night. I would probably hold onto waiver spots 1,2, and 3, but otherwise I'm making a play for this guy. He could have significant success and be worth a flex start, even though I'm going to stop promoting Thursday night players.

Mike Goodson (D.N.A.) - It was one lucky catch. Handcuff McFadden if you want, but don't play this guy.

Daryl Richardson (N.W.A./D.N.A.) - He played really well, but this Steven Jackson injury is a phantom injury. He sure looked healthy when he spiked the ball and got that 15 yard penalty. Is he a serviceable handcuff for Jackson? Yes. Is he worth starting while Jackson is healthy? No.


Wide Receivers:

Danny Amendola (W.A.) - He might not be worth top waiver considerations, but he is available in many leagues and should reach 95+% by the coming weekend. He is getting lots of looks, but has some of the same issues that Bradford does. The defenses in the NFC West are solid, but a slot guy like Amendola can thrive regardless because he is the quick option and doesn't usually draw the top corner by the nature of his position.

Brandon LaFell (W.A./N.W.A.) - He is worth it if you are already in the 7-10 slot, but probably not above that. You can start him on bye weeks and against weak pass defenses, but he really isn't a top option. Things could change depending on how Steve Smith does with his various foot ailments. Definitely carry him if he is available after waivers and you have an open slot.

Brandon Gibson (N.W.A.) - Gibson has been playing well, but I can't trust him yet. I think that Steve Smith will end up playing a bigger role as the year progresses, and these two good games might be a peak for Gibson. He is probably worth an add in deep league or on teams with serious WR issues, but you just can't start him yet.

Donnie Avery (D.N.A.) - Avery had a good game and it came at the beginning of the season. By the nature of cumulative fantasy points he looks like a much better option than he is. With Collie imminently returning and Reggie Wayne still carrying this offense, Avery probably isn't worth rostering.

Andrew Hawkins (N.W.A.) - Don't waste waiver positioning, but Hawkins might just be worth an add. He has been producing big numbers on few touches because of his elusive nature, and that will either lead him to be a huge disappointment over time or have a great season if the Bengals try to get the ball into his hands. He could have a very Percy Harvin-esque role going forward, but I'm still not starting him next week if I can help it.

Andre Roberts (N.W.A.) - I would use up a late waiver or second waiver on him, but you can probably get him by just waiting until Wednesday afternoon. He is producing points better than any other player in the Cardinals offense at this point, and Kolb is either going to get better or get worse from here going forward. I think you can probably stand to roster him in deep leagues and even play him in leagues where wide receivers are slim-pickin's. He gets plenty of looks.

Brian Hartline (D.N.A.) - I wouldn't read too much into Tannehill's big game against the Raiders. Their defense just isn't working right now (imagine that...letting your two best corners leave hurts your team), so this game was probably a fluke. I may be wrong, but I doubt it.

Leonard Hankerson (D.N.A.) - Pierre Garcon's foot cant be too bad if he wanted to play last week, so hopefully he will be back this week. Either way, Hankerson wasn't especially productive in a way that makes me think he will have numerous repeat performances. Odds are he won't start for you ever.

Austin Collie (N.W.A.) - Collie has been dropped in many leagues, but should be added whenever he comes back to play. The Colts are still a passing team, and Collie should be a solid number two for Andrew Luck.


Tight Ends:

Martellus Bennett (W.A.) - Using a waiver position on Bennett is probably a good idea. The tight end position is very even this season, but Bennett is seeing lots of looks from Manning. He is being targeted in the red zone with increasing frequency and should be a great option going forward.

Dante Rosario (D.N.A.) - Unless you are really desperate and imagine a world where Antonio Gates is going to be out for multiple weeks, don't bother picking up Dante Rosario. The guy had one amazing game and will have difficulty matching those numbers over the rest of the season.It is rare for a player to suddenly become amazing.

Scott Chandler (N.W.A.) - Chandler succeeded as part of my Waiver Wire Team for week 2, and now has consecutive weeks with touchdown receptions. For those of us with Aaron Hernandez now out for 4-6 weeks, Chandler's matchup with the Browns seems promising.

Dennis Pitta (N.W.A.) - Add Pitta only as a last resort. He has been relatively consistent over the last two weeks, but there is no real evidence to suggest that the looks he's been getting have been due to changes in offensive philosophy or player use instead of typical fluctuation in player performance. If you see it differently, feel free to add him, but I don't think you'd end up starting him often.

Kyle Rudolph (N.W.A.) - Kyle Rudolph has been a pretty consistent piece of the Minnesota offense thusfar this season. He is seeing looks and has over 100 yards this season. He should continue to see this low-end fantasy level production throughout the year. I would start him over Pitta.


Defense:

The three defenses I would start next week (that are not widely owned)...

1. Buffalo Bills

2. Arizona Cardinals

3. Cleveland Browns


Kickers:

Three kickers I would start next week... (Has anyone else noticed how amazing kickers are this season?)

1. Josh Scobee

2. Justin Tucker

3. Justin Medlock

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week 2 Waiver Wire Team

This is a fun little activity that will highlight one team of players that can help you for this week, in case you have already caught the injury bug. With so many big-name players questionable or out (Fred Jackson, Ryan Mathews, DeSean Jackson, Nate Washington, Jeremy Maclin, etc.) you could be looking at a pretty tough second week. Not to worry, this is a small listing of players who you can pick up this morning who other people will be scrambling to get off waivers come tomorrow evening. Last week I picked up Alfred Morris in 3 of my 5 leagues before gameday. Everyone on this list is at or below 10% owned in Yahoo! leagues.

QB - Kevin Kolb: Last week I had Blaine Gabbert listed as my 10th best quarterback. This week I am torn between starting Kolb or Ponder in this spot, but I think I have to give it to Kolb. Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts should be able to find some space against this New England secondary, and the fact that the Cardinals have no running game certainly helps Kolb to an extent. I think you can expect around 16 points from this scrub, meaning that you would have done better to start him than if you started Cutler or Rodgers on Thursday night (that was a surprise, huh).

RB1 - Dion Lewis: So there aren't really any great running backs here for you to grab, but if you have absolutely no other options and need a few points of production, Dion Lewis of the Eagles could have a few nice plays today. I wouldn't exactly feel confident playing him, but you really could do worse.

**RB1 - LaRod Stephens-Howling: So Lewis is inactive again, surprisingly, so go with Stevens-Howling if you must.

RB2 - Curtis Brinkley: He got enough carries to have an impact last game and couldn't really do anything with them. I think the Chargers must have had a reason, so why not take a chance on a guy who might just get 10 carries and 3 catches? Those touches are definitely worth owning, even if they don't come with any guaranteed production.

WR1- Andre Roberts: Mentioned in the piece on Kolb, Roberts gad five receptions and a touchdown in the first Cardinals game to go with a few rushing yards. I have been touting this guy as a potential breakout player while trying to make everyone see the folly in drafting Floyd. No one paid any attention and Roberts had a solid first game. No one believed in him and he's still on waivers. I don't think he is an awesome option, but he should have a fine game today. Looks are important, and he will definitely get some.

WR2 - Aldrick Robinson: With Pierre Garcon out, someone has to catch passes from RGIII. Robinson managed to haul in a few last week and looks to be a solid contributor this week. I don't see why 12 points is out of the equation here, and he should outproduce at least James Jones and Brandon Marshall.

FLEX - Donald Jones: I am drooling over the promise of this guy after Nelson went down. I think he could be in for a huge day against the Jets CB3 (Revis is out), and there is really very little risk here. I should have started this guy in the league that I started James Jones, but I can't go back and fix it now. I just have to roll with it and give you guys the advice I should have taken myself: Play Donald Jones.

TE - Scott Chandler: Given that TE is such a crap-shoot, there really aren't any solid tight ends left below 10% on the waivers. Chandler is relatively likely to score a touchdown with Nelson out, so I'm going to throw him out there...but whomever you already have or can get over 10%, get them instead.

K - Blair Walsh: So kicker is impossible to predict. Close your eyes and point to the screen: hopefully you point to this guy.

DEF - Washington: This front-seven looked spectacular against the Saints, so they should be able to make things happen against St. Louis. Sacks abound.