Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 7 proceeds as planned...

One of the things I love most about fantasy football is that it’s so predictable.

Take, for instance, the demise of Matt Forte. We all knew he had hit the dreaded 30-year-old RB wall and that the Jets’ backfield would be handed to Bilal Powell on a silver platter.

We’ve all seen the overwhelming evidence that something is wrong with Aaron Rodgers. His arm isn’t as strong, he’s getting rattled in the pocket and he’s just, frankly, lost his mojo. Hey, it happens to all the great ones.

DeMarco Murray left his best days behind when he took the money and ran out of Dallas.

Golden Tate is done. Obviously.

With Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas, the Jaguars’ passing attack might just be the most lethal in the NFL.

Drew Brees can’t be trusted on the road.

If Jay Ajayi was so great, the Dolphins wouldn’t have let Lamar Miller go, or bring in Arian Foster. And they sure wouldn’t have left Ajayi behind on their season-opening trip to Seattle.

Melvin Gordon doesn’t score touchdowns.

Le’Veon Bell. Now that’s a guy who racks up touchdowns!

And nothing is more certain than a veteran kicker like Steven Hauschka or Chandler Catanzaro lining up for a chip-shot field goal to win a game.


To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Mike Gillislee, RB, Bills. Gillislee was a hot commodity late last week when it appeared LeSean McCoy would miss the Miami game with a bum hammy. He’s still available in the vast majority of leagues and is worth another look now that Shady has aggravated his injury.

Davante Adams, WR, Packers. Adams is, and probably will continue to be, an exercise in frustration. But we can’t ignore that he has found the end zone in four of Green Bay’s six games, punctuated by his 13-catch, 132-yard, two-TD outing on Thursday night. Though Jordy Nelson’s disappearance in that game can be written off as an aberration, it does appear that Adams will be the next-most valuable Packers receiver moving forward.

Jack Doyle, TE, Colts. Andrew Luck loves his tight ends, and Doyle is living proof. With Dwayne Allen sidelined by a high ankle sprain, the fourth-year receiver is getting his chance to shine. After racking up 13 receptions and a pair of TDs over the last two weeks, Doyle has vaulted onto the fantasy radar. TE-challenged teams would be well-served grabbing him, at least until Allen returns.

Don’t be fooled

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars. I admit it. I thought Bortles was going to build on his breakout 2015 season thanks to his outstanding receiving corps and mediocre running game. But it ain’t happening. Sunday’s matchup with the Raiders on his home turf should have been epic, but Bortles flopped. Again. With as many interceptions as touchdowns to his credit through Week 7, there’s no reason for Bortles to take up valuable roster space any longer.

Arian Foster, RB, Dolphins. He’s still owned in more than three-quarters of all leagues. After Jay Ajayi’s second consecutive game with more than 200 rushing yards, you have to ask yourself why. “Self, why?”

Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, RBs, Raiders. With Sunday’s 18-carry, two-TD outburst, Latavius Murray put to rest any notion that the Oakland backfield would be a three-headed monster upon his return from injury. As long as Murray is healthy, there’s no reason to own either of Oakland’s rookie backups. Feel free to drop them in favor of more productive options.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday morning observations - Week 7

Good morning, Fools. It's another beautiful day in DFW, and in Fantasyland.

The Giants and Rams are already going at it in London, and we have a full slate of games kicking off soon. Let's see what we need to know to dominate our opponents today...

LeSean McCoy is active after all. Which really ticks me off since I moved Tevin Coleman from my flex spot to starting RB in Shady's place and put Alshon Jeffery and his crappy 3 for 33 on Thursday night in my flex spot. Reports suggest Shady will be used sparingly (20-25 snaps, due to his tender hammy), with Mike Gillislee getting the bulk of the workload in the favorable start in Miami. McCoy's a risky start, but I would've taken my chances over Jeffery in my flex if I could do it over again.

Terrelle Pryor poses similar risk, as he's active but could exit at any time if his hamstring flares up.

Jamaal Charles is also active, despite worries all week that he would sit out due to swelling in his knee following his return to the field in Week 6. Given how well Spencer Ware has been playing, you have to figure Charles' touches will be limited today. Ware is a great start.

Latavius Murray will be back in the Raiders lineup, but he'll likely be lost in a three-headed rotation with the two rookie RBs. All bets are off on this backfield today.

Joe Flacco will play today, which is a positive sign for Mike Wallace's prospects. With Steve Smith out again, only Wallace is worth starting consideration despite the favorable matchup with the Jets. And since Geno Smith will be under center in New York, you've got to figure the Ravens will get the ball in good field position on a regular basis.

The following are out, or almost certainly out, this weekend: Ben Roethlisberger, Josh McCown, Carlos Hyde, Doug Martin, Thomas Rawls, Theo Riddick, Dwayne Washington, Robert Woods, John Brown, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, Corey Coleman, Jordan Reed, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Eric Ebron, Dwayne Allen and Jordan Cameron.

Stefon Diggs is active.

Those of us who've been waiting (im)patiently for the return of Tyler Eifert will get our first glimpse of the tight end today. That said, I'm keeping him safely on my bench for at least one more game, since he could very well be eased back in. Wouldn't be surprised if he gets involved in the red zone and forces his way back into a starting fantasy job in Week 8.

That's it for now. Inactives and other late-breaking news coming via Twitter next. Good luck today, Fools!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Week 7 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start David Johnson and Julio Jones, or to bench DeAngelo Williams and Dorial Green-Beckham? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 7 of the 2016 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals vs. Browns. Dalton has yet to have a breakout game this season, though he has notched a pair of TDs in each of his last two games. With Tyler Eifert likely making his 2016 debut, and the generous Browns pass defense coming to town, Dalton’s arrow will be pointing up on Sunday.

James White, RB, Patriots at Steelers. Pittsburgh’s defense has tightened up a bit after a rough start, but really, who cares when Tom Brady is the QB? As expected, White has become one of his go-to receivers, and the fun should continue on Sunday. Don’t expect another two-TD outing, but don’t be surprised if White does it again, either.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons vs. Chargers. Both he and Devonta Freeman were stuffed in Seattle last weekend, but the running lanes will be wide open at home when the Chargers’ sorry rush defense comes to town. Coleman should soar both on the ground and through the air against this sieve-like unit.

Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars vs. Raiders. Jacksonville’s passing attack has yet to return to its high-octane ways of 2015. That’s in part because Blake Bortles hasn’t been getting the ball to Hurns very often, though that tide seems to be turning. He targeted Hurns 11 times against the Bears, and the love should continue Sunday against the vulnerable Raiders secondary traveling cross-country.

Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders at Jaguars. He’s coming off his worst game of the season, by far; but don’t let that dissuade you from keeping him in your lineup. This game could very easily turn into a shoot-out (both teams struggle in the rushing department), and this smells like another week when Crabtree may go en fuego.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Matt Ryan, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, Marcus Mariota, Tyrod Taylor, Sam Bradford; RBs Terrance West, Mark Ingram, Melvin Gordon, Giovani Bernard, Spencer Ware, Mike Gillislee, Jacquizz Rodgers, C.J. Anderson, LeGarrette Blount; WRs Marvin Jones, Jeremy Maclin, Julian Edelman, Kenny Britt, Brandin Cooks, Mike Evans, Tyrell Williams, Larry Fitzgerald, Doug Baldwin, Jarvis Landry.

Roll ‘em back

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals vs. Seahawks. Something’s just not quite right with Palmer, who continued to put up the bare-minimum fantasy points despite leading his team to an easy win over the Jets on Monday night. And while Matt Ryan had a stellar outing in Seattle last weekend, Palmer’s recent history suggests he belongs on your bench for the Sunday nighter. Especially since he has been limited by a bum hammy all week.

Matt Forte, RB, Jets vs. Ravens. No, I don’t think it’s time to give up on Forte. Yet. But it is time to send him to your bench, in large part because he’ll be facing a suddenly stalwart Baltimore run defense. Of course, Bilal Powell’s continued encroachment on Forte’s snaps is a continuing frustration for his owners. In short, bench him and pray for a miracle.

Ryan Mathews, RB, Eagles vs. Vikings. The schedule-makers did the Eagles no favors, as they will face the league’s stingiest defense after back-to-back losses. Though Mathews appears to once again be the leader of Philly’s committee backfield, there just won’t be enough carries to give him a chance against this mean-spirited run defense.

Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens at Jets. As bad at the Jets’ secondary is playing, even the Ravens would typically merit a recommendation. But if Joe Flacco is sidelined with a shoulder injury, as appears likely, Ryan Mallett will take the controls. Then all bets are off on Wallace – who will spend much of his day on Revis Island – and the rest of the Baltimore receiving corps.

Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles vs. Vikings. Have I mentioned I have concerns about the Eagles in this matchup? Carson Wentz looked like the rookie that he is last week, and when he falters, so does the Eagles’ passing attack. You can bet that Matthews, his favorite target, will be blanketed by Minnesota defenders all day long.

More thumbs down: QBs Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Carson Wentz, Brock Osweiler, Colin Kaepernick, Trevor Siemian, Landry Jones; RBs Frank Gore, Matt Jones, T.J. Yeldon, Bilal Powell, Arian Foster, Zach Zenner, Justin Forsett, Derrick Henry; WRs Willie Snead, Quincy Enunwa, Jeremy Kerley, Golden Tate, Sammy Coates, Tyler Lockett, Will Fuller, DeVante Parker.


Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins at Lions. While none (okay, few) of us were looking, Garcon has creeped back onto the fantasy radar. Aided by Jordan Reed’s absence, Garcon was targeted 11 times by Kirk Cousins last week, vaulting to the team lead in that category. Meanwhile, Detroit has surrendered a league-worst 17 passing scores to date. Yahtzee!

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…forgets there’s another early-morning game in London on Sunday. The Giants and Rams kickoff at 9:30 a.m. ET, so be sure to wake up early and check the inactives (@ladd_biro) if you have any of their players (e.g. Odell Beckham, Jr.) in your starting lineup, just in case there’s any late-breaking news from across the pond.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 6 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to play...

 Drew Brees, Saints – Torched the Panthers for 465 yards and 4 TDs, with an INT.
Tom Brady, Patriots – Kept up the sharp start with 376 passing yards and 3 TDs, without a turnover.
Matt Stafford, Lions – Passed for 270 yards and 4 TDs, without a turnover.
Cam Newton, Panthers – Got off to a slow start, but finished with 322 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT and a 1-yard TD run.
Case Keenum, Rams – Nobody started him, which means nobody benefited from his 321-passing-yard, 3 TD, plus 7-yard, 1-TD performance.
Eli Manning, Giants – Topped 400 yards with 3 TDs, though he threw 2 picks.

David Johnson, Cardinals – Raced and rumbled over the Jets for 111 yards and a TD hat trick, plus 3 catches for 27 yards.
Jay Ajayi, Dolphins – Busted loose for 204 yards and 2 TDs.
Lamar Miller, Texans – Had his breakout night, rushing for 149 yards and a TD and adding 3 catches for 29 yards and another score.
LeSean McCoy, Bills – Had a monster game, rushing for 140 yards and 3 TDs.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Returned to run for 85 yards and 2 TDs.
Terrance West, Ravens – Scored twice with 87 rushing yards and 4 receptions for 36 yards.
James White, Patriots – Only 19 rushing yards, but caught 8 passes for 47 yards and 2 TDs.
Christine Michael, Seahawks – Rushed for 64 yards and a pair of TDs, and added 19 yards on 3 catches.

Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants – Had his breakout game of the season, with 222 yards and 2 TDs on 8 receptions. We’ll forgive the fumble.
Kenny Britt, Rams – Too bad nobody enjoyed his 7 reception, 136 yard, 2 TD outing.
Golden Tate, Lions – Not dead yet, Tate caught 8 passes for 165 yards and a TD.
Terrelle Pryor, Browns – Pulled down 9 passes for 75 yards and 2 TDs.
Brandin Cooks, Saints – Reeled in 7 passes for 173 yards and a TD.
Julio Jones, Falcons – Caught 7 passes for 139 yards and a score.

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots – Had his best game of the season with 7 receptions for 162 yards and a TD.
Coby Fleener, Saints – Caught 6 passes for 74 yards and a TD, and added a 2-yard rushing score for kicks.

This was a great week to play against…

Carson Wentz, Eagles – Just 179 passing yards without a score or a turnover.

Tevin Coleman, Falcons – Combined for 17 yards rushing and receiving.
T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars – Took a backseat to Chris Ivory, running for 21 yards and catching a 5-yarder.
Justin Forsett, Lions – You really didn’t start him in his first game in Detroit, right? If so, you got the 5 yards you deserved.
Matt Forte, Jets – His stock dropped another notch, with 19 rushing and 3 receiving yards on MNF.
Darren Sproles, Eagles – Ran for 20 yards and caught a 4-yarder.
Jeremy Hill, Bengals – Only 38 rushing yards.
Rashad Jennings, Giants – Combined for just 35 yards.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns – He totaled 36 yards in both phases.
Mark Ingram, Saints – Just 51 rushing and 9 receiving yards in a 41-point offense.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons – Ran for 40 yards and caught 3 for 10.
Carlos Hyde, 49ers – Ran for 52 yards. That’s it.

Sammy Coates, Steelers – He was active, but he didn’t do a thing.
Will Fuller, Texans – No-showed again.
Michael Crabtree, Raiders – Just 10 yards on 2 receptions.
Phillip Dorsett, Colts – Just 2 receptions for 12 yards.
Jeremy Kerley, 49ers – As forecast, he went back to being a disappointment, with 2 receptions for 12 yards.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks – Only 23 yards on 3 balls.
Tyrell Williams, Chargers – Just 28 yards on 3 catches.
Travis Benjamin, Chargers – Managed just 17 yards on 3 receptions, and lost a fumble.
Julian Edelman, Patriots – Only 30 yards on 4 receptions.
Victor Cruz, Giants – Only 31 yards on 3 balls.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks – He got 31 yards on 4 balls.
Demaryius Thomas, Broncos – Caught 5 passes for 35 yards, but lost a fumble.
Antonio Brown, Steelers – Held to 39 yards on 4 catches.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars – Limited to 49 yards on 3 catches.
Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs – Same for him.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts – And him.

Antonio Gates, Chargers – Held to 16 yards on 2 receptions.
Julius Thomas, Jaguars – Returned to catch 2 passes for 28 yards.
Delanie Walker, Titans – Caught a 21-yarder.

A weekend for the record books

The biggest news from Week 6 was Ben Roethlisberger’s knee injury, which will require surgery and sideline him for an undetermined period of time. Landry Jones will take over under center, which should be alarming if you were counting on first-overall-pick production from Antonio Brown the rest of the season.

Actually, the biggest news of the weekend was Shady McCoy’s stellar performance against his former coach, Chip Kelly.

Now that I think of it, wasn’t the biggest news that Dak Prescott broke Tom Brady’s record for most passes to begin a career without an interception? Or that the young Jedi went to Lambeau and beat the cheddar out of the Packers?

No wait, it had to be Zeke Elliott racking up 157 rushing yards against what was allegedly the NFL’s stingiest run defense.

Drew Brees’ 465-yard, four-touchdown bombing of the Panthers broke a tie with Peyton Manning for most 400-yard regular-season performances in a career. So that has to take the prize.

But what could be more surprising than watching Jay Ajayi knife through the Steelers defense for a career-best 204 yards and two scores, nearly topping Ricky Williams’ single-game rushing record for Miami? Wasn’t Arian Foster supposed to reclaim his starting gig, now that he’s (temporarily) healthy again?

Speaking of former Dolphins tailbacks, Lamar Miller finally earned his free-agent paycheck as a Texan. That surely made headlines in Houston.

Other than that, it was a pretty quiet weekend. Right, Odell?


To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans. Mariota’s season has been a tale of two-game stretches. Weeks 1 and 2 were average, the next two were awful and the last two have been lights out. He has tallied seven TDs in the recent stretch, albeit against sorry defenses, and his upcoming schedule promises similar matchups. He’s available in more than half of all leagues for those scrambling to replace Big Ben or to cover their bye weeks.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins. Despite some serious reservations, I feel compelled to recommend consideration of Ajayi, whose career game very well could have solidified his role as the Dolphins’ workhorse. Dropped in more than half of all leagues, he’s worth another look, but will only be startable in favorable matchups.

Cameron Meredith, WR, Bears. To the dismay of Alshon Jeffery’s owners, Brian Hoyer has made Meredith his go-to receiver. Don’t believe me? He’s targeted Meredith 27 times over the last two weeks, and the second-year wideout has caught 20 of them for 243 yards and a TD. This surprising duo has earned your attention, especially with Eddie Royal struggling with injuries.

Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers. I chuckled when I saw Henry in my opponent’s lineup in Week 4. Then the rookie went out and caught 4 passes for 61 yards and his first NFL TD. Hey, flukes happen. But it’s no fluke when he does it in three consecutive games, especially when Antonio Gates is no longer sidelined. Henry is doing what many predicted Ladarius Green would do when the Chargers drafted him four years ago: ushering in the end of Gates’ Hall of Fame career.

Don’t be fooled

Kenny Britt, WR, Rams. Two weeks ago, you may recall, Brian Quick was all the rage after his 69-yard, 2-TD outing against the Cardinals. On Sunday, Britt pulled off the same trick, with 136 yards to his credit. Even Case Keenum had a monster outing against the Lions. The problem is, these scoring outbursts are, and will continue to be, infrequent and unpredictable.

Golden Tate, WR, Lions. He finally had the rebound game we’ve been waiting for (165 yards, one TD). But sadly, it’s too little too late. Tate has been mostly marginalized in Detroit’s offense, and one big outing isn’t likely to change that. Unless your league awards points for awesome scoring celebrations, don’t take the bait.

Torrey Smith, WR, 49ers. As expected, Jeremy Kerley reverted to being a bystander when Blaine Gabbert was benched. Now we are to believe that Smith is the go-to wideout in San Francisco. Sorry, but I’m not buying what this so-called passing “attack” is selling.