Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 12 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to start…

Tony Romo, Cowboys – Torched the Giants for 275 yards and 4 TDs, with only a fumble lost.
Peyton Manning, Colts – Accumulated 257 yards and 4 TDs through the air.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Passed for 228 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT, and ran 15 yards for a 4th TD.
Eli Manning, Giants – Came up on the losing end, but had a nice outing with 338 passing yards and 3 TDs, plus an INT.
Drew Brees, Saints – Also fared well in a losing effort, passing for 420 yards and 3 TDs, and running for 15 more yards, plus a costly INT.

Justin Forsett, Ravens – Had a monster outing with 182 rushing yards and 2 TDs. 
Eddie Lacy, Packers – Rushed for 125 yards and a TD and caught 2 balls for 13 yards and another score.
Matt Forte, Bears – Ran for 89 yards and 2 TDs, plus 5 receptions for 23 yards.
C.J. Anderson, Broncos – Rumbled for 167 yards and a TD, plus 28 receiving yards on 4 balls.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns – Scored twice while rushing for 88 yards.
Latavius Murray, Raiders – Made the most of his 4 carries, with 112 yards and 2 TDs before getting concussed.
LeGarrette Blount, Patriots – Helped Belichick send a message to over-sleeping rookie Jonas Gray, handling the load with 78 rushing yards and 2 TDs.

Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants – Put on a show for the ages, with 10 catches for 146 yards and 2 TDs.
Demaryius Thomas, Broncos – Pulled down 10 passes for 87 yards and a TD trifecta.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys – Hauled in 7 passes for 86 yards and 2 TDs.
Anquan Boldin, 49ers – Reeled in 9 passes for 137 yards and 1 TD.

Tim Wright, Patriots – Nabbed both of Brady’s TD passes while collecting 5 receptions for 36 yards.
Jimmy Graham, Saints – Scored twice while bringing down 6 passes for 47 yards.

Eagles – Returned the opening kickoff for a TD, then collected 5 sacks and 3 turnovers.

This was a great week to play against…

Matt Stafford, Lions – Just 264 passing yards and an INT, plus 18 rushing yards, without a score.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins – Fumbled once, ran for 11 yards and passed for just 106 yards without a score.
Michael Vick, Jets – Imploded with just 76 passing yards, no TDs and an INT.

Jonas Gray, Patriots – Learned a tough lesson about sleeping in, never seeing the field against the Lions.
Frank Gore, 49ers – Ran for 36 yards and fumbled.
Doug Martin, Buccaneers – Returned to the starting role and settled for 31 combined yards.
Bishop Sankey, Titans – Limited to 37 rushing and 14 receiving yards, and lost a fumble.
Mark Ingram, Saints – Just 27 rushing and 15 receiving yards on MNF.
Joique Bell, Lions – Held to 48 rushing and minus-2 yards receiving on the day.

Michael Floyd, Cardinals – With Fitz out, he took the game off, too.
Percy Harvin, Jets – Managed just a 2-yard catch on Monday night.
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars – Caught a 6-yarder.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks – Took 2 catches to accumulate 6 yards.
Reggie Wayne, Colts – Held to 10 yards on 3 catches.
Terrance Williams, Cowboys – Marginalized on Sunday night with just an 18-yarder.
Kendall Wright, Titans – Caught a 28-yarder, and that was it.
Brandon Marshall, Bears – Only 32 yards on 3 catches.
Andre Johnson, Texans – He got 36 yards on his 3 catches.
Kenny Britt, Rams – Had just 2 receptions for 37 yards.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans – Limited to 39 yards on 5 receptions.
DeSean Jackson, Redskins – He got 39 yards on 2 passes.
Pierre Garcon, Redskins – Just 34 yards on 3 receptions.
Sammy Watkins, Bills – Chipped in 35 yards on 3 catches.
Calvin Johnson, Lions – Had his second consecutive disappointing performance with just 58 yards on 4 receptions.

Owen Daniels, Ravens – Held to 7 yards on 2 receptions.
Antonio Gates, Chargers – Only 14 yards on 2 catches.
Coby Fleener, Colts – Could only reel in 2 passes for 28 yards.
Vernon Davis, 49ers – Just 21 yards on 3 catches.

Larry Donnell, Giants – Had 2 receptions for 24 yards.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Year of the Rookie Wideout

The next time some so-called fantasy guru (like me) tells you that rookie wide receivers are risky draft picks, simply reply “2014.”

Perhaps this season will go down as an anomaly, rather than the beginning of a trend; but there is no doubt that this rookie class is special.

No less than seven first-year players are currently ranked among the Top 30 WRs in Fantasyland, with Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans leading the pack. By comparison, since 2000, only twice have as many as four freshman wideouts finished among the Top 30, with Percy Harvin setting the pace at No. 25 in 2009 and Michael Clayton at No. 13 in 2004. Last season, Keenan Allen was the only rookie receiver among the Top 30, checking in at No. 17.

As of today, Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, Sammy Watkins, Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandin Cooks and John Brown all reside among the Top 30. Cooks will eventually drop out because of his injury, but don’t be surprised if Martavis Bryant or Jarvis Landry makes a late-season push to replace him.

What’s more, these players are showing the kind of consistency that few veteran wideouts can boast. And following Sunday night’s dazzling performance, I’m convinced that a healthy Beckham will lead countless fantasy squads to this year’s title games.

Seriously, after that play – I’m dubbing it “The Tre” because “The Catch” is taken and he nabbed it with three fingers – which receiver would you rather have in your starting lineup down the stretch? Megatron? A.J. Green? Demaryius? Dez? Antonio Brown?

Perhaps, but I’m not so sure any of those players can do what Beckham can do. It’s not like “The Tre” was a fluke. He practices those catches!

Several rookie receivers will undoubtedly be major contributors to a slew of title contenders this season, and that’s a fairly remarkable development.

They require patience, but the wait can be well worth it once youth is served.


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

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders. He only had four carries on Thursday night, but that was enough to convince the world that Murray is the most talented back on Oakland’s roster. Whether that translates into meaningful production down the stretch is anybody’s guess. Add in his uncertain progress in the NFL’s concussion protocol, and Murray comes with significant risk. But the upside is clearly there as well.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots. Jonas Gray, and his fantasy owners, learned a tough lesson on Sunday. We also learned that Blount can still be a force, especially in the Patriots’ offense. He was a beast late last season, so he’s worth consideration. Just remember last week’s prophetic words in reference to Gray: “What Bill Belichick giveth, he loves to taketh away.”

Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins. Landry won’t be flying under the radar much longer after scoring four touchdowns over his last four games. Ryan Tannehill is looking sharp and Landry is quickly emerging as his go-to wideout. In the Year of the Rookie WR, ignore Landry at your peril.

Don’t be fooled

Dan Herron, RB, Colts. With Ahmad Bradshaw out for the duration, Herron stepped into the role of “Backup Who’s Better than Trent Richardson.” But he’s no Bradshaw, which makes him an option best reserved for truly RB-challenged teams. Herron is more likely to be a fantasy bust than a “Boom” in any given week.

Tim Wright, TE, Patriots. Wright is no stranger to the end zone, having reeled in his fifth and sixth TD receptions of the year on Sunday. He’s also no stranger to the goose egg, registering six games with big fat zeros. There’s only one tight end in New England worth a roster spot, and that ain’t Wright.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday morning Foolishness -- Week 12

Good morning, Fools. It's crunch time in Fantasyland, with postseason berths on the line in millions of leagues. So let's jump right to the news we can use:

Looks like another week of Alfred Blue as Arian Foster hasn't worked out his groin issues yet (can't most of us say that, really?). Foster is not expected to play today.

Hope you're not counting on Reggie Bush either. He's likely out, leaving the backfield to Joique Bell and Theo Riddick in a tough matchup.

Fred Jackson is expected to play, and he finally got some practice reps in; but I don't like his chances in this crazy Monday nighter against a decent Jets run defense with about 45 people cheering from the stands.

Doug Martin could get another shot at the Bucs' starting gig, given the ineffectiveness of Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey in his absence. No, I don't think you should start any of them.

After Jonas Gray missed practice the other day, reports are surfacing that he will split carries with newly acquired LeGarrette Blount. It shouldn't matter, given the matchup with a very stingy Lions run defense. Neither RB is good starting material today.

Pierre Thomas will be back in the lineup Monday night, plunging Travaris Cadet's value and possibly stealing a few carries from Mark Ingram. But no worries...Ingram is still the man in the Saints' backfield.

Larry Fitzgerald will be a game-time decision. He's a risky start if he goes against the Seahawks, but Michael Floyd's value increases a bit if he's out.

Both Owen Daniels and Delanie Walker are expected to suit up today.

That's it for now, Fools. Off to early church service. Back in time to tweet the inactives and other late-breaking news. Good luck today!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Week 12 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start Aaron Rodgers and DeMarco Murray, or to bench Teddy Bridgewater and Robert Woods? 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 12 of the 2014 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals at Texans. Yeah, I’m probably crazy for recommending Dalton, despite his unexpected rebound in New Orleans last week. But with a healthy A.J. Green anchoring a salty receiving corps, and the Texans’ porous secondary on tap, the Red Rifle will have every opportunity to continue his road heroics.

Trent Richardson, RB, Colts vs. Jaguars. Even with Ahmad Bradshaw on IR, Richardson is no sure thing as the bell cow back in Indy. What makes him attractive this week is the matchup against the Jags’ lowly run defense. At long last, T-Rich is finally worth starting again. At least for one week.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns at Falcons. The newly crowned starter in Cleveland had a so-so debut against the Texans, but look for Crowell to return to the end zone at least once against a Falcons defense that has surrendered an NFL-worst 13 rushing scores to date.

Marques Colston, WR, Saints vs. Ravens. With rookie phenom Brandin Cooks out for a month or more, Colston and Kenny Stills will get more frequent looks in the Saints’ passing game. The veteran has had a very disappointing season, but his arrow is pointing up with the vulnerable Ravens secondary heading to the Big Easy.

Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers vs. Redskins. Boldin is the most-targeted receiver in San Francisco, so he can produce even when Colin Kaepernick struggles. They both will enjoy facing one of the league’s most generous secondaries when the Redskins travel cross-country Sunday. In PPR leagues, Boldin’s value is especially high this week.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Matt Stafford, Eli Manning; RBs Alfred Blue, Darren Sproles, Justin Forsett, Denard Robinson, Tre Mason, Rashad Jennings; WRs Mohamed Sanu, Josh Gordon, T.Y. Hilton, Michael Crabtree, Mike Evans, Brandon LaFell, Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, Odell Beckham, Torrey Smith.

Roll ‘em back

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers vs. Rams. With just one TD pass, three interceptions and a pathetic 331 passing yards over his last two games, the bloom has come off Rivers’ rose. Squaring off against a Rams pass defense that just knocked Peyton Manning off his stride, Rivers can’t be trusted.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings vs. Packers. Green Bay has been holding quality RBs in check recently, while McKinnon (chest) is struggling against lesser opponents. Add newly acquired Ben Tate to the mix, and Matt Asiata’s concussion, and this backfield is best avoided altogether on Sunday.

Fred Jackson, RB, Bills vs. Jets. Jackson claims that his team is at a disadvantage because they’ve been unable to practice due to the relentless snowfall in Buffalo. It’s hard to argue with that. Add in his nagging groin injury, the likelihood of a committee approach with Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown, and a quirky travel schedule and all bets are off for this running game.

Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins at 49ers. Robert Griffin III is struggling again, and he appears to be losing the confidence of his teammates. Garcon has been virtually invisible since Griffin’s return, and the road gets tougher in San Francisco. DeSean Jackson is tough to sit, but Garcon isn’t worth the risk.

Percy Harvin, WR, Jets at Bills. There’s no telling how this star-crossed game will unfold. But given the Bills’ stingy secondary, and the still-developing chemistry between Harvin and Michael Vick, and the dual threat’s best chance of producing will likely be as a runner.

More thumbs down: QBs Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Ryan Tannehill, Michael Vick, Drew Stanton; RBs Ryan Mathews, Mark Ingram, Jonas Gray, Lamar Miller, Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Bishop Sankey, Charles Sims; WRs Malcom Floyd, Doug Baldwin, Eric Decker, Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, DeAndre Hopkins, Wes Welker, Kenny Britt, Larry Fitzgerald.


Brian Hoyer, QB, Browns at Falcons. Could Josh Gordon have picked a better week to return, given the sorry state of the Atlanta secondary? Though Hoyer probably won’t have Jordan Cameron (concussion) back just yet, he can alternate between both Gordon and Andrew Hawkins while picking apart one of the league’s passing doormats.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…fails to check the weather reports prior to setting your starting lineups. Forget Buffalo…forecasted winds and precipitation could wreak havoc on passing and kicking games in Chicago, Foxborough and New York as well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Week 11 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to start…

Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Dominated the Eagles with 341 yards and 3 TDs, plus 32 rushing yards, without a turnover.
Jay Cutler, Bears – Threw 2 INTs, but rebounded from a rough few weeks with 330 passing yards and 3 TDs, plus 21 rushing yards.

Jonas Gray, Patriots – Holy guacamole! Gray burst onto the scene with 199 rushing yards and a whopping 4 TDs.
LeVeon Bell, Steelers – Rumbled over the Titans for 204 yards and a TD, plus 18 yards on 2 receptions.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – Raced for 159 yards and 2 TDs, and added 19 yards on 2 receptions. We’ll forgive the fumble.
Eddie Lacy, Packers – Rushed for 69 yards and a TD and caught 3 balls for 45 yards and another score.

Mike Evans, Buccaneers – Had a monster game with 7 receptions for 209 yards and 2 TDs.
Brandon Marshall, Bears – Reeled in 7 passes for 90 yards and 2 TDs.
Alshon Jeffery, Bears – Soared in PPR leagues with 11 catches for 135 yards and a TD.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals – Finally showed up again with 2 receptions for 54 yards and 2 TDs in the first quarter. (Then nothing else.)

Jermaine Gresham, Bengals – Scored on both his catches, which went for just 13 yards.

Packers – Accumulated 3 sacks and 4 turnovers, and scored TDs on a punt return, an INT return and a fumble return.

This was a great week to play against…

Kyle Orton, Bills – Stymied by the Dolphins with just 193 yards, no scores and no turnovers.
Alex Smith, Chiefs – Passed for just 108 yards without a score (or a turnover).
Eli Manning, Giants – His 280-yard, 1-TD effort was outweighed by 5 INTs.
Peyton Manning, Broncos – His 389-yard, 1-TD, 2-INT outing wasn’t horrible, just so much worse than normal.
Matt Stafford, Lions – Just 183 passing yards and an INT without a TD.

Matt Asiata, Vikings – Once again, can’t be trusted after combining for 14 yards and no TDs.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts – Stuffed at the goal-line twice, and ended with 4 rushing yards and just 7 yards on 4 catches before leaving injured.
Raiders – Darren McFadden finished with 21 rushing yards while Maurice Jones-Drew had just 6.
Bobby Rainey, Bucs – Yielded to Charles Sims, gaining just 4 yards on the ground.
Andre Williams, Giants – Marginalized by Rashad Jennings’ return, with 2 rushing and 4 receiving yards.
Steven Jackson, Falcons – Just 41 rushing yards, plus 6 yards on 2 receptions, despite the favorable matchup.
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers – He also had just 41 rushing yards (and lost 3 yards on his only catch).
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Just 24 rushing and 15 receiving yards.
Terrance West, Browns – Only ran for 12 yards after giving up the starting job to Isaiah Crowell. Which was a lot better than Ben Tate’s minus-9 yards.

Pierre Garcon, Redskins – Had a 6-yarder.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs – Just 18 yards on 2 receptions.
Martavis Bryant, Steelers – Only 11 yards on 2 catches.
Tavon Austin, Rams – Held in check (again) with just 11 rushing and 10 receiving yards.
Sammy Watkins, Bills – Took 3 passes 32 yards.
Mike Wallace, Dolphins – He had 38 yards on 4 passes.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings – Ran for 3 yards and caught 2 passes for 24 more.
Mohamed Sanu, Bengals – Limited to 3 catches for 23 yards.
Wes Welker, Broncos – Even with injuries to other receivers, finished with just 28 yards on 4 catches.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – Only 33 yards on a pair of catches.
DeSean Jackson, Redskins – Held to 35 yards on 4 receptions.
James Jones, Raiders – He also had 35 yards, on 2 catches.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts – Held in check with just 24 yards on 3 catches.
Golden Tate, Lions – Just 41 yards on 2 passes.
Calvin Johnson, Lions – You can’t hope for much better than 59 yards on 5 catches when you play against Megatron.

Julius Thomas, Broncos – Just 3 yards on 2 catches before leaving injured.
Vernon Davis, 49ers – Another awful day with a 7-yarder.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs – Only 37 yards on 3 passes, and lost a fumble.

Antonio Gates, Chargers – Stalled with 32 yards on 3 catches.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Let the postseason countdown begin

With just two weeks to go in most fantasy leagues’ regular seasons, it’s crunch time for teams on the postseason bubble. And things are about to get very interesting.

Josh Gordon is set to return in Week 12 against a very vulnerable Falcons secondary. With Andrew Hawkins stepping up and tight end Jordan Cameron nearing his return from a concussion, Cleveland’s offense is about to get turbo-charged. Don’t be surprised if Brian Hoyer turns in some stellar performances in the weeks ahead.

The Adrian Peterson saga could be resolved at any minute, giving the Vikings a fresh-legged superstar to carry the load down the stretch.

Marginal teams that have socked Peterson and/or Gordon away could become contenders overnight.

The mercurial Marshawn Lynch is unhappy with his lame duck status in Seattle so he will presumably be gunning for a massive payday in the offseason. I’m glad I’m not one of the poor souls that has to tackle an angry, motivated Beast Mode.

Meanwhile, just when we thought we could never trust Jay Cutler or Andy Dalton again, both quarterbacks reminded us how quickly things can change when you have talented receivers at your disposal. Which is why you shouldn’t count out Matt Ryan or Matt Stafford after their sub-par performances, and why Ben Roethlisberger will continue to make your start/sit decisions so confounding.

Even Josh McCown is worth a gamble in favorable matchups, thanks to the emergence of rookie Mike Evans and his equally explosive counterpart, Vincent Jackson.

Apparently, a well-stocked receiving corps and solid running game isn’t enough for Robert Griffin III, though.

Several other players served notice in Week 11 that they could be factors in the second half of the season, including Ryan Tannehill, Tre Mason, C.J. Anderson and the Packers’ defense.

And remember…if you’re the Raiders of your league, don’t just tank it. The integrity of the competition depends upon everyone putting up their best fight every week. If you can’t win it all, at least spoil someone else’s season. Isn’t that what friends are for?


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

Jonas Gray, RB, Patriots. Talk about a great way to vault onto the fantasy radar! If you watched Sunday night’s game, you don’t need me to tell you to grab Gray. Just be warned: What Bill Belichick giveth, Belichick loves to taketh away. Gray certainly looks like workhorse material, especially with the winter weather kicking in; but how the undrafted free agent will be deployed going forward is anybody’s guess.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns. Ben Tate had his turn. Then came the Terrance West Experiment. Now, the starting job in Cleveland is in Crowell’s hands; and while he didn’t exactly soar with the opportunity, he seems destined to get another shot this weekend. Given the aerial firepower at the Browns’ disposal, and Crowell’s effectiveness around the goal line, he certainly merits consideration for teams dealing with RB injuries and/or ineffectiveness.

Josh Gordon, WR, Browns. Somehow, last season’s most prolific fantasy receiver is set to return to action this weekend and yet he’s still available in about a third of all leagues. If your league is one of those, what on earth are you waiting for?

Coby Fleener, TE, Colts. When Dwayne Allen was carted off with an ankle injury Sunday night, Fleener became Andrew Luck’s go-to receiver. The Stanford teammates obviously have a good rapport, and if Allen misses more time, Fleener will have the dreaded tight end “committee” job all to himself.

Don’t be fooled

Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers. Any starting RB is worth a fantasy roster spot. Unless he plays in Oakland, or Tampa Bay. Sims took over for Bobby Rainey, who made everyone forget Doug Martin. But despite the favorable matchup and plenty of opportunities, Sims managed just 44 combined yards. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals. There’s a reason Floyd is available in a third of all fantasy leagues: If he doesn’t deliver in the first half, he doesn’t deliver. Fortunately, he reeled in two TD receptions in Sunday’s first quarter; then he promptly disappeared and didn’t have another catch. If you grab him, be prepared for more frustration.

Kenny Britt, WR, Rams. Britt is notorious for underachieving, and he’s unlikely to put that reputation behind him in St. Louis. His physical skills have always made Britt intriguing, but it’s hard to trust a guy that has squandered every chance he’s been given.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday morning Foolishness -- Week 11

Good morning, Fools. It's cold, drizzly and overcast in Dallas but, as always, it's a beautiful day in Fantasyland.

Lots of news to cover this morning, so let's get right to it…

Arian Foster has been ruled out for today's game in Cleveland, so get ready for the Alfred Blue show. He's a solid RB2 or flex play today.

As mentioned in my Starters/Benchwarmers column on Friday, you should be very wary if you're an Andre Johnson or DeAndre Hopkins owner, given the tough matchup and the first NFL start for their new QB, Ryan Mallett.

There were some worries about Marshawn Lynch's status a couple days ago when he added a rib injury to his ailments, but he is expected to play as usual today. Hopefully he'll go all Beast Mode on the Chiefs today.

We already knew Gio Bernard was out, giving Jeremy Hill at least one more week as the workhorse in Cinci.

Reggie Bush will not be active, leaving the backfield in the hands of Joique Bell and Theo Riddick. They'll have a rough go of it in Arizona.

C.J. Anderson will start for the Broncos today, but Montee Ball will play and could see plenty of action. This may be the only week that Anderson is worth starting; and even now, he's a dicey proposition.

Ryan Mathews will reclaim his starting gig today, and POOF goes Branden Oliver's fantasy value.

By the way, if Josh Gordon is still available in your league (as he is in roughly a third of them), grab him pronto. He's eligible to return to action next weekend!

Delanie Walker is expected to sit out Monday night due to his concussion. Hopefully you have a TE backup plan.

Okay, that's it for now. Heading over to Twitter for the inactives and other late-breaking news, and to answer your questions. Good luck, Fools!