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Once again in 2016 (come September), we are bringing you in-season NFL Team Reports from our "Eye in the Sky" correspondents. These reports represent a local point of view which isn't readily available on the web. We remind everyone, the views expressed within these reports contain speculation as well as fact. It's just another extra bonus from FFMastermind.com to keep all fantasy football fanatics well informed.
This scouting position is vacant. If you are interested in covering this team, please contact us. Thank you.
Professional football returns to Miami. Like, wow. Just when you thought these guys were a total write-off the Miami Dolphins beat the living crap out of the Pittsburgh Steelers. An amazing game. The Fins corralled the Steelers’ stars. Neither Antonio Brown or LeVeon Bell could do much, and we presume you heard about Big Ben. Bad as Miami’s been on Defense this Season they’ve still left a trail of broken Quarterbacks: Russell Wilson in Week One, Jimmy Garrapolo in Week Two, now Rothlisberger.
What happened? Who knows? The bright sign for Miami – it was the first game they’ve managed to field their starting Offensive Line. RB Jay Ajayi had a HUGE day. He ran for 204 yards and 2 TDs. That now gives him a Season total of 321 yards and 4 TDs. How sick is that? Tripling his yardage and doubling his TDs in one afternoon. QB Ryan Turnover did not turn the ball over, made a couple of truly spectacular throws – one scrambling to his left to 4th String TE MarQueis Gray for 53 yards, another to WR Jarvis Landry for 38 yards with 44 seconds left in the half to set up a huge Touchdown. Miami was already up 9-8 at that point, but the score right before the half is really when they started pulling away.
A great victory. But the proverbial $64,000 Question is – was this just a little bump in the road? Or does this turn the Season around? As a Fins Fan you certainly hope for the latter. Trouble is, we’re Fins Fans. We’ve seen this before. A glimmer of hope, of potential, just so they can make their ultimate collapse all that more painful.
We’re certainly hoping this lights a spark, might spur Miami through the next couple games, because this Sunday the Fins are home facing the Buffalo Bills. Fins Fans hate losing to these guys, especially that blowhard, Rex Ryan.
A couple Fantasy notes. Reshad Jones, Miami’s Safety and one of the best in the League, is out for the Season with a shoulder injury. Also, back-up TE Dion Sims is currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol, and we don’t know if he’ll be able to play. The injury to Jones is certainly a blow to the Dolphin D, who were pretty much a nightmare until last week’s big effort, but you have to like what we saw out of TE MarQueis Gray last week. With “starting” Tight End Cameron Jordan sidelined indefinitely with his 4th Concussion, you might take a flier on MarQueis Gray if you’re hurting at TE.
Also, RB Arian Foster seems to be on the mend. He played a small number of snaps last week, but Ajayi was on a roll. How the Running Back situation is likely to play out this week is anybody’s guess.
As for the Bills, RB LeSean McCoy strained a hamstring in practice, so his availability is in question. Might be a good thing. Only problem there is that moves former Dolphin Mike Gillislee up to starter, and he might have an axe to grind against Miami. Buffalo is also without WR Sammy Watkins, so their receiving corps might not be up to snuff. Still, that might make TE Charles Clay more of a target. Another former Fin.
Main consideration might be QB Tyrod Taylor. He’s mobile and those kind of Quarterbacks tend to give the Dolphins fits.
Moving forward, we’d tread warily. Miami played a great game last week. That makes one in a row. We certainly hope this has turned the Fins Season around, but best case scenario right now it’s still a flip of the coin whether this was a team finally getting it together or a happy fluke. If Miami can put it together for a second week, beat the Bills, who we hate, Fins Fans are going to feel pretty good. But if the Dolphins stink it up the Season goes right back into the crapper.
Meantime, playing Buffalo, it’s still tough to have any confidence starting any Dolphins on your Fantasy roster. You know Rex Ryan is scheming for a way to shut down WR Jarvis Landry, and though we expect Miami to feature RB Jay Ajayi you have to believe the Bills are likewise devising some plan to shut down the Fins running attack. You have to think this is one of those days QB Ryan Tannehill is going to have to step up, make some plays to some other guys. It’s theoretically possible, and we’re certainly rooting for it, but I don’t know if I’d be betting on it.
Jimmy The Finger
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The New England Patriots (5-1) defeated the Cincinnati Bengals (2-4) 35-17 on the Tom Brady Revenge Tour of 2016. This Rock Concert that all Patriot Fans are following around the country will continue this week
Fantasy Stars of the Week:
QB Tom Brady 29/35 !!!!! for 376 yards and 3 TD RB LeGarrette Blount 50 yards and 1 TD TE Rob Gronkowski 7 catches for 162 yards and 1 TD RB James White 19 yards rushing and 8 catches for 47 yards and 2 TD TE Martellus Bennett 5 catches 48 yards (PPR)
This week the Patriots take their tour to Pittsburgh and see if they can continue their roaring crowds at the expense of the Steelers. The Steelers will not have Big Ben this week but will turn to QB Landry Jones.
QB: QB Tom Brady should be played at all costs. Get him if you can!
RB: RB LeGarrette Blount and RB James White should both be starters this week for your fantasy teams. RB James White is the receiver of the team from the backfield.
WR: TE Rob Gronkowski and TE Martellus Bennett are the class of the receiving corps. WR Julian Edelman, WR Chris Hogan, and WR Danny Amendola are also available to use in that order. Start the TEs always!
K: Start PK Steven Ghostkoski if you have him. Period!
Outlook: The Patriots will win this game 31-13. Period!
Good luck this week!
NEW YORK JETS
Last week the Arizona Cardinals really took it to the NY Jets 28-3 in Arizona. The Cardinals scored a TD in each quarter and the JETS could only muster 3 points in the second quarter. The JETS defense could not contain RB David Johnson but otherwise did a pretty good job against the Cardinal offense. The JETS Offense, however was just horrible against the Cardinal Defense.
The NY JETS benched QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in favor of QB Geno Smith late in the game and it made no difference. The JETS only scored on a 39-yard field goal and they never really threatened again. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and QB Geno Smith each threw an interception.
This week, the JETS host the Baltimore Ravens and look to get back on the winning track.
QB The JETS have decided to make a change and start QB Geno Smith this week in order to shake up a stagnant offense. Personally I would stay away from the JETS offense this week and see if the offense improves with Smith running the show. Vote: Stay Away!
RB: RB Matt Forte was shut down last week and could be again this week if the Ravens force QB Geno Smith to beat them. Again, avoid the JETS runningbacks and only play RB Matt Forte if you have some bye week issues.
WR: WR Brandon Marshall is the only option to play for the JETS this week. Even at that, this is a risky play. Find alternatives if you can.
K: PK Nick Folk is a good bye week alternate as the JETS might be kicking several FGs this week.
Outlook: I think the JETS are going to run into a Baltimore team that needs to keep pace with Pittsburgh and can start crawling to the top of the division with a few wins.
Prediction: Baltimore 24 JETS 16
Good luck this week!
This scouting position is vacant. If you are interested in covering this team, please contact us. Thank you.
This scouting position is vacant. If you are interested in covering this team, please contact us. Thank you.
Another week, another loss and more injuries. Season ended for FS Jordan Poyer with a lacerated spleen on a cheap shot that the league didn't fine. Onto the numbers.
QUARTERBACK PLAY What a difference a week makes. Last week Cody got knocked out with a bruised sternum but he toughed it out and made it back for Titans and had a really nice game completing 26 of 41 passes for 336 yards with 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Cody also had 1 rush for 3 yards on the ground. Truth be told, he didn't have great numbers until the final few minutes of the game but engineered a 94 yard drive and was slippery in avoiding pressure and knows how to throw it up and allow a big tall wide receiver like Terrelle Pryor make plays. The Bengals offer a tougher test defensively and Cody 'may' be without WR Terrelle Pryor so RED light non-start for QB Cody Kessler this week.
RUNNING BACK PLAY For the second week in a row the running game couldn't get untracked. The success that Kessler had might start to shift the defensive emphasis towards stopping the pass but with the possible absence of Pryor teams will likely target stopping the running game. RB Duke Johnson led the way with only 4 carries for 18 yards and 1 touchdown. RB Isaiah Crowell had 9 rushes for only 16 yards and WR Terrelle Pryor only had 1 carry for 3 yards. Horrible rushing performance all around. The injuries to the offensive line have added to the woes but big RED light no-start for any Cleveland running back this week.
RECEIVER PLAY As reported, WR Terrelle Pryor is listed as QUESTIONABLE and may not play. Even if he does, Pryor may be limited. Terrelle had a big game with 9 receptions for 75 yards plus 2 touchdowns. Losing him would really hamper the receiving corps and devastate red zone opportunities for QB Cody Kessler. Huge YELLOW light cautionary start fir WR Terrelle Pryor dependant upon his injury status but he might be limited even if he is active. WR Ricardo Lewis has begun to emerge. He struggles with drops and tends to not run through his routes but he is starting to produce as he had 5 receptions for 65 yards. If TP can't play then Lewis would assume the X wide recicer role. TE Gary Barnidge continues to produce with 3 receptions for 59 yards and RB Duke Johnson added 4 receptions for 56 yards through the air.
IDP REPORT With CB Joe Haden OUT last week and possibly again this week, it appears that CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun 'could' have another big game as he notched 6 solos and 1 assist as he was targeted all game by Mariota. LB Demario Davis has been steady as he had 5 solos and 2 assists. LB Christen Kirksey has also been steady as he had 2 solos and 3 assists.. Have to mention the big game by DT Danny Shelton who had 5 solos and 1 assist and 1 sack, the first of his career. We also have to give a nod to OLB Emmanuel Ogbah who only had 1 solo and 2 assists but he had 1 sack, his first of his career.
The Bengals only have 2 wins but that is two more than the Browns and possibly without CB Joe Haden and WR Terrelle Pryor it doesn't look like a win will come this week.
Aspettate fino alla prossima volta... Till next time, Ciao!
The road again caused problems for 4-2 Steelers losing in Miami to the 2-4 Dolphins by the score of 30-15. The game was not as close as the final score indicated. The offense scored on a trick play on their first possession and then did not get on the board again until garbage time. QB Ben Roethlisberger suffered a knee injury on an interception return and although he returned after halftime needed knee surgery performed on Tuesday morning. He is out against the 5-1 Patriots. This is a terrible blow to the bottom line on the field and also to all the offensive skill position talent from a fantasy perspective.
QB: The Patriots game is followed by a bye and then a trip to Baltimore to face the 3-3 Ravens. The hope is that Roethlisberger can return for the divisional matchup. It is supposedly possible. The knee operation was basically a cleanup procedure where a part of the meniscus was removed, but the meniscus did not need to be repaired which would have cost Roethlisberger the rest of the season. Roethlisberger returned after limping off at halftime in Miami because the belief was playing could not cause further injury to the knee. He ended up completing 19 of 34 passes for 189 yards, a garbage time touchdown and 2 interceptions. QB Landry Jones threw a single incompletion in 5 plays before half. He is completely worthless from a fantasy standpoint.
RB: The only sure thing on offense remaining with Roethlisberger out is RB LeVeon Bell will get plenty of touches. Bell gained 53 yards on 10 carries and 55 yards on 6 receptions to again top 100 yards from scrimmage. He added a 2 point conversion on a reception. Bell should be in all fantasy lineups in all formats every week. RB DeAngelo Williams suffered a knee injury after gaining 10 yards on 3 carries. His status is unclear. Whether he plays or not does not have any real bearing on the value of Bell.
WR/TE: Backups did the damage in Miami what little of it occurred. WR Darius Heyward-Bey scored a 60 yard touchdown on an end around on the opening drive then never touched the ball again. WR Cobi Hamilton just activated off the practice squad caught 2 passes for 36 yards and a garbage time touchdown. Neither are fantasy relevant. WR Antonio Brown had only 4 receptions for 39 yards and a carry for 6 yards. WR Eli Rogers added 4 catches for 35 yards. WR Samnmie Coates was totally ineffective and perhaps should not have been active. Then again every inactive player except third string QB Zach Mettenberger was unable to play due to injury. Coates had no catches on 4 targets. The tight ends totaled 24 yards receiving. TE Jesse James with 13 yards on 2 catches and gained and TE Xavier Grimble with 11 yards on his only catch. Only Brown is worth fantasy consideration against the Patriots. Having an option with more upside as a second receiver is unlikely especially in PPR leagues. Benching your top pick would be difficult despite his struggles last year when QB Michael Vick and Jones were replacing Roethlisberger.
K: Things only got worse from a fantasy perspective for PK Chris Boswell. Successfully going for 2 after the opening touchdown Boswell ended up with a single point after the garbage time Hamilton score. Boswell has dropped to 29th in scoring among kickers. Against the Patriots with a bye the next week he should not be on a fantasy roster in league's were a team normally keeps a single kicker.
DEF/ST: The defense made RB Jay Ajayi look like the greatest of all time RB Jim Brown. Ajayi rushed for a mind numbing 204 yards after totaling 158 yards from scrimmage for the season entering the game. Rookie seventh round LB Tyler Matakevitch led the team in tackles with 7 solos and 2 assists. There were no sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles or fumble recoveries. The previously anemic Dolphins offense had 474 yards on offense and converted 50% of their 14 third downs. The only noteworthy event by a Steelers defender was LB Lawrence Timmons throwing up in the endzone after a Dolphins score. Not something new actually, Timmons has puked on the field before. DE Cam Heyward will again definitely be out due to his hamstring injury. The practice participation of LB Ryan Shazier will determine if he can return. New injuries to S Mike Mitchell and S Robert Golden suffered in Miami bear watching. In the best of times the Steelers defense would not be a fantasy consideration against New England. In it's current state the Patriots could score on every possession.
QB Brock ‘Bumpidy’ Osweiler played the first 3 ½ quarters last Sunday night looking like the worst QB in the NFL. After that he looked like Joe Montana finding a way to score 17 points to win the game in OT. Is he still trying to find his rhythm or is he just that bad? The answer is he was just that bad. I can’t tell you why he looked so good at the 11_th hour. The good news is that their best lineman LT Duane Brown is back playing well. The OL is playing better but they face the Broncos this Monday night in Denver. Although RB Lamar Miller scored a TD and ran for 149 yards do you play him this week against that great Bronco D? Absolutely. Clearly he’s a must play each week.
With WR Will Fuller on the bench nursing a hammy WR DeAndre Hopkins suffered most of Osweiler’s poor throws. Somehow TE C.J. Fiedorowicz had the game of his life catching six passes including the game tying TD! All of a sudden a seemingly bust is making plays. Watch out for WR Braxton Miller playing the slot. With opposing Ds taking away the long ball he can do damage underneath. In fact, WR Jaelen Strong made a clutch play in overtime last week to help win the game.
The loss of DL J.J. Watt is really starting to show along that DL. DE Jadeveon Clowney is the only lineman making plays. Plays are being made by the LBs and in the secondary. This week will be interesting because of the injuries in the secondary and their replacements.
I’ve dropped the Texans STs / D in my league because I think I can do better changing Ds out each week. Don’t start the Texans special teams.
Can the Texans go into Mile High and best the Vikings? Sure, just need for the QB play to improve. Ole Bumpidy will surely be nervous. That whole O is yet to settle in although the OL may be jelling.
That’s what I see here in Houston this week.
Hey there Colts’ fans! Here are my thoughts on this weekend’s season-making game as the 2-4 Colts travel to Nashville to square off with the 3-3 Titans:
Injuries/roster: The rolling MASH unit that is the Colts’ roster took several key hits this week, really depleting the starting lineup in some critical ways that unfortunately match the Titans’ strengths. The most consistent lineman thus far has been OG Jack Mewhort (arm), and he has already been ruled out for this weekend. The expectation is that rookie OL Joe Haeg will move over to left guard and versatile veteran OT Joe Reitz will step in at right tackle. They will get OL Jon Harrison (appendectomy) back this week, which will provide some needed depth. There are numerous concerns with the receiving crew as well, not even including star WR TY Hilton who did not practice until Friday of this week. Both WR Donte Moncrief (shoulder) and WR Philip Dorsett (foot, hammie) have been marked out for Sunday already, as has starting TE Dwayne Allen (ankle). Egads. A real skeleton crew of pass catchers will be strolling around on Sunday! The defensive line also took a big hit with two stout starters slated to sit this one out, DE Henry Anderson and DT Zach Kerr; their presence might not have been enough to slow down the Titans’ “exotic smash-mouth” offense, but their absence surely means that Demarco Murray could run wild. DB Darius Butler (calf, hammie) is still gimpy with numerous injuries, but will have to go as there are already 7 guys for the inactive list with backup LB Curt Maggitt (ankle) also unable to go this week.
QB: QB Andrew Luck has never lost to the Titans, and if he is to move to 8-0 lifetime, he is going to have to do a little magic this Sunday. In either case, I don’t expect much in the way of fantasy stats this week with few dependable receivers and a solid Tennessee pass defense. The Titans are 5th best in limiting fantasy quarterbacks, allowing about 250 passing YPG and only 1 TD per game. In addition, Luck has never topped 300 yards in Nashville, only tossing 5 TDs in 4 games. I would be surprised if Luck reached any more than 250 and a score, and he is a low-end #1 at best and better suited as a #2 if you can afford it; I would rather start an average backup with a great matchup this week (for example, Kirk Cousins vs DET).
RB: Everyone suspects that the team will use a healthy dose of RB Frank Gore this week. Besides the fact that he is running better each week, this will take the pressure off Luck and the young receivers. Unfortunately, the Titans defenders know this as well and will be adjusted accordingly. Just to make it even tougher, the Colts will be without their best run blocker AND the Titans are only allowing about 75 rushing yards per game. I suspect they will try to run Gore a lot, but it remains to be seen how much success he will have. He has gutted out a #2 caliber performance each week thus far, so I would still trust him as one with a limited ceiling.
WR: The only guy that is a rock solid starter is Hilton of course, but he is a bit gimpy and will surely see double coverage the entire game. You probably have to start him, but temper expectations unless someone simply misses a tackle. The onus will fall on the backups to be a viable threat or to make a play when Hilton gets covered, and the best chance for a decent PPR day falls on the shoulders of WR Chester Rogers who has been able to get open against the ones when asked to do so. I have a hunch that WR Devin Street will have a big play down the seam as well as being the best bet for a red zone score, but his contribution is too speculative to be worth a risky start as anything more than a desperation #4. Hilton is the only guy here you really have to start, but the desperate among you in bye/injury hell might consider one of the two youngsters as a weekly lottery ticket at best.
TE: Again, the best guy is out, although TE Jack Doyle has been a better fantasy producer thus far in 2016. However, that was always with Dwayne Allen drawing coverage, and I wonder if Doyle can get open as the #1 option. The intriguing guy is raw but freakishly athletic TE Erik Swoope, but he is not even rosterable in any format at this juncture. I would not start Doyle unless very desperate, and with only Olsen and Witten on a bye this week, you probably have a better option available.
K: The NFL’s leading scorer is going to have to carry the scoring load this week; I suspect that the offense will sputter often so if they get into the positive side of the field, PK Adam Vinatieri will get his chances. The Titans defense does force a lot of FGAs, and have been particularly generous to fantasy kickers for games in Nashville, averaging 11 PPG allowed. In the Luck era, he has averaged about those kind of numbers, and has rarely missed and has scored well in this rivalry. Vinatieri is an every week start, and should live up to expectations this week. Just another hunch – he actually misses a FG this week for the first time in a year.
D/ST: Tennessee only gives up a combined 3 sacks plus turnovers per game, and the Colts are the league’s 32nd rated fantasy defense. They are gonna give up points this week as well. Ummm….no. Stay away.
Overall: I wish I could give you a reason to pick the Colts in this one, but I fear that they simply do not have the horses to match up with their division rivals this week. They won’t be able to stop the run, nor a running quarterback, and they are missing enough key pieces on offense to make me suspect their effectiveness this week. Honestly, the only way I can see them having a chance to win this game is if the Titans totally give it away….and in fact there is a good chance of a road blowout in this one which will have the locals here screaming for heads to roll. Mr Irsay has already states that he will not make a change in midseason, but a debacle this week to fall to 2-5 may have him rethinking that course of action. I say you should play almost all key fantasy players for Tennessee this week, and only consider Vinatieri as a lock for the Colts in this one. I think this one could be a laugher and have the Colts be out of the game in the second half for the first time all season in a 34-16 loss..
That is all from the Crossroads of America for this week. Enjoy the games and remember to stay…..COLTSTRONG!!!!
Denver 13 San Diego 21
HC Gary Kubiak missed the Charger game with a migraine condition that mimics strokes and the Broncos beat themselves. For the second time in five days, they left too much to do and too little time to do it. Once again, they fell behind 10-0. Once again, they trailed by three scores early in the fourth quarter. Once again, they marched downfield to scores that put them within an on-side kickoff of a last-gasp chance to tie the game. Once again, the rally was ..."Too little, too late. Being slow out of the blocks is a trait of a Kubiak coached team. Why are the Broncos so slow out of the blocks, especially on defense? Opponets are scheming the Broncos well to start the game and the Broncos need to do a better job combatting that. The defense also needs to correct its lack of intensity coming out too slow and not being aggressive and firery enough on opponents first drive. The offense has also been plagued by slow starts and is still looking for their identity on offense. The never-say-die attitude of QB Trevor Siemian has been its only saving grace. Siemian has been able to protect the ball, and not make a mistake to give a game away. When the team is rolling, it is Siemian putting the ball in tight spaces to move the ball down the field. The running game has struggled because of technique-helmet placement, footwork, hand placement, and then working together.
The Patriots set the blueprint for attacking Denver: 1. Isolate a running back in space against a LB or Safety and run a streak, drag, or quick post; 2. Stack the side opposite the RB with WR’s and run the RB out of the backfield underneath. Not every team can attack Denver like that, but 82% of the Broncos’ remaining schedule-the Chargers, Texans, Saints, Chiefs, Titans, and Patriots-all have at least one back who can exploit this weakness. Throwing to running backs neutralizes their two greatest strengths: pass rush and ball hawks. The problem won’t go away until DC Wade Phillips and the defense find a way to counter it. The Broncos coverage scheme is a matchup zone concept where defenders essentially play man coverage within defined zones which leave holes behind their secondary.
Box Score QB Trevor Siemian 30/50-230-1-0; 1-1-0 RB C.J. Anderson 10-37-0; 4/5-34-0 RB Devontae Booker 5-46-0; 2/2-7-0 WR Demaryius Thomas 5/10-35-0 (lost fumble) WR Emmanuel Sanders 4/6-40-0 WR Bennie Fowler 3/7-22-1 WR Jordan Norwood 5/7-39-0 WR Jordan Taylor 1/3-1-0 (lost fumble) TE Virgil Green 3/4-21-0 TE John Phillips 3/3-31-0 K Brandon McManus -PAT1/1; FG 2/3 (MISSING 50+ YARD FGs) DST sacks 2 fumbles 2 int. 0
The Broncos made a move to fortify their offensive-line depth, claiming OL Billy Turner off waivers and releasing OL Darrion Weems. The last two games, the O-line's pass-protection breakdowns (Atlanta) and penalties (12 penalties-103 yds) against San Diego contributed to the offense's inefficient performances. The quarterbacks need to avoid sacks while being hit once every 4.2 pass plays and sacked once every 13.4 pass plays which is no way a blueprint for offensive success. Further, the Broncos have been whistled for holding once every 32.8 snaps (NFL ave.-one every 42.2 snaps). RB Devonte Booker has shown power, explosion, a decisive style and improved pass protection and appears to have earned him more playing time; but that doesn't mean fewer repetitions for RB C.J. Anderson (Kubiak). The Broncos signed LB Quentin Gause (6'0 243) and TE Steven Scheu (6'5 255) to the team’s practice squad, dropping WR Mose Fraiser and LB Reshard Cliett.
HOUSTON @ DENVER (MNF) 17 -24
The Texans come into Mile High as 7.5 underdogs. QB Brock Osweiler and QB Trevor Siemian are statistically a wash as are WR DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas. RB Lamar Miller leads RB C.J. Anderson in carries and yards while anderson has scored more touchdowns. The Texans defense will be without J.J. Watt while both of the Broncos' offensive tackles are questionable with concussion like symptoms. WR Emmanuel Sanders is expected to play with a left hip injury. WR Jordan Norwood and WR Bennie Fowler will need to step up their game with WR Cody Latimer out with a concussion. Houston deep threat, WR Will Fuller is questionable with a hamstring. Houston 17 Denver 24
QB Trevor Siemian may be worth 11-16 points QB Paxton Lynch may be worth 0-1 points RB C.J. Anderson may be worth 11-17 points RB Devontae Booker may be worth 4-7 points FB Andy Janovich may be worth 0-2 points RB Kapri Bibbs may be worth 0-1 points WR Demaryius Thomas may be worth 11-16 points WR Emmanuel Sanders 10-14 may be worth points WR Jordan Norwood may be worth 2-6 points WR Bennie Fowler may be worth 1-6 points TE Virgil Green may be worth 5-8 points TE Jeff Heuerman may be worth 0-2 points TE John Phillips may be worth 0-2 points PK Brandon McManus may be worth 6-10 points
DST may be worth 11-15 points
Good luck this week!
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
So, as expected Coach Reid did come out of the bye week break with a “new” wrinkle ready to be sprung on the Oakland Raiders. And it worked to perfection for the Chiefs on the field. Problem for fantasy coaches who, like me, bought into Big Red’s return to his pass-happy ways were left holding the bag. That bag contained lots of useless Kansas City pass game players such as Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley, Travis Kelce and, of course, Alex Smith.
Coach Reid’s “surprise” tactic was a return for sure; a return to the run the rock and run it again ways of 2015... and 2014... and 2013. Putting fantasy football aside, it was a masterful blueprint designed by Coach and his offensive staff and the craftsmen implementing the plans delivered on time and within budget. And a modest budget it was. Alex Smith was at his efficient best, throwing the ball a mere 22 times while surgically completing 19. It honestly was a thing of beauty in the real football world, but fanballers could only dream of what could have been. Though Smith was darn stingy with the number of his aerial offerings, his yards per attempt (YPA) was an explosive 10.2. Oh, what coulda’ been! The projected Chris Conley breakout never materialized, and was never meant to be. About as close to a shift in focus on getting Conley the ball more was the tiny fact that he actually led all Chiefs in targets against the Raiders, seeing a whopping 4 throws his way. Maclin was the receiving star for KC in week 6, securing all 3 of his targets for 49 yards. When Smith sprinkles 19 completions among a field of 10 recipients, no fanballers owning one of the 10 is going to rake in game-changing FFB points. The feature performer for the Chiefs in week 6 was RB Spencer Ware. Ware was supposed to be retreating back to his understudy role with the “110%” return to health of Jamaal Charles. See, anytime someone offers you a percentage of something, you best ask a key qualifying question... like, 110% of what? Charles labored through his 9 carries for a muddy 3.7 YPC. He caught 2 passes from Smith, traveling 16 yards on one of them and taking a 2 yard loss on another. Then the 110% continued to deflate as after the game Charles’ knee began to swell and there are concerns his repaired (re-repaired!) knee isn’t 110%; not even 100%. That led to Ware’s terrific week 6 command performance, churning out 163 yards from scrimmage (YFS) and a TD. Ware mashed out a stellar 5.5 YPC on the Raiders. Charcandrick West chipped in a few carries, ripping through the Oakland D for 6.3 a pop; Charles could must a paltry 3.7. Let’s see how the knee reacts this week, but this is likely going to be a season-long situation or the Chiefs’ bosses may have to address the inevitable fact that their one-time ultimate RB weapon is 30 years old and already in the rapid decline phase pro backs experience. IN the end, for week 6, the good news was a big W against the hated Raiders in their own backyard.
Now, those Saints come marchin’ in!
Some housekeeping to tend to regarding injuries:
Allen Bailey, DE, suffered a shoulder injury and has landed on the injured reserve list.
Justin March-Lillard, ILB, is dealing with an unspecified injury and has been placed on injured reserve.
Justin Houston, OLB, has been cleared for football activities as he continues to recover from ACL surgery. He is on the PUP list but is eligible to return October 30th against the Colts.
Jamaal Charles, RB, is dealing with swelling in his knee and it is unclear if he will be available for Sunday's game against the Saints.
Kenneth Acker, DB, is bothered by a shoulder injury and it is unclear if he will see the field Sunday against the Saints.
Tamba Hali, OLB, is hampered by a knee injury and it is undetermined if he will be available Sunday against the Saints.
Jordan Devey, OL, is ailing from an ankle injury and it is undetermined if he will take the field against the Saints on Sunday.
Mitchell Schwartz, OL, limited due to an ankle injury and his status for Sunday's game against the Saints is uncertain.
Sio Moore, LB, missed the last game due to an illness and it is unknown if he will play against the Saints on Sunday.
Phillip Gaines, CB, departed the last game with a knee injury and his status against the Saints on Sunday is uncertain.
Marcus Peters, CB, sustained a head injury but is expected to suit up against the Saints on Sunday
GM John Dorsey has been pretty busy. His recent activity includes: RB Knile Davis traded to the Green Bay Packers DL Nick Williams waived. DL Kendall Reyes signed. DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches promoted from the practice squad. ILB Ramik Wilson promoted from the practice squad. CB Terrance Mitchell promoted from the practice squad.
The Davis move/trade out of town was eventually coming as soon as the Chiefs drafted Tyreek Hill and inked RBs Ware and West to new deals. Wilson’s promotion may be the springboard to a budding and successful pro career. I like his motor and energy. He can play.
Now, about the game.
If it’s not broke and the circumstances fit, don’t fix it. The Chiefs came out of the bye week sporting a return to the rushing days of 2015. And they did so quite well against an Oakland defense that is soft defending the run. Well, here we go again. The Saints ground forces are anything but forceful. The Bourbon Streeters will see a whole lot of Spencer Ware, with a mix of Jamaal Charles (if he plays) and Charcandrick West. Fantasy coaches, I’d stash away West for potential future use if I had Charles on my roster. Ware is likely to remain the big Chief of the backfield the rest of the way, but I’m not thrilled with the smoke billowing out of Chiefs camp regarding Charles’ knee. Being proactive is being professional. Anyway, New Orleans has been rocked for 10 rushing scores by RBs, and 4.5 a clip. The dome-centric team is not the same outdoors, and that projects to some good home cookin’ for Ware and his fantasy coaches. Alex Smith and his band of frugal flyers? Like I said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why would Coach Reid open up a passing can of worms against the NFL’s most prolific passer? No, Coach will look to “build” on Smith very prudent passing of week 6, a game that produced all of 22 pass attempts by the Chiefs’ offense. If you think the TDs air scores will still be abundant against the porous Saints D, step back a moment and check the records. Yes, the Saints will give up yards (when involved in a shootout), but the much maligned secondary has only allowed 7 TD passes this year, 4 to wideouts. WRs Maclin, Conley, Wilson, Hill and TE Kelce will have to make-do with the lone TD that Smith throws. And that’s not taking into account the potential for Ware, West or Charles to steal a scoring pass from them. Heading into week 7, about the only thing fanballers can count on in KC is that a RB will produce quality numbers while the risk/reward factor on all other Chiefs not named Ware is too great to gamble a starting spot in a FFB lineup.
KC’s defense saw some shifting last week thanks to the injury and IR placement of DE Allen Bailey. Hats off the Bailey for his unsung but quality play. IDPers may not appreciate his on-field work, but just the same, his productive efforts will be missed. What this means is more feature snaps for rookie DE/DT Chris Jones. No doubt he’ll be out there brimming with anxious energy and adrenaline, and I expect a couple of noteworthy plays by the big rook. Like Bailey, Jones has impressed football folks even in the small window of play he’s be afforded. He is a bull on the line of scrimmage that shows the power to dominate the lineman across form him. He’s a powerful penetrating and disruptive force. Might be worth an IDP flyer. I suppose Ramik Wilson will line up inside next to LB Derrick Johnson. ArrowheadOne.com’s Ladner Morse stated this week, “ I didn’t understand allowing Ramik Wilson to go (practice squad) earlier so I hope he ends up starting in JML’s (Justin March-Lillard) place.” While I wouldn’t insert Wilson into an IDP lineup just yet, he’s one to eye up. Johnson is a sure IDP producer this week up against the high volume Saints offense. Speaking of high volume, CB Steve Nelson has a target on his back and will be tested early and often by QB Drew Brees. Nelson will give up a boatload of catches and yards, and he’ll be forced into making a bunch of tackles 10-15 yards downfield. But, tackles are points and even a picked on CB can be an IDP asset. Sometimes being bad is good for FFB use. CB Marcus Peters goes head-on with Saints’ playmaker Brandin Cooks. It’s a headliner matchup that will be fun as heck to watch. Peters has the usual INT potential here. How ‘bout that Dee Ford?! He’s getting to the QB these days. Brees will be dropping back a bunch here, so Ford’s chances of bagging a sack are pretty good.
Special teams with Tyreek Hill returning the ball are always potentially lethal. Kicker Cairo Santos has proven to be a reliable if unspectacular booter for fanballers.
The Chiefs are back home and back to their old ways of grind-it-out offense. That’s OK. It’s not broken... matter of fact, its working. Don’t fix it Coach; at least not this week.
John Cooney is a Senior Staff Writer for Fantasy Football Mastermind.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Surprisingly, the previously 1-4 San Diego Chargers defeated the previously 4-1 Denver Broncos by the score of 21-13. It’s interesting to note that the last place Chargers lead the division in scoring and have given up fewer points (but still too many) than the first place Raiders. This week, the NFC South division leading Atlanta Falcons face the Bolts in Atlanta for what should be another tough game for the boys in powder blue. Atlanta leads the league in total offense, so this game won’t be a cakewalk. This report will be a review of the win over the Raiders, as well as a preview of this week’s Chargers at Falcons game.
QB: Last week, San Diego QB Phillip Rivers completed 18/29 for 178 yards and a TD. Not exactly eye-popping numbers, but then we told you to temper your expectations against the NFL’s best pass defense. But Atlanta’s pass defense is ranked 26th and I’d expect Rivers to light them up, making him an excellent week 7 play.
RB: Chargers RB Melvin Gordon approached 100 yards rushing on 27 carries but did not score. Atlanta’s run defense is better than their pass defense, but I’d still consider Gordon a strong play. Consider him an RB1.
WR: As expected, the San Diego receiving corps was held largely in check. No wideout scored and the numbers aren’t worth talking about (all held to under 30 yards). This week, look for considerable improvement. Consider WR Travis Benjamin a fantasy WR2. WR Travis Williams makes a slightly weaker WR2 or strong WR3. WR Dontrelle Inman remains a risky play and should be benched. He’s had a good game here and there, but too inconsistent to recommend at this time.
TE: The bad news: TE Antonio Gates has been hurt and is old by NFL standards. The good news: Rookie TE Travis Henry is terrific and can learn a lot from a guy like Gates. As things currently stand, it’s clear that Henry is the better option. Against Denver, Henry led the team in receiving with 6 catches for 83 yards and a TD. Gates caught 2 for 16 yards and no TDs. This week, consider Henry an excellent option, while Gates probably should be benched until healthy and productive. I’m surprised to be writing this, considering how good Gates is and has been, but it is what it is.
PK: San Diego PK Josh Lambo was 4/4 on FGs with a long of 37 yards and 1/1 on extra points. The Chargers are putting up a decent number of points and Lambo’s accuracy appears to have improved. Consider him a Top 8 option.
DEF: While the San Diego defense shows definite signs of improvement, they look like a so-so or worse option against the NFL’s #1 offense. DE Joey Bosa looks solid and seems like he and LB Melvin Ingram will finally be able to disrupt opposing passers. Backup rookie LB Jatavis Brown has impressed. The 5th rounder looks like a steal based on his play thus far.
That’s my report for this week. If the Chargers want to prove that they are better than their record indicates, they need to beat teams like Atlanta and they need to finish games. I wouldn’t be shocked if they surprise us again and do just that. Until my next report, Go Chargers!
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants win a close game at Metlife versus the Baltimore Ravens Sunday 27-23. Big Blue evened their record at 3-3. The G-Men roared back in the 2nd half after sputtering offensively for the 1st half. The Giants look to improve their record Sunday AM as they face the Rams in London. Let’s hope the Josh Brown domestic abuse fiasco does not have a negative effect on the team. My only comment on that is there should be zero tolerance…Brown should have been released immediately before waiting for the league to intervene.
QB Eli Manning finally got jumpstarted as he passed for 403 yards, 3 TD’s, 2 interceptions and a passer rating of 100.2. He was sacked once. He finally had his rhythm going and the hurry up offense suits him.
Eli is facing a Rams pass defense that is ranked 17th in the league. They have allowed 11 TD passes and an opposing passer rating of 90.7. They also have 10 sacks and 4 interceptions. Eli seems to have regained his confidence and he has full disposal of all his weapons. Expect 275 yards and 2 TD’s, making him a # 10-12 starter this week.
RB Rashad Jennings played but only had 9 carries for 15 yards and 4 receptions for 20 yards. RB Bobby Rainey had 6 totes for 13 yards and 2 catches for 16 yards.
The running game faces a Rams run defense ranked 23rd in the league allowing 4.2 yards per carry and 116 yards per game. They have allowed 5 TD’s. Jennings should be 100% and will warrant decent flex consideration during this bye week with 75 combined yards and a TD plunge. RB Bobby Rainey has proven to be a solid PPR flex option for those in need, especially during a bye week as he should have 65 total yards with 5 receptions.
WR Odell Beckham Jr blew up with 8 catches for a whopping 222 yards and two long TD’s. WR Sterling Shepard was very quiet with 4 grabs for 25 yards. Slot WR Victor Cruz had 3 receptions for 31 yards.
Beckham Jr injured his hip in the Ravens game but is expected to play in London. His confidence should be high so expect 6 catches for 100 yards and a TD making him a top 5 receiver this week. Shepard and Cruz have not been getting enough targets to warrant fantasy consideration of late.
TE Larry Donnell had 6 receptions for 34 yards. TE Will Tye chipped in with two catches.
Neither Tye or Donnell are reliable top 12 options this week.
The new look defense has been a fantasy disappointment as they cannot generate turnovers and struggle to pressure the quarterback. Keep them on the waiver wire.
PK Josh Brown had 3 FG’s and 3 extra points in his swan song.
PK Robbie Gould was signed as the new kicker but take a wait and see approach.
That’s all for now and good luck in Week 7!
What can one say about this game? Other than that it was a huge blow to the Philadelphia Eagles. Only three weeks ago the Eagles were 3-0 and viewed as a true contender.. Now going into week 7 they are on the cusp of being considered nothing more than a pretender. After a bad loss to a division rival such as the Washington Redskins, I think it is time to review what needs to be fixed.. and fast! First and foremost, let’s talk about OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai. For those who don’t know he was the Philadelphia Eagles 5th round pick (164th overall). He basically was thrown into the lion’s den and this lion’s name was LB Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan made his presence known early and often at the expense of our young and quite frankly inexperienced back up lineman. Which is now making the 10 game suspension of OT Lane Johnson look like something that may have single-handedly derailed the Eagles season. Next, the defense looked like they were tired from the start. They were spread out wide due to their lack of skill players at the cornerback position and were beat up the middle badly by a pedestrian running back committee of RB Matt Jones, RB Rob Kelley, and RB Chris Thompson. This committee made the Eagles defense look quite frankly bad as they piled up 231 yards rushing amongst the three of them. Now let’s talk about what I am noticing more and more as the season progresses. The Eagles lack of a legitimate threat at the wide receiver position is going to cost them. Teams that are looking at the Eagles on their schedule are not scared or intimidated of these receivers in any way. This being said, it makes the game plan much more one dimensional for a defense playing the Eagles, man coverage on the receivers and stop the run (which hasn’t been very good either). The Eagles either have to address this lack of receiver depth with a mid-season trade or through the draft next year, which hasn’t been working out so well for this organization recently (see WR Nelson Agholor). The worst part about this defeat is that it was not a game the Philadelphia Eagles could afford to lose with this upcoming schedule of theirs. The next few games of the season are Minnesota (5-0), Dallas (5-1), a division game with the Giants, and then a stretch of the Falcons, Seahawks, Packers, and Bengals. Last week against the Redskins was a game they had to win, especially after the collapse in Detroit. But hey, were from Philadelphia, adversity runs through our veins. Let’s hope they have better luck next week when QB Sam Bradford comes to town looking for revenge!
Big news coming out of the debacle in Washington D.C. is a Groin Injury to DT Bennie Logan. Logan left the game in the first half of last’s week game and did not return. He is being listed as “week to week”, which gives off the connotation that this injury may be significant. This type of injury would be devastating if it has lingering effects and could potentially keep him out of some very big games coming up on the Philadelphia Eagles schedule (see above). In other injury news CB Ron brooks, DE Marcus Smith, LB Mychal Kendricks, and C Jason Kelce all also suffered injuries and will be missing practice this upcoming Wednesday. This being said Coach Pederson is still confident that they can suit up on Sunday vs the Minnesota Vikings barring any setbacks.
When I view this Philadelphia Eagles team I see a team that is going to be very good in the future. Most importantly I believe they need to add pieces at the skill positions on offense to compliment QB Carson Wentz. He did not have his best outing last week in Washington but previous to this game he posted great stats with the mediocre weapons he has surrounding him. The player the Eagles should be inquiring about is WR Terrelle Pryor of the Cleveland Browns. He is a player whose stock is consistently rising and is making QB Cody Kessler and the committee of Cleveland Browns quarterbacks look like they have some type of skill. Imagine him catching passes from someone like Wentz, who quite frankly is too young and too trustworthy in his receivers to realize this team has a big issue. Now after reading all those criticisms, time for some positives! RB Wendell Smallwood made a great special teams play by returning a kickoff for a touchdown, which for a moment felt like turned the momentum of the entire game in the Philadelphia Eagles direction. This would be proven wrong in the forthcoming quarters, but overall it was a good game by the special teams who have proven to be well-equipped to make some significant plays this season. Another positive is that the NFL season is always a roller coaster ride! Let’s remember the high Philadelphia Eagles fans were on going into Detroit at 3-0, and now the low of being 3-2 looking at a downright scary schedule. BUT the Philadelphia Eagles technically speaking can only go up from here. Hear me out on this one, if the Eagles manage to get a win against a tough Minnesota Vikings team, couldn’t that momentum carry on to week 8 in Dallas and further on? Right now I think the Eagles look like an 8-8 team with the possibility of reaching 10 wins if they manage to “upset” a few of the teams considered more elite than them. Let’s not give up all hope already, but remember this year was supposed to be nothing more than a “rebuilding” or “transitional” year for the Philadelphia Eagles! So enjoy the ride, hope for the best, and hope the Minnesota Vikings start playing worse. I say this because right now their first round draft pick that the Eagles got in return for QB Sam Bradford via trade is not looking like it will even be a top 20 pick. But most importantly, remember the Philadelphia Eagles now have their “guy”, the franchise quarterback, and the most important position in all of pro sports with QB Carson Wentz. It’s okay to exhale now! Let’s hope for a bounce back week in Philadelphia against those Vikings.
Speaking of Eagles vs Vikings here’s a little preview of what to expect. I anticipate a good low scoring game, and actually a quite close game. The Minnesota Vikings are 5-0 and coming off a bye in week 6, and we all seen in Detroit what can happen when a team comes off the bye. Some teams like the Philadelphia Eagles come out after the bye week sluggish and are off to a slow start in the first half. If this is the case for QB Sam Bradford and the Vikings, then I expect the Eagles to have a 7-10-point lead going into halftime. As of Tuesday October 18th according to Vegas the Eagles are a +3 underdog at home. This line is telling to me and speaks to me personally, because generally the home team gets +3 for home field advantage. Hence this means the game is being technically viewed as a “pick em”, which I find telling to say the least. Someone must know something about the Minnesota Vikings and there play off the bye week, or that the Philadelphia Eagles are in “must win” mode starting this week. I believe both defenses will have solid outings, possibly the Vikings defense will have the upper hand in comparison to the Eagles, but I believe it will come down to one big play. I see a close game going into the fourth quarter and with 4 or 5 minutes left, QB Sam Bradford will throw a huge interception. This interception will consequently lead to Philadelphia either having the opportunity to win or “milking out” the clock to end the game. My prediction for the week is the Philadelphia Eagles upsetting the Minnesota Vikings 23-20. Particular players will make an impact this game on both teams and that will be covered below, so keep on reading!!
There are some players I love this week on both teams and some players I would avoid this week. Players I love and I predict a decent outing out of are WR Stefon Diggs, RB Darren Sproles, PK Caleb Sturgis, and RB Jerick McKinnon. Let’s begin with Diggs, who I believe is one of the most underrated receivers in the league. Diggs is a very good route runner who always manages to find a way open it seems. With the Philadelphia Eagles lackluster cornerbacks, I believe this could be a big day for Diggs, if I had to predict I would say over 6 receptions, over 100 yards, and 1 touchdown. Next, let’s discuss RB Darren Sproles, who I believe is vital to the Eagles chances of winning this week against the Vikings. The Vikings have a very good defense and will most likely be able to shut down the Eagles wide receiver corps for the most part. In addition, the Vikings generally send a lot of pressure at the quarterback and after 5 games have 19 team sacks (3rd in the NFL). This equates to QB Carson Wentz being rushed to get the ball out of his hands and into his most reliable target out of the backfield which is Sproles. I do not know how many rushes he will have, but receptions are something I do not see him lacking in. I foresee a receiving touchdown and a decent amount of yards through the air. This pick out of the four players I love this week brings the most risk by far, but I believe the upside is there and the potential for a big game is looming. What position is up next, kicker? Yes, a kicker! PK Caleb Sturgis to this point is 12 of 13 and is showing that he can consistently make kicks for the Philadelphia Eagles unlike last year. He isn’t someone who will win or lose this week for you in your fantasy leagues, but he is a solid play considering he has made at least 2 field goals every game this season. He is also generally listed as one of the middle to lower end kickers in all DFS formats, save some money and choose Sturgis. The last player I love this week in this matchup is RB Jerick McKinnon. The Eagles defense gave up 231 yards on the ground last week to the Redskins running back group, so playing someone like McKinnon this week gives him huge potential upside. I believe if McKinnon can avoid getting too deep in the red zone and being “vultured” at the goal-line by RB Matt Asiata he will have a very good showing. I predict 18 rushes for 75 yards, 3 receptions for 20 yards and a touchdown on the ground. NOW let’s talk about who I would avoid, quite frankly I would avoid all Eagles wide receivers. The wide receivers’ corps has shown no consistently and no one has stood out enough to me to be considered a fantasy option. I hope this week they prove me wrong and someone stands out as the clear top option to QB Carson Wentz. If I was a gambling man, I would bet that WR Jordan Matthews is the first receiver to have a big impact game this year. Lastly let’s discuss a player that I think is a high risk/high reward type player that I would use depending on price in DFS, his name is TE Zach Ertz. Ertz had a breakout year last year and was established as a top-tier tight end in fantasy. This year he has been almost non-existent, but this is something I believe is going to be changing this week and throughout the rest of the year. With the lack of skill at the wide receiver position, and Wentz needing a top target.. Why not look Ertz’s way? Good luck to everyone this week in fantasy and remember E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!!
Redskins at Lions
QB: I am as big of a QB Matthew Stafford fan as anybody, but he is exceeding my expectations this season. The critics said he would fall off the map without Calvin Johnson, and while I felt like that was a weak opinion, I didn’t think he would be producing fantasy points at this rate. He picked the Rams apart to the tune of 23 of 31, 270 yards, 4 TDs and no turnovers. The four scores went to four different receivers as Stafford continues to spread the ball around. I think Stafford is a solid fantasy play this week. The Redskins defense is playing well, but they don’t force a lot of turnovers, and Stafford has been taking very good care of the football. Also keep in mind Jim Caldwell has shown a willingness to go for it more often on 4th downs this year, likely because he knows they can’t rely on their defense this year so they need to put up as many points as possible offensively.
RB: I warned that this would be a mess last week. RB Theo Riddick was declared out on Friday. RB Dwayne Washington was listed as questionable but was declared inactive on Sunday morning. This left RB Zach Zenner and new Lion RB Justin Forsett to share the load. Zenner got about three times as many snaps as Forsett and managed 77 total yards but no scores. Forsett learned quickly what it is like to be a Lions running back as he was hit about 6 yards deep in the backfield on a couple of his carries. He only managed 5 yards and dropped a pass. It’s hard to see him having much of a role going forward. Riddick is still not practicing. Washington is back to limited participation this week and you would think he would be on track to play this week. Again with the injury situation it is impossible to project what will happen this week with Detroit’s backs from a fantasy standpoint until we see the inactives on Sunday morning.
WR/TE: With Stafford becoming more adept at spreading the ball around, taking what the defense gives him, and finding open receivers, it’s becoming touch to predict who will be the most productive receiver from week to week. The Rams seemed to key on WR Marvin Jones, so of course WR Golden Tate finally had his big week after 5 weeks of doing nothing. He had 8 catches for 165 yards. And how about some respect for WR Anquan Boldin? With Riddick and TE Eric Ebron out, there were plenty of targets to go around and Boldin grabbed 8 passes for 60 yards and a TD. Sure Boldin is only averaging 8 yards per catch on the year, but he’s old. He has PPR value as Stafford looks for him on third downs, and he is getting a higher number of snaps than I would have expected. Ebron is still not practicing this week, and isn’t looking good for Sunday. This is one of those years where the Lions could have used an earlier bye to get some players healthy. If Ebron doesn’t go we will see the targets going to Jones, Tate, and Boldin. Play any or all of them. Josh Norman is good but probably won’t match up exclusively on Jones.
K/DST: It’s alarming that the Lions made Case Keenum look like Kurt Warner and the greatest show on turf. On the year opposing quarterbacks are completing 74 percent of their passes and have a passer rating of about 120. I don’t think I will be streaming the Lions defense anytime soon. If they struggle at home against the Rams, there is no favorable matchup left on the schedule in my book. Oh yeah we should also point out that the tight end tracker is back as unheralded Lance Kendricks scored for the Rams, so after a week off, we are up to 7 TDs from tight ends against the Lions this year. You should probably consider Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Clint Didier, or whoever plays tight end for the Redskins, in daily leagues this week. I think you will like that. As for PK Matt Prater, he isn’t getting the greatest number of field goal attempts, but he has been clutch with winning kicks late in all three of Detroit’s wins.
Good luck this week!
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Review: Against the Cowboys, the Packer offense put up 372 net yards, but you would have appreciated some scoring to go with that. QB Aaron Rodgers completed 73.8% of his passes for 294 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception for a passer rating of 90.8. He had just 7 yards rushing for a total of 301 total yards. Rodgers passes that missed were either underthrown or off target. He would have connected with WR Randall Cobb for two touchdowns if they weren’t underthrown. He also would have had TE Richard Rodgers deep over the middle if he had not thrown it behind him. True, Rodgers passed for good yardage in this game, but those misses came at key moments in the game. Time to throw wasn’t the issue – his offensive line was doing a very good job. Aaron had much more time than he should have on many of his attempts. The wide receivers did much better this time out. WR Randall Cobb was targeted 11 times and had 7 receptions for 53 yards and 1 touchdown. WR Jordy Nelson was targeted 7 times and had 5 receptions for 68 yards but no touchdowns. Jordy dropped only one that I can remember in this game. WR Davante Adams was targeted 3 times and had 2 receptions for 34 yards but no touchdowns. He started the game but was hurt early after his second catch and did not return. He was on his way to another good day. WR Ty Montgomery was targeted 12 times and had 10 receptions for 98 yards but no touchdowns. He was the surprise in this game for the Packers. At tight end, TE Richard Rodgers was targeted 3 times resulting in 2 catches for 15 yards, but no touchdowns. TE Justin Perillo Rodgers was targeted 1 time resulting in 1 catch for 4 yards, but no touchdowns. So a grand total of 3 receptions for 19 yards with no touchdowns is not a ringing endorsement of the tight end position in Green Bay. At running back, RB Eddie Lacy was playing on a sore ankle – but it was difficult to tell he was hurt the way he broke tackles early on and leaped over defenders – which he did a few times. He finished with a respectable 17 carries for 65 yards (3.8 y/c), but no touchdowns. Lacy eventually left the game because of that ankle and his production was missed by the offense. That is how Montgomery got on the field. RB James Starks did not play because of injury. K Mason Crosby had three field goals and one extra point for a face value of 10 points. But because two of his field goals were from 30 plus yards out and the other was from 40 plus yards out he would have gotten extra points in some leagues. The Packer defense allowed an early Cowboy touchdown but then started playing tough – until injuries started to take their toll. My warning about playing the Packer defense proved to be correct. Expecting two consecutive very good outings for this defense proved to be too much. They allowed 424 total net yards and 30 points. They also had 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 1 hurry, 1 interception, 2 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, and 1 recovered fumble. Those numbers are down significantly. CB Gunter did not play as well this week. The front seven was tough for a while, but was wore down by the Dallas offensive line and their rookie running back.
Preview: This week the Packers play the Chicago Bears at Lambeau on Thursday night football. I can’t emphasis this enough – check the injury report and roster scratches this week for Packer players before picking any of them to start on your fantasy team. There are enough players injured to make a difference. The Bears can move the ball, but have trouble scoring. That could spell trouble for the Packer defense depending on how injured they are at game time. On defense they are in the middle of the pack – no pun intended. Green Bay will need a healthy Lacy to keep this defense on its heels. And Rodgers and his receivers will need to “find” themselves to deal with the Bears 10th ranked pass defense. Statistically, here is how key Packer players stack up against minimum NFL fantasy stats at their positions. A top 12 NFL quarterbacks would have at least 1524 yards, 8 touchdowns, 5 (or less) interceptions, a 67.2% pass completion rate, and a 99.1 passer rating. QB Aaron Rodgers in all the same respective categories is 1170 (28th), 10 (8th), 60.2% (33rd), and 88.4 (23rd). So he is top 12 in only one category – touchdowns. A top 12 NFL wide receiver would have at least 31 receptions, 428 yards, and 3 touchdowns. A top 24 NFL wide receiver would have at least 27 receptions, 363 yards, and 3 touchdowns. WR Jordy Nelson in all the same respective categories is 26 (30th), 312 (33rd), and 5 (1st). WR Randall Cobb in all the same respective categories is 28 (23rd), 293 (44th), and 1 (55th). WR Davante Adams in all the same respective categories is 15 (69th), 218 (64th), and 3 (9th). So that means Nelson and Adams are top 12 in touchdowns, and Cobb is top 24 in receptions. Otherwise they aren’t even top 24 in any other category. A top 12 NFL tight end would have at least 20 receptions, 246 yards, and 2 touchdowns. TE Richard Rodgers in all the same respective categories is 8 (34th), 77 (43rd), and 1. He isn’t even a blip on the fantasy league landscape. A top 12 NFL running back would have at least 415 yards and 3 touchdowns. RB Eddie Lacy in all the same respective categories is 360 (12th), and 0 (57th). So he is just top 12 in yards, but the question is will he be healthy enough to play? A top 12 place kicker would have 42 points – and that is the number K Mason Crosby has. He was ranked 22nd last week. For two weeks running he has put up double digit fantasy scores. He would be the one guy I could recommend this week. QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson are not getting the yards that is usually desired, but they are scoring touchdowns. You could play both of them on the bet they would score a touchdown or two and the other parts of their game will come together. Because of injury concerns at a minimum, I cannot recommend others to start this week. I will be back next week to review the Bear game and preview the Falcon game. Have a great weekend.
The NFL schedule makers did the Falcons no favors by scheduling back to back road games against the Broncos and Seahawks, two tough teams and difficult environments to play in. Well, the Falcons were able to 1-1 and they stand at 4-2 after a tough loss to the Seahawks 26-24.
The results for the Seattle game are as follows:
QB Matt Ryan - Ryan had a great game against the Seahawks including an incredible third quarter that had 220 of his pass yards and all three touchdowns. For the game, he went 27-42 for 335 yards, with three touchdowns and 2 turnovers. He was sacked 4 times. Ryan continues to be a no-brainer must start at this point in the fantasy season.
RB Devonta Freeman and RB Tevin Coleman - this was the first week that this tandem was bottled up. Freeman had 12 carries for 40 yards and 3 catches for 10 yards. Coleman had 5 carries for only 10 yards and 1 catch for 7 yards. Don't worry, better results are ahead, like this week against the Chargers.
WR Julio Jones - Jones is a beast, how many times can I write it.....he had 7 catches on 9 targets for 139 yards and a touchdown. Hands down the number one receiver in fantasy this year. His partner WR Mohammed Sanu added 5 catches for 47 yards and a touchdown.
Tight End - this week, we saw another Falcon's tight end get into the mix, as TE Levine Toilolo had 3 catches for 69 yards, including a 46 yard score. TE Jacob Tamme was quiet with only 2 catches for 16 yards.
PK Matt Bryant - Bryant went 3-3 on extra points and hit his only field goal attempt.
Falcons DST - after a big week against the Broncos, the Falcons defense had a quiet week allowing 26 points, 333 yards of offense, had 1 sack and no turnovers.
This week the Falcons return home to host to San Diego Chargers. The Chargers have been playing better of late, but I see this one being a lopsided contest for the falcons and can see them getting off to a quick start and a big lead.
To me, this week, QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones are in your starting lineups (Do I actually even need to say that anymore?). I expect a bounce back for both RB Devonta Freeman and RB Tevin Coleman, especially if the Falcons get up big and work to run the clock in the second half. The rest of the Falcons secondary options are just that, secondary. Between Sanu or Tamme or Hooper or Toilolo, you never know which may add a score which week. If it was me and I needed an emergency starter, I would lean Sanu as the Chargers secondary has been pretty bad this year. There should be points for PK Matt Bryant, but I expect more touchdowns than field goal opportunities. The Falcons defense is too up and down for my liking.
Falcons 31 Chargers 17
Good luck this week!
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Monday Night Football was kind to the Arizona Cardinals and a great fan experience. From a Fantasy standpoint, I sure hope RB David Johnson was in your starting lineup if possible. The NY JETS had one of the best rushing defenses coming into the game and the Cardinals had their best rushing game in the last few seasons that I can remember. The Cardinal Defense held the JETS to 3 points and the Cardinal Offense scored 4 TDs including 1 TD in the first quarter for the first time this year. The Cardinals won 28-3. All teams fared well for the Cardinals including the special teams for the first time this year. It was a good sign. Both teams had a ton of penalties that really killed the flow of this game. That has to stop.
Cardinal Fantasy Stars:
5 Stars: RB David Johnson 22 carries 111 yards 3 (THREE!!!) TDs
4 Stars: QB Carson Palmer 23/34 for 213 yards 1 TD
3 Stars: WR Michael Floyd 2 catches 22 yards 1 TD
2/1 Stars: WR Larry Fitzgerald 6 for 49 and WR John Brown 5 for 54
Okay, so this past week is over. Time to focus on the very difficult task this week. For the past 3 years, the Seattle Seahawks have owned University of Phoenix Stadium. I have not enjoyed that at all obviously but Seattle has been the better team in this stadium. Right now, Seattle has to be the favorite and will somehow have many fans in the stands.
QB: QB Carson Palmer was back this week and looked very good with a 67+% completion percentage and methodical short passes. QB Carson Palmer’s decision making was good and the offensive line held up pretty well. The Cardinals will need Palmer to stay upright Sunday Night next week.
RB: RB David Johnson was amazing this past week. Averaging over 5 yards a carry and 3 TDs, the NFL is taking notice. Teams will have to start planning on how to stop him which could open the passing game even more. This guy is a stud period. You have to start him every week.
WR: QB Carson Palmer spread the ball around so very well this week. I would still like to see the TE position used more as we had 2 catches for 22 yards by the Cardinal Tight Ends. QB Carson Palmer used 8 different receivers Monday Night with WR John Brown and WR Larry Fitzgerald shining while WR Michael Floyd caught the lone TD doing well in his limited playing time. I hope that helps WR Michael Floyd’s mojo!
TE: Again, fantasy-wise, why bother. They need to use this position more in the passing game. Period.
K: PK Chandler Catanzaro hit all extra points this week and did not attempt a FG. That’s not good scoring for a kicker but this week, Seattle will give up more FG than XPTs.
IDP: LB Alex Okafor recorded the only sack. S Tyrann Mathieu and S DJ Swearinger recorded interceptions.
Summary: The Cardinals against the Seahawks should be a close close game and probably lower scoring than we suspect. The Cardinals need to gain their home field advantage again in this NFC West Rivalry.
Must Plays: RB David Johnson, WR Larry Fitzgerald, WR John Brown
Should play: WR Michael Floyd, K Chandler Catanzaro, QB Carson Palmer
Outlook: This is the Sunday Night Football Game should be a close back and forth war. The Cardinals need to take a punch in the mouth and punch back.
Prediction: Seahawks 20 Cardinals 20 with a win in OT by the Cardinals 23-20!!
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Atlanta lost the game last week long before the debated DPI call. But Seattle fans know too well how those calls can affect our win loss columns. This one is in the books as a W but the controversy sparks the drive of the LOB honor. The Seattle defense will be at the top of their game against the Cardinals who have top talent in both rushing and receiving games. The key to the game is Seattle shutting them down.
QB- QB Russell Wilson is healthy-er, but still not scaring people with his legs again yet. Early in the game against the Falcons Wilson was near perfect but then he struggled through ending up 25 of 37 for 270 yards but no touchdowns. I had expected Atlanta to force Seattle to score through the air, but the ground game was there this time.
It is hard to anticipate what will happen at Arizona. Truly both teams have not faced much competition in terms of teams with winning records. Arizona needs this game and Seattle looks at every game like it is the only game of the season. I think Seattle will win this one on Wilson’s arm and keeping long drives alive. I expect him to have just under 300 yards but 2 TDs this time.
RB- RB Christine Michael is still learning, but he is doing so much more than he has before. He will carry the load again this week with RB Thomas Rawls remaining out. The others may earn more ink later but for now may just take away goal line opportunities from Michael. I expect 1 TD from the ground game which should come from Michael, but the yards will be hard to come by again this week and should be around 60 again.
WR- WR Doug Baldwin has 85 yards combined in his last two games. That is a far cry from a WR1. He has not been able to break through being the primary guy to cover yet. That should remain the case this week again with CB Patrick Peterson being one of the best in the game. WR Tyler Lockett should be healthy enough to capitalize on this and perform well as a WR3. WR Jermaine Kearse led the receivers last week with 35 yards. Wilson needs people to get open and Lockett’s speed makes him the best choice this week. If Lockett is a free agent in your league, consider activating him as a WR3.
TE- TE Jimmy Graham missed his 3rd 100 yard game in a row by two drops and 11 yards. Those drops would have done more than padded his stat line, they would have made the game out of reach. Finally everyone has figured out he is not as injured as they thought he was and I am not the only one calling him a must start. A 100 yard game is simply expected from Graham and Arizona has not faced a tight end of his caliber yet this year.
K- PK Steven Hauschka had a couple of issues and ended with 8 points, which was still higher than I projected. Coach Carroll did not like the snaps, so this really is not on Hausch. I expect about the same from him this week as I am projecting 3 XP and 1 FG.
The Falcons could only score 24 against Seattle and I expect the Cardinals to score a bit less. This may not be the best game for Seattle’s defense all year, but they should be a top 5 start. LB Bobby Wagner had 14 tackles and two QB hits last week. The game should come his way again this week keeping him my IDP pick.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
Brittle loss! The Rams lose a very winnable game 31-28 to the Lions as Case Keenum and Kenny Britt(le) have career games in the loss. Los Angeles falls to 3-3 for the season and head to London this week to take on the New York Giants, who beat the Ravens in week 6. It was a very disappointing loss and the Rams need to regroup after losing two in a row. Let’s take a look at statistics from the game and Fantasy advice for you in week seven.
QB: QB Case Keenum (27-32 for 321 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception, and 1 rushing touchdown) had a huge game and set a franchise record for most consecutive completions in a game (19); however, Keenum threw a critical interception with the game on the line. It is a bad sign when your quarterback has the best game of his career and the team still loses. QB Jared Goff was the backup again and QB Sean Mannion was inactive again. New York is ranked 22nd against the pass allowing 266.8 yards a game. The Giants have given up only 6 passing touchdowns while recording 6 sacks and 2 interceptions in six games. Week seven recommendation: Case well surpassed my expectations against the Lions and he should continue to find open receivers with the defensive focus still on Gurley. I do not know how the international time zone will affect Case but he should come back down to earth to the tune of 225-250 yards and 1-2 touchdowns. Consider him a QB2 in week seven.
RB: RB Todd Gurley (14-58 rushing and 4-39 receiving) had a disappointing game considering the opponent. Todd started the game strong but the Rams uncharacteristically when away from the run game as the game progressed. The most disappointing play came on the last play of the first half when Los Angeles went for it on fourth and one at the one and Todd got stuffed for a two-yard loss. RB Bennie Cunningham (2-9 rushing and 2-14 receiving) was back in action and did a good job with his limited touches. RB Malcom Brown was back on the bench with the return of Cunningham. New York is ranked 15th against the rush allowing only 96.8 yards per game. The Giants have surrendered 5 rushing touchdowns in six games. Week seven recommendation: Gurley has been disappointing so far but you still need to start him. He had his highest yards per carry in week six so hopefully that continues to improve. I am going out on a limb and say Todd gets his first 100-yard game of the season and scores two touchdowns.
WR: WR Tavon Austin (3-24 receiving and 3-2 rushing) got the big contract extension in the off-season but has not played up to that contract. WR Kenny Britt (7-136 and 2 touchdowns) had his best game as a Ram and his season statistics to date (30-492-2) almost match last season’s totals (36-681-3). WR Brian Quick (5-61) had another decent game and has already surpassed his totals from last season (16-265-3 this season compared to 10-102-0 in 2015). WR Bradley Marquez (1-13) got in a little action but does not have any Fantasy value. WR Pharoh Cooper and WR Nelson Spruce were inactive. Week seven recommendation: Britt is now the top receiver for the Rams and should continue to be featured down field. I predict 5-75+ yards for Kenny against the Giants. Tavon needs to get it going and I think he goes for 5-50 and a touchdown receiving and 4-24 rushing. Quick is not quite there as a weekly Fantasy player.
TE: TE Lance Kendricks (5-34) was busy again and seems to have a bad/good pattern of production for the first six games (2, 4, 0, 5, 2, 5 receptions). No other tight end caught a pass and shall be excluded from future reports until they show some relevancy. Week seven recommendation: Lance is on the bad production week of his season so beware. I think 3-36 is not out of the question.
K: PK Greg Zuerlein (4-4 extra points) made the most of his meager opportunities. If Fisher kicked the field goal at the end of the first half, Greg would have had a better week and more importantly, the Rams might have won the game or at least had a better chance. Week seven recommendation: Greg is as good as the opportunities he gets and I think he should be good for two field goals and three extra points against the Giants.
DEF: Without starters DE Robert Quinn and CB Trumaine Johnson, Detroit threw the ball all over the place and Golden Tate has his best game of the season. CB Lamarcus Joyner (8 solo tackles and 2 assists) and CB Troy Hill (6 solo tackles and 2 assists) led the Rams in tackles while LB Alec Ogletree (5 solo tackles and 4 assists) and LB Mark Barron (3 solo tackles and 3 assists) had quiet games. DT Aaron Donald, (4 solo tackles and 1 sack) got another sack but was double-teamed most of the game to hinder his production. New York’s offense is ranked 3rd in passing (288.2 yards per game) and 30th in rushing (76.0 yards per game). The Giants have thrown 6 interceptions and allowed 11 sacks. The Giants have over 100 more pass attempts (233) than rush attempts (127) so hopefully Quinn returns and the Ram defense can get to Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Week seven recommendation: Ogletree, Barron, and Donald are the best bets for IDP success and if Quinn is healthy, he could have a sack or two. Injuries to current starters and departures of former starters (Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod) have hurt this unit and the available players need to step up.
The offense did much better albeit against a weak opponent as Keenum took advantage of the defense geared to stop the run game. The short-manned defense has taken a step back and needs to recover against the Giants. It was a bad football week all around as I lost all of my games due to disappointing performances. Hopefully Los Angeles rebounds across the Pond and gets back on the winning track. I think they win 27-24 and head into their bye week on an up-note. Love and blessings to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!