Saturday, October 2, 2010

Put it in Print: Week 4 Predictions

If you're going to say it, why not put it in print. Here is a snapshot of what's going on in my head heading into week 4.

Bruce Gradkowski - QB Oakland
Even with two ailing WRs (Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey), I like Gradkowski better than Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning and Kyle Orton in week 4. Oakland faces Houston this week, which has given up a ton of passing yards in the first three weeks. If Murphy and Heyward-Bey are on the field Sunday, look for a 275+ yard, 2 TD afternoon for Gradkowski.

Jahvid Best - RB Detroit
Everyone is wondering if Best is for real. Through 3 weeks, he has 5 TDs and leads the Lions in rushing and receiving yards. Despite those numbers, Best is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. Until the Lions start passing the ball with some consistency, consider Best a player a RB2 or flex player -- at best.

Matt Forte - RB Chicago
If Forte was on my roster, I would sell him high right now. Forte is currently a top 10 RB in most leagues, but his stats are deceptive. Forte has 3 TDs this year including an 89 yarder against Detroit. Take a closer at Forte’s stats and you’ll notice he’s only averaging 2.8 yards per carry. Don’t expect Forte to stay in the top 10 RB list the entire year. Sell now.

Fred Taylor - RB New England
A toe injury will keep Taylor out of the line-up Sunday and this might be the last time we mention Taylor’s name. BenJarvus Green-Ellis will likely get the start and if he performs well look for him to remain New England’s feature back. If BGE runs wild in Miami on Monday night, it might be time to dump Taylor all together.

Brandon Lloyd - WR Denver
In three games this year, Lloyd has two 100+ yard games. He’s clearly the Broncos best deep threat and I expect him lead Denver in receiving yards this year. With Eddie Royal and Jabar Gaffney working the underneath routes, Lloyd and Demaryius Thomas will stretch the field. With the rookie Thomas still learning, the veteran Lloyd is Orton’s favorite deep target

Greg Jennings - WR Green Bay
It has been a couple frustrating years for fantasy football owners who drafted Jennings in the early rounds. In 2008, he managed 4 TDs and last year just 2 TDs. This year, he’s already scored twice but has only 10 catches. Jennings plays in an offense where QB Aaron Rodgers spreads the ball around to several different receivers. I’m not suggesting benching Jennings, but he’s a WR that will continue to frustrate his owners. He has a tendency to disappear during games. Look for him to be solid this week against the Lions, but going forward, be prepared to endure several weeks where he barely cracks the 50 yard receiving mark.

Malcom Floyd - WR San Diego
I was all ready to name Legedu Naanee the best WR in San Diego, that was before I watched a complete Chargers game. Floyd is clearly the better of the two WRs and looks to be on pace for a solid season. With Vincent Jackson still holding out, Floyd has emerged as Philip River’s favorite WR target. Floyd is coming off back-to-back games of nearly 100 yards and a TD. Considering the number of red zone targets Floyd gets each game, he should be looked at as solid WR2, and maybe even a fringe WR1.

Ryan Mathews - RB San Diego
Mathews has been slow to get going for the Chargers, but when he’s played, he’s looked like the real deal. The problem for Mathews has been two fold, fumbles and injury. In the two games he has played in, the rookie fumbled in both and hurt his ankle. After missing week 3, Mathews looks ready to play in week 4 and should be a good start against the Arizona Cardinals. Don’t sell Mathews yet, he’s just getting started.

Jeremy Maclin - WR Philadelphia
A lot of fantasy football owners are wondering if Maclin can keep up his torrid TD pace. After 3 weeks, Maclin has already matched his TD output from the two previous years (2010: 4 TDs, 2009: 4 TDs, 2008: 4 TDs). Maclin is like Greg Jennings, he has big play potential, but doesn’t tally a lot of yards. While there will be frustrating weeks for Maclin owners, I like him as an every week starter.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Week 4: Fantasy football ranking -- QB, RB, WR/TE

Week 4 is when strategy comes into play in fantasy football. Injuries are starting to hit star players and bye weeks have arrived. Here's a look at the week 4 rankings:

1. Peyton Manning at Jacksonville
2. Aaron Rodgers vs. Detroit
3. Philip Rivers vs. Arizona
4. Tom Brady at Miami
5. Drew Brees vs. Carolina
6. Matt Ryan vs. San Francisco
7. Michael Vick vs. Washington
8. Carson Palmer at Cleveland
9. Jay Cutler at NY Giants
10. Matt Schaub at Oakland
11. Bruce Gradkowski vs. Houston
12. Donovan McNabb at Philadelphia
13. Eli Manning vs. Chicago
14. Mark Sanchez at Buffalo
15. Chad Henne vs. New England
16. Matt Hasselbeck at St. Louis
17. Kyle Orton at Tennessee
18. Vince Young vs. Denver
19. Joe Flacco at Pittsburgh
20. Sam Bradford vs. Seattle

1. Chris Johnson vs. Denver
2. Arian Foster at Oakland
3. Cedric Benson at Cleveland
4. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Indianapolis
5. Ryan Mathews vs. Arizona
6. Darren McFadden vs. Houston
7. Michael Turner vs. San Francisco
8. Rashard Mendenhall vs. Baltimore
9. DeAngelo Williams at New Orleans
10. Frank Gore at Atlanta
11. LeSean McCoy vs. Washington
12. Peyton Hillis vs. Cincinnati
13. Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Chicago
14. Ronnie Brown vs. New England
15. Justin Forsett at St. Louis
16. BenJarvus Green-Ellis at Miami
17. LaDainian Tomlinson at Buffalo
18. Joseph Addai at Jacksonville*
19. Matt Forte at NY Giants
20. Shonn Greene at Buffalo
21. Jonathan Stewart at New Orleans
22. Steven Jackson vs. Seattle**
23. Pierre Thomas vs. Carolina***
24. Ray Rice at Pittsburgh
25. Beanie Wells at San Diego
26. John Kuhn vs. Detroit
27. Laurence Maroney at Tennessee
28. Ricky Williams vs. New England
29. Jahvid Best at Green Bay****
30. Clinton Portis at Philadelphia
31. Mike Tolbert vs. Arizona
32. Brandon Jackson vs. Detroit
33. Marshawn Lynch vs. NY Jets
34. Mike Hart at Jacksonville
35. Willis McGahee at Pittsburgh
36. Tim Hightower at San Diego
37. Kenneth Darby vs. Seattle
38. Jason Snelling vs. San Francisco
39. Maurice Morris at Green Bay
40. Ladell Betts vs. Carolina

1. Roddy White vs. San Francisco
2. Reggie Wayne at Jacksonville
3. DeSean Jackson vs. Washington
4. Austin Collie at Jacksonville
5. Randy Moss at Miami
6. Brandon Marshall vs. New England
7. Chad Ochocinco at Cleveland
8. Greg Jennings vs. Detroit
9. Wes Welker at Miami
10. Anquan Boldin at Pittsburgh
11. Jeremy Maclin vs. Washington
12. Antonio Gates vs. Arizona
13. Dallas Clark at Jacksonville
14. Malcom Floyd vs. Arizona
15. Jermichael Finley vs. Detroit
16. Louis Murphy vs. Houston
17. Calvin Johnson at Green Bay
18. Donald Driver vs. Detroit
19. Larry Fitzgerald at San Diego
20. Dustin Keller at Buffalo
21. Tony Gonzalez vs. San Francisco
22. Mark Clayton vs. Seattle
23. Marques Colston vs. Carolina
24. Andre Johnson at Oakland****
25. Hakeem Nicks vs. Chicago
25. Johnny Knox at NY Giants
26. Zach Miller vs. Houston
27. Legedu Naanee vs. San Diego
28. Santana Moss at Philadelphia
29. Steve Smith (NY) vs. Chicago
30. Steve Smith (CAR) at New Orleans
31. Brandon Lloyd at Tennessee
32. Aaron Hernandez at Miami
33. Braylon Edwards at Buffalo
34. Terrell Owens at Cleveland
35. Devery Henderson vs. Carolina
36. Mike Wallace vs. Baltimore
37. Nate Washington vs. Denver
38. Kevin Walter at Oakland
39. Deion Branch at St. Louis
40. Devin Hester at NY Giants
41. Lance Moore vs. Carolina
42. Mike Sims-Walker vs. Indianapolis
43. Jabar Gaffney at Tennessee
44. Lee Evans vs. NY Jets
45. Blair White at Jacksonville
46. Kenny Britt vs. Denver
47. Hines Ward vs. Baltimore
48. Eddie Royal at Tennessee
49. Darrius Heyward-Bey vs. Houston
50. Jacoby Jones at Oakland

Week 4: Working the Waiver Wire

If you listened to me two weeks ago, then you’re probably pretty happy with the addition of RB Peyton Hillis to your roster. Two weeks ago I also had RB Kenneth Darby listed as a “sneaky pick-up” after Steven Jackson underwent an MRI for his knee. As injuries begin to stack up for teams across the NFL, it’s important to start positioning yourself for a mid season run. Also, teams are entering bye weeks and depth on your fantasy football team gets very important. Here are some players that may help you fill out your roster as the season goes on.

Peyton Hillis – RB Cleveland
This is the last time I’m putting him on this list. Go get him right now if he’s still available. He is the clear-cut starter in Cleveland and looks to be headed for a solid season.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis – RB New England
I will add a warning with this pick-up, Green-Ellis is the hot runner right now in New England, but knowing Bill Belichick, that could change at any moment. But for right now Green-Ellis is the most intriguing of the four RBs for the Patroits (Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, Danny Woodhead). If you need a RB, Green-Ellis is a good option.

Kenneth Darby – RB St. Louis
Darby stepped in nicely when Steven Jackson went down with a groin injury Sunday. Darby looks to be in line for more carries this week when St. Louis hosts the Seattle Seahawks. Jackson's groin injury isn't serious, but couple that with his on-going knee problems, and that tells me Jackson may miss some time if he can't get healthy. Darby is a good guy to have on your roster just in case.

Ryan Torain - RB Washington
After starting the season on the practice squad, I had a feeling Torain would crack the Redskins 53-man roster at some point this year. However, I didn't expect it to be this soon, and I certainly didn't expect Torian to lead Washington in rushing. With Portis slowing down, Torain is the Skins best young RB. He's worth a solid look.

Marshawn Lynch - RB Buffalo
The reason Lynch lands on this list is because I see him getting traded soon. I'm not sure if the reports are true that the Buffalo Bills are listening to offers, but it makes sense. The Packers would be a great fit for Lynch. If the Packers land Lynch, he instantly becomes a solid starting fantasy football RB. Are you willing to role the dice? I am.

LaGarrette Blount - RB Tampa Bay
You may not recognize his name, but you know who LaGarrette Blount is. He's the guy who was suspended for his entire senior season at Oregon for punching a Boise State player in the face. Before that incident, Blount was thought of as a promising NFL RB. After that incident he went undrafted. Blount is now the goal line RB in Tampa and is expected to be more of a contributor for the Buccaneers. It wouldn't surprise me if Blount started eating away at Cadillac Williams' carries. Keep an eye on Blount.

Louis Murphy - WR Oakland
Like Hillis, this will be the last time Murphy is on this list. Murphy is coming off back-to-back solid games and has had good chemistry with new QB Bruce Gradkowski. Murphy is a great option this week against the Houston Texans and should be on some one's roster before Sunday.

Brandon Lloyd - WR Denver
The pass-happy Denver Broncos have a stable full of nice WRs, and Lloyd may be the least known of the bunch. He's getting recognized now, especially after his 169 yard/1 TD game against Indianapolis in week 3. The Broncos have a good thing going with their offense and Lloyd looks like a solid fantasy football WR going forward.

Lance Moore - WR New Orleans
I'm not as high on Moore as some people, but he's still worth a look. Moore was huge in week 3, catching 6 balls for 149 yards and 2 TDs. The reason I'm not sold on Moore is because he plays on the Saints. You would think that's a good thing considering how often New Orleans throws the ball. But Drew Brees spreads the ball around so well, it's hard to pick which WR is going to have the best game week-to-week. If you're desperate, Moore is a good option, but don't expect him to repeat his week 3 output every week.

Dustin Keller - TE NY Jets
Keller is fast becoming Mark Sanchez's go-to guy. The TE ran wild on Sunday night, catching 6 balls for 98 yards and 2 TDs against the Miami Dolphins. A week earlier against the New England Patriots, Keller grabbed 7 balls for 115 yards and a TD. He's in line for another good showing this week against the Buffalo Bills. Keller should get even more looks once Santonio Holmes comes back for the Jets.

Blair White - WR Indianapolis
Whoever is lining up as the Indianapolis Colts third WR, pick him up. That role has produced some great WRs, and White is now that guy (for the moment). White caught a TD against the NY Giants in week 3 and faces a poor Jacksonville defense in week 4. White is a good pick-up if you need a bye week WR fill-in. But don't expect White to unseat Pierre Garcon or Austin Collie as the team's #2 and #3 WRs.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Week 3: Good calls, bad calls

I went big this week trying hard to set myself apart from the rest of the fantasy football prognosticators. It turns out I’m still a work in progress. I was right on most of the week three predictions, but my boldest prediction fell short (albeit not by much). Here’s a recap.
Bad Calls:
Justin Forsett – RB Seattle
Forsett was my big pick this week, my would-be defining moment. I suggested that Forsett would have a breakout game against a very good San Diego defense. I had a feeling Seattle would win the game and Forsett would be the reason. It turns out his RB mate Leon Washington was the difference with two kick-off returns for TDs. Forsett did get 20 touches (17 carries/3 catches), tallying 94 yards. It was by far the most touches he’s seen this year. I still believe Forsett will be a valuable fantasy football RB over the next several weeks. He has a favorable schedule ahead (@STL, Bye, @Chicago, Arizona, @Oakland, NY Giants,@Arizona) and is clearly the best RB option for the first place Seahawks.
Beanie Wells – RB Arizona
I thought it would take Wells a couple weeks to be a factor in Arizona’s running game. It turned out he was ready to contribute in week 3. It was revealed earlier in the week that Wells underwent knee surgery. I didn’t think he would play much, let alone lead the team with 14 carries. His 75 yards were a surprise and he looked ready to retake the number one RB role. Once again, I cannot figure out the Arizona RB situation, go figure.
Brett Favre – QB Minnesota
I thought this would be the game Brett Favre threw TD #500. It turns out Favre is still one TD short of 500, which means he managed just one TD against Detroit. Favre did connect with Percy Harvin on a nice TD, but that was it. The Vikings enter their bye this week and when they return in two weeks, their schedule is brutal. Games @NY Jets, vs. Dallas, @New England and @Green Bay will put Favre to the test. I would start looking for an alternative starting QB if you have Favre.
Good Calls:

Joe Flacco – QB Baltimore
After two rough games against the NY Jets and Cincinnati Bengals, Flacco had no problem dismantling the Cleveland Browns. Flacco's 262 yards and 3 TDs (all to Anquan Boldin) was his best statistical performance of the year. Feel good about keeping Flacco in your starting line-up (even this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers). 

Cincinnati Bengals defense
They could have been better, but 4 turnovers and a sack is still pretty good. Carolina played it safe most of the game with Jimmy Clausen making his pro debut. The Bengals defense is a good start any week, but the next two should be great. The Bengals face Cleveland this week and Tampa Bay the week after.

Kyle Orton – QB Denver
I have liked Orton from the beginning of the season, but what he did Sunday was unreal. The Broncos QB threw for a mind-boggling 476 yards and a TD against the Indianapolis Colts. Orton is a solid fantasy football starter and looks to be a consistent performer each week.

Ryan Torain - RB Washington
I wanted to get on the record with Torain last week, but I had no idea he would lead the Redskins in rushing. His 7 carries for 46 yards was nothing great, but it could signal a change in Washington's backfield. Owners of Clinton Portis should grab Torain now.

Cedric Benson – RB Cincinnati
I expected 100+ yards rushing out of Benson this week, I missed by 19 yards. However, Benson did reward fantasy football owners with two TDs. Look for Benson to be used more heavily as the Bengals try and figure out its passing game.

Brandon Jackson – RB Green Bay
Green Bay's running game is non-existent without Ryan Grant. Jackson proved on Monday night that he is not an every down RB. If Jackson is one of your starting RBs, start looking for an alternative.