Broncos TE Julius Thomas is a risky play for Week 13


TE Fantasy Football News -

A late season trend continues as top-tier fantasy TEs have been missing in action for the past couple of games and Week 13 is not likely to make things any better. Julius Thomas and Charles Clay are great big questions marks this week, while Jordan Cameron has already been ruled out as a fantasy football TE option.

Julius Thomas – Broncos tight end Julius Thomas is a full-blown game time decision. His gimpy ankle is not bouncing back as quickly as initially anticipated and Thomas was “limited” in practice on Thursday and Friday. The Broncos star tight end missed Week 12 and fantasy owners are on pins and needles to see if he will suit up for Sunday’s road matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Charles Clay – Fantasy owners should NOT expect to see Dolphins tight end Charles Clay on the field for Miami’s Monday night’s road game against the Jets. Clay is dealing with knee and hamstring issues and is officially listed as “doubtful.” The team held him out of practice on Thursday and Friday and fantasy owners should be prepared for him to miss his second straight game in a row.

Jordan Cameron – Browns tight end Jordan Cameron has already been ruled out for the team’s Week 13 road matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Cameron has been struggling to make his way through the NFL’s concussion protocol, but with 3 concussions since 2012, progress has been slow. Sadly for fantasy owners, he is no lock to be back on the field for Week 14 and could possibly miss the remainder of the season.


Ryan Tannehill should have a "banner" day against the listless Jets


Not necessarily the players in line for the biggest games this week, but rather some players that caught my interest and upon whom I shall cast my gaze.  They could be good NFL fantasy starts this week.

Ryan Tannehill, QB – Miami (at New York Jets): Let’s face it, the Jets are a horrible team. Their offense is putrid—it scares no one. Which is why I have a feeling that Tannehill will use this contest to try and push his game to the next level… he has nothing to worry about should he make a mistake. But let’s not sell Tannehill short: in his last two games, he’s tossed five TD passes vs. just one INT (he’s also rushed for a TD). Against the Jets, who allow the third-most points to opposing QBs, count on Tannehill to put up three scores.

Andre Ellington, RB – Arizona (at Atlanta): Do you know how NFL running backs regain their mojo? They play the Falcons. Ellington has been a disappointment to fantasy football owners this season, falling short of all the pre-season hype, but going against the Falcons’ 23rd-ranked rush defense, Ellington should be able to put up 80 yards on the ground. Ellington also averages 4.5 receptions a game, which he should be able to top this week against the NFL’s worst pass defense. This is one of those games that if Ellington doesn’t walk away with at least 16 PPR points, he’ll never amount to anything in this league.

Jeremy Hill, RB – Cincinnati (at Tampa Bay): The Bucs allow the fifth-most points to opposing RBs… this should be good news for the Bengals, who love to run the ball. While Giovani Bernard should have a solid game, it’s clear that Jeremy Hill has been the guy who’s been gaining all the momentum in the Bengals’ backfield—Hill’s had two 150+ yard rushing efforts in his last four games and has been all over NFL player news. If the Bengals pull ahead of the Bucs early (why wouldn’t they?), they’ll use Hill to batter the defense and run out the clock. I see a 100+ yard game for Hill with a score this weekend.

Charles Johnson, WR - Minnesota (vs. Carolina): Who? Johnson isn’t on most people’s radar, including most Vikings’ fans; but he’s on the radar of at least one person— Teddy Bridgewater. Johnson has been targeted by Bridgewater 18 times over the last two games, which is 13 more targets than Cordarrelle Patterson. I’m not saying that Johnson will be outperforming Calvin Johnson or Dez Bryant, but he’s someone you can pick up if you’re desperate for a WR or Flex option. Given the Panthers allow the fifth-most points to opposing WRs, a 5/75/1 line is entirely possible for Johnson.

Justin Hunter, WR – Tennessee (at Houston): Look, this is one of those cases where I first start by looking at the defenses of the worst teams in the NFL against the pass (the Texans are #31) and then figuring out who the beneficiary of that lousy play will be. I had the chance to watch Titans rookie QB Zach Mettenberger against the Steelers last week, and I must say I like the cut of his jib. Mettenberger is afraid to toss the ball around, and it seemed to me that his favorite WR target was not Kendall Wright, but rather Justin Hunter. Now, I’m not vouching for Mettenberger’s intelligence, just his tendencies… I think Hunter might get 10-12 targets in this contest, which conservatively speaking should produce a 6/90/1 line for him.

Greg Olsen, TE – Carolina (at Minnesota): Coming off a bye week, Olsen and Co. should be well-rested and raring to go. Why wouldn’t they? At 3-7-1 the Panthers are, amazingly, still in the running to win the NFC South. While the Vikings are actually pretty good at defending opposing TEs, signs point to Olsen having a big game. Olsen is the leading receiver on the Panthers in terms of receptions (56), but for some reason there’s been stretches where Cam Newton doesn’t target him as often as he should. In Week 11, Olsen was targeted 11 times—hopefully a trend that will continue this week; and with no running game to speak of, it looks as if passes in the flat to Olsen will have to serve as a running game.



For the time being, Geno Smith is back in the driver's seat


QB Fantasy Football News-

The New York Jets and Washington Redskins both hoped they had franchise quarterbacks coming into the 2014 season, but that doesn't appear to be the case for either team.

The Redskins announced that they will start Colt McCoy this week against the Colts in place of RGIII, ex-stud fantasy QB. This will be the second year in a row that RGIII has been benched for poor play. RG3 has been a shell of himself since his rookie campaign and it appears that he won't be back with the Redskins next season.

The Jets announced that Geno Smith will regain his starting job this week in place of Michael Vick who had a horrible outing during Week 12 and was benched in the 3rd quarter. Sources claim that Rex Ryan and the Jets Offensive Coordinator (Marty Mornhinweg) are in favor of starting Vick, but the Jets front office wants to go back to Smith.

What is the significance of these QB changes in D.C. and New York? For starters, RGIII and the 2012 NFL draft set the Redskins and their already dysfunctional franchise back several years. The Redskins gave up three first-round picks and a second round pick to draft RGIII as the second overall pick. Now, it looks like the battered quarterback will be headed to a new team next season.

In New York QB news, the Jets will likely continue to lose and Rex Ryan will probably be a heavily sought after Defensive Coordinator for next season. Vick is nothing more than a backup at this point, so the Jets are actually making the right decision to ride Geno for the rest of the season and see what he has left in the tank.

The QB carousel in D.C. and New York are in completely different stages. The Redskins are trying to end the season on a positive note with first-year Head Coach Jay Gruden while the Jets are trying to prepare for some inevitable coaching changes.

Follow Fantasy Focus for more QB fantasy news.



With bad back and a VERY SHORT WEEK, Romo is a risky start



1. Cam Newton, CAR:

Cam Newton has a tough matchup ahead of him, as the Panthers head to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. After playing back to back weak defenses in the Eagles and Falcons, Newton is in for a rude awakening. The Vikings defense ranks 7th in the league in allowing just 223.5 passing yards per contest, despite being in a division that features Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford. Newton has had a wildly inefficient season, comprised of 14 total touchdowns and 15 turnovers, and he should continue to struggle. Consider Cam Newton nothing more than a QB2 for Week 13.

2. Tony Romo, DAL:

Romo is coming off a spectacular 4 touchdown performance against the Giants, and has an easy opponent ahead of him. However, he's a still a very risky start solely due to fatigue. Romo has been dealing with back issues for the entirety of this season, and the very short period of recovery between weeks can't be good for his health. After playing Sunday night, he and the Cowboys were only given about 3 and a half days to prepare for their Thanksgiving day game with the Eagles. Expect fatigue to play a major part in limiting Romo from having a solid game. Consider Tony Romo a QB2 at best for Thursday.



1. RB Andre Ellington, ARI:

Ellington has been struggling to get things going on the ground as of late (averaging 1.89 yards per carry in Arizona's last 3 games), but has a more than favorable matchup in the weak Falcons rush defense to help him turn things around. Atlanta ranks 24th in the NFL in giving up 125.8 rushing yards per contest, which should bode well for Ellington's big-game potential this week. He should be a lock for 20 touches once again, and have no trouble finding running lanes. Ellington can be utilized as a top 10 RB1 in fantasy leagues across the board, a must fantasy football start.

2. WR Reggie Wayne, IND:

Reggie Wayne is coming off a very bad game as he and Andrew Luck failed to get things going in the Colts' 23-3 win over the Jaguars, but he has a chance to redeem himself this Sunday. The Colts are set to square off against the Redskins, and Washington's questionable offense (with newly appointed starting QB Colt McCoy) will spend a lot of time on the sidelines, leaving Wayne and the rest of the Indy offense with plenty of chances to rack up some points. Reggie Wayne should be counted on to draw at least 8 targets, as he has in each of his last 7 games, and to produce at a high level for this Sunday. Consider Reggie Wayne a high-end WR2 in what should be an easy win for Week 13.

Stay tuned to ASL for the most complete fantasy sit start info!

Telvin Smith is becoming a top-notch linebacker for the Jaguars

Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups - 

LB Telvin Smith, Jacksonville - We mentioned Telvin as a deep sleeper several weeks ago, but a new wrinkle has developed. We scouted him as an excelled cover OLB, but had not seen as much from him as a heavy tackle-count type for a linebacker. For much of this game, Smith was one of two ILBs for the game. He played like a poor man’s Mychal Kendricks—speed, aggression, leading to lots of action/output…and his numbers followed suit. During Week 12 against Indy, Smith posted 13 tackles—an NFL career high, and it’s the most tackles he’s had in a game looking back on his years at Florida State as well. Because of the Jags’ excessive linebacker injuries and under-performance—Smith is getting more and more playing time. When you play defense for Jacksonville, you will see a lot of time on the field every week. If he starts playing more ILB, then he's going to be a 10+ tackle a game guy. 

Smith is a sensational athlete for a linebacker, a high 4.4s/low 4.5s runner who was fantastic as a coverage OLB in college. He really could be a terrific Safety as well as OLB. Smith is going to see the snaps, and it is starting to rack up Fantasy-IDP output: 8.0 tackles per game over his last three games. You like the tackle counts, but might also get PDs and picks with this talented cover guy. The only think we see that could derail this is if rookie IDP Jeremiah George comes back from his minor injury, and jumps back in as a main ILB. I’m not sure if that will happen now (George is a deep, deep IDP sleeper as well).

CB Desmond Trufant, Atlanta - We rated Desmond Trufant as the best CB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft, and he has played decently in his two seasons for a young CB, but he might be really coming into his own of late. During his last two games, Trufant has picked off a pass in each contest and posted two PDs in each game as well. He’s had at least one PD in seven-straight games, and at least one PD in all but one game this season. Trufant is a shutdown CB talent. He’s one of the best, if not the best cover corner I’ve scouted coming out of college in the past couple of drafts. The IDP fear is teams start moving away from taking chances at him, but we don’t think he’s there yet. During Week 13, Trufant draws Drew Stanton, and an offense that will take a ton of shots down field—I love the odds that Trufant comes down with a third-straight game with an interception this week.

CB Darryl Morris, Houston - Morris saw more time in Week 12 due to the injury to Kareem Jackson, and he responded with 10 tackles and 3 PDs. He was pitted against A.J. Green a lot…and Green had a great game, but Morris made some nice plays as well…not bad for a UDFA, backup CB taking on an NFL elite wide receiver. They picked on him, and he was not bad. Morris was working his way into more playing time earlier this season, but he got nicked up and missed a few weeks. In the last two games where Morris has seen heavier playing time, he has 14 tackles (7.0 per game) 6 PDs (3.0 per game) and an interception. He gets FF-numbers because he will get picked on due to his inexperience/status. Morris is a tremendous athlete—he’s a 4.3+ runner with terrific agility. He went undrafted out of Texas State in 2013, but caught on with San Francisco, and was making noise in training camp…eventually working his way up off the practice squad to the active roster as a rookie. He was released in a number’s game, and scooped up by Houston—and is now working his way from unknown player to key DB. The longer Kareem Jackson is out, the more snaps Darryl Morris is apt to see…and FF-numbers he can give you in the short-term.

For the most comprehensive analysis on fantasy pickups, stay tuned to ASL all season long!

Latavius Murray ran over the Chiefs during Week 12

Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups - 

1. RB Latavius Murray, OAK:

Murray took his opportunity and ran with it last Thursday, as he turned 4 carries into 112 yards and 2 touchdowns during his first start. The Raiders beat the Chiefs to end their 16 game losing streak and the team's rookie tailback put on quite a show in the first half.. He was forced from the game in the second quarter after sustaining a concussion when he took a big hit on his fourth carry of the game. He has until Friday to gain clearance for Oakland's road contest with St. Louis, and will more likely than not retain the job as their feature back. The Rams' rush defense ranks 19th in allowing 115.8 rushing yards per game, and Murray should be able to exploit them significantly. Murray can be added and started as a decent RB2 if he is able to suit up.

2. RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE:

Crowell has solidified himself as the starting halfback, after putting up a line of 12-88-2 in Cleveland's win against Atlanta on Sunday. He has proved to be more effective than fellow RB Terrance West, and following the releasing of Ben Tate, Crowell has nothing to worry about in terms of playing time. Crowell has rushed for an average of 5.73 yards per carry in his last two games, and as the Browns fight to get atop the tough AFC North division, the team will look toward him to make big plays down the stretch. With little uncertainty left in the backfield, Crowell can be added as a solid RB2 with upside and as a low RB1 going forward.

3. WR Stedman Bailey, STL:

Bailey had a strong performance in the Rams' loss to the Chargers, turning 7 catches into 89 yards and a touchdown. Bailey received a team-high nine targets (tied with TE Jared Cook) from QB Shaun Hill, and could be developing into the quarterback's new favorite target. This was Hill's second start at quarterback since taking over for Austin Davis, and he and Bailey's improving rapport could prove to be beneficial for both sides, especially for fantasy owners. Ever since stud WR Brian Quick went down, the Rams have been searching for others to replace his stellar production, and Bailey could be their guy. The 24-year-old slot receiver can be added as a WR3 for now.

4. RB LeGarrette Blount, NE:

After signing him just 3 days earlier, LeGarrette Blount rushed 12 times for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Patriots destroyed the Lions, 34-9. Blount capitalized on the benching of Jonas Gray for arriving late to practice, and may have solidified a role within New England's running game. Fellow halfback Shane Vereen took 8 carries for a mere 12 yards, which gave Blount more chances to re-define himself as a valuable member of the Pats offense. With Gray possible still in Coach Belichick's doghouse, Blount should continue to get carries as the power back for the Patriots. Blount can be one of the more intriguing fantasy pickups as an RB2 with upside as a goal-line threat.


C.J. Anderson kicking other backs to the curb in Denver


RB Fantasy Football News

So the carousel that is the Broncos backfield continues to go round and round. The latest running back to grab the starting spot is C.J. Anderson and he may very well be the cream of the crop.

The young fantasy RB had 27 carries for 167 yards while averaging 6.2 yards per carry against a stout Miami Dolphins that gave the Broncos all they could handle. He was also efficient in the passing game, hauling in all four targets that came his way for 28 yards. Another stat popping off the sheet is that over the course of the last three weeks, Anderson leads the NFL with 473 all-purpose yards in front of the Chief’s Jamaal Charles and the Buccaneers Mike Evans.

The pre-season hype for Monte Ball is long gone now and there’s no reason to waste a roster spot on him. Another running back that had the starting position was Ronnie Hillman who has been struggling with injuries of his own. This left Anderson in the driver’s seat and his fantasy value is skyrocketing through the roof.

The Broncos have been looking for a back that’s going to stay healthy and who is primed to give them steady production ever since the departure of Knowshon Moreno. Anderson seems to be the best candidate to help the Broncos running game get back on track.  Look for him to stay in the RB news.

Anderson was likely an unknown name to fans outside of Denver before the season, but now he is someone who you really need on your team. The 23-year-old was an undrafted free agent that the Broncos signed in 2013 and he is making someone in Denver’s front office look like a genius.

Even if Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball return for Week 13, Anderson should be considered a low end RB1 with nothing but upside. The amount of carries Anderson received during Week 12 were the most for any Broncos running back since Moreno had 37 carries against the New England Patriots during Week 12 of the 2013 season.

For insight into this and other RB fantasy news, stay tuned to ASL!

Ryan Mallet is definitely NOT the answer for Houston's offense


If you watched the Houston vs. Cincinnati game, I hope you were tipping your figurative (literal is fine too) cap to me. I’m not wrong about QBs…and ta-da: Ryan Mallett has now been revealed as a fraud. He was never ‘the answer’ for Houston and was never close to being on the list of best fantasy football keepers. If you haven’t already, start getting your Tom Savage Dynasty stashes together…as I advised two weeks ago (and back to June 2014).  Here is a list of some trends in the NFL fantasy world.

 — Isaiah Crowell had the TDs, but Terrance West won the carry-count tally 14-12. Both are decent, but maddening, non-PPR RB options week-to-week.

 — Time to start taking rookie IDP Telvin Smith a little more seriously. One of our ‘deep NFL fantasy sleepers’ a couple of weeks ago, he posted 13 tackles/10 solos. I look forward to re-watching this game to see if he was playing ILB a bunch…and thus may stick at that position rest of 2014 given the Jags ILB issues (he is an OLB by trade).

 — Andrew Hawkins is very much in play for a PPR Flex option week-to-week, and is one of the better sleeper picks for this week. The Josh Gordon factor helps him a ton; it does not hurt him for output. When Hawkins is not drawing heavy coverage he is free to roam, and allows Brian Hoyer just hit him with simple passes he can ‘catch & run’ with.

 — I’ve been making excuses for Reggie Wayne in my mind for weeks. I tend to have a bias against veteran players, but Wayne is still a very good NFL WR…and works with a top QB—all things good for Fantasy. I tried to be sure not to have a bias. However, he looked slow and clunky in this game…and has looked that way a lot recently. I’m about ready to jump ship of being favorable to him.

 — Dan Herron was more favored than Trent Richardson in their Week 12 game —just like Ahmad Bradshaw was. It looks like Herron is the Colts RB to have now…just assume he is ‘Bradshaw-lite’ going forward. He’ll hold that until (if) Zurlon Tipton gets his shot. 

 — If Blake Bortles is not the worst QB in the NFL, I’m not sure who is.

 — I love the way Jerick McKinnon is working on the field, but the stink of Norv Turner’s offense clings to him for FF-purposes. He’s never going to get TDs in this terrible 2014 offense.

 — I knew Matthew Stafford was fading, but 13 TD/10 INT thrown in 11 games this season…wow.

 — I buy LeGarrette Blount as the power RB for the Pats for the rest of 2014, a RB who is more talented than Stevan Ridley or Jonas Gray.

 – Kenny Britt’s stat line will look like crap, but he had a 50+ yard TD catch stolen from him on a pathetic penalty on the O-Line, having nothing to do with anything. He lost his TD catch, and thus lost the Rams’ momentum that was about to knock the Chargers out early.

 — Another week, another Russell Wilson 70+ yard rushing effort. He’s done so in five of his last 8 games, and three-straight. Just as I have been harping on: He’s usually giving you 7 to 17 Fantasy points per game with his feet before you start looking at the passer totals.

 — Another week, another low output in the 2.0s for yards per carry for Andre Ellington. When Arizona fades to end the season, they’ll blame Drew Stanton, but they should look at the RB management…and the total collapse of Michael Floyd.

 — Considering how badly Odell Beckham Jr. humiliated the Cowboys pass defense. What do we think Jordan Matthews might accomplish against them on Thanksgiving Day? Or when they play again two weeks after that? Mark Sanchez suddenly has a little more value watching Eli Manning not-struggle with Dallas.

 — Last week, RG3 died to me along with all mobile-QBs, and then I was surprised that the same sentiment hit a few in the national media as well last week. This week, I’m totally over Jay Cutler. I was never a huge fan, but I bought into Trestman + awesome WRs = Cutler FF-good. Umm, no. It’s cliché, but true…Cutler is the most ‘sad sack’ QB in the NFL. No more benefit of the doubt in 2014 from me. No more ‘he might’ thoughts in a great matchup. I’ll just assume he’ll disappoint and then raise half an eyebrow if he tosses 3 TDs. Two Detroit matchups the next four weeks…no thanks.


R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football, and a football projections analyst for Fantasy Football His group also provides player projections for Advanced Sports Logic’s football software “The Machine.” See “The Machine” here: The Machine via FFM


Texans running back Alfred Blue is primed to run all over the Bengals


RB Fantasy Football News

It looks like fantasy RB stud Arian Foster is well on his way to sitting out another game for the Houston Texans. Foster missed last week’s game giving rookie standout, Alfred Blue, a chance to breakout in Cleveland where he rushed 36 times for an astounding 156 yards.

Now fantasy owners get to see if Blue’s big day was a fluke or a sign of things to come as the Texans play host to one of the worst rush defenses in all of football, the Cincinnati Bengals.

The fact of the matter is that Blue was a beast in college and there’s no reason to believe he won’t lay waste to the Bengals during Week 12 if he can get the carries. Blue is an old school ground and pound type of runner who welcomes contact on every snap and has the potential to break off huge chunks of yardage.

Another backup runner who had a fantastic Week 11 and made our RB fantasy news was the Patriots Jonas Gray. He stunned a national audience last week when he shredded the Indianapolis Colts defense for 201 yards and 4 touchdowns on the evening.

He was certainly the hottest waiver wire pickup in fantasy football last week, but expecting Gray to put up numbers anywhere close to what he did last week would represent a serious error in judgment.

Gray was just the primary chess piece in Coach Bill Belichick’s game plan to keep the Colts offense and Andrew Luck off of the field. The Patriots will have a much different game plan during Week 12 against the Detroit Lions, a team that boasts one of the toughest run defenses in the NFL.

Expect New England to feature more Shane Vereen and much more Tom Brady against the visiting Lions. Gray should be viewed as a RB2/Flex option who should at the very least get the majority of goal line work against the Lions.

Keep up with the latest RB news with ASL!


Time for fantasy owners to sit back and watch Josh Gordon fly



1. WR Josh Gordon, CLE:

Gordon is finally back from his suspension and is seemingly ready to pick up right where he left off. A fantasy superstar from a year ago, Gordon had a record breaking year, going for 87-1,646-9 (breaking 100 yards in 7 games) in only 14 games. As the Browns are fighting for a spot in the playoffs, they will be relying on their star wideout to help them get there. Coach Mike Pettine stated that Gordon would be limited to a snap count, but that should not deter fantasy owners from starting him for Week 12, as Cleveland takes on Atlanta's league-worst pass defense (allowing 281.2 passing yards per game). Josh Gordon is a must fantasy football start as he makes his return to the field for Sunday's contest.

2. WR Mike Evans, TB:

Rookie Mike Evans has arguably been the hottest wide receiver as of late, going for 21-458-5 in his last 3 games combined. Evans surpassed veteran Vincent Jackson as the number one wide receiver for Tampa Bay, and seems to be the only offensive player producing on a weekly basis. He has completely taken over the offense, and has a favorable matchup ahead of him as the Bucs head to Chicago to take on the Bears. Chicago ranks 25th in allowing 256.4 yards per game through the air, and last in surrendering 29 points per game. Coming off the best performance of his young career (7 catches for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns), the young stud should be expected to keep the ball rolling as he continues to make a name for himself.



1. RB Marshawn Lynch, SEA:

Lynch is coming off back-to-back solid performances (21-140-4 and 24-124-0), but will have a difficult time continuing that high level of play against a stout Cardinals defense. Arizona ranks 3rd in surrendering 80.4 rushing yards per game, while also ranking 2nd in allowing a minuscule 17.6 total points per game. Marshawn Lynch has had a strong showing in what may be his last season in Seattle, but this bump in the road could be significant, coming at an inopportune time for the middle-of-the-pack Seahawks. Expect Lynch to put up low RB2 numbers as he will struggle to get things going.

2. RB Alfred Morris, WAS:

Alfred Morris is coming off a solid game where he rushed for 96 yards, and added 36 yards from his two receptions. However, he most likely won't be able to put up a second straight solid performance, as he and the Redskins square off against a very tough 49ers run defenes. Morris has a tough task ahead of him against a San Francisco rush defense that ranks 6th in the league allowing 88.6 rushing yards per contest. With the spotty and erratic play of Robert Griffin III, Morris will struggle to find open running lanes. Consider Morris nothing more than a middling RB2 for Week 12.

For more fantasy sit start advice, stay tuned to ASL!