RB Fantasy Football News
Rashad Jennings fantasy owners have been really pleased the last few weeks as the fantasy RB scored more than 20 points in PPR leagues and has had three straight weeks with double-digit fantasy points.
Jennings sat out the Giants final two drives after injuring his ankle in Sunday's loss to the Jaguars. Before his injury, Jennings racked up 91 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. In RB news, Jennings hadn't practiced all week and was a limited participant on Friday.
Jennings made it clear after yesterday's practice that even if he does play, he won't be anywhere near 100%. According the the Giants coaching staff, Jennings would likely split carries right down the middle with backup RB Andre Williams.
The Giants also signed Chris Ogbonnaya on Tuesday which is not what Jennings owners wanted to see. Jennings' injury comes at a horrible time for fantasy owners as it's the first week of playoffs in a majority of the leagues and the Giants are playing the Titans who give up the fifth most points to Running Backs this season.
Jennings owners need to keep a close eye on Jennings' pre-game warm-up and see if he is active. He could end up being a top 10 RB in Week 14 if he's healthy enough to suit up. Keep a close eye on Jennings on Sunday morning and make sure you have a replacement ready.
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1. QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT:
Roethlisberger has shown glimpses of greatness this season with some huge performances, but this week should be a lull of sorts as the Steelers take on their division rivals in Cincinnati. Cincy's defense is starting to play at an elite level, as they have allowed 13 points or less in each of their last 3 games. Roethlisberger will have a tough time making plays against this stout pass defense, despite having playmakers like Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Big Ben is also dealing with an injury to his throwing hand that could limit his big play capabilities. Consider Roethlisberger nothing more than a weak QB2.
2. RB LeSean McCoy, PHI:
McCoy has exploded as of late, totaling 289 yards and 2 touchdowns in Philly's last two games combined, but do not expect similar production for week 14. Shady McCoy has finally taken off this season, but has a very difficult matchup at home this week against a punishing Seattle defense. The Hawks rank 4th (tied with the Ravens) in allowing just 86.3 rushing yards per contest, and have not allowed a rusher to reach 30 yards on the ground during their last 2 games. Expect the red-hot Seattle defense to pressure McCoy and company significantly, and take away the opportunity for big plays to be made. McCoy should not be used as anything more than a middle-of-the-pack RB2.
1. RB Frank Gore, SF:
Gore is coming off a 28 yard rushing performance, but has the perfect chance to turn things around versus the hopeless Oakland Raiders. The Raiders rank 27th in surrendering 130.5 rushing yards per game, and Frank Gore should have a field day with them. Oakland took on the St. Louis last week, and allowed Rams RB Tre Mason to pick up 117 yards and 2 TDs on just 14 carries, and expect their defense woes to continue. Gore will find plenty of running lanes to exploit, and can be implemented into starting lineups as a high RB2 with RB1 potential in fantasy leagues across the board.
2. WR Kenny Stills, NO:
Kenny Stills will look to keep the ball rolling as he comes off a 5-162-1 spectacular performance, as the Saints took down the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stills was targeted a team-high 6 times, comfortably being used as Drew Brees' number one option. This trend should continue as the Panthers will look to limit Jimmy Graham's effectiveness, likely leaving Stills with single coverage for most of the contest. The Panthers rank 17th in allowing 243.5 passing yards per game, making them decent at best. Expect Kenny Stills to continue to shine in Brandin Cooks' absence, and to pan out as a high-end WR2 this week, with low WR1 potential for the rest of the season. He is a good fantasy football start option.
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RB Fantasy Football News
There are three running backs in the New Orleans Saints backfield that want to be fed, but there is only one that fantasy owners want to own and that back is the former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. That leaves Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson mostly out of the mix. These are two fantasy RBs that should only be on your roster if you are in deep leagues or flat out desperate.
Ingram finally appears to be answer to Sean Peyton's running game woes in New Orleans. In every game that Ingram played in this season, he's gotten a minimum of 11 carries. Last week, Ingram gained 122 yards on 23 carries against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thomas only saw 3 carries last week and doesn’t seem to have much value in the running game.
In RB fantasy news, Ingram is seventh among fantasy backs in fantasy points per game and is facing a Carolina Panthers defense that looks nothing short of terrible. This is not the same defense that was feared last year and Ingram should have ample success against them. The Panthers front is surrendering the 10th most fantasy points per game to opposing backfields.
Ingram did take a while to get back into the swing if things after he returned from injury. During Weeks 11 and 12, he rushed for only a combined 94 yards on 34 carries. He's also not an accomplished pass catcher, which will give Thomas some PPR value in deeper leagues. Robinson returns this week, but is likely to have very little value being 3rd in the pecking order.
The running back that has the most value in New Orleans is without a doubt Ingram. Fantasy owners should put faith in the former Heisman Trophy winner who has been reminding us of his days with Nick Sabin in Alabama. If you are in the fantasy playoffs, ride Ingram as a top-flight RB2 for the rest of the season.
Stay tuned to ASL for the most up to date RB news!
Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups -
FS Phillip Thomas, Washington
Redskins’ starting FS Brandon Meriweather has a sprained toe that will probably end his 2014 as he will surely miss the next few weeks. This opens the door for Phillip Thomas who is likely to take his place for the rest of the season. Here’s why you might care for Fantasy purposes… Thomas was the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference. Check out his final college season numbers, keeping in mind that he is a Safety…not a Cornerback: 84 tackles with 8 interceptions…three of them returned for TDs, along with 12 TFLs, 4.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 13 PDs. He led the NCAA in interceptions and was 4th in forced fumbles during his final college season (2012). The great 2012 led him to become the Redskins 4th-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft—it also helped that he ran a 4.5+ 40-time with terrific agility at his NFL Combine and Pro Days with size…6’0”, 208 (now 220+).
Post-NFL Draft, Thomas’s NFL journey hit a few road blocks. During his 2013 NFL preseason debut, he hurt his foot…a Lisfranc and was lost for the season. During the 2014 preseason, he had foot and hamstring issues—and was cut, but then stashed on the practice squad. Finally, in November 2014, he was activated and started playing. He recovered a fumble in limited time during Week 12. When Meriweather went down, Thomas played plenty of minutes during Week 13, registering five tackles. Re-watching his college tape and reviewing his snaps from Week 13: Thomas is a very nice, aggressive tackler, but more than that he has a ‘nose for the ball’. He just seems to be in the right place at the right time for creating turnovers or recovering fumbles. Thomas is in line for a ton of work ROS, and don’t be shocked if he has 8+ tackles per game with a few picks sprinkled in. He is one of the better fantasy pickups if available in leagues.
FS Daimion Stafford, Tennessee
Stafford has been playing about 25-50% of the defensive snaps in games since Week 6 with recently increasing statistical output. In two of his last three games, Stafford has registered six or more tackles. In the one game where he did not hit the 6+ tackle mark, he picked off a pass and posted two PDs. As Tennessee crashes and burns, keep an eye on Stafford getting more time at Safety. Stafford was a 7th-round draft pick out of Nebraska in 2013. During his final season in college (2012), he had 96 tackles with four interceptions (led the Big Ten) and 11 PDs (3rd in the Big Ten). He’s a physically big Safety at 6’1”, 218-pounds…more strong (21 bench reps) than athletic (4.6+ runner with marginal agility).
Watching Stafford on tape during the last few weeks, he's had several impressive solo tackles and/or big hits on guys like Arian Foster and Le’Veon Bell. He’s a scrapper who is getting nice tackle counts with only limited playing time. He might be a 8-10+ tackle per game surprise with more playing time as the season winds down.
CB Anthony Levine, Baltimore
During the past two weeks, Anthony Levine has dialed up 9.5 tackles and 0.5 PDs per game as he takes over for injured CB Jimmy Smith. Levine is a track athlete type of football talent: 4.4+ runner with excellent agility, burst, and bench press. He was undrafted out of Tennessee State in 2010, and played with Green Bay before joining the Ravens. He has all the athletic skills and appears to be a high effort guy. He is a solid tackler, but is racking up more numbers of late because he is quick to the ball/any play, and he is getting picked on a bunch as the inexperienced CB. During Week 13, Philip Rivers was playing pitch & catch with Keenan Allen in front of Levine. To his credit, Levine kept Allen in front of him mostly, allowing minor gains on plays. Levine will keep getting work the rest of 2014, and he will get picked on for the rest of the season too—which means he should have decent tackle and PD numbers to go along with it.
Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups -
1. RB Dan Herron, IND:
Boom Herron showed off his ability to make an impact despite receiving minimal touches in Indy's win over Washington. The 3rd-year back took 8 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown (11 yards per carry), and added 2 catches for 8 yards, but also coughed up a fumble. Despite losing a fumble in each of his last two games, Herron is receiving praise from Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano, and should continue to see more touches than Trent Richardson. Richardson also received 8 carries, and was only able to gain 12 yards from those carries. He has proven to be an ineffective runner for the Colts, and Herron's 88 rushing yard performance was higher than any total Richardson's produced in almost two seasons in Indianapolis. Boom Herron is now the feature back in Indy, and is one of the better fantasy pickups as an RB2 with upside as a solid contrast to Andrew Luck's pass-heavy offense.
2. TE Jordan Reed, WAS:
Reed looked like a lost cause in a weak Redskins offense, but came alive as he secured 9 of 11 targets for 123 yards. The injury-ridden tight end has had a tough time producing too much when healthy enough to play, but has shown flashes of fantasy excellence with Colt McCoy at quarterback. McCoy has shown his liking of Reed, targeting him 18 times in the 2 games they have played together. With McCoy most likely retaining the starting job in Washington for the rest of the season, Reed may be a hidden gem for fantasy playoffs. Reed is a big athletic target at the tight end position, similar to Julius Thomas. He is a tough guard for defenses, and with McCoy at the helm, Reed is worth an add as a TE1 with major upside as a redzone threat.
3. QB Johnny Manziel, CLE:
Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine has yet to name his starting QB for next week, but it has to be Manziel. Brian Hoyer has faded as of late, throwing 0 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in his last two starts. Hoyer was benched for Manziel in the fourth quarter of last week's loss to the Bills, and Manziel led the Browns to their only touchdown drive as the rookie ran it into the end zone from 10 yards out. The Browns are one of many teams fighting to make the playoffs, and they may just have to turn to Manziel to try and get them there. The former Heisman winner from Texas A&M is a dual threat at the position, who makes big plays both through the air and on the ground. He has established himself as a true winner, and hopefully that will translate well into the NFL. Manziel has one of the best wideouts in the league in Josh Gordon at his disposal, and this should aid in his ability to succeed. Consider Johnny Manziel a QB2 with upside as a mobile quarterback.
As all the Fantasy tight ends dry up…note that Heath Miller has five or more catches in a game in three of his last five games. He was targeted 14-times this week and has been very high on the list of fantasy sleeper picks. The following are some trends in the NFL fantasy world.
— Kelvin Benjamin has five or fewer catches in a game in five of his last six games. Outside of garbage time work…he’s starting to struggle with the attention being placed on him by defenses. Although he started off strong, he will not be one of the best fantasy football keepers.
— I knew the Rams-DST were heating up, but wow…I’ll take a shutout, D TD, and six sacks. All those who jumped on this with me a couple of weeks ago…rejoice! Enjoy! McCoy-Stanton-Eli ahead!!
— Stedman Bailey had a nice five catch for 100 yards game in Week 13. It’s a nice FF-effort to be sure, but keep in mind…that was all accomplished by midway through the 2nd-quarter, and then they throttled back as they were destroying Oakland. For NFL fantasy sleepers, take Stedman serious as a PPR Flex option and in deeper leagues.
— IDP Telvin Smith followed up his impressive tackle count last week with 10 tackles against the Giants. He has to be considered a serious LB start for some next week.
— Mohammed Sanu is FF-dead, now that A.J. Green is back. His last four weeks of catches: 2-3-5-2. I’m always reluctant to give credit to Jay Gruden, but the Bengals offense has gone from solid with him to a disaster without him this year…a huge step-back under Hue Jackson. It reminds me of when Cam Cameron messed up Joe Flacco.
— Keenan Allen is back as the Philip Rivers’ ‘Antonio Brown’. 7.3 catches per game over his last six games.
— On a Dynasty team that is toast, and stashing assets…I’d consider taking a flyer on Jonathan Manziel Esquire, if he is floating around out there–just to see if he has a hysterical debut where he runs for a TD, throws a long TD off a broken play, etc., and gets everyone whipped up–just to trade him the following week in the chaos. The media will help you by singing his praises and running stories all day on him. It’s coming. Same theory I had when Terrelle Pryor ‘won’ the Raiders job last year.
If you already own Manziel–be ready to trade him on any blip because he is a total disaster waiting to happen.
Do you think any football analysts will apologize for shouting from the rooftops the last 5-6-7 weeks that Brian Hoyer “needs to be paid!” Nope. Now, they’ll just passionately tell you it is past time for Johnny Manziel. It’s a better story. No media/analyst mea culpa forthcoming, I assume (knock me over with a feather).
— Branden Bolden is the Pats RB leader for Fantasy scoring this week. Please do not ask me which Pats RB will take the most touches next week, or the week after, or in 2015. I’m with you—I have no idea from one week to the next either.
— If Ray Rice is going anywhere this week…it has to be Arizona. I have no idea how fast he gets up to speed, or what shape he is in, etc. I’m really not that interested.
— Jordan Reed with Colt McCoy (2 games): 8.0 rec. for 81.5 yards on 9.0 targets per game.
– R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics.com, and a football projections analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics.com. His group also provides player projections for Advanced Sports Logic’s football software “The Machine.” See “The Machine” here: The Machine via FFM
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.
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.
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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.
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