1. QB Eli Manning, NYG:
The Seattle Seahawks do not have the same rugged defense they had a year ago, but the team still allows only 221.9 yards per game through the air (ranking 6th in the category). This spells trouble for quarterback Eli Manning and his mediocre receiving corps who travel to Seattle for a Week 10 showdown. Manning is coming off a performance that looked much better on paper than it did in reality. He struggled to get anything going until garbage time came around, but finished with a line of 27 completions for 359 yards and 2 touchdowns. His wide receivers didn't help much, as Preston Parker had 3 drops and Reuben Randle dropped an important one on third-down. The combination of poor wideout production and one of the most hostile environments in the NFL makes Manning an ill-advised play for Week 10.
2. RB Lamar Miller, MIA:
Lamar Miller is listed as questionable for Sunday's road game against the Detroit. The Lions rush defense has been superb, ranking second in the league surrendering just 74 rushing yards per game. Miller is dealing with a sprained joint in his shoulder, but it appears as though he will be able to suit up for Sunday. Miller is playing well as of late, finding the end zone 5 times in his last 5 contests, but expect him to struggle heavily against the athletic Lions defense. Consider Lamar Miller a weak RB3 at best and find an alternative if possible.
3. WR Sammy Watkins, BUF:
Watkins is dealing with a lingering groin injury that could definitely keep him out of Sunday's matchup with the Chiefs. He hasn't been able to practice yet, so it seems more and more likely that they will hold him out. If by some chance he can suit up, he has a very tough opponent to deal with. Kansas City ranks first in allowing 199.4 passing yards per game and will key in on Watkins if he takes the field. The rest of Buffalo's targets are less than impressive (Robert Woods, Mike Williams, Scott Chandler), which will almost guarantee double coverage in the rookie's direction. Consider Watkins a risky WR3 even if he can play, but he's more than likely to sit this one out.
1. WR Calvin Johnson, DET:
Megatron is ready to come back for Week 11, as Detroit's bye week allowed him to fully recuperate from multiple injuries (knee, ankle). Calvin Johnson has not played since leaving early during Week 5 and has not had a monster game since Week 1 (7-164-2). Johnson and his fantasy owners are hoping this will finally be his coming out party even though it's against a very impressive Dolphins defense. The veteran wideout will square off against a stout Miami defense that allows 201.1 passing yards per contest. However, couple his ability with the emergence of fellow receiver Golden Tate and the Miami defense could be in for a long day. Consider Megatron a top 10 wide receiver fantasy football start this week.
2. WR Martavis Bryant, PIT:
Martavis Bryant has been spectacular in only 3 weeks of play, catching 10 passes for 167 yards and 5 touchdowns. He has most certainly benefited from Big Ben's magnificent play as of late, but he may have secured a pivotal role in the passing game. The 6'4" rookie from Clemson has proved to be a solid target and is close to unseating Markus Wheaton as the wide receiver to start opposite Antonio Brown. Bryant's value is dependent upon his ability to get into the end zone, and the Jets defense should allow him to do just that. The New York Jets are 31st in the league in allowing 28 points per game. Expect Bryant to find the end zone and use him as a WR2 with upside for Sunday.
3. RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN:
Even with the possible return of Montee Ball, Hillman's workload will not diminish, as he has earned the starting spot in Denver's backfield. Hillman has been stellar as of late, rushing for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns (plus 1 receiving TD) in Denver's last 4 contests. The Broncos match up with the Raiders which should make it very easy for Hillman to maintain his 4.3 yards per carry, as the Raiders rank 27th in giving up 132.5 rushing yards per game. The Broncos will likely blowout the Raiders very early, causing them to run it out for the rest of the game. Consider Hillman a solid RB2 with upside for Week 10.
Stay tuned to ASL for the best fantasy sit start guidance.
Fantasy Injury Updates: After missing the last seven weeks with a knee injury, Ryan Mathews returned to practice this week and is fully expected to return to the Chargers starting lineup after the team's much-needed Week 10 Bye. Branden Oliver did a bang up job filling in for Mathews at first, but his production has fallen off dramatically.
The Chargers desperately need Mathews back in their lineup and he should provide both fantasy owners and the Chargers offense with a much needed spark as soon as he returns to the field.
Mathews has always been able to produce for fantasy owners when he's healthy, but that rarely seems to be the case as he is almost always a member of the NFL injury updates list on a weekly basis. When Mathews is actually on the field, he can punch it in from the goal-line and catch passes out of the backfield.
With Danny Woodhead out for the year, Mathews should get the majority of work out of the backfield. Fantasy owners have already started to notice that Mathews will be returning soon as he's owned in more than 50% of ESPN leagues and 71% of Yahoo leagues.
Mathews needs to be owned in all fantasy formats and will provide a big boost for fantasy owners who are battling through bye week and injury issues at the running back position. If Mathews can stay on the field and off of the sidelines, he should be able to carry the Chargers and fantasy owners into the playoffs as he's a low-end RB2 and high-end Flex play when healthy. Stay tuned to Fantasy Focus for the latest injury updates!
RB Fantasy Football News
LeSean McCoy and Jerick McKinnon fantasy RB owners got demolished during Week 9 thanks to the fantasy vultures that are not able to do anything except score touchdowns. McCoy posted an impressive stat line against the Texans gaining 123 all-purpose yards, but is was backup running back Chris Polk who scored the touchdown. Even worse was the fate of McKinnon owners who watched the rookie get them into the red zone 3 times only to have the lead-footed Matt Asiata vulture three scores while gaining a whopping total of 26 yards.
For the first month of the season, it looked as if Asiata would be able to replace a percentage of the production that Adrian Peterson (constantly in RB news) was able to deliver. Certainly not as an RB1, but perhaps a serviceable flex option. However, during his last three games leading up to Sunday, Asiata rushed for a total of 20 yards, even going backwards in one contest to the tune of a NEGATIVE 5 stat line.
Enter McKinnon, a more promising talent to shoulder the ball-carrying load. While Asiata was stuck in the mud, McKinnon put up games of 40, 103, and 83 yards, and is averaging 5 yards per carry on the season. On Sunday, he put up a respectable 54 yards rushing and 14 yards receiving. The problem is that McKinnon would have to bust off a huge run to get into the endzone because the coaching staff turns Asiata once they are inside the 20.
The biggest issue in discerning fantasy value for either player is that Asiata has scored his six touchdowns in only two games. If you guess wrong and give him a start when he fails to hit pay dirt, then you’ve crippled your roster for that given week. McKinnon could be a potential flex, but he may only give you 5 or 6 points, because he is NOT given a chance to finish the drives he helps move down the field.
In this space last week, we discussed the conundrum of LeSean McCoy: great player, not so great season. Well, this week against the Texans, Philadelphia needed every bit of McCoy’s 117 rushing yards in light of Nick Foles going down with a broken collarbone. But, Shady didn’t score. Again!
At the 4:04 mark of the third quarter, and the game still in the balance, the Eagles got the ball at their own 30 yard line. Shady immediately ripped off runs of 14 and 26 yards. With the Houston defense on their heels, Chris Polk came in and finished the job, scoring on a run from eight yards out two plays later. This was a crushing sequence for those who stuck to their guns and started McCoy. He does Shady McCoy football moves we’ve seen time and time again, takes a breather on the sideline, and watches someone steal his touchdown away.
The game, as a whole entity, was encouraging. And, with Foles out for an indefinite amount of time, the Eagles will need McCoy to have consistent, hundred yard games. However, until he starts finding the end zone more often, Shady is still a flex option. It’s unfortunate, but true.
For the best RB fantasy news, stay tuned to ASL's fantasy blog!
Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups -
LB Anthony Hitchens, Dallas
With all the injuries the Cowboys have suffered at linebacker, rookie Anthony Hitchens was installed as a starting OLB/LB in Week-9, and accounted for himself well (again). In Week-3, Hitchens had 13 tackles in his other extended play of the 2014 season. This week, he led all Cowboys in tackles with eight. He also had a TFL and a QB Hit accredited as well. Watching him on tape in this game, I liked what I saw: Hitchens is quick to make decisions, and finds alleys to slice through the middle to deliver solid hits to ball carriers. He's aggressive and agile.
In college, at Iowa, Hitchens had back-to-back 100+ tackle seasons in 2012 and 2013. He led the Big Ten in total tackles in 2012. He went on to be a 4th-round pick by Dallas this season. He measured with average speed (4.7+) and agility at the NFL Combine. He's not an all-world athlete, but he's instinctive and energetic. Whatever he is, he's going to start for Dallas from here on in...so he should give you some respectable numbers as needed.
LB Jeremiah George, Jacksonville
Heading into Week-8, we penned this nugget: Now, this is a deep-sleeper IDP...
Originally drafted by the NY Jets in the 5th-round this season, LB Jeremiah George was eventually released to add WR Walt Powell (the single stupidest WR-related personnel decision by the Jets in 2014...not Percy Harvin). Our computer scouting models ‘liked’ George, but I ‘loved’ what I saw on tape in college and in the preseason. George was created to be a Middle Linebacker. He plays 150% at all times, and has an excellent ability to slice through traffic and blow up a RB or WR coming out of the backfield.
During 2013 with Iowa State, George was 1st in the Big-12 in total tackles and 10th in the nation with 133 tackles in 12 games (11.1 per game). Consider, George had just two tackles opening day 2013 against Northern Iowa…which means he averaged 11.9 tackles per game against his D1 schedule last college season.
The Jaguars stud ILB Paul Posluszny was lost for the season last week, and journeyman/backup LB J.T. Thomas is projected to start in place of Posluszny, and he's OK, but George is better (we feel). I assume George will be active this week, and if he gets in on some plays...there may be no turning back.
He's either a ‘watch list’ guy, or Dynasty deep-sleeper stash to see what unfolds.
Jeremiah George was a surprise start at Middle Linebacker for Jacksonville in Week-9, and made some nice plays right away...and then tweaked his ankle in the 2nd-quarter, and did not return. His numbers, you ask? Three tackles (one for a loss)...in only 10 defensive snaps played.
I'm telling you he's going to be a double-digit tackle threat for IDP and the Jaguars if he stays healthy. He's still hidden because he didn't get to play all the way through his debut as a starter. Once he does get a full/healthy start, and has 10-12+ tackles in a game...it will be a mad dash for him on a waiver wire. Be ahead of the curve, but check his ankle status for this week first (it's been quiet on it so far).
LB Lamin Barrow, Denver
The Broncos have been fighting defensive injuries at the Linebacker position like the aforementioned Cowboys and Jags. The latest is Nate Irving lost for the season after the Patriots game. Everyone thought Barrow would be named starter this week, but Steven Johnson has been named by the team as taking over for Irvin...for now.
Barrow was a 5th-round pick this year for the Broncos, and is more of a true OLB prospect...he's a more a speed/agility player than power linebacker: Very good in coverage, and an 'OK' tackler. Some think the Broncos are trying to groom him as an ILB, which is even more interesting. He's quick (4.6+ speed), but needs to keep bulking up to play the middle (6'1"+, 237 at the NFL Combine).
Barrow has only played limited snaps so far this year, but will now start seeing more time...and if he plays well, he could steal that starting OLB job. He is definitely one to watch during the next few games.
Keep reading ASL for the most comprehensive info about fantasy pickups!
Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups -
1. WR Allen Hurns, JAC:
Allen Hurns went off, going for 7-112-2, in Jacksonville's loss to the Bengals. The 22-year-old had his first huge game since Week 1, but this may help to get him more involved in the Jaguars offense. With rookie QB Blake Bortles still adjusting to the way of the NFL, Hurns may be someone he will start to rely on moving forward. Though Hurns has had some awfully bad ripped passes, Bortles has made some terrible throws, but they have both shown big-play ability when they are on the same page. Allen Hurns is the Jags most explosive WR, and he should continue to develop into one of his quarterback's top targets. Hurns' value is as a risky WR3, with major value in keeper leagues.
2. QB Mark Sanchez, PHI:
Mark Sanchez took over for the injured Nick Foles, and led the Eagles to a 31-21 win over the Houston Texans. The former Jets QB threw for 202 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions in less than 3 quarters of action. Sanchez will most likely be the Eagles' starting quarterback for the rest of the regular season, and could thrive given this opportunity. Though he has not proven himself as an NFL quarterback, Chip Kelly's offense is putting him in a position to succeed. With Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Jordan Matthews and Riley Cooper at his disposal, Sanchez can be expected to put up high-end QB2 numbers in standard fantasy formats.
3. RB Charles Sims, TB:
Charles Sims is a must-add at this point, as he could be the feature back in Tampa Bay as soon as next week. It's difficult to gauge his value, as the third-round-rookie has yet to play an NFL game, but the hype surrounding the young tailback is difficult to ignore. Former Bucs feature back Doug Martin has already taken a backseat to Bobby Rainey, and Sims could definitely come in and lead that RB committee almost immediately. His running style, in addition to his pass-catching ability, will allow him to get a decent amount of touches against the Falcons Week 10, and they should increase tremendously going forward. Sims is worth a start at RB3 immediately, with a high ceiling of high RB2 status.
4. WR Kenny Britt, STL:
Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt came down with a line of 2-32-1 on 4 targets, as the Rams beat the 49ers on Sunday. Britt has immediately benefitted from the season-ending shoulder injury to Rams WR1 Brian Quick, and he should be expected to be QB Austin Davis' number one target in Quick's absence. Britt's upside is high as he has proven in years past with his ability to make big plays, which is exactly what St. Louis needs. Britt could easily take off in the latter half of this season, leading the team in targets, catches, yards and/or receiving TDs. Kenny Britt should be added as an immediate WR3 with the ability to shoot up to a high-end WR2.
Stay tuned to ASL for the latest fantasy pickups all season long!
Never doubt Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
My big lesson from this week: It’s fun to making sweeping judgments of teams week-to-week, early in the season (or anytime in the season). Constantly reading the tea leaves to find the strand of DNA to prove a point…comparing who they beat prior, and what teams the teams they beat…beat prior, etc. It’s neat fodder. It is mostly a meaningless exercise. The Patriots aren’t dead. The Saints aren’t dead. The Seahawks weren’t the best team in football. The Bengals weren’t the best team in football. The Chargers weren’t the best team in football. The Cowboys weren’t the best team in football. The Broncos aren’t dead either.
Teams with elite QBs and best fantasy football keepers are never ‘dead’. Teams with really good, but not elite QBs, hit hot streaks…that fizzle eventually, but heating up down the stretch…those non-elite/very good QBs could win a Super Bowl. In the end, elite QBs answer the bell more times than not. The six-win teams right now: Foles, C.Palmer, Brady, Big Ben, Peyton, Stafford, and Luck likely to join them tonight. Where are Brees, Romo, Rivers, and Rodgers? Either leading their division or are a game back. You don’t think Stafford and Palmer belong with the other QBs on the 6+ wins YTD list? Give it some time…their teams are more likely due for that ‘hot streak’ comeuppance. It’s amazing how simple, and maddening it is: QB means everything.
Why a trend doesn't happen of every NFL team carrying 4-5 QBs in hopes of finding ‘the one’ (or two) is beyond me…especially the teams with garbage at QB.
QB Fantasy Football News -
Many questions will be answered when Robert Griffin III, ex-stud fantasy QB, takes center stage in Minnesota today against a very vulnerable Minnesota Vikings defense. The most important one will revolve around how well he is he able to move on the field and whether or not he will be ale to run the ball. For RG3 to be at his best, he has to have his astonishing quickness and stunning mobility. Without those two game-changing attributes, he is nothing more than a flat footed disaster.
The Redskins offense has been a mess all season long and many hope that RG3 is the ticket to turning that around. There’s certainly been some division in the locker room since Griffin went down during Week 2 with a dislocated ankle and landed himself in QB fantasy news for his injury.
There’s no question that RG3 is an upgrade over Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy IF he is healthy, but even after practicing this week, few people know what to really expect.
If Griffin isn’t close to 100 percent, there will be loud and furious calls to reinstate Colt McCoy. RG3 is far from a traditional quarterback and is NOT going to be successful hanging back in the pocket looking for open receivers. His best chance for success is to be his run and gun self and that will only happen if his ankle is really able to stand up to the test.
Stay updated on QB news with Fantasy Focus.
1. QB Carson Palmer, ARI:
Palmer is coming off a spectacular outing, completing 20 passes for 329 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions as the Cardinals took down the Eagles. Palmer is faced with a mediocre Dallas pass defense that is allowing 237.4 passing yards per contest. Since coming back from injury, the 34-year-old veteran QB has proved he still has something left in the tank, throwing for 832 yards, 6 touchdowns and 1 interception in 3 games. Expect Palmer to keep up the high level of productivity. He is a good fantasy football start option and can be used as a solid QB1 in standard fantasy formats.
2. RB Ahmad Bradshaw, IND:
Bradshaw has shown his knack for finding the end zone for the Colts, doing so successfully in 3 straight games. He has essentially surpassed Trent Richardson as the feature back, and has put up more impressive numbers and that trend will continue. He has a very favorable match as the Colts head to New York to take on the Giants (22nd rush defense, allowing 122 rushing yards per game). Not only is their rush defense weak, but Bradshaw has extra motivation, facing his former team. Consider Bradshaw a low end RB1 for this week's contest.
3. WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN:
Sanu had a solid game last week, catching 5 passes for 125 yards, as he took over at lead wide receiver with A.J. Green out for the game. The Bengals WR corps will face a very easy opponent in the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags are awful against the pass, allowing 267.4 passing yards per game, which should allow QB Andy Dalton to have a field day with the tools at his disposal. Don't be surprised if Sanu exceeds expectations, and goes off for 80-100 yards and a touchdown. Sanu can be plugged in as a WR2 with WR1 upside.
1. WR Vincent Jackson, TB:
Vincent Jackson is most certainly a WR1 caliber player, but weak quarterback play makes him a less-than-trustworthy start. Having Mike Glennon under center causes Jackson's value to take a massive hit, and he has not had a good performance since he went of for 8-144-0 against the Saints Week 5. He's playing a weak pass defense in the Cleveland Browns, but Vincent Jackson has failed to prove he can be a consistent fantasy contributor, and should not be trusted as anything more than a weak WR2 for Sunday.
2. RB Darren McFadden, OAK:
McFadden is not an advised play as the Raiders head to Seattle for Sunday's contest. McFadden struggled against the Browns, going for 12-59-0 with a lost fumble, and will be facing a much tougher opponent in the Seahawks. The Seattle rush defense ranks 6th against the run allowing 89.6 rushing yards per contest, and the injury-plagued Darren McFadden will struggle to get things going. Raiders coach Tony Sparano has advocated giving more carries to RB Maurice Jones-Drew, which will probably cut into McFadden's workload as well. Consider Darren McFadden nothing more than a weak RB3 at Seattle.
For the latest and most comprehensive fantasy sit start info, keep reading ASL!
RB Fantasy Football News
There's a certain amount of trust that goes into selecting your first round draft pick. You know the risks up front, your top pick could get injured or suspended, but at least you know that they when they are on the field, they will take care of business. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has been a stunning exception to that rule. McCoy hasn't even been a top 15 fantasy RB all season long and the harsh reality for fantasy owners has set in.
"RB News: Trusting Shady McCoy as a week-to-week staple for one of your two running back spots is no longer an option."
Take Week 8 for example. 21 carries for 83 yards. 8 points in standard fantasy scoring. The player? Shady McCoy. The rub? This type of performance is something Shady has established as an average (maybe even an above-average!) outing.
Through seven games, McCoy has rushed for 422 yards at 3.6 yards per carry. Additionally, he has scored only one touchdown. Last year through seven games, he had 685 yards and three touchdowns. Now, that’s not the biggest gap, however he also had 267 yards receiving versus only 74 so far this year.
It doesn't matter who or what is at fault. You can blame the offensive line, Darren Sproles or global warming, but fantasy owners have been blindsided by McCoy's shady play.
What’s most troubling though, beyond McCoy not equaling his pace of a season ago, is the lack of explosive games that have become a staple over the course of his career. Save for last week’s breakout, 149 yard performance against the Giants, Shady has no 100-yard games. Throw in the fact his only touchdown came in week 2, and it is unreasonable to rely on him for double-digit fantasy points, let alone a huge 30-point game sprinkled in somewhere along the way.
The Eagles stand at 5-2, firmly in the playoff hunt, with many positives to point to. Their running game is not one of those positives when looking at the season as a whole. Currently, they rank a middle-of-the-pack 14th after ranking 1st, and by a wide margin, last year.
If Philadelphia is to squeak out important matchups such as this week’s tough loss to Arizona, their running game needs to be better. And at the forefront of their improvement will have to be McCoy. However, based on a string of disappointing fantasy outings, owners can’t wait for that to happen.
One option would be to sell high and get something in return for Shady. There may be players in your league who still find the allure of having McCoy appealing. If they are willing to offer you a running back that can start week-to-week, pull the trigger. If you can’t come to terms with letting him go, study each matchup carefully to determine whether or not he should be starting, or whether another option can help you get the win.
For example, next week the Eagles take on the Houston Texans and their 20th ranked rushing defense. The Texans allow over 118 yards per game on the ground, but they also have a player named JJ Watt, who is good at football. Another factor to consider would be Houston scoring 22.1 points per game in, also ranking 20th in the league. This means the Texans are not likely to sprint out to a huge lead and force the Eagles into playing catch-up. There still may time to try and establish Shady running the ball.
We didn’t think we would be at this point with McCoy, but you must consider these factors and more in terms of his position in your lineup. Through seven games, the evidence clearly shows: Shady McCoy was not worth a top pick in the draft, and you must mix and match to overcome this weakness on your squad.
Keep reading ASL for the latest in RB fantasy news!
RB Fantasy News
Week 9 has some fantasy owners reeling as there are several big name running backs making our RB news with injuries. Doug Martin (ankle), Justin Forsett (leg), and Giovani Bernard (hip) all missed practice Wednesday due to nagging injuries. It looks like Forsett and Bernard will play this week, but Martin is still in a walking boot and shouldn't be trusted even if he does play.
It's time for fantasy owners to have a backup plan for these fantasy RBs that may not be available in Week 9.
Doug Martin - RB (TB)
Given the fact that Martin is still in a walking boot and that running backs aren't very effective with bad ankles, Martin owners need to take a good look at Bobby Rainey. Rainey hasn't been tearing it up on the ground this year, but he is catching a lot of passes out of the backfield. Rainey caught six passes for 41 yards on six targets last week and has put up respectable numbers in PPR leagues in Martin's absence.
Rainey isn't an every-down back with his small frame, but he is in on most passing downs and gets a lot of garbage time receptions out of the backfield. Rainey has a good match-up against Cleveland this week and is a low-end Flex play for Week 9.
Justin Forsett - RB (BAL)
Justin Forsett has been one of the most pleasant surprises at the running back position this year for fantasy owners. Forsett is a top 10 running back in PPR leagues and is a must-start when healthy. Forsett believes he will be ready for Week 9 against the division rival Steelers, but even if he plays, it's hard to tell how effective he will be.
The next man up in Baltimore is Lorenzo Taliaferro. Taliaferro is the the short-yardage back for Baltimore and gets a lot of goal-line carries. In Week 8 at Cincinnati, Taliaferro scored two touchdowns on 27 yards rushing and caught two passes for 42 yards. If Forsett can't play this week or is a game-time decision, it might be a good idea to plug in Taliaferro as a low-end RB2 or low-end Flex play.
Giovani Bernard - RB (CIN)
Giovani Bernard is dealing with multiple health issues including a sore collar bone and a hip pointer injury and did NOT practice on Thursday. Bernard missed most of the fourth quarter during Week 8 against the Ravens and hasn't practiced since. Luckily for Bernard owners, Cincinnati has a very viable back-up in Jeremy Hill. Hill is owned in roughly 50% fantasy leagues as Bernard is good enough to need a handcuff, and Hill is good enough to produce decent numbers in Bernard's absence.
Hill is only worth fantasy consideration if Bernard is inactive for Week 9. If Bernard can't play in Week 9, Hill has low-end RB2 and Flex consideration.
For the most updated RB fantasy football news, stay tuned with ASL!