NFL Injury Updates
Texans running back Arian Foster has been declared a game-time decision by Head Coach Bill O'Brien, putting fantasy owners in a tough spot for a second straight week. After missing last week's contest due to a tweaked hamstring, we may or may not be heading towards another start for rookie tailback Alfred Blue.
Foster's status is still uncertain, and even if he is able to suit up Sunday, it should be expected that his touches will be limited. The Texans are currently first in the AFC South, sporting a 2-1 record, and risking the long-term health of their franchise RB for a contest with the less-than-impressive Buffalo Bills is simply not worth it.
In Arian Foster's 2 games played thus far, he has run for a combined 241 yards and a TD on 55 carries, showing what he can do when he's healthy. But that's just it. His health is the only obstacle holding him back from a stellar season. It's tough to see such a talented HB limited by the condition of his body, but that's the unfortunate reality.
Foster's injury-ridden career (he has spent a large portion of his career on the fantasy injury updates list) is constantly catching up with him, and it seems like there's a different issue every couple weeks. At this point, if Alfred Blue is still available, he should be picked up in all standard leagues as a handcuff option that will most definitely come in handy.
Don't count on Arian Foster for fantasy relevance this week, as there is no guarantee that he will ever take the field.
He could see limited touches, and possibly not even make it onto the field. Stay tuned for injury updates with Fantasy Focus.
Fantasy Sit Start
Lamar Miller has a firm grasp on the starting tailback job in Miami now that Knowshon Moreno is out for a few more weeks and he certainly helped himself for the long term with a great Week 3 performance. Miller ran for 108 yards on just 15 carries and caught four balls for 24 yards. If he continues to get 20 touches a game Miller will be a borderline RB2 depending on the matchup. He’s basically a must start in Week 4 against Oakland’s terrible defense and has some nice opponents coming up on the schedule such as Green Bay and Jacksonville. Ride the Miller train for as long as you can seeing that running backs have been pretty scarce thus far this season.
Knile Davis started in place of the injured Jamaal Charles as most people assumed would happen and he didn’t disappoint. Getting a whooping 32 carries, Davis piled up 132 yards and a touchdown. Though he didn’t catch any passes and lost a fumble late in the second half, it was still a solid showing for fantasy owners who took a chance on him. Charles is expected to practice this week and even though that doesn’t mean he is necessarily playing this week, the Chiefs play Monday night which really complicates things. It’s hard to recommend benching one of the hottest running backs in the league right now, but that may be the play with Davis for Week 4, unless you own both him and Charles.
Jeremy Kerley , WR New York Jets
Kerley saw an increase in targets last week once Eric Decker left early with hamstring issues and was every bit capable of handling the load. He finished the game with seven receptions for 81 yards and a score. Normally the Jets are a ground and pound type of offense, but they fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter and had to throw a lot more. This isn’t always the case, but Week 4 may bring the same type of opportunity since an offensive shootout could occur with Detroit coming to town. If Decker misses this game then expect Kerley to put up even bigger numbers than he did Monday night as the Jets really don’t have many viable receiving options.
Lorenzo Taliaferro , RB Baltimore Ravens
The rookie is quickly working his way to the top of the ranks in Baltimore. Surprisingly enough, even after the Ray Rice release, the Ravens still have a crowded backfield. But, after last week’s showing, Taliaferro may have earned himself the start in Week 4 and at the very least an increased workload. Starting back Bernard Pierce was a late scratch so Justin Forsett and Taliaferro received the carries and though the Ravens like Forsett as their receiving back, Taliaferro was the one who got most of the carries. He ran the ball 18 times for 91 yards and a touchdown. If Pierce isn’t able to go in Week 4 then the rookie out of Coastal Carolina is a very intriguing FLEX option.
Lock of the Week Fantasy Football Start
Golden Tate , WR Detroit Lions
Tate hasn’t been spectacular this season, but he’s been solid and is doing exactly what he’s supposed to do as the number two receiver in Detroit. He watches Calvin Johnson get his and then he gets whatever is left. Tate is averaging just over five catches and just under 70 receiving yards per game, but hasn’t found the end zone yet. This should change in Week 4 as he gets a very good matchup against a struggling Jets pass defense. Yes the Jets run defense is tops in the league, but every team so far this season has had much success through the air against them. Look for Rex Ryan to implement a similar defensive game plan to last week against Chicago which was to take out stud receiver Brandon Marshall and make the rest of the team beat you. It will be hard to simply take out Megatron, but if they continue to double him then the field will certainly open up for Tate to have a big day, just as Alshon Jeffery did Monday night.
Fantasy Focus Update -
Coming into the season, the San Francisco 49ers were a depleted team. Although they had been to three straight NFC Championship games, injuries and suspensions rendered them a different squad.
However, many of those roster losses were on the defensive side of the ball.
So, what is the deal with the 49ers on offense?
Arizona dropped them to 1-2 on the season, and held a once potent offensive attack to 14 points. Many of Colin Kaepernick’s game stats look good on paper, but he only scored one touchdown. He did have 54 rushing yards and perhaps helped some owners to a victory, however those 54 yards led the team.
Frank Gore, San Francisco’s bruiser of a running back and in theory the main ball carrier, had SIX carries for TEN yards. Ouch. This did not make fantasy football owners very happy.
As a unit, the 49ers had 24 carries for 84 yards. That is just not the style of play we are used to seeing from them. As Darren Woodson noted on ESPN, it seems like they are trying to play more of a run and gun style of airing it out, even though they still have the personnel to play more on the ground.
As far as receivers go, Stevie Johnson and Michael Crabtree both had decent games. But again, their numbers and Kaep’s numbers only led to 14 points. The name of game for nearly all leagues is touchdowns. The Niner’s offensive players will be a detriment to NFL fantasy owners if they can’t get in the end zone going forward.
This is not to say that San Francisco isn't loaded with weapons. Hopefully for fantasy owners, they will start clicking on a more regular basis. It's still too early to make the mistake of dropping Kaepernick, Gore or even Crabtree. However, a few more games like Week 3 could force fantasy owners to cut bait and look for greener pastures. Stay tuned for NFL player news concerning this cast of characters.
Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 4
1. WR John Brown, ARI:
John Brown has been a useful asset in the Cardinals offense this season, posting 3 TDs in 3 games. However, he isn't really seeing enough targets to be relied upon by fantasy owners. Brown is averaging 5 targets a game, which doesn't bode well for his fantasy value the rest of the season. He has been catching touchdowns and that's always a plus, but it's hard to believe that Drew Stanton or an injured Carson Palmer will be able to play well enough to provide him with opportunities to pad his stats during the 2014 season. Unless he builds more chemistry with his quarterback very soon, and in turn gets more looks, it doesn't seem like such a good idea to take a chance on the young talent.
2. QB Blake Bortles, JAC:
Jags quarterback Blake Bortles proved to be much more exciting at the helm than his Chad Henne. Bortles basically went out and won the starting job after the conclusion of the Jacksonville's embarrassing 44-17 Week 3 loss to the Colts. Bortles came in to start the second half after Henne was benched and made a decent impact. Though the rookie out of UCF threw 2 interceptions, he also added 2 touchdowns on 14 completions and 223 passing yards. He seems to be better fit to lead this team, and is worth a look in 2 QB fantasy leagues, and possibly even as a back-up/bye-week replacement in standard leagues.
3. WR Stevie Johnson, SF:
49ers veteran wideout Stevie Johnson secured all 9 of his targets for 103 yards as the 49ers lost to the Cardinals on Sunday. The former Buffalo Bills number one looked very solid after a very quiet start to the season, but don't set your expectations too high. Though he has shown that he can still display decent route running skills, he won't really get a chance to shine with the crowded receiving corps he's competing with for targets. He only got targets because Vernon Davis was unable to suit up. Avoid taking the bait on Johnson, as he should be left on waivers until he can prove that his recent level of productivity can remain constant.
4. RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL:
The Ravens running back situation just got that much more complicated, as Lorenzo Taliaferro led the backfield with 18 rushes for 91 yards and 1 touchdown. Bernard Pierce's injury held him out of their Week 3 contest, and Justin Forsett received less of a workload with 11 carries, leaving question marks as to who will lead the pack moving forward. Pierce's timetable is still uncertain, and Forsett doesn't seem like an every-down back at this point. Taliaferro could be their short-term solution, but he has not been targeted in the passing game, which is a cause for concern. He may keep up the workload temporarily and is worth a look as a flex option heading into Week 4.
For the most complete fantasy pickups, stay tuned to ASL all season long!
RB Fantasy News -
Rashad Jennings shredded the Texans run defense yesterday racking up 176 yards on 34 carries and scoring a touchdown. This was an unexpected performance as the G-Men routed Houston by a final count of 30-17.
Jennings breakout game seemingly came out of nowhere and he proved he can be a starting RB fantasy football option.
After the first two games of the season, the 29-year-old running back was on the cusp. He was the lone bright spot for the New York Giants offense this season, but his numbers weren’t exactly overwhelming.
Most pundits expected him to come crashing back to earth against the Texans, but instead he crashed the Texans party and gave wayward fantasy owners something to smile about.
Jennings Week 3 power running seemed to galvanize the team in every facet of the game. Week 3 is kind of early to hit the panic button, but the Giants would have been hard-pressed to work themselves out of a 0-3 hole.
Jennings must be in your fantasy lineup for this week’s Thursday night game against a surprising Redskins run defense. It won’t be a cake walk for Jennings, but he is close to cementing himself as a fantasy RB (low-end RB1).
Stay tuned to ASL RB news for more RB updates!
Fantasy Football Start -
In this Week 3 edition of the ASL Sit and Start report, we have a major difference of opinion with most national publications. It seems that there is a strong desire by fantasy experts to put Matt Forte on the bench during Week 3 against the Jets. If you own him, I suggest that you go with your gut and get number 22 into your lineup.
Matt Forte, CHI
You either spent a great deal of money in auction leagues or used your first round pick to snag Matt Forte. Giving up on him during Week 3 against the New York Jets is fantasy suicide. Sure, you picked up Donald Brown or Khiry Robinson to fill some kind of void in your life, but don’t give into the pressure.
The J-E-T-S might be great against the run, but Forte is much more than a runner. He might not surpass 100 yards, but what he lacks in rushing, he will more than make up for by catching passes. Go with the flavor of the week if you want, but I’m playing Forte.
Stevan Ridley, NE
Don’t get me wrong, any time you start a New England running back, you are taking a calculated risk. Bill Belichick will bench a running back if they look at him sideways. But Ridley will get his chances and have plenty of room to run against a woeful Raiders rush defense. If you are hurting at the running back position, let Ridley run wild for you against the Raiders.
Frank Gore, SF
DISCLAIMER - Don’t Bench Gore Unless you have a better option.
There, you have been warned.
Gore has an ugly matchup this week against a stout and capable Arizona run defense. It’s unlikely that the Cardinals can completely shut him down, but this game does not look promising. Gore had a great first half against the Bears last week, but the coaching staff turned away from him in the second half and ran most of the way with Carlos Hyde. Gore is solid RB2 for this week, but should only be used as a flex option as he is on the fantasy sit start fence.
Montee Ball, DEN
Montee Ball managed 89 total yards from scrimmage last week against a banged up Chiefs defense. He managed 60 yards on 12 carries and added three receptions for 29 yards without scoring a touchdown. Don’t expect a repeat of those numbers against an angry Seahawks defense. After getting burned last week by the Chargers, Seattle will be out for blood and Montee Ball will be in the crosshairs.
Fantasy Injury Updates -
Chiefs star tailback Jamaal Charles was officially limited in practice on Friday and coach Andy Reid doesn't sound overly optimistic that his star tailback will play. Charles is dealing with a high ankle sprain and fantasy owners are crossing their fingers that he will be able to suit up. Stay tuned for NFL injury updates with Fantasy Focus for developing injury updates news.
The 27-year-old former Texas standout was forced to exit early in their Week 2 contest at Denver, and his status has been up in the air ever since. Initially, the Chiefs were planning to be without Jamaal for at least a short period of time, but now that might not be the case.
After Friday's practice, it's starting to look like a game-time decision and hopefully he can aid in a bounce back game after the loss to Peyton Manning's Broncos a week ago.
Charles will likely suit up, but do not expect too much production from him. If he manages to play, he will probably have his snaps and touches split with backup Knile Davis. Their franchise RB is essentially Kansas City's entire offense, as he posted nearly 2,000 total yards and 19 TDs a season ago. He is much too valuable to be put at risk if his body isn't ready to deal with the wear and tear of an NFL game.
Consider Charles questionable going into Week 3, but expect him to suit up and provide a minimal contribution. He should not be needed too much as they take on a less-than-stellar Miami Dolphins team. Don't depend on Charles for too much, but he can used as a risky flex option in standard leagues.
RB Fantasy News -
With fantasy RB stud Doug Martin sitting out with a hamstring issue, Bobby Rainey got his shot against the division rival Atlanta Falcons.
Fantasy owners scrambled to get Rainey into their lineups as a RB fantasy football option and he put on a pitiful performance fumbling the rock away not once, but twice as the Falcons humiliated the Bucs 56-14 in a game that was out of hand by the end of the first quarter.
It wasn't a total bust for fantasy owners, especially in PPR Leagues. During GARBAGE TIME, Rainey managed almost the entire bulk of his 105 yards from scrimmage catching seven passes for 64 yards and rushing for 41 yards on eleven carries. But as fantasy owners know, fumbles some how always find a way to hurt fantasy owners.
Tampa coach Lovie Smith actually benched Rainey after his first fumble, but had to put him back in because he really had no other options.
Expect Doug Martin to regain his starting role when he returns to the team for their Week 4 road matchup against the Steelers.
Be sure to keep reading ASL RB news for updates throughout the season!
Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups
Week 2 is in the books and I know what you were thinking after you read my last “Fire Sale.” You thought, “He’s being hard on Toby Gerhart. It’s not as if things can get any worse than they did in Week 1. The worst must be behind us.” Can’t get any worse, huh? How does seven carries for 8 yards feel?
I’ll be honest, I was so mad on Sunday I was trying to change rules in my leagues so I could cut Gerhart during the game. I would complain about what’s going on in Jacksonville right now in regards to the Jaguars still passing Chad Henne off as an NFL quarterback, but who would listen? Seriously, there are only like 300 Jaguars fans in existence and the league can’t wait to move the team. Henne? Hey, call up Brian Griese and see if he’s still interested in playing in the NFL, too. How long do you want to watch Henne fail? It’s painful.
To be fair to Henne and Gerhart, though, while one shouldn’t be starting and the other was selected too high in fantasy drafts, at least they’re trying. It’s only Week 2 and Jacksonville’s offensive line has already quit. If you think the Jaguars were giving effort against Washington on Sunday, you probably need to look up the definition of the word “effort.”
Now on with The Fire Sale …
Niles Paul, TE, Washington – Paul is a former college receiver and on Sunday he looked like an NFL receiver playing tight end when he ripped the Jacksonville defense. Filling in for Jordan Reed, Paul caught eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets.
I’m all in on Paul. If you read this column you know I use two things to make fantasy predictions: my eyes and my gut. It doesn’t always pan out but I’m not really the cautious type. When I see a player I think looks like he has “it,” I put all my chips in the pot. I think Paul has “it.” Advanced Sports Logic's The Machine is also high on Paul as one of the top free agents.
Some people are going to warn that Paul’s production will decline once Reed returns. I have two arguments against that theory. First, Reed will probably stay healthy for about five minutes. Second, coach Jay Gruden ran a lot of two-tight end sets when he was the offensive coordinator with Cincinnati, so I expect both Reed and Paul to be on the field at the same time.
I recommend grabbing Paul this week as one of the better fantasy pickups. My eyes and gut tell me he’s the real deal.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland – I remember when I saw Crowell as a freshman running back at Georgia. I thought he was going to be Todd Gurley; meaning the best back in the country. Then Crowell decided to flush his college career down the toilet and ended up going undrafted.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Houston’s Alfred Blue and how he was a highly touted recruit but injuries derailed him in college. Crowell was a five-star recruit, so the talent is obviously there. I also saw Terrance West play some at Towson, and, while I like him, I always thought he danced a bit much when a hole didn’t open up right away. West could get away with that at Towson but in the NFL it’s not going to fly. I see West being a good, not great, NFL runner.
The Browns have two good young backs but if Ben Tate can’t stay healthy, I could see Crowell emerging as the better fantasy option over time. Crowell has rushed for 86 yards and two scores on just 16 carries this season. He’s a guy to watch both this year and beyond.
Donald Brown, RB, San Diego – I remember once some fantasy “expert” predicted Brown would win the Rookie of the Year award after he was drafted by Indianapolis. What a boob.
Brown never reached the level some boob predicted he would, but he’s still a solid back who will put up good fantasy numbers over the next 4-6 weeks filling in for Ryan Mathews . Danny Woodhead's role won’t change much. He’s still going to be the same player with or without Mathews. You’ll see Brown get around 15-22 carries, depending on the flow of the game.
On another note, I love this Chargers team. I still don’t know how they lost the opener to Arizona. Then I told my cousin to bet the Chargers’ money line against Seattle but instead he put $500 on Seattle -5.5. He’s a boob, too. I think San Diego is a legitimate Super Bowl contender and will give the Denver Broncos everything they can handle in the AFC West. This is coming from the guy who last year said San Diego would win four games and it was time to blow the team up.
Brown should be one of your top waiver wire priorities this week. He’ll be a viable RB2/flex option until Mathews returns.