WR Fantasy Football News -
Fitzgerald is coming off of one of his worst seasons in recent memory. The future Hall of Famer and fantasy WR stud did have 10 TD's and 954 Receiving Yards in 2013, but had quite a few games where he was a virtual no-show and anything but a superstar.
One week into the 2014 season, and Fitzgerald has one catch for 22 yards. He had zero targets in the first half and only four total targets for the game. Not only is Fitzgerald not a WR1, he's not even the most valuable receiver on his team from a fantasy perspective.
It seems clear that Fitzgerald has lost a step and won't be stretching the field like he once did, but it's too early to bail on him yet. In WR fantasy news, Fitzgerald has a great match-up against a Giants team that just got torched by Megatron and the Detroit Lions. He's worthy of a start as a WR2 or Flex play this week. If he can't put some good numbers this week it may be time to hit the panic button.
Fitzgerald still has the skills and football IQ to contribute at a high level and as long as he's not playing Seattle or maybe San Francisco on the road, he should bring strong fantasy value to the table. With several good match-ups this season against opponents such as the Giants, Redskins, Raiders, Eagles, Cowboys, Rams and Lions, it's worth rolling the dice with Fitz as he will be doing his absolute best to put up big numbers in hopes of getting a new contract for the 2015 season.
Many owners tend to panic in Week 1 and pull the plug on older players because of a poor outing. However, Week 1 is always a bit of an anomaly and Fitzgerald has a proven track record that can not be discounted.
For the most comprehensive WR news keep reading ASL!
RB Fantasy News -
The Baltimore Ravens are seriously lacking depth at the running back position following the release of former star tailback Ray Rice. The current listed starter is 24-year-old Bernard Pierce, followed by the underwhelming alternatives of Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro. Pierce struggled to get anything going during Week 1 and found himself on the bench after an early fumble.
Forsett rode out a hot streak, while Taliaferro received zero carries. None of them have proven that they can be a solid and reliable starting fantasy RBs, which leaves Baltimore searching for options.
For now, Baltimore will likely be looking at a "running back by committee" approach. Forsett and Pierce will likely split carries until one of them emerges as the clear-cut and better fit back. Check out RB news for updates on who to snatch up as a RB fantasy football option.
Forsett should lead the pack for the Ravens Thursday night showdown against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers after rumbling for 70 yards and 1 touchdown in their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Ravens might also pursue a possible replacement through free agency. It might be worth a shot to take a chance on LaMichael James. James has just cleared waivers after being granted the wish of a release from the San Francisco 49ers and could turn out to be a moderate threat if given the opportunity to do so.
James had a very successful 3-year-career at Oregon, rushing for a total of 5,082 yards and 53 touchdowns, while picking up 6.6 yards per carry. His opportunities in the NFL have been limited behind Frank Gore, and this pairing could benefit both sides.
At this point, expect Forsett and Pierce to split carries for the most part, with Pierce becoming the lead back when all is said and done. Neither RB should be trusted as fantasy options in Week 2, as they can both be considered weak flex options. Keep an eye on the LaMichael James situation moving forward, as he could shake up Baltimore's tailback situation.
Chances are good that Josh Gordon will be reinstated sooner than later
WR Fantasy Football News -
Suspended wide receivers Wes Welker and Josh Gordon are still anxiously waiting for the NFL and NFL Player’s Association to vote on a revamped player’s drug policy. A new set of rules could help reverse or lighten the suspensions that each player is currently serving for violating the NFL’s drug policy.
The proposed rule change would reduce suspensions for non-performance enhancing drug violators, as well as increase the levels necessary for marijuana results to be seen as illegal. The vote could come as early as Friday as each side hashes out the details.
In WR news, Welker is currently serving a 4 game suspension due to testing positive for amphetamines, while Gordon has to sit out the season after testing positive for marijuana multiple times.
Suspension reductions would be monumental for both Denver and Cleveland, increasing their offensive production exponentially.
It is highly doubtful that this rule comes into effect anytime soon, but you can never count anything out when it comes to NFL negotiations.
Getting Josh Gordon back would be huge for the Browns. The former Baylor WR exploded for 1,646 yards and 9 touchdowns a season ago, taking the league by storm in only 14 games. Without their top target, it is pretty easy to imagine the difficulties ahead of Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel in finding targets.
As for the Broncos, fantasy WR Wes Welker provides Peyton Manning with the perfect slot outlet. The 33-year-old receiver out of Texas Tech went for 778 yards and 10 TDs in his first season in Denver a year ago. With the departure of Eric Decker, and the absence of Wes Welker, Manning could struggle to run their offense efficiently.
Stay on top of all WR fantasy news with ASL!
Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups
As NFL Week 1 wrapped up, several unexpected fantasy heroes popped up and gained relevance in the fantasy football world. The question now shifts to whether or not they have earned a spot on your fantasy roster.
1. WR - Allen Hurns, JAC:
Hurns thrived in his first career start, exploding for 110 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on 4 catches. He even looked solid in the preseason, putting up 232 yards and 1 touchdown on 136 total snaps. However, his situation will make it difficult for him to have breakout performances on a weekly basis. He only got the start at wideout since Cecil Shorts sustained a hamstring injury. It's also hard to believe that Jacksonville can prove to be a successful passing offense with the quarterback controversy between Blake Bortles and Chad Henne. The undrafted rookie shows promise, but should not be seen as a player with serious fantasy relevance at this point in time.
2. WR - Steve Smith, BAL:
It'a hard to think of Steve Smith as one of the top fantasy pickups of the week, but you better believe it. The 35-year-old veteran shined in his Ravens debut, grabbing 7 receptions for 118 yards and 1 touchdown. The 1 TD was for 80 yards, which included multiple broken tackles. Smith looks to be cornerstone in Baltimore’s passing game, as he serves as a brilliant compliment to Torrey Smith, and a versatile weapon to QB Joe Flacco. Steve Smith is the starting WR2 in their offense, and that spot is most definitely secure. The best evidence of his fantasy potential comes from an important statistic, targets. Smith was targeted 15 times in Sunday’s contest, showing that he and Joe Flacco have already established some sort of connection. Look for the former Carolina Panthers star to shine in this new offense, and put up low WR2/high WR3 numbers on a nearly consistent basis.
3. RB Justin Forsett, BAL:
Forsett was very impressive in Baltimore’s 23-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. After lead back Bernard Pierce fumbled the ball away, Forsett took over the position. Forsett handled himself well, posting 70 yards and 1 TD off of 11 carries. Pierce was quickly benched after one mistake, suggesting that he may not have had the full support of his coaching staff to begin with. In addition, suspended HB Ray Rice was released into free agency after a more grotesque video of his domestic violence incident was leaked. These two giant mishaps in the Ravens backfield have helped Forsett emerge as the starter for now. At least for Week 2, Forsett can be added and be used as a low RB2/Flex option against Pittsburgh. His starting spot is nowhere near secure at this time, but he will be given the opportunity to prove himself on Thursday night. Definitely one of the best fantasy pickups this week.
QB Fantasy Football News - Well, that's going to sting for a while.
Not only did the Dallas Cowboys endure an opening week loss to the depleted San Francisco 49ers defense, but Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense looked sloppy at best. Although it was just the first game, the Cowboys were supposed to rely on Romo and his passing options to weather the storm of a terrible defense.
However, let’s put this in perspective. First of all, Romo is presumably still recovering from off-season back surgery and will remain in the QB news. Regardless of the specifics of his injury and subsequent recovery, a back is nothing to mess with. Especially for a quarterback. Plus, many, many teams (and their quarterbacks) did not have a stellar week one. Take for example the Patriots and Tom Brady. A participant in last year’s AFC Championship game, the Pats took one on the chin against a division opponent in the Dolphins. And, Brady only completed 29 of 56 passes with a single touchdown. However, Brady owners will stay the course. He’s Tom Brady. And for now, Romo owners should do the same.
If you grabbed Romo as your starting fantasy QB, you missed out on the holy trifecta of Brees, Manning, and Rodgers. Any one of a number of QB’s were the next best option, including Romo. One week is not enough of a sample size to panic and go in a different direction.
The most concerning stat of the day was Romo’s interception total – three. One touchdown against three picks will doom most weeks in a fantasy matchup. Furthermore, the 49ers defense may be vaunted, but they are missing quite a few pieces. If now is not the time to take advantage of San Francisco’s D, when is?
On the other hand, they are still the 49ers. Their calling card will continue to be defense, and Romo will face weaker opponents going forward. In addition, the Cowboys still have a plethora of weapons at Romo’s disposal, and they will be a formidable side to deal with. The Cowboys defense will force Romo into a ton of passing situations, and the opportunity for fantasy points will continue to be there.
If Tony Romo was your starting fantasy QB and he let you down this week, don’t fret. But do keep a close eye on the situation. The Cowboys entire operation is a tumultuous one. Jerry Jones still calls the shots, and the defense is a mess. The whole team may be treading water midway through the season and Romo’s stats could be an unwanted casualty.
But that’s weeks, maybe even months, down the road.
Take a deep breath and regroup for next week. The NFL season, along with your fantasy season, has just begun. We all have hope.
Stay tuned to Fantasy Focus this season for the latest in QB fantasy news and more.
WR Fantasy Football News
Emmanuel Sanders owners can rack up the points while Welker sits on the sidelines.
Fantasy WR - Wes Welker, the NFL slot machine who has recently made WR news, will be missing the first quarter of the season after violating the NFL substance abuse policy.
Welker was one of five Broncos who had 10 or more touchdowns last year and has been arguably the best slot receiver in the NFL over the last five years. Welker will be missed, but the Broncos still have plenty of weapons at their disposal, and Emmanuel Sanders is primed to have four monster weeks in Welker's absence.
Newton NO sure thing for Week One
Fantasy Injury Updates -
Cam Newton fantasy owners are scooping up backups left and right, as the quarterback’s status for Week 1 remains in doubt. Even if Newton does play, there are valid concerns that he may not be able to finish the game.