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November 30, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: QB Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 13

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 13 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

QB - Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (28 percent)

Averaging 17.04 fantasy points per game, Smith has scored the 13th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks going into Monday Night Football. On Sunday, he threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns and added 35 rushing yards to score 21.7 fantasy points. While he may not have as much upside as other quarterbacks on this list, Smith is safe, finishing only one week outside of the top-20 fantasy quarterbacks this season.

Boosting his upside, however, Smith has a great schedule down the stretch. Three of Smith's next four opponents have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points (through Sunday) to opposing quarterbacks -- Raiders (sixth-most) this week, Ravens (second-most) in Week 15 and Browns (third-most) in Week 16.

QB - Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (42 percent)

Mariota completed only 17-of-37 pass attempts in a loss to the Raiders on Sunday, but he threw three touchdowns as well as he scored 19.42 fantasy points. It was the third time in four games that Mariota scored at least 18 fantasy points.

In each of those three 18-point outings, Mariota has thrown the ball at least 35 times. The Titans will likely trail in many of their games, which should lead to some passing-game volume as well. Even though he ran the ball just once for seven yards on Sunday, Mariota had five rush attempts in each of his previous two games and he has plenty of upside due to his dual-threat abilities.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (23 percent)

Fitzpatrick threw for 277 yards and a season-high four touchdowns against the Dolphins in Week 12. Including rushing scores, he now has multiple touchdowns in four consecutive games and has averaged 19.66 fantasy points over that stretch. Fitzpatrick gets a favorable matchup on the road versus the Giants, who have allowed an average of 19.33 fantasy points per game this season.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (34 percent)

The Chiefs had been playing excellent pass defense recently, but Taylor threw for a season-high 291 yards and three touchdowns at Arrowhead on Sunday. With 46 rushing yards as well, Taylor scored a season-high 26.24 fantasy points and finished with his first 20-point performance since Week 5.

Even though he averaged 12.19 fantasy points per game in his previous three games, his rushing ability (56/290/2 in 2015) should provide a solid floor for Taylor. While his Week 13 matchup against the Texans isn't great, Taylor faces Philadelphia and Washington -- two plus matchups -- in Weeks 14 and 15, respectively, which gives him plenty of upside for streamers.

QB - Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (43 percent)

Throwing for 245 yards and a touchdown against the Colts on Sunday, Winston scored only 14.5 fantasy points in Week 12. With 18-plus points in four of his previous five games, Winston had finished as a top-12 weekly fantasy quarterback in those four 18-point games. Since Week 5, Winston has thrown 10 touchdowns, rushed for three more and has only turned the ball over three times during that stretch. Not only has he played better over the past month-plus, Winston has scored at least 12 fantasy points in every game this season.

QB - Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (43 percent)

After six consecutive games with a minimum of 17 fantasy points, Cutler has posted modest outings in back-to-back games. One of those two games was against the Broncos, who have the league's stingiest pass defense. That said, Cutler has three plus matchups -- San Francisco, Washington and Tampa Bay -- over his next four games through Week 16.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (23 percent)

Cousins has been a bit inconsistent this season; here are his last five games: 30.18 (QB1), 10.68 (QB25), 28.96 (QB1), 6.68 (QB26) and 22.18 (QB9 through Sunday's games). In the three good games, he has exceeded 300 passing yards in each game and accounted for 10 touchdowns -- eight passing and two rushing -- with only one turnover. In the two bad games, he has averaged 212.0 passing yards with two total touchdowns and four turnovers. For those looking ahead to Championship Week (Week 16), however, Cousins will face the Eagles, who have allowed 10 passing scores over the past two weeks to Jameis Winston and Cam Newton (five each).

- More Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 13

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November 29, 2015

Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

1. New England Patriots (Record: 10-0; Last: 1)The defending Super Bowl champs carry an unblemished 10-0 record into Denver for Sunday Night Football against the league's top-ranked defense. Of all the teams that Tom Brady has faced at least five times during the regular season, the Broncos are the only team against which Tom Brady does not have a winning record (5-5, .500).

2. Arizona Cardinals (Record: 8-2; Last: 2)Although they are not unbeaten, no team is more complete than the Cardinals. Arizona ranks in the top-nine in the NFL in rush offense (9th), pass offense (4th), rush defense (7th) and pass defense (9th). In addition, they rank first in yardage differential.

3. Carolina Panthers (Record: 11-0; Last: 3)With a pair of pick-sixes of Cowboys (injured again) quarterback Tony Romo, the Panthers remained unbeaten this season and have now won 15 consecutive regular-season games going back to last season.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (Record: 8-2; Last: 4)After beginning the year with a perfect 8-0 record, Andy Dalton and the Bengals have lost back-to-back primetime games. With 315 yards and two touchdowns, Sunday's loss wasn't (only) Dalton's fault, but he is now 4-9 in regular-season night games.

5. Denver Broncos (Record: 8-2; Last: 5)It's unclear when (or if) Peyton Manning will play his next game this season, but Brock Osweiler played well in his first start (20-of-27, 250 yards, two TDs).

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (Record: 6-4; Last: 6)Playing with his own injury (foot), Ben Roethlisberger replaced an injured Landry Jones against the Browns and threw for a season-high 379 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Antonio Brown has a total of 27/423/2 over his past two games.

7. Minnesota Vikings (Record: 7-3; Last: 7)Not only does Adrian Peterson lead the NFL in rushing, but the Vikings rank third in rushing offense (141.9/G) and second in yards per carry (4.9). In turn, the Vikings have been stingy on defense, allowing the third-fewest points per game (18.4/G).

8. Kansas City Chiefs (Record: 5-5; Last: 16)Not only have the Chiefs won four straight games and by a margin of 130-39, they have a great schedule down the stretch. None of their remaining six games are against teams with a winning record.

9. Green Bay Packers (Record: 7-4; Last: 8)Since starting 6-0, the Packers have lost four of their past five games. In their past five games, Aaron Rodgers and the offense has averaged just 19.6 points per game (compared to 27.3 through their first six games).

10. Seattle Seahawks (Record: 5-5; Last: 9)The trade of Max Unger for Jimmy Graham has not given the Seahawks a dominant presence in the red zone (no TDs for Graham since Week 3) and Russell Wilson has been sacked a league-high 35 times. One positive is that Thomas Rawls has 100-plus yards in three of four games with 15-plus carries, which means there won't be much (or any) downgrade from the injured Marshawn Lynch.

Here are the best of the rest:

11. New York Jets (Record: 5-5; Last: 10)
12. Atlanta Falcons (Record: 6-4; Last: 11)
13. Buffalo Bills (Record: 5-5; Last: 12)
14. Indianapolis Colts (Record: 5-5; Last: 18)
15. New York Giants (Record: 5-5; Last: 13)
16. Oakland Raiders (Record: 4-6; Last: 14)
17. St. Louis Rams (Record: 4-6; Last: 17)
18. Chicago Bears (Record: 5-6; Last: 20)
19. Washington Redskins (Record: 4-6; Last: 19)
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Record: 5-5; Last: 23)
21. New Orleans Saints (Record: 4-6; Last: 21)
22. Detroit Lions (Record: 4-7; Last: 29)
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (Record: 4-6; Last: 24)
24. Miami Dolphins (Record: 4-6; Last: 22)
25. Houston Texans (Record: 5-5; Last: 25)
26. Philadelphia Eagles (Record: 4-7; Last: 15)
27. Baltimore Ravens (Record: 3-7; Last: 27)
28. San Diego Chargers (Record: 2-8; Last: 28)
29. Dallas Cowboys (Record: 3-8; Last: 26)
30. Tennessee Titans (Record: 2-8; Last: 31)
31. Cleveland Browns (Record: 2-8; Last: 30)
32. San Francisco 49ers (Record: 3-7; Last: 32)

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 12 (Hanson)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 12 of the 2015 NFL season:

Minnesota Vikings +2 over Atlanta Falcons (3 units)

Even when they were winning, the Falcons were far from dominant (although their fourth-quarter comebacks were impressive in a different way). But lately, they have really struggled as losers of their past three games and four of their past five. Without Devonta Freeman this week, the Falcons will look even more to stud receiver Julio Jones as Tevin Coleman struggled last week with Freeman sidelined. Meanwhile, the Vikings rank in the top 10 in total defense and third in scoring defense this season so the loss of a weapon like Freeman really hurts.

The Falcons have allowed just 87.4 rushing yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry, but they have also allowed 11 rushing touchdowns this season. In addition, the Vikings have one of the league's most run-heavy offenses (47.02 percent of plays are runs) and Adrian Peterson leads the NFL with 1,006 rushing yards this season. I expect to see Peterson all day, which will help keep Matt Ryan and Jones off the field.

All ATS trends point to a Vikings cover. Not only are the Vikings 23-9 ATS in their past 32 games overall, but they have covered each of their past four road games and are 7-2 ATS following a straight-up loss. Meanwhile, the Falcons are 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games and 0-6 ATS in their past six overall.

New York Giants -2.5 over Washington Redskins (3 units)

Anything can happen in a divisional game and I'm not a huge fan of taking small road favorites in divisional games, but I do think the Giants are a much better team. Over the past couple of seasons, the Giants have had their number as well with five consecutive covers against Washington. In general, New York has been one of the better road teams in the NFL and they are 5-1-1 ATS in their past seven road games.

Washington has yet to allow a 300-yard passer this season, but they have allowed 20 passing touchdowns -- only four teams have allowed more this season. Earlier this year, Eli Manning threw for 279 yards and two scores against Washington and Odell Beckham enters Week 12 with three consecutive 100-yard games. I think Eli, OBJ and crew score at least a field goal more than Washington this week.

Arizona Cardinals -10 over San Francisco 49ers (3 units)

There is no team in the NFL more complete on both sides of the ball than the Cardinals. Arizona ranks in the top-nine in the NFL in rush offense (9th), pass offense (4th), rush defense (7th) and pass defense (9th). In addition, no team has a better yards per play differential (+1.3) than the Cardinals. On the flip side, the team that ranks dead last in that category is San Francisco (-1.2).

The size of the spread isn't much of a concern. This has the makings of a 31-10 type of game and it should be unwatchable except for the fantasy owners of Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, etc. In his past three games, Palmer has thrown for at least 317 yards and three touchdowns in each game. To demonstrate greater consistency, Palmer has thrown for 300-plus yards and/or multiple touchdowns in every game this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5 over Seattle Seahawks (2 units)

Although there was no way to tell, Ben Roethlisberger was battling a foot injury before the team's Week 11 bye. In relief, he threw for a season-high 379 yards and three touchdowns against the Browns in Week 10. With Big Ben back under center, Antonio Brown has 27 catches for 423 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games. Even if the Seahawks shadow Brown with Richard Sherman, Martavis Bryant (6/178/1 in Week 10) can do a lot of damage as well.

The Seahawks will be without Marshawn Lynch this week and perhaps for the rest of the regular season, but Thomas Rawls is not a downgrade compared to the 2015 version of Beast Mode. The undrafted rookie has three 100-yard games in the four games with a significant workload. That said, the Steelers offense is much more balanced than that of Seattle this season. At a minimum, I like the Steelers to keep this game to within a field goal.

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Week 12 Fantasy Football: Updated Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Brian Hoyer is listed below as a "start" for Week 12. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 12 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Carson Palmer and Hoyer, you should start Palmer -- and in turn, bench Hoyer.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 12:

QB - Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (vs. NO)

The last three quarterbacks that have faced the Saints defense have produced the most or second-most fantasy points for that given week. In fact, the Saints have allowed multiple touchdowns in six consecutive games and a minimum of 324 passing yards in five of those six games. A bye week and a new defensive coordinator won't be enough to turnaround the league's most fantasy-friendly defense.

Before leaving the Bengals game early, Hoyer threw multiple touchdown passes in five consecutive games. During that span, Hoyer had scored a minimum of 17 fantasy points in each game with 20-plus three times. In fact, Hoyer finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in four of those five games with a QB15 weekly finish being the lone outlier.

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at SF)

A model of consistency, Palmer has thrown for 300-plus yards and/or multiple touchdowns in all 10 games played this season. Even though Palmer had just one top-10 weekly finish in his first six games of the season, he has been a top-10 weekly producer four games in a row.

Drafted as a high-upside QB2 in August, Palmer has become a weekly must-start regardless of matchup. Over his past three games, Palmer has thrown for a minimum of 317 yards and three touchdowns in each game with a couple of difficult matchups (at Seattle and vs. Cincinnati) during that span. The only quarterback to ever have a longer streak of 317/3 games was Rodgers (four, 2012 into 2013 season).

No team is projected to score more points than the Cardinals this week based on Vegas odds. In addition, the 49ers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season and Palmer has QB1 upside in Week 12.

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. SD)

Ending a five-game streak with multiple touchdowns, Bortles threw for 242 yards and a touchdown in a modest Week 11 performance. With the ninth-most fantasy points on the season, Bortles has finished as a weekly top-10 fantasy quarterback in half of his 10 games this season.

Over their past five games, the Chargers have allowed three top-12 weekly producers and a minimum of 17.6 fantasy points in four of those five games. During that five-game span, they have allowed 292.2 passing yards per game with a total of eight touchdowns and only one interception.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 12:

QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. MIN)

Even though Julio Jones is an absolute stud with 89/1,189/6 through 10 games, Ryan has scored only the 15th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks this season. Ryan is averaging nearly 300 yards per game, but he has a 15:10 TD-to-INT ratio this season. And like Romo, Ryan has a challenging matchup against the Vikings, who have limited opposing quarterbacks to the ninth-fewest fantasy points this season.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (at KC)

Taylor had three top-seven weekly finishes in his first five games of the season and he always has some upside due to his dual-threat abilities. Since returning from injury, however, Taylor has finished as the QB17, QB22 and QB24, respectively, and the matchup this week is difficult. Only the 49ers and Rams are projected to score fewer points than Bills.

Not only have the Chiefs allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, they last allowed a top-20 fantasy quarterback in Week 5. Since then, they have intercepted opposing quarterbacks a total of 12 times in five games and no quarterback has scored double-digit fantasy points against them.

QB - Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. STL)

Historically, Dalton has been fairly inconsistent, but he had finished with at least 18 fantasy points in his first six games this season. Since his Week 7 bye, however, Dalton has not maintained that same level of consistency -- 9.64 (QB21, Week 8), 21.86 (QB7, Week 9), 8.88 (QB24, Week 10) and 22.0 (QB5, Week 11).

With only the Broncos and Jaguars allowing fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Rams, this could be another disappointing week for Dalton and he's just outside my top-12 fantasy quarterbacks for the week.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 12

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 12 (Yanotchko)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 12 of the 2015 NFL season:

New Orleans Saints +3.5 over Atlanta Falcons (3 units)

The Saints have finally fired the much maligned defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, and they will look to get their second half of the season started off right against a surging Houston Texans team. The Saints have been woeful, but I feel this is one of those games with a new voice, focus, and coming off a bye week that will do New Orleans well.

One place that the Texans can be attacked is on the ground, as they give up 113 yards per game, and 4.2 yards per carry, so I really like Mark Ingram in this one. Also, the Saints always have big-play capability, and while they may not win this one, it will certainly be close, so when in doubt take the points.

Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5 over Seattle Seahawks (3 units)

The Seahawks are starting to pull things together and they certainly have been playing much better ball in their last few games. The Steelers come in banged up with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, but they now have a chance to win the AFC North, as the Bengals have faltered as of late.

For me, Seattle just doesn't look right this year, and it starts with the offensive line. Russell Wilson has been scrambling for his life back there, as the Seahawks have allow 35 sacks on the year, which is astronomical numbers compared to the past two years. The Steelers have also been able to get after the QB this year, as they have compiled 28 sacks through 10 games, and they are great against Seattle's bread and butter, as they only allow 93 yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry.

I just love the offensive firepower of Pittsburgh to keep this one close, and I will take the 3.5 here also.

Cleveland Browns -3 over Baltimore Ravens (5 units)

For both teams this will be a pride game, and both seasons couldn't truly have gone worse for them as well. Baltimore has had the worst of the injury bug, as they lost Terell Suggs in Week 1, and now just last week they lost both Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett to season-ending injuries.

Earlier this year, Josh McCown and the Browns went into Baltimore and won in overtime, but McCown had an unbelievable day passing for 457 yards. The Ravens still boast one of the worst secondaries in the league, as they have given up 257 yards per game and 19 touchdowns. This is the season for Cleveland and their fans, and McCown won't let the hometown down on their return to Monday Night Football.

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Poll: When the Carolina Panthers lose next?

With a pair of pick-sixes on Thanksgiving, the Carolina Panthers improved to a perfect 11-0 record in 2015.

While Cam Newton ran in the team's third and final touchdown, Kurt Coleman and Luke Kuechly both returned Tony Romo interceptions for scores.

It was Newton's first game this season without a touchdown pass, but he is on pace to throw a career-high 29 touchdowns. In addition, he's on pace for 10 rushing touchdowns.

And although he has played one more game, Newton's 27 touchdowns -- 20 passing and seven rushing -- are tied for the most in the NFL with Carson Palmer (27 passing and no rushing) and Tom Brady (25 passing and two rushing).

Of Carolina's remaining five games, four are within the division and the only non-division game is against the Giants.

Going back to the 2014 season, the Panthers have won 15 consecutive regular-season games.

The Panthers currently have a 2.5-game lead on Arizona Cardinals for the NFC's No. 1 seed and a 4.5-game lead on the Atlanta Falcons for the division, which means they may not be playing for anything in their final game or two.

When the Panthers lose their next game? Will they get through the regular season with an unblemished record?

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November 28, 2015

Week 12 Fantasy Football: Updated Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Javorius Allen is listed below as a "start" for Week 12. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 12 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Adrian Peterson, Mark Ingram and Allen, you should start Peterson and Ingram -- and in turn, bench Allen.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 12:

RB - Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at IND)

Since scoring three touchdowns in Week 5, Martin has not found the end zone, but he is coming off a season-best performance of 235 rushing yards against the Eagles in Week 11. It was the fourth 100-yard game for Martin over the past seven weeks. On the season, only Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson have scored more fantasy points than Martin in standard-scoring formats.

Averaging 20.9 touches per game this season, Martin figures to get another heavy workload and this week's matchup is exploitable as well. Through Week 11, the Colts have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

RB - T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. SD)

Yeldon has 17-plus touches in four consecutive games and has averaged close to 20 touches per game (19.3/G) on the season. Given the favorable matchup and Yeldon's usage rate, he's a top-five running back for me in Week 12.

Only four teams are projected to score more points this week than the Jaguars based on Vegas odds. In addition, no running back has a more favorable matchup than Yeldon as the Chargers have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2015. In fact, the Chargers have allowed a top-10 weekly running back in eight of 10 games this year.

RB - Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (vs. PIT)

Rushing 30 times last week for a career-high 209 yards, Rawls added three catches for 46 yards and scored twice to finish the week as the top-scoring fantasy running back. Rawls has a more difficult matchup this week as the Steelers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but Rawls has been dominant when given a featured role. Rawls has more than 15 carries in four games and he has now exceeded 100 rushing yards in three of those four games. With Marshawn Lynch sidelined for several weeks, start Rawls with confidence.

RB - Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens (at CLE)

With Justin Forsett as well as Joe Flacco sustaining season-ending injuries last week, Baltimore's offense will revolve around Buck Allen in Week 12 and down the stretch. Against the Rams last week, Allen had a total of 27 touches -- 22 carries and five receptions -- for 115 yards.

Allen will have a few difficult matchups down the stretch, but his matchup this week is as good as it will get for him the rest of the way. Cleveland has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. In Forsett's first matchup against the Browns (Week 5), he rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown and added four catches for 49 yards.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 12:

RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. STL)

Hill has 13-plus carries in four of his past five games and he could see a similar workload this week against the Rams. The good thing about Hill is that he always has multi-touchdown upside, something he has done three times this season, but he has yet to exceed 63 rushing yards in any game this season. On the season, the Rams have limited opposing running backs to 3.69 yards per carry. Hill is a flex for me this week.

RB - Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (at JAX)

Since back-to-back games with seven touches, Gordon has averaged 17.67 touches over his past three games. Despite a return to a significant workload, MG3 has now finished outside the top-30 weekly fantasy running backs for eight weeks in a row. While he has yet to score his first NFL touchdown, he has 54 rushing yards or less in every game since Week 3 as well. Gordon is averaging just 3.49 yards per carry this season and the Jags currently allow a league-low 3.4 YPC.

RB - Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (vs. NYG)

In his first three NFL seasons, Morris rushed for more than 4,000 yards and scored 28 touchdowns. This season, Morris is averaging just 40.4 rushing yards per game (compared to 83.8 from 2012-14) and he's yet to score a touchdown. Starting in Week 3 with six carries for 19 yards against the Giants, Morris has six or fewer carries in half of his past eight games. With a modest workload, Morris should remain on your bench; or better yet, on your league's waiver wire.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 12

Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings:

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 12 (Trifone)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 12 of the 2015 NFL season:

Minnesota Vikings +1.5 over Atlanta Falcons (4 units)

Minnesota is coming off a bad performance against the Packers last week, but they are legit. The Falcons, on the other hand, have simply been going downhill, and after a 5-0 start, are likely to miss the playoffs. I expect a bounce-back game from the Vikings and I like them to win outright.

Oakland Raiders -1 over Tennessee Titans (4 units)

Oakland is another team that didn't play well last week, but this is another bounce-back game. Derek Carr has been excellent this year and has a lot of weapons (Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Latavius Murray, etc.). Tennessee is still in the mix in the worst division in football, but I don't think they will beat the Raiders, who also need a win to stay in playoff contention. In what is essentially a pick'em game, I like the Raiders here.

Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5 over Seattle Seahawks (4 units)

The Steelers have not really been at full strength all year and will be without Le'Veon Bell for the remainder of the year. The rest of the offense is finally in tact, though, and Pittsburgh was able to keep the ship afloat while Ben Roethlisberger was out. Seattle has been mediocre all year and I don't see them turning it around against Pittsburgh. Seattle is a tough place to play, but I think Pitt will at minimum cover the 3.5 here.

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Week 12 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Martavis Bryant is listed below as a "start" for Week 12. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 12 with him as one of my starting receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Bryant and start two wide receivers, you should start Hopkins and Robinson -- and in turn, bench Bryant.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 12:

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. SD)

Since Week 2, Robinson has been one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL. The second-year wideout has 49 catches for 844 yards and seven touchdowns in those nine games. Over his past six games, Robinson has either exceeded 100 yards and/or scored a touchdown (or two) in each of those games. With double-digit fantasy points in six consecutive games, Robinson has finished no worse than WR17 during that stretch.

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at SEA)

Going into Week 12, the Seahawks have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. That said, they have been much tougher against their opponents' WR1 than WR2, which would make sense now that Richard Sherman has often shadowed their opponent's No. 1 receiver.

More than likely, Sherman will shadow Antonio Brown, who has 27 catches for 423 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games. Based on efficency data from Football Outsiders, the Seahawks rank second vs. No. 1 WRs (and only 18th vs. No. 2 WRs).

Like his rookie season, Bryant's start to the 2015 season was delayed (although for different reasons), but he has immediately dominated in the red zone. With a touchdown in all but one game, Bryant has a total of five touchdowns in his past five games and a minimum of seven targets in each of those games.

WR - Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (at HOU)

After a slow start, Cooks has been one of the better fantasy wide receivers over the past month. Not only does he have a minimum of 71 yards in four consecutive games and in five of his past six, but Cooks has scored in each of his past three games with a total of five touchdowns during that three-game span. In those three games, Cooks has 20.5 (WR4), 13.1 (WR15) and 22.9 (WR3) fantasy points, respectively.

WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (at TEN)

A top-15 fantasy wide receiver through Week 11, Crabtree has a total of 57 catches for 696 yards and five touchdowns. It was a disappointing week for the Raiders passing offense last week, but Crabtree still had six catches for 50 yards on 11 targets. Crabtree now has 50-plus yards in seven consecutive games and double-digit targets in three of his past four games. Assuming another healthy dose of targets, Crabtree remains a solid WR2 heading into his Week 12 matchup against the Titans.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. MIA)

Decker has yet to reach the 100-yard milestone this season, but he has been remarkably consistent. With four catches for 81 yards on 11 targets last week, Decker scored a season-low 8.1 fantasy points. Because of that consistency, Decker has finished no worse than the WR31 in any week that he has played.

Not only has Decker finished with 59-plus yards in six consecutive games, but he has scored a touchdown in seven of nine games. With Brandon Marshall likely to draw a matchup against Brent Grimes, Miami's top corner, it wouldn't surprise me if Decker scored more fantasy points than Marshall. Either way, Decker remains a strong WR2 play.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 12:

WR - Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (at KC)

Few wide receivers are more boom-or-bust in fantasy football than Watkins, who finished as fantasy's WR3 only three weeks ago and outside the top-50 receivers in each of his past two games. Watkins had 8/168/1 in Week 9, but he has finished with 14 and 39 yards, respectively, in his past two games.

The Chiefs have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, but they have been playing much better pass defense lately. In their first seven games, they allowed five receivers to reach the 100-yard milestone. Since then, however, they have allowed no 100-yard receivers and the best performance against them during that span was a WR29 performance in Week 8.

WR - Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. BUF)

Consistency. That's one way to describe it. After averaging 7.2 catches for 96.6 yards per game through Week 5, Maclin has exactly three receptions in four consecutive games. No more, no less. In addition, he has failed to reach 50 yards in any of those games and is averaging just 32.25 during that span. For now, Maclin is more of a WR3/flex type option than a definite start.

WR - Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (vs. NYG)

The matchup certainly isn't a difficult one, but Garcon continues to post mediocre numbers. Garcon has finished outside the top-36 fantasy wide receivers in six consecutive games. In his past two games, Garcon has been targeted only two and four times, respectively, both of which are the two lowest for Garcon this season. While DeSean Jackson is a boom-or-bust type of receiver, his presence makes Garcon an after-thought in this offense.

WR - Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TB)

Moncried was targeted eight times in Week 11, but he finished with just five catches for 41 yards (8.2 Y/A). Moncrief now has 41 yards or less in four consecutive games and he has finished outside of the top-50 fantasy wide receivers in three consecutive weeks. In fact, Moncrief averaged 9.73 fantasy points per game in his first seven games this season. Over his past three games, he has a total of 8.9 points.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 12 (Beazley)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 12 of the 2015 NFL season:

New York Giants -3 over Washington Redskins (4 units)

The Giants have dominated this series in recent history as they are 5-0 ATS in their last five vs. Washington. I think they make it six straight Sunday. If you are playing daily fantasy, I would highly recommend an Eli Manning and Odell Beckham stack. Eli should look Odell's way early and often in this one. Giants win on the road, 27-17.

Tennessee Titans +1 over Oakland Raiders (2 units)

The Titans offense has been struggling this season. If you take away the Saints game, which is reasonable to do since the Saints defense is so bad, the Titans have scored 13, 10, 7, 6, 10, and 13 points in their last six losses. The Titans D has held opponents to 20 or less in four of these losses so they have been in those games.

The Titans should get wide receiver Kendall Wright back this week, and I expect them to introduce rookie David Cobb a little more into their offense as well. I think the Titans find a way to finally win one of these close games, 20-16.

Cleveland Browns -3 over Baltimore Ravens (4 units)

The Ravens have been hurt by injuries all season. They lost Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett to season-ending injuries last week. Matt Schaub takes the ball for Baltimore and I think he struggles on the road vs. the Browns this Monday Night.

Johnny Manziel blew his shot at becoming the Browns full-time starter, which is great in my mind as Josh McCown absolutely torched this Ravens defense last time they played them. I think he does it again. Big games from Gary "Barnkowski" and Travis Benjamin. Browns, 31-17.

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Week 12 Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Jordan Reed is listed below as a "start" for Week 12. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 12 with him as my starting tight end.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Rob Gronkowski and Reed, you should start Gronk -- and in turn, bench Reed.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 12:

TE - Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (vs. OAK)

Walker only has three touchdowns on the season, but he has been consistent at a relatively inconsistent position. With more than 50 yards in six consecutive games, Walker has at least six receptions in five of those games. During that six-game span, Walker has averaged 6.5 catches and 78.3 yards per outing.

The Raiders have allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends this season, but they have been better as of late. The Raiders allowed a top-four weekly finish in five of their first six games, but no top-12 weekly finishes in their past four games. That said, they haven't faced any elite tight ends during that span either.

Given Walker's volume within Tennessee's passing game, he's never going to hurt your fantasy team. But given the matchup, he has legitimate TE1 overall upside.

TE - Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns (vs. BAL)

Speaking of consistency, Barnidge has finished outside of the top-six fantasy tight ends only once in his past eight games. In fact, Barnidge has scored double-digit fantasy points in seven of his past eight games and averaged 12.9/G over that span. Scoring in six of his past eight games, Barnidge has averaged 5.5/76.5/0.9 on 8.5 targets per game since Week 3.

The Ravens have done a great job at defending tight ends, allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the position this season. That said, the one tight end that they couldn't contain was Barnidge, who had 8/139/1 against them in Week 5. Barnidge may not post those numbers in his second matchup against them, but he's a strong play once again.

TE - Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (vs. NYG)

Few tight ends have a more favorable matchup than Reed this week. Only the Saints have allowed more fantasy points to the position than the Giants this season. In his first matchup against the Giants this season, Reed had six catches for 96 yards.

On the year, Reed has the seventh-most fantasy points among tight ends and has a stat line of 47 catches for 443 yards and six touchdowns even though he has missed a couple of games. Not only did Reed return to the field with an MCL injury last week, but he's not listed on the injury report, which bodes well for his outlook this week.

TE - Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (at SEA)

Not only are the Seahawks bad, relatively speaking, at defending the tight end, they are stingy to opposing running backs and wide receivers. While they have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, they have allowed the fewest to running backs and fourth-fewest to wide receivers.

With Ben Roethlisberger back under center, Miller's outlook is always better than when Big Ben is sidelined. GIven the matchup(s), Miller could see a slight bump in targets. In his past three games, Miller has 26 targets, 17 catches and 177 yards. Miller is just inside my top-12 fantasy tight ends for Week 12.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 12:

TE - Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints (at HOU)

Over his past five games, Watson has had a couple of massive stat lines -- 10/127/1 in Week 6 and 9/147/1 in Week 8. Aside from those two games, however, Watson has five or fewer targets in every other game this season and he's finished as the TE18 and TE36 in his past two games, respectively. The Texans have allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season so this could turn out to be another modest performance.

TE - Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (at KC)

Clay was highly productive (21/255/2) in the first four games of the season. Since then, however, Clay has finished outside the top-15 weekly fantasy tight ends in every game. Over his past four games, Clay has a total of 10 catches for 98 yards and he hasn't scored since Week 3.

To make matters worse, no team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Only one tight end (Tyler Eifert, TE10 in Week 4) has more than 32 yards against the Chiefs this season.

TE - Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins (at NYJ)

The good news is that Cameron scored a touchdown last week and that led to a top-10 weekly finish for him. It was his first top-10 performance of the season, but he still finished with only two catches for 21 yards. He now has 30 yards or less in eight consecutive games and two or fewer catches in five straight games.

In addition, the Jets have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Although he has top-10 talent at the position, Cameron should remain on your bench until he becomes more involved in the offensive game plan.

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November 27, 2015

Week 12 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Martavis Bryant is listed below as a "start" for Week 12. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 12 with him as one of my starting receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson and Bryant and start two wide receivers, you should start Hopkins and Robinson -- and in turn, bench Bryant.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 12:

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. SD)

Since Week 2, Robinson has been one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL. The second-year wideout has 49 catches for 844 yards and seven touchdowns in those nine games. Over his past six games, Robinson has either exceeded 100 yards and/or scored a touchdown (or two) in each of those games. With double-digit fantasy points in six consecutive games, Robinson has finished no worse than WR17 during that stretch.

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at SEA)

Going into Week 12, the Seahawks have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. That said, they have been much tougher against their opponents' WR1 than WR2, which would make sense now that Richard Sherman has often shadowed their opponent's No. 1 receiver.

More than likely, Sherman will shadow Antonio Brown, who has 27 catches for 423 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games. Based on efficency data from Football Outsiders, the Seahawks rank second vs. No. 1 WRs (and only 18th vs. No. 2 WRs).

Like his rookie season, Bryant's start to the 2015 season was delayed (although for different reasons), but he has immediately dominated in the red zone. With a touchdown in all but one game, Bryant has a total of five touchdowns in his past five games and a minimum of seven targets in each of those games.

WR - Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (at HOU)

After a slow start, Cooks has been one of the better fantasy wide receivers over the past month. Not only does he have a minimum of 71 yards in four consecutive games and in five of his past six, but Cooks has scored in each of his past three games with a total of five touchdowns during that three-game span. In those three games, Cooks has 20.5 (WR4), 13.1 (WR15) and 22.9 (WR3) fantasy points, respectively.

WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (at TEN)

A top-15 fantasy wide receiver through Week 11, Crabtree has a total of 57 catches for 696 yards and five touchdowns. It was a disappointing week for the Raiders passing offense last week, but Crabtree still had six catches for 50 yards on 11 targets. Crabtree now has 50-plus yards in seven consecutive games and double-digit targets in three of his past four games. Assuming another healthy dose of targets, Crabtree remains a solid WR2 heading into his Week 12 matchup against the Titans.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. MIA)

Decker has yet to reach the 100-yard milestone this season, but he has been remarkably consistent. With four catches for 81 yards on 11 targets last week, Decker scored a season-low 8.1 fantasy points. Because of that consistency, Decker has finished no worse than the WR31 in any week that he has played.

Not only has Decker finished with 59-plus yards in six consecutive games, but he has scored a touchdown in seven of nine games. With Brandon Marshall likely to draw a matchup against Brent Grimes, Miami's top corner, it wouldn't surprise me if Decker scored more fantasy points than Marshall. Either way, Decker remains a strong WR2 play.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 12:

WR - Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (at KC)

Few wide receivers are more boom-or-bust in fantasy football than Watkins, who finished as fantasy's WR3 only three weeks ago and outside the top-50 receivers in each of his past two games. Watkins had 8/168/1 in Week 9, but he has finished with 14 and 39 yards, respectively, in his past two games.

The Chiefs have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, but they have been playing much better pass defense lately. In their first seven games, they allowed five receivers to reach the 100-yard milestone. Since then, however, they have allowed no 100-yard receivers and the best performance against them during that span was a WR29 performance in Week 8.

WR - Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. BUF)

Consistency. That's one way to describe it. After averaging 7.2 catches for 96.6 yards per game through Week 5, Maclin has exactly three receptions in four consecutive games. No more, no less. In addition, he has failed to reach 50 yards in any of those games and is averaging just 32.25 during that span. For now, Maclin is more of a WR3/flex type option than a definite start.

WR - Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (vs. NYG)

The matchup certainly isn't a difficult one, but Garcon continues to post mediocre numbers. Garcon has finished outside the top-36 fantasy wide receivers in six consecutive games. In his past two games, Garcon has been targeted only two and four times, respectively, both of which are the two lowest for Garcon this season. While DeSean Jackson is a boom-or-bust type of receiver, his presence makes Garcon an after-thought in this offense.

WR - Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TB)

Moncried was targeted eight times in Week 11, but he finished with just five catches for 41 yards (8.2 Y/A). Moncrief now has 41 yards or less in four consecutive games and he has finished outside of the top-50 fantasy wide receivers in three consecutive weeks. In fact, Moncrief averaged 9.73 fantasy points per game in his first seven games this season. Over his past three games, he has a total of 8.9 points.

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November 26, 2015

Week 12 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Eddie Lacy is listed below as a "start" for Week 12. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 12 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Todd Gurley, LeSean McCoy and Lacy, you should start Gurley and McCoy -- and in turn, bench Lacy.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 12:

RB - Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at IND)

Since scoring three touchdowns in Week 5, Martin has not found the end zone, but he is coming off a season-best performance of 235 rushing yards against the Eagles in Week 11. It was the fourth 100-yard game for Martin over the past seven weeks. On the season, only Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson have scored more fantasy points than Martin in standard-scoring formats.

Averaging 20.9 touches per game this season, Martin figures to get another heavy workload and this week's matchup is exploitable as well. Through Week 11, the Colts have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

RB - Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (at DAL)

Only two running backs have 20-plus carries in six games this season -- Peterson and Stewart. What's unique about Stewart, however, is that he has had that workload in six consecutive games. During that six-game span, Stewart has 131 carries for 544 yards and four touchdowns. Even though he has only four receptions during that span, one of them went for a touchdown last week.

Not only has Stewart received a consistently heavy workload, he has a favorable matchup this week as well. The Cowboys have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (vs. CAR)

Speaking of high-volume backs, no running back has more touches than McFadden over the past five weeks. During that span, McFadden has averaged 27.4 touches per week. McFadden has only one touchdown during that span, but with Tony Romo back under center, he should eventually find the end zone more often given his usage rate and a general improvement in the team's offensive efficiency.

That said, McFadden has exceeded 100 rushing yards three times, 100 yards from scrimmage four times and he has averaged 13.28 fantasy points per game over that stretch. The matchup isn't great, but the Panthers have been middle of the pack (15th in NFL) in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. McFadden remains a top-10 fantasy running back in Week 12.

RB - Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (vs. PIT)

Rushing 30 times last week for a career-high 209 yards, Rawls added three catches for 46 yards and scored twice to finish the week as the top-scoring fantasy running back. Rawls has a more difficult matchup this week as the Steelers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but Rawls has been dominant when given a featured role. Rawls has more than 15 carries in four games and he has now exceeded 100 rushing yards in three of those four games. With Marshawn Lynch sidelined for several weeks, start Rawls with confidence.

RB - Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (vs. CHI)

This game has the potential to lead to a huge day for Lacy, or James Starks, as the Packers are favored by nearly double-digit points and only the Cardinals are projected to score more points this week than the Packers based on Vegas odds. After sitting out Week 10, Lacy had his best game of the season on Sunday with 22 carries for 100 yards (4.55 YPC).

Meanwhile, Starks had just eight carries for 14 yards last week. Over his past five games, Starks has carried the ball 38 times for only 104 yards so he hasn't been great since becoming the team's No. 1 back. There is still some risk with Lacy, but I have him ranked as a top-12 fantasy running back for the first time in a long time.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 12:

RB - Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (at GB)

It's unclear how the workload will be allocated with the return of Matt Forte (MCL) this week. Langford has been highly productive -- 366 YFS, 13 catches and four touchdowns -- in Forte's absence. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bears limit Forte's touches this week, but I have Langford ranked as a flex this week due to the expected reduction in touches.

RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. STL)

Hill has 13-plus carries in four of his past five games and he could see a similar workload this week against the Rams. The good thing about Hill is that he always has multi-touchdown upside, something he has done three times this season, but he has yet to exceed 63 rushing yards in any game this season. On the season, the Rams have limited opposing running backs to 3.69 yards per carry. Hill is a flex for me this week.

RB - Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (at JAX)

Since back-to-back games with seven touches, Gordon has averaged 17.67 touches over his past three games. Despite a return to a significant workload, MG3 has now finished outside the top-30 weekly fantasy running backs for eight weeks in a row. While he has yet to score his first NFL touchdown, he has 54 rushing yards or less in every game since Week 3 as well. Gordon is averaging just 3.49 yards per carry this season and the Jags currently allow a league-low 3.4 YPC.

RB - James Starks, Green Bay Packers (vs. CHI)

As noted above, Starks has only 104 rushing yards over his past five games and Lacy out-touched Starks by a margin of 22 to nine on Sunday. There is certainly some risk with Lacy, but I expected Lacy to eventually re-emerge as the team's lead back and that appears to have happened already.

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Week 12 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Brian Hoyer is listed below as a "start" for Week 12. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 12 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Aaron Rodgers and Hoyer, you should start Rodgers -- and in turn, bench Hoyer.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 12:

QB - Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (vs. NO)

The last three quarterbacks that have faced the Saints defense have produced the most or second-most fantasy points for that given week. In fact, the Saints have allowed multiple touchdowns in six consecutive games and a minimum of 324 passing yards in five of those six games. A bye week and a new defensive coordinator won't be enough to turnaround the league's most fantasy-friendly defense.

Before leaving the Bengals game early, Hoyer threw multiple touchdown passes in five consecutive games. During that span, Hoyer had scored a minimum of 17 fantasy points in each game with 20-plus three times. In fact, Hoyer finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in four of those five games with a QB15 weekly finish being the lone outlier.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. PHI)

Stafford didn't throw a touchdown last week, but he threw for 282 yards and ran for another 31 yards and a score. With 20.38 fantasy points last week, Stafford now has a minimum of 18 fantasy points in three of his past five games. Not only did Philadelphia allow five passing touchdowns to Jameis Winston last week, but they have allowed 10 passing touchdowns in their past three games combined. With plenty of question marks, the Eagles give Stafford a matchup to exploit on Thanksgiving.

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at SF)

A model of consistency, Palmer has thrown for 300-plus yards and/or multiple touchdowns in all 10 games played this season. Even though Palmer had just one top-10 weekly finish in his first six games of the season, he has been a top-10 weekly producer four games in a row.

Drafted as a high-upside QB2 in August, Palmer has become a weekly must-start regardless of matchup. Over his past three games, Palmer has thrown for a minimum of 317 yards and three touchdowns in each game with a couple of difficult matchups (at Seattle and vs. Cincinnati) during that span. The only quarterback to ever have a longer streak of 317/3 games was Rodgers (four, 2012 into 2013 season).

No team is projected to score more points than the Cardinals this week based on Vegas odds. In addition, the 49ers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season and Palmer has QB1 upside in Week 12.

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. SD)

Ending a five-game streak with multiple touchdowns, Bortles threw for 242 yards and a touchdown in a modest Week 11 performance. With the ninth-most fantasy points on the season, Bortles has finished as a weekly top-10 fantasy quarterback in half of his 10 games this season.

Over their past five games, the Chargers have allowed three top-12 weekly producers and a minimum of 17.6 fantasy points in four of those five games. During that five-game span, they have allowed 292.2 passing yards per game with a total of eight touchdowns and only one interception.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 12:

QB - Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (vs. CAR)

As a Cowboys fan, Romo couldn't return soon enough. In his return, Romo threw for 227 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Dolphins and finished as the QB19 in Week 11. With a difficult matchup against the Panthers, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, it's possible that Romo finishes outside the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks once again.

QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. MIN)

Even though Julio Jones is an absolute stud with 89/1,189/6 through 10 games, Ryan has scored only the 15th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks this season. Ryan is averaging nearly 300 yards per game, but he has a 15:10 TD-to-INT ratio this season. And like Romo, Ryan has a challenging matchup against the Vikings, who have limited opposing quarterbacks to the ninth-fewest fantasy points this season.

QB - Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. STL)

Historically, Dalton has been fairly inconsistent, but he had finished with at least 18 fantasy points in his first six games this season. Since his Week 7 bye, however, Dalton has not maintained that same level of consistency -- 9.64 (QB21, Week 8), 21.86 (QB7, Week 9), 8.88 (QB24, Week 10) and 22.0 (QB5, Week 11).

With only the Broncos and Jaguars allowing fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Rams, this could be another disappointing week for Dalton and he's just outside my top-12 fantasy quarterbacks for the week.

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (at DET)

It's unclear whether it will be Bradford or Mark Sanchez this week, but Bradford has been cleared from his concussion. Either way, this "sit" applies to either Bradford or Sanchez. In his past four games, Bradford has thrown only three touchdowns and has finished as a the QB16 (or worse) each week.

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November 25, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 12

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 12?

Brendan Donahue - T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. SD), $4,800

I am playing the law of averages with Yeldon this week. He's the clear-cut lead back in Jacksonville and is going against the Chargers, who have given up the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Yeldon has had 10 days to rest his foot that had been bothering him and should be 100 percent this week. He has still averaged over 16 carries per game in his last four games and is going up against a Chargers team that gives up 125.9 yards per game on the ground, it's hard not to see him having a big game based on his volume and matchup.

Kevin Hanson - Brian Hoyer, QB, Houston Texans (vs. NO), $5,000

The last three quarterbacks that have faced the Saints defense have scored the most or second-most fantasy points for that given week. In fact, the Saints have allowed multiple touchdowns in six consecutive games and a minimum of 324 passing yards in five of those six games. A bye week and a new defensive coordinator won't be enough to turnaround the league's most fantasy-friendly defense.

Before leaving the Bengals game early, Hoyer threw multiple touchdown passes in five consecutive games. During that span, Hoyer has scored a minimum of 17 fantasy points in each game with 20-plus three times. Despite his position-minimum salary, Hoyer should easily exceed value with top-five upside this week. Another factor in Hoyer's favor this week is that both Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton play on Thursday and Tom Brady (at Denver) and Ben Roethlisberger (at Seattle) have tough matchups.

Ryan Watterson - Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks (vs. PIT), $4,500

Rawls steps into the starting position for the Seahawks with Marshawn Lynch out for a few weeks, and while he has a difficult matchup, the opportunity is too great to ignore. Coming off a massive day against the Niners, Rawls will be fed the ball consistently against the Steelers and has a chance to greatly outproduce his salary.

Dan Yanotchko - T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. SD), $4,800

This week I love T.J. Yeldon of the Jaguars going up against one the worst front-sevens in football, San Diego. Yeldon has a great number at $4,800, and he has 17-plus touches in six of his last seven games, plus 27 receptions on the year. I like Yeldon and his 4.0 YPC average going against a Chargers team that allows 126 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry. C'mon, they let Spencer Ware rush for 96 yards on 11 carries and 2 TDs last week.

Sean Beazley - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans (vs. NO), $9,100

Last week was a tough week if you played a lot of the chalk. The cash lines in the Million maker and 50/50's were the lowest they have been all year. This week we are going to run into a lot of the similar type of chalk bargain players, so it is imperative that you nail the rest of your lineup. The chalk this week comes at the RB position, so I'll be paying at WR again this week. One player I absolutely love is Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins.

Hopkins comes in at a steep price tag of $9100, but like I mentioned, if you are playing the chalk RBs, you should have plenty of salary to get one or two of these top-notch stud WRs into your lineup this week. Some people have pretty short memories in the DFS world, but let's not forget how bad the Saints defense has been the past three games vs. the Giants, Titans, and Redskins. The Saints gave up 1,045 yards and 15 passing touchdowns during this time. There are ten teams in the NFL this year who have 15 or fewer passing touchdowns allowed all season. There is no WR in the NFL that has more targets than Hopkins (137). Hopkins also leads all WR in TDs with nine. Hopkins will be the center of my cash lineup this week.

Bonus Turkey Day Play: It's pretty unfortunate that DK doesn't have a 16-game slate this week because I would be on board rolling out QB Matthew Stafford as my cash game QB this week. Stafford has a juicy matchup against the Eagles tomorrow, and he still has a very fair price of $5,800. Stafford managed 20.4 DK points last week without having a good game. If you're playing the three-day Turkey slate, I recommend Stafford for GPPs. One great tip for playing small slate GPPs is avoiding the urge to spend your entire salary cap. Too many players make this mistake in tournaments, which leads to a lot of overlap. If you have a lineup $1500 short of the cap, there is a great chance that it's unique.

Week 12 DFS cheat sheets:

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Week 12 Fantasy Football: Some Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

A look back to Week 11's recommendations:

Best of the week -- LeSean McCoy +28.1: McCoy was a beast on Monday night, providing the lone offense for the Bills. Comparatively, while Darren McFadden had a solid week, Danny Woodhead struggled mightily.

Runner up -- Richard Rodgers +1.3: Not a great week when the second-best player barely broke even. The Packers offense got it going this week, as predicted, but it didn’t turn into production for Rodgers. However, Charles Clay didn’t do much either.

Worst of the week -- Alex Smith -11.4: This was a bit of an unfortunate day for Smith. The offense was productive but Smith didn’t get any TDs, although he did have one overturned.

Runner up -- Michael Crabtree -6.2: Crabtree had a real shot at a big game, but the Lions secondary is actually playing better despite the multitude of injuries. He still turned in a decent day, and definitely better than his counterpart Amari Cooper, but not enough to outperform Allen Robinson and A.J. Green.

Week 11 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-11.4+23.7-10.3-1.3+3.3
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+75.8+135.9-80.4+2.7+134.0

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

[View all of my picks from Week 11]

Quarterbacks

Brian Hoyer – Houston Texans
FantasyPros ECR – 12

There isn’t much to defend this other than the fact that Hoyer gets the Saints this week. And that has been a lucrative proposition of late. The Saints rank dead last in pass defense efficiency and fantasy points allowed to QBs. Even with the departure of Rob Ryan, the Saints defense is a sieve and Hoyer could pull off a Kirk Cousins-type performance.

Consider starting him over:
- Matthew Stafford – ECR 8. The Lions have won the past two games on defense and defense alone. The offense may have picked it up slightly, but it is still a bottom-tier offense in terms of productivity. The Eagles defense is actually pretty solid against the pass.
- Russell Wilson – ECR 10. The Steelers defense is middle of the pack against the pass, but Wilson hasn’t been a strong fantasy option this year, and the loss of Marshawn Lynch will only make it more difficult.

Running Backs

Matt Forte – Chicago Bears
FantasyPros ECR – 20

Forte will return from injury this week, and while he will likely lose some work to Jeremy Langford, I expect the Bears to steadily feed the run game to keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands. With his work in the pass game as well, there is no need to worry about Forte’s usage this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Eddie Lacy – ECR 18. The Bears run defense hasn’t been good, but neither has Lacy. He will get his touches, but James Starks will be the primary option at RB and it's hard to trust Lacy.
- Giovanni Bernard – ECR 16. Bernard has been the top option out of the Bengals backfield, but he has a tough matchup against the Rams.

Chris Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 21

Despite a bit of a slowdown the past two weeks, Johnson is still the workhorse for the Cardinals. This week against an awful Niners defense, those carries should turn into a solid performance. San Francisco ranks 30th against the run in efficiency and gives up the second-most points to RBs.

Consider starting him over:
- Danny Woodhead – ECR 15. Definitely a better matchup this week, but split work and a struggling offense leaves something to be desired here.
- Giovanni Bernard – ECR 16. See above.

Wide Receivers

Alshon Jeffery – Chicago Bears
FantasyPros ECR – 18

Jeffery is expected to play this week, and as the only legitimate WR on this team, he should receive a lot of targets and opportunity to produce. Green Bay ranks 27th against WR1’s in efficiency, so this could be a good chance for Jeffery to reach WR1 numbers.

Consider starting him over:
- Dez Bryant – ECR 11. Dez … meet Josh Norman.
- Jarvis Landry – ECR 14. Tough matchup and the offense hasn’t been putting it all together.

John Brown – Arizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 32

Last time I recommended Brown, he put up a total of zero points. Let’s hope I don’t curse him again. This week, Brown gets a very vulnerable Niners defense. They rank 31st in efficiency and 24th in FPA to WRs. As Brown approaches 100-percent health, he has an opportunity to get back to his mid-season form.

Consider starting him over:
- Brandon LaFell – ECR 31. Denver’s secondary is top-notch and LaFell lacks separation skills.
- Jordan Matthews – ECR 25. The Lions secondary has actually been good the past few weeks despite the injuries. Don’t trust Matthews to finally turn it around.

Tight End

Gary Barnidge – Cleveland Browns
FantasyPros ECR – 11

Barnidge is likely the happiest person on the planet now that Manziel has screwed up AGAIN. Barnidge is the number one target of Josh McCown and will be in line for a huge game, regardless of matchup.

Consider starting him over:
- Jason Witten – ECR 10. The Panthers are one of the best defenses in the league, and rank third in efficiency against TEs.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 12!

Check out my full Week 12 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

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Poll: Will Darren McFadden rush for 100+ yards in Week 12?

Even though there was some speculation that a groin injury and sloppy field conditions in Miami would lead to a reduced workload, Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden carried the ball 29 times for 129 yards on Sunday.

Since taking over as the team's featured back after their Week 6 bye, McFadden has exceeded 100 rushing yards in three of five games.

In addition, McFadden has exceeded 100 yards from scrimmage in a fourth game during that span.

Durability has long been a huge concern with McFadden as he played a full 16-game season only once in his career (last season). Over the past five games, however, no running back has had a larger workload than McFadden (137 touches).

Only four other running backs have at least 100 touches since Week 7 -- Adrian Peterson (118), Jonathan Stewart (114), Todd Gurley (113) and Doug Martin (108).

On a short week, the Cowboys will host the unbeaten Carolina Panthers tomorrow on Thanksgiving. While the matchup isn't ideal, the Cowboys will likely give McFadden another heavy workload.

Will McFadden rush for 100-plus yards against the Panthers in Week 12?

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2015 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 12 to 16


Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 12-16):

1. Houston Texans (Brian Hoyer): 18.59
2. Detroit Lions (Matthew Stafford): 18.47
3. Kansas City Chiefs (Alex Smith): 18.31
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Blake Bortles): 18.24
5. Miami Dolphins (Ryan Tannehill): 17.75

Five least favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 12-16):

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger): 15.67
29. New England Patriots (Tom Brady): 15.57
30. Oakland Raiders (Derek Carr): 15.39
31. San Diego Chargers (Philip Rivers): 14.87
32. Atlanta Falcons (Matt Ryan): 14.74

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 12 to 16

As we head down the final stretch of the 2015 NFL season, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 12-16):

1. Carolina Panthers (Jonathan Stewart): 21.44
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (T.J. Yeldon): 20.77
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Doug Martin, Charles Sims): 20.34
4. Kansas City Chiefs (Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware): 20.25
5. Detroit Lions (Joique Bell, Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick): 19.63

Five least favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 12-16):

T27. Tennessee Titans (Antonio Andrews): 16.74
T27. St. Louis Rams (Todd Gurley): 16.74
29. New England Patriots (LeGarrette Blount): 16.71
30. Seattle Seahawks (Thomas Rawls): 16.62
31. Cleveland Browns (Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell): 16.58
32. Atlanta Falcons (Devonta Freeman): 16.28

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 12 to 16

As we head down the final stretch of the 2015 NFL season, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 12-16):

1. Houston Texans (DeAndre Hopkins): 24.91
2. Buffalo Bills (Sammy Watkins): 24.55
3. Miami Dolphins (Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews): 24.52
4. Baltimore Ravens (Kamar Aiken): 24.50
5. Kansas City Chiefs (Jeremy Maclin): 24.44

Five least favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 12-16):

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant): 20.72
29. Oakland Raiders (Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree): 20.68
30. Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones): 19.95
31. Minnesota Vikings (Stefon Diggs, Mike Wallace): 19.93
32. Carolina Panthers (Ted Ginn, Devin Funchess): 19.79

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 12 to 16

As we head down the final stretch of the 2015 NFL season, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 12-16):

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Julius Thomas): 10.16
2. Carolina Panthers (Greg Olsen): 9.94
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Austin Seferian-Jenkins): 9.09
4. Minnesota Vikings (Kyle Rudolph): 8.88
5. Denver Broncos (Vernon Davis, Owen Daniels): 8.83

Five least favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 12-16):

T28. Tennessee Titans (Delanie Walker): 6.87
T28. New York Giants (Larry Donnell): 6.87
30. New England Patriots (Rob Gronkowski): 6.73
31. Philadelphia Eagles (Zach Ertz, Brent Celek): 6.49
32. Buffalo Bills (Charles Clay): 5.41

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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November 22, 2015

2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 11 (Hanson)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 11 of the 2015 NFL season:

Arizona Cardinals -4.5 over Cincinnati Bengals (3 units)

While the Carson Palmer-led Cardinals lead the NFL in total offense, there may be no team in the NFL as complete on both sides of the ball as Arizona. After all, the Cardinals are ranked inside the top quarter of the league in pass offense (fourth), run offense (eighth), run defense (fourth) and pass defense (seventh). In addition, no team has a better yardage differential than the Cardinals (+945).

Meanwhile, the Bengals are like the Cardinals in that they are balanced on both sides of the ball. That said, Andy Dalton has historically laid eggs under the bright lights -- in the playoffs or primetime games. Just last week, Dalton and the Bengals scored only six points as their home fans booed a previously unbeaten Bengals team throughout the game.

With a healthy Palmer, the Cardinals have had a lot of success over the past few seasons. In his past 24 starts, the Cardinals have compiled a 20-4 record straight up. In addition, the Cardinals have won 12 consecutive games at home against non-division opponents and have posted a 9-2-1 ATS record in those games. It should be more of the same this week for the Cards.

Green Bay Packers -1 over Minnesota Vikings (2 units)

The Vikings have covered in eight of nine games this season and it wouldn't surprise me if they continued that hot streak given how poorly the Packers have played during their three-game losing streak. That said, it's hard for me to imagine the Packers losing four consecutive games.

Perhaps the offense has become too predictable and the team has certainly struggled to run the ball, but Aaron Rodgers is still the best quarterback in the NFL -- no offense to Tom Brady and how well he's playing this season. Even though he's banged up, I expect to see a bounce-back performance from Rodgers, who has completed an un-Rodgers-like 56.5 percent of his pass attempts during the losing streak.

The Packers have covered 17 of their past 24 games within the division and they have been even better in division games following a loss (16-4-1 ATS). The Packers get back on track in what should be a tightly-contested divisional game.

Seattle Seahawks -13.5 over San Francisco 49ers (3 units)

This game features the largest point spread of the weekend, but it may not be enough for Blaine Gabbert and the 49ers. Gabbert moved the ball reasonably well before the bye, but it's hard to trust him on the road in Seattle this week after what Carson Palmer did to them in primetime last week. The Seahawks will take those frustrations out on Gabbert this week.

Seattle has had its share of issues and they may lack depth on the defensive side of the ball compared to the past few seasons, but they still rank second in the NFL in team defense (303.3 YPG allowed). In turn, the 49ers rank last in the NFL in total offense (286.2 YPG). It would surprise me if the 49ers reached double digits in this game.

The Seahawks have dominated this head-to-head series recently as they have covered eight in a row. This game has the makings of a 27-6 blowout type of game.

Denver Broncos -1 over Chicago Bears (3 units)

A couple of years ago, the downgrade to Brock Osweiler over Peyton Manning would have significantly diminished Denver's chances in a game; but you could easily argue that it's upgrade at this point. Even with Manning dealing with injuries, he has struggled ALL season long. Not only has he thrown an NFL-high 17 interceptions, but he has thrown nearly twice as many picks as he's thrown touchdowns (nine).

The Broncos have a 7-2 record, but many of their seven wins happened in spite of Peyton. The real reason the Broncos started the year with a seven-game winning streak has been their defense. Not only do the Broncos rank first in the NFL in team defense (277.3 YPG allowed), but they rank top six in both pass defense (first) and run defense (sixth).

While Jay Cutler has done a great job at limiting turnovers this season, the Broncos rank near the top in the NFL in creating turnovers (17, seventh-best in NFL). On the year, they have more intercepted passes (nine) than passing touchdowns allowed (eight).

The Bears bring a two-game winning streak into Week 11, but they have two difficult matchups in a period of five days against the Broncos and Packers. The Bears have covered only five of their past 22 games and I think that record drops to 5-of-23 after this week.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 11 (Yanotchko)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 11 of the 2015 NFL season:

Chicago Bears +1.5 over Denver Broncos (5 units)

The Bears have been on of the league's hottest teams as of late, and they will now be at home to face a banged-up Denver Broncos team. First off, benching Peyton Manning is the right move, as he is just not physically right at the moment. Now the Broncos will turn to Brock Osweiler, whose only previous claim to fame was that he stands 6'7".

The Broncos will also be seeing some familiar faces on the opposing sideline, as they will go against last year's head coach John Fox, and their old offensive coordinator Adam Gase. The Bears defense has also been rounding into form as of late, as they only give up 217 yards through the air, and they limited San Diego and St. Louis to 13 and 19 points in their last two games on the road. I really like the Bears at home getting a point, as Fox knows quite a few Bronco tricks and is the better coach than Kubiak.

Arizona Cardinals -4.5 over Cincinnati Bengals (4 units)

The Bengals are coming into this game sputtering on offense, and I think it will be yet another meltdown for the not yet quite ready for primetime Cincinnati Bengals. We all know how great the Cardinals have been on offense this year under Carson Palmer, but the unit that should really get the nod is their defense.

The Cardinals have been impressive against both the pass and run this year, as they are currently in the top 10 in both. The Cardinals are able to shut down opposing running backs to the tune of 92.9 yards per game, and their secondary also only gives up 223 yards per game, and have picked off opposing QBs 14 times.

I just don't trust Andy Dalton and the Bengals flying out West on a short week to hang with the Cardinals on Sunday night, so I am giving up the points here for red birds victory.

New England Patriots -7.5 over Buffalo Bills (4 units)

The personnel losses just keep on mounting for the Patriots, as they will be without Tom Brady's favorite wide receiver in Julian Edelman for six weeks. As they say in Foxboro, "next man up," and of course anytime the Patriots play the Bills, you have to go with New England. The Patriots just own Buffalo, as they have gone 22-10-1 in the last 17 years against the spread.

The Patriots have also been great against the run this year, as they only give up 88.2 yards per carry, and we all know Rex Ryan loves the ground and pound. Don't forget that Brady also went for 466 yards and three touchdowns earlier this year against the Bills. I will take the Pats at home on Monday night.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 11 (Beazley)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 11 of the 2015 NFL season:

Green Bay Packers Pick'em over Minnesota Vikings (5 units)

The Packers have been struggling lately, losing three straight games, and now face division-leading Minnesota on the road. This game isn't a must-win for the Packers, but it's pretty damn close to it. Aaron Rodgers and the passing game has been pretty poor in recent weeks, but I think Rodgers gets back on track this week. I'm not expecting a career game out of Rodgers, but I do think they pull this game out on the road. Packers, 27-23.

Dallas Cowboys -2 over Miami Dolphins (5 units)

Despite only having two wins this year, the Cowboys are still in the hunt for the NFC East title. They get a big shot in the arm this week as Tony Romo is due to return. I'll be the first to criticize Romo when he chokes in big games, but having Romo back will be huge for this team. This should open up some running lanes for Darren McFadden, and give Dallas some options deep down the field as well. Romo leads the Cowboys to victory, 31-20.

Seattle Seahawks -13 over San Francisco 49ers (4 units)

The Seahawks defense has been just average this season. It's a good thing an average defense vs. Blaine Gabbert usually looks like the '85 Bears. The 49ers will be without Carlos Hyde again, which means the Seahawks should be able to tee off on Gabbert. The Seattle D/ST will outscore the 49ers, and it won't be from a touchdown. Seattle, 25-0.

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November 21, 2015

Week 11 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Frank Gore is listed below as a "start" for Week 11. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 11 with him as one my two starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Devonta Freeman, DeMarco Murray and Gore, you should start Freeman and Murray -- and in turn, bench Gore.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 11:

RB - Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (at SD)

There is plenty to like about West heading into Week 11. Over his past three games, West has turned significant workloads into strong weekly production.

With a minimum of 20 carries (and 24 touches) in three consecutive games, West has scored a minimum of 18.2 fantasy points in each of those games. In fact, he has finished as the weekly RB7, RB2 and RB2 over his past three games, respectively. During that three-game stretch, West has a total of 412 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns.

The good times should continue to roll for West with a favorable matchup in Week 11. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Chargers this season. In addition, the Chargers have allowed seven top-10 weekly running backs in nine games this season.

RB - Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (at MIA)

Since becoming the team's workhorse back, McFadden had his first disappointing performance as he gained only 32 yards on 17 carries and finished outside the top-30 fantasy running backs. Another concern going into Week 11 is his appearance on the team's injury report (groin), especially given his durability track record, even though the team has downplayed it.

That said, his volume of work will remain high assuming that he starts and finishes the game in Week 11. Over his past four games, McFadden has a minimum of 20 touches each week and a total of 105 during that span. In those four games, he has a pair of 100-yard rushing games and he has exceeded 100 YFS in three of four.

Not only does he get a favorable matchup against the Dolphins, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs, but the return of Tony Romo from short-term IR should help open up the offense. Even with Dez Bryant back for a few games, the offense has centered around McFadden and opposing defenses have been able to stack the box.

RB - Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. WAS)

On a weekly basis, the Panthers have given Stewart a heavy workload with a minimum of 20 carries in five consecutive games. Not only is that the longest such streak this season, but no other running back has more than three consecutive games with 20-plus carries. The others on that list are the two guys listed above -- West and McFadden -- as well as Adrian Peterson and Le'Veon Bell.

During that five-game span, Stewart has 110 carries for 442 yards and four touchdowns. In addition, Stewart has a minimum of 12 fantasy points in four of those five games. Washington is middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs this season, but they have allowed a 125-yard rusher in four of their past five games.

RB - Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (at ATL)

In his past two games against two of the league's top defenses (Carolina and Denver), Gore has a minimum of 25 touches in each game. In those two games, Gore has a total of 153 rushing yards and a touchdown and four catches for 41 yards. Gore has now finished as the weekly RB18 (or better) in back-to-back games and in four of his past five. With a more favorable matchup in Week 11, Gore has RB1 upside especially with Andrew Luck sidelined as the Colts figure to lean heavily on their ground game.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 11:

RB - C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (at CHI)

A few weeks ago, Anderson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown, but that game has been the sole bright spot for him (and his fantasy owners) this season. Last week, CJA had just two carries for nine yards as the Broncos were blown out by the Chiefs. This game should be more competitive and the Broncos should be more committed to the run without Peyton Manning, but it's hard to trust Anderson despite the favorable matchup.

RB - Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (at MIN)

Lacy is expected to play in Week 11 after sitting out last week, but he remains in a secondary role to James Starks. Over his past four games combined, Lacy has a total of only 78 rushing yards on 33 carries -- 2.36 yards per carry. Eventually Lacy will re-emerge as the team's featured back, but I prefer to take a wait-and-see approach especially given the difficult matchup this week. The Vikings have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (at ARI)

Continuing the theme of first-round (fantasy) draft busts, Hill has gone from a workhorse to secondary role. Before last week's 15-yard performance on seven carries, it was a positive that Hill had 15-plus carries in his previous three games. Of the trio along with CJA and Lacy, Hill is the most likely to get a large(r) workload. That said, Hill has finished outside the top-30 fantasy running backs in three consecutive games and in six of his past eight games.

Meanwhile, Hill and Giovani Bernard have a difficult matchup against the Cardinals, who have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Aside from Todd Gurley (146 yards) and Le'Veon Bell (88), no other running back has rushed for more than 61 yards against the Cards this season. On the year, they have allowed RBs to gain 3.70 YPC with only three rushing touchdowns on 166 carries.

RB - Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49ers (at SEA)

Before San Francisco's Week 10 bye, Draughn totalled 20 touches for 96 yards against the Falcons and finished as fantasy's RB22 in Week 9. Even though Carlos Hyde is expected to miss another game and Draughn should lead the team in touches, the 49ers are huge underdogs (-12.5) on the road and projected to score the fewest points this week based on Vegas odds. In addition, only the Steelers have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 11

Week 11 Fantasy Football Rankings:

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Week 11 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Danny Amendola is listed below as a "start" for Week 11. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 11 with him as one of my starting wide receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Dez Bryant, DeAndre Hopkins and Amendola and start just two receivers, you should start Bryant and Hopkins -- and in turn, bench Amendola.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 11:

WR - Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (vs. BUF)

With Julian Edelman injuring his foot last week, Amendola set season highs of 10 receptions on 11 targets. While he has three games with at least seven catches and 79 yards over his past five games, Amendola should produce more consistently for fantasy owners down the stretch with Edelman sidelined.

Only Rob Gronkowski should see a larger share of targets from Tom Brady than Amendola for the rest of the way. In their first matchup against the Bills, Edelman was targeted 19 times and finished with 11/97/2 as Brady threw 59 pass attempts.

WR - Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at PHI)

Since his Week 6 bye, Evans has been targeted a total of 53 times over the past four games. Only Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown (56) has been targeted more over that four-game stretch. While Evans has had his issues with drops, his volume of targets has led to 126-plus yards in three of those four games.

With 12 touchdowns as a rookie, the 6-foot-5 Evans proved to be one of the league's better red-zone weapons. In 2015, however, the second-year receiver has only one score out of his 40 receptions. Assuming that Vincent Jackson misses another game, Evans will be a target monster and it wouldn't surprise me if he found the end zone this weekend. The Eagles have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (at HOU)

Decker has been extremely consistent this season. Not only does he have exactly six receptions in four straight games and 59-plus yards in five straight games, Decker has scored a touchdown in seven of eight games played. Even though he has missed a game earlier this season, Decker has the 14th-most fantasy points in standard-scoring formats so far this year. In addition, he has a minimum of 9.4 fantasy points in every game played this season.

WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (at DET)

Crabtree had a season-low five targets last week, but he extended his streak of games with 50-plus yards to six games. One of the biggest surprises this season, Crabtree is averaging 5.67/71.78/0.56 on 9.44 targets per game through Week 10. With the 16th-most fantasy points this season, Crabtree is ahead of many prominent and disappointing wide receivers -- Calvin Johnson (WR19), Demaryius Thomas (WR23) and Randall Cobb (WR25), to name a few -- in terms of fantasy points scored.

Based on efficiency data from Football Outsiders, the Lions are much better against a team's WR1 (16th) than WR2 (28th). In turn, I have Crabtree ranked one spot ahead of Amari Cooper in my rankings this week.

WR - Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. TB)

It's been a highly disappointing season for Matthews and those that expected a breakout sophomore campaign. With the exception of a 9/133/1 performance in Week 9, Matthews has finished outside the top-50 fantasy receivers in six of seven weeks. On a positive note, however, Matthews has averaged nearly nine targets per game and he gets a favorable matchup this week against the Bucs. Cautiously optimistic about his Week 11 outlook, Matthews is inside my top-24 fantasy receivers for Week 11.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 11:

WR - James Jones, Green Bay Packers (at MIN)

Jones' return to Green Bay has been highlighted by his red-zone production -- six touchdowns in his first six games back with the Packers. Not only does he have no touchdowns in three consecutive games, but he has a total of only three catches for 59 yards during that span. In fact, Jones has two or fewer catches in five straight games.

Even though Aaron Rodgers threw 61 pass attempts last week, he targeted Jones only twice. Meanwhile, Davante Adams was targeted 21 times. The disparity shouldn't be so large in Week 11, but it's obviously discouraging for Jones to get only two targets in a game with 61 pass attempts.

WR - DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (at CAR)

Back for two games since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 1, Jackson has posted modest performances against the Patriots (3/15, WR70) and Saints (2/44, WR46). Jackson has always been a boom-or-bust type of receiver, however, and Week 11's difficult matchup against the Panthers sets up for a "bust" type of week.

WR - Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (at SD)

With more than 50 yards in each of his first five games, Maclin averaged 7.2 catches for 96.6 yards over that span. Since then, however, Maclin's production has been modest. Not only does Maclin have three catches in each of his past three games, which has set and tied his season low, he has set a new season low in receiving yards in each of those games with 48, 35 and 17 yards, respectively. Better games are ahead for Maclin, but he's more of a WR3/flex this week.

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. OAK)

Tate has been a staple on this side of the list and he'll continue to remain here as long as Calvin Johnson is healthy. After last year's breakout season, Tate is on pace for only 763 yards and two touchdowns this season. Tate has been somewhat consistent with four-plus catches in seven of nine games, but his best fantasy performance this season was WR30 (Week 6). Tate is a low-upside WR3 for Week 11.

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Week 11 Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Eric Ebron is listed below as a "start" for Week 11. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 11 with him as my starting tight end.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Rob Gronkowski and Ebron, you should start Gronk -- and in turn, bench Ebron.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 11:

TE - Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (vs. OAK)

The Saints are the only team to allow more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Raiders this season. With the Saints on bye this week, no tight end has a more favorable matchup this week than Ebron.

Ebron has less than 30 receiving yards in three of four games, but he has a minimum of five targets in all but one game this season. On the year, he is averaging a stat line of 3.85/45.7 per game, which is solid -- if not spectacular -- for tight ends.

With a touchdown in three of his seven games this season, however, it wouldn't surprise me if Ebron found the end zone this week given the matchup and he's definitely on the TE1 radar for Week 11.

TE - Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (at CAR)

Reed had a season-low four targets in Week 10 and has only three catches in back-to-back weeks, but he has now scored a total of five touchdowns in his past three games. On the year, he is averaging 5.9/56.7/0.9 on 8.3 targets per game. In the seven games that Reed has played this season, he has scored a minimum of 7.8 fantasy points and finished as a top-11 fantasy tight end in six weeks.

TE - Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons (vs. IND)

While he has only one touchdown this season, Tamme has double-digit targets in back-to-back games and in three of his past five. Part of that volume is a result of Leonard Hankerson's health, but especially if Hankerson misses another game, Tamme is in the low-end TE1 mix for Week 11. In his games with double-digit targets, Tamme has a minimum of six catches and 61 yards in those three games. Meanwhile, the Colts have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 11:

TE - Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins (vs. DAL)

Cameron has finished as a top-12 weekly tight end in only one game this season and has finished as the TE20 or worse in four consecutive games. And Cameron has 30 yards or less in seven consecutive games with an average of 19.0 yards per game during that stretch.

In fact, his past two games have been his least productive games this season. Cameron had one catch for six yards against the Bills and one catch for five yards against the Eagles in Weeks 9 and 10, respectively. Given that the Cowboys allow the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, Cameron should remain on your bench.

TE - Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (at NE)

It's been an up-and-down season for Clay, who has the 14th-most fantasy points among tight ends this season. All three of Clay's top-12 weekly finishes, however, occurred within the team's first four games this season. Over his past five games, Clay has finished as the weekly TE35, TE16, TE23, TE41 and TE19, respectively. While he did finish as a top-12 weekly tight end in his first matchup against the Patriots, he was limited to three catches for 19 yards (and a score) in that game.

TE - Zach Miller, Chicago Bears (vs. DEN)

It's been an impressive two-game stretch for Miller, who was last week's top-scoring fantasy tight end after finishing as the TE9 in Week 9. Miller has a total of seven catches for 130 yards and three touchdowns in his past two games. While the Broncos have been middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends, they rank first in the NFL in passing defense (183 YPG allowed).

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Week 11 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Tony Romo is listed below as a "start" for Week 11. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 11 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Tom Brady and Romo, you should start Brady -- and in turn, bench Romo.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 11:

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at DET)

The last time that Carr finished outside the top-10 weekly fantasy quarterbacks was Week 5 when he faced the Broncos, the league's stingiest defense to opposing quarterbacks this season. In a week with Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning all on bye, Carr is among my top-four fantasy quarterbacks for the week given his favorable matchup against the Lions. Only the Saints and Ravens have allowed more fantasy points to the position this season.

Not only has Carr finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in four consecutive games, but he has finished as a top-10 quarterback in six of his past eight games. During that eight-game span, Carr has thrown for 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in five games including each of his past three games. In addition, he has multiple touchdown passes in seven of his past eight games. Since Week 2, he is averaging 291.88 yards per game with a 21:6 TD-to-INT ratio.

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. CIN)

With the fourth-most fantasy points this season, Palmer is red-hot as he enters a matchup against the team that drafted him and from whom he "retired." In his past two games, Palmer has thrown for 374 yards and four touchdowns against the Browns and 363 yards and three touchdowns against the Seahawks. The Bengals have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, but Palmer and the Cardinals are projected to score more points than every team other than the Patriots according to Vegas odds this week.

Palmer is averaging 305.4 yards and 2.55 touchdowns per game this season. More impressively, he has a minimum of 300 passing yards and/or two touchdowns in all nine games this season. With a minimum of 15.98 fantasy points in every game this season, he has scored 18-plus fantasy points in seven of nine games.

QB - Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (at MIA)

Returning from an eight-week absence, Romo will likely have to shake off some rust, but it's do-or-die time for the Cowboys. Within their past three games, the Dolphins allowed 356 yards and four touchdowns to Brady in Week 8 and the duo of Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez combined for 392 passing yards last week. With Dez Bryant rounding into form from his injury and a plus matchup, Romo should post top-12 numbers in his first game back from injury.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. OAK)

It's been a disappointing season for Stafford and the Lions, but Stafford has thrown multiple touchdown passes in three of his past four games. The numbers are skewed a bit by a 405/4 performance against the Bears, but Stafford has averaged 280.0 yards with nine touchdowns over that stretch. With a favorable matchup against the Raiders, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, Stafford has the potential to post top-12 numbers this week.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 11:

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. DAL)

Tannehill has finished outside the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in three consecutive games and in six of his past seven games. In his past three games, Tannehill has only two passing touchdowns and he has a total of only 44 rushing yards all season. (Tannehill rushed for 311 yards last season.)

So far this season, the Cowboys have limited opposing quarterbacks to the ninth-fewest fantasy points. Over their past four games combined, they have surrendered only two passing touchdowns. It's much easier to run the ball on the Cowboys and Miami's game plan will likely center around plenty of Lamar Miller (and Jay Ajayi).

QB - Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (vs. DEN)

Cutler has been outstanding this season with a minimum of 17 fantasy points in six consecutive games. During that span, he has averaged 19.3 fantasy points and he's coming off his best performance (QB3) of the season despite a difficult matchup against the Rams.

Over that six-game span, Cutler has posted an 11:3 TD-to-INT ratio, but he faces the Broncos this week. Not only have the Broncos allowed the fewest fantasy points, but only one quarterback (Andrew Luck, Week 9) has scored more than 15.46 fantasy points against them this season.

QB - Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (vs. STL)

Flacco has been pretty good lately with 300-plus yards and top-eight weekly finishes in back-to-back games. In fact, he has a top-eight weekly finish in four of his past seven games.

Even though they allowed Cutler to finish as last week's third-best fantasy quarterback, the Rams still have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Given the team's lack of (healthy) talented pass-catchers and difficult matchup, it's unlikely that Flacco repeats his recent success.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 11 (Trifone)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 11 of the 2015 NFL season:

Green Bay Packers pick'em over Minnesota Vikings (5 units)

This is the pick I like the most this week, but oddly the one I'm most nervous about at the same time. It's one of those games that I'm nervous to not bet heavy on because it seems like an opportunity that doesn't come around often. I know a lot of people are on the Vikings this week, and it's tough to blame them considering the way the Packers have been playing. They lost at home to a terrible Lions team, losing to Detroit for the first time since 1993.

Aaron Rodgers has not looked like himself lately, but I'm just not willing to bet against him and this team falling out of the playoffs. It's been noted that Green Bay's offense has been very predictable and I expect them to make some adjustments in Minnesota. Those that are all in on the Vikings this week will, come Monday morning, be saying that a Green Bay win was predictable given the quarterback comparison. I think the Packers start to figure things out this week and they get back on track with a road win.

Washington Redskins +7.5 over Carolina Panthers (4 units)

I'm riding the Kirk Cousins train again this week. Clearly this is a much tougher matchup against the undefeated Panthers, but I still like Washington to keep it relatively close. They are an increasingly confident football team that is surprisingly in the mix to make a run at the playoffs and win the division. If Cousins can avoid turning the ball over, which he's been getting better about of late, I like this game to finish within a touchdown. I like the Skins with the points.

Dallas Cowboys -1.5 over Miami Dolphins (4 units)

I expect the Cowboys to play inspired football this week. With Tony Romo coming back, the entire team realizes it's make-or-break time if they're going to stay in the division race. Dallas was the pretty clear-cut favorite coming into the year to win the NFC East, but were unable to win even one game since Romo went down. At 2-7, they would typically be done for the season, but crazily enough, they are just two games out of first in the loss column.

Miami has been very up and down, cruising through the first two games after firing Philbin, but then getting crushed by the Bills and Patriots the following two weeks. They did eek out a one-point win against the Eagles last week, but I'm not going to say I was impressed. A Dallas team with Romo back is going to be a much tougher game, and I like the Cowboys to win on the road. I'll give the point and a half.

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November 19, 2015

Week 11 Fantasy Football: 6 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

Week 10 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+39.7+12.7-32.8+9.9+29.5
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+87.2+112.2-70.1+1.4+130.7

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

[View all of Ryan's Week 10 recommendations here.]

Best of the week -- Kirk Cousins +39.7: Cousins ended the week as the No. 1 QB, at least in most formats, after tearing up the Saints. In fact, Cousins had a perfect QB rating last week – that’s not easy to do. Conversely, the Manning brothers had an interesting week. Eli did better than I expected, but still fell short of Cousins. Peyton pulled off a rarity in fantasy circles – a negative point total.

Runner up -- Ryan Mathews +17.4: Mathews put together a solid outing, thanks in large part to a touchdown run. He did little else with his carries, but posted a few catches to spruce up his point total. But the primary difference here were the two backs I suggested sitting in favor of Mathews – Antonio Andrews and Chris Johnson. Andrews basically did nothing (.8 points) and Johnson was held in check by the Seahawks run D.

Worst of the week -- John Brown -19.4: Well, if I got one thing right, it was that a Cardinals WR would have a good day despite the matchup. I just didn’t figure it to be the two guys facing the ‘Hawks best CBs. What a bust!

Runner up -- Pierre Garcon -13.4: I’m still a little baffled by this. In a dream matchup, and in a game where your QB posts the best outing for his position, how in the world do you manage three lousy points?

Quarterbacks

Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs
FantasyPros ECR – 17

My rankings fall pretty well in line with the ECR this week, at least in the sense that there aren’t many major differences. But I do have Smith ranked higher than most. First, the Chargers rank 21st in FPA to QBs and 27th in defensive pass efficiency, so it’s a good matchup. And while the Chiefs are a run-first team, and the Chargers won’t do much to slow them down on the ground, I have a sneaky feeling this will be a rather high-scoring game. The Chargers are coming off a bye and their only shot at winning resides on the offensive side of the ball – that defense isn’t slowing anyone down. I think that results in more passing attempts for Smith, who should be able to take advantage.

Consider starting him over:
- Matthew Stafford – ECR 12. The Lions have scored more than 20 points in a game twice this season, one of those coming in Week 1. Their offensive line is one of the worst in the league and they have zero run game. Even against the Raiders, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with Stafford in my lineup.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick – ECR 16. The Texans defense we all expected before the season began is finally starting to show up and just shut down a very good Bengals offense. This game is shaping up to be a defensive slugfest.

Running Backs

LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots
FantasyPros ECR – 17

With Dion Lewis’ injury, Blount is the primary back in New England and has even gotten involved in the passing game a little. We all know the Patriots game plan every week is focused on exploiting their opponent’s weakness, and while the Bills defense is good, their weakest point is definitely against the run. They are middle of the pack in terms of FPA to RBs, but they are 29th in defensive run efficiency. With Julian Edelman out and a solid opposing secondary, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blount approach 30 carries this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Jeremy Langford – ECR 14. I don’t know if Matt Forte will be back this week, that would be a quick turnaround for an MCL injury. But even if Langford gets a full workload, I don’t see him continuing his hot streak against the Broncos vaunted run defense.
- James Starks – ECR 15. Eddie Lacy is practicing this week and appears on track to play. I know Starks will be the starter regardless, but Lacy isn't just going to sit on the bench, he will still be involved. And his most likely involvement will be at the goal line, stealing potential TDs from Starks.

LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
FantasyPros ECR – 11

McCoy is returning to form, evidenced by his manhandling of the Jets No. 1 ranked rush defense. The Patriots are solid against the run, but if McCoy can light up the Jets, he can do it to anyone. I think the Bills will attempt to get him out in space via the pass game as well, where his speed and agility will be a tough match for the Patriots run-oriented LB corps. Perhaps this is a reach, but I just have a feeling we see McCoy continue his upward trend despite the matchup.

Consider starting him over:
- Danny Woodhead – ECR 7. Yes, I said I think this will be a game where more points than expected are scored. But the Chiefs are actually pretty good against RBs as receivers, ranking 9th in efficiency. I have no doubt Woodhead will be involved, I’m not suggesting a bust, just that an ECR of 7 is a little too generous for my taste.
- Darren McFadden – ECR 9. The return of Tony Romo this week will open up some space for McFadden to operate. But at the same time, how effective will Romo be coming off the long absence? I think the Dolphins will focus on stopping the run and bet that Romo will be rusty.

Wide Receivers

Michael Crabtree – Oakland Raiders
FantasyPros ECR – 14

Crabtree has revived his career in Oakland this season and is a favorite target of the pass-happy Derek Carr. The Lions are on deck this week and despite a valiant defensive effort against the Packers, the Lions are one of the worst pass defenses in the league. They are 28th against WR2’s in efficiency, and this was before Rashean Mathis went down for the season. Crabtree is setup to have a big day.

Consider starting him over:
- Allen Robinson – ECR 9. Tennessee has been a solid pass defense this year under Dick LeBeau’s new leadership. Robinson should be a fine WR2 this week, top 10 seems a little high though.
- A.J. Green – ECR 13. Green has been a bit of a disappointment this season and gets a matchup against a top-five secondary.

Jeremy Maclin – Kansas City Chiefs
FantasyPros ECR – 27

As mentioned before, I think the Chiefs passing game will be active this week. Maclin is far and away the favorite target of Smith and has a good matchup, San Diego is 26th against WR1’s in efficiency. Expect Maclin to crack top-20 this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Brandon LaFell – ECR 23. Even with Edelman out, LaFell has a tough matchup and I think the Pats go run-heavy.
- Jordan Matthews – ECR 24. Mark Sanchez … ’nuff said.

Tight End

Richard Rogers – Green Bay Packers
FantasyPros ECR – 15

Rodgers has seen an uptick in production the past few weeks and has an opportunity for that to continue this week against the Vikings. Minnesota is 29th in efficiency against TEs and gives up the 11th most points to TE’s.

Consider starting him over:
- Charles Clay – ECR 13. New England is top 10 against TEs in both efficiency and fantasy points allowed.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 11!

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November 18, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 11

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 11?

Brendan Donahue - Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (at SD), $4,500

Anyone that puts up 31.1 points against Denver, in Denver, immediately gets my attention. Digging deeper, there is a nice trend with West.

He has gotten at least 20 carries in his each of his last three games and has rewarded his fantasy owners by putting up 23.9, 22.2, and 31.1 points in each. I don't see any reason why this trend can't continue going up against the Chargers, who give up the most points in the league against opposing running backs. At $4,500, he is an absolute steal this week.

Kevin Hanson - Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (at SD), $4,500

Heavy workloads? Check. Consistent production? Check. Favorable matchup? Check. What's not to like about West this week? And despite his high usage rate and strong production, his salary has actually dropped from his Week 10 price tag ($4,800). Thank you, DraftKings!

Not only does West have a minimum of 20-plus carries in three consecutive games, but he has at least 22.2 DraftKings points in each of those three games. Priced at more than $1,000 less than the average starting salary, West will be a staple in my cash-game and GPP lineups alike.

Dan Yanotchko - Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers (), $

This week, I really like Davante Adams at quite the nice $4,700 price point. Adams has finally broken through with Aaron Rodgers in the past two weeks, as he has compiled 17 receptions on 32 targets, and 173 yards total.

I know the Packers haven't exactly lit the offensive world on fire lately, as they only compiled 16 points against Detroit at home. This will be a Rodgers bounce-back game, and of course I love the fact that Adams had 21 targets last week alone.

Ryan Watterson - Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings (), $

There are two low cost WRs firmly on my radar this week -- Allen Hurns and Stefon Diggs. But if I have to choose between the two, Diggs is the choice. His salary is lower and he has a lot of upside this week. While he has slowed down the past two weeks, matchups and game flow can be blamed for the decrease in production.

This week, the Vikings take on the Packers. Call me naive, but I actually believe the Packers figure it out this week and the Vikings will be forced to throw more than they have been. In terms of FPA, the Packers have been solid against WRs, which will lead a lot of people to overlook Diggs in their lineups. However, that can be deceiving.

The Packers are 27th in efficiency against WR1's, so if the Vikings are forced to throw more, Diggs could be in for a big day. I'll be taking a flier on him in a lot of lineups this week.

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2015 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 11 to 16

Now that the season is more than half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 11-16):

1. Kansas City Chiefs (Alex Smith): 18.53
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (Blake Bortles): 18.43
3. Houston Texans (Brian Hoyer, T.J. Yates): 18.38
4. Detroit Lions (Matthew Stafford): 18.15
5. Miami Dolphins (Ryan Tannehill): 17.64

Five least favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 11-16):

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger): 15.76
T29. Atlanta Falcons (Matt Ryan): 15.72
T29. New England Patriots (Tom Brady): 15.72
31. Cincinnati Bengals (Andy Dalton): 15.70
32. San Diego Chargers (Philip Rivers): 15.44

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 11 to 16

Now that the season is more than half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 11-16):

1. Carolina Panthers (Jonathan Stewart): 21.16
2. Kansas City Chiefs (Charcandrick West): 20.85
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (T.J. Yeldon): 19.62
4. Miami Dolphins (Lamar Miller, Jay Ajayi): 19.37
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Doug Martin, Charles Sims): 19.34

Five least favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 11-16):

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (DeAngelo Williams): 17.03
29. Tennessee Titans (Antonio Andrews): 16.98
30. New England Patriots (LeGarrette Blount): 16.80
31. Cleveland Browns (Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell): 16.59
32. St. Louis Rams (Todd Gurley): 16.47

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 11 to 16

Now that the season is more than half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 11-16):

1. Buffalo Bills (Sammy Watkins): 24.96
2. Houston Texans (DeAndre Hopkins): 24.95
3. Philadelphia Eagles (Jordan Matthews): 24.76
4. Cleveland Browns (Travis Benjamin): 24.47
5. Kansas City Chiefs (Jeremy Maclin): 24.31

Five least favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 11-16):

28. Cincinnati Bengals (A.J. Green, Marvin Jones): 21.41
29. Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones): 20.99
30. Carolina Panthers (Ted Ginn, Devin Funchess): 20.83
31. Pittsburgh Steelers (Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant): 20.73
32. Minnesota Vikings (Stefon Diggs, Mike Wallace): 20.56

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 11 to 16

Now that the season is more than half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 11-16):

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Julius Thomas): 10.47
2. Carolina Panthers (Greg Olsen): 9.25
3. Detroit Lions (Eric Ebron): 9.03
T4. Minnesota Vikings (Kyle Rudolph): 8.62
T4. Kansas City Chiefs (Travis Kelce): 8.62

Five least favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 11-16):

28. Washington Redskins (Jordan Reed): 6.84
29. New England Patriots (Rob Gronkowski): 6.72
30. Cleveland Browns (Gary Barnidge): 6.71
31. Philadelphia Eagles (Zach Ertz, Brent Celek): 6.60
32. Buffalo Bills (Charles Clay): 5.41

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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November 14, 2015

2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 10 (Hanson)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 10 of the 2015 NFL season:

Arizona Cardinals +3 over Seattle Seahawks (3 units)

It's been a disappointing start to the season for Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks. Despite the trade for red-zone stud Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks have failed to utilize him the way most expected they would (although he has double-digit targets in two of the past three games). That said, Graham has 31 receiving yards or less in half of the team's games this season.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals rank third in the NFL in total defense (312.8 yards per game allowed) and rank in the top-seven against both the run and the pass. The Seahawks rank second in total defense and Richard Sherman may spend some time shadowing Larry Fitzgerald, but I expect the Carson Palmer and the Cardinals to be able to move the ball a little better than Wilson and the Seahawks on Sunday.

The Seahawks are tough to beat at home, but they are 1-4 ATS in their past five home games. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have covered five of their past seven road games. In fact, the Cardinals are 22-10 ATS in their past 32 games overall.

This game should be a tightly-contested defensive struggle and while I think the Cardinals are the better all-around team, I like taking the points.

Green Bay Packers -11 over Detroit Lions (3 units)
Packers vs. Lions -- Over 49.5 (3 units)

Coming off back-to-back losses, the Packers will look to get back on track against their division rivals. Since Brett Favre took over as Packers quarterback in 1992, the Lions have lost every game at Lambeau Field and the Packers seem to be a lock to win the game outright.

The question is whether or not they cover the double-digit spread. Virtually all of the Lions ATS stats favor the Packers: 2-8 ATS in past 10 road games, 0-6 ATS in last six division games, 1-5 ATS following straight-up loss, etc. Meanwhile, the Packers 4-1-1 following an ATS loss.

Since 2012, Aaron Rodgers has thrown 61 touchdowns to only seven interceptions in 24 home games. As great as Rodgers and the Packers offense have been at home, the Lions may put up little resistance as they allow a league-worst 30.6 points per game this season.

And since Rodgers took over as starting quarterback in 2008, the Packers have won 30 (of their 60) home games by double-digits. Only the Patriots (32) have more double-digit home wins during that span.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 10 (Beazley)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 10 of the 2015 NFL season:

Green Bay Packers -11 over Detroit Lions (5 units)
Packers vs. Lions -- Over 49.5 (3 units)

The Packers have lost two straight games against very solid defenses on the road, but return home to face the lowly Lions, who just got destroyed two weeks ago in London vs Kansas City. I believe Aaron Rodgers could put up career numbers in this one. The Packers could come close to hitting this over by themselves. Matthew Stafford is prone to turn the ball over, and I see another multiple turnover game in his future. Packers win big at home, 46-20.

Denver Broncos -5 over Kansas City Chiefs (5 units)

I'd bet 20 units on this one if I could. I love this spot at home for Peyton Manning and the Broncos. I expect to see the Peyton of old in this one, and I'm predicting a 300/3 type of performance. The Broncos defense even without Aqib Talib is still elite enough to shut down a very mediocre Chiefs offense. Don't let the Chiefs performance in London fool you. Denver, 30-17.

Panthers vs. Titans -- Under 44.0 (3 units)

The Titans defense is very underrated this season. They shut down a very good Atlanta offense, and last week when it counted shut down Drew Brees in the 2nd half. I think they will do a good job containing Cam Newton and the Panthers offense.

It wouldn't shock me to see the Titans win this one outright. This is the classic let-down spot for the Panthers. Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense don't have enough weapons to move the ball down the field vs. this defense, especially since Dorial Green-Beckham will probably be shut down by Josh Norman. Tennessee wins late, 16-13.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 10 (Yanotchko)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 10 of the 2015 NFL season:

New England Patriots -7.5 over New York Giants (4 units)

The Patriots will be coming into this game resembling the walking wounded, as at press time they only have five healthy linemen, and now will be without superback Dion Lewis for the rest of the year. This being said, the Patriots have quietly built one of the best front-sevens in the league, and they actually lead the league in only allowing 89.1 yards per game on the ground.

The other part where the Patriots will be able to attack the Giants is through the air, as the Giants give up a league-worst 308 yards per game to opposing QBs. And the Giants just can't get after the passer, as they only have complied nine sacks on the year. This will be a game that Tom Brady throws it all over the yard, and I look for the Patriots to win going away for the revenge factor.

Jacksonville Jaguars +4.5 over Baltimore Ravens (2 units)

The Ravens certainly have not had the season they wanted, as they are competing more for the first pick overall rather than a playoff berth. The Jaguars have been getting better by the week this year, and Blake Bortles is really starting to justify that high draft pick.

This is were the Jags will be able to attack the Ravens, through the air, as the Ravens allow 284 yards passing per game and a 67-percent completion rate to opposing QBs. The Jaguars also have a decent front-seven, as they only allow 94.3 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry to opposing rushers, which will limit Justin Forsett.

The Ravens just have been bad against the number this year, going 1-6-1, and while it's a tall order for Jacksonville to win on the road, I love their chances at covering.

Arizona Cardinals +3 over Seattle Seahawks (3 units)

This will be the chance to really put a few nails in the Seahawks coffin for the 2015 campaign, and I really like Arizona going up north and stealing one on the road. The Cardinals as always are doing a great job of stopping the run this year, as they only allow 90.1 yards per game, and 3.8 yards per carry which doesn't bode well for an already hobbled Marshawn Lynch.

Arizona also has been great at limiting opposing quarterbacks to 223 yards per game, and they have been really opportunistic with 13 interceptions as well this year already. The Seahawks have just looked listless this year, they have massive offensive line troubles, and they just don't seem to be able to hold a 4th-quarter lead anymore.

Given all these checkmarks against them, I will certainly take the points here.

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Week 10 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Brandin Cooks is listed below as a "start" for Week 10. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 10 with him as one of my starting wide receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both DeAndre Hopkins, Demaryius Thomas and Cooks, you should start Hopkins and Thomas -- and in turn, bench Cooks.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 10:

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL)

Few players have been as consistent as Robinson this season. Since Week 2, Robinson has a minimum of nine targets, four catches and 68 receiving yards in seven consecutive games. No other player has a streak of more than four games with 4/68 this season. During that seven-game span, he is averaging 97.1 yards per game and has scored a total of six touchdowns.

Not only has Robinson scored the sixth-most fantasy points among receivers this season, but he has one of the best matchups of the Week 10 slate. Baltimore has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

WR - Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (at WAS)

Finishing as a top-30 fantasy receiver only once in the first seven weeks of the season, Cooks has finished as the WR4 and WR15 in Weeks 8 and 9, respectively. Not only has he scored in back-to-back games, but he has a minimum of 71 receiving yards in three consecutive games. In what should be one of the highest-scoring games of the week, Cooks is a solid WR2 for Week 10.

WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (vs. MIN)

Crabtree is currently on pace for a 94/1,182/10, all of which would set career highs for the 28-year-old receiver. More impressive than his cumulative stats (or 16-game pace) has been his consistency. With a minimum of six targets in every game and eight-plus targets in seven of eight games, Crabtree has at least four catches in every game this season.

In each of his past two games, Crabtree has been targeted 12 times in each game and finished with 7/102/1 and 7/108/2, respectively. In fact, he has scored in three consecutive games and has finished as a top-16 weekly wide receiver in those three games. Even in an unfavorable matchup, Crabtree's volume of targets and consistent production makes him a high-end WR2 in Week 10.

WR - Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. MIA)

Despite expectations for a huge sophomore leap, it hasn't been a great season for Matthews. He is on pace for 96 catches, but he had finished outside the top-50 fantasy wide receivers for five consecutive weeks before last week's 9/133/1 explosion.

The good news is that Matthews has a minimum of seven targets in all eight games including double-digit targets in two of his past three. In a favorable matchup (Miami has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to receivers), Matthews has an excellent opportunity to build some momentum for his fantasy owners.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 10:

WR - Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN)

In his past three games, Maclin has finished outside the top-25 fantasy receivers. And even though he scored a touchdown in Week 8, he had just three catches for 35 yards on five targets. It was the second consecutive game that he had three receptions and five (or fewer) targets.

Given this week's difficult matchup, it's unlikely that Maclin has a big week and it's possible that he once again finishes outside the top-25 fantasy receivers. Only the Seahawks have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing receivers this season than the Broncos.

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (at GB)

Against the Bears in Week 6, Tate had his best game of the season and finished as fantasy's WR30. Averaging just 5.39 fantasy points per game, however, Tate has just 377 receiving yards and one touchdown (a controversial one at that) over half of a season. If there is one positive, it's that the Lions are double-digit underdogs so they could be throwing early and often, but it's hard to trust Tate given his 2015 dropoff.

WR - Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (at PIT)

In his first six games of the season, Benjamin had a minimum of 7.9 fantasy points in every game and he averaged 13.47/G over that span. In his past three games, however, Benjamin has scored a total of 7.5 fantasy points and no more than 2.7 in any game.

Benjamin always has the potential to make a big play, but he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3. In addition, he is averaging just 31.7 receiving yards per game from Weeks 7 to 9.

WR - Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (vs. NO)

I love the matchup for Garcon as the Saints have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the position this season. That said, the return of DeSean Jackson and good health of Jordan Reed moves Garcon down to the third-best pass-catching option on the team this week. In addition, Jamison Crowder has been productive as well. Garcon has finished as a top-30 fantasy receiver only once this season (Week 4) and Kirk Cousins should spread the ball around enough that Garcon finishes outside the top-24 weekly receivers.

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Week 10 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, James Starks is listed below as a "start" for Week 10. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 10 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Todd Gurley, DeMarco Murray and Starks, you should start Gurley and Murray -- and in turn, bench Starks.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 10:

RB - DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CLE)

In the games that Le'Veon Bell has missed due to suspension or injury, Williams has been dominant -- not just an adequate fill-in. In two of those three starts, he has finished as the highest-scoring running back in fantasy for that given week.

Against the Raiders in Week 9, Williams set a career high with 225 yards from scrimmage -- 170 rushing and 55 receiving -- and scored a pair of touchdowns. In his three starts, he has carried the ball 20-plus times each week and has a total of 449 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.

Week 10 sets up for Williams to have another strong outing. In fact, he sits at second in my weekly rankings against a fantasy-friendly Browns rush defense. No team has allowed more rushing yards per game than the Browns (147.6), who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Since Week 3, the Browns have allowed five 100-yard rushers.

RB - James Starks, Green Bay Packers (vs. DET)

Coach McCarthy has confirmed what our eyes -- and the stats -- have told us over the past several games: Starks has moved ahead of Eddie Lacy as the team's No. 1 back. As big of a disappointment as Lacy has been, it allows Starks to seize an opportunity in the team's high-scoring Aaron Rodgers-led offense.

Over the past three games, Starks has exceeded 100 yards from scrimmage and finished as a top-eight weekly running back twice. During that three-game span, Starks has 160 rushing yards, nine catches for 97 yards and three touchdowns.

Starks and the Packers have a favorable matchup against the Lions, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (at TB)

McFadden has been an absolute workhorse over the past three weeks. In those games, McFadden has 31, 26 and 28 touches, respectively. In fact, McFadden's 85 touches over the past three weeks is 10 more than Adrian Peterson's 75 touches, the second-most over that span.

Despite back-to-back difficult matchups against the Seahawks and Eagles, McFadden has rushed for 100-plus yards in two of three games and has 397 yards from scrimmage over that three-game span. This week's matchup against the Bucs isn't great, but he should once again get a massive workload, which puts him in the RB1 mix.

RB - LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (at NYG)

With Dion Lewis out for the season, Blount is the team's clear-cut best option in the backfield. Against Washington last week, Blount carried the ball 29 times for 129 yards, both of which were season highs, and a touchdown. Always a threat to score a touchdown (or two or three), Blount and the Patriots are projected to score the most points in Week 10 based on Vegas odds.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 10:

RB - Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (vs. DET)

As noted above, Lacy and the Packers have a favorable matchup against the Lions this week. Also noted above, however, Lacy has been demoted to a secondary role behind Starks.

In his past four games, Lacy has rushed for 78 total yards on 33 carries and even scored negative fantasy points (-1.0) last week due to a lost fumble. Until he re-emerges as the team's lead back, which I expect to happen eventually, Lacy can't be trusted in fantasy.

RB - Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA)

The good news is Ellington scored one more fantasy point than Eddie Lacy last week. The bad news is Ellington tied me with zero fantasy points.

Even though he's been back from injury for four games now, Ellington has exceeded three touches in only one of those four games. With Chris Johnson exceeding 100 rushing yards in four of six games, it's unlikely that Ellington's role may never expand large enough for him to produce RB2-type numbers. And given that the Seahawks allow the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, even Johnson may be a sit this week as well.

RB - Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (vs. KC)

After back-to-back games with 20-plus touches, Hillman had just seven touches against the Colts last week. And while he outscored Lacy and Ellington (and me), he barely did so. Gaining just one yard on his seven carries last week, Hillman scored 0.1 fantasy point.

With the same number of carries, C.J. Anderson (34 rushing yards) was more productive than Hillman last week. As part of a timeshare in a less-than-favorable matchup, Hillman is outside my top-24 fantasy running backs for Week 10.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (at PIT)

With the Browns releasing Robert Turbin this week, it will be Crowell and Duke Johnson that handles virtually all of the team's touches out of the backfield going forward. With Turbin not getting any touches last week, Crowell led the team with 13 touches for 64 YFS last week. That said, the Steelers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

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Week 10 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Blake Bortles is listed below as a "start" for Week 10. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 10 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Tom Brady and Bortles, you should start Brady -- and in turn, bench Bortles.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 10:

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (vs. NO)

In his past five games, Cousins has finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback twice and as a QB24 or worse in his other three games during that span. While his overall level of production has been inconsistent, one thing that has been consistent has been his volume. Cousins has thrown 40-plus pass attempts in three consecutive games and in five of his past six.

This week sets up favorably as a "boom" type of week for Cousins given his matchup. Not only have the Saints allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but they have allowed an average of 31.79 fantasy points per game over their past three. During that three-game span, the Saints have surrendered an average of 351.3 passing yards per game and a total of 13 passing touchdowns.

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL)

While Cousins has the best matchup of the weekend, Bortles has the second-best as only the Saints have allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Ravens. Over their past four games, the Ravens have allowed an average of 343.25 passing yards per game and nine touchdowns as each opposing quarterback over that span has finished as a top-10 weekly quarterback.

Bortles has thrown for at least 298 yards and has finished as a top-10 weekly fantasy quarterback in four of his past five games. During that five-game span, he has averaged 299.0 passing yards, 23.6 rushing yards and thrown 12 touchdowns.

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. MIN)

The Vikings have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but Carr has essentially become matchup-proof. Against the Chargers, Jets and Steelers, Carr has thrown for 307.67 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and only one interception. During that span, he has scored a minimum of 23.86 fantasy points and has finished as a top-six fantasy quarterback in all three games.

QB - Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (vs. KC)

At one point in his career not so long ago, Peyton was a slam-dunk must-start every week. Not any more. Eight games into the 2015 season, Manning has just one top-12 weekly finish (QB12 in Week 3). Since that point, he has five consecutive QB18 (or worse) weekly outings.

While Manning has thrown more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (nine) this season, he has thrown for 281-plus yards in three consecutive games after doing so only once during the first five games of the season. The first time he faced the Chiefs this season, Manning threw for 256 yards and a season-high three touchdowns. Perhaps this is the week that he gets his second top-12 finish.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 10:

QB - Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. ARI)

Wilson has thrown a touchdown in every game this season, but he has thrown more than one only once (Week 2). Not so coincidentally, that was the only week that finished as a weekly top-12 fantasy quarterback. And while he's on pace for 600-plus rushing yards, he has failed to run one in for a score yet this season.

While I expect the second half of the season to go better for Wilson than the first half has, the Cardinals have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2015. Given how well guys like Carr and Bortles have played and the favorable matchup for Cousins, Wilson is once again outside my top-12 fantasy quarterbacks for the week.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at GB)

It's been a disappointing season for Stafford and the Lions in general. Prior to his Week 9 bye, Stafford threw for 217 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions against the Chiefs. It marked the fourth week in eight games that he finished outside the top-20 fantasy quarterbacks. Based on Vegas odds, only the Bears are projected to score fewer points this week.

QB - Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (at STL)

As noted above, Cutler and the Bears are projected to score the fewest points in Week 10. It appears that Alshon Jeffery will play, but he's battling a groin injury and Matt Forte (MCL sprain) is likely to sit out another game. And as consistent as Cutler has been recently, he has a difficult matchup against the Rams, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. MIA)

Bradford has thrown as many interceptions (10) as touchdowns (10) and has thrown multiple touchdowns in only two games this season. In fact, he has only two touchdowns in his past three games combined. In those three games, Bradford has finished outside the weekly top-15 fantasy quarterbacks and averaged just 10.63 fantasy points per contest. Once again, he should remain on your bench.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 10 (Trifone)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 10 of the 2015 NFL season:

Green Bay Packers -11 over Detroit Lions (5 units)

Aaron Rodgers has lost two games in a row for the first time since 2011. The Lions have not beaten the Packers at Lambeau since 1993. Interesting stats aside, this game just sets up to be a blowout.

I'm going to have a ton of Rodgers in DFS this weekend and I like him to finally have the huge game we've been waiting for. I'd start to consider Detroit around 14.5, so I'll give the 11 and feel good about it.

Dallas Cowboys +1 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4 units)

Matt Cassel is a better quarterback option than Brandon Weeden. Dallas was almost able to pull out a victory against the Eagles last week. Since Tony Romo went down, the Cowboys have not won a game, but with such mediocrity in the division, they still have an outside shot.

Tampa represents a winnable game and I like the Dallas defense to step up and turn Jameis Winston over a few times. Dez Bryant should have more of an impact this week. I like Dallas to win in a game that I don't think will be particularly close. I like a 27-16 type game.

Washington Redskins Pick'em over New Orleans Saints (3 units)

The Saints defense has been absolutely atrocious of late. This sets up as an offensive game, but I feel the Redskins defense can do a better job against Drew Brees and the Saints than the other way around.

DeSean Jackson may have an impact and Jordan Reed has been an animal when healthy. I like Kirk Cousins to lead the Skins to a close victory and give us all another, "you like that!"

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November 13, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Week 10 Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

Both top-10 scorers among wide receivers, Jacksonville's second-year receivers -- Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns -- are having great seasons.

Few players have been as consistent as Robinson this season.

Since Week 2, Robinson has a minimum of nine targets, four catches and 68 receiving yards in seven consecutive games. That is the longest streak in the NFL for those minimum numbers. In fact, no other player has a streak of more than four games with 4/68 this season.

During that seven-game span, he is averaging 97.1 yards per game and he has scored a total of six touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Hurns has caught a touchdown reception in six consecutive games, which is the longest such streak this season. The only other wide receiver with a streak of at least four consecutive games with a touchdown is New York's Eric Decker.

Earlier in the week, Hurns was in a walking boot and he's listed as questionable on the injury report, but he's expected to play on Sunday against the Ravens.

Baltimore has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

Alshon: 28/414/2 over his past 3G

Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery has played in only four games this season, but he has made the most of his opportunities.

Targeted a minimum of 11 times in each game, Jeffery has at least eight catches and 116 yards in three consecutive games. In fact, his three consecutive 100-yard games ties a club record.

Jeffery has finished as fantasy's weekly WR4, WR8 and WR9, respectively, with a minimum of 15 fantasy points in all three games. During that three-game span, he has averaged 9.3/138.0 with two scores on 14.0 targets per game.

It appears that Jeffery (groin) will play this week, but he missed Thursday's practice and returned on a limited basis on Friday.

[I hurt my groin] just going real hard in practice, I guess,” Jeffery said (via ESPN's Jeff Dickerson). “But I’m fine. I’ll be alright. It hasn’t restricted my movements too much.”

In addition to dealing with the injury, the matchup for Jeffery and other Bears receivers isn't favorable as the Rams have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position this season.

Given his volume and production, however, Jeffery remains a strong WR1 play provided he's active on Sunday.

Back-to-back 100-yard games for Crabtree

Signing a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders this offseason, Michael Crabtree has made himself a lot of money in his first eight games this year.

Crabtree is currently on pace for a 94/1,182/10, all of which would set career highs for the 28-year-old receiver.

More impressive than his cumulative stats (or 16-game pace), Crabtree has been very consistent this season. With a minimum of six targets in every game and eight-plus targets in seven of eight games, Crabtree has at least four catches in all eight games this season.

In each of his past two games, Crabtree has been targeted 12 times in each game and has finished with 7/102/1 and 7/108/2, respectively. In fact, he has scored in three consecutive games and has finished as a top-16 weekly wide receiver in those three games.

This week's matchup isn't great, however, as the Vikings have surrendered the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing fantasy wide receivers this season.

Below you find my Week 10 Fantasy Football WR Rankings:

1. Odell Beckham, New York Giants (vs. NE)
2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (at CIN)
3. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL)
4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. HOU)
5. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (vs. KC)
6. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (vs. DET)
7. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CLE)
8. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears (at STL)
9. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (at NYG)
10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. DAL)
11. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (at TB)
12. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (at GB)
13. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (vs. MIN)
14. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (vs. MIN)
15. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (vs. KC)
16. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (at WAS)
17. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA)
18. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. MIA)
19. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (at PHI)
20. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (at OAK)
21. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL)
22. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CLE)
23. DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (vs. NO)
24. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints (at WAS)
25. Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (at NYG)
26. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN)
27. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams (vs. CHI)
28. John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA)
29. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (at GB)
30. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA)
31. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (vs. NO)
32. Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (at PIT)
33. Rishard Matthews, Miami Dolphins (at PHI)
34. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (vs. DET)
35. James Jones, Green Bay Packers (vs. DET)
36. Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (vs. JAX)
37. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. HOU)
38. Nate Washington, Houston Texans (at CIN)
39. Rueben Randle, New York Giants (vs. NE)
40. Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans (vs. CAR)
41. Ted Ginn, Carolina Panthers (at TEN)
42. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (at NYG)
43. Mike Wallace, Minnesota Vikings (at OAK)
44. Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys (at TB)
45. Marquess Wilson, Chicago Bears (at STL)
46. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (at WAS)
47. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. ARI)
48. Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys (at TB)
49. Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins (vs. NO)
50. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (at TEN)

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 10 Fantasy Running Back Rankings

Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray started the season slowly as he had rushed for only 47 yards on 29 carries through his first three games.

Since then, however, Murray has a minimum of 18 carries per game and he has averaged 24.0 touches during that four-game stretch. With at least 83 rushing yards and a score in three of those four games, Murray finished as a top-six weekly fantasy running back three times.

Over those four games, Murray has rushed for a total of 340 yards and three touchdowns and added 18 receptions for 134 yards.

So far this season, the Dolphins have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

The Dolphins have allowed five 100-yard rushers this season including a pair of them last week against the Bills. The duo of LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams rushed 18 times for 222 yards and three touchdowns last week. And since Week 4, the Dolphins have allowed five weekly top-10 fantasy running backs.

Starks: Now Packers (Official) "No. 1 back"

There have been a number of injuries to top fantasy running backs (Jamaal Charles, LeVeon Bell, etc.) and several others have been big disappointments.

None have been a bigger disappointment than Green Bay's Eddie Lacy, who rushed five times for 10 yards last week. Since he lost a fumble as well, he scored one less fantasy point than I did from my couch.

Through Week 9, Lacy ranks outside the top-40 running backs in terms of fantasy points scored and he's second on his own team to James Starks (RB31).

Over the past three games, Starks has exceeded 100 yards from scrimmage and finished as a top-eight weekly running back twice. During that three-game span, Starks has 160 rushing yards, nine catches for 97 yards and three touchdowns.

Not surprisingly, Lacy has been officially demoted with Starks moving into the lead-back role.

“I would say James is our No. 1 back right now going into Detroit,” [coach Mike] McCarthy said, per Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazzette. “He’s played very well. He’s earned that opportunity. I’ve never been, and we talked about this a number of times in the past, I’m not a big believer in just riding one running back the whole season. We’ll stay with the one-two punch.”

Starks, Lacy and the Packers have a favorable matchup against the Lions, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

I have Starks ranked as a borderline RB1 this week and Lacy ranked outside of my top-24 running backs.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on running backs:

  • Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden has a history of breaking down due to injuries, but he has been an absolute workhorse over the past three weeks. In those games, McFadden has 31, 26 and 28 touches, respectively. Despite back-to-back difficult matchups against the Seahawks and Eagles, McFadden has rushed for 100-plus yards in two of three games and has 397 yards from scrimmage over that three-game span. This week's matchup against the Bucs isn't great, but he should once again get a massive workload, which puts him in the RB1 mix.

  • Arizona's Chris Johnson enters Week 10's matchup against the Seahawks with back-to-back 100-yard games and four of them in his past six games. Even though Johnson's 676 rushing yards rank third in the NFL behind Minnesota's Adrian Peterson and Atlanta's Devonta Freeman, he has finished as a weekly top-20 fantasy running back only twice this season. Given the matchup against the league's stingiest defense to fantasy running backs, it's possible that he once again fails to produce a top-20 performance.

  • Pittsburgh's DeAngelo Williams racked up a career-high 225 yards from scrimmage in Week 9. In each of his three starts, Williams has a minimum of 20 carries in each game and a total of 454 YFS and five touchdowns. With a favorable matchup against the Browns, who allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, Williams is easily a top-three fantasy running back heading into Week 10.

  • Kansas City's Charcandrick West has a minimum of 20 carries, 97 rushing yards and a score in each of his past two games. Coming off his bye, West has a difficult matchup against the Broncos, but his volume and production keeps him in the high-end RB2 mix. West has 251 YFS on 48 touches and two touchdowns in his past two games.

  • Over his past four games, Miami's Lamar Miller has scored each week with a total of six touchdowns. Over that four-game span, he has 347 rushing yards and added 17 catches for 182 yards. Rookie Jay Ajayi was activated from short-term IR and rushed for 41 yards on five carries in his debut. Ajayi should get more touches going forward and the Eagles have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but Miller is still a top-10 fantasy running back for me this week.

Below you find my Week 10 Fantasy Football RB Rankings:

1. Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (vs. CHI)
2. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CLE)
3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (at OAK)
4. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. MIA)
5. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (at WAS)
6. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. ARI)
7. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. DAL)
8. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (at PHI)
9. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (at NYG)
10. Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens (vs. JAX)
11. Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (at TB)
12. James Starks, Green Bay Packers (vs. DET)
13. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (at TEN)
14. T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL)
15. Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN)
16. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (vs. MIN)
17. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. HOU)
18. Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (at STL)
19. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. HOU)
20. Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA)
21. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. KC)
22. Antonio Andrews, Tennessee Titans (vs. CAR)
23. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (vs. KC)
24. Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. MIA)
25. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (vs. DET)
26. Alfred Blue, Houston Texans (at CIN)
27. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns (at PIT)
28. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. DAL)
29. Matt Jones, Washington Redskins (vs. NO)
30. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (at PIT)
31. Shane Vereen, New York Giants (vs. NE)
32. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (vs. NE)
33. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (at GB)
34. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (at GB)
35. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (vs. NO)
36. C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints (at WAS)
37. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions (at GB)
38. James White, New England Patriots (at NYG)
39. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA)
40. Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (at NYG)

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November 12, 2015

Week 10 Fantasy Football: 6 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

Week 9 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
-8.8+34.8+15.2+0.0+41.2
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+47.5+99.5-37.3-8.5+101.2

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

View all of last week's recommendations

Best of the week -- Michael Crabtree +32.3: Crabtree went nuts against the Steelers Sunday. Jarvis Landry had a good PPR day as well, but fell short of Crabtree’s nearly 30 points. On the other hand, Stefon Diggs struggled as expected against a solid Rams defense.

Runner up -- Jeremy Langford +25.7: Langford played quite well against the Chargers, getting production in both the run and pass game. McFadden and Latavius Murray both cracked double digits, but couldn’t hold a candle to Langford’s output.

Worst of the week -- Martavis Bryant -17.1: It’s not that Bryant was bad, he got a respectable 12 points. But given all of the WR production in this game, I would have expected more. And when compared to Dez Bryant and Randall Cobb….it didn’t turn out well.

Runner up -- Derek Carr -7.2: You probably aren’t upset if you played Carr, I mean the dude did finish as a top-five QB. I just made the mistake of thinking the Packers D might show some pride after the beating from the Broncos. I was wrong.

Quarterbacks

Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins
FantasyPros ECR – 10

Cousins is no fantasy stud, but he has had his moments this season. This week is a perfect opportunity for another moment. The Saints pass defense is, well, not very good. The Saints rank dead last in pass efficiency and fantasy points allowed to QBs. After getting lit up by Eli Manning a few weeks ago, they let Marcus Mariota run wild last week. Cousins doesn’t have the talent level of either of those guys, but he has enough to exploit this defense.

Consider starting him over:
- Eli Manning – ECR 8. I’m sorry, but New England is on a rampage, and you know the Giants were high on their list of teams to bury. Don’t see this going well for the Giants.
- Peyton Manning – ECR 9. The Broncos will win in all likelihood, but the claims of “Manning is back” because of one good game against the Packers were premature. I can’t trust him until he strings together multiple good games. I think this week turns into a defensive battle.

Running Backs

Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FantasyPros ECR – 10

Martin was on a tear until the past two games before taking a step (or two) back. Well, he has a great chance to get back on that tear this week. The Cowboys are 27th in run defense efficiency and give up the most points to RBs. This sets up very well for Martin to crack the top-five this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Marshawn Lynch – ECR 8. Lynch just hasn’t been the same this year and the Cardinals are a top-tier run defense, ranking third in efficiency and 10th in FPA.
- Lamar Miller – ECR 6. Miller has been a great fantasy asset since the coaching change, but the Eagles represent a strong run defense, giving up the fourth-least FPA to RBs.

Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles
FantasyPros ECR – 26

Mathews has been highly effective in a limited role and will continue to see between 10-15 total touches. The Dolphins haven’t turned much around on defense under Dan Campbell, as they still rank 28th in run defense efficiency and 26th in FPA to RBs. Even splitting time with DeMarco Murray, Mathews will have the chance to post RB2 numbers with the role he has been carving out in recent weeks.

Consider starting him over:
- Antonio Andrews – ECR 24. David Cobb may steal a little work this week and even if not, the Panthers are efficient against the run, ranking 11th in DVOA. Plus, I would be surprised to see the Panthers jump out to an early lead, much like the Saints did, forcing a high volume pass game.
- Chris Johnson – ECR 25. Seattle is the best team in the league against the run, in terms of FPA to RB. I actually think Ellington may be more involved in the game plan, as getting to the edge is more effective than running up the middle against the Seahawks. Johnson doesn’t have the explosiveness anymore, Ellington does when healthy.

Wide Receivers

John Brown – Arizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 32

Brown is on track to play this week and while Michael Floyd is getting more involved, Brown is a better field stretcher and Palmer loves him. With Richard Sherman likely focused on Larry Fitzgerald and Floyd, Brown could be a primary target this week and break a few big plays. The Seahawks have been stout against WRs this season, but I think Brown's speed and shiftiness will cause them problems, whereas Fitz and Floyd will struggle to get open consistently. Maybe this is a “gut call,” but I like him this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Jeremy Maclin – ECR 26. Maclin gets a lot of targets, but there is no other WR on this team the Broncos need to fear. They can put Harris or Talib on him and shadow over the top without giving up much else. I don’t like his chances of defying the odds and winning that matchup.
- Rishard Matthews – ECR 27. The Eagles are terrible against WR1’s but rank eighth against WR2’s in efficiency. Landry should get a lot of targets while Matthews has a quiet week.

Pierre Garcon – Washington Redskins
FantasyPros ECR – 33

What about this Saints pass D scares you? Nothing? Me neither. They rank 30th against WR1’s and 25th against WR2’s, so whatever you consider Garcon with DeSean Jackson back in the mix, he still has a great matchup. I already mentioned previously how they have been torn up in the pass game recently, I don’t expect that to change this week, especially given how poorly the ‘Skins are running the ball right now. Garcon has a sneaky shot at high-end WR2 numbers this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Jeremy Maclin – ECR 26. See above.
- Rishard Matthews – ECR 27. See above.

Tight End

Crockett Gillmore – Baltimore Ravens
FantasyPros ECR – 18

Gillmore shares time at the TE position, but he is the most talented pass catcher of the group. With Steve Smith out for the season, they need all the help they can get in the receiving corps. Kamar Aiken steps into the No. 1 WR spot and doesn’t exactly have the separation skills required to be a No. 1 WR. I think Flacco looks over the middle more often and Gillmore gets an increase in targets as a result. While the Jags rank eighth in FPA to TEs, they rank 29th in efficiency against the position. I think that gets exploited this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Julius Thomas – ECR 16. The Ravens may be terrible against the pass this year, but it’s not because of TE production. They give up the second-fewest PPG to TEs. Expect Blake Bortles to look to Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns to exploit the secondary, not Thomas.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 10!

Check out my full Week 10 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 10 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

Not only has he scored the most fantasy points among quarterbacks, by far, but New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been incredibly consistent this season.

Scoring 17.86 fantasy points against Washington last week, it was the first time that Brady scored less than 22 fantasy points in a game this season.

In eight games played this season, Brady has a minimum of 275 passing yards and two touchdowns in all eight games this season. On the year, he has a total of 2,709 passing yards (338.6/G) for a league-high 22 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

At the halfway point of the 2015 season, Brady is on pace to break his career high in passing yards and throw his second-most touchdowns. His passer rating (113.5), completion percentage (68.6) and yards per attempt (8.3) are all the second best of his career.

Through Week 9, the Giants have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Only two weeks ago, the Giants allowed Drew Brees to throw for 511 yards and a record-tying seven touchdowns.

Start your QBs vs. Saints: Cousins up next

Typically inconsistent, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback twice over his past five games. In the other three games during that span, he finished as the QB24 or worse.

While fantasy owners may not have known what to expect from Cousins in a given week, the one thing they could count on was a high volume of pass attempts.

Cousins has thrown for 40-plus pass attempts in three consecutive games and in five of his past six. In fact, Cousins five 40-attempt games are tied for the league high with Brees, Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan.

Despite his boom-or-bust nature, this week sets up as a "boom" week for Cousins given the matchup.

Not only have the Saints allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but they have allowed an average of 31.79 fantasy points per game over their past three. During that three-game span, the Saints have surrendered an average of 351.3 passing yards per game and a total of 13 passing touchdowns.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on quarterbacks:

  • After throwing eight touchdowns in his first six games this season, Saints quarterback Drew Brees has thrown 10 touchdowns in his past two games. In those two games, Brees has finished as a top-four fantasy quarterback. On the season, Brees is averaging 346.13 passing yards per game, which puts him on pace for his fifth 5,000-yard season by a comfortable margin.

  • Jacksonville's Blake Bortles has thrown 10 interceptions in eight games, but he continues to be a fantasy stud. Over his past five games, Bortles has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback four times and has averaged 299.0 passing yards, 23.6 rushing yards and scored 12 touchdowns over that span. With a favorable matchup against the Ravens, who allow the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, Bortles is set up nicely for another strong matchup.

  • Over the past three weeks, few quarterbacks have been as good as Oakland's Derek Carr. During that three-game span, Carr has thrown 11 touchdowns and only one interception while finishing as a weekly top-six fantasy quarterback in each of those games.

  • Busting out of a four-game slump, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns against the Panthers last week. Before that, Rodgers averaged 199.25 passing yards in his previous four games, a span during which he finished every game as the weekly QB12 or worse. This week, Rodgers and the Packers host the Lions, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

  • With the exception of his Week 8 matchup against the Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has scored a minimum of 18 fantasy points and finished as the QB11 (or better) every week. Through eight games, Dalton has scored a total of 20 touchdowns -- 18 passing and two rushing -- with only five turnovers -- four interceptions and one fumble lost. Only the Patriots and Packers are projected to score more points than the Bengals this week, based on Vegas odds.

Below you find my Week 10 Fantasy Football QB Rankings:

1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (at NYG)
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. DET)
3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at WAS)
4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (at TEN)
5. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. HOU)
6. Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. NE)
7. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL)
8. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (vs. KC)
9. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. MIN)
10. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (vs. NO)
11. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA)
12. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (at PHI)
13. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. ARI)
14. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (at NYJ)
15. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at GB)
16. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (vs. JAX)
17. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. DAL)
18. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (vs. BUF)
19. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (at CIN)
20. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (at STL)
21. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (vs. CAR)
22. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. MIA)
23. Josh McCown, Cleveland Browns (at PIT)
24. Landry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CLE)
25. Matt Cassel, Dallas Cowboys (at TB)
26. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN)
27. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (at OAK)
28. Nick Foles, St. Louis Rams (vs. CHI)

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DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 10

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 10?

Sean Beazley - Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL), $6,700

Before I get to my picks this week, I strongly recommend every DFS player to support FanDuel and DraftKings with their fight to keep DFS legal in NY. I'm not only saying this because I'm a resident of NY, but it's for the overall general good of the industry.

My DFS career is on the line, so why not go all-in on the mighty Jacksonville Jaguars this week! One player I absolutely love this week is receiver Allen Robinson. Robinson has a modest salary at $6,700 and faces the Ravens, who have one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Pairing Robinson with QB Blake Bortles ($5,600) on DK will be one of my favorite GPP stacks of the week. I believe Robinson could be under-owned in tournaments considering all the WRs in that same price tier that are coming off big weeks (Randall Cobb, Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Alshon Jeffery, etc.).

Bonus Pick: Bears WR Alshon Jeffery was the focal point of my DFS lineups last week, and he will continue to be in my cash lineup until his price hits elite level. There is no reason why he shouldn't be priced in the same range as the elite WRs in the game. At $7,100, he is a must play in your cash lineup.

Brendan Donahue - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots (at NYG), $8,000

With Dion Lewis out for the season, look for Gronkowski to return to the focal point (or even more of the focal point) of the offense again. Lewis missed Week 7 vs. the Jets and Gronkowski had a season-high 16 targets that resulted into 11 catches for 108 yards and a TD. Couple that with the fact that the Giants have given up the third-most points (Draftkings scoring) to tight ends this season and this is shaping up for another monster game for the monster known as Gronk.

Kevin Hanson - Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins (vs. NO), $5,200

While he has been a bit boom or bust, Cousins has finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback twice over his past five games. While his overall level of production has varied, one constant has been passing volume. Cousins has thrown for 40-plus pass attempts in three consecutive games and in five of his past six.

This week sets up as a potential "boom" week for Cousins. Not only have the Saints allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but they have allowed an average of 351.3 passing yards per game and a total of 13 passing touchdowns over their past three games.

At only $5,200 (or just $200 above the position-minimum salary), Cousins has a ton of upside while creating plenty of salary-cap relief to load up elsewhere. He will be a staple in both my cash game and GPP lineups in Week 10.

Dan Yanotchko - Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BAL), $6,700

This week, I am going with Allen Robinson of the Jaguars for $6,700, as he has one of the best matchups possible against the Baltimore secondary. Robinson has had an amazing stat split over the last four weeks, having 25 receptions on 41 targets for an average of 93.0 yards per game and four touchdowns. I feel Robinson is primed for a breakout week, and also fellow No. 2 Allen Hurns has already missed Wednesday practice with a sprained foot. Baltimore has been quite rough in the secondary this year, as they have given up 284 yards passing and 16 touchdowns, so I am green lighting Robinson this week.

Ryan Watterson - Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins (), $6,700

Although Landry gets a Philly defense that is giving away a lot of production to WRs, ranking third to last in FPA to that position. In addition, the Eagles are 31st against WR1's in particular. Landry continues to produce on a weekly basis despite some of the Dolphins passing game struggles. I think he blows up for a big week and pushes towards a top-5 finish at his position.

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November 10, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 10 to 16

Now that the season is more than half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 10 waiver-wire post) or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 10-16):

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Julius Thomas): 9.42
2. Carolina Panthers (Greg Olsen): 9.19
3. Minnesota Vikings (Kyle Rudolph): 9.17
4. Detroit Lions (Eric Ebron): 8.84
5. Kansas City Chiefs (Travis Kelce): 8.67

Five least favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 10-16):

28. Dallas Cowboys (Jason Witten): 7.17
29. St. Louis Rams (Jared Cook): 6.99
30. New York Giants (Larry Donnell): 6.72
31. Philadelphia Eagles (Zach Ertz): 6.64
32. Buffalo Bills (Charles Clay): 5.72

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 10 to 16

Now that the season is more than half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 10 waiver-wire post) or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 10-16):

1. Buffalo Bills (Sammy Watkins): 25.39
2. Philadelphia Eagles (Jordan Matthews): 25.01
3. Miami Dolphins (Jarvis Landry): 25.00
4. Houston Texans (DeAndre Hopkins): 24.64
5. Cleveland Browns (Travis Benjamin): 24.51

Five least favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 10-16):

28. Carolina Panthers (Ted Ginn, Devin Funchess): 21.49
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant): 21.23
30. Chicago Bears (Alshon Jeffery): 21.01
31. Minnesota Vikings (Stefon Diggs, Mike Wallace): 20.76
32. Arizona Cardinals (Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown): 20.44

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 10 to 16

Now that the season is more than half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 10 waiver-wire post) or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 10-16):

1. Kansas City Chiefs (Charcandrick West): 20.68
2. Carolina Panthers (Jonathan Stewart): 20.08
3. New Orleans Saints (Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller): 20.05
4. Green Bay Packers (James Starks, Eddie Lacy): 19.83
5. New York Jets (Chris Ivory): 19.57

Five least favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 10-16):

28. Buffalo Bills (LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams): 17.16
29. Houston Texans (Alfred Blue): 16.97
30. New England Patriots (LeGarrette Blount): 16.92
31. Arizona Cardinals (Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington): 16.49
32. Cleveland Browns (Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell): 16.33

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 10 to 16

Now that the season is more than half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 10 waiver-wire post) or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 10-16):

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Blake Bortles): 18.76
2. Washington Redskins (Kirk Cousins): 18.04
3. Detroit Lions (Matthew Stafford): 17.95
4. Houston Texans (Brian Hoyer): 17.84
5. New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees): 17.72

Five least favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 10-16):

28. New York Giants (Eli Manning): 16.26
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones): 16.21
30. Cincinnati Bengals (Andy Dalton): 15.65
31. Chicago Bears (Jay Cutler): 15.49
32. Arizona Cardinals (Carson Palmer): 15.41

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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Andrew Luck (kidney) to miss the next 2-6 weeks

It had been a disappointing season for Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, but things seemed to be turning around.

The first player to score more than 20 fantasy points against the stingy Broncos defense this season, Luck threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions on Sunday. In fact, it was his third top-eight weekly finish in his previous four games.

But now it's unclear when he'll be under center again.

With Luck out due to his kidney laceration, Matt Hasselbeck will take over as the starter.

In the two games he started earlier this season, Hasselbeck finished as the QB17 and QB14, respectively, and threw for 247.5 yards per game and three touchdowns. Luck's injury will also downgrade the outlook of the team's pass-catchers -- T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Andre Johnson, etc. (That said, Johnson coincidentally finished as fantasy's WR1 in Week 5.)

Meanwhile, Frank Gore had 22 touches in each of those games and I'd expect them to lean on him quite a bit until Luck returns. That said, the team was already doing that as Gore has 54 touches in his past two games combined.

As bad as the AFC South has been, the Colts are currently in first place despite their losing (4-5) record.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Tight End Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 10

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 10 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

TE - Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (24 percent)

With a minimum of five targets in five of his six games played, Ebron is averaging 3.8/48.7/0.5 and 7.87 fantasy points per game. Ebron has finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end in four of those games and I expect him to finish as a top-10 fantasy tight end the rest of the way provided he stays healthy. In addition, the Lions have a top-four fantasy strength of schedule for the remainder of the season.

TE - Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons (26 percent)

Tamme has double-digit targets in back-to-back games with a total of 16 receptions on 22 targets for 164 yards and a touchdown. In his past five games, Tamme is averaging 6.0 receptions for 65.2 yards on 8.6 targets per game.

While he has a favorable matchup in his next game against his old team (Colts), who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, Tamme has a bye in Week 10 first.

TE - Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (34 percent)

After missing the previous six games, Week 10 figures to be the week that Seferian-Jenkins returns from his shoulder injury. ASJ started the season with a strong 5/110/2 outing in Week 1 and while those types of outings shouldn't be expected on a weekly basis, he should get a ton of targets once he's back on the field especially given the team's injuries among their pass-catchers.

TE - Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (24 percent)

Catching five of his season-high nine targets from Aaron Rodgers this week, (Richard) Rodgers finished with only 19 yards but he caught two touchdowns to finish as the weekly TE4. With the 13th-most fantasy points among tight ends this season, Rodgers should continue to produce as a low-end TE1 (or high-end TE2) for the remainder of the season. Rodgers has a top-10 fantasy strength of schedule from Weeks 10 to 16.

TE - Crockett Gillmore, Baltimore Ravens (eight percent)

With Steve Smith Sr. (Achilles) sidelined for the rest of the season, the Ravens thin receiving corps became even thinner. As a result, Gillmore should see a more consistent volume of targets in the passing game. Gillmore had a total of 17 targets in his three games before the bye.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Wide Receiver Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 10

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 10 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

WR - Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans (13 percent)

Setting career highs of five catches and 77 yards on Sunday, Green-Beckham was targeted a team-high 10 times against the Saints. While Green-Beckham was forced to sit out the 2014 college season as a transfer student, he has rare size (6-5, 235) that should allow him to have success in the red zone although he hasn't scored since Week 3. Of the receivers on this week's list, DGB has as much upside as any of them although he is likely to be inconsistent from week to week.

WR - Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (41 percent)

The season-ending Achilles injury to Steve Smith Sr. opens the door for Aiken to lead the receiving corps in targets going forward. Aiken has three games with 60-plus yards in his past five games played.

WR - Rueben Randle, New York Giants (39 percent)

Since Week 3, Randle has a minimum of five targets in every game and he has averaged 4.57 catches for 56.57 yards per game. In addition, he has three touchdowns over that seven-game stretch. More than a touchdown underdog to the Patriots this week, Eli Manning and the Giants could find themselves airing it out often this week, which gives Randle plenty of upside.

WR - Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (15 percent)

By far, Funchess had his best game as a pro in Week 9 as he finished with three catches for 71 yards and a score. It was the first time that he finished with at least 25 yards and his first top-70 performance. Going forward, I'd expect his role to continue to expand as he's the most talented of the team's healthy receivers.

WR - Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (48 percent)

At best, Jones is third in line for targets behind A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert, but he has five-plus catches and 60-plus yards in three of his past four games. In addition, Jones has 13 touchdowns in his past 24 games played.

WR - Nate Washington, Houston Texans (26 percent)

With the exception of a Week 4 goose egg and injury (hamstring), Washington has been targeted at least eight times in four of his other five games played. In those games, he has reached 63 receiving yards four times and exceeded the 100-yard mark twice. And in his two games before last week's bye, Washington racked up 13 catches for 201 yards and three touchdowns.

WR - Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins (seven percent)

Especially in deeper PPR formats, Crowder is worth a look. Since Week 3, Crowder has a minimum of four receptions and 40 yards in every game and he has averaged 6.0/55.8 and 8.0 targets per game over that span. The Saints, Crowder's Week 10 opponent, have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Running Back Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 10

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 10 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

RB - Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills (38 percent)

Returning from a multi-game absence, Williams rushed nine times for 110 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins on Sunday. Both Williams and LeSean McCoy eclipsed the 100-yard mark, but McCoy left the game with a shoulder injury. While McCoy says that he could have returned, the Bills have a short turnaround this week as they face the Patriots on Thursday Night Football.

Williams has scored in all five games in which he has appeared this season and finished as a weekly top-20 fantasy running back in all five games. In addition, he has averaged 6.59 yards per carry this season. Williams will have a sizable (flex-type) role in the games that McCoy plays.

RB - James Starks, Green Bay Packers (41 percent)

If you own Eddie Lacy, you have undoubtedly been disappointed by his lack of production. In Week 9, Lacy had five carries for 10 yards and a lost fumble, netting his fantasy owners one fantasy point less than I did from my couch. Over his past four games, Lacy has averaged just 2.36 YPC and 3.8 fantasy points per game.

Meanwhile, Starks had his second big week in three games with 122 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown against the Panthers on Sunday. Starks should get the larger workload in Week 10 as the Packers face the Lions, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - James White, New England Patriots (four percent)

With Dion Lewis out for the season, White will have a chance to get the largest share of Lewis-type snaps. That said, Brandon Bolden will get some of those reps as well. In the game that Lewis missed earlier this season, White had two carries for four yards and three receptions for 26 yards.

RB - Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32 percent)

Sims had eight carries for 78 yards and a reception for four yards on Sunday against the Giants. Sims has a minimum of seven touches in every game and has averaged 10.13 touches per game. The backup to Doug Martin, Sims has a favorable matchup in Week 10 as the Cowboys have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (25 percent)

In his two games before the bye, Bell had three carries for 21 yards and seven carries for 56 yards. While the volume was low, that averages out to 7.7 yards per carry. Bell won't average 7.7 YPC going forward, but I expect his workload to continue to expand.

RB - Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (17 percent)

Riddick is a much better addition for those in PPR formats as he currently has 42 receptions for 348 yards and two touchdowns. In his eight games this season, Riddick has finished as top-24 PPR running back four times and no worse than RB38 in PPR formats this season.

RB - Matt Jones, Washington Redskins (33 percent)

Aside from his 19/123/2 game in Week 2 (and his strong preseason), Jones has posted modest production. Over his past five games, Jones has averaged only 2.55 YPC. That said, he has 12-plus touches in three consecutive games and he gets to face the Saints this week. The Saints have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Quarterback Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 10

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 10 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (51 percent)

Violating my own self-imposed 50-percent cutoff, Bortles is owned in slightly more than half of leagues, but there is a good chance that he may still be available in your league so he's listed here. Against a tough Jets defense last week, Bortles turned the ball over three times, but he also threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns in addition to rushing for 32 yards.

With the 10th-most fantasy points among QBs through Week 9, Bortles has now finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in four of his past five games. During that five-game span, he has averaged 299.0 passing yards and 2.4 touchdowns in addition to 23.6 rushing yards per game.

While Bortles has eight turnovers in his past five games as well, the good times from a fantasy perspective should continue for the second-year signal-caller. No quarterback has a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule from Weeks 10 to 16.

If you need to start someone this week, Bortles and the Jags face the Ravens, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Even better, Bortles gets to face the Saints, who have allowed the most, in Week 16, which is typically championship week in fantasy leagues.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (50 percent)

In his six games this season, Taylor has finished as a top-seven fantasy quarterback three times and a top-20 fantasy quarterback in every game. While Taylor is averaging only 213.0 passing yards per game and has less than 200 in half of his games, his rushing ability provides both a solid floor and high upside on a weekly basis. Taylor has more than 40 rushing yards in four of six games and a couple of rushing scores this season.

QB - Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (35 percent)

Mariota did what opposing quarterbacks do to an atrocious Saints defense as he completed 28-of-39 pass attempts for 371 yards and four touchdowns last week. Each of Mariota's next five opponents rank in the top-half of the league in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, however. Even though Mariota has only 11 rush attempts this season, his dual-threat skill set does offer weekly upside.

QB - Sam Bradford, (50 percent)

It's been a disappointing season for Bradford, who has finished outside of the top-15 fantasy quarterbacks in six of eight games this season including each of his past three games. And over that three-game span, Bradford has thrown just two touchdowns to four interceptions.

That said, Bradford's upcoming schedule is favorable with three consecutive plus matchups -- Dolphins (12th-most fantasy points to opposing QBs), Buccaneers (fifth-most) and Lions (third-most).

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (10 percent)

If you lost Ben Roethlisberger to his foot injury or your quarterback is on a bye, Cousins could deliver huge returns for fantasy owners as a one-week rental in Week 10. One positive for Cousins has been the consistent volume. He now has 40-plus pass attempts in three consecutive games and in five of his past six.

In addition, no quarterback has a more favorable matchup this week than Cousins, who faces the league's friendliest fantasy defense to opposing quarterbacks. Over their past three games, the Saints have allowed three top-five weekly outings, 351.3 passing yards per game and 13 passing touchdowns.

QB - Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28 percent)

At a minimum, Winston has scored 12-plus fantasy points in every single game this season. And he's been even better in the three games since his bye. Winston has more than 18 fantasy points and has finished as a top-12 weekly quarterback in each of those games. While he's not the most athletic of quarterbacks, he has back-to-back games with a rushing score and he has not thrown an interception in four consecutive games.

QB - Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (44 percent)

Cutler threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns on Monday night and he has now scored a minimum of 17 fantasy points in five cnosecutive games. During that five-game span, Cutler has averaged 288.4 passing yards with nine total touchdowns. As consistent as he's been over the past month-plus, his next two matchups are against the league's two stingiest defenses to fantasy quarterbacks -- Rams and Broncos.

QB - Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (11 percent)

Since taking over (again) as the starter, Hoyer has scored 17-plus fantasy points in five consecutive games and he has finished as a top-12 weekly fantasy quarterback in four of those games. In addition, Hoyer has thrown multiple touchdowns in each of those games. His upcoming matchups aren't great -- Bengals and Jets -- but Hoyer and the Texans should find themselves needing to throw for much of those games.

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November 08, 2015

DeAngelo Williams racks up 225 yards and 2 TDs

In today's win over the Raiders, Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams carried the ball 27 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns and added two receptions for 55 yards.

Williams' 170 rushing yards were the fourth-most of his career and his 225 yards from scrimmage set a career high.

Since 1960, only four other Steelers running backs have totalled 225-plus YFS in a game -- John Fuqua, Le'Veon Bell (twice last season), Franco Harris and and Willie Parker.

After Bell returned from his two-game suspension to start the year and before he suffered his season-ending knee injury last week, Williams was lightly used. In his three starts, however, Williams has been dominant.

Williams has a minimum of 20 carries in each of those starts with a total of 379 rushing yards, seven catches for 75 yards and five touchdowns.

Especially with Ben Roethlisberger (foot) expected to miss (at least) Week 10's game against the Browns, Williams is set up to have another big week.

The Browns currently rank last in the NFL in rushing defense (147.6 yards per game allowed) and they currently surrender 4.7 yards per carry.

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Report: Ben Roethlisberger (foot) to miss "1-2 weeks"

An MCL injury caused Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to miss four-plus games earlier this season; now a foot injury is expected to keep him out for at least a week.

Obviously, an injury to your starting quarterback is never a good thing, but the Steelers may have lucked out with the timing.

With or without Roethlisberger, next week's home game against the Browns is very winnable and then the Steelers have a Week 11 bye.

Following their bye, the Steelers have a tough four-game schedule -- at Seattle, vs. Indianapolis, at Cincinnati and vs. Denver.

Before leaving today's game, Roethlisberger threw for 334 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Landry Jones came on in relief to complete four-of-six pass attempts for 79 yards.

In three games this season, Jones has completed 28-of-47 pass attempts (59.6 percent) for 456 yards (9.7 Y/A), three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Going into Week 9, the Browns had allowed the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 9 (Yanotchko)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 9 of the 2015 NFL season:

Atlanta Falcons -7.5 over San Francisco 49ers (3 units)

The 49ers are a hot mess, as they have just traded away Vernon Davis, and now they are benching Colin Kaepernick in favor of Blaine Gabbert, who couldn't even beat out Chad Henne for a starting job. The Falcons come into this game with one of the best passing attacks in the league, and I am certain they will be taking advantage of a 49ers secondary that gives up 280 yards per game and a 69-percent completion rate to opposing QBs.

I am looking for a huge day from Matt Ryan and Devonta Freeman will be able to run wild on a terrible 49ers front-seven. Blaine Gabbert will not give San Fran a lift, and the Falcons will win this one going away.

Philadelphia Eagles -3 over Dallas Cowboys (4 units)

I know this is a division game in Dallas, and the Eagles have certainly not been that great this year, but I am very surprised at the line. Since Tony Romo went down, the Cowboys have been stuck in neutral on offense, and this week won't get any easier against an aggressive Philly D.

The Eagles do a solid job of limiting opposing ballcariers to 110 yards per game, and I am certain that they will load up eight men in the box, and force Matt Cassel to beat them by throwing the ball. This will be a classic Chip Kelly blowout, that will have every one back saying that he is a genius, and all he needed was time. Dallas has been playing great D, but they are just missing too many playmakers to hang close in the end.

San Diego Chargers -4 over Chicago Bears (4 units)

Philip Rivers has had an amazing season so far, as he is almost on pace to throw for 6,000 yards this year, and it's only because the Chargers defense is awful. Rivers will certainly have to adjust this week, as he has lost his best target in Keenan Allen for the year, but I feel with Malcom Floyd, Steve Johnson, Antonio Gates, and Danny Woodhead, he has more than enough weapons.

Since we are talking about bad defenses, so far the guru John Fox has not been able to fix the Bears squad. The Bears are terrible against the pass, as they have given up 16 touchdowns, and they have only four interceptions and they just cannot muster a pass rush with only 12 sacks. This is a game where Rivers will have all sorts of time to throw, and also the Bears will be without their best player in Matt Forte. I will lay the points here as well.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 9 (Hanson)

Last week, I picked just two games against the spread (ATS) and I finished 2-0 ATS. I felt fairly confident about those picks and didn't really like the rest of the slate.

This week, I am picking our self-imposed minimum of two games again, but I'm not crazy about any of the games this week.

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 9 of the 2015 NFL season:

Chargers vs. Bears -- over 49.5 (3 units)

Losers of four consecutive games, offense has not been the problem for the Chargers. The offensive line is an issue, but they have moved the ball in spite of those concerns. While they rank in the middle of the pack in scoring offense (23.9 points per game, 14th), no team averages more yards per game than the Chargers (423.3/G). The season-ending injury to Keenan Allen hurts, but Philip Rivers has thrown for 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in five consecutive games.

Only four teams have recorded fewer sacks than the Bears defense and only four teams have allowed a higher passer rating to opposing defenses. In other words, it should be another big week for Rivers.

The Bears will be without Matt Forte (MCL), but the Chargers are allowing a league-high 5.0 yards per carry. Not only should Jeremy Langford be able to have success on the ground, but Jay Cutler has yet to turn the ball over more than once in a game this season. In addition, Alshon Jeffery has 18 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games.

This game should feature plenty of offense with little defensive resistance. I could easily see this game reaching the 50's or more.

Pittsburgh Steelers -5 over Oakland Raiders (2 units)

In his return from injury, Ben Roethlisberger threw three interceptions as the Steelers lost to the Bengals. An even bigger loss, the Steelers lost Le'Veon Bell for the season due to a badly-torn MCL. Fortunately for them, however, DeAngelo Williams has been highly productive when called upon. I expect a much better offensive outing from the Steelers in Week 9 as Big Ben shakes off the rust.

The Raiders have been a pleasant surprise this season and Derek Carr has thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions over his past two games. While I think he has another strong outing and I have both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree ranked inside my top-12 fantasy receivers for this week, I still expect the Steelers to win by at least a touchdown on Sunday.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 9 (Trifone)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 9 of the 2015 NFL season:

Tennessee Titans +7.5 over New Orleans Saints (4 units)

The Saints have been playing much better of late and won an exciting game against the Giants last week in a game where they put up 52 points. The problem is they gave up 49. I'm still not sure that we are looking at the Saints offense of old, as they have been fairly inconsistent, but I certainly don't trust the defense.

Meanwhile, Marcus Mariota will be returning to action, and I think the threat of him running the ball will keep the New Orleans defense off balance. The Saints likely win but I'll take the points here.

Green Bay Packers -3 over Carolina Panthers (3 units)

The Packers got pretty beat up against a great Denver defense last week. From start to finish, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack really weren't able to get anything going. I think that changes this week.

They have another tough matchup in Carolina, but I think the offense bounces back big here. The Packer defense was also bad last week, but they have been solid most of the year. Against my better judgment, I'll take the small road favorite to cover the three.

New York Giants -2 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4 units)

The Giants defense has been atrocious of late, but the offense has started clicking. Somehow, New York is still in first place in the NFC East at 4-4, and this is a very winnable game for them.

They'll face a rookie quarterback that has some beat-up receivers. If they can find a way to contain Mike Evans, Tampa doesn't have a lot on offense that scares you. Either way, I like the Giant offense to outscore them. Two points is small enough that I'm comfortable giving the Bucs the points. Take the Giants in what will likely be a pretty ugly game.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 9 (Beazley)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 9 of the 2015 NFL season:

Pittsburgh Steelers -5 over Oakland Raiders (3 units)

I highlighted Antonio Brown in my DFS Roundtable writeup this week. The Raiders give up over 300 yards per game through the air, which should equal a big day for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers receiving targets. (This will be the make-or-break game for me this week in DFS since I am deploying three Steelers in my main cash lineup.)

The Raiders looked fantastic last week, but they have the dreaded west coast team traveling to the east coast for a 1 PM game narrative. I think Derek Carr throws for over 300 yards as well, but I think Big Ben leads the Steelers to six touchdown drives this week. Steelers big, 42-27.

Philadelphia Eagles -3 over Dallas Cowboys (3 units)

I honestly can't see a way that a rested Eagles team doesn't go into Dallas on Sunday night and stomp the Cowboys. Sam Bradford, as bad as he has been this year, will not be as bad Matt Cassel. The Cowboys will need to control the clock with the running game to have a shot, but the Eagles run defense has been pretty good this season. I have a feeling this is going to be a Darren Sproles type of game. I think he has two scores on Sunday night. Eagles, 23-13.

Denver Broncos -6 over Indianapolis Colts (5 units)

Denver's defense has been fantastic this season. They get to play a banged-up Colts team who will most likely be without T.Y. Hilton for this one. Andrew Luck has looked absolutely horrible this season. He has turned the ball over at least two times in five of six games this season. You can't make those types of mistakes and expect to win games. We also have the Peyton Manning narrative of breaking Brett Favre's all-time passing record. I think Manning and his noodle arm get it done this week.

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Week 9 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Michael Crabtree is listed below as a "start" for Week 9. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 9 with him as one of my starting receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffery and Crabtree and only started two receivers, you should start Jones and Jeffery -- and in turn, bench Crabtree.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 9:

WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (at PIT)

In seven games this season, Crabtree has a minimum of six targets in every game and at least eight targets in six games. In fact, he has more targets (68, 9.71/G) than Amari Cooper (59) this season.

On the season, Crabtree is averaging 5.71 catches for 69.0 yards per game and has scored in back-to-back games. In addition, he has a minimum of 54 receiving yards in five of his past six games. Considering it's easier to throw than run on the Steelers, Crabtree should once again get eight or more targets in Week 9.

WR - Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (vs. STL)

The Rams have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, but Diggs has been extremely productive in every game he has played. In his four games this season, Diggs has a minimum of six receptions, nine targets and 87 yards in every game. Over those four games, he has racked up 25 catches for 419 yards and two touchdowns and he has finished as a top-16 weekly receiver in three consecutive games. Listed as probable (hamstring), Diggs has become a must-start.

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. OAK)

Better in standard-scoring formats, Bryant is one of the league's better big-play receivers. Not only did he have the longest reception in 2014 (94 yards), he has the longest reception this season (88 yards). Since returning from his four-game suspension, Bryant has 13 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns in three games. In addition, Bryant has been targeted a minimum of eight times per game.

WR - Steve Johnson, San Diego Chargers (vs. CHI)

In our DFS Roundtable post of Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 9, Johnson was my selection. No player should benefit more than Johnson from the season-ending kidney injury to Keenan Allen, who entered this week with the third-most targets in the NFL behind DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones. Johnson has not exceeded 50 receiving yards since Week 1 (6/82/1), but I expect him to get eight or more targets in a favorable matchup against the Bears this week.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 9:

WR - T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (vs. DEN)

In his first seven games, Hilton exceeded 60 receiving yards in six games. And although he racked up 224 yards and three touchdowns in Weeks 6 and 7 combined, Hilton had just one catch for 15 yards last week. Dealing with a foot injury, it's unclear whether Hilton will play this week. And if he does, he draws another difficult matchup. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing receivers this season than the Broncos.

WR - James Jones, Green Bay Packers (at CAR)

With Aaron Rodgers held to just 77 yards by the Broncos last week, Jones caught one-of-two targets for just two yards in Week 8. While Jones has scored six touchdowns in seven games this season, he has two or less receptions in three consecutive games. In addition, the Panthers have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

WR - Mike Wallace, Minnesota Vikings (vs. STL)

Wallace failed to catch any of his four targets last week and he has now finished outside the top-50 fantasy wide receivers in three consecutive games and in five of his past six games. Given Minnesota's low volume of pass attempts (30.1/G, tied for 27th), it's difficult for multiple receivers to be viable starts and Diggs has been the clear focal point of the team's passing attack. As noted above, the Rams have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers.

WR - Torrey Smith, San Francisco 49ers (vs. ATL)

Through eight games, Smith has just 16 catches (2.0/G) and 31 targets (3.88/G) and he has 19 receiving yards or less in half of his games. Even with Anquan Boldin listed as doubtful, Smith should remain on your bench this week. A big part of the reason is the fact that the 49ers benched Colin Kaepernick in favor of Blaine Gabbert. The answer a team's quarterback problem is never Blaine Gabbert. To make matters worse, the Falcons have limited opposing receivers to the third-fewest fantasy points per game this season.

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November 07, 2015

Week 9 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Jeremy Langford is listed below as a "start" for Week 9. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 9 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Todd Gurley, Devonta Freeman and Langford, you should start Gurley and Freeman -- and in turn, bench Langford.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 9:

RB - Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (vs. PHI)

For the rest of the season, it's natural for fantasy owners to worry about McFadden's durability given his track record. That said, he gets to run behind the league's best offensive line and he has become one of the few/true workhorses in the NFL. Not only does McFadden have 20-plus carries in back-to-back games, but he has a league-high 57 touches in those two games combined.

Granted, his Week 9 matchup is unfavorable as the Eagles have limited opposing running backs to the sixth-fewest fantasy points this season. That said, McFadden finished as a top-12 fantasy running back last week against the Seahawks, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points this season.

McFadden has 216 rushing yards plus eight catches for 59 yards in his past two games. At least due to expected usage, McFadden should extend his streak of games with 100-plus scrimmage yards to three in Week 9.

RB - Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. GB)

In his past three games, Stewart has a minimum of 20 carries in each game and a total of 68 during that span. In fact, no player has more carries during that three-game span than Stewart (68). Of course, Cam Newton is always a threat to vulture goal-line carries from The Daily Show, but he has three touchdowns over the past three weeks as well.

Although the Broncos limited Aaron Rodgers to 77 passing yards and no touchdowns last week, the Panthers game plan should focus on their ground attack in part to keep Rodgers off the field as much as possible. Assuming Carolina keeps the game close (they are three-point underdogs), Stewart is in line for another 20-carry game.

RB - Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (at SD)

With Matt Forte (MCL) ruled out for Week 9, Langford is in position to get a heavy workload in a favorable matchup. The Chargers have allowed four 100-yard rushers and a total of 10 touchdowns to running backs this season. The Chargers have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this season. One of last week's most popular additions off the waiver wire, Langford should deliver immediate returns to his fantasy owners.

RB - C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (at IND)

Fantasy football's biggest disappointment through the midway point, Anderson had his best outing of the season in last week's win over the Packers. CJA rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and added a five-yard reception. Before last week, he had no more than 43 rushing yards in any game and had yet to finish as a top-24 fantasy running back.

I'm not sure that he'll have another top-five outing like last week, but Anderson (and Ronnie Hillman) get a favorable matchup against the Colts, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. While Hillman has led the team in touches (20-plus in back-to-back games), CJA has 15-plus touches in consecutive games as well.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 9:

RB - T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NYJ)

Based on my rankings, Yeldon is on the start/sit line for folks in 12-team leagues as he's my RB25 for the week. So, in other words, he's a solid flex option, but the matchup is difficult this week. Over his past three games, Yeldon has a pair of 100-yard games and three consecutive top-24 weekly outings. That's the good news.

The bad news is that only the Seahawks have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Jets this season. In addition, the Jags are projected to score the fewest points among the teams yet to play this week based on Vegas odds.

RB - Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (at TB)

This listing applies to all Giants running backs, but I've listed Jennings here. Jennings had a solid outing last week against the Saints with 85 yards from scrimmage on 12 touches, but he finished as fantasy's RB20 even though the Giants scored 49 points. This week's matchup isn't as favorable as the Bucs have allowed the 12th-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and it's hard to trust any Giant back given their four-man committee.

RB - Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at NE)

Since Week 1 (RB17), Morris has finished outside the top-24 fantasy running backs in every other week this season. In fact, his average weekly finish over the past five weeks has been RB56 with an average of 2.76 fantasy points per game over that span.

Not only do the Patriots allow the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, but Washington is the biggest underdog this week. That should lead to a high volume of pass attempts and keep Alf off the field more than usual.

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Week 9 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Derek Carr is listed below as a "start" for Week 9. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 9 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Tom Brady and Carr, you should start Brady -- and in turn, bench Carr.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 9:

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at PIT)

Against an elite Jets defense, Carr threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns last week. Carr now has four 20-point outings and top-eight weekly performances in his past six games including each of his past two games. In his past two games, he has thrown a total of seven touchdowns with no interceptions.

Over that six-game stretch, the only time Carr hasn't thrown multiple touchdowns was against the Broncos, who currently have the league's stingiest defense. (Denver has allowed only five passing touchdowns in seven games and held Aaron Rodgers to 77 passing yards and no touchdowns last week.)

QB - Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (at SD)

Over the past month, Cutler has been solid, if not spectacular, with weekly finishes of TE12, TE13, TE13 and TE11, respectively. In those four games, he has averaged nearly 275 passing yards per game and accounted for seven touchdowns to only three turnovers. With six quarterbacks on bye this week, Cutler is a solid bye-week replacement for those in need of a starter.

QB - Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. OAK)

Roethlisberger returned from his knee injury last week, but he threw more interceptions (three) than touchdowns (one) against the Bengals. With a game under his belt to shake off some of the rust, Big Ben should post better numbers against a poor Raiders secondary this week.

Oakland allows the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. In addition, they have allowed a top-12 fantasy quarterback in six of seven games this season.

QB - Eli Manning, New York Giants (at TB)

Over the past four weeks, Manning has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback twice and outside the top-24 quarterbacks twice. Last week was a boom week as Manning threw for 350 yards and six touchdowns even though his team lost to Drew Brees (511 yards and seven TDs) and the Saints. It's unlikely that Eli throws another six touchdowns this week, but he has a top-three fantasy matchup against the Buccaneers this week so there is plenty of upside.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 9:

QB - Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (vs. DEN)

The good news is that Luck has thrown multiple touchdowns in five of six games. The bad news is that he has thrown multiple interceptions in five of six games. From a fantasy perspective, Luck has been better with two top-five weekly performances in his three games since returning from injury.

That said, he still doesn't look 100 percent and his best receiver, T.Y. Hilton (foot), could miss this week's game. Either way, the matchup is horrible as no team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Broncos this season. As noted above, they held Rodgers to 77 yards and no touchdowns last week.

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (at BUF)

Ending a five-game streak with multiple touchdowns, Tannehill threw for 300 yards but no touchdowns in last week's loss to the Patriots. Tannehill did throw two interceptions and has now thrown multiple picks in four of five games.

The first time that he faced the Bills this season, Tannehill threw for 297 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions and finished as Week 3's QB18. Even though there are six teams on bye, Tannehill is ranked outside of my top-12 for the week.

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NYJ)

Bortles has been a pleasant surprise this season as he has scored the 10th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks through Week 8. With three top-six outings in his past four games, Bortles has a difficult matchup in Week 9 against the Jets, who have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Despite what Carr did to them last week, Bortles' upside is limited.

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (at DAL)

It's been a disappointing season for Bradford and the Eagles offense this year. Through Week 8, Bradford has scored the 26th-most fantasy points and has thrown more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (nine) on the year. With the Cowboys surrendering the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, Bradford should once again finish outside of the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks this week.

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Week 9 Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Heath Miller is listed below as a "start" for Week 9. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 9 with him as my starting tight end.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Rob Gronkowski and Miller, you should start Gronk -- and in turn, bench Miller.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 9:

TE - Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. OAK)

Starting your tight end against the Raiders has been a highly productive strategy this season. Not only have the Raiders allowed the most fantasy points to the position, they have allowed 12 touchdowns to tight ends in seven games this season.

With Ben Roethlisberger back last week, Miller caught 10-of-13 targets for a season-high 105 yards. In fact, Miller has seen double-digit targets in two of the three games that Big Ben has started and finished this season. Roethlisberger and the offense in general struggled last week, but I expect much more production from the unit as a whole in Week 9.

TE - Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (at NO)

Walker hasn't been great this season, but he has been solid and consistent. Walker has at least six catches and 55 yards in three consecutive games and in four of his last five. In his six games this season, Walker has averaged 5.83 catches for 60.17 yards per game.

The Saints have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season and Kendall Wright will miss this week's game, which could lead to a few more targets for Walker. Walker has averaged 8.2 targets over his past five games.

TE - Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints (vs. TEN)

Entering the season as the team's starting tight end, it's not a surprise that Watson has led the team's tight ends in production. It is a surprise, however, that Watson currently ranks sixth among tight ends in fantasy points scored this season.

With more than 125 yards and a touchdown plus double-digit targets in two of his past three games, Watson has a total of 23 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns in those three games. In fact, he has finished as a top-five weekly fantasy tight end in three of his past four games.

Watson may not finish as a top-five tight end this week, but he's definitely worth a start this week. In addition, only the Patriots are projected to score more points than the Saints this week based on Vegas odds.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 9:

TE - Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jagaurs (at NYJ)

Through three games back from his injury, Thomas has been boom or bust: 2/20 (TE26), 7/78/1 (TE5) and 1/4 (TE42). Given some favorable matchups for other tight ends this week, Thomas has slipped to TE13 for me this week. The Jets rank in the top-10 of stingiest defenses to fantasy tight ends this year and the only tight end to reach 40-plus yards against them was Rob Gronkowski (11/108/1 in Week 7).

TE - Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins (at BUF)

In his past five games this season, Cameron has no more than three catches or 30 yards in any game. While he did score a touchdown in Week 6, he has finished as the TE20 or worse in the other four games during that five-game span.

The Bills are middle of the road in terms of fantasy points allowed to tight ends, but they have held all tight ends not named Gronk to 38 receiving yards or less this season. In fact, Cameron had three catches on eight targets for just 16 yards in their first matchup of the season in Week 3.

TE - Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (vs. STL)

The good news is that Rudolph has scored a touchdown in three of his past six games. The bad news is that Rudolph has 30 yards or less in all six of those games. So unless he scores, it's unlikely that Rudolph will have a useful week for fantasy purposes. The Rams have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the position this season.

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Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 9 Values for DraftKings Contests

In a salary-cap format, finding players that give you a bang for the buck is key to constructing a profitable lineup.

With that said, here are some of my favorite value plays for Week 9:

QB - Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (vs. CHI), $6,900

Since Week 4, Rivers has thrown for 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in five consecutive games. During that five-game span, Rivers has averaged 372.6 passing yards and 2.6 touchdowns per game. In addition, he has finished as a top-nine fantasy quarterback in all five of those games.

The season-ending injury to Keenan Allen hurts Rivers a bit, but he leads the NFL in pass attempts (43.5 per game) this season. So far this season, the Bears currently surrender the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. In a plus matchup for the league's highest-volume passer, Rivers is my second-ranked quarterback for the week yet six other signal-callers have a higher salary for Week 9.

QB - Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. OAK), $6,600

Roethlisberger returned from his knee injury last week, but he threw more interceptions (three) than touchdowns (one) against the Bengals. With a game under his belt to shake off some of the rust, Big Ben should post better numbers against a poor Raiders secondary this week. Oakland allows the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Roethlisberger has the ninth-highest salary this week, but he's my fifth-ranked quarterback for the week.

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at PIT), $5,500

Against an elite Jets defense and secondary, Carr shredded them for 333 yards and four touchdowns last week. Carr now has four top-eight weekly performances in his past six games including each of his past two games. Over that six-game stretch, the only time he hasn't thrown multiple touchdowns was against the Broncos, who currently have the league's stingiest defense. (Denver has allowed only five passing touchdowns in seven games and held Aaron Rodgers to 77 passing yards last week.)

There are a few other bargain-priced quarterbacks that I like in Carr's price range (e.g., Tyrod Taylor at $5,300 and Jay Cutler at $5,200) as well.

RB - Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (at BUF), $5,000

Miller had a disappointing 15 rushing yards on nine carries in their blowout loss to the Patriots, but Miller did score for a third consecutive week. In his past three games since the coaching change, Miller has racked up 303 rushing yards, 10 receptions for 85 yards and four total touchdowns. In fact, he has finished as a top-11 PPR running back in all three of those games after finishing no better than RB28 in his previous four games. The matchup isn't great, but as long as the game is close, Miller should see roughly 18 touches in this game.

RB - Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (vs. PHI), $4,300

Not only does McFadden have 20-plus carries in back-to-back games, but he has a total of 17 receptions on 20 targets in his past three games. With 57 touches in past two games combined, few players are guaranteed to get the type of workload that McFadden will get.

His Week 9 matchup may not be great as the Eagles have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but McFadden finished as the RB8 in PPR formats last week against the Seahawks, who have been the stingiest defense to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. GB), $4,300

In his past three games, Stewart has a minimum of 20 carries in each game and a total of 68 during that span. No player has more carries during that three-game span than Stewart (68). Of course, Cam Newton is always a threat to vulture goal-line carries from Stewart, but he has three touchdowns during that span as well.

RB - Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (at SD), $4,000

With Matt Forte (MCL) ruled out for Week 9, Langford is in position to get a heavy workload in a favorable matchup. The Chargers have allowed four 100-yard rushers and a total of 10 touchdowns to running backs this season. Only the Falcons have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this season.

WR - Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears (at SD), $6,700

Jeffery has played only three games -- Week 1, Week 6 and Week 8 -- this season, but he has a minimum of 11 targets in every game. Since returning from his injury, Jeffery has eight-plus catches for more than 100 yards and a score finishing as the weekly WR4 in both games. As the WR5 in my Week 9 PPR rankings, Jeffery has a lower salary than 12 other wide receivers this week.

WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (at PIT), $4,900

In seven games this season, Crabtree has at least eight targets in six games and a minimum of six targets in every game. In fact, he has more targets (68, 9.71/G) than Amari Cooper (59) this season. On the season, Crabtree is averaging 5.71 catches for 69.0 yards per game and has scored in back-to-back games. In addition, he has a minimum of 54 receiving yards in five of his past six games. Considering it's easier to throw than run on the Steelers, Crabtree should once again get eight or more targets in Week 9.

WR - Steve Johnson, San Diego Chargers (vs. CHI), $3,200

In our DFS Roundtable post of Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 9, Johnson was my selection. No player should benefit more than Johnson from the season-ending kidney injury to Keenan Allen, who entered this week with the third-most targets in the NFL behind DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones.

Johnson has not exceeded 50 receiving yards since Week 1 (6/82/1), but I expect him to get eight or more targets in a favorable matchup against the Bears this week. While I have Johnson ranked inside my top-20 fantasy receivers for the week, his salary is only $200 above the position minimum as 59 receivers carry a higher price tag this week.

WR - Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (vs. WAS), $3,200

Not safe for cash-game lineups, LaFell offers tremendous upside in tournaments at his near-minimum salary. Even though he didn't start last week, LaFell played on 82.0 percent of the team's offensive snaps last week, which second among the team's wide receivers behind Julian Edelman (94.0 percent). The Patriots are projected to score more points (33.0) than any other team this week based on Vegas odds.

TE - Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. OAK), $2,700

Starting tight ends against the Raiders has been a profitable strategy this season. Not only have the Raiders allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position, they have allowed 12 touchdowns to tight ends in seven games this season.

With Roethlisberger back last week, Miller caught 10-of-13 targets for a season-high 105 yards. In fact, Miller has seen double-digit targets in two of the three games that Big Ben has started and finished.

In lineups that I don't start Miller, I'll start Rob Gronkowski. In some lineups, I will use both (as TE and Flex), but nearly 100 percent of my entries thi8s week will feature either Miller and/or Gronk.

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Week 9 Fantasy Football: 7 Undervalued Players in PPR Leagues

Week 8 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+34.6+12.9+15.5-11.3+51.7
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+56.3+64.7-52.5-8.5+60.0

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- Eli Manning +34.6: Last week, I suggested taking a chance with Manning over Aaron Rodgers. That turned out fairly well.

Runner up -- Charcandrick West +31.9: West was the No. 3 RB in Week 8, while Gio Bernard and Chris Ivory both struggled significantly.

Worst of the week -- Chris Polk -19: Polk played behind Alfred Blue, despite being the primary backup when Foster was active, not to mention he is the more talented back. Although neither did much of anything against a bad Titans defense.

Runner up -- Chris Conley -17.1: Conley surprisingly played behind Albert Wilson, who did almost nothing as well. Despite the Chiefs putting up 45 points, there wasn’t much production from a receiver not named Jeremy Maclin.

Quarterbacks

Derek CarrOakland Raiders
FantasyPros ECR – 10

Carr has been very strong of late, posting two huge games against solid pass defenses. The Steelers are not on the same level as the Jets, who Carr just torched last week (333 yds, 4 TDs). Given the Raiders own struggles against the pass, and the Steelers prominence in that area, this game could be a shootout. And the way Carr is playing, that could mean another big day.

Consider starting him over:
- Cam Newton – ECR 8. Newton has been a solid fantasy QB this season, but the Packers are coming off an embarrassing loss, and it’s not like the Panthers offense are world beaters. Good teams coming off embarrassing losses tend to come and prove a point.


Ryan FitzpatrickNew York Jets
FantasyPros ECR – 18

Fitzpatrick has been cleared to play this week after injuring his non-throwing hand. As long as he can handle the ball, the injury should not have any impact on his capability this week. Once he goes into a throwing motion, that hand isn’t even involved. The good news for Fitzpatrick is that he gets the Jags this week, who are 28th against the pass in efficiency and bottom 10 in FPAs to QBs. Before leaving last week with the aforementioned injury, Fitzpatrick had posted two consecutive big games against solid defenses.

Consider starting him over:
- Jameis Winston – ECR 16. Winston has been playing better of late and the Giants just got torn up by Drew Brees. So consider this more of a “gut call.”
- Andrew Luck – ECR 14. After what they just did to Rodgers, you think Luck is going to do anything?

Running Backs

Jeremy LangfordChicago Bears
FantasyPros ECR – 19

Langford steps into a workhorse role for the Bears with Matt Forte’s injury. As his first game in the spotlight, he really couldn’t ask for a better matchup. The Chargers are 31st against RBs in terms of points allowed, and 32nd against the run in efficiency. The Bears aren’t a great run team, but they are good enough to exploit this matchup.

Consider starting him over:
- Darren McFadden – ECR 12. McFadden is the lead back with the release of Joseph Randle, but the Eagles run defense is good. They rank top 10 in both run efficiency and FPA to RBs. Given the pass game has no real threat until Tony Romo comes back, they can focus in on the run even more.
- Latavius Murray – ECR 15. While this game could be a shootout, it’s going to be through the air. The Steelers are a top-notch run defense and the Raiders could be down early.

Ryan MathewsPhiladelphia Eagles
FantasyPros ECR – 31

Mathews has been effective in limited work recently and should continue to get around 10-12 touches a game. Against a Cowboys team that has been vulnerable to the run (fifth-most FPA to RBs, 20th in efficiency), he has an opportunity to post back-end RB2 numbers in a week with six teams on bye.

Consider starting him over:
- C.J. Spiller – ECR 30. He is touchdown dependent and without the goal-line role, that makes it risky.
- Shane Vereen – ECR 27. Vereen has had two big games and very little outside of that. Like Spiller, he’s too tough to call.

Wide Receivers

Michael CrabtreeOakland Raiders
FantasyPros ECR – 15

Crabtree has been on a roll the past few weeks and actually leads the team in targets on the season, not Amari Cooper. As previously mentioned, the Raiders/Steelers game could turn into a shootout, and while the Steelers are very good against the run, they are less so against the pass. The Raiders are likely to air it out often, and Crabtree is in line for a big game.

Consider starting him over:
- Stefon Diggs – ECR 13. Diggs has been a revelation in Minnesota, but the Rams are seventh against WRs in FPA. Temper expectations this week.
- Jarvis Landry – ECR 12. Landry has a tough matchup, likely to face off with Stephon Gilmore. The Bills rank No. 2 against WR1’s in defensive pass efficiency.

Martavis BryantPittsburgh Steelers
FantasyPros ECR – 19

Sensing a trend here? I am expecting a lot of passes in this game. And surprisingly, the Raiders are pretty solid against WR1’s, leaving a few more looks to go Bryant’s way. With Big Ben hopefully using last week to shake off the rust, he should look to push the ball downfield early and often.

Consider starting him over:
- Dez Bryant – ECR 14. Matt Cassel….’nuff said.
- Randall Cobb – ECR 16. The Panthers are No. 1 against WRs in efficiency. Cobb should still produce, just closer to backend WR2 numbers.

Tight End

Austin Sefarian-Jenkins - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FantasyPros ECR – 17

Obviously, this depends on if he plays. But if he does, ASJ is in a good spot to produce. The Giants rank 23rd in efficiency against TEs and dead last in FPA. The Bucs will have to throw to keep up in this game and I think ASJ is a prime candidate to approach the top 10.

Consider starting him over:
-
Jason Witten – ECR 12. Matt Cassel, again. Not to mention the Eagles are sixth against TEs in efficiency and fourth in FPA.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 9!

Check out my full Week 6 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

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November 06, 2015

POLL: Will Todd Gurley rush for 125+ yards for a 5th consecutive game?

So far in his young career, St. Louis Rams rookie running back Todd Gurley has either rushed for more than 125 yards or less than 10 yards in every game.

After his modest nine-yard NFL debut, Gurley has been dominant.

Including 133 rushing yards and a touchdown against the 49ers last week, Gurley has rushed for more than 125 yards in four consecutive games. During that four-game span, Gurley has racked up 566 rushing yards (6.43 yards per carry) and three touchdowns with nine catches for 63 yards.

The only other active running backs that have ever had a streak of at least four 125-yard rushing games are Chris Johnson (six, 2009) and Frank Gore (four, 2011). Along with Johnson, Eric Dickerson and Earl Campbell both have six-game streaks with 125-plus rushing yards.

Only two other players -- Adrian Peterson and Chris Ivory (both two games) -- have rushed for 125-yards in consecutive games this season.

Gurley and the Rams will face the Vikings in Week 9. Only two running backs have gained more than 51 rushing yards against the Vikings this season -- Carlos Hyde (168, Week 1) and Ronnie Hillman (103, Week 4).

Will Gurley rush for 125-plus yards for a fifth consecutive game in Week 9?

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November 05, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 9

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 9?

Brendan Donahue - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. CLE), $5,200

Bengals OC Hue Jackson said just yesterday "the arrow is pointing up" on Jeremy Hill. You can't ask for a much better matchup if Jackson wants to look smart. Hill's numbers haven't been where we had expected them to be yet this season, but this is a great time to get back on track. Cleveland is allowing over 130 yards on the ground and over 24 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs this year.

Sean Beazley - Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. OAK), $8,100

One play I really like this week is Steelers WR Antonio Brown. Brown is still extremely under priced at $8,100. Brown was targeted 11 times last week in Ben Roethlisberger's return, which was the most since Week 3. The Bengals have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and Big Ben did look a little rusty last week. Oakland ranks 31st in the NFL giving up 302 passing yards per game. This is the last week you will be able to get Brown below $9,000. Brown will be the staple of my cash lineup, and I will definitely roll out plenty of Ben/Antonio stacks in tourneys.

Bonus Play: The Patriots are favorite to beat Washington by two touchdowns on Sunday. I expect all of the Patriots skilled players to be highly owned, but I'm targeting a player on the Redskins, and that is TE Jordan Reed. Reed has a very nice salary at $4500, and I expect the 'Skins to be in catch-up mode, which should equate to another game where Reed sees a dozen targets. Reed averages just under 10 targets per game, and has an extremely high ceiling.

Kevin Hanson - Steve Johnson, WR, San Diego Chargers (vs. CHI), $3,200

The season-ending injury to Keenan Allen opens up plenty of opportunities for Johnson and others in the passing game. Only DeAndre Hopkins (113) and Julio Jones (103) had more targets than Allen (89) so far this season. Johnson has not exceeded 50 receiving yards since Week 1 (6/82/1), but I expect him to get eight to 10 targets in a favorable matchup this week. While I have Johnson ranked inside my top-20 fantasy receivers for the week, his salary is only $200 above the position minimum as 59 receivers are priced higher this week.

Week 9 DFS cheat sheets:

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November 04, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Now that the season approximately half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 9 waiver-wire post) or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Tennessee Titans (Marcus Mariota): 18.05
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (Blake Bortles): 17.74
3. New York Jets (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith): 17.65
4. St. Louis Rams (Nick Foles): 17.63
5. Houston Texans (Brian Hoyer): 17.62

Five least favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 9-16):

28. New England Patriots (Tom Brady): 15.81
29. Oakland Raiders (Derek Carr): 15.67
30. Cincinnati Bengals (Andy Dalton): 15.57
31. Chicago Bears (Jay Cutler): 15.47
32. Arizona Cardinals (Carson Palmer): 15.11

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Now that the season approximately half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 9 waiver-wire post) or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Kansas City Chiefs (Charcandrick West): 20.14
2. Carolina Panthers (Jonathan Stewart): 20.07
3. Atlanta Falcons (Devonta Freeman): 19.74
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Doug Martin, Charles Sims): 19.65
5. New York Jets (Chris Ivory): 19.50

Five least favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 9-16):

28. New England Patriots (Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount): 16.92
29. St. Louis Rams (Todd Gurley): 16.84
30. Cleveland Browns (Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell): 16.83
31. New York Giants (Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen): 16.80
32. Arizona Cardinals (Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington): 16.76

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Now that the season approximately half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 9 waiver-wire post) or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Buffalo Bills (Sammy Watkins): 25.10
2. San Diego Chargers (Stevie Johnson, Malcom Floyd): 24.99
3. Houston Texans (DeAndre Hopkins): 24.78
4. Denver Broncos (Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders): 24.70
5. Miami Dolphins (Jarvis Landry): 24.64

Five least favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 9-16):

28. San Francisco 49ers (Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith): 21.49
29. Carolina Panthers (Ted Ginn): 21.36
30. Chicago Bears (Alshon Jeffery): 20.92
31. Arizona Cardinals (Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown): 20.52
32. Minnesota Vikings (Stefon Diggs, Mike Wallace): 20.27

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Now that the season approximately half over, we have a better sense of each team's defensive identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. We will continue to make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook.

But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 9 waiver-wire post) or evaluating a trade proposal, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Minnesota Vikings (Kyle Rudolph): 8.82
2. Carolina Panthers (Greg Olsen): 8.64
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (Heath Miller): 8.42
4. Detroit Lions (Eric Ebron): 8.38
5. Indianapolis Colts (Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener): 8.24

Five least favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 9-16):

28. Seattle Seahawks (Jimmy Graham): 7.14
29. New York Giants (Larry Donnell): 7.04
30. Dallas Cowboys (Jason Witten): 6.95
31. Philadelphia Eagles (Zach Ertz): 6.91
32. Buffalo Bills (Charles Clay): 6.03

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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November 03, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Wide Receiver Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 9

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 9 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

WR - Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers (44 percent)

Johnson had two catches for 28 yards in Week 8 and hasn't exceeded 50 receiving yards since Week 1, but his fantasy outlook improved greatly with the season-ending injury to Keenan Allen. With five consecutive 300-yard games, Philip Rivers has a league-high 348 pass attempts and 2,753 passing yards this season. In other words, Johnson could emerge as Rivers' go-to receiver in an offense that throws it as much as anybody.

Only the Bills have a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule than Johnson and the Chargers wide receivers. This week, the Chargers face the Bears, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

WR - Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (50 percent)

Floyd now has three consecutive games with 50-plus yards and a touchdown and has finished as the WR24, WR18 and WR13, respectively, in those three games. The Cardinals have a bye in Week 9, but Floyd has the potential to finish as a top 25-30 fantasy receiver on a per-game basis the rest of the way.

WR - Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers (23 percent)

Through Week 8, Floyd has scored the 32nd-most fantasy points among wide receivers. In addition, he ranked as a top-36 fantasy wide receiver in four of his previous five seasons (the lone exception was his injury-shortened 2013 season). While I expect Johnson to benefit more from Allen's injury, Floyd should see a more consistent amount of targets going forward as well.

WR - Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (20 percent)

Like with Johnson and Floyd above, Aiken will benefit significantly from the season-ending injury to Steve Smith Sr. Aiken had six catches for 62 yards in Week 8 and now has at least 62 yards four of his past seven games. The Ravens are on bye this week, but Aiken should be in the WR3 mix on a weekly basis for the remainder of the season.

WR - Rueben Randle, New York Giants (43 percent)

Randle had five catches on nine targets for 55 yards in Week 8 against the Saints. Through Week 8, Randle has scored the 38th-most fantasy points among receivers. The Giants face the Saints and Patriots in the next two weeks and they have allowed the fifth- and 10th-most fantasy points, respectively, to opposing wide receivers this season.

WR - Dwayne Harris, New York Giants (six percent)

Over the past five games, Harris has a total of 18 receptions for 221 yards with four touchdowns (three receiving and one return). During that five-game span, Harris has averaged 9.22 fantasy points per game and has finished as a top-24 fantasy receiver in three of those games. As noted above, Giants receivers have favorable matchups in each of their next two games.

- More Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 9

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2015 Fantasy Football: Running Back Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 9

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 9 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

RB - DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (25 percent)

With Le'Veon Bell (MCL) lost for the season, Williams once again takes over as the team's lead back. In the three games that Bell either missed or didn't finish, Williams finished as fantasy's weekly RB12, RB1 and RB13, respectively. In those three games, Williams racked up 334 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns.

RB - Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (11 percent)

In relief of Matt Forte (MCL) last week, Langford carried the ball 12 times for 46 yards. More than likely, Forte will miss (at least) a couple of games. For owners that need help at running back this week due to byes, Langford is an ideal add due to his matchup with the Chargers, who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Matt Jones, Washington Redskins (38 percent)

Jones has 12 touches in back-to-back games and has finished as fantasy's RB25 and RB34, respectively, in those two weeks. Meanwhile, Alfred Morris has 12 or fewer touches in three consecutive games and in four of his past five. Not only is Alf averaging just 3.3 yards per carry on the season, he has averaged less 2.0 YPC in each of his past three games (25 carries for 41 yards).

RB - Christine Michael, Dallas Cowboys (26 percent)

Earlier today, the Cowboys released ex-starter Joseph Randle. At a minimum, it should open up a larger role for Michael, who is clearly the No. 2 behind Darren McFadden.

Even with Randle sidelined for the majority of the past two games, Michael has just 11 touches compared to 57 for McFadden over the past two weeks. Even though McFadden has finished as a top-12 weekly running back in those two games, Michael is a McFadden injury away from a much more prominent role.

RB - David Cobb, Tennessee Titans (23 percent)

Bishop Sankey has been a non-factor and Antonio Andrews has been solid, but it wouldn't be a surprise if Cobb emerged as the team's lead back in the (near) future. Cobb is eligible to return from short-term IR this week, but he reported a "little heavy" at weigh-in.

RB - Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (35 percent)

Sims had only nine touches for 46 yards last week, but he has finished as a top-40 fantasy running back in five consecutive games, which includes three top-24 finishes. Obviously Doug Martin is the team's featured back, but Sims should get roughly 10 touches or so per game and the Buccaneers running backs have a top-four fantasy strength of schedule.

RB - Pierre Thomas, San Francisco 49ers (two percent)

With the injuries to the team's running backs (Carlos Hyde, Reggie Bush, Mike Davis, etc.), the team has signed Thomas and Shaun Draughn and added Jarred Hayne to their practice squad. Especially in deeper PPR formats, Thomas is worth a look. In 27 games over the previous two seasons, Thomas had a total of 132 receptions.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Quarterback Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 9

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 9 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (40 percent)

Averaging 288.67 passing yards per game since Week 2, Carr has thrown multiple touchdowns in five of six games. In those six games, he has compiled a 15-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio and finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback four times.

Since Week 2, Carr ranks fifth in the NFL in touchdowns thrown behind Eli Manning (17), Carson Palmer (17), Tom Brady (16) and Philip Rivers (16). In addition, Carr's 1,732 passing yards ranks 10th during that span.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (40 percent)

Playing just five games this season, Taylor (knee) is healthy and should be back under center for the Bills in Week 9. Even though he's averaging just 219.4 passing yards per game, Taylor completed 21-of-29 pass attempts for 277 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions the first time he faced the Dolphins, his Week 9 opponent. In addition, he has 187 rushing yards and two scores, which averages out to 6.14 fantasy points per game from his rushing stats alone.

QB - Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (34 percent)

Mariota had missed the previous two games, but he is expected to return in Week 9 against New Orleans. Not only have the Saints allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than any other team, no quarterback has a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule for the rest of the season than Mariota.

QB - Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears ( percent)

Cutler has a difficult fantasy schedule coming up; three of his next four opponents all rank in the bottom eight in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. That said, Cutler has finished as a borderline QB1 in four consecutive games -- QB12, QB13, QB13 and QB11, respectively.

QB - Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (18 percent)

Winston has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in back-to-back games and he has scored a minimum of 12 fantasy points in all seven games this season. Winston has a favorable matchup this week against the Giants, who gave up a record-tying seven passing touchdowns to Drew Brees last week.

QB - Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (14 percent)

Hoyer has thrown multiple touchdowns in five consecutive games and has finished as a top-11 fantasy quarterback in four of those games. During that five-game span, Hoyer has thrown 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions. No team has thrown more pass attempts than the Texans (362) this season. In addition, the Texans have the fifth-most favorable fantasy strength of schedule.

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November 01, 2015

Report: Le'Veon Bell expected to miss rest of season with "badly torn" MCL

Reports earlier today suggested that the Steelers (and fantasy owners) may get relatively positive news regarding the knee injury to Le'Veon Bell.

Instead, Bell appears destined for season-ending Injured Reserve.

This is obviously a huge blow to the Steelers and to all of Bell's fantasy owners.

Of course, he's not the dynamic threat that Bell is (when healthy), the 32-year-old DeAngelo Williams has been productive in the games that Bell hasn't been able to finish this season.

Counting today's game and the two games for which Bell was suspended, Williams totalled 334 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns.

With Bell now expected to miss the season, Williams, who is owned in roughly one-fifth of Yahoo! leagues, should be the most-added player on waivers heading into Week 9.

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Report: Matt Forte believed to have an MCL injury

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte left Sunday's game with a knee injury and early reports are that it is believed to be an MCL injury.

Unfortunately, the Bears just had their bye week and Forte will likely miss at least a week or two, if not more, if it's an MCL injury.

Through seven games, Forte has 136 carries for 548, 25 receptions for 219 yards and three total touchdowns.

With Forte leaving today's game in the third quarter, rookie Jeremy Langford had 12 carries for 46 yards. Before this week, he had just 15 carries for 34 yards and two catches for 31 yards.

Owned in just five percent of Yahoo! leagues, Langford will be one of the most popular pickups off waivers this week.

Assuming Forte is out in Week 9, Langford has a great matchup against the Chargers, who had allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs going into this week.

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Report: Steelers "optimistic" Le'Veon Bell may have avoided ACL injury

[Update: Bell is expected to miss rest of season with "badly torn" MCL.]

The knee injury to Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell may not be as bad as it initially appeared.

While an MCL injury would likely cause Bell to miss multiple games, an ACL injury would have ended his season and potentially jeopardized his start to next season. So, it's good news that it may only be an MCL injury.

Before Bell left with the injury, he had 10 carries for 45 yards and two catches for 13 yards. Meanwhile, DeAngelo Williams finished the game with nine carries for 71 yards and added four catches for 39 yards.

In the five games that Bell started and finished, Williams had a total of just 43 yards from scrimmage. In his other three games, however, Williams had 334 YFS and three touchdowns.

Owned in 21 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Williams will be one of the most-added players on waivers this week. The Steelers host the Raiders and Browns before their Week 11 bye.

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Drew Brees ties NFL record with 7 TDs, Eli Manning throws 6 TDs

It's rare for a quarterback to throw for 350 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions and lose the game. In fact, it never happened -- before today.

But that's exactly what happened to Giants quarterback Eli Manning in New Orleans on Sunday. Eli's six passing touchdowns were the second most in a game this season, but unfortunately for him, the season's most also happened in this game.

Three of his six touchdowns were caught by Odell Beckham, who coincidentally went to the same high school as Eli in New Orleans. Dwayne Harris (two TDs) and Shane Vereen caught Eli's other touchdowns.

In the highest-scoring game of the season (101 combined points), Drew Brees led the Saints to a 52-49 victory as the Saints kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired.

Throwing for a career-high 511 yards, Brees tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes. Before today, Brees had only eight passing touchdowns in the first six games of the season.

The previous quarterbacks to throw seven scores were George Blanda (1961), Y.A. Tittle (1962), Joe Kapp (1963), Peyton Manning and Nick Foles (2013).

Benjamin Watson and Marques Colston both exceeded 100 yards with a touchdown while Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead both scored twice. C.J. Spiller caught a nine-yard touchdown in the final minute to tie the game at 49-49.

It was Brees' second career 500-yard game and first since 2006. (It was also the second 500-yard game of the season -- Philip Rivers did it against the Packers in Week 6.)

Brees has thrown for 300-plus yards in five of seven games this season and is averaging 340.3 yards per game.

Next week, the Saints will host the Titans and the Giants will visit the Bucs.

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Todd Gurley rushes for 133 yards and a TD

Going into Week 8, Rams rookie running back Todd Gurley ranked 12th in the NFL in rushing yards despite playing only four NFL games before today.

In today's convincing win over the 49ers, Gurley rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries and added three catches for 13 yards.

Since gaining just nine yards on six carries in his NFL debut in Week 3, Gurley has rushed for more than 125 yards in four consecutive games. During that four-game span, Gurley has rushed for 566 yards (6.43 yards per carry) and three touchdowns with nine catches for 63 yards.

The only other active running backs with a streak of at least four 125-yard rushing games are Chris Johnson (six, 2009) and Frank Gore (four, 2011). Along with Johnson, Eric Dickerson and Earl Campbell both have six-game streaks with 125-plus rushing yards.

Only two other players -- Adrian Peterson and Chris Ivory (both two games) -- have rushed for 125-yards in consecutive games this season.

Gurley and the Rams will face the Vikings in Week 9. Going into Week 8, the Vikings had limited opposing running backs to the fifth-fewest fantasy points. That said, Gurley will be a top-four fantasy running back next week.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 8 (Beazley)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 8 of the 2015 NFL season:

Pittsburgh Steelers +1 over Cincinnati Bengals (3 units)

The return of Ben Roethlisberger is the difference in this one. I think the Big Ben to Antonio Brown show resumes this week, so if you play daily make sure you get Brown in your lineup at a discount. This game will likely be one of the highest-scoring contests of the day. Andy Dalton has been one of the best QBs in the league thus far this season, but I think he regresses a bit today. I do think he will throw for over 300 yards, but I also expect 2-3 turnovers. Steelers 34,Bengals 27.

Tennessee Titans +4 over Houston Texans (3 units)

The Titans have lost three games this season by less than three points. They are better than their record indicates. Zach Mettenberger gets the start again after a brutal performance last week vs. the Falcons. I think the extra week of practice as a starter pays off. Mettenberger should have a decent game vs. this very poor Texans D.

The Texans lost starting RB Arian Foster for the rest of the season during garbage time late in the 4th quarter. This was probably one of the worst coaching moves in recent history. This is the beginning of the end for Bill O'Bbrien. I like the Titans to be in this game on the road, 23-20.

Chicago Bears +1.5 over Minnesota Vikings (3 units)

This spread is a little off to me. The Bears should be three-point favorites in my opinion. Their defense isn't great, but offensively, they are finally healthy at the RB/WR position. I think Jay Cutler is also a sneaky GPP play in DFS. Bears at home, 27-17.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 8 (Hanson)

After a disappointing Week 6, last week began the bounce-back process with my picks against the spread. This week, I'm not crazy about the slate of games and therefore I'm only picking two games this week.

With that said, here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 8 of the 2015 NFL season:

Arizona Cardinals -6 over Cleveland Browns (4 units)

One of the most balanced teams in the league, the Cardinals currently rank first in the NFL in yards per play (6.8) and are top-five in yards allowed per play (5.2). In addition, no team has a better differential in yards per play than Arizona (+1.6).

With a talented trio of receivers (Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Michael Floyd), Carson Palmer has thrown for 300-plus and/or multiple touchdowns in every game this season. What has been a big surprise, however, is the team's rushing attack led by Chris Johnson, who has three 100-yard games in the past five weeks.

Regardless of whether Johnson's workload is affected by the expected increase in usage for Andre Ellington, the Cardinals should be able to run the ball at will against the Browns, who rank last in the NFL in run defense (151.0 yards per game allowed). Only the Chargers (5.3 YPC) have allowed more yards per carry than the Browns (5.1).

Palmer has won 18 of his past 22 games straight up and the Cardinals have had lots of success against the spread as well. Coach Arians is 17-8 ATS in his past 25 games as a favorite.

Minnesota Vikings -1.5 over Chicago Bears (3 units)

The Bears have one of the league's worst run defenses as they allow 124.8 yards per game (26th in NFL) and 4.5 YPC, which bodes well for Adrian Peterson and the Vikings' run-heavy offense. The Vikings have run the ball on 47.51 percent of their offensive plays, only four teams have a higher percentage.

While the Bears have covered 10-of-12 games against the Vikings at home, other (more recent) ATS stats support the Vikings. The Bears have covered only 14 of their past 38 games including five of their past 21 home games.

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Week 8 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Stefon Diggs is listed below as a "start" for Week 8. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 8 with him as one of my starting receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Diggs and your league starts two receivers, you should start Megatron and Fitzgerald -- and in turn, bench Diggs.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 8:

WR - Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at ATL)

Targeted 12 times last week, Evans had eight catches for 164 yards and a touchdown and finished as a top-three fantasy wide receiver in Week 7. This week's matchup isn't great as the Falcons have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, but I expect Evans to build upon last week's strong outing.

Evans has seen double-digit targets in two of his past four games and has exceeded 100 yards in both of those games. With injuries decimating the team's group of pass-catchers, Evans should easily see double-digit targets in a game where they could find themselves trailing for most of it.

WR - Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (at CHI)

Despite playing in a run-heavy offense, Diggs has been targeted a minimum of nine times in Minnesota's past three games. In those three games, Diggs has at least six catches each week and has finished with 87, 129 and 108 yards, respectively. In a favorable matchup, all signs point to another strong outing for Diggs. The Bears have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

WR - Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers (at BAL)

A top-five fantasy receiver through Week 7, Allen is set up for another big week against a poor Ravens pass defense. Only the Chiefs have allowed fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers than the Ravens this season.

Averaging 12.0 targets per game, Allen leads the NFL with 62 receptions on the season and he's averaging nearly 100 yards per game. With Philip Rivers leading the NFL in pass attempts, Allen has three games with a minimum of 12 receptions and 133 yards this season.

WR - Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (vs. SEA)

When healthy, Bryant is an obvious must-start every week, but he is listed as questionable following his multi-week foot injury. Bryant appears on this list as he's just inside my top-24 receivers for the week, but the potential for a big game is limited by a number of factors.

Not only will Bryant be on a snap count Sunday, but he is expected to be shadowed by Richard Sherman as well. Only the Broncos allow fewer fantasy points to opposing receivers than the Seahawks. And with Tony Romo still on short-term IR, the team's quarterback play has been less than inspiring. Of course, the loss of Bryant has contributed to the poor quarterback play.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 8:

WR - James Jones, Green Bay Packers (at DEN)

With the 10th-most fantasy points among wide receivers this season, Jones has finished as a top-13 receiver in half of his games and no worse than the WR39 in any game. And while he has scored in five of six games, Jones has just two catches in back-to-back games and is averaging just 4.83 targets per game. Not only will Davante Adams return from a multi-week absence, but the Broncos have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, as noted above.

WR - Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (vs. ARI)

A big-play threat, Benjamin currently ranks sixth among wide receivers in fantasy points scored this season. And after getting just seven targets combined in Weeks 1 and 2 combined, Benjamin has averaged 10.6 targets per game over the past five weeks. That said, Benjamin has finished outside the top-24 fantasy receivers in four of those five games. Benjamin remains a WR3 but he's outside of my top-24 receivers for the week.

WR - Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys (vs. SEA)

In the five games without Dez, Williams has finished as a top-20 fantasy wide receiver twice while also finishing as the WR109, WR62 and WR34 as well. In other words, Williams has been hit or miss even as the WR1. With Romo still sidelined and in a difficult matchup, it's difficult to have any confidence in T-Will this week.

WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (vs. NYJ)

A positive surprise this season, Crabtree has been targeted a minimum of eight times in all six of Oakland's games this season and currently ranks as fantasy's WR33 despite already having his bye. In addition, Crabtree has 50-plus yards in four of his past five games.

Facing one of the league's best defenses and secondaries, in particular, Crabtree, Amari Cooper and the Raiders receivers could struggle this week. I have Cooper ranked as a low-end WR2 and Crabtree ranked as a low-end WR3 for Week 8.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 8 (Yanotchko)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 8 of the 2015 NFL season:

Minnesota Vikings -1.5 over Chicago Bears (4 units)

The Vikings have been a nice surprise this year, as they have gotten off to a 4-2 start, and look like a very strong wildcard contender. I really like the Vikings on the road this week, as they have one of the better matchups this week with Adrian Peterson going against a weak Chicago front-seven. The Bears have been really bad against the run this year, as they have given up 124 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry.

The Vikings have also done quite well against the number, as they have posted an impressive 5-1 mark to start the year. I just like the ground game of Minnesota too much, and also Mike Zimmer's defense going against Jay Cutler, so I will give the 1.5 points here.

San Diego Chargers +3.5 over Baltimore Ravens (3 units)

Being quite the Patriots homer, it has been quite fun to watch the Ravens circle the drain here this year. That being said, this is a game that the Chargers need desperately, and of course we all know that San Diego plays it's best ball of the year in November and December.

The Chargers will be able to attack a very vulnerable Baltimore secondary, that gives up 283 yards to opposing quarterbacks. How can you not love Philip Rivers here averaging 350 yards per game going against one of the worst secondaries out there? Even though this is on East Coast time, I still will lay the points here.

Dallas Cowboys +5.5 over Seattle Seahawks (2 units)

I know it's easy to make fun of Dallas when they are down, and believe me, saying that Greg Hardy is a leader is one of the all-time dumbest statements ever, but the Cowboys have a history of playing Seattle close. I know that Dallas had both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant last year when they beat the Seahawks up in Seattle, but I think this is one of the games where Seattle will struggle on the road.

Dallas does have a fairly stout front seven, that gives up 101 yards per game to opposing rushers, and I think they will be able to slow down Marshawn Lynch. I am also not a fan of the Seahawks offensive line, as they have almost gotten Russell Wilson killed this year. I am going to take the points here, as I think this game will be close, and there is an outside chance to see Dez Bryant back.

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Week 8 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Darren McFadden is listed below as a "start" for Week 8. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 8 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Le'Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman, as examples, and McFadden, you should start Bell and Freeman -- and in turn, bench McFadden.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 8:

RB - Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens (vs. SD)

Among the running backs listed on the start'em side of this post, Forsett will always be a top-24 fantasy running back in my rankings, which makes him an every-week starter. One of the reasons I wanted to highlight him in this post, however, is that he has moved into the top-five of my weekly fantasy running back rankings even though he'll be a high-end RB2 (or low-end RB1) in many other matchups. After beginning the season slowly, Forsett has finished as a top-24 fantasy running back in four consecutive games and has a pair of 100-yard games during that stretch.

Only the Browns have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Chargers, who have allowed a top-10 fantasy finish in six of seven games this season. In addition, the Chargers have allowed four 100-yard rushers, 5.41 yards per carry to opposing running backs and 10 total touchdowns to the position this season.

Of the teams left to play this week, only the Falcons (28.0) are projected to score more points than the Ravens (27.25) based on Vegas odds. Odds of Forsett getting 100-plus yards and a score is high.

RB - Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. DET)

With Jamaal Charles out for the season, West had a disappointing first performance in Week 6. Redeeming himself in Week 7, West finished with 22 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown and added two receptions for 19 yards. Such a large portion of the Chiefs offense is funneled through the running back position and so last week's volume (24 touches) was just as important as last week's production (RB7). That gives me confidence that we'll see another large workload from him this week and the Lions have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (vs. SEA)

The matchup certainly isn't favorable for McFadden as the Seahawks allow the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. That said, we know that McFadden will get a significant workload with Joseph Randle out for the game. With Randle departing after getting only two carries last week, McFadden rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries and added two catches for 10 yards. I don't expect 162 scrimmage yards this week, but he should come close to 100 total yards in Week 8.

RB - Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (vs. GB)

In a win over the Browns before their Week 7 bye, Hillman had a season-high 20 carries for 111 yards. Not only does Hillman have two 100-yard outings in his past three games, he is the only Broncos back to exceed 50 rushing yards in any game this season. Given his effectiveness compared to that of C.J. Anderson (see below), Hillman should once again lead the team's backfield in touches and production and he's ranked just inside my top-24 fantasy running backs for Week 8.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 8:

RB - C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. GB)

No healthy running back has been a bigger fantasy disappointment this season than Anderson. Despite his late first-round ADP, Anderson has only scored the 58th-most fantasy points among running backs and has yet to score a touchdown this season.

On a positive note, CJA had a season-high 17 touches against the Browns before his bye, but that ranked second in the team's backfield behind Hillman (23). On the year, Hillman (4.89 YPC) has been much more productive on a per-carry basis than Anderson (2.69).

With the Packers limiting opposing running backs to the 10th-fewest fantasy points, it's unlikely that the Broncos have two top-25 fantasy running backs like they did in Week 6.

RB - Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (at BAL)

Limited by an ankle injury and ball-security issues, Gordon had zero first-half touches last week against the Raiders, but he carried the ball seven times for 29 yards in the second half after the game was essentially out of reach (although the Chargers nearly mounted a comeback). With seven touches in back-to-back games, MG3 should see a larger workload after not putting the ball on the ground last week. That said, the way to beat the Ravens is through the air and I have Danny Woodhead ranked as a top-15 back for the week.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (vs. ARI)

Averaging just 3.47 yards per carry this season, Crowell gained just nine yards on a season-low eight carries against the Rams last week. As part of a three-back committee led by Duke Johnson, Crowell could have more games with single-digit touches in his future including this week.

Nearly a touchdown underdog against the Cardinals, who allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, it's unlikely that Crowell gets a huge workload or that he has a lot of production on a per-touch basis.

RB - C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints (vs. NYG)

The good news is that Spiller saw double-digit touches for the first time this season with four carries for 16 yards and six catches for 32 yards in Week 7. Even though that was his second most productive game (4.8 fantasy points), he still finished outside the top-36 fantasy running backs for the fifth time in six games. At least in standard-scoring formats, Spiller isn't anything more than a flex option at this point.

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