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September 15, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 3 Waiver Wire Pickups

Unlike many weeks we have ever seen, Week 2 was a bloodbath as high-profile fantasy stars left games with serious and minor injuries left and right.

In many cases, owners will need to find Week 3 (or longer) injury replacements.

If you have a glass-half-full outlook, the good news, I suppose, is that there are more players available on the waiver wire with increased and improved outlooks.

With the goal of providing you with options that are available in your fantasy league(s), players that appear on this list are all available in a minimum of 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Without further ado, here are some players to consider adding to your fantasy roster(s) (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

QB - Geno Smith, New York Jets (nine percent)

Well, Geno finished yesterday's game with a 50-percent completion rate, 176 yards and one touchdown, but a called timeout negated a fourth-down 36-yard touchdown throw in the fourth quarter. Even so, Smith finished with 17.64 fantasy points (QB9 with the Monday Night matchup still to go).

In his most-recent six-game span going back to last season, Smith has a total of 48 rush attempts for 250 yards and four rushing scores. That production is equivalent to 49 fantasy points (or 8.17 fantasy points per game) from his rushing stats alone.

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (41 percent)

Through two games, Tannehill has finished as the QB23 and QB18 with modest production: total of 419 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. I do think better days/production are ahead for Tannehill and that could start in Week 3 when the Dolphins face the Chiefs, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game (20.81) to opposing quarterbacks through Sunday's games. While one of those games was against Peyton Manning, the other was against Jake Locker and both of those QBs finished as top-six weekly performers.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (nine percent)

While Griffin III may not need surgery and may be able to return later in the season, Cousins played well in relief yesterday by completing two thirds of his pass attempts for 250 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. In addition, it wouldn't necessarily be a complete shock if he retains the job once/when RG3 is healthy assuming Cousins plays well in his place. That said, Cousins is going to be a QB2 in the majority of weeks.

QB - E.J. Manuel, Buffalo Bills (eight percent)

Manuel has led the Bills to a surprise 2-0 start and has played reasonably well although he has finished outside the top 12 in quarterback fantasy points both weeks. That said, Manuel finds himself with a favorable matchup this week (like Tannehill).

Along with Tannehill's matchup (Chiefs), the Chargers are one of four teams that have allowed both opposing quarterbacks to finish as a QB1 for the week. (The Colts could be a fifth if they allow Nick Foles to finish as a QB1 tonight.) San Diego has allowed 19.47 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and Manuel could be a better option than usual for someone looking to fill the void of an injured RG3 (or Carson Palmer).

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RB - Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs (19 percent)

With Jamaal Charles suffering a high-ankle sprain early in yesterday's loss to the Broncos, the Chiefs gave Davis 28 touches as he racked up 105 scrimmage yards and two scores. Over the team's last four games counting the playoffs, Davis has 29, 25, two and 28 touches. Despite an average of only 3.38 yards per carry on this 68 rush attempts, Davis has 16 receptions over that span and should be in store for another heavy workload with Charles expected to miss this week's game.

RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (49 percent)

It's unclear whether A.J. Green will play in Week 3 with his turf toe injury, but it appears more likely that he sits out considering the Bengals have a Week 4 bye (2014 NFL bye weeks grid). With numerous injuries to their group of pass catchers, the Bengals will likely lean heavily on their ground game this week as they did yesterday. With Green out for the majority of the game, the 1-2 punch of Giovani Bernard (27 carries) and Hill (15) ran the ball a combined 42 times and added seven receptions. The second running back selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, Hill is a powerful downhill runner that I liked a lot in the preseason and his role will only continue to expand in Cincinnati's run-heavy attack.

RB - Khiry Robinson, New Orleans Saints (18 percent)

With an average of 5.96 YPC, fifth-best in the NFL, and a league-high three rushing touchdowns, Mark Ingram had become the fantasy running back that many had expected when the Saints used a first-round pick on him four years ago. Unfortunately, Ingram will miss the next month with a broken hand, which opens up an expanded opportunity for Robinson. Once (famously) compared to Curtis Martin by Bill Parcells, Robinson has 14 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown through two weeks.

RB - Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers (nine percent)

With Ryan Mathews sidelined for a month or so with an MCL sprain, Brown will see his role expand significantly over the next month. The Chargers have had difficult matchups in back-to-back weeks with the Cardinals and Chargers and this week's matchup against the Bills isn't great. That said, Brown will then get a great matchup (Jaguars) followed by horrible matchup (Jets) and another great matchup (Raiders). In other words, Brown could be a viable RB2 in at least two of the next four weeks.

RB - Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts (40 percent)

Rightfully so, few have faith in Trent Richardson. Similar to the Mendoza Line in baseball (.200 batting average), there could be a T-Rich Line in football (3.0 YPC). His preseason struggles have carried over to the regular season even though he's above, albeit barely, the T-Rich Line through Week 1 (3.33 YPC). That said, it was Bradshaw that was much more productive in Week 1 (85 YFS to T-Rich's 51) and I expect Bradshaw to be more effective for as long as he's healthy.

RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (49 percent)

While Brown benefits the most from Mathews' absence, Woodhead had five more touches in Week 2 (12) than he had in Week 1 (seven). While Mathews is out, I think 12 touches or so will be his floor and he is a solid flex option in PPR formats. With 12 touches this week, Woodhead is currently the RB29 in PPR formats for the week.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (21 percent)

While he didn't find the end zone this week after two scores in Week 1, Crowell had another productive outing with 54 yards on 11 carries and a reception for three yards. Through two games, Crowell is averaging 5.38 YPC and Ben Tate (knee) should miss another week as well. Perhaps Tate returns after Cleveland's Week 4 bye, as is expected, but Tate has always struggled with durability. Although he went undrafted in May due to character concerns, Crowell is a former five-star recruit with tons of talent that will be worth stashing even when Tate and Terrance West are both healthy.

RB - Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22 percent)

With Doug Martin out on Sunday, Rainey (144) finished second to only DeMarco Murray (167) for most rushing yards this week. Rainey won't have those type of games when The Muscle Hamster returns (or when he's out for that matter as well). But he could have some productive outings in games with Martin sidelined.

The Bucs play on Thursday Night Football, which means that Martin may not be ready although it appears he will return. If Martin does not play this week, however, Rainey will at least be a viable RB2 option as the Bucs face a Falcons defense that has allowed 154.5 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns through two weeks.

WR - Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams (16 percent)

A former 33rd overall pick out of Appalachian State, Quick has taken a huge step (or multiple steps) forward in his third season. Quick has seven receptions for 74-plus yards in each of the team's first two games and actually has four more receptions than the rest of the team's wide receivers combined (10). Excluding Monday's game, Quick has been a WR2 in both standard and PPR formats in both Weeks 1 and 2.

WR - Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals (nine percent)

Assuming Green doesn't play in Week 3, which seems to be a real possibility, Sanu will be the team's top option aside from their running backs. While Sanu has been generating positive reviews since the offseason, he entered the offseason as the fourth-best option (outside of their running backs). With Green out for most of yesterday's game, Sanu is currently Week 2's WR5 (16.4 fantasy points).

That said, the Bengals don't have a great matchup next week against the Titans, who have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season through yesterday's games. And then they have their bye in Week 4.

WR - Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns (32 percent)

Better in PPR formats, Hawkins has a total of 14 receptions for 157 yards on 22 targets through two weeks. Coincidentally, he has finished as the WR24 in PPR leagues for both Week 1 and Week 2 (although some Colts and Eagles receivers will likely bump him down this week). Part of those targets are due to Jordan Cameron leaving Week 1 early and missing Week 2's game, but no other Browns wide receiver has more than 13 targets this season.

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (zero percent)

Injuries and deficits could mean big things for Robinson. Or at least more weeks like Week 2 where ARob had four receptions for a team-high 75 yards. A talented receiver out of Penn State, Robinson was one of two receivers selected in the second round by the Jags along with Marqise Lee.

While Cecil Shorts has missed the team's first two games with a hamstring injury and is expected to return this week, he has struggled with durability and UDFA Allen Hurns left yesterday's game on crutches. In addition, Marcedes Lewis will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a high-ankle sprain. The team's top pass catchers have struggled with health and the Jags have been outscored 75-10 in the final six quarters.

WR - Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (one percent)

At some point this season, it's possible that Adams moves ahead of Jarrett Boykin in the wide receiver pecking order and he did so for at least part of Sunday's game. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote that "Adams started to take off in the final weeks" of training camp. On Sunday, Adams saw more looks than Boykin as he finished with a 5/50 line on seven targets.

TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (37 percent)

One week after his solid (yet underutilized) regular-season debut with a 3/49 line on five targets, Kelce had four catches for 81 yards on six targets against the Broncos yesterday. Although he only played on 37.2 percent of the snaps (compared to 32.8 percent in Week 1), his snap totals increased from 19 to 32. As the season progresses, his usage should continue to increase as the Chiefs lack play makers outside of their backfield (and Kelce).

TE - Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts (38 percent)

Allen had a productive Week 1 (4/64/1) and the Colts offense will look to feature both of their tight ends in Pep Hamilton's offense. Although the Colts play later tonight, Allen has a great matchup for those looking ahead to Week 3 against the Jags, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends so far this season.

TE - Larry Donnell, New York Giants (21 percent)

Although he was listed as NYG's first-team tight end since they first had to create a depth chart, Donnell has been a pleasant surprise in an otherwise ineffective and lackluster offense. Donnell has finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end in back-to-back weeks and ranks seventh among tight ends in both receptions (17) and yards (137) with a touchdown.

TE - Niles Paul, Washington Redskins (five percent)

The Jordan Reed injury has allowed Paul to flourish as only Jimmy Graham (200 yards) has more yards than Paul (185) among tight ends so far this season. Paul's role will likely diminish, at least some, when Reed returns, but it's unclear if he'll return this week and Reed's durability is by far his biggest knock.

Later tonight, I will update my Rest-of-Season (ROS) fantasy football rankings. Additionally, I will post my Week 3 fantasy football rankings at some point on Tuesday.

My Playbook by FantasyPros: An easy way to gain an edge on your opponents is to use the My Playbook tool from FantasyPros to give you tailored advice for waiver-wire and start/sit decisions based on your specific teams as it syncs up with your existing ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS, NFL.com, etc. leagues.

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September 13, 2014

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 2 FanDuel Fantasy Football Values

Yesterday I posted some players that I think are Week 2 fantasy football values for DraftKings contests.

If you're like me, then you play in both DraftKings and FanDuel contests. In some cases, players that are values on one site are also values on the other, but that is not necessarily the case as both sites independently set the player salaries for their games.

So, in other words, you will find some common names from the other post here as well as some new names that are values in Week 2 FanDuel fantasy football leagues.

Here are some value plays for Week 2:

QB - Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $7,400

You probably don't need me (or any fantasy football analyst) to tell you to start offensive players facing the Cowboys defense, but Locker is one of those guys that appears on both lists of DFS value guys. As I noted earlier, Locker finished as Week 1's QB6 and is my eighth-ranked fantasy QB this week. That said, he is even cheaper on relative terms in FanDuel as he's priced as QB17 this week (vs. QB15 in DraftKings).

One other difference that makes Locker a better play in FanDuel formats is DraftKings awards three bonus points for 300 passing yards; FanDuel does not. In my fantasy quarterback projections, which will be updated later today, I have Locker projected for 283 passing yards.

QB - Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN), $6,700

Last week, the Chiefs inexplicably abandoned the run as Jamaal Charles had only seven carries, but there is certainly the possibility the Chiefs will find themselves in catch-up mode as they are nearly two-TD underdogs to the Broncos in Week 2. Twenty quarterbacks have a higher salary than Smith, but Smith is currently the QB11 in my rankings. While I don't expect Smith to throw 53 times and for 370 yards like Andrew Luck did against the Broncos last week, he figures to rank near the leaders in pass attempts this week if the game plays out as Vegas expects.

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RB - Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (at MIN), $6,800

With 19 running backs more expensive, Vereen is a nice value within that middle tier of running back salaries. A talented receiver out of the backfield, which helps in half-PPR contests like those on FanDuel, Vereen got nearly three times as many snaps as Stevan Ridley in the opener. ESPN's Mike Reiss wrote yesterday, "Players were impressed with how Vereen performed in early-down and short-yardage situations in the opener. Look for him to get more opportunities in those situations this week ..." With the potential for increased opportunities near the goal line, Vereen has a lot of upside this week and going forward.

RB - Terrance West, Cleveland Browns (vs. NO), $5,300

The salary gap between West and Isaiah Crowell is $1,500 at DraftKings, but the gap is much narrower ($200) at FanDuel. With Ben Tate (knee) sidelined for a few weeks, I expect West to get the larger portion of the workload on Sunday against the Saints. Like Tate and Crowell, West averaged more than six yards per carry last week as he rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries against the Steelers. West has the 45th-highest running back salary on FanDuel this week. It's unlikely that 44 running backs outpace him this week.

RB - Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars (at WAS), $5,000

Gerhart struggled in Week 1 with a 2.3 YPC average, but at least part of that can be attributed to the ankle injury that forced him out of the game early. That said, he returned within the game and is listed as probable on the injury report so it shouldn't slow him down this week. Even though the Jags eventually blew a 17-point lead and Gerhart missed a portion of the game, he still finished with 20 touches — 18 carries and two receptions. I like this week's matchup and expect it to be a closer game from start to finish, which should lead to another heavy workload for Gerhart, who is priced lower than 35 running backs this week.

RB - Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NE), $4,500

Rookie Jerick McKinnon is a far superior athlete (obviously) and I would prefer him over Asiata for the rest of the season, but I would expect Asiata to get a far larger share of the touches on Sunday with Adrian Peterson deactivated. And Asiata should be first in line for goal-line carries. Remember Week 15 last year? 30-51-3? While I don't expect 30 carries or three touchdowns, the Dolphins ran at will against the Patriots last week and 50 yards and a few shots at a TD is not out of the question for the minimum-salary running back.

WR - Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $5,700

Not only do I like Hunter a lot this week, but I like Kendall Wright ($6,100) and Nate Washington ($5,100) as well. A physically-gifted deep threat (6-foot-4, 4.4 forty, 40-inch (plus) vertical), Hunter led the team in receiving yards (63) and targets (eight) in Week 1. With such a favorable matchup, few receivers have as much upside as the big-play Hunter this week.

WR - Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NE), $5,700

What's not to like about Cordarrelle Patterson, who's still undervalued at $7,100? For obvious reasons, I have Patterson ranked much higher than Jennings, but there's a lot to like about Jennings at $5,700 as well. The Patriots defensive game plan will certainly center around keeping the versatile and dynamic Patterson from going off. With AP out, the Vikings immediately became bigger underdogs and Matt Cassel could be forced to throw more often than he did in last week's blowout win over the Rams. The Cassel-Jennings duo has demonstrated solid chemistry both last year and so far this season. Jennings, who had a 6/58/1 line on seven targets in Week 1, is only the 42nd-costliest receiver this week.

WR - Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (at CLE), $5,600

Perhaps he draws Joe Haden and the Saints offense has historically been less impressive on the road, but there are 44 wide receivers with a higher cost than Colston this week. Colston was much better in the second half of last season and despite a lost fumble, he picked up where he left off statistically in Week 1 (five catches for 110 yards).

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (at CAR), $5,000

While he does not have a particularly good matchup, Tate is a modestly-priced option that should exceed his Week 2 salary — 57 wideouts have a higher salary. There is no reason for Tate to be priced as the WR58 in any week. In Week 1 against the Giants, Tate caught all six of his targets for 93 yards and added a four-yard run and a 5/65 or so week should be in the cards for Tate this week.

* Interested in giving FanDuel a try? Join my free 20-team FanDuel league for Week 2 and try it out for free.

TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN), $4,600

While it's disappointing that he played only 19 snaps in Week 1, Kelce still had three catches for 49 yards — just 12 tight ends had more last week — on five targets. Considering the Chiefs are nearly two-TD underdogs this week and Andy Reid has indicated that Kelce's playing time could increase, he's worth a shot as a flier.

TE - Larry Donnell, New York Giants (vs. ARI), $4,500

Playing 54 of the team's 67 snaps in Week 1, Donnell finished with a 5/56/1 line on eight targets, all of which were team highs. At the position-minimum salary, Donnell has one of the most fantasy-friendly matchups for a tight end this week. The Cardinals allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends last year including a position-high 17 touchdowns. Although they did not allow a tight end to score last week, they were one of three teams to allow 100-plus receiving yards to the position in Week 1.

In addition, check out our site's sortable grid of all players ranked in relation to their FanDuel salary.

Also, check out my weekly fantasy football rankings:

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Fantasy Football Weekly Podcast: Week 2 DFS Values

Tonight, or I guess it's last night, Dan Yanotchko and I recorded another episode of our Fantasy Football Weekly podcast.

Like last week and in future weeks throughout the season, we discuss players that we believe are undervalued this week in daily fantasy sports contests.

Some of the players we discussed were Jake Locker, Terrance West, Giovani Bernard, Demaryius Thomas, Justin Hunter, Zach Ertz, Larry Donnell, among others.

You can listen to our latest podcast below:

Check Out Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with EDSFootball on BlogTalkRadio

Good luck in Week 2!

September 12, 2014

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 2 DraftKings Fantasy Football Values

Considering the salary-cap structure of daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues, identifying underpriced values in DFS contests is the key to success.

With this post, I attempt to identify players that offer more value than their salaries in Week 2 DraftKings fantasy football leagues.

Here are some value plays for Week 2:

QB - Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. NYJ), $7,900

Typically, the guys listed in these posts will be cheap in absolute — and relative — terms. That said, it doesn't mean that higher-priced options can't be undervalued as is the case with Rodgers this week. While his Week 1 performance against the league's best secondary left quite a bit to be desired, Rodgers is a prime bounce-back candidate in Week 2.

The Seahawks have allowed just team to throw for 200-plus yards (and it was just 207) against them in their past 10 regular-season games, but the Jets secondary is far from the Legion of Boom. Considering how difficult it is to run against the Jets, the game plan will likely look to exploit their inferior secondary even if they get back Dee Milliner, as expected. Rodgers is my second-ranked fantasy quarterback for the week, but he's tied with Colin Kaepernick for the seventh-highest salary at the position.

QB - Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $7,100

At this point, I have Rodgers locked in as my every-lineup starter, but there are other values this week as well including Locker. Finishing as the QB6 in Week 1, Locker is my eighth-ranked fantasy quarterback and priced as the QB15 in DraftKings contests this week.

With Locker's durability concerns minimized in one-week leagues, Locker has posted a 10:4 TD-to-INT ratio in the eight games he has played over the past two seasons. One of the most athletic quarterbacks in the league, Locker only rushed for 14 yards on six carries in Week 1, but he has averaged 6.53 yards per carry over his career. Considering this week's matchup is against the league's worst defense, it's certainly possible he has another top-six performance (or better) at a fraction of the cost.

QB - Geno Smith, New York Jets (at GB), $6,200

More than a touchdown underdog (Week 2 NFL lines), the Jets may find themselves in position to throw more often than is typical for them. Inconsistent as a passer in his first 12 games (eight TDs, 19 INTs) as a rookie, Smith has been more consistent in his past five games (five TDs, three INTs). Over that most-recent five-game span, however, he has also run 41 times for 224 yards and three scores. That accounts to 8.08 fantasy points per game from his rushing numbers alone during that span. Smith is tied for the 23rd-highest salary among quarterbacks this week.

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RB - Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (vs. CHI), $4,900

While Carlos Hyde looked much better as a runner against the Cowboys on Sunday, another plus matchup and a cheaper salary ($300 less than last week) makes Gore an interesting play this week. Gore gained 66 yards on 16 carries, but last week's game was out of hand early due to Cowboys turnovers. The Bears allowed 193 rushing yards, third-most in league, and 5.8 YPC in the opener.

[One area where Gore won't help, however, is as a receiver and DraftKings uses full PPR scoring.]

RB - Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (vs. MIA), $4,000

Jackson (28) and C.J. Spiller (29) split snaps on Sunday. While Spiller got more touches (18) than Jackson (10) and scored the only touchdown out of the duo, Jackson is more likely to lead the tandem in touchdowns this season. In addition, Jackson (73) had more yards from scrimmage than Spiller (64) in Week 1.

Not only is F-Jax $2,000 cheaper than Spiller, but there are 39 running backs with a higher salary than Jackson this week. It's unlikely that 39 running backs score more fantasy points than Jackson this week.

RB - Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $3,300

Only $300 more than the position-minimum salary, Greene offers plenty of upside as the lead back and goal-line back in such a generous fantasy matchup. Like noted with Gore, Greene won't catch many passes, but the matchup and price is so favorable, it's hard to resist the $3,300 price tag.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (vs. NO), $3,300

With Ben Tate (knee) sidelined for a few weeks, it's going to be Terrance West and Crowell leading the team's ground attack and I actually like both backs this week. More expensive than Crowell, West ($4,800) will likely lead the tandem in touches, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's Crowell, who scored two TDs last week, gets the goal-line carries while also being mixed in on early downs.

WR - Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (vs. KC), $7,000

Like Rodgers, Thomas is a higher-priced bargain after last week's modest performance as six wide receivers carry a higher salary in DraftKings games this week. Like with Rodgers, I've pounced on the opportunity and Thomas is in all of my Week 2 lineups.

DT has been extremely consistent in both of his seasons with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball: 94-1,434-10 (2012) and 92-1,430-14 (2013). It's unlikely that Thomas is ever this cheap again this season and the Chiefs corners can certainly be exploited in what should be a bounce-back game for Thomas, my top-ranked fantasy wide receiver this week.

WR - Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (vs. DAL), $4,300

Along with teammate Nate Washington (only $3,400), Hunter is an excellent bargain at wideout this week. Essentially, it is never a bad thing starting offensive players against the Cowboys. An athletic freak (6-foot-4, 4.4 forty, 40+ vertical), Hunter is overflowing with big-play potential. Playing 52 snaps on Sunday, Hunter finished with three catches for 63 yards (21.0 Y/R) on a team-high eight targets.

If there is any reason to dislike Hunter, it's that everyone else will like him, too, which means the opportunity to gain an advantage over your fellow contestants won't be as large as you'd like. While I have Hunter in the majority of my leagues, that's one of the reasons I have gone with Washington in a few instead.

WR - Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers (vs. NYJ), $3,000

Boykin found himself in CenturyLink Field's version of Siberia — Richard Sherman's side — and had no catches, no targets, nada. As noted earlier, the Jets secondary is their defensive weak link and Rodgers certainly won't avoid any particular side (and as a result Boykin) this week. At the contest-minimum salary, Boykin carries plenty of value. In many of my contests, I'm loading up with a Rodgers, Jordy Nelson ($6,600) and Boykin stack.

WR - John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (at NYG), $3,000

Described as "uncoverable" in the offseason by the team's general manager, among others, Brown is an ultra-quick and dynamic playmaker in the open field. In Week 1, he had just two receptions for 29 yards but he did score a touchdown. That said, he was tied with Andre Ellington for the second-most targets behind Michael Floyd last week. I don't think he'll finish second in targets most weeks, but I think five targets or so per game seems reasonable. At the contest minimum, I'm willing to take a flier on him in some leagues.

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TE - Larry Donnell, New York Giants (vs. ARI), $3,000

Playing 54 of the team's 67 snaps in Week 1, Donnell finished with a 5/56/1 line on eight targets, all of which were team highs. Along with running back Rashad Jennings (50 yards), Donnell was one of only two Giants to finish with more than 25 receiving yards.

At the position-minimum salary, Donnell has one of the most fantasy-friendly matchups for a tight end this week. Last year, the Cardinals allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and a position-high 17 touchdowns. Although they did not allow a tight end to score last week, they were one of three teams to allow 100-plus receiving yards to the position in Week 1.

TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN), $3,000

While it's disappointing that he played only 19 snaps in Week 1, Kelce had three catches for 49 yards — just 12 tight ends had more last week — on five targets. The Chiefs are nearly two-TD underdogs this week and Andy Reid has indicated that Kelce's playing time could increase so he's worth a shot as a flier.

In addition, check out our site's sortable grid of all players ranked in relation to their DraftKings salary.

Also, check out my weekly fantasy football rankings:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Week 2 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Trifone

Here are my Week 2 picks against the spread:

Miami Dolphins pick'em over Buffalo Bills (4 units)

The Dolphins upsetting the Patriots at home in Week 1 was one of the surprises to the start of the NFL season. Perhaps an even bigger surprise, though, was Buffalo going into Chicago and getting the win. While both teams were impressive enough to win, the Dolphins really showed that they might be much better than expected.

A new offensive line was their biggest concern coming into the year, and Knowshon Moreno led the league in rushing against a pretty good New England defense. It's tough to look better than Miami did in the second half of Week 1, and I expect they'll keep it rolling against what should be an easier opponent in Week 2.

Jacksonville Jaguars +5.5 over Washington (3 units)

The way that Washington's offense has looked in the preseason and in Week 1 of the regular season, it's hard to believe that they are pushing a touchdown favorite over anyone in the league. Jacksonville was all over the Eagles in the first half, but clearly tired later in the game, and ended up getting beat by 17. Still, they had some positive takeaways from the effort, and I like them to keep this one close.

St. Louis Rams +6 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5 units)

I was one of the people that bought into the Bucs this season, expecting a big turnaround from last year. I'm not totally abandoning them after one week, but they clearly have some work to do offensively. The Rams didn't look good in their first game, but their defense is their strong point, and I think they will make it tough for Tampa to score. I think this game could go either way, but I think the St. Louis defense will keep the game close.

New York Giants vs. Arizona Cardinals — Under 42.5 (4 units)

The Cardinals have one of the better defenses in the league, and the Giants offense was uninspired and looked in disarray this past week. The Giants lone bright spot was their run defense, which might keep this one relatively close. Still, I expect points to be at a premium with defense dominating the game.

Note: NFL lines are from sportsbook.ag

-> All of our 2014 NFL Weekly Picks Against the Spread will be tracked here.

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September 11, 2014

2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

While I'm posting this a little later in the week than usual as the Thursday Night Football matchup is in progress, here are our Week 2 2014 NFL power rankings:

1. Seattle Seahawks - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 1

The Seahawks kicked off the 2014 season as defending Super Bowl champions by beating one of the best teams in the league by 20 points. With 110 yards and two TDs, Marshawn Lynch was in "beast mode" and Russell Wilson was efficent, as usual. I was surprised by the Packers decision to completely avoid Richard Sherman's side, but they have now held nine of their past 10 regular-season opponents to less than 200 passing yards. (The exception was still only 207.)

2. Denver Broncos - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 2

The Broncos jumped out to a huge 24-0 lead against the Colts as Peyton Manning and Julius Thomas connected on three second-quarter touchdowns. While they allowed the Colts to eventually cut the lead to a touchdown, the Broncos appear to be the class of the AFC through Week 1.

3. San Francisco 49ers - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 5

With the help of multiple turnovers, the 49ers easily beat the Cowboys on the road. Lacking several key defensive players that they will get back in the second half of the season, their defense looked good against what should be a high-powered offense.

4. Cincinnati Bengals - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 7

The Bengals continue to lose pass catchers as Tyler Eifert was placed on short-term IR with a dislocated elbow, but A.J. Green continues to dominate the opposition. The defense is one of the league's best and although the Bengals failed to use Jeremy Hill much in Week 1, Giovani Bernard and Hill form what could become one of the league's better running back duos.

5. Green Bay Packers - Record: 0-1, Last Update: No. 4

Regardless of the quality of an opponent, a 20-point loss is never good, but I think the Packers will ultimately be much better than what we saw in Week 1. While Aaron Rodgers avoided Sherman's side in the opener, the Jets secondary is ready to be exploited this week. If there's a concern, it's that they struggle to stop the Jets ground game after letting the Seahawks run all over them last week.

6. New England Patriots - Record: 0-1, Last Update: No. 3

Even if an 0-1 start may create "quality of life" problems for some, there is no need to panic in New England. As a starting quarterback, Tom Brady has yet to lose two games in a row to start a season and the team has won double-digit games since 2001. The Dolphins ran at will on them last week and one big concern for Week 2 will be trying to slow down Adrian Peterson.

7. Philadelphia Eagles - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 9

If you're a glass-half-empty guy, you'll point to the Eagles getting outscored 17-0 against the Jags and Nick Foles committing three turnovers in the first half of Week 1. If you're a glass-half-full guy, however, you'll point to their 34 unanswered second-half points. With a tougher matchup on Sunday Night Football, the Eagles will need to put together two solid halves to come out victorious.

8. New Orleans Saints - Record: 0-1, Last Update: No. 6

New Orleans lost a shootout in overtime to division-rival Atlanta. Their offense will be as explosive as ever this year as Mark Ingram and their rushing attack should be as good as it has been in recent years and Brandin Cooks is a dynamic chess piece for this offense. The defense is better than we saw in Week 1.

9. Indianapolis Colts - Record: 0-1, Last Update: No. 8

With the best young quarterback (Andrew Luck) in football, you can never count the Colts out of games and they nearly pulled off a comeback after trailing big in the first half. Their defense could struggle this year, however, with the loss of pass-rusher Robert Mathis (Achilles) for the season.

10. Carolina Panthers - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 13

Although Cam Newton sat out Week 1, Derek Anderson was able to lead the Panthers to a win on the road against the Bucs in Week 1. Newton will be back in Week 2 to face Ndamukong (or as Cam called him, Donkey Kong) Suh and the Lions. Newton's new weapon, Kelvin Benjamin, had a strong NFL debut (6/92/1) and gives the Panthers a huge red-zone target at receiver that they have long lacked.

11. Arizona Cardinals - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 14

The Cardinals got off to a slow start against the Chargers, but they managed to make the fourth-quarter comeback to win by a point. The Cardinals have plenty of talented skill-position players: Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Andre Ellington, etc. Although Ellington is battling a foot injury, he managed to play well with it on MNF.

12. Atlanta Falcons - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 16

Not only did Matt Ryan throw for a franchise-record 448 yards last week, but he spread the ball around as five different receivers finished with at least 50 yards. The Falcons have one of the league's top wide receiver duos with Julio Jones and Roddy White.

13. Detroit Lions - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 18

A more mobile Matthew Stafford looked good in the opener as he and Megatron connected for 7/164/2. The Lions offense and defensive line are elite, but their secondary is the team's weak link and they lost nickel cornerback Bill Bentley in the opener.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 15

The Steelers run defense remains a problem (21st in NFL last year, 6.1 YPC allowed in Week 1) as they allowed the Browns back into last week's win. That said, the Steelers racked up more than 500 yards of offense led by Le'Veon Bell's 197 scrimmage yards.

15. Miami Dolphins - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 24

The Dolphins have some question marks in the linebacking corps, but their rushing attack looked great in their upset over the Patriots led by Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller. Ryan Tannehill completed only 56.3 percent of his pass attempts, but the important stat perhaps is one. One sack, that is, after getting sacked a league-worst 58 times last year.

16. Minnesota Vikings - Record: 1-0, Last Update: No. 28

I feel like I should move the Vikings up even more and I will if they pull off the upset against the Patriots this week, but they thoroughly beat down the Rams in every facet of the game. There was no bigger shock this week.

-> Continue to Teams 17-32

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September 09, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 2

Rules.

As NFL players vote tomorrow, we could soon have a new drug policy in the NFL that will include testing for hGH but could have a major impact in 2014 fantasy football leagues this year.

While it's not a done deal yet that both Josh Gordon and Wes Welker would be reinstated, it at least seems to be the most-likely scenario.

If Gordon is available in your league(s) and he's currently available in 49 percent of Yahoo! leagues, he should be added as soon as you're able to do so.

Gordon would immediately become the WR1 on the majority of fantasy rosters over night. Even though he missed two games to begin last season, Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards (1,646) and all wide receivers in fantasy points.

Rules.

When it comes to listing players on my waiver-wire posts, I have a self-imposed rule that the player has to be available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues. While Gordon misses that threshold by one percent, you should add him. NOW!

The same applies to many other players that may be owned in more than 50 percent of leagues. Even though I use the 50-percent cutoff to try to give you players that are more likely to be available, this list does not include every player that you should add, if available.

That said, here are some players to consider adding to your fantasy roster(s) (positions sorted by Yahoo! ownership, most to least):

QB - Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (12 percent)

While Ryan Tannehill may have more rest-of-season value, there's no quarterback likely on your league's waiver wire that I'd prefer to add more for this week than Locker. Building upon a solid preseason, Locker completed 22 of 33 pass attempts for 266 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 1. A better athlete than his Week 1 rushing numbers (six carries for 14 yards) show, Locker has ideal matchup this week against the Cowboys, which gives him QB1 upside.

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RB - Terrance West, Cleveland Browns (39 percent)

Even if his preseason numbers were a bit uninspiring, I'm surprised that West is available in almost two-thirds of fantasy leagues given the durability track record of Ben Tate. Playing only 40 games in his previous four years, Tate left yesterday's game early with a knee injury and it's unclear if Tate will play in Week 2. Even if he does play, however, there's a good chance he won't play all remaining 15 games this season.

Working with fellow rookie Isaiah Crowell to fill Tate's void, West rushed for an even 100 yards on 16 carries (6.25 yards per carry). West put up video game-like numbers at Towson and he's a powerful 225-pound runner with good vision.

RB - Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans (32 percent)

As the team's starting running back, for now at least, Greene carried the ball 15 times for 71 yards against the Chiefs. By the end of the season, he may no longer be leading the backfield in touches, but for now he stands to be the most productive member of the running back group. And with a primo matchup against the Cowboys this week, Greene should be at least a flex option this week if you need a running back in Week 2.

RB - James Starks, Green Bay Packers (16 percent)

If Eddie Lacy (concussion) is unable to go this week, Starks would move into the RB2 range as the lead back of one of the league's most-explosive offenses. That said, the strength of the Jets' team is their defensive line and run defense. The Jets allowed just 25 rushing yards and 1.7 YPC on Sunday to the Raiders and ranked third in run defense (88.3 YPG, league-low 3.4 YPC) in 2013.

RB - Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens (nine percent)

One day after benching Bernard Pierce for a lost fumble, the Ravens cut Ray Rice, who wasn't going to be available for this week's game anyways. That said, the Ravens have a quick turnaround as they host the Steelers on Thursday Night Football and Forsett appears to be in line for the start. With his unexpectedly expanded role on Sunday, Forsett rushed 11 times for 70 yards and a touchdown and added five catches for 14 yards. The Steelers allowed 183 rushing yards (6.1 YPC) to the Browns in Week 1. While Forsett may lead the team in touches for a game or two, he's better suited for a change-of-pace role.

RB - Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (four percent)

Even though Doug Martin's knee injury doesn't appear to be serious, Rainey would be the back to own if Martin were to miss any time.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (three percent)

Although off-the-field issues got him kicked off the Georgia Bulldogs football team, Crowell never lacked talent as a former five-star recruit although he went undrafted due to character concerns. Like West, Crowell saw an expanded role with Tate leaving Sunday's game early and he capitalized by averaging more than six yards per carry. Crowell had five carries for 32 yards and two touchdowns.

RB - Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens (one percent)

The Ravens running backs played the following snaps on Sunday: Forsett (57), Pierce (eight) and Taliaferro (three). In other words, it's unclear how large a role Taliaferro will have in Week 2.

Although Pierce was benched for his lost fumble and Forsett was the primary back after that, I expect either Pierce (most likely) or Taliaferro to be the team's primary early-down back this season. If Pierce loses another fumble or struggles, Taliaferro could certainly see his role increase, perhaps significantly, at the expense of Pierce. That said, it's important to keep in mind that it was Pierce's first fumble in 266 career NFL carries.

WR - Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings (39 percent)

Of course, I would prefer to own Cordarrelle Patterson over Jennings, but Jennings should be owned in more than 39 percent of leagues. Much more productive when Matt Cassel was under center last year, Jennings had 6/58/1 on Sunday and there will be many more productive outings for Jennings this season.

WR - Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns (25 percent)

Hawkins had a team-high 10 targets, eight receptions and 87 yards on Sunday. While Jordan Cameron left the game early as he aggravated a shoulder injury and Gordon could be reinstated, Hawkins still would have some fantasy value if Gordon returns, especially in PPR formats.

WR - Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars (14 percent)

Although fellow rookie Allen Hurns had a huge 4/110/2 game, I would actually prefer Lee over Hurns. Considering Cecil Shorts (hamstring) missed Week 1, Hurns moved into the starting lineup opposite Lee. Lee had a slow start on Sunday, but he finished with six catches for 62 yards. Several of those catches came in garbage time, but there could be quite a bit of garbage time for the Jags going forward.

WR - Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (12 percent)

Hurns did something only 11 other rookies have done — 110 receiving yards or more in Week 1. With Shorts out, Hurns finished with four receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns. As an undrafted rookie out of Miami (FL), Hurns had a 62-1,162-6 line in his senior season and led all of the NFL with 232 receiving yards this preseason. While you obviously shouldn't expect 4/110/2 every week, Hurns will have some solid weeks, especially considering the Jags could be playing from behind often.

WR - Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams (four percent)

Drafted with the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Appalachian State, Quick did not do much in his first two NFL seasons despite his combination of size and speed, but he had generated some buzz this offseason. In the opener, the Rams offense other than Quick struggled big time as they were beat down by the Vikings, 34-6. That said, Quick was clearly the most productive of the team's receivers offensive players with seven catches for 99 yards on nine targets.

WR - Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills (four percent)

Woods got the start opposite Sammy Watkins and also ranked second among the receivers in snaps. Woods had four catches for a team-high 78 yards in their Week 1 upset over the Bears. Even though E.J. Manuel did not play horribly in Week 1, the quarterback situation is less than ideal and the team agrees as they paid a lot of money to sign Kyle Orton as a backup.

TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (36 percent)

After missing all of his rookie season, Kelce made some noise in the preseason with a couple of long touchdown receptions, which showcased his mismatch-creating size and athleticism. With Dwayne Bowe suspended for the opener, Kelce had 3/49 on five targets. Kelce played only 20 snaps in the opener and is currently behind Anthony Fasano (52 snaps) on the depth chart, but Kelce's role should continue to expand within the Chiefs' offense.

TE - Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts (seven percent)

Allen had a solid rookie season (45/521/3), but he was lost for the season in Week 1 last year after hauling in one 20-yard touchdown reception. So far, so good this year as Allen had four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown on Sunday night. Even though Fleener (50) played more snaps than Allen (39), Allen is a better red-zone threat and I expect him to put up better overall numbers this season than Fleener. He's a TE2 with some upside.

My Playbook by FantasyPros: An easy way to gain an edge on your opponents is to use the My Playbook tool from FantasyPros to give you tailored advice for waiver-wire and start/sit decisions based on your specific teams as it syncs up with your existing ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS, NFL.com, etc. leagues.

Tomorrow, I will release my initial Week 2 fantasy rankings.

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September 06, 2014

Fantasy Football Weekly: Week 1 DFS Value Plays

Only moments after Notre Dame spanked Michigan to end their series (for now) on a pick-six and 37-0 shutout, Dan Yanotchko and I recorded our Fantasy Football Weekly podcast. [Can you guess who my favorite college football team is?]

In the podcast, we discussed some players that we like in daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests this week.

Check Out Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with EDSFootball on BlogTalkRadio

Some of the players we discussed include Geno Smith, Fred Jackson, Frank Gore, Roddy White, Emmanuel Sanders, and others.

I've embedded the podcast above so that you can listen. In the future, you can catch our weekly shows on Blog Talk Radio as well.

As we mentioned on the podcast, you can get deposit bonuses when you sign up at DraftKings and FanDuel.

September 05, 2014

Daily Fantasy Sports: Week 1 DraftKings Value Plays

If you haven't played daily fantasy sports (DFS) yet, you don't know what you're missing?

As members of our instant-gratification society, DFS delivers on our need for instant gratification. Similar to that new car smell, fantasy owners have a certain feeling of optimism when they complete their season-long drafts. In a way, DFS gives us that same feeling of optimism each and every week.

One of the biggest benefits of DFS contests is that you don't get stuck with injured players.

Did you use your first-round pick on Eddie Lacy and your second-rounder on Andre Ellington? I'm sure there are some of you out there that have. We've only played one of 256 regular-season games and it's possible that your RB1 (Lacy) has a concussion and your RB2 (Ellington) could miss an "extended period of time."

If you drafted this team on Tuesday, as an example, you're undoubtedly bummed already.

With DFS leagues, that's much less of a concern. Of course, someone in your starting lineup that week could get hurt, but you're not stuck with guys that could be out for multiple weeks (or months).

For the newbies to daily fantasy football, you complete against others by setting your lineup within a salary-cap structure.

Some quick facts to know about DraftKings contests:

  • Salary cap limit is $50,000, which averages to $5,555 per player
  • Highest-priced player is Peyton Manning ($10,100); lowest is Jaguars D/ST ($1,500)
  • Lowest salaries for QBs and RB/WR/TE/Flex are $5,000 and $3,000, respectively
  • Starting lineup consists of QB, RB/RB, WR/WR/WR, TE, Flex and D/ST
  • Full PPR scoring is used and three bonus points are awarded for 300 passing, 100 rushing and 100 receiving yards

To afford some of the contest's higher-priced studs, you'll need to find some value picks elsewhere. The intent of this post is to help you find some affordably-priced options that can deliver for your daily lineup(s).

With that said, here are some value plays for Week 1:

QB - Geno Smith, New York Jets (vs. OAK), $6,500 salary

Remember, the focus here (this post) is to identify value options with low(er) salaries although I like higher-priced studs at the position such as Peyton, Andrew Luck ($8,300), Colin Kaepernick ($8,000), to name a few, as well. If you decide to go a cheaper route, however, Geno is worth consideration.

Like most rookie quarterbacks, Smith was inconsistent last year, but he had virtually no weapons and improved as the season progressed. In his final four games, Smith scored seven touchdowns — four passing and three rushing — with only two interceptions. While he averaged less than 200 passing yards per game (197.5 to be exact) during that span, he had at least five carries and 44 rushing yards in all four of those games. In fact, that four-game span began by hosting this week's opponent. In that game, he scored 22.76 fantasy points — 219 passing yards, a TD and an INT with 50 rushing yards and a score.

QB - Shaun Hill, St. Louis Rams (vs. MIN), $5,000

One of two starters priced at the QB-minimum salary of $5,000 (the other is rookie Derek Carr), Hill faces a Vikings secondary that allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last season. At the time the salaries were set, Sam Bradford was not out for the season with a torn ACL and was priced at $6,600. There isn't a huge dropoff between Bradford and Hill and this pick could allow you to load up elsewhere.

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RB - Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (at DAL), $5,200

Once one of the best receiving backs in the league, Gore has only 61 catches over the past three seasons. That said, Gore should run all over the league's most generous fantasy defense. It wouldn't be a shock if Gore got the 100-yard three-point bonus and scored a touchdown (or two). Tied for the 23rd-highest salary this year, it's unlikely that 22 running backs score more fantasy points this week than Gore.

RB - Chris Johnson, New York Jets (vs. OAK), $5,100

As much of a boom-or-bust running back as any in the league, this could be one of the "boom" weeks for Johnson. I expect the Jets to be playing ahead most of the game and I think we see a bunch of CJ1K and Chris Ivory. The Raiders ranked 27th in the league in defending running backs last season.

RB - Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (at DET), $5,000

The Lions have one of the league's better defensive lines in the league and that's certainly not good news for Jennings outlook. That said, Jennings will get the majority of touches among the team's backs and perhaps five or more receptions out of the backfield. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Jennings led all RBs in catches this weekend. The struggles of the offensive line and passing offense in general could lead to plenty of check downs to Jennings.

RB - Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (at ATL), $5,000

No running back had more receptions last season than Thomas (77) and it's possible that Thomas gets more in 2014 with Darren Sproles no longer in NOLA. This game is one of three contests with an over/under in excess of 50 points and with these contests using PPR scoring, I prefer PT among the team's running backs.

RB - Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (at CHI), $4,400

Would it be a shock for F-Jax to score more fantasy points than C.J. Spiller ($6,200) this week? This year? Not really. In a matchup where the Bills are seven-point underdogs, it's possible they get down early and Jackson gets more snaps than Spiller as they play catch up. Only the Cowboys allowed more fantasy points to running backs last season.

WR - Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO), $5,900

Last season was mostly a year to forget for Roddy, but he finished strong with a stat line of 43/502/2 over the final five games. Only Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery had more yards and only Julian Edelman had more catches during that span. Granted, Julio Jones missed those games, but I think there will be enough targets for both Jones and White with Tony Gonzalez retiring. And again, this game should be a shootout.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. OAK), $5,200

Only (now) ex-teammate Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant have had the two-year line of 172-2,352-24 that Decker has had over the past two seasons. Going from Peyton to Geno Smith is clearly a downgrade, but Smith played reasonably well last December, as noted above, and should build upon that improvement this year. One positive about the transition is that Decker should see his volume of targets spike as the clear-cut No. 1 option in the passing game. Last season, the Raiders allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

WR - Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (vs. IND), $4,800

With Wes Welker suspended for the first four games of the season, Sanders will see plenty of targets against the Colts. While we shouldn't bank on a 5/128/2 line like Sanders had in (the first half of) the third preseason game, there's a lot to like about being one of the top-three options in a Peyton Manning-led offense. A huge bargain, thirty-five receivers have higher salaries than Sanders. The only drawback is he will be widely-owned in all contests, reducing your ability to gain an advantage over others.

WR - Kenny Britt, St. Louis Rams (vs. MIN), $4,000

Blessed with the physical tools to be a dominant wide receiver, Britt has struggled with injuries and off-the-field issues throughout his first five NFL seasons. Only 25 years old, Britt has been given a second-chance with his former coach and it appears that he finally has his head on straight. I expect him to be the most productive Rams WR this season and he has a favorable matchup against last year's second-most generous defense to wide receivers.

WR - Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars (at PHI), $3,500

The Jaguars are the only double-digit underdogs this week and their top-three wide receivers on Sunday could all be rookies as Cecil Shorts is dealing with a hamstring injury. Even if Shorts plays, Lee could be a nice value at only $3,500. If Shorts is out, Lee has huge upside considering the Jags could be trailing big.

[Related: I made a bold prediction regarding the Jaguars in my Week 1 NFL power rankings.]

TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at ARI), $3,400

While full-season expectations are rather low, Gates is a viable starting option at an affordable cost (21 TEs are cheaper) in his fantasy-friendly matchup. No team allowed more fantasy points to opposing TEs last season than the Cardinals, who surrendered a league-most 17 touchdowns to TEs. In fact, they allowed a TE to score in 11 of 16 games. With one of the best corners in the league (Patrick Peterson) shadowing Keenan Allen on Monday night, there is even more reason for Philip Rivers & Co. to exploit this matchup.

TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. TEN), $3,200

As Dwayne Bowe serves a one-game suspension to start the season, the Chiefs will start Donnie Avery and Frankie Hammond at wide receiver. Someone other than Jamaal Charles will need to catch passes and Kelce is the most talented pass-catcher on the roster after Charles. Kelce, who was listed in my Week 1 waiver-wire post, has the athleticism to create mismatches as his pair of long preseason touchdowns illustrates.

In addition, check out our site's sortable grid of all players ranked in relation to their DraftKings salary.

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2014 Fantasy Football Week 1 Start'em, Sit'em

With the new season kicking off last night, Game 1 of 256 is in the books. For help on choosing which players to start or sit for the rest of this week (and future weeks), I will post this weekly Start'em, Sit'em column.

Obviously, it's impossible for me to know everyone's roster construction and league settings (except for yours, of course). Keep in mind that the players on this list are players that I like more than usual (start'em side) and ones that I dislike more than usual (sit'em side).

When it comes to deciding which players to sit in your specific situation, please use my Week 1 fantasy football rankings.

As an example, if you have two quarterbacks on your roster (say, Peyton Manning and Colin Kaepernick) and start only one quarterback, you should sit Kaepernick (and start Manning). For someone else that has Kaepernick and say Ben Roethlisberger and that again starts only one quarterback, Kaepernick should start over Big Ben.

The point is Kaepernick could be someone to start or sit depending on your specific roster.

Without further ado, here are some players to consider inserting into your fantasy lineup(s):

QB - Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (at DAL)

With improved and healthier options in the passing game, there should be optimism for the 49ers passing offense although they looked horrible this preseason. Kaepernick completed just 54.5 percent of his 22 pass attempts at a clip of 5.2 yards per attempt with no touchdowns. In one post-game interview, Kaep essentially said he wasn't worried about the offensive sluggishness in the preseason and that he only cares about the regular season. And if there's a regular-season matchup that turn things around quickly, it's this week's opener against the Cowboys.

Ranked 32nd in total defense last year, the Cowboys defense allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2013 and their defense should be even worse, if that's possible, this year. Start Kaepernick with confidence this week.

RB - Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (at DAL)

Drafted by most as a low-end RB2, Gore has the potential to produce as a solid RB1 this week against the Cowboys. As bad as they were against QBs last year, the Cowboys were even worse against RBs as no team allowed more fantasy points to the position in 2013. Behind one of the best offensive lines in the league, Gore has rushed for 1,100-plus yards and eight-plus TDs in each of the past three seasons.

RB - Chris Johnson, New York Jets (vs. OAK)

I'm not a huge fan of CJ1K overall, but I like him this week against a bad Raiders defense that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs last season. The Jets could be playing most of the game with a lead and I think we see a lot of Johnson and Chris Ivory on Sunday.

WR - Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)

One of three games for which Vegas has set the over-under above 50 points, there should be plenty of offense in this matchup. I have both Falcons receivers — Julio Jones and Roddy White — in my top eight this week, but I think Colston has a chance to produce as a WR1 this week as well. Colston is coming off a relatively disappointing season, but he was much more effective in the second half of 2013 — 48/601/4 over his final eight regular-season games — and claims that his foot issues that slowed him are behind him.

WR - Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (vs. IND)

With Wes Welker suspended for the first four games of the season, Sanders will see plenty of targets against the Colts on Sunday Night Football. While we shouldn't bank on a 5/128/2 line like Sanders had in (the first half of) the third preseason game, there's a lot to like about being one of the top-three options in a Peyton Manning-led offense. In DFS contests, Sanders is a nice value: $4,800 (DraftKings contests) and $6,400 (FanDuel contests).

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

Only (now) ex-teammate Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant have had the two-year line of 172-2,352-24 that Decker has had the past two seasons. Going from from Peyton to Geno Smith is clearly a downgrade, but Smith played reasonably well last December and should build upon that improvement this year. One positive about the transition is that Decker should see his volume of targets spike as the clear-cut No. 1 option in the passing game. Last season, the Raiders allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at ARI)

While full-season expectations are rather low, Gates is my TE8 this week and a viable starting option in his fantasy-friendly matchup. No team allowed more fantasy points to opposing TEs last season than the Cardinals, who allowed a league-most 17 touchdowns to TEs. In fact, they allowed a TE to score in 11 of 16 games. With one of the best corners in the league (Patrick Peterson) shadowing Keenan Allen on Monday night, there is even more reason for Philip Rivers & Co. to exploit this matchup.

TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. TEN)

As Dwayne Bowe serves a one-game suspension to start the season, the Chiefs will start Donnie Avery and Frankie Hammond at wide receiver. Someone other than Jamaal Charles will need to catch passes and Kelce is the most talented pass-catcher on the roster after Charles. Kelce, who was listed in my Week 1 waiver-wire post, has the athleticism to create mismatches as his pair of long preseason touchdowns illustrates.

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Here are some players to consider keeping on your fantasy bench(es):

QB - Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (at TB)

At this point, it's still unclear whether Newton will play or not on Sunday with the "game-time decision" label. That said, I would prefer to not start him even if he plays with extra padding for his ribs.

With the fractured ribs, it would make sense for him to run a little less (or at least for the team to call fewer designed runs). Plus the ankle injury before the ribs injury kept him limited his ability to develop chemistry with a completely-revamped wide receiver corps.

RB - Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens (vs. CIN)

With Ray Rice out on suspension this week, Pierce gets an opportunity to be the team's featured back. After a disappointing season for Pierce and the running game as a whole, I think we see a better result this year and perhaps most specifically for Pierce in Gary Kubiak's scheme. It could be tough running for Pierce this week, however, as the Bengals allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs last season. Cincinnati allowed a league-low four TDs and just 3.75 yards per carry to RBs in 2013.

RB - Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans (at KC)

Sankey was drafted by fantasy owners as a low-end RB2/flex for many teams and while he will eventually top the team's depth chart, he's just part of a committee backfield for now. At a minimum, Shonn Greene should get the goal-line carries and Dexter McCluster should get most of the targets in the passing game.

RB - Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland Raiders (at NYJ)

After a disappointing season with a career-low 3.4 yards per carry, MJD signed with the Raiders in the offseason and has looked reasonably good in the preseason. With some favorable matchups, there will be weeks that Jones-Drew becomes a viable RB2. This isn't one of those weeks as the strength of the Jets is their defensive line and run defense. The Jets allowed just one 100-yard rusher last season (coincidentally, it was new teammate Marcel Reece) and were the fifth-stingiest defense to fantasy RBs last season.

WR - DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (at HOU)

While he had more consistency in Chip Kelly's offense last season, D-Jax has long been a boom-or-bust type of option in fantasy. Considering how poorly RG3 has played in the preseason, the (passing) offense may struggle out of the gates and I'd prefer to keep them (as a unit) on my bench, if possible, as they try to figure things out.

WR - Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)

Despite back-to-back seasons with less than 1,000 yards, I expect Wallace to bounce back in 2014 with Bill Lazor taking over the offense and the team being more creative to get the ball into his hands. Assuming the Patriots use Darrelle Revis to shadow Wallace in Week 1, however, it could be a long day for 60 Minutes. That said, it's not out of the question that Revis spends a lot of time on Charles Clay, which would be similar to how they used Aqib Talib against him at the end of last season.

WR - Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (at CHI)

Although it's difficult for rookie receivers to make big impacts, there is no denying Watkins' electrifying and all-around talent. That said, it's hard to trust Watkins with E.J. Manuel under center. Watkins has been dealing with an injury (and aggravation of the injury) to his ribs, but he will play on Sunday. If there is a positive, the Bills could be playing from behind, which could lead to more targets. Unfortunately, those targets will come from Manuel.

TE - Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (at STL)

On virtually all of my fantasy rosters, I have one tight end, which means there is not a start-sit decision to be made at this spot. It's more of a start-or-take-a-goose-egg decision. If Rudolph is your fantasy tight end, I think he has a breakout campaign under his new TE-friendly OC Norv Turner. If you have two tight ends (including one of the two listed above), this is the matchup to consider sitting Rudy. No team allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing tight ends last year than the Rams, who held the position to five fantasy points or less in three-quarters of their games.

TE - Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)

Clay had been dealing with a knee issue, but he practiced fully yesterday so his status for Sunday's game is not in doubt. It's possible that the Patriots game plan to specifically limit Clay like they did in Week 15 last year when they put Talib on him and Clay finished with one catch for six yards. My preseason TE13, Clay will be a borderline TE1/TE2 in most weeks, but this week he's a definite TE2 for me.

As noted earlier, start-sit decisions can and should be answered with my rankings as opposed to using this list of players I've highlighted. To see who I would start, here are my Week 1 rankings:

Looking for an in-season resource that tailors advice to all of your specific teams, check out the My Playbook tool from FantasyPros.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) could miss an "extended period of time"

Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (foot) left practice yesterday and the results of his MRI don't appear to be good news for him, the Cards and/or his fantasy owners, according to Fox Sports 910's Mike Jurecki.

Despite some skepticism about his ability to hold up to increased usage, Arizona's plan was to use Ellington as a workhorse back with Rashard Mendenhall hanging up his cleats.

Ellington was highly effective on a per-touch basis last season as he averaged 5.5 yards per carry and 9.5 yards per reception, but he averaged just over 10 touches per game as a rookie.

Assuming that Ellington misses the opener on Monday night (and perhaps much more), Jonathan Dwyer is next up on the depth chart followed by Stepfan Taylor, but they are obviously less dynamic options.

That said, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted that there's "still a chance" that he plays on Monday night.

September 04, 2014

2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 1 (and a Really Bold Prediction)

The countdown to the start of the 2014 NFL season is no longer months, weeks or even days. It's now just a couple of hours until the Seahawks and Packers kick things off.

As long as the wait has been, one thing is certain — the season will fly by and we'll be wondering how it went so quickly. Another thing that is certain is that there will be plenty of surprises along the way. There always are.

Later in these updated NFL power rankings, I am going to make a (VERY) bold prediction. If I made it here, you'd probably think I'm insane and stop reading. Instead, you'll have to read some of my power rankings before you think I'm insane.

Without further ado, here are our Week 1 2014 NFL power rankings:

1. Seattle Seahawks - Last Update: No. 1

The defending Super Bowl champions opened our power rankings in the No. 1 spot and they remain there in our updated rankings. As early favorites to repeat (according to Vegas), they could become the first team to do so since Patriots (2004/2005). Not only do the 'Hawks dominate with their suffocating defense and rushing attack, but Russell Wilson has looked phenomenal in the preseason — 76.9 completion percentage at 9.23 yards per attempt with five TDs (three rushing, two passing) and no INTs — and could be ready to take another step forward in Year 3.

2. Denver Broncos - Last Update: No. 3

The Broncos had a historic offensive season in 2013 as Peyton Manning set NFL single-season passing records (5,477 yards and 55 TDs). With the departures of Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno via free agency and four-game suspension for Wes Welker, their offense should continue to fire on all cylinders. More importantly, the addition of defensive free agents like Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware and drafting of Bradley Roby in the first round should help shore up their defense that will be often defending a lead.

3. New England Patriots - Last Update: No. 5

Since Tom Brady became the team's starting quarterback in 2001, the Brady and Belichick duo have won double-digit games every season. That's 11 consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins! Over the past four seasons, they have managed to win a minimum of 12 games every season. Advancing to the AFC Championship Game last year was proof that you can never count out a Brady-led and Belichick-coached squad, but they overachieved given the turnover and injuries among pass-catchers and defensive personal. With better health this year, it's a clear two-team battle for AFC supremacy between the Patriots and Broncos.

4. Green Bay Packers - Last Update: No. 4

With one of the league's top offenses, the Packers are legitimate challengers to take it all provided that Aaron Rodgers stays healthy all season. Not only do they have talented playmakers at receiver — Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, etc. — but Eddie Lacy gives them the balance to keep opposing defenses honest and wear them down late in the game. Improvement on defense will be key to how deep of a run they can make in January, but drafting Alabama free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at No. 22 addressed one of their bigger needs.

5. San Francisco 49ers - Last Update: No. 2

By season's end, it wouldn't be a surprise if the 49ers and Seahawks are the top two teams in the NFC. That said, there are some serious question marks heading into the season. Not only will NaVorro Bowman miss at least six games on the PUP list and Glenn Dorsey miss at least eight games on short-term IR, but Aldon Smith was suspended for nine games. And it's unclear what will happen with Ray McDonald. And without trying to put too much emphasis on the preseason, their offense looked, well, offensive this preseason.

6. New Orleans Saints - Last Update: No. 6

The Saints offense will continue to fire on all cylinders under Drew Brees, who has three consecutive 5,000-yard seasons, and Sean Payton. As impressively, Rob Ryan turned the league's worst defense in 2012 into the fourth-ranked defense in 2013.

7. Cincinnati Bengals - Last Update: No. 7

Few teams are as balanced as Cincinnati — 10th in total offense and third in total defense last season. With Hue Jackson taking over the offense, the Bengals will be more run-oriented behind Giovani Bernard and rookie Giovani Bernard, which should in turn limit the turnovers from Andy Dalton. With three consecutive one-and-done postseasons, will this be the year that the Bengals end their 25'ish-year drought of winning a playoff game?

8. Indianapolis Colts - Last Update: No. 8

As the best team in the NFL's worst division, it is probably not much of a surprise that the Colts have the league's most favorable strength of schedule in 2014. (Of course, the other three teams have the next three most favorable SOS.) Lucky to be as bad as they were in the right year (2012) to secure the top pick to land Andrew Luck, the Colts should be perennial contenders in the division over the next decade.

9. Philadelphia Eagles - Last Update: No. 9

Even though Peyton Manning won his record fifth MVP while breaking a slew of records, it was Nick Foles — not Manning — that led the NFL in passer rating. While there is no way he plays as efficiently in 2014, Foles posted a 27:2 TD-to-INT ratio in 2013 and had the third-highest passer rating ever. The Eagles appear to be clear favorites to repeat in the NFC East after going from worst to first in Chip Kelly's first season. For the team to take another step forward, they will need to see a big improvement from their defense in 2014.

10. Chicago Bears - Last Update: No. 10

Only the Broncos scored more points than the Bears last season. Not only will this be one of Jay Cutler's few seasons in an offensive scheme for a second year in a row, but the Bears return all 11 starters on offense. The year-over-year continuity and additional familiarity with Trestman's offense bodes well, but the key will be improvement on defense.

11. Baltimore Ravens - Last Update: No. 13

Missing the playoffs for the first time in his career, Joe Flacco had a horrible season by all accounts. Flacco was sacked a career-high 48 times and threw a career-worst 22 interceptions, which was 10 more than any of his first five seasons. In addition, they averaged a league-worst 3.1 yards per carry With Gary Kubiak running the offense, however, I expect them to improve on that side of the ball and their defense remains solid.

12. San Diego Chargers - Last Update: No. 16

Not only did Philip Rivers have a bounce-back season, but Ryan Mathews played in all 16 games and Keenan Allen established himself as a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver as a rookie. The Chargers made some investments (free agency and draft) on improving their secondary, but that unit's improvement will be key for them to be a more serious threat to the Broncos in the division.

13. Carolina Panthers - Last Update: No. 12

Coming off ankle surgery, Cam Newton has since suffered a stress fracture in his ribs. While he's expected to be ready for the start of the season, it has limited his ability to get on the same page with a completely revamped group of wide receivers.

14. Arizona Cardinals - Last Update: No. 11

The Cardinals were a surprise success story last season as they won 10 games in the league's most-talented division. They will be without a couple of key components to their front seven with Daryl Washington suspended for the season and Darnell Dockett suffering a season-ending injury. Their offense should be good as Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd are joined by dynamic rookie receiver John Brown and Andre Ellington taking over as the team's featured back.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Last Update: No. 15

As I noted in the last update, the Steelers run defense ranked outside of the top three in the league for only the second time since 2004 as they finished 21st in rush defense. The addition of Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt should help turn that around. On offense, the Steelers are expected to use more no-huddle offense and they had a ton of success with it in the second half of last season.

16. Atlanta Falcons - Last Update: No. 16

The Falcons have lost left tackle Sam Baker for the season, but they used the sixth-overall pick on Jake Matthews, who will slide over to the left side. Provided their receivers — Julio Jones and Roddy White — stay healthy, the Falcons should have one of the league's better offenses in 2014.

-> Continue to Teams 17-32

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September 03, 2014

Donahue's Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings

Earlier today, I posted my Week 1 fantasy football rankings and here are my top 20 fantasy quarterbacks for Week 1:

1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (vs. IND)
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
3. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. NYG)
4. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (at DEN)
5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)
6. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (at DAL)
7. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (at SEA)
8. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (vs. BUF)
9. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. JAX)
10. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (at MIA)
11. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. GB)
12. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (vs. SF)
13. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SD)
14. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (at HOU)
15. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at ARI)
16. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CLE)
17. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (at TB)
18. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (at BAL)
19. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)
20. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. TEN)

-> View all of Brendan's Week 1 fantasy football rankings

Also, check out our consensus fantasy football rankings that averages out all four of our analysts' rankings.

2014 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire - Week 1

The vast majority of fantasy football drafts are now complete. While I'm sure you nailed your draft(s), that is only half of the battle.

Managing your team throughout the season — start/sit decisions, trade proposals, waiver-wire additions, etc. — is equally as important.

As always, our waiver-wire includes players that are owned in only 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues or less. The goal is to give you relevant names that you can actually add to your squad(s).

Of course, if there are players owned in more than 50 percent of leagues available in yours, they could potentially be better additions than those you will find on my list.

In addition, the list of players below isn't an all-inclusive list of players that are worthy of adding to your roster. Instead, these are some intriguing options that merit your consideration.

Consult with my fantasy football rankings to compare players on this list with other players you're considering adding.

Here are some players to consider adding to your fantasy roster(s) (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (42 percent)

No quarterback was protected worse than Tannehill, who was sacked a league-high 58 times last season, but the Dolphins have improved their offensive line through free agency and the draft. In addition, the Dolphins have brought in Bill Lazor from Philadelphia to run the offense, one that will be much more up-tempo.

Despite being sacked so much last season, Tannehill still managed to improve upon his overall numbers in Year 2 — 3,913 passing yards and 24:17 TD-to-INT ratio (compared to 3,294 and 12:13 as a rookie). Over the past two seasons, Tannehill ranks ninth among QBs in rushing yards (449) and has averaged 5.04 yards per carry. The Dolphins are expected to use more read-option plays this season, which will lead to more rushing production from the former leading receiver at Texas A&M.

Tannehill is the highest-ranked fantasy quarterback (my QB16) among those owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

QB - Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (12 percent)

There are two major concerns with the former eighth-overall pick — accuracy and durability. Undoubtedly, those are serious concerns. That said, Locker has a cannon for an arm and is one of the league's most mobile quarterbacks. Among the other quarterbacks that rank in the top 10 in rushing yards over the past two seasons, none have averaged more yards per carry than Locker (6.86). The other intriguing part about Locker's 2014 outlook is new head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was integral in Philip Rivers' bounce-back season last year as offensive coordinator in San Diego.

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RB - Terrance West, Cleveland Browns (45 percent)

In his competitition with free-agent addition Ben Tate, West clearly lost as Tate is expected to enter the season as a three-down back. Especially considering the team's lack of weapons in the passing offense with Josh Gordon's full-year suspension, West should still develop a significant role within the offense over the course of the season.

That said, Tate has struggled with durability. In his four NFL seasons backing up Houston's Arian Foster, Tate has missed a total of 24 games. The possibility that West becomes the lead back in at least a few games is rather high.

RB - Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts (26 percent)

Speaking of durability concerns, Bradshaw has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career even though he is one of the toughest players in the league. Bradshaw has played 16 games in only one of his seven NFL seasons, but he has averaged 4.59 YPC over his career.

While the Colts want Trent Richardson to become their featured back, there is little reason for optimism after a preseason that was similar to his first two seasons. T-Rich averaged 2.92 YPC in his 14 games with the Colts last season with much of the blame placed on his lack of familiarity with the offense. While he has had an entire offseason to develop more comfort with the playbook, Richardson averaged a paltry 2.55 YPC this preseason (20 carries for 55 yards).

Would you be surprised if Bradshaw eventually took over for a demoted T-Rich a la Donald Brown last season? Yeah, me neither.

RB - Lance Dunbar, Dallas Cowboys (10 percent)

The injury-prone DeMarco Murray played a career-high 14 games last season and had a career-best year as fantasy's RB7. As much as I like Murray this season, Dunbar should be a top-50 running back whether Murray misses games or not. We've seen multiple running backs have productive seasons in Scott Linehan's offense as recently as last season with both Reggie Bush and Joique Bell finishing as top-20 backs in 2013. The team plans to use Dunbar some in the slot as well and if Murray misses time, he immediately becomes an RB2 while Murray is out.

RB - Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams (six percent)

Reports from beat writers have indicated that Cunningham has outplayed Zac Stacy throughout the offseason. And although the team downplayed the fact that Cunningham got the start in the third preseason game (i.e., regular-season dress rehearsal) over Stacy, it's another indication that he's going to carve out a larger role than most had expected just one month ago.

WR - Kenny Britt, St. Louis Rams (31 percent)

Knee injuries and off-the-field issues have kept Britt from realizing his vast potential, but there is no doubt that Britt possesses all the tools to be an elite fantasy wide receiver. Believe it or not, the former first-rounder is only 25 years old, but most importantly he is getting a second (okay, more like 12th) chance with former coach Jeff Fisher and reports are that he finally has his head on straight.

Owned more than Tavon Austin (43 percent), Britt is my pick to lead the Rams receivers in fantasy points this season. Britt has as much upside as virtually any receiver on the waiver wire.

WR - Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns (25 percent)

Regardless of who's under center for the Browns, they have to throw the ball to someone. After tight end Jordan Cameron, Hawkins is the receiver I like the most among the team's pass-catchers. The small-but-quick receiver is a better option in PPR formats, but he could be productive for all fantasy owners.

WR - Cody Latimer, Denver Broncos (15 percent)

Latimer may still be fourth in line among the wide receivers even with Wes Welker being suspended for the team's first four games, but he's certainly not the fourth-most talented among that group. Both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders should remain ahead of Latimer all season, but I expect Latimer to surpass Andre Caldwell on the depth chart at some point (sooner rather than later).

Once Welker returns, there remains durability concerns as he has suffered three concussions in the past 10 months. Latimer may not be startable during Welker's suspension as the team's No. 4 WR, but he certainly should be rostered and stashed in virtually all leagues for his upside.

WR - John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (seven percent)

Speaking of upside, Brown has turned heads all offseason and preseason. Here's one example from General Manager Steve Keim last month:

I haven’t seen a rookie come in and do what he’s done — and it’s early still — since Anquan Boldin. This guy came through the first day, and being from Pittsburg State, has uncanny instincts, unbelievable understanding of route concepts, leverage, being in the right spot at the right time. On top of great ball skills, he has unusual speed and explosiveness. You add all that in combination, and it’s amazing this guy who came from Pittsburg State can do this. Through this part of camp, I haven’t seen any of our players cover him, and I think you’d probably be able to put on the Texans tape and realize they didn’t have anybody to cover him.”

With opposing defenses having to focus on Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd as well, Brown will have an opportunity to do plenty of damage as the team's No. 3 wide receiver. And we've seen coach Bruce Arians recently have success with a speedy rookie out of a small school — T.Y. Hilton (50/861/7 as a rookie in 2012).

TE - Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (27 percent)

A hot name in the dynasty community, Kelce missed all of last season after being selected with the first pick of the third round in 2013. Generated plenty of buzz this preseason, a breakout season from Kelce will be less of a surprise for fantasy owners, but we have seen his ability to create mismatches with his size and speed on his pair of long touchdown receptions.

Not only is there a lot to like about Kelce's talent, the opportunity could (should) be plentiful in KC. The team is weak at wide receiver as this week illustrates — Donnie Avery and Frankie Hammond will start with Dwayne Bowe serving a one-game suspension.

TE - Tim Wright, New England Patriots (31 percent)

The Logan Mankins-for-Wright trade instantly boosted Wright's fantasy outlook. Not only does he get to play with one of the game's all-time greats at quarterback, but we have seen how productive the move tight end could be in this offense.

My Playbook by FantasyPros: An easy way to gain an edge on your opponents is to use the My Playbook tool from FantasyPros to give you tailored advice for waiver-wire and start/sit decisions based on your specific teams as it syncs up with your existing ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS, NFL.com, etc. leagues.

If you're looking for our fantasy football rankings:

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September 01, 2014

Fantasy Football ADP (Sept. 1st Update): Biggest Weekly Risers/Fallers

Every Monday this offseason, we have posted an update in players that have had the biggest moves — both up and down — in fantasy football average draft position (ADP) from the previous week.

With this information, we can get a better sense of the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters). If a player is moving up the ADP chart, it may lead us to using a higher pick than his current ADP to make sure we secure a targeted player.

Of course, a player's ADP (and movement) is just one (small) piece in determining who to draft and our strategy used to assemble a fantasy roster.

For purposes of our study, we will use 14-team ADP data from Fantasy Football Calculator. While most may play in 12-team leagues, using ADP data from 14-team leagues provides data on more players.

Below are the three biggest risers over the past week (ADPs on 8/25 to 9/1 in parenthesis) by position:

Quarterbacks

  1. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings: -15.5 (187.9 on 8/25 to 172.4 on 9/1)
  2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: -7.8 (115.0 to 107.2)
  3. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: -7.2 (85.2 to 78.0)

Running Backs

  1. Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins: -14.0 (107.4 to 93.4)
  2. Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans: -13.9 (150.3 to 136.4)
  3. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints: -10.2 (115.5 to 105.3)

Wide Receivers

  1. Cody Latimer, Denver Broncos: -15.3 (188.3 to 173.0)
  2. Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens: -12.8 (139.4 to 126.6)
  3. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos: -12.2 (64.7 to 52.5)

Tight Ends

  1. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers: -10.8 (159.5 to 148.7)
  2. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: -9.0 (152.3 to 143.3)
  3. (tie) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs and Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: -6.1 (168.5 to 162.4 and 85.1 to 79.0, respectively)

Note: Minus signs mean the ADP is become better (i.e., earlier) in drafts.

Below are the three biggest fallers over the past week (ADPs on 8/25 to 9/1 in parenthesis) by position:

Quarterbacks

  1. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns: +31.0 (129.0 on 8/25 to 160.0 on 9/1)
  2. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: +19.8 (76.0 to 95.8)
  3. Eli Manning, New York Giants: +6.4 (153.2 to 159.6)

Running Backs

  1. Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams: +20.9 (139.9 to 160.8)
  2. Terrance West, Cleveland Browns: +12.2 (91.0 to 103.2)
  3. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots: +9.7 (69.9 to 79.6)

Wide Receivers

  1. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams: +23.0 (111.3 to 134.3)
  2. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos: +20.1 (43.7 to 63.8)
  3. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals: +18.9 (148.8 to 167.7)

Tight Ends

  1. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers: +10.5 (118.0 to 128.5)
  2. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions: +7.0 (136.2 to 143.2)
  3. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins: +3.3 (77.0 to 80.3)

Note: Plus signs mean the ADP is become worse (i.e., later) in drafts.

- More: Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Data for all drafted players

Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

Previous 15 Entries

2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft - 2-QB League: Round 12 Aug 31, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft - 2-QB League: Round 11 Aug 31, 2014
Yanotchko's Fantasy Football RBs/WRs to Avoid, Target and Sleepers Aug 31, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Labor Day Weekend Update Aug 30, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Labor Day Weekend Update Aug 30, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Labor Day Weekend Update Aug 30, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Labor Day Weekend Update Aug 30, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft - 2-QB League: Round 10 Aug 29, 2014
Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (August 29th): 14 teams, No. 9 pick Aug 29, 2014
Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (August 28th): 12 teams, PPR with Super Flex, No. 10 pick Aug 28, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft - 2-QB League: Round 9 Aug 28, 2014
Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (August 27th): 12 teams, No. 5 pick Aug 27, 2014
Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (August 26th): 10 teams, 2-QB PPR League, No. 5 pick Aug 26, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings (Aug. 26th Update) Aug 26, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings (Aug. 26th Update) Aug 26, 2014