All posts by johndkocur

Outfield Rankings – Balance Your Team

In most leagues, you are required start 5 outfielders.  While I always want the best player available at each position, sometimes it’s a close call between a few guys and I focus on category needs here.  Your #4/#5 outfielders will not be elite.  I like to utilize those spots to make up for a category deficiency.  If I didn’t secure a Billy Hamilton, Dee Gordon, Jose Altuve, or Trea turner, I’ll probably go after a speed guy in the OF as one of my later picks.  If I’m short on power, I may target a 30+ HR bat that will bat .220 (think Adam Dunn).  With 5 slots to fill, there are plenty of ways to construct an outfield.  On to the rankings…

Scorching Hot (Top Tier)

I have 10 players in my top tier for outfielders.  All of these players except for Mookie Betts projects to hit at least 33 HRs.  They may not all be 5 category studs, but they’re exceptional in the things they do well.  Position rank is in (#).

(1)  Mike Trout – The best player in fantasy baseball.  Nuf said!
(2)  Bryce Harper – Over his 6 yr career, he’s only hit 30 HRs once, scored more than 100 runs once, never had a 100 RBI season, and is a career .285 hitter.  He’s getting over drafted in the top 5 based on potential.
(3)  Giancarlo Stanton – He probably has the biggest home run bat in the MLB and just went to a better home ballpark in New York.  Can he really hit more than the 59 he smashed in 2017?  Gotta stay healthy.
(4)  Charlie Blackmon – In Colorado and expecting a 30/10 season batting above .300.
(5)  Mookie Betts – He just might put up a 25/25 season and lead the AL in runs scored atop the lineup.
(6)  Aaron Judge – Is 50 HRs in his future for 2018?
(7)  George Springer – The reigning World Series champs won’t have a lack of offense, and Springer will be in the heart of it.
(8)  Jose Martinez – Can he deliver a 30/20 season?  It’ll be close and he’ll bat over .300.
  Cody Bellinger – He had a fantastic rookie campaign, but will he see a sophomore slump?
(10)  Justin Upton – Don’t write him off.  He’s not in an improved Angels lineup and should deliver a 30/10 season and close to 100 Runs and RBIs


Fire Bombs (Power Tier expecting 30+ HRs)

There’s plenty of power to be found in the outfield if you are willing to deal with a few shortcomings (usually batting average).  35+ HRs for any of these guys is possible.

Rhys Hoskins – I like Hoskins and expect around 35 HRs, but I typically like to see more of a track record before putting a player in the top tier.  How will the revamped lineup play out in Philly?
Khris Davis – This guy crushes the ball and should hit 40 HRs.  The A’s lineup has improved.
Marcel Ozuna – His 37 HRs last year were a career best by far.  I’m not sure that he’ll match that number, but expect 30+ with the Cardinals.
Jay Bruce – He should have another 30 HR season with the Mets.  He’s done it in 5 of the past 7 years.
Adam Duvall – The outfield in Cincinatti is crowded with Schebler, Hamilton, Duvall, and Winker.  Duvall should reach the 30 HR plateau.
Scott Schebler – See above regarding Adam Duvall.  30 HR possibility.
Kyle Schwarber – His batting average will kill you, but he should get enough playing time to amass 30 HRs.

Lightning (Speed Tier expecting 20+ SBs)

These guys may not provide much power, but they’ll definitely help some in the stolen base category.

Lorenzo Cain – He won’t wow you in any one category, but the SBs and runs can help.
Billy Hamilton – 50+ SBs are almost a lock.  So is a deficiency in RBIs and batting average.
Delino DeShields
– Looks like he’ll be leading off for the Rangers.  I can see 30 SBs and 100 Runs.
Rajai Davis – He’ll get about 30 SBs as the 4th outfielders for Cleveland.
Hernan Perez – We have to see how much playing time he’ll have after the Brewers outfield acquisitions.
Cameron Maybin – Can’t stay healthy, but he runs.
Jarrod Dyson – He will get more playing time with Souza out; expect 30 SBs

Combination Platter (Power/Speed Combo expecting 15/15)

These guys provide a little bit of power and speed to help in both categories with projected HR/SBs.

Andrew Benintendi – 20/20
Tommy Pham – 24/19
Starling Marte – 15/36
A.J. Pollock – 17/26
Eduardo Nunez – 15/28
Chris Taylor – 21/16
Byron Buxton – 20/32
Ian Desmond – 20/19
Gregory Polanco – 20/15
Brett Gardner – 15/20
Bradley Zimmer – 15/26
Michael Taylor – 19/23
Kevin Kiermaier – 18/21
Manuel Margot – 15/22
Carlos Gomez – 16/15
Keon Broxton

Remember that my rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league.  Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017.  Make sure you know your specific league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.


Shortstop Rankings – Elite 8 or Wait

Elite Eight is what I’m targeting at shortstop.  I feel that the top 8 players at the position are a cut above the rest in terms of production and/or consistency.  I’ll be happy if I can get a player from one of the top two tiers, otherwise I’ll take a chance late in the draft.  When drafting your SS and/or middle infield spots, remember that 20 HRs are what 15 HRs were in the past.  Unless you’re stealing 20+ bases, I don’t want a middle infielder with less than 20.  There’s plenty of guys that can fill the void if you miss out on the best.  On to the rankings…

Scorching Hot (Top Tier)

This is my top tier for shortstops.  There’s a handful of guys that are difference makers, and the rest can be had later in drafts.  Starting your team off with one of these 4 players will have you in a good place, but you’ll likely need to get them by the second or early third round.  Position rank is in (#).

(1)  Trea Turner – I’m a big fan of Turner.  I see 15+ HRs and 50+ SBs hitting atop the potent Nationals lineup.
(2)  Carlos Correa – At only 23 yrs old, he should hit 25+ dingers but fall short of 30.  Batting avg over .300.
(3)  Francisco Lindor – For a kid that supposedly didn’t have power, his 33 HRs in 2017 isn’t too shabby.
(4)  Corey Seager – He’s averaged 95-24-74 over the past two years.  Hopefully he’s over the nagging injuries.
Burning Bright (Second Tier)

This is my second tier for shortstops.  If you miss out on the top 4, I feel that there are 4 other guys that you can count on at shortstop.  Then there’s a drop off to the rest of the bunch that all have questions.

(5)  Alex Bregman – He’ll help in all 5 categories; possibly a 20/20 season.
(6)  Elvis Andrus – Say what you want, but the guy’s on the field and consistent.  Played at least 145 games since 2009!  Look for around 25 SBs but he’s light on power.  Don’t believe in the 20 HRs from 2017.
  Jean Segura – He should pair up with Dee Gordon atop the Mariners lineup.  Expect 15 HRs / 25 SBs with 90 runs.
(8)  Xander Bogaerts – He’s only 25, but he may never turn out to be a top tier shortstop. He’ll get you runs and a 15/15 season.
Red Embers (Other Options That I Like)

This is a group of players that I like in the late rounds to fill out my middle infield spot…

  • Didi Gregorius – Can he repeat 2017?
  • Trevor Story – He can still hit HRs at Coors Field.
  • Marwin Gonzalez – Eligible at 1B, 2B, SS, and OF.
  • Paul DeJong – Getting drafted too high, but 25 HRs is possible.
  • Orlando Arcia – He should have a 15/15 season with much more upside, especially if he moves up and out of the bottom third of the lineup.
  • Marcus Semien – Consistently underrated; expect a 20/10 season but the batting average will be bad.

Remember that my rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league.  Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017.  Make sure you know your specific league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.

Third Base Rankings – Hit or Miss!

Remember that my rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league.  Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017.  Make sure you know your specific league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.

Third Base is a position that I feel will be very hit or miss.  Many of the players have question marks and this includes the veterans as well as younger players.  While third base doesn’t have quite the same power products as first base, you still want to target players getting at least 25 HR, preferably 30.  On to the rankings…

Scorching Hot (Top Tier)

This is my top tier for third basemen.  These players are the clear cut studs at the position.  These guys should go 90-30-90 and bat .280+.  Position rank is in (#).

(1)  Nolan Arenado – He’s a consensus top 5 overall pick and a foundation for a fantasy team.
(2)  Kris Bryant – Averages 106-31-91 over the past 3 years, chips in about 10 SBs, and is a career .288 hitter.
(3)  Josh Donaldson – He’s not getting enough love.  Averages 103-37-100 over the past 3 years and should hit .280.
(4)  Jose Ramirez – Can he deliver a 30/20 season?  It’ll be close and he’ll bat over .300.
(5)  Manny Machado – Consistent, young, and one of the best.  He’s so good that he could be the top 3B by years end.

Burning Bright (Second Tier)

This is my second tier for second basemen.  There’s a slight drop from the top, but solid contributors that you can count on.

(6)  Anthony Rendon – He’ll give you all around production, but not quite top tier caliber.
(7)  Rafael Devers – He’s young and expected to bat in the middle of Boston’s lineup.  He could hit 30 dingers, but I’m expecting slightly less.  He has ton’s of upside.
  Alex Bregman – Another all around player.  He should deliver 80-20-80-15.
(10)  Travis Shaw – He had his first 30 HR season last year with over 500 at bats.  Will he repeat?
  Jake Lamb – He’s averaged 85-29-98 over the past 2 seasons.  You could do worse.
(12)  Eduardo Nunez – Averaging 32 SBs over the past two years and also in that same Boston lineup.
(13)  Kyle Seager – This guy is consistent, but unspectacular.  He’ll be around 80-28-90 again.
(15)  Adrian Beltre – How much does this guy have left at age 38.  20 HRs -> Maybe?  .300 hitter -> Yes!
(20)  Justin Turner – I’m expecting him to miss the first month of the season which drops him down.

Fire Bombs (Power Tier)

There’s some power to be found at 3B, but these guys may drag you down in batting average.  35+ HRs for any of these guys is possible.

(8)  Miguel Sano – He’s one of the biggest mashers at 3B.  He has yet to top 30 HRs, but has never had over 440 at bats in a season.  The power is for real, but the batting average needs to improve.
(14)  Joey Gallo – If you can stomach his low batting average (career .201), his HRs will make you happy.
(16)  Mike Moustakas – Until last year, he never hit more than 22 dingers in his first 6 seasons.  He busted out with 38 last year.  Don’t look for a repeat, but it’s obvious he’s capable.
(22)  Todd Frazier – This guy has a 40 HR season and averages 34 over the past 3 years.  Batting average killer!
(30)  Matt Chapman – He crushes the ball and his low batting average crushes that category.
(37)  Matt Davidson – See Matt Chapman above…

Hot Lottery Tickets (3B Sleepers)

(17)  Evan Longoria – I can see an 80-25-90 season; not too bad.
(21)  Ryon Healy – He’s locked down the starting 1B job in Seattle coming off of his 25 HR campaign in Oakland.
(23)  Maikel Franco – Can he return to form now that Carlos Santana has taken him under his wing?  This is a make or break season for the Phillie.  Can he reach his 30 HR potential?
(24)  Nick Senzel – This is only minor leaguer that is worth a ticket.  It won’t be long til he’s in the majors.

Second Base Rankings – Deeper Than In The Past, I’ll Wait!

Remember that my rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league.  Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017.  Make sure you know your specific league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.

Second Base is a deep position, unlike in the past.  When drafting your 2B and/or middle infield spots, remember that 20 HRs are what 15 HRs were in the past.  Unless you’re stealing 20+ bases, I don’t want a middle infielder with less than 20.  There’s plenty of guys that can fill the void if you miss out on the best.  On to the rankings…

Scorching Hot (Top Tier)

This is my top tier for second basemen.  There’s a handful of guys that are difference makers, and the rest can be had later in drafts.  Starting your team off with one of these 5 players will have you in a good place, if you get them at the right price.  Position rank is in (#).

(1)  Jose Altuve – Frequently a top 2 overall pick, he’s the best at the position (and just got paid!).
(2)  Jose Ramirez – Can he deliver a 30/20 season?  It’ll be close and he’ll bat over .300.
(3)  Brian Dozier – He’s the best power hitter at 2B.  He’s averaged 35 HRs over the past 3 years.
(4)  Dee Gordon – Forget power for a minute.  He should run away with the AL stolen base crown and lead your team a high ranking in that category.
(5)  Jonathan Schoop – He’s averaged 87 runs, 28 HRs, and 93 RBIs over the past two years.  I’m higher on him than most people.

Burning Bright (Second Tier)

This is my second tier for second basemen.  There’s a slight drop from the top, but solid contributors that you can count on.

(6)  Daniel Murphy – He’s 32 and not fully recovered from knee surgery last October.  He’ll miss opening day and I’m not sure when he’ll return to form.  He’s fallen out of the top tier for me.
(7)  Robinson Cano – Since 2009, he’s only had 1 season under 20 HRs, averaging 28 over the past 3 years.  He’s a plus in 4 categories.
(8)  Rougned Odor – He’s basically gone 30 HR / 15 SB in back to back years.
(9)  Whit Merrifield – I’m not as high on Merrifield as others.  He led the AL in stolen bases last year with 34, but don’t expect a repeat of 19 HRs.  Look closer to 15 HRs.

Lightning (Speed Tier)

These guys may not provide much power, but they’ll definitely help some in the stolen base category.

(10)  Eduardo Nunez – Averaging 32 SBs over the past two years and in a potent Boston lineup.
(13)  Ozzie Albies – I think this youngster is going to have a great year and should approach 20 SBs.
Jonathan Villar – He’s battling for a starting gig, but he’ll get about 30 stolen bases this year.
(23)  Cesar Hernandez – He should be hitting atop the Phillies lineup for now, but has Scott Kingery breathing down his neck in the minors.  HRs and RBIs are a big deficiency.
(33)  Jose Peraza – He should start at SS and could flirt with 30 SBs if he improves his OBP.

Keep Me Warm (The Rest – That I Like)

This is a group of players that I like in the late rounds to fill out my middle infield spot…

  • Chris Taylor
  • Ian Kinsler
  • Yoan Moncada
  • Ian Happ
  • Marwin Gonzalez
  • Paul DeJong
  • Jason Kipnis
  • Neil Walker

Cold As Ice (The Rest – I Don’t Like)

  • Scooter Gennett
  • Dustin Pedroia
  • Eric Sogard
  • Joe Panik
  • Brad Miller

First Base Rankings – Better Get Your Power Here!

In my first positional ranking article, I want to lay out that all rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league.  Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017.  It’s important that you understand your league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.

Whether drafting for fantasy football or baseball, I’ve had the most success building tiers of players by position.  As the draft goes on, I can see by position when a “tier” of players with similar projections are getting thin.  Then a decision is to be made if I pounce on the last one of a tier, or if I need to focus on a larger positional need.  This approach helps you to have a few players to target before your draft pick comes up.  Don’t be that guy at the draft who’s constantly late with their picks and annoying everyone else.  On to the rankings…

First base is a deep position and there are sleepers and value late.  Make sure you get power numbers from this position.  If you don’t, you’ll be behind the league in this day and age of power bats.

Scorching Hot (Top Tier)

This is my top tier for first basemen; and it’s deeeeeep.  I want one of these top 8 guys on my roster.  If I miss out, then I’m going to wait in the draft to find value.  Rhys Hoskins just made the top tier as of this writing.  Position rank is in (#).

(1)  Paul Goldschmidt – He’s at the top, but falling in some drafts to the middle/late 1st round.  Snag him up and don’t worry about the “humidor” effect.
(2)  Joey Votto – Just keeps ticking.
(3)  Freddie Freeman – Looking to be a consensus top 3 1B.  He’ll do fine; even with that Braves lineup.
(4)  Anthony Rizzo – Consistently produces; and I like consistency!
(5)  Cody Bellinger – He had a fantastic rookie campaign, but will he see a sophomore slump?
(6)  Edwin Encarnacion – This guy will be a DH, but still eligible at 1B in many leagues.  He may be 35, but he’s averaged over 38 HRs over the past six years and got 42 twice!
(7)  Jose Abreu – Another consistent producer.  He’s not the biggest masher, but he’ll get you about 30 HRs and is a career .301 hitter which gets overlooked.
(8)  Rhys Hoskins – I like Hoskins and expect around 35 HRs, but I typically like to see more of a track record before putting a player in the top tier.  How will the revamped lineup play out in Philly?

Fire Bombs (Power Tier)

These guys may have deficiencies, but they can flat out mash the ball.  That often comes with a low batting average, but 40+ HRs for any of these guys is possible.

(12)  Matt Olson – This guy is undervalued and should be at the 35 HR range.  Cheap version of Cody Bellinger / Rhys Hoskins.
(13)  Joey Gallo – If you can stomach his low batting average (career .201), his HRs will make you happy.
(16)  Justin Smoak – Was the 38 HRs from 2017 all “smoak” and mirrors?  It was his first year over 30 HRs, but also his first year with 500+ at bats.
(24)  Chris Davis – In the past 5 years, he has seasons of 53, 47, and 38 HRs.  The two other years he only got 450 at bats and blasted only 26 in down years.  He’s averaged 37 over the past 3 years.  For how late you get him, it’s worth a shot.

Warm Embers (Middle Tier)

This group of guys aren’t the most exciting, but they fall outside of the top tier, are veterans, and will provide value.

(9)  Eric Hosmer – He’s not going to get you the HRs you need, but fills out other categories.
(10)  Wil Myers – He may flirt with 30 HRs and he’s one of the few 1B eligible players who will get double digit steals.
(11)  Miguel Cabrera – This perennial first round pick has fallen, probably too far.  Expect a bounce back to about 30 HRs and a .300+ batting average with better health.
(14)  Carlos Santana – The new Philly brings his veteran presence to the young lineup and should flirt with 30 dingers.
(15)  Ryan Zimmerman – He resurrected his career last year, will he repeat after 3 down years?
(17)  Matt Carpenter – Another veteran coming off of a down year.  Don’t let him slip too far.

Lottery Tickets (I Like With Potential)

This is a group of players that I like in the later rounds; let’s see what they can do…

  • Justin Bour
  • Josh Bell
  • Ryan McMahon
  • Trey Mancini
  • Logan Morrison
  • Ryon Healy
  • Greg Bird
  • J. Cron

Cold As Ice (Likely Won’t Draft)

  • Eric Thames
  • Yonder Alonso
  • Brandon Belt
  • Danny Valencia

Fantasy Football Hangover? Here’s Your Cure

Got a Fantasy Football Hangover?  Here’s Why Fantasy Baseball Could Be Your Cure…

It’s time to turn the final page on the 2017 NFL season. The Philadelphia Eagles were triumphant and every other team fell short.  The season had no lack of stories:

  • The Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers never lived up to expectations due to injuries of star players David Johnson and Aaron Rodgers
  • The Minnesota Vikings led by Case Keenum made it to the NFC Championship, and the Jacksonville Jaguars rode their opportunistic defense to the AFC Championship.
  • Rookies Kareem Hunt, Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette, Alvin Kamara, and Joe Mixon all showed up for their fantasy teams.

That all made for a great fantasy football season and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2018 MLB!

So it’s finally baseball season. For much of the country, we start to see the warmer weather, shorts come out of the attic or closet, we get more daylight, and there are baseball games on just about every day for 6 months. Personally, my transition to fantasy baseball is easy. Every year on the Monday after the Superbowl, we pick the fantasy baseball draft order in one of my longstanding leagues.  Then instantly, the excitement of draft day, cheat sheets, and sleepers/busts consume me.

Many people out there only play fantasy football, and are hesitant to get into the baseball realm. If you like fantasy football, you should try your luck at fantasy baseball.  This article is meant to go over some basics of the sport and hopefully give newcomers a base knowledge on what to expect.

First, let’s do a quick comparison of Fantasy Football vs Fantasy Baseball, in terms of the types of leagues that are offered, and which is best for you.

Type of League:

  • Football (Head to Head, Points): Most fantasy football leagues are head to head, points leagues and run in a very similar fashion.  You have a draft, fill you’re your roster spots with starters and bench players, and ultimately accumulate points based off of the stats that your team delivers.  In baseball, you have a choice of H2H or Roto.
  • Baseball (Head to Head, Points): This is similar to football.  Know your leagues rules and point values because every scoring system is different.  Do you lose points when your hitter strikes out?  Are stolen bases 2 points?  Do you get points if your hitter draws a walk?  In the Head 2 Head setup, you play a different team each week, the team with more points gets a win, and the team with the best records make the playoffs.  Fairly simple…
  • Baseball (Season Rotisserie): In a rotisserie league, you earn points based on how you perform in each category.  Most “Roto” leagues are 5×5, but this can be customized to any number of categories.  In a typical 5×5 league, the categories are:
    • Hitting (5 cats): Runs, RBIs, HRs, Stolen Bases, and Batting Average
    • Pitching (5 cats): Wins, Saves, Strikeouts, ERA (Earned Run Average), and WHIP (Walks+Hits/Innings Pitched)
    • If there are 10 teams, the team with best statistics over the whole season gets 10 points for that category, 2nd best gets 9 points, etc. The last place in the category will get 1 point.  If a team was tops in all 10 categories, they would have 100 points.  If a team was last in all categories, they would have 10 points.  Every other team falls somewhere in the middle.
  • Pros/Cons:
    • Head to Head Points leagues are most similar to fantasy football, as they have weekly matchups, and you either end the week with a win or loss. This does allow for more luck involved in the outcome.
    • A typical rotisserie league is cumulative over the entire season, which removes some of the week to week luck you may encounter in Head to Head. However, it is also much easier to fall out of contention half way through the baseball season.  Rotisserie leagues typically require a little more strategy than a points league.
    • There are also some leagues that are Head to Head Rotisserie.  This means that the weekly scoring is based on your performance in each category vs your opponent.  If you have more home runs than your opponent, you win that category.  Whoever wins the most categories gets a win for that week.

Time Investment:

Before you join a league, make sure that you understand how often you can change your lineup and how frequently waivers run. When I first started fantasy baseball, I was turned off by the fact of daily transactions.  Unless you are active every single day for 6 months, I would recommend a league with weekly transactions and lineup moves.  You can set your lineup once per week and just enjoy the games.

Drafting, Prospects, and Call Ups:

In the NFL, there are no minor leagues. When you do a fantasy draft, there are 32 NFL teams with starting spots and it’s a pretty finite universe.  When it comes to baseball, you need to know your prospects and when they are expected to contribute.  The player pool in baseball is much larger and provides plenty of players with potential.  That will also impact where you will draft “the next Bryce Harper”.  If you use a high draft pick on a player that doesn’t make the major league roster out of spring training, you may have to wait for a May/June call up.  It’s a balance of risk/reward and baseball has many more moving parts than football. Whether fantasy football or baseball, one thing is consistent with drafting: “You can’t win your league in the first round, but you can certainly lose it!”  I’m a firm believer in this.  You absolutely have to take some chances when drafting, but most of my chances will be after the 6th round or so.  And I will avoid injury prone players the same way because I need my core players on the field.

Make sure to come back and visit The Fantasy Sports Addiction website for position rankings, cheat sheets, and information to help you win your draft and your league.  Good luck to everyone this year!

NFL Week 5 Fantasy Impact

To win a fantasy championship, you need to be active on the waiver wire.  You need to know which players are truly waiver wire gems and which ones are a flash in the pan that you should pass on.  There are a few fundamental questions you should ask yourself before making moves:

  • What are my positional needs?

If you already have 6 RBs on your roster, you probably don’t need to pick up another.  Be aware of your depth.  Look at your players’ upcoming bye weeks so you know how your lineup will shake out in those crucial weeks.

  • What do I need from this player addition?

Obviously, we need that player to perform, but you need to understand if you have a short term or long term need.  If you just need a bye week replacement at QB, Brian Hoyer may be better for Week 6.  If your QB goes down for the year and need someone more steady, you may want to look at Alex Smith.

  • Do I have any dead weight?

If you have players on your roster that aren’t performing, and you don’t expect them to turn it around, then cut them.  Take a flyer on a high potential player, someone coming back from injury in a few weeks, or a backup RB in case of injury.

Here is what I see on the Waiver Wire landscape going into Week 6…

Waiver Wire – Buy or Pass


Sammie Coates – Coates is usually good for a big play or two, but has problems with drops dating back to college.  He’s a decent add on a potent Steelers passing attack, but he’s not a PPR machine.

Chris Hogan – Now that Tom Brady is back, the whole offense gets an upgrade.  He won’t have big games every week, but in that passing attack you can never count one out.

Jacquizz Rodgers – He went over 100 yards without Doug Martin active and looks to get work whenever Martin is out.  I expect Rodgers to fill Sims role as the receiving back even when Martin plays.

Jeremy Kerley – I’ve never been a Kerley fan, but he’s getting utilized in San Francisco.  Kerley (8-102-1 on 14 targets) has scored in 2 straight games and seems to have decent chemistry with Blaine Gabbert.  The only problem is the 49ers are toying with the idea of bringing Colin Kaepernick back as the starter.

James Starks – Lacy went down with an ankle injury but it’s not believed to be serious.  If you’re a Lacy owner, this should be your reminder that you need to roster Starks no matter what.  When Lacy doesn’t play, Starks always gets the full workload.

Eddie Royal – Alshon Jeffery is struggling and Royal is benefiting.  Royal’s worth a look in PPR leagues.

Tyrell Williams – I like Williams if you need a steady WR4.  He’s had at least 60 yards in 4 of 5 games and 5+ catches in 3 of 5.

Brian Hoyer – Hoyer has been great in his short stint as the starter and Cutler may not get his job back.  I don’t trust Hoyer as my starter for the year, but I like Hoyer if you need a fill-in for a week or two.

Donte Moncrief – He was supposed to be the 2nd receiver on a potent Colts offense, but suffered shoulder injury in Week 2 with the initial prognosis of 4-6 weeks.  He’s now 3 weeks in and could be nearing a return shortly.  If you’re in need at WR and he’s unowned, keep him on your radar because you won’t want to miss out on his production come Week 8 through the fantasy playoffs.

Justin Forsett / Dwayne Washington – The Detroit Lions have Theo Riddick, but they don’t really want to use him as an every down back.  You can take a flyer on Washington hoping that he comes back from injury and takes the lead RB job.  The Lions also just signed veteran Justin Forsett which is intriguing.

Quincy Enunwa – Like Tyrell Williams, he’s a steady WR4.  He’s had at least 50 yards in 4 of 5 games and is averaging nearly 8 targets per game.

Tavon Austin – Austin has big play ability, but the Rams offense is a mess.  He’s seen at least 8 targets in 4 of 5 games and chipped in 20+ yards rushing in 2 of 5.  He’s not a great option, but you could do worse to round out your bench.


Cameron Meredith – He’ll have a decent game or two, but I’m not wasting my time.  Of everyone on the pass list, he at least has a shot to be decent.

Dontrelle Inman – Week 4’s “one week wonder” fell back to earth with 1 catch in Week 5.

Adam Thielen – And for the surprise of the week, Adam Thielen (7-127-1 on 8 targets) led the Vikings in receiving with Stefon Diggs absent.  Thielen isn’t worth your time; Diggs will be back soon enough.

Oakland RBs (Excluding L. Murray) – In Latavius Murray’s absence, the workload was split and nobody stepped up.  DeAndre Washington (9-23), Jalen Richard (8-31), and Jamize Olawale (6-22-1).  There’s too much uncertainty in this backfield outside of Murray.

Week 5 – Aerial Attack

Tom Brady / Martellus Bennett – Welcome back Tom Brady!  He looked in midseason form on Sunday going 28/40 for 406 yards and 3 TDs with no picks.  Brady loved his TEs in this one as Rob Gronkowski (5-109 on 7 targets) went over 100 yards and Martellus Bennett (6-67-3 on 8 targets) scored 3 TDs.  Chris Hogan (4-114 on 5 targets) also went over 100 yards.

Ben Roethlisberger / Sammie Coates – The weather is getting colder in Pittsburgh so Big Ben pulled out his Coates in this one.  Ben was 34/47 for 380 yards with 4 TDs.  Sammie Coates (6-139-2 on 11 targets) dropped a ton of crucial passes but managed to catch 2 TDs.  He better work on his drops if he wants Roethelisberger to continue to look his way.

Derek Carr / Amari Cooper – Carr (25/40, 317 yards with 2 TDs / 1 Int) went over 300 yards against the Chargers and finally found his #1 WR for a solid game.  This was Amari Cooper’s (6-138-1 on 12 targets) best game of the year with his 1st TD and topping 100 yards for only the 2nd time.  Michael Crabtree (3-47-1 on 7 targets) also scored again.  I said last week to buy low on this guy; this week may be your last chance.

Brian Hoyer / Cameron Meredith – And just like last week, of course everyone expected this…  This time it was Cameron Meredith (9-130-1 on 12 targets), not Eddie Royal (7-43 on 9 targets) who shined for his QB.  Brian Hoyer may have won the QB job outright, even when Jay Cutler comes back from his thumb injury.  Hoyer was 33/43 for 397 yards with 2 TDs and no picks.  Hoyer has thrown for over 300 yards with 2 TDs and no Ints in his last three games!  He has a juicy matchup against Jacksonville this week, but then they are @GB and home against Min before his Week 9 bye.

Philip Rivers / Travis Benjamin / Tyrell Williams – Philip Rivers (21/30 for 359 yards with 4 TDs / 2 Ints) continues to impress and had his 3rd straight 300 yard game and has thrown 4 TDs in 2 of his last 4 games.  Travis Benjamin (7-117-0 on 11 targets) and Tyrell Williams (5-117-1 on 6 targets) both had 117 yards receiving with Williams also snagging a TD.  Rivers will spread the ball around and remain a QB1 for this year.  As for the WRs, you never know which one will put up stats.  Dontrelle Inman (1-3 on 3 targets) disappeared after last week’s 100 yard performance.

Andrew Luck / T.Y. Hilton – Andrew Luck abused the Chicago Bears secondary for 322 yards and 2 TDs.  T.Y. Hilton (10-171-1 on 11 targets) has scored in 3 straight games and received at least 10 targets in each game this year.

Brandon Marshall – Marshall (8-114-1) saw a whopping 15 targets against a subpar Steelers defense and scored a TD.  He’s now scored in back-to-back games and has seen his targets increase each week.  The recent spike is due to Eric Decker being sidelined, but he’s seen at least 8 targets in every game.

Greg Olsen – Greg Olsen (9-181-0 on 13 targets) helped Derek Anderson in the passing attack this week with Cam Newton out.  Olsen is without question a top 3 TE.

Larry Fitzgerald – With Drew Stanton under center, I didn’t expect a big game from Fitzgerald (6-81-2 on 8 targets) and boy was I wrong.  Fitz scored twice and now has 5 on the season.  On the downside, he’s yet to top 100 yards receiving.

Week 5 – Ground Breakers

David Johnson – On Thursday, David Johnson (27-157-2 and 3-28 on 6 targets) showed why he was such a high draft pick.  This was his first 100 yard game, but he does have 5 TDs on the season.

Ezekiel Elliott – This guy seems to be on this list every week!  Elliott (15-134-2 and 3-37) had another big game and now leads the NFL in carries and rushing yards.

Le’Veon Bell – Bell (20-66-0 and 9-88 on 11 targets) had a tough time in the running game, but showed up as a receiver.  Bell gets one of the biggest workloads in the leagues so he’ll always put up stats one way or another.

LeSean McCoy – McCoy (18-150-0 and 2-8) had a big game against a tough Rams defense.  The Bills are now hitting their stride; they have San Francisco at home and are at Miami the next two weeks.

Theo Riddick – Riddick (11-49 and 6-33-2 on 6 targets) was mediocre but did catch 2 TDs and led the team in carries.  Riddick is the only back making a fantasy impact right now, but Zack Zenner (7-9) did steal some carries.

Injury Report (And Replacements)

Trevor Siemian (Shoulder) – Siemian is expected to return for the Broncos Week 6 game at San Diego on Thursday.  I don’t think I can start him this week, but he does have a juicy matchup.

Tony Romo (Back) – Romo is undergoing another MRI on his back and it’s possible that he returns after the Cowboy’s Week 7 bye.  There’s also talk that he may not even get the starting gig back, but Jerry Jones denies those rumors.

Cam Newton (Concussion) – Cam is questionable for Week 6 with a concussion.

Carson Palmer (Concussion) – As of now, Palmer is still listed as questionable for Week 6 with a concussion, but he’s expected to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol on Tuesday.

Eddie Lacy (Ankle) – Lacy was having a good game before he injured his ankle in the 3rd quarter; he’s questionable for Week 6 vs. Dallas.  The injury is not serious, but James Starks is always a must have for Lacy owners.

Jeremy Hill (Chest) – Hill reinjured his shoulder/chest and did not finish the game on Sunday.  He’s questionable for Week 6 at New England but initial reports are that he’s expected to play.  Bump up Giovani Bernard a few spots.

Latavius Murray (Turf Toe) – Murray missed Week 5’s game and the work was split between DeAndre Washington (9-23 and 5-29), Jalen Richard (8-31 and 6-66), and Jamize Olawale (6-22-1).  Murray is questionable for Week 6 vs. Kansas City but the team is hopeful he can play.

Doug Martin (Hamstring) / Charles Sims (IR – Knee) – Both Doug Martin and Charles Sims missed Monday night’s game against Carolina and Sims was placed on IR.  Jacquizz Rodgers (30-101-0 and 5-28 on 6 targets) led the way in Week 6.  Rodgers is the new Sims.

Rashad Jennings (Thumb) – Jennings is still questionable to play this week.  In his absence in Week 5, Orleans Darkwa got 7 carries, Bobby Rainey got 5, and Paul Perkins got 2.  Rainey also caught 6 balls and has become the new Shane Vereen.

Jonathan Stewart (Hamstring) – Questionable for Week 6.  In Week 5, Cameron Artis-Payne (18-85-2) and Fozzy Whittaker (5-45) shared the workload.

Arian Foster (Hamstring) – Questionable for Week 6.

Jeremy Langford (Ankle) – Langford has missed the past 2 weeks and may not have a job when he gets back.  Jordan Howard has back-to-back 100 yard games and has been giving the Bears a chance to win.

Thomas Rawls (Lower Leg) – Rawls is out for Week 6 vs. Atlanta.  Christine Michael will continue to fill in.

Randall Cobb (Neck) – Cobb took a nasty hit to his head/neck on Sunday.  He’s listed as questionable, but appears to be okay and expects to play Week 6 vs. Dallas.

Steve Smith (Ankle) – Smith left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.  He’s questionable for week 6.

Dez Bryant (Knee) – Bryant is questionable for Week 6, but there’s a good possibility he sits this one out.  Dallas has a Week 7 bye and they do not want to rush back their star receiver.  Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Brice Butler will need to fill in if he’s out again.

Eric Decker (Shoulder) – Decker is questionable for Week 6.  Quincy Enunwa would get the start opposite Brandon Marshall.

Stefon Diggs (Groin) – Diggs missed Week 5 but will hopefully be recovered from his groin injury after his Week 6 bye.

Mike Wallace (Undisclosed) – Wallace got crumpled on the last play of the game on Sunday.  He’s questionable for Week 6.

Terrance Williams (Shoulder) – It’s believed that Williams suffered a sprained AC joint.  He’s optimistic that he won’t miss any time, but we’ll have to see how he progresses at practice this week.

Gary Barnidge (Ankle) – Barnidge suffered an ankle injury, but it doesn’t appear to be serious.  He’s questionable for Week 6.

Tyler Eifert (Back) – Eifert is questionable to make his season debut in Week 6 at New England.

Words of Wisdom

When it comes to lineup decisions, play your studs.  You should only utilize matchups and surrounding circumstances when comparing two players on a similar tier.  I’m not starting Terrance West @NYG over Mark Ingram vs. Carolina.  West may still put up better stats at the end of the day, but you drafted Ingram for a reason.  I’d rather lose with my studs than take a chance on a lesser player having a good day because of matchup.

Week 6 is right around the corner with the San Diego Chargers hosting the Denver Broncos on Thursday.  It should be a good one!

NFL Week 4 Fantasy Impact

So what have we learned now that we are a quarter of the way through the NFL season?

  • Passing OffenseMatt Ryan and Drew Brees lead the two most prolific passing offenses in the league, averaging over 300 yards per game. Ben Roethlisberger is tied with Ryan for the league lead in passing TDs with 11 (Brees has 10).
  • Rushing Offense – You can believe that Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL in rushing (412), but Isaiah Crowell is a close #2 with 394 yards and 3 TDs! Melvin Gordon leads the league with 6 rushing TDs.
  • Receiving – It’s not a stretch to see Julio Jones leading the league in receiving yards with 488, but Marvin Jones is a close #2 with 482. A.J. Green leads the league in receptions with 32 and is 3rd in yards with 468.  Five receivers are averaging a TD per game (A.Brown, Nelson, Crabtree, K.Benjamin, A.Robinson).   Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed are top three in receptions and yards for TEs.

Now here’s the rest of the week 4 fantasy recap…

Week 4 Aerial Attack

Matt Ryan / Julio Jones
– What a day!!!  Ryan topped 500 yards passing and Jones topped 300 receiving!  Jones (12-300-1 on 15 targets) put up the first 300 yard receiving day since Calvin Johnson did it in 2013. Matty Ice was 28/37 for 503 yards with 4 TDs and 1 Int.  Matt Ryan is having a career year, but remember it’s only been 4 games.  He won’t keep up this pace, but could be a top 5 QB this year.

Ben Roethlisberger / Antonio Brown – Ben and Brown rebounded well from their blowout loss to the Eagles last week and manhandled the Chiefs.  Ben was an efficient 22/27 for 300 yards and 5 TDs.  Brown (4-64-2 on 5 targets) didn’t have his typical workload, but he made his looks count with 2 TDs.

Derek Carr / Michael Crabtree – Carr is continuing to progress in his 3rd year in the league.  Carr only put up 199 yards passing, but he threw 4 TDs with no Ints and three of them went to Crabtree.  Crabtree (7-88-3 on 12 targets) has been the best WR on the Raiders this year, but I sure am not giving up on Amari Cooper.  If anything, I’m trying to buy low on him.

Brian Hoyer / Eddie Royal – Of course everyone expected this…  Eddie Royal (7-111-1 on 7 targets) led the receivers on this day.  In place of Jay Cutler, Hoyer was 28/36 for 302 yards and 2 TDs.  I like Royal as a waiver wire pickup this week.  Kevin White was placed on IR, the Bears are going to need to throw no matter what, and Alshon Jeffrey is not a poster child of health.

Philip Rivers / Dontrelle Inman – Inman (7-120-1 on 11 targets) was the main cog in the passing game this week.  Rivers was 28/43 for 321yards with 2 TDs and 1 Int.  It appears that any of Inman, Travis Benjamin (4-48-0 on 7 targets), and Tyrell Williams (5-40-0 on 8 targets) can be the go to receiver in any given week.

Andy Dalton / A.J. Green – Green (10-173-1 on 12 targets) put up a monster night on Thursday and won many fantasy games for his owners.  Dalton was 22/31 for 296 yards and a TD.  Right now, A.J. Green is in the top 3 WR conversation, not Odell Beckham.

Russell Wilson / Jimmy Graham – There was a Jimmy Graham (6-113-0 on 8 targets) sighting this week, practically his first since becoming a Seahawk.  Wilson was 23/32 for 309 yards and 3 TDs.  If Graham is healthy and they continue to target him in the passing game, he’ll be a TE1.  I need to see a few more games like this to believe.

John Brown – What a coming out party for John Brown.  Brown (10-144-0) led the team in targets with 16 while Larry Fitzgerald (5-62-0) and Michael Floyd (3-36-1) had 7 each.  Fitzgerald is clearly Carson Palmer’s #1 target, but not so much when Palmer’s not under center.  Brown and Floyd will have a few big games, but a lot of duds too.

Steve Smith – Is this a sign of things to come?  Smith (8-111-1 on 11 targets) showed up in a big way and wants to pick up where he left off in 2015.  He’s a good waiver wire add if available because he’s proven he can be a game-breaker.

Jordan Reed – Reed (9-73-2 on 10 targets) was the man for the Redskins this week and is pushing to be the #1 TE in fantasy football.

Week 4 Ground Breakers

Le’Veon Bell
– Welcome back Bell!  And he paid dividends to his fantasy owners that have waited him out.  Bell (18-144-0 and 5-34 on 6 targets) led the running attack as DeAngelo Williams took more of a reserve role.  Bell’s electric!!!

Ezekiel Elliott – Elliott (23-138-1 and 1 catch for 19 yards) had another big game and it looks like he’ll live up to his potential as a top 5 RB.

DeMarco Murray – Murray (25-95-2 and 2-24) didn’t go over 100 yards but came close and scored 2 TDs.  Murray is showing that he still has something left in the tank and has been a solid RB1 so far this year.

Terrence West – West (21-113-1) was the lead back in week 4 and performed well.  Justin Forsett was inactive for the game and the team has since cut him.  Kenneth Dixon will be returning from injury and it will be interesting to see how this backfield plays out.  West is a low end option because of lack of job security.  Dixon (and Buck Allen) has a lot of hype, but I don’t think I can trust this backfield until the Ravens find a true lead back.

Jordan Howard – Howard (23-111-0 and 3-21 on 4 targets) seems to have filled the role of injured Jeremy Langford pretty well.  Howard got all the rushing load other than 3 carries to recently signed Joique Bell.

Isaiah Crowell – Crowell (15-112-1 and 3-22 receiving on 4 targets) led the browns in rushing again this week.  “The Crow” has had two 100 yard games and scored a TD in 3 of 4.  The Browns stink but somehow Crowell is still putting up stats.

Matt Jones – It was clearly Jones’ backfield in week 4.  Jones (22-117-1 and 2-21) carried the ball 22 times while Chris Thompson and Rob Kelly combined for 4.  I still don’t feel that his job is secure, but it was nice to see Jones have a good day and he keeps the starting gig another day.

Melvin Gordon – This guy is a TD machine in 2016 after not scoring a single one in his rookie year.  Gordon (19-36-2 and 6-43 on 7 targets) wasn’t very efficient with only 36 yards on a big workload, but it was nice to see him also used in the passing game.  He’s a solid RB2.

John Kuhn – Didn’t expect to see him on the list did ya?!?!?  Kuhn had a whopping 3 carries for 5 yards and 2 catches for 7 yards.  Why is he on this list???  He punched in 2 TDs on the ground and one in the air.  Don’t expect a repeat performance this year, but he could cut into Mark Ingram’s short yardage/goal line work moving forward.

Injury Report (And Replacements)

Cam Newton (Concussion)
– Cam is questionable with a concussion he suffered on his short yardage TD run.  If he’s not cleared to play, Derek Anderson will be under center.

Carson Palmer (Concussion) – Palmer suffered a concussion and is already ruled out for week 5.  Drew Stanton will start against the 49ers.  I’m benching Larry Fitzgerald in my lineups where possible, but I think Michael Floyd could put up some stats with Stanton this week.

Latavius Murray (Toe) – It’s doubtful that Murray suits up this week.  Look for DeAndre Washington to lead the backfield against San Diego and he’s a decent bye week replacement.

Doug Martin (Hamstring) – It looks like Doug Martin will be held out of action until after the Tampa Bay’s week 6 bye. Charles Sims will carry the load and Jacquizz Rodgers will also chip in.

Rashad Jennings (Thumb) – Jennings is still 50/50 to play this week.  Orleans Darkwa was the lead back last week, but boy did Paul Perkins look good!  It will be interesting to see how this backfield looks in a few weeks, but I’m staying away for now.

Jonathan Stewart (Hamstring) – Questionable for week 5.

Arian Foster (Hamstring) – Questionable for week 5.

Dez Bryant (Knee) – Bryant is expected to miss week 5 and is week-to-week with a hairline fracture.  Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Brice Butler will likely be the WRs for Dallas.

Eric Decker (Shoulder) – Decker is questionable for week 5.  Quincy Enunwa would be the beneficiary if he doesn’t play and is a decent play against a poor Steelers pass defense.

Tyler Eifert (Back) – Just as Eifert was making progress to make his 2016 debut, he came up lame with a back injury at Monday’s practice.  His status for week 5 is up in the air again.  My patience as an Eifert owner is wearing thin!!!

Antonio Gates (Hamstring) – Gates is back at practice and it looks like he has a good shot at playing this week.  TE Hunter Henry will take a hit in his production if Gates returns.

Zach Miller (Ribs) – Questionable for week 5.

Words of Wisdom

We’re almost a third of the way through our fantasy seasons, but now our team depths will come into play with bye weeks coming in full force.  There are four teams on bye in week 5 (Sea, NO, Jax, and KC) and six teams on bye in week 8.  It’s extremely important to bolster your bench depth before you’re players are off.  It’s great to have speculative picks on your team for those boom or bust players, or backups waiting in the wings, but it’s also important to have some depth with players that actually get playing time.  Look for one week injury replacements if possible, like Orleans Darkwa (12-48-1) this week in place of Rashad Jennings.  And sometimes we have to start a team’s #2 RB in our fantasy lineups due to our injuries and bye weeks.  Here are a few #2’s to consider simply because they get some guaranteed volume:

  • Tevin Coleman (Devonta Freeman)
  • Matt Asiata (Jerick McKinnon)
  • Giovani Bernard (Jeremy Hill)
  • Duke Johnson (Isaiah Crowell)
  • Bilal Powell (Matt Forte)
  • Derrick Henry (DeMarco Murray)
  • DeAndre Washington (Latavius Murray)
  • Wendell Smallwood (Ryan Mathews)

Good luck in Week 5!!!

NFL Week 3 Fantasy Impact

Week 3 ended with a bang on Monday night as the Falcons and Saints combined for 77 points and plenty of fantasy matchups were decided.  Julio Jones (1-16) and Brandin Cooks (2-13) sure didn’t help their teams.  On the other hand, Drew Brees threw for 376 with 3 TDs, Devonta Freeman had 217 combined yards with a TD, and Tevin Coleman scored 3 TDs on 89 combined yards.  Those are some big fantasy games!  The other huge NFL game this week, as far as fantasy impact goes, was the Eagles drubbing of the Steelers.  The Philadelphia defense held the mighty Steelers to 3 points in this one.  Antonio Brown (12-140 on 18 targets) had the only respectable game for the Steelers.  Carson Wentz looked spectacular with his first career 300 yard game, including a 73 yard TD pass to Darren Sproles.  And the kid still hasn’t thrown an interception as a pro.  It’s getting sunny in Philadelphia!

And now onto the rest of the week 3 fantasy recap…


Week 3 Fantasy Highlights

Trevor Siemian (Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas)
– Siemian looked like a long time pro in this one throwing for 312 yards and 4 TDs.  His top WRs benefited from the performance with Sanders (9-117-2) and Thomas (6-100-1) both going over 100 yards and combining for 3 TDs.

Matt Stafford (Marvin Jones) – Stafford has started out 2016 looking pretty good.  He threw for 385 yards with 3 TDs / 1 Int.  Marvin Jones (6-205-2) was the beneficiary in this one going over 200 yards receiving.  Jones is filling in the shoes of Megatron nicely!  I’d hold on to both of these players until it falls apart.

Aaron Rodgers (Jordy Nelson) – Rodgers threw 4 TDs but for only 205 yards.  He hooked up with Nelson (6-101-2) on 2 of them.  This tandem may be getting back to form.

Terrelle Pryor – Terrelle “Triple Threat” Pryor put up stats passing, rushing, and receiving.  In the passing game, he completed 3 of 5 for 35 yards, but caught 8-144.  He chipped in 4 carries for 21 yards and a rushing TD.  He’s an okay low-end receiving option, but don’t expect many big games, especially with Josh Gordon returning soon from his suspension.

Carlos Hyde – Hyde (21-103-2) finally went over the century mark this season and doubled his TD total on the year to 4.  He will have up and down games that will likely drive you nuts all year.  With that said, he’s still a solid RB3 and can easily fill in during bye weeks.

Jeremy Hill – Hill (17-92-2) was the only bright spot for the Bengals when they played a tough Denver defense.

DeMarco Murray – Murray (16-114-1) went over 100 yards but still gives up a decent amount of carries to Derrick Henry (10-45-0).  I think this is what we’re going to see as far as the workload split until later in the season when Murray may slow down.

Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas was up early in this one and Elliott (30-140-0) ran it home.  He also had 2-20 in the receiving game.  He’s living up to his RB1 status.

David Johnson – Johnson (19-83-2) is also living up to his first round status with 2 TDs and also caught 3-28.

LeGarrette Blount – Mr. Consistency???  Blount (24-105-2) had another game with 20+ carries and has scored a TD in every game.  Ride him while he’s hot (and before Dion Lewis returns from IR)!

LeSean McCoy – McCoy (17-110-2) looked good this week and has been chipping in 3 to 4 catches per game which helps in PPR leagues.

Todd Gurley – This isn’t quite a highlight, but it’s hope.  Gurley (27-85-2) scored 2 TDs and the Los Angeles Rams put up 37 points.  If the offense can continue to give him this volume, he’s sure to break a few big runs.  As of now, he’s a low-end RB1 with all the upside in the world.  I would not sell low on him.

Allen Robinson – Robinson (7-57-2) had his first decent game of the year.  He hasn’t gone over 75 yards receiving in a game this year, but should be fine as a low-end WR1 / high-end WR2.

Doug Baldwin – Baldwin (8-164-1) had a great game and was targeted 10 times.

Mike Evans – Evans (10-132-1) had a productive day and will continue to be one of the most targeted WRs in the game.

T.Y. Hilton – Hilton (8-174-1) finally woke up in this one.  He was targeted 11 times and looks to be the main beneficiary with Donte Moncrief out.

Jimmy Graham – Is this a return to fantasy relevance???  I sure hope so and so do Seahawk fans.  Graham (6-100-1) was targeted 9 times in the game.  I’m going to wait and see if there’s a repeat performance before I believe.

Cameron Brate – Brate (5-46-2 on 10 targets) has taken over at TE for the recently released Austin Seferian-Jenkins.  Jenkins has since signed with the New York Jets.  I like Brate to be a solid bye week replacement at TE this year.  As for Jenkins, he always shows flashes but just can’t get it together; I’m not buying.

Zach Miller – Brian Hoyer targeted Miller (8-78-2) 9 times in the game and he also got 2 TDs.  He’ll have a few big games but he’s not consistent enough to start on a weekly basis.

Kansas City Chiefs Defense – The Chiefs intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick 6 times even though they didn’t get any sacks.  They only gave up 3 points to the Jets and scored 2 DTDs.


QB Disasters!

Ryan Fitzpatrick
– 6 Interceptions! 6 Interceptions???  Yes, 6!  The Jets couldn’t get anything going in the game and the offense was shut down by the Kansas City Chiefs defense.  He’ll bounce back but he’s only a low-end QB2.

Carson Palmer – While he was respectable with 287 passing yards, 0 TDs and 4 Ints will get you on this list.  He’ll rebound but don’t expect the same career year as 2015.

Cam Newton / Kelvin Benjamin – Cam Newton was sacked 8 times and threw 3 Ints with no TDs.  Benjamin was blanked and only had 1 target against the vaunted Minnesota Vikings defense.  They’ll both bounce back.


Week 4 Injury Replacements

Jeremy Langford
– Langford is out 4-6 weeks with a severe ankle sprain and Jordan Howard looked good as his replacement in week 3.  He had 9 carries for 45 yards and 4 catches for 47 yards.  Ka’Deem Carey has his own hamstring injury but could get some work if active.  Howard is the running back to own while Langford is out and should be a hot waiver wire pickup.

Thomas Rawls – Rawls is expected to be out for “a few weeks”.  If you’re a Rawls owner and don’t already have Christine Michael, you’re probably too late.  In his absence in week 2, Michael (20-106-2) ran for over 100 yards with 2 scores.  He looks to carry the load until Rawls returns.

Chris Ivory – In his first game back from an undisclosed injury, Ivory injured his knee and ankle in this week’s game.  He’s questionable and we’ll have to see how his practice week progresses.  If he’s out, T.J. Yeldon should carry the load against a weak Indianapolis Colts defense.

Shane Vereen – Vereen was placed on IR and will be out the next 8 weeks at minimum.  If Rashad Jennings doesn’t return to action this week, Orleans Darkwa (10-53-1) will likely be the lead back.  Paul Perkins and the flashy Bobby Rainey could both get some carries.

Ryan Mathews Wendell Smallwood (17-79-1) carried the load after Mathews left the game after only 2 carries.  Kenjon Barner (8-42-1) chipped in as well and Darren Sproles (6-128-1) was used in the passing game.


Words of Wisdom

Through 3 weeks of the fantasy season, we now know where our teams’ strengths and weaknesses are.  Bye weeks will be starting in week 4, and depth at all positions is so important.  All fantasy players will be tested to roll out competitive lineups with the off days and injuries already piling up.  Week 4 will have the return of Le’Veon Bell from suspension.  And we expect Tom Brady and Josh Gordon to infuse fantasy teams in week 5.  Be active on the waiver wire but don’t just waste pickups on every one week wonder.  Remember, that free agent pickup could win you a fantasy championship!

NFL Week 2 Fantasy Impact

It sure was an interesting week 2 in the NFL.  As fantasy players, we need to realize that it takes more than one game to understand how teams (and players) are trending.  Jameis Winston scorched in week 1 with 4 TDs and 1 Int, but week 2 brought expectations back in check with a 1 TD / 4 Int performance.  Theo Riddick had over 100 combined yards and 2 TDs in week 1 vs. 65 all-purpose yards and 0 TDs this week.  On the flip side, we questioned Giovani Bernard after week 1 in regards to his workload (5 carries and 4 targets) for 30 yards.  Hello week 2 where Gio had 9 catches for 100 yards and a TD.  And we were ready to write off Dez Bryant after the loss of Tony Romo and his limited use (only 5 targets) in the first week of the season.  The Cowboys weren’t going to let their biggest weapon go unnoticed as Dez had 7 catches on 12 targets for 102 yards.  The point here is that you cannot get too high or too low on a player at this point of the season.

And now onto the week 2 fantasy recap…

Week 2 Fantasy Highlights

Cam Newton (Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen)
– This highlight goes to the core of Carolina Panthers passing attack.  Newton had 353 passing yards with 4 TDs and 1 Int.  Benjamin stat line was 7-198-2 and Olsen was 5-122-1 (17 targets combined).

Ryan Tannehill (Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker) – This highlight goes to the Miami Dolphins passing game.  Tannehill put up 389 passing yards with 2 TDs and 2 Ints. Jarvis Landry had 10-137 and DeVante Parker had 8-106; both on 13 targets each.  There will be some big weekly performances by those two receivers, but the passing attack in general is below average.

Matt Ryan – Matty Ice has put up back to back 300 yard passing games.  Only 4 yards short of 400, Ryan put up 396-3-1 and has 5 TDs to 1 Int this season.  We know he CAN do it, but will he continue for a full season?  Wait and see…

Philip Rivers – Without Keenan Allen, Rivers still had a respectable day.  He was an efficient 17/24 for 220 passing yards, 4 TDs and 0 picks.  While these aren’t huge numbers, it’s nice to see that the Chargers still have a passing game.

Matt Forte – Thursday night, Forte had 30 carries for 100 yards and 3 TDs.  He’s been a stud so far this year, but he’s 30 years old and has had a ton of volume over the past few years.  I expect a 2nd half decline so start to position yourself to sell high in the upcoming weeks.

Melvin Gordon – Gordon had another good game rushing for 24-102-1.  That’s 3 rushing TDs on the season after 0 his entire rookie year.

LeGarrette Blount – Blount had another stellar performance rushing 29 times for 123 and a TD.  He’s carried the load through two weeks with 52 carries.  Remember, Coach Belichick can throw a curve ball at any given time and go with another running back based on game plan; you just never know.

Isaiah Crowell – “The Crow” had 18 carries for 133 and a TD.  Don’t get too hyped up because of his 85 yard scamper.  If you remove that, he had 17 carries for 48 yards.

Corey Coleman – Rookie WR Corey Coleman was targeted by Josh McCown 8 times and caught 5-104-2.  It was a nice coming out game, but the Browns may be forced to start their 3rd different QB in 3 weeks.  I cannot trust this passing game until McCown returns.

Marvin Jones – Marvin sure wasn’t “Starvin’” this week when he went 8-118 on 11 targets.  He’s become Mathew Stafford’s go to weapon now that Calvin “Megatron” Johnson is gone.  Golden Tate only caught 2 balls on 9 targets.

Mike Evans – Evans had a whopping 17 targets in this game but only managed 6-70-1.  Tampa Bay was down big to the Arizona Cardinals as Jameis Winston put the ball in the air 54 times.  Evans should do more with his looks moving forward, but I still don’t feel that he’s an elite fantasy receiver.

Sterling Shepard – Rookie WR Sterling Shepard caught all 8 of his targets for 117 yards.  Victor Cruz also had 8 targets in the game as they vie for the attention of Eli Manning opposite Odell Beckham.

Stefon Diggs – With QB Sam Bradford at the helm in week 2, Diggs blew up.  On 11 targets, he put up 9-182-1.  Even with back to back 100 yard games, it’s hard for me to trust this passing game.  Diggs has shown flashes of what he can do, but this is a defensive team with a run first mentality.

Dennis Pitta – After a few injury plagued seasons, it appears that Pitta has returned to fantasy relevance.  He was targeted by longtime teammate Joe Flacco 12 time and caught 9-102.  If he’s on the field, Flacco looks for this guy.  In 2012 when he last played 16 games, Pitta caught 61-669-7.

Denver Broncos Defense – Denver’s defense lit it up against the Colts.  The defensive unit scored 2 TDs, had 5 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery.  It was a great game, but you cannot predict defensive touchdowns from week to week.

Week 2 Fantasy Games to Forget

Russell Wilson
– Wilson wasn’t 100% in this one with a sore ankle he injured against Miami.  Regardless, he played in the game and only put up 254 passing yards with no TDs or Ints.  The Seattle Seahawks usually improve as the year goes on, but maybe they’re slipping as one of the elite teams. The Los Angeles Rams beat them in this one 9-3 and no TDs were scored in the game.

Andrew Luck – The Colts signal caller couldn’t overcome the vaunted Broncos defense.  Luck passed for 197 with a TD and a pick.  Chalk this one up to a poor matchup and look for him to turn it around.  His next three matchups are against the Chargers, Jaguars, and Bears.

Carlos Hyde – The 49ers stud running back had a tough matchup against the Carolina Panthers in this one.  He carried the ball 14 times for only 34 yards and 3 catches for 18 yards.  He knows that he has to improve and carry this team.  Luckily, there really isn’t any other pedigree RBs on the roster.

Todd Gurley – In some fantasy drafts, Gurley was the first overall pick this year, but his stats look like he shouldn’t even be rostered.  He followed up his 47 yard rushing performance with 51 yards this week. And he’s not getting anything in the passing game with only 1 catch each week.  Bottom line, this guy is a mega-talent and he’s getting a good workload (18 carries per game) each week.  Once Jared Goff takes over at QB mid-season, that should be just the injection the team needs. Buy low on this guy, now!

Sammy Watkins – Granted, Watkins was questionable leading up to this game with his foot injury.  But he was NFL active and likely active in your fantasy lineups.  Sammy only caught 2-20.  Overall at the end of the year, his numbers will look good, but there will be many ups and downs through the season.

A.J. Green vs. Antonio Brown – I’ll just lump these two together since they both did nothing in the same game.  Green had 2-38 and Brown had 4-39.  This was just a slight bump in the road for two of the best fantasy receivers in the game; no need to worry.

Fantasy Position Battles

David Johnson (Chris Johnson)
– Chris Johnson actually led the team in rushing in week 2 with 16-54-1. David Johnson had 12-45-0 but added 3 catches for 98 yards.  The Arizona Cardinals were up big in this one and that’s why Chris Johnson got so much work.  There is no battle here so don’t overreact.

Devanta Freeman (Tevin Coleman) – Freeman led the team in rushing with 17-93-0 while Coleman had 12-46-1.  Freeman still has an edge in this one, but may not live up to his early round draft pick value.  We’ll have to monitor this week to week until a trend appears in the RB usage in Atlanta.

Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams – Usually we look at running back position battles, but there was an interesting one this week at receiver with the San Diego Chargers.  Who will try to replace Keenan Allen who was lost for the year last week with a torn ACL?  Travis Benjamin (my sleeper this year) was 6-115-2.  Tyrell Williams had 3-61-1.  Now Danny Woodhead and his 81 receptions are lost for the year with a torn ACL.  I like Benjamin more this year, but the team needs Tyrell to step up too.  Both should also put up good stats moving forward.

Week 2 Injuries (and Week 3 Replacements)

Jay Cutler
– Cutler left Monday night’s game against the Eagles with a thumb injury.  He originally sustained it in week 1 and it’s now believed he has a torn ligament and will miss some time.  It’s unknown if he’ll need surgery, but he’s expected to be out for some weeks.  Brian Hoyer replaced him Monday night, but should not be relied upon in fantasy.

Jimmy Garoppolo – He suffered a sprained AC joint in his should and is very questionable for week 3.  The Patriots didn’t sign any QBs as of yet, so it looks like they’ll go with Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett for now.  Even if active, Jimmy may serve as the backup QB in the game.

Josh McCown – McCown finished the game in week 2 but has a shoulder injury that will likely keep him out for this coming week.  Cody Kessler could get the start.  Downgrade the Browns WRs but Duke Johnson may come up big if Kessler checks down to his RBs.

Adrian Peterson – Peterson went down with what looked like a horrible season ending knee injury.  It turns out that it’s a torn meniscus and he’s not even ruled out for week 3 yet!  His return will depend on the severity of the injury and the course of treatment.  It’s possible that he plays this week, but more likely that he misses a week or two of action. I expect Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata to split the work about 70/30 in favor of McKinnon until AP returns.

Rashad Jennings – Jennings injured his thumb in week 2 and Shane Vereen got his share of carries.  We’ll have to wait and see if Jennings will play this week and if he’ll be limited at all.  Vereen and Orleans Darkwa could pick up the work if Jennings is unable to go.

Danny Woodhead – Woodhead is out for the year with a torn ACL.  Melvin Gordon may get a slight uptick in work, especially in the passing game.

Jonathan Stewart – Stewart left week 2 with a hamstring injury and will miss a week or two. Fozzy Whittaker rushed for 100 yards and had 3-31 receiving.  Fozzy and Cameron Artis-Payne will fill in for Stewart, but they’re low-end flex plays at best.

Thomas Rawls – Rawls left the game on Sunday after 7 carries for -7 yards with a leg injury.  He was ineffective before he left so the Seahawks may go back to Christine Michael as their starter this week.

Doug Martin – Martin left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and is slated for an MRI.  If he needs to miss time, Charles Sims and/or Jacquizz Rodgers would likely fill in.  Sims is intriguing since he’s already a reception machine and adding rushing stats will only help his value.

Ameer Abdullah – Abdullah suffered what appears to be a foot sprain as X-rays confirmed no broken bones.  It’s unknown if or how much time he may miss.  If Theo Riddick takes over, he becomes an intriguing play (like Charles Sims) if he can add some running work to his pass catching prowess. Dwayne Washington or Zach Zenner could get some work too.

Arian Foster – Foster is already showing up on the injury report; this time with a groin injury.  He’s day-to-day and it’s unclear if he’ll play this week.  If he misses time, Jay Ajayi and/or Kenyan Drake would fill in for Foster.

Eric Decker – Decker made it through and finished Thursday’s game, but sustained a shoulder injury at some point.  I expect him to play.

Brandon Marshall – Marshall suffered a sprained MCL in his knee and is questionable for week 3.  When he went down, it looked like a season ending injury.  He may miss week 3 so stay tuned.  If he doesn’t play, Quincy Enunwa would be a sneaky fantasy play.

Donte Moncrief – Moncrief left Sunday’s game with a head/neck/shoulder injury.  He’s slated for an MRI to get some clarity on the issue.  He’s questionable for week 3.  If he misses time, Phillip Dorsett may get some extra looks from Andrew Luck.

Words of Wisdom

We’ve now seen 2 week of football.  Some guys are overperforming and others underperforming compared to their draft slots and expectations.  Start to look for a panicky owner who is 0-2.  Ask the owner of Todd Gurley if he’s looking to trade him.  Hunt down the owner of Le’veon Bell and sell him DeAngelo Williams.  The key to winning in fantasy is to stay one step ahead of the game, and your competition!