Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 2

Week 1 is in the books and man…did football get off the bus running or what?

A few new names made quite an impression on Fantasy Football enthusiasts, like Jalen Richard above. Or Eli Rogers and his ricochet touchdown catches.

However, the Week 2 edition of Thursday Night Football featured much of the opposite. The key offensive players on the Jets are all 30 and over: Ryan Fitzpatrick (33), Brandon Marshall (32) and Matt Forte (30). Forte ran the ball 30 times to rush for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns. FitzMagic threw for 374 yards and 1 touchdown in a 37-31 Jets victory.

Quick Hits

  • Some of you were smart and drafted DeAngelo Williams in the 8th round or later (hopefully handcuffing him to Le’Veon Bell). Some of you were smart about picking up Spencer Ware on waivers right after, or drafting him late. Williams owners were treated to an AFC Offensive Player of the Week performance of 171 yards from scrimmage with 6 catches and 2 touchdowns. Ware owners were rewarded with 199 yards from scrimmage, 7 catches a touchdown. They may be placeholders for Bell and Jamaal Charles for now but Williams and Ware are playing at level that’s worth riding for as long as you can, considering they were both Top 4 in total yardage.

  • Carson Wentz impressed a lot of people across the league in his NFL debut. Completing 22 of his 37 passes for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns earned Wentz the 7th highest quarterback rating by a rookie on opening day. Although it doesn’t count for Fantasy points, there were more Wentz jerseys sold than any in the league over the 2 days following the opener. Wentz will have an opportunity to build on his success and become the 5th NFL quarterback since 1960 to start his career 2-0 against a shaky Bears secondary on Monday Night Football.

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  • On the flip-side of the Week 2 Monday Night matchup, Alshon Jeffery could be in for a big night. The Eagles will be without starting CB Leodis McKelvin and will depend on a 7th round pick Jalen Mills in his place. Also being counted on to cover Jeffery is Nolan Carroll, who was lit up by the BROWNS (all caps necessary) in Week 1. Jeffery became the first Bears player since Forte (in 2010) to record 100+ receiving yards in the first half, against Houston, and should do even more damage when Chicago hosts Philly.

 

Mail Time!

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I love the repertoire Willie Snead and Drew Brees have. Snead had the best game of his young career in Week 1 (9 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD) in a shootout with Oakland. A game with the Giants has potential for similar results, but I still lean toward Spencer Ware while you can still use him. The Saints have a heck of a wide receiver group and anyone can be in-store for a big day. Ware is guaranteed to get touches against a Texans defense that allowed 57 rush yards and a touchdown to Jeremy Langford a week ago. Alex Smith is also bound to continue dumping the ball off to Ware over the pass rush.

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Going back to the potential shootout between the Giants and Saints, I would go with Snead in this case…mostly because I think Eli Manning will be targeting Odell Beckham Jr. more than Victor Cruz after just 4 catches a week ago. OBJ is 9 catches away from becoming the youngest receiver to 200.

Remember the 52-49 game a year ago? Round 2 has a lot of hype to live up to.

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Flex: Safest play would be Golden Tate, who will be a target machine in his hometown of Nashville. Boom would be Demaryius Targaryen against a weak Indy secondary, but he’s dealing with a bad hip. Melvin Gordon may be taking a step back, as his team should be playing a lot of catchup against the high-powered (that’s right) Jaguars offense.

QB: I’m not particularly high on a less-mobile Russell Wilson against one of the best pass rushing front-7’s in football. Wilson has proved me wrong in the past, but I see the Seahawks attacking St. Louis better by handing off to the Rawls-Michael tandem. Trust the Jim Bob Cooter offense and Matthew Stafford this weekend.

 

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Einhorn. Sean Young, FTW.

 

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I do like Houston better, you’re right…but way more because of Whitney Mercilus than JJ Watt. The pass rush that they hoped to get from Jadeveon Clowney has arrived in the form of a man with a great football name, from the University of Illinois. While Cincy-Pittsburgh always lives up to its “rock’em, sock’em” reputation, but the Steelers offense is too good (even without Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell) to bet against.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-53-55-am I hope you didn’t go with McCoy…

A tandem of DJ2K (David Johnson) and Williams is a tough one to beat. They are also two of the most reliable backs you can find, with schemes that will always put the ball in their hands. Have fun.

 

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I like Stefon Diggs the most, as a receiver, but I don’t like the quarterback situation throwing him the ball. It will either be an under-prepared Sam Bradford or Shaun Hill against the Packers 3-4 pass rush. Does that inspire confidence in you? I didn’t think so…

Emmanuel Sanders may be the best option for the sole reason that he is the healthier than Thomas and he’s going against one of the worst secondaries in football.

 

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Jay Cutler and I think you should go with Will Fuller.

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Have more Fantasy lineup questions? Don’t hesitate to ask on Facebook or Twitter

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Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs (4.0)

Just when you thought it was safe to post a final rankings midway through July

Le’Veon Bell gets suspended, Arian Foster is signed, a Dion Lewis has knee surgery…mass hysteria! With fantasy drafts already happening, it’s now or never to update the rankings. Rosters are closer to being set and depth charts are starting to seem clearer.

Here is my final Top 40 Fantasy Running Back list…until the next dramatic roster change.

1. Todd Gurley, Rams

Gurley leap vs Seahawks

Early candidate for the Hard Knocks draft bump goes to…

Besides the freakish talent, athleticism and stats from his rookie year (1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in 12 games), another thing Todd Gurley has going for him will be his usage in the upcoming season. The Rams offense hasn’t improved much in the offseason, outside of #1 overall pick Jared Goff. Will Gurley be prepared to handle defenses that fill 9 players into the box? Look to Adrian Peterson as an example of someone who wasn’t phased by it, and consider Gurley to be a younger and faster version of him.

2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

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Adrian Peterson has posted 10+ touchdown in 8 of the 9 seasons he has played, and has also averaged 1,689 yards from scrimmage in each of those seasons. You can’t expect him to give you receiving points anymore and he only plays on the first 2 downs, but even at age 31 you can’t let him go out of your first round.

3. David Johnson, Cardinals

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David Johnson (I refer to him as DJ2K) is going ridiculously high in most mock drafts for his incredibly high ceiling in the Arizona Cardinals offense. From the RB3 spot in their backfield, Johnson scored 6 touchdowns in his first 5 games. When given #1 reps, Johnson showed you why he is rated so high, most notably Week 14 against Philadelphia…29 carries for 187 yards, 3 touchdowns + 4 catches for 42 yards.

4. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys

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Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t have landed in a better situation. He’ll be running behind one of the best 2 offensive lines in the league…in a system that is most effective in play-action…and a quarterback who loves to check down. He isn’t afraid of the big stage, from what college fans saw vs. Alabama and Oregon in the 2014-2015 College Football Playoffs. 41 touchdowns in his last 2 years at Ohio State shouldn’t be ignored either.

5. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers

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Le’Veon, Le’Veon, Le’Veon *continues shaking head*

He is the best offensive football player in the league. His 2014 season was proof of that as he totaled 2,215 yards from scrimmage (1,361 rushing, 854 receiving), 11 touchdowns and 83 catches. In the 6 games Bell played before his 2015-ending injury, he averaged 115 yards and scored 6 touchdowns.

…but of course a 3-game suspension makes it difficult to draft Bell early in the first round. You can’t let him get out of the 2nd though. Plan on handcuffing him to DeAngelo Williams.

6. Devonta Freeman, Falcons

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In 13 starts, Devonta Freeman ranked 1st in total touchdowns, 5th in yards from scrimmage, 7th in rushing and 2nd in touches. He will have new Falcon/Pro Bowl center Alex Mack to run behind in 2016. Tevin Coleman will get reps, but look for Freeman to be even more dangerous around the end zone this year. Coleman also wasn’t very dependable health-wise last season, but could set Freeman up by taking care of business between the 20’s.

7. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

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Fresh off the PUP list, but also simply fresher than most overall after an early season-ending injury. Before the 2015 season, Charles was a production machine. He totaled 5,049 yards and 39 touchdowns over the previous 3 seasons. Yes, another injury would be devastating, but the ceiling for a healthy Charles is too high to deny.

8. Doug Martin, Buccaneers 

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Doug Martin answered a ton of questions I had a year ago, including those regarding his health. It was the first time since his rookie year that Martin played all 16 games. While the numbers didn’t quite match those of 2012, he still ranked 2nd in rush yards and 4th in yards from scrimmage. Hopefully former OC Dirk Koetter, now at the helm, will help Martin break the plain of the end zone more often.

9. Lamar Miller, Texans

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Lamar Miller was such a curious case in 2015. The Dolphins were 6-1 when Miller got 13+ carries and winless when he didn’t. You can expect Bill O’Brien to give the 25-year-old plenty of action in his new digs. In the same system, Arian Foster recorded 1,573 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns in 2014. Miller, who has 19 touchdowns in the past 2 season, is much younger and faster than Foster was then. Fantasy owners should prepare for a monster year out of him.

10. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks

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In 6 starts last season, Thomas Rawls averaged 118.6 yards per game and scored 5 touchdowns. The Seahawks are ready to roll with Rawls as their #1 in the backfield and he should be an absolute force if he can stay healthy.

11. Mark Ingram, Saints

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Mark Ingram stepped up big for the Saints and Fantasy owners in 2015. He recorded career highs in yards from scrimmage, targets, receptions, and receiving yards. Proving he could be effective in the passing game made Ingram incredibly valuable in-between the 20s, and he should build on that momentum within the red zone as well. You should also feel optimistic by the fact that CJ Spiller has fallen down the depth chart and won’t be threatening Ingram for as many touches as last year.

12. Latavius Murray, Raiders

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I may be a bigger fan of Latavius Murray than most, but I do believe he’ll be running behind arguably the best offensive line in football and the Raiders receivers will keep defenses on their heels. I also like how much usage Murray got in 2015, ranking 4th in touches, 3rd in carries and 6th in rush yards.

13. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers

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If there was one takeaway from the Panthers’ offseason, besides saying goodbye to Josh Norman, was their commitment to the run, as their notable moves were extending fullback Mike Tolbert and guard Chris Scott. In order to preserve Cam Newton, the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER in the league, the Panthers will utilize Jonathan Stewart in the run game. From weeks 5-12, Stewart had 20+ carries in each game, averaging 86.7 yards per game and scored 6 touchdowns in that span (plus another the week after).

14. Eddie Lacy, Packers

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The prospects of the Packers returning to their typical offensive form makes me much more optimistic about Eddie Lacy this season. With the caveat being that Jordy Nelson will bring back some normalcy for Aaron Rodgers, allowing everyone else (including Randall Cobb) to fall back into their roles, Lacy and the run game could be set up to take advantage of defenses that are too focused on covering deep passes. Maybe Lacy will look like the back that recorded back-to-back 1,100+ rushing seasons and 20 touchdowns to start his career and NOT the one that was benched based on merit.

15. LeSean McCoy, Bills

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I am not totally sure how LeSean McCoy was named to the Pro Bowl last year, but recording EXACTLY 112 yards rushing in 3 of the 5 games from Weeks 6-10 might have something to do with it. Shady McCoy should be depended on more, thanks to the release of suspended backup Karlos Williams, but it’s starting to feel like the back-to-back seasons of 310+ carries prior are catching up to him. His value in the passing game can’t be overlooked as he continues to build chemistry with Tyrod Taylor on play-action and 3rd down.

16. Jeremy Langford, Bears

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The Bears running back situation was hyped as one to watch, with good reason because of John Fox’s reputation to use the back with the hot-hand. Jeremy Langford stepped out in front of the pack, with a solid performance against the Patriots. With continuity in schemes and philosophy, expect Langford to get similar reps on the ground and in the air as he did last year when he was the feature RB. His speed, catching skills, and an improved starting offensive line should help him elevate his production.

17. CJ Anderson, Broncos

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You have to appreciate the love C.J. Anderson got from others in the league, including Tom Brady, after shining in the playoffs and Super Bowl. He was a great story when he broke out in 2014 and even better when he averaged 80.4 yards and scored 4 touchdowns in his last 5 games (end of regular season until he lifted the Lombardi trophy). Then the Broncos awarded Anderson for his efforts by matching Miami’s offer sheet. No question, he’ll be depended on in high volume as the Denver offense transitions from the post-Manning/Osweiler era.

18. Matt Forte, Jets

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The all-around back has averaged 1,589 yards from scrimmage per season over his 8-year career. He’s missed a lot of time in camp, due to a hamstring injury, but is expected to handle a steady workload in the running and passing game. The Jets converted 22 of 26 goal-to-go touchdowns, leading the league with 6.35 points per situation. Hopefully that’s a credit to their blocking and schemes, which would help Matt Forte’s inefficiency from the 3-yard line and in. He has only converted 17 of 58 tries from that distance.

19. Carlos Hyde, 49ers

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The 49ers brought in Chip Kelly as their new head coach and that was really the only change they made on the offensive side of the ball. That also means Carlos Hyde has zero real competition for the #1 running back job (save your Shaun Draughn responses). Hyde had a very promising start to 2015, rushing for 168 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns, but then adversity and injuries ended any optimism for the 49ers and his season by Week 7. 2016 will be a serious PROVE IT year for both Hyde and Kelly.

20. Jeremy Hill, Bengals

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Like Hyde, Jeremy Hill started 2015 with tons of promise by awarding those who drafted him high with 2 touchdowns. Then he frustrated them with immense inconsistency until Week 10, despite a 3 TD performance in Week 4 (good for you if you started him). We found out down the stretch that Hill’s game does not translate particularly well between the 20’s but can be devastating in the red zone. He scored 11 of his 12 touchdowns from within 10 yards of the end zone. Maybe the touchdown totals should have him ranked higher, but his split-back status should give you pause to draft him high.

21. Ryan Mathews, Eagles

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Ryan Mathews is the starting running back in Doug Peterson’s new Eagles offense, designating Darren Sproles to 3rd down and special teams situations (where Sproles is at his best). The 2011 Pro Bowler filled in fine when DeMarco Murray went missing, scoring 6 touchdowns in 13 games and averaging 5 yards per carry. The Eagles were a complete mess for mostof 2015 though, and Peterson brings are well-structured running game that made Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware into viable fantasy options last season.

22. DeMarco Murray, Titans

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DeMarco Murray made the Cowboys relevant on the field again, with Pro Bowl seasons in 2013 and ’14, but fell into something weird with Philadelphia in 2015. Now he has a chance to prove it “was them, not him” in 2016 with the run-happy Tennessee Titans. The question is…how much use will he get in a backfield that includes receiving back Dexter McCluster and reigning Heisman winner Derrick Henry?

23. Arian Foster, Dolphins

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There’s a lot of risk to selecting Arian Foster. He hasn’t played a full season since 2012, he just missed an entire season, and he’s playing in a new system…Fortunately, he’s playing in a very RB-friendly scheme under new Dolphins coach Adam Gase. Despite sitting out the first preseason game, Foster is expected to win the starting running back job and his 1,573 total yard/13 touchdown output in 2014 is too hard to ignore by the middle rounds of your draft.

24. DeAngelo Williams, Steelers

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In just 10 starts, Williams tied the league high for rushing touchdowns and totaled 1,274 yards from scrimmage. Deja vu, he’s starting the season for the Steelers again because of a Le’Veon Bell suspension. Best case scenario, you handcuff Williams to Bell in your draft. Based on the recent track record, Bell could get hurt again (like last year) and the Steelers offense won’t skip a beat with Williams carrying the rock.

25. Matt Jones, Washington

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High on the over-valued list is Matt Jones, who has assumed the #1 running back role in Washington with Alfred Morris now in Dallas. In 13 games last year, Jones scored just 4 touchdowns (3 rush and 1 receiving). Their offense was clicking much more when Kirk Cousins was finding his receivers deep and Jordan Reed in the end zone. Perhaps another year in the system and confidence from coach Jay Gruden will reward Jones more opportunities, especially in the red zone.

26. Justin Forsett, Ravens

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Justin Forsett was one of the best stories of 2014, filling the void Ray Rice left by earning his first Pro Bowl invitation and recording career highs in total yards (1,529), touchdowns (8) and receptions (44). The Ravens offense hit a serious snag as both Forsett and Joe Flacco went down after 10 games. Forsett can bounce back and return to being a Fantasy force again, but he will have Javorius Allen and rookie Kenneth Dixon ready to step in if he can’t.

27. T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars

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TJ Yeldon was steady in his rookie season, but never put together the monster game that people expected. The Jaguars were regularly playing from behind and were forced to pass most of the time. While the addition of Chris Ivory may appear as a bad sign for Yeldon’s reps, it could actually prove to be the opposite. Yeldon could learn from the veteran back, and will be depended on more in passing downs. If the Jaguars’ passing attack can strike first against opponents, they’ll be able to control the clock and pace with Yeldon running.

28. Danny Woodhead, Chargers

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For as long as Philip Rivers is playing quarterback and head coach Mike McCoy is influencing the Chargers offense, Danny Woodhead will be a fixture in Fantasy Football. The Chargers don’t have a vaunted defense and you can’t bank on Melvin Gordon bouncing back, but you can plan for Woodhead to get plenty of attention from the quarterback who threw more passes than anyone last season.

29. Jay Ajayi, Dolphins

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Jay Ajayi started the summer as Miami’s clear #1 RB, with great potential for a breakout season. Then when the Dolphins signed the imm more proven Foster, everything changed. Foster isn’t as surefire a choice for the starting role as one would assume though. Ajayi started the first two games of the preseason, and Adam Gase may have tipped his hand with the reps he gave the 2nd year back.

30. Rashad Jennings, Giants

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Rashad Jennings had his most productive season in New York last year. He totaled 1,159 yards from scrimmage and had a serious uptick in rush attempts, but only hit pay dirt 4 times all season. The Giants are better known for throwing the ball and Shane Vereen had twice as many targets as Jennings (81 to 40). For now, Jennings is their #1 back.

31. Ameer Abdullah, Lions

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Ameer Abdullah was high on many lists, last season, as a strong sleeper pick coming out of the draft. Unfortunately, the Lions had different plans. Abdullah would start games with a big run or a string of big downs, but then he wouldn’t see a single rush or target his way again. Theo Riddick was actually getting Woodhead-esque work as games progressed, finishing the season with 80 catches on 99 targets. If the Lions want to find balance though, they’ll want to hand the ball off to Abdullah.

32. Melvin Gordon, Chargers

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It’s difficult to put a lot of stock in Melvin Gordon, but the Chargers are giving him every chance to bounce back. They were never totally healthy at offensive line in 2015 and they could be poised to get ahead of teams early in games, capable of controlling the pace by handing off to Gordon. If he’s the starting running back in San Diego, he’ll have more value than most running backs in the league.

33. Duke Johnson Jr., Browns

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Duke Johnson Jr could very well be Hue Jackson’s new Giovani Bernard. When he received more game reps, Johnson became a strong PPR threat and finished with 61 receptions. The Browns may be playing from behind a lot in 2016 and that gives him a significant edge over Isaiah Crowell.

34. Giovani Bernard, Bengals

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Gio Bernard recorded a career high in rushing yards, but had most of his touchdowns “vultured” by Hill. It was clear that Bernard is a better running back and he is capable from scoring from anywhere on the field. After the recent departures of Andy Dalton’s #2 and #3 receivers, there’s a good chance Bernard could be spreading out more as well.

35. Chris Ivory, Jaguars

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The Jaguars aren’t looking like the punchline that they used to anymore. They have one of the best WR duos in football, and you could be saying something similar about their backfield as well. Chris Ivory was Top 5 in rushing yards and Top 10 in rushing touchdowns a year ago, and could be a dangerous goal-line weapon while splitting carries with TJ Yeldon.

36. Bilal Powell, Jets

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Bilal Powell could be a huge sleeper this season, as he showed to be a PPR stud down the stretch in 2015. After returning from injury in Week 10, Powell averaged 5.3 catches per game. There’s also no telling how Forte will hold up for the whole season and Powell has a much better nose for the end zone.

37. James White, Patriots

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Following the news of Dion Lewis’ need for a second knee surgery and no set timetable for a return, James White immediately emerged as a popular candidate to fill his role. In the final 5-game stretch of 2015, White averaged 5.6 receptions per game and scored a touchdown in 4 straight before the final game of the regular season. He’s been better utilized as a pass catcher out of the backfield and a makes for a reliable weapon between the 20s. There’s solid mid-round value for White if he is dubbed Bill Belichick’s opening day starter.

38. Frank Gore, Colts

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Right now, Frank Gore is the #1 running back in Indianapolis but how long does 33-year-old running back have to maintain that role. In 2015, Gore finished with the lowest amount of rush yards after completing a full 16-game season and his 7 touchdowns were recorded in just 5 games.

39. Christine Michael, Seahawks

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Christine Michael has looked really good in preseasons of the past, but it never seems to translate to the regular season. His vision and decision have improved though, in his 4th NFL season, and that bodes well for the Thomas Rawls’ backup. Rawls runs hard and looks for contact, which increases his chances for another injury. Handcuffing Michael with Rawls would be extremely savvy in your upcoming draft.

40. Derrick Henry, Titans

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It’s hard to leave the Heisman trophy winner off the list. Derrick Henry made his NFL debut with 74 yards and a touchdown, all in the 2nd quarter of Week 1 against the Chargers. His pairing with Murray is being referred to as the “Thunder and Thunder Offense”, which seems scary given lightning is supposed to warn of the thunder…and there appears to be know warning with this backfield.

More Position Rankings:

*Updated Rankings Coming Soon*

Running Backs (3.0)

Quarterbacks (3.0)

Wide Receivers (2.0)

Tight Ends (1.0)

 

Follow for more and ask questions on Facebook and Twitter

Best Fantasy Landing Spots For Top NFL Free Agents

Beginning Monday, March 7th, teams will be permitted to speak with unrestricted free agents and may begin contract negotiations. On March 9th at 3 PM CT, free agency officially begins and new contracts can be made official.

There seem to be more impact players on the defensive end this year, but playmakers are still to be had that can make a serious difference on your fantasy team…as long as they’re on the right NFL team.

As the free agency vastly approaches, lets take a look at some of the best destinations for the top free agents from a Fantasy Football perspective.

Jessica Kleinschmidt of FanDuel and I had a similar discussion weeks ago on The Piffcast. Click here to check it out. 

 

Running Back

Doug Martin

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Doug Martin tops the list for sought after offensive players this offseason. The 4-year vet and 2-time Pro Bowler went from injury prone running back to the league’s 2nd leading rusher last year. At the age of 27, Martin has some mileage on him but a few more years before the dreaded “wrong side of 30” tag that plagues most veteran running backs. Tampa Bay is in the Top 5 for available cap space this season, but Martin could be destined to run for a bigger market club and behind bigger offensive linemen.

Dallas 

In the last 2 seasons, the Cowboys proved they are a much better team when they can effectively run the ball and set up the pass after forcing opponents to load up the box. It would be in their best interest to sign a premiere back like Martin if they want to preserve Tony Romo for a full season too. With the same play-callers and top tier offensive line for the past few seasons, you can project similar production for Martin as DeMarco Murray’s in 2014. Maybe not Murray’s 392 carries from that season, but leading the league in rushing (1,845 yards) and rushing touchdowns (13) is very attractive.

New York (Jets)

The Jets were just one game away from making the playoffs and a big part of their success was the dependability of their running game. Chris Ivory provided the punch between the tackles and Bilal Powell was reliable as an easy target on passing downs. Neither are under contract but Martin’s skill set accounts for both their talents. Ivory put up the best numbers of his career in 2015 behind an O-Line manned by Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, even was a Pro Bowler. One would think Martin could perform even better and would be depended on even more with Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick not getting any younger.

 

Matt Forte

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

It’s weird knowing that we’ll be seeing Matt Forte in a different uniform this season. It makes sense for both sides though as the Bears are a team in transition, trying to get younger, and Forte deserves an immediate shot at a championship. Even at 30 years old, Forte is a proven dynamic back who can run, catch and block. Ideally, you would like to see him in an offense that succeeds throwing more and could share his touches.

New England

Something tells me Bill Belichick and Tom Brady would love to have a dependable running back between the 20’s, and that’s Forte’s specialty. The Patriots do have Dion Lewis under contract but he’s coming off a season ending injury and would benefit greatly from being a compliment to Forte, especially in the red zone. The Patriots are a fast paced team that are at their best when Brady is a rhythm passing and Forte is the best pass catching back on the market who can also block. He would be PPR machine again in New England.

Green Bay 

Speaking of teams that are better when they chuck it…

The Packers may be losing James Stars to free agency, so why not upgrade with someone with his skill x 10? This move would probably kill Bears fans, but Forte would be perfect in an offense with Aaron Rodgers. When firing on all cylinders, Rodgers shares the wealth between his receivers and his lead back and they are always in the red zone. The Packers are also much less trusting of Eddie Lacy these days, so Forte would certainly get #1 back touches. Sorry, Chicago. Still love you.

 

Lamar Miller

Lamar

Lamar Miller had a strange season last year. The Dolphins were 6-1 when they gave him 13 or more touches, but that means he was well underused in more than half a season’s worth of games. 19 touchdowns in the last 2 years and the ability to score from anywhere on the field, running and catching, would be pretty sexy to a team looking for a #1 quality back.

Houston

The Texans made the choice to move on from Arian Foster and I don’t think they are particularly sold on Alfred Blue. When Foster was healthy for a whole season playing for Bill O’Brien, he totaled 1,573 yards and 13 touchdowns. Picture Miller, younger and faster, in O’Brien’s scheme and attacking defenses that are already on their heels trying to defend DeAndre Hopkins. Then consider the defenses that the Texans face in their division (Colts, Jaguars, and Titans). I would like Miller in my lineup, if that were the case.

Miami

It sounds like the Dolphins are high on bringing Miller back and I don’t blame them, for the reasons I listed earlier. Miller would also probably like to play in Adam Gase’s system too. Knowshon Moreno, CJ Anderson, Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford all benefitted well with Gase utilizing play-action. If Gase is going to get Ryan Tannehill back on track, getting the ball to Miller will be more helpful than not.

Wide Receiver

Marvin Jones

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The better wide receivers these don’t often hit the open market anymore. When you look at the best in this class, it would appear that Marvin Jones tops the list. He was the #2 man to AJ Green for his entire tenure in Cincinnati but he showed that he could produce like a #1 when called upon, like the 10 touchdowns he scored in 2013. Now he has a chance to prove it and someone is going pay him to try…more than likely overpaid because the market will dictate it.

Los Angeles

The Rams are heading back to California with a very good defense and an elite running back. What they don’t have is a quarterback or a legit wide receiver. Marvin Jones would fit one of those needs and it’s hard to believe they won’t try to fill the other. Getting a shot as a #1 receiver would be huge for Jones’s value, especially when defenses are more focused on Todd Gurley.

Baltimore

It’s pretty common in the AFC North for players to flip to their rivals. The Ravens have Steve Smith Sr. for one more year and Kamar Aiken, but Jones would jump ahead of both on a depth chart and give Joe Flacco better target than he’s had since Anquan Boldin. Flacco’s never thrown 25+ touchdowns twice in his career, but somebody has to catch that deep ball of his. Jones has the talent to do it consistently.

Anquan Boldin

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He turns 36 in October but Anquan Boldin is still a badass. The reigning Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner is one of the best possession receivers in the game. He’s not the fastest anymore, but he is durable and would compliment any #1 or speedster perfectly.

Detroit

With Calvin Johnson retiring, the Lions need a reliable red zone target. Golden Tate performed well while Megatron dealt with injuries in the past, but Matthew Stafford needs someone who can pull double coverage away from him. Boldin is a savvy veteran who would bring experience to a thin position group and a lot of production with Stafford targeting him.

Atlanta

Like the Lions, the Falcons parted ways with one of their all-time great receivers. However, Roddy White wasn’t their top receiver anymore…Julio Jones is. Boldin would take advantage of all the attention Jones gets and would provide Matt Ryan with reliable target in the end zone. Hopefully Ryan can get the ball out of his own hand.

Quarterback

Brock Osweiler

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With Kirk Cousins signing his franchise tag, there aren’t many other sexy quarterbacks available. Brock Osweiler got a chance to showcase his skills and whatever he learned from backing up Peyton Manning this year seems to have attracted somebody though.

Denver

The reports out of Denver say the Broncos made Osweiler a 3-year extension offer, but he has yet to reach a deal with them. It might be in his best interest to stick with somewhere and a system he knows. It also doesn’t hurt having Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to throw to.

Houston

Of the teams that need a starting quarterback, the Texans have the best receiver. Heck, DeAndre Hopkins even made Brian Hoyer relevant again. If the Texans were to go out and sign any of the 3 running backs mentioned earlier, that would only add to Osweiler’s value as they are all key for a potent passing attack.

For more, follow along on Facebook or Twitter

 

The Piffcast: The Second One – Second is the Best

 

This week, FanDuel sportswriter Jessica Kleinschmidt joins us to talk about the NFL offseason and where the best places would be for big free agents to land…from a Fantasy perspective. We also preview the upcoming MLB season a little bit as well, because pitchers and catchers are reporting! (Jump ahead to the 11:55 mark to here Jessica right away)

Then People Magazine TV editor and writer Aaron Couch jumps on to discuss Better Call Saul and the “Better Talk Saul” podcast he hosts. We also get into The People vs. OJ Simpson and the effect Deadpool’s success will have on Marvel and DC films going forward. (52:20 mark, if you want to jump ahead)

All that, plus some catching up, an epic Chicago Pizza Party and ANOTHER delicious social media contest. Don’t miss out!

Feel free to react as you listen on Facebook or Twitter

Subscribe on iTunes here.

What’s Next For Both Matt Forte and Chicago Bears

Running back Matt Forte informed fans Friday morning that his time in Chicago has come to an end. He posted a photo and a nice message to Bears fans stating that the Bears plan to move forward without him.

Shortly after, Bears GM Ryan Pace released a statement on the team’s decision and what Forte has meant to the organization.

Pace isn’t wrong about Forte, especially as an all-timer. Forte ranks 2nd in franchise history in both career rushing yards and receptions. Walter Payton is the only player ahead of him in both categories.

This isn’t a shocker though. The writing was on the wall for Forte once he started splitting touches with rookie running back Jeremy Langford. When Langford had an opportunity to start while Forte was injured for 2 games, he proved to be more than capable of being a lead back. Langford totaled 145 rush yards, 179 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in back-to-back wins against the Chargers and Rams. The Bears are also in a position where they need to dedicate resources toward improving other positions on the field, mostly on defense and along the offensive line. So what’s next for both the player and the team?

Forte may be 30 years old, but he’s still a very good, #1 quality back. He can give a team competing for a championship next season an upgrade in not just rushing, but also receiving and blocking as well. Forte’s strength has always been in between the 20s, although he has recorded 10+ touchdowns in 2 of his last 3 seasons. One would think he would be better suited on a team paired with a back who has a nose for the end zone, which makes the New England Patriots very attractive.

Bill Belichick should be licking his lips at the prospect of landing a multi-tooled running back with a history of endurance. The Patriots are already committed to Dion Lewis for 2 more years, but just for $2 million in base salary. They’ll be looking to replace LeGarratte Blount for 1st and 2nd down carries anyway and Forte gives Brady an excellent option in the passing game, where the Patriots thrive. Lewis is proven to have a nose for the end zone and would compliment Forte nicely when they threaten to score.

Other teams to consider as landing spots for Forte:

Carolina Panthers – Jonathan Stewart is already in their backfield, with 3 years left on his deal, but he hasn’t played a full 16 game schedule since 2011 when he wasn’t the starter. Cam Newton almost counts as another running back, but I’m sure the Panthers would rather preserve their MVP franchise quarterback. Forte gives the Panthers the receiving dynamic that Stewart doesn’t really possess.

Denver Broncos – The Broncos are very likely entering the post-Peyton era. Whether Brock Osweiler is the quarterback or someone else, the Broncos offense needs a dependable back who can catch the ball. CJ Anderson bounced back strong down the stretch, Ronnie Hillman was meh, and Forte would be a great upgrade over both for a team wanting to stay competitive after winning the Super Bowl.

Dallas Cowboys – Darren McFadden was okay, but the Cowboys won just 2 games with him as the full-time back in 2015. Tony Romo is going to need someone to keep him alive all season long too if Dallas wants to compete in 2016. That means a running back who can block and catch, and also keep defenses on their heels. McFadden and Forte could make for a formidable duo behind one of the best offensive lines in football as well, which would be reassuring in the event Romo gets broken again.

Meanwhile, Langford should be getting first crack as the Bears starting running back. His game is very similar to Forte’s, as he can run, catch and block, but he also has breakaway speed that Forte always seemed to lack. They also appear to like Ka’Deem Carey for depth after he run much harder in 3rd down spots in his 2nd season with the Bears. A veteran on the cheap or a late draft pick would be valuable to provide competition and stability behind Langford. Keep in mind that John Fox loves using two running backs and giving the ball to the hot hand in games. See DeAngelo Williams & Deshaun Foster/Stewart with Carolina, then Knowshon Moreno & Ronnie Hillman/Montee Ball in Denver.

Free Agent RB options that make sense for Bears:

  • Chris Johnson (formerly Cardinals)
  • Bilal Powell (formerly Jets)
  • James Starks (formerly Packers
  • Matt Asiata (formerly Vikings)
  • Alfred Morris (formerly Washington)

Check back later for potential late round running backs the Bears could consider drafting. 

For more, follow along on Facebook or Twitter. 

2016 Fantasy Football Rankings – Running Backs

The running back position was the most unpredictable in 2015. Just 1 (Adrian Peterson) of the first 5 drafted (Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles, Le’Veon Bell and Eddie Lacy) were healthy or reliable.

That makes you wonder who is worth taking in the first round and who will give you better value later in your next draft.

1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

AP

It’s hard to imagine AP won’t be the first running back taken in your league. He led the league in rushing for the 3rd time of his career, after almost an entire year off from suspension, and was tied for the league’s lead in rushing touchdowns.

2. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Gurley

Todd Gurley only started in 12 games and still ranked 3rd in rush yards and 10 touchdowns as well. A full season at the rate he went could have eclipsed AP in both yards and easily touchdowns. Gurley will be a superstar in Los Angeles as long as he stays healthy, and hopefully the Rams find a quarterback that can alleviate the attention defenses will give him.

3. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

Le'Veon

If you’re wondering if Le’Veon Bell is worth a first round pick again, the answer is “yes, yes he is.” In the 6 games Bell played (after suspension and before injury), he scored 6 touchdowns and averaged 115 yards from scrimmage per game. He’s as good an athlete as anyone in the league and Pittsburgh would be smart to preserve some of his mileage with a proven DeAngelo Williams. Either one in the Steelers’ backfield is a Top 3 back.

4. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

Devonta

In his second season and with just 13 starts, Devonta Freeman led the league in total (rush/receiving) touchdowns (14) and rushing touchdowns (11), while ranking 5th in yards from scrimmage (1,634), 7th in rush yards (1,056) and 2nd in touches (338).

5. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Bucanneers

Hamster

Count me as one of Doug Martin’s biggest doubters before the 2015 season, and I was very wrong. He only went over 100 yards on 4 different occasions, but he was consistent enough down the stretch to finish 2nd in rushing with 1,402 yards. His scoring was average with just 6 rushing touchdowns, but you can feel better after he lasted an entire season for the first time since his rookie year.

6. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

Jamaal Charles is coming off his 2nd early season ending injury, but he’s a proven scorer when healthy. In the 5 games he played in 2015, he averaged 108 yards from scrimmage with 5 total touchdowns. He may go later in most drafts, coming off the injury, but he will give you some of the best value if he can stay healthy.

7. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

DJ2K

Bruce Ariens annoyed the hell out of me with his coy approach to using David Johnson. When he said the rookie wouldn’t see any carries, DJ2K (that’s what I’m calling him) scored 6 touchdowns in 5 weeks. Then when he got his chance in a starting role, Johnson went off on his opposition. The fact that Chris Johnson could lead the league in rushing for a time in the Cardinals system makes me more intrigued in the younger DJ2k in that spot. This ranking is based on the assumption Ariens plans to start DJ…They should considering he was the only one with any fight in their playoff game with Carolina.

8. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (FA)

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

Wherever Matt Forte lands in 2016, he’s going to be solid get for whoever signs him. Much like the 2015 Bears season, Forte had to fight through injuries and still accumulated 1,287 yards from scrimmage and 7 touchdowns in 13 games. If he doesn’t re-sign with the Bears, I would expect either New England or Dallas to be great places for him.

9. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (FA)

Lamar

Like Forte, Lamar Miller is a free agent this offseason. He’s weighing whether or not to return to Miami and I think he’d benefit from Adam Gase’s play-calling. Whoever does pick him up will probably use him better than the last coaching regime in Miami. The Dolphins were 6-1 when they handed the ball off to Miller 13+ times. Miller young and underutilized, but has 19 touchdowns in his last 2 seasons and can score from anywhere on the field.

10. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders

Latavius

The Raiders have a pretty awesome young core on the offensive side of the ball. In his first full season, Latavius Murray held his own with the 6th most rushing yards in the league. His usage was certainly there too as as he was 4th in touches and 3rd in carries. If Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are taking the tops off opposing defenses, Murray should take advantage of front 7’s on their heels.

11. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

Ingram

Mark Ingram started the most games of his young career before having it cut down by an injury. I think one factor in his sudden shut down were the playoffs being so far out of reach. 1,174 yards from scrimmage, 6 touchdowns and 50 receptions in 12 games is a solid showing for a higher PPR pick.

12. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers

Stewart

Jonathan Stewart had a slow start to 2015 while Cam Newton was doing most of the work. He exploded in Week 6 though for 2 touchdowns, and never looked back. Stewart has never gone a whole season healthy as a feature back, but the 13 he started last season were encouraging enough for an early-mid round pickup.

13. Thomas Rawls, Seattle

Rawls

As a huge fan of The Wire, I’m tempted to call him “Deputy Commissioner Rawls”. But for now, Thomas looks like a front runner for the starting running back job in Seattle. If they were to move on from Marshawn Lynch, Rawls would jump up much further on this list. Rawls averaging 118.6 yards per game and 5 touchdowns in 6 starts would justify it.

14. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers

DeAngelo Williams

I wouldn’t usually rank a backup running back so high, but this one tied the league high in rushing touchdowns (11) and 1,274 yards from scrimmage. Your best move would be to handcuff him to Le’Veon Bell, knowing what they both are capable of.

15. Arian Foster, Houston Texans

Foster

There are reports that Arian Foster may be released by the Texans, but Coach Bill O’Brien is still commenting on his progress working to get back. I’ll keep an eye on his status but despite turning 30 by the start of the season and not going a full season since 2012, his upside is worth a mid round pick.  1,573 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns in 2014 say so.

16. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

Marshawn

Considering the money Seattle would save releasing Marshawn Lynch and their backup plan in Dep. Commander Rawls, I don’t see him in a Seahawks uniform next season. I do think Lynch might have another run in him though and would benefit great behind a veteran offensive line. Only a year ago, Lynch led the league in total touchdowns (17) and recorded the 5th most yards from scrimmage (1,673).

17. Chris Ivory, New York Jets

Chris Ivory

The East Coast version of Marashawn Lynch started out hot in 2015, with 460 yards in his first 4 games. Then he only went over 87 yards 3 separate times the rest of the way. It was Ivory’s first time going over 1,000 yards though and his highest touchdown total (8), so one could say he’s trending up.

18. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals

Hill

Jeremy Hill went pretty high in most drafts, between the end of the 1st and 2nd round. Hill never rushed for more than 100 yards all season long, but he did accumulate the league high 11 rushing touchdowns…7 of those came after Week 10. His backup, Giovani Bernard, was much better between the 20s and he may be better built for it. We’ll see how new OC Ken Zampese distributes the ball in 2016. He was quarterbacks coach under Hue Jackson.

19. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles

DeMarco

How does DeMarco Murray go from being the league’s leading rusher to barely running a third of that total the year after? For starters, being started just 8 of the 15 games he played…Doug Pederson comes in as head coach after calling plays for the 6th best running offense that also ranked 1st in rushing touchdowns. If Sam Bradford (or whoever’s the next Eagles QB) is going to be managed like Alex Smith, Murray should be better depended on.

20. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Any worry you had about Shady McCoy’s mileage is warranted. He missed 4 games and ran 112 yards 3 times. Those were the only times he ran for 100+ and it’s kinda weird that it was exactly 112 each time. If you take him, have Karlos Williams on standby.

21. Dion Lewis, New England Patriots

Dion

Two things are encouraging about Dion Lewis: His extension that the Patriots gave him midseason and James White’s usage after his injury. Lewis showed he has playmaker ability and a nose for the end zone too. Hopefully injuries don’t continue to be an issue going forward.

22. T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars

Yeldon.jpg

T.J. Yeldon had a sturdy rookie season. He was fine. Fine doesn’t win games but he wasn’t really depended on to do it as the Jaguars were content throwing it like crazy. If the Jags improve their defense and Dante Fowler pans out next season, Yeldon will get more touches to maintain leads and control possession time.

23. Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens

Forsett

I was rooting for Justin Forsett before the season started. His touches theoretically could’ve been threw the roof with Marc Trestman calling plays. Instead everyone in Baltimore got injured, and his 10 starts were less than stellar. His 320 total yards for Weeks 4 and 5 were encouraging though.

24. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers

Woodhead

Death, Taxes, and Danny Woodhead PPR. 80 catches in 2015 actually, and that wasn’t surprise as Philip Rivers lost his go-to guy Keenan Allen.

25. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans

Frank Gore getting multiple goal line chances in 2015 seemed like a dream. Without Andrew Luck getting it there regularly, that’s all it was. Maybe it’ll work in try #2, but the 5-time pro bowler isn’t getting any younger. He’ll be 33 in May and hoping to improve on a 1,200+ total yard 1st season in Indy.

26. Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys

McFadden

Darren McFadden may have finished the season as the 4th leading rusher, but I’m not sure he’s destined to be the Cowboys’ #1 back and his lowly 3 touchdowns are why. He’ll move up if they don’t add any of the possible moving backs.

27. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers

Lacy

As we’ve pointed out multiple times on here, Eddie Lacy was the biggest bust of 2015. The Packers are hoping there was a fire lit under his ass, and maybe the improvement in the passing game getting Jordy Nelson back will help take pressure off the run game.

28. Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears v San Diego Chargers

Jeremy Langford has many of the same tools as Forte, like running, catching and blocking, and he also has breakaway speed. If Forte walks, and very well could, Langford will shoot up these rankings.

29. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals

Gio

Gio went back to putting up similar yardage numbers that he had as a rookie, but unfortunately Jeremy Hill got most of the touchdowns down the stretch. 49 catches are nice for PPR though.

30. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (FA)

Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts in an AFC divisional playoff game

CJ Anderson is made a nice run late in the season, not as crazy as his 2014 campaign, and his post season work is redeeming him for the rocky start to 2015. His Super Bowl performance may decide whether the Broncos bring him back or if he gets paid well elsewhere. Worth following for sure.

 

31. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers

Hyde

I have no clue what’s going to happen to Carlos Hyde in Chip Kelly’s system but for now he’s #1 on the 49ers depth chart.

32. Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills

Karlos

Karlos Williams should be on-call and ready to go in case McCoy goes down. His streak of scoring a touchdown in each of the first 6 games of his career was promising too.

33. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions

Ameer.jpeg

So many people wanted Ameer Abdullah to be a big deal in his rookie season but Lions play-callers had other plans. With Calvin Johnson retiring, maybe they’ll actually run the ball with their best running back.

34. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots

LeGarrette

Things we know about LeGarrette Blount:

  • Best with the Patriots
  • Free Agent in 2016
  • Devastating in the red zone
  • Tends to get in trouble

Maybe a late round flyer depending where he lands.

35. Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs

Charcandrick

Pretty decent Jamaal Charles substitute, in the case you need one. Although Spencer Ware got admirable work as well, the two may switch places here in coming months when we see what KC does with their personnel.

36. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants

USP NFL: NEW YORK GIANTS AT DALLAS COWBOYS S FBN USA TX

The Giants simply don’t run the ball very often…but when they do, Rashad Jennings is getting his number called. A career high in yards from scrimmage (1,159) didn’t hurt last year either.

37. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns v San Diego Chargers

In Hue Jackson’s system, Duke Jr. is your Gio Bernard. He was also a pass catching machine with 61 receptions in his rookie season.

38. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys

Sproles is gonna Sproles, no matter who he plays for next season.

39. Bilal Powell, New York Jets

Bilal

In the last 4 games of the season, Bilal Powell became even more dependable than Chris Ivory but with a very different game. During that span, he caught 25 passes. That was more than half his total for rest of the year.

40. Alfred Blue, Houston Texans

Blue

During Fosters’s absence the past two seasons, Blue has shown he can handle heavy workloads with some production. If Foster is released, Blue becomes much more relevant on this list…until Houston replaces Foster with someone else.

Anyone too high or too low? Was anyone left out? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

For more position rankings:

Quarterbacks / Running Backs / Wide Receivers

NFL Week 15 Fantasy Mailbag

If Fantasy Football and the NFL (or as some people call “Real Football”) have anything in common, it’s definitely the MVP race. After the Fantasy playoffs are over, we’ll award the best (and worst) from the season. Check out the results from last season here, where readers and I selected Comeback Player of the Year, Breakout Player of the Year, Steal of the Draft, Biggest Bust, and Most Valuable Player.

It’s funny how much we value running backs in the first round of the draft year to year, but the 5 most valuable players right now are definitely quarterbacks. By multiple fantasy websites, the common Top 5 looks like

  1. Tom Brady (The Revenge Tour Continues)
  2. Cam Newton
  3. Carson Palmer
  4. Russell Wilson
  5. Aaron Rodgers

The first skilled position player to pop up in Actual Fantasy Rankings is Odell Beckham Jr typically around 7th overall, and then finally RBs Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson to round out the Top 10. Your average league’s first 5 draft picks looked very similar to Jamaal Charles (IR), Marshawn Lynch (multiple injury stints), Le’Veon Bell (IR), Peterson (fine) and Eddie Lacy (benched at different points). If you’re still in the playoffs, you likely have any of the 5 quarterbacks listed above and/or navigated successfully around the unfortunate circumstances of the Top 5 running backs.

Quick Hits

  • Julio Jones owners have probably been scratching their heads for a while now. Jones hasn’t caught a touchdown pass since November 1st, 7 weeks ago. Fortunately his reception and yardage numbers have been solid enough to suffice as a decent #2 or #3 for you, but that’s not why you drafted him. Jones is on pace to shatter the Falcons’ single season receiving record with potentially 1,755 yards, despite just awful play from Matt Ryan. Your patience for a Julio touchdown may finally pay off now as he faces a Jaguars secondary that has allowed 10 touchdowns to WRs in their last 8 games.

Julio Week 15

  • The story of the Miami Dolphins 2015 season could easily be explained by how they use Lamar Miller. In games that Miller has 13+ carries, the Dolphins are 5-0. When he doesn’t they are 0-8. Many jobs could have been saved if they just gave Lamar the rock but here we are, Dolphins…On Monday night against the Giants, Miller had 7 carries for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns just by the 10:10 mark in the 2nd quarter. He only got 5 carries and zero targets the rest of the game and they lost…of course.

Lamar Week 15

  • A big part of Tom Brady’s case for MVP is his ability to continue winning and put up big numbers as everyone else around him goes down like characters on Game of Thrones. What’s encouraging though, especially for Fantasy owners, are that his playmakers are all making their way back (like perhaps SOME Game of Thrones characters, dun dun dun!). Gronk came back in a big way last Sunday. This week, Julian Edelman is back practicing in pads…like Stone Cold Steve Austin’s entrance music interrupting the entire league.

 

Mail Time!

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I think you’re certainly on the right track playing Denard Robinson this week. The matchup is juicier than a Juicy Lucy, which my Minnesota friends tell me is delicious. The Falcons have given up the most rushing touchdowns on the season with 15 and they are allowing more receptions to RBs than any other team. I know Todd Gurley seems sexy after his 2 touchdown performance and resurgence last week, but he’s going against one of the best run defenses in football. I would actually consider Matt Forte instead against a Vikings defense that could be missing Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith for a second week in a row. Forte also got 9 red zone carries to Jeremy Langford’s 2 last week.

If you feel strongly about Gurley, go for it and play him in your flex. Otherwise, I like Golden Tate in that spot against the New Orleans pass D. Excuse me while I puke think about them.

 

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QB: You likely took Aaron Rodgers late in the 1st or somewhere in the 2nd round. This week is why you picked him there. He’s coming off the worst 10-game stretch of his career, there’s no doubt of that, but he’s taking on a an Oakland defense that allowed more than 2 TD games TWICE to Philip Rivers. Mike McCarthy took the play-calling duties back too, and he wears his play card on his sleeve…his play card being his heart in this metaphor, so expect a lot of stab tries down the field. I’m also not as confident in the Fitzmagic against the Dallas secondary as I would be against the rest of the NFC East.

RB: As I recommended earlier, go with Shoelace aka D-Rob. Then I lean toward Latavius Murray…partially because I don’t know what you’re going to get from Bryce Brown or Brandon Bolden, but also because the Packers have allowed touchdowns to running backs in 3 out of the last 4 weeks and 162 yards rushing to the Cowboys. He’s also a red zone carry machine for Oakland, getting 8 of the last 10 tries since Week 12.

 

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Welcome to the Comeback Club, DB. I came back from an 0-6 start last season, only to get beat by my dad in the championship…

Third question in a row where I feel the need to drive home Denard Robinson. The Falcons have allowed more rushing touchdowns in the last 3 weeks (5), than 6 teams in the league have given up all year.

The 2nd choice I’m going to see what you feel better about. Out of your remaining options, I’m very intrigued by what Bryce Brown can do against the horrendous Browns run defense. It’s weird and scary because we have not seen him once all year, but he’s in line for a heavy workload. In the 4 games Brown had double-digit carries, he averaged 97 yards and a touchdown in each….Then there’s Bilal Powell, who has become a PPR beast in the last 2 weeks and is going against a Dallas team that allows the 4th most receiving yards and 8th most receptions to running backs. Potential upside’s higher with Brown, Powell is safer.

 

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QB: I’m going with the QB that throws to Odell Beckham Jr. Also, the Carolina Panthers secondary just took a hit with Peanut Tillman dealing with a partially torn ACL having to put Bene Benwikere on IR. They could be starting a player they signed off the street on Tuesday, Robert McClain, and Eli Manning should be able to expose that with either ODB or Rueben Randle.

WR: Weird week for him last week, but Allen Robinson is a must start now, with 5 touchdowns in his last 3 games. He’s a big reason why #BortlesKombat is giving everyone he faces a FATALITY, and you can look at the work DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham did on the Falcons to feel better, combining for 16-303-1.

Now you have one of those GOOD problems. I am going with Doug Baldwin against he Browns though, especially if the Bryce Brown experiment doesn’t workout. If you believe in hot hands, there aren’t any hotter than Baldwin right now.

 

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Lamar Miller, Randal. Lamar Miller.

(Read his “Quick Hit” above and you’ll understand why I’m not going into further depth on him.)

Have more lineup questions? Feel free to ask on both Facebook and Twitter! Also, don’t hesitate to post any questions for next week’s Mailbag. Good luck this weekend!