NFL Week 6 Fantasy Mailbag

The Arizona Cardinals are playing like a Madden team on Easy Mode right now. If you started a whole lineup of Cardinals players last weekend, I have a feeling you would have done pretty well…

QB – Carson Palmer: 11/14, 161 pass yards, 3 TD

RB – Chris Johnson: 103 yards

RB – Andre Ellington: 63 yards, 1 TD

WR – Larry Fitzgerald: 5 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD

WR – John Brown: 4 catches, 73 yards, 1 TD

TE – Darren Fells: 2 catches, 25 yards, 1 TD

Flex – David Johnson: 3 carries, 6 yards, 2 TD

DEF – 2 Forced Fumbles, 4 INT, 1 Sack

K – Chandler Catanzaro – 6/6 PAT

I don’t know if the Cardinals will sustain these video game numbers all season, but I don’t see it slowing down this weekend in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have the worst pass defense in the league at this point, so Carson Palmer owners should be pumped. St. Louis boasted the only viable defense Arizona faced and beat them at home, however…

Quick Hits

  • Tonight the Atlanta Falcons take their 5-0 record to the Super Dome, and hope to stay undefeated with the help of Devonta Freeman. In Freeman’s last 3 games, he’s averaging 179.6 yards from scrimmage per game (539 total). He’s also leading the league in touchdowns with 8, 7 over those last 3 games, all on the ground. Freeman faces a Saints defense that is allowing the 3rd most rush yards in the league.

Freeman Week 6

  • In the last 3 weeks, Browns TE Gary Barnidge has recorded 20 receptions for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns. His pass catching total in that time is HALF of his entire career total, and he’s 30. Barnidge’s production has attributed to his quarterback’s incredible run as well. Josh McCown is averaging 384 yards and 2 touchdowns over his last 3 games, but now runs into a buzz saw with Denver coming to town. The Broncos pass defense is tops in the league with the kind of pass rushers that always seem to bring McCown back to Earth. Barnidge will be his best option to survive as the Broncos allowed 60+ receiving yards to Eric Ebron, Travis Kelce and Clive Walford.

Barnidge Week 6

  • The #TomBradyRevengeTour heads to where it all started this weekend. I imagine the Colts had this game circled on their calendar in the preseason, expected it to be Brady’s first game after a 4-game suspension, and would try to settle whatever score they had over a football they thought wasn’t inflated enough…In reality, the Colts are dealing with Wyatt Earp on his rampage in Tombstone. They’ve only won when their franchise quarterback has sat out and Brady is throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions coming in with fully inflated footballs. Brady is also throwing to two matchup nightmares in Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Edelman is averaging 99.75 yards per game, 8.5 catches, and has 3 touchdowns as well. 

Mail Time!

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.58.02 AM

I start with Duke Johnson Jr, especially in PPR. Denver is very good against the run, yes, but they are susceptible to pass catching backs. Isaiah Crowell got his numbers last week against Baltimore, but Johnson had as many touches and was the feature back down the stretch. I expect Cleveland to be trailing and throwing. The Duke is their man in that scenario.

Next I lean toward Ronnie Hillman, partially because Ameer Abdullah is in the winless Jim Caldwell’s doghouse for fumble issues. Hillman goes against a horrendous Browns run-defense that is allowing 5 yards per carry. If neither Hillman or CJ Anderson can get it going against Cleveland, I would then recommend looking elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.58.17 AM

When the Chargers are trailing, Danny Woodhead is getting a majority of the workload from Melvin Gordon. I know you’re fully aware of what the Packers are capable of scoring-wise, so you should expect Woodhead to get plenty of work. I don’t trust Abdullah’s usage at this point in the season like I do Theo Riddick’s.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.58.42 AM

As I pointed out earlier, the McCown thing has been fun but he’s in for a rude awakening this weekend. While the Falcons defense is improved, the only decent quarterback they’ve faced is Eli Manning (that was a struggle for me to type). Drew Brees has thrown 335+ yards in 3 of his 4 games and seems to have figured something out with Willie Snead and Ben Watson downfield. Go with the proven player in a better matchup this weekend, Breesus. If McCown can match his production from the past 3 weeks against Denver, then I’ll start to believe in his hype.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.59.03 AM

Really aren’t making this easy, are ya?

Hillman is your best option against a bad Cleveland run defense. Already said why I don’t like Abdullah. Golden Tate could burn the Bears secondary, which has improved in coverage recently, but I don’t like Stafford against their pass rush. And Pierre Garcon has a one-way ticket to Revis Island.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.59.23 AM

QB: Is Blake Bortles available? He’s probably better than all four in a spot start going up against Houston. Out of the 4 though, at least McCown done something worth writing home about in recent weeks. Tyrod looks doubtful this week, so I would prioritize McCown (1) then Mariota (2).

WR: Already mentioned why I don’t like Pierre this week, and really it’s now or never for Jordan Matthews. In their first meeting, Matthews had 8 catches, 105 yards and 1 TD against Philly. I don’t know if he’ll get the same numbers, but the gameplan is there…as opposed to Garcon vs. a stellar Jets pass D.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.59.40 AM

(1) – Breesus.

(2) – Sammy Watkins says he’s planning to return, and I believe him. I would also go with him over Martavis. Shaky quarterback situation, but at least he’s the #1 pass option. Both he and Bryant are taking on tough pass defenses, and Bryant has to work his way into a WR group with Antonio Brown and Michael Vick’s new favorite target, Darius Heyward-Bey.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 11.00.05 AM

Alshon Jeffery is FINALLY getting work in practice, which is encouraging to me. If he plays, he’s a must-start with the way Jay Cutler is playing as of late…If he doesn’t go, Rueben Randle (if healthy) is your next best option. Stevie Johnson becomes even less valuable with Antonio Gates back (and Philip Rivers’ obsession with Gates). And Torrey Smith is currently stuck in the worst offensive dumpster fire in the league.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 11.00.18 AM

Not a great passing matchup for either quarterback at all. I see both quarterbacks having to make more plays with their feet than their arms, but I also see Russell Wilson benefitting more from Marshawn Lynch returning for play-action. That, plus the defensive backs that Cam will be throwing against, gives Cam the slight edge.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 11.00.35 AM

There really isn’t a team in the league who doesn’t have viable fantasy options. I mentioned San Francisco being a dumpster fire, but they do have Carlos Hyde finding life again against a tough Giants defense.

Bad teams also always adjust their identity as the season continues, which allows the emergence of diamonds in the rough. As the Jaguars went on their slow death march a year ago, they committed to running the ball and Denard Robinson became a consistent 100 yard rusher for at least a month. And as team’s with bad defenses consistently have to play from behind, there’s always a wide receiver benefitting from the “catchup” mentality with garbage time targets and yardage.

Players individually are a different story. I gave up on Jonathan Stewart after 3 weeks of no production, and I don’t blame other owners for doing the same with CJ Anderson. When a top half draft pick doesn’t give you much return after the first quarter, you either try to flip him, or relegate him to your bench and wait for him to turn it around.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 11.39.51 AM

RB: Crowell’s game against Denver is way less effective than the Duke’s. That alone has me leaning toward Miller, and I like your thinking. New play-calling and a new attitude can’t hurt Lamar Miller’s usage.

WR/T: I am no longer a James Jones hater like I was for the first 3 weeks of the season. His 5 touchdowns with Rodgers tossing them makes him WR2 value for anyone. Then I go with Tyler Eifert against a Buffalo defense that his given up too much against tight ends this season…If your league gives points for returning yards, Jarvis Landry shoots the top of your group.

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! 

Advertisements

Fantasy Cheat Sheet 2015: Tight Ends

You have to love how the Tight End position has evolved over the years. Every since Tony Gonzalez hit the scene, former basketball players and big wide receivers have converted into heavy hitters in Fantasy Football. 

I wouldn’t take one in the first round, but here are my Top 20 and where you should look to take them.

1.Rob Gronkowski, NE

Gronk

2014: 1,124 rec yards, 82 catches, 12 TD

Regardless if it’s Brady throwing or if it’s Garoppolo, Gronk will smash. However, he’s not going to be 1st round worthy like he’s projected. Great player but he won’t carry your team enough to give up picking a high end point producing skilled player.

Pick 2nd Round

2. Jimmy Graham, SEA

Graham

2014: 889 rec yards, 85 catches, 10 TDs

Graham was a bit inconsistent last season, partially thanks to Drew Brees and being injured. He’s being downplayed in Seattle, but I think he’s a perfect fit with Russell Wilson. Could be a touchdown machine.

Pick 3rd Round

3. Martellus Bennett, CHI

Bears vs. Vikings

2014: 916 rec yards, 90 catches, 6 TDs

Martysaurus could do big things this season. “Denver-Julius Thomas” big things. He was spread out in the first preseason game like Thomas was in the Gase system, and that makes him dangerous around the end zone. He was targeted nearly as much as Gronk last season and that shouldn’t change.

Pick 4th or 5th Round

4. Greg Olsen, CAR

G-Reg

2014: 1008 rec yards, 84 catches, 6 TDs

Olsen and Benjamin are Cam’s best two offensive options again this year. Olsen seems to be more helpful in between the 20s and that helps for reception and yard points.

Pick 5th Round

5. Travis Kelce, KC

Kelce

2014: 862 rec yards, 67 catches, 5 TDs

Kelce is solid and seems more reliable for Alex Smith than his receivers are. The offense runs through Jamaal Charles but on 3rd down and in the red zone, Kelce is key.

Pick 5th or 6th Round

6. Jason Witten, DAL

Witten

2014: 704 rec yards, 64 catches, 5 TDs

The more unsure we get about the Cowboys running backs, the better I feel about Tony Romo throwing more to Bryant and Witten. Witten isn’t as athletic as he used to be, but he is gets the job done.

Pick 7th Round

7. Jordan Cameron, MIA

Cameron

2014: 424 rec yards, 24 catches, 2 TDs

Cameron dealt with a mess last year in Cleveland. I would expect him to bounce back pretty well with Tannehill at quarterback, who will benefit from having a bigger target in the red zone.

Pick 7th Round

8. Zach Ertz, PHI

Ertz

2014: 702 rec yards, 58 catches, 3 TDs

If the Eagles quarterbacks are going to be any good, they’re going to have to rely heavily on Ertz, who is the best pass catcher they have. He’ll also be valuable as a compliment to pounding the rock with Murray.

Pick 7th Round

9. Delanie Walker, TEN

Delanie

2014: 890 rec yards, 63 catches 4 TDs

A rookie quarterback’s best friend is his tight end, and Delanie Walker is a fast one. Walker missed the first preseason game because he was coming back from a thumb injury, but I expect him to help calm Mariota’s nerves in no time.

Pick 8th Round

10. Kyle Rudolph, MIN

Denver Broncos v Minnesota Vikings

2014: 231 rec yards, 24 catches, 2 TDs

I think Rudolph will be a steal in mid to late rounds because Vikings OC Norv Turner LOVES his tight ends. Rudolph was banged up a bit last season but should play well with a further developed Bridgewater at quarterback.

Has 8th Round Value but you’ll find him available 10th round

11. Julius Thomas, JAX

Julius

2014: 489 rec yards, 43 catches, 12 TDs

Thomas was successful because of Peyton Manning and the Adam Gase offense. Now he’s in Jacksonville where star players can’t stay healthy and longtime Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis is also there. Thomas won’t get as many looks but has a chance to prove that he’s better than just a system receiver.

Pick 8th Round

12. Dwayne Allen, IND

Dwayne

2014: 395 rec yards, 29 catches, 8 TDs

Coby Fleener is also in Indy, but Dwayne Allen is the better receiver in the end zone. Luck targeted Allen 50 times last season, and I expect that to go up with Gore established in the run game.

Pick 10th Round

13. Owen Daniels, DEN

Daniels

2014: 527 rec yards, 48 catches, 4 TDs

Broncos HC Gary Kubiak always brings his favorite TE along, “old reliable” Owen Daniels. Sometimes Daniels looked very good as a TD threat, and a lot of times he was nowhere to be found. Decent late round backup

Pick 11th Round

14. Larry Donnell, NYG

Donnell

2014: 623 rec yards, 64 catches, 6 TDs

Larry Donnell is dealing with tendonitis in his Achilles but the Giants don’t seem worried about him missing Week 1. He put together some of the best games for tight ends, and sometimes didn’t do much at all. Expect him to be much more consistent in year 2 of the new offensive system.

Pick 11th Round

15. Jordan Reed, WAS

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 8.06.06 PM

2014: 465 rec yards, 50 catches

With Niles Paul out for the season, Jordan Reed is the man for Washington. RG-III plays well with TEs, especially in the red zone, and Reed is an excellent weapon when healthy.

Pick 12th Round

16. Antonio Gates, SD

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 8.09.40 PM

2014: 821 rec yards, 69 catches, 12 TDs

Even though Gates is missing 4 games for suspension, you aren’t drafting to use him that early in the season anyway. Although Ladarius Green will be getting an audition to start the season, Gates is still one of the best ever at the position and will be an excellent weapon to have in your pocket

Pick Late Rounds

Tyler Eifert, CIN

Eifert

2014: 37 rec yards, 3 catches

Eifert didn’t do anything last year, literally. But now Jermaine Gresham is gone and Eifert is the #1 TE in Cincy, so you have to think production will only go up from here.

Pick Late Rounds

18. Ladarius Green, SD

Ladarius

2014: 226 rec yards, 19 catches

Green is getting a crack at showing he can take over when Antonio Gates is done or hurt (or suspended longer). If Philip Rivers can’t make him worth your while, nobody can.

Pick Late Rounds

19. Josh Hill, NO

Josh Hill

2014: 176 rec yards, 14 catches, 5 TDs

Jimmy Graham’s replacement caught a decent number of touchdowns last year, but is taking reps with the 2nd team so far this preseason. Decent fill in for a back up spot, or an easy drop when you want to add someone better.

Pick Late

20. Heath Miller, PIT

Green Bay Packers v Pittsburgh Steelers

2014: 761 rec yards, 66 catches, 3 TDs

Heath is usually a fill in guy when you need a spot start at TE or someone gets injured. Really it just helps to have him already because Roethlisberger will always have him as a security blanket when he needs one.

Pick Late

Do your rankings look different? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter

Also…

Quarterbacks Cheat Sheet

Running Backs Cheat Sheet

Wide Receivers Cheat Sheet

Defenses & Kickers Cheat Sheet

Fantasy Cheat Sheet 2015: Quarterbacks

If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to start preparing for your upcoming Fantasy Football Draft. 

Whether you’re playing in Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS, or some other website, you don’t necessarily want to base your picks off of their pre-draft rankings. That’s why I write up a CHEAT SHEET with players I prefer, based on their production last season, their team’s recent acquisitions, schemes/sytems, and injuries. 

Here are my Top-20 quarterbacks and where I would prioritize drafting them round-by-round. 

1. Andrew Luck, IND

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts

2014: 40 TD/ 16 INT, 4,761 yards

Throws the ball A LOT. Just added Andre Johnson and a legit running back in Frank Gore to keep defensive backs honest. 5 Good WRs, 2 decent TEs…Yeah. The Beard’s ceiling has been raised.

Pick: Late 1st, Early 2nd round

2. Aaron Rodgers, GB

Rodgers

2014: 38 TD / 5 INT, 4,381 yards

Doesn’t turn it over often and plays better down the stretch. Rodgers is missing his #1 receiver, but could make someone else into a star very quickly. Also scary in the red zone on the ground.

Pick: Late 1st, Early 2nd

3. Drew Brees, NO

Buffalo Bills v New Orleans Saints

2014: 33 TD / 17 INT, 4,952 yards

Brees can be great or he can kill you. If Brandin Cooks stays healthy, he’ll bounce back and tear it up. May not throw as many TDs but he’ll pick up plenty of yardage and completions. Led the league in both last year.

Pick: 3rd or 4th round

4. Tony Romo, DAL

Sports Day

2014: 34 TD / 9 INT, 3,705 yards

Expect Romo to throw it more with DeMarco Murray gone. Cowboys have the best offensive line in the league and give him plenty of time to find an open man, and has sure hands in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.

Pick 4th Round

5. Peyton Manning, DEN

P Manning

2014: 39 TD / 15, 4,761 yards

I don’t believe Manning would have come back if he wasn’t healthy. He will still throw a ton. Plus Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are great after the catch.

Pick: 4th Round

6. Russell Wilson, SEA

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks

2014: 20 TD/7 INT, 3,475 yards

Doesn’t get a ton of passing points but makes up for it with rushing yards and TDs on the ground. Also just added Jimmy Graham, so passing points should go up.

Pick 4th Round

7. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT

Roethlisberger

2014: 32 TD / 9 INT, 4,952 yards

Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell definitely help Ben get his points. He’ll throw 5 TDs one day, but none another. 

Pick 5th Round

8. Matt Ryan, ATL

Ryan

2014: 28 TD / 14 INT, 4,694 yards

New coach and OC, super young RBs, and healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White…Matty Ice is going to let it fly. 

Pick: 5th Round

9. Eli Manning, NYG

New York Giants

2014: 30 TD / 14 INT, 4,410 yards

Eli doesn’t have an excuse not to produce big time in year two of Odell Beckham Jr and having a healthy Victror Cruz back. Rashad Jennings provides solid relief in the run game when he isn’t sidelined, and Tom Brady could tell Manning how good Shane Vereen is on passing downs. 

Pick 6th Round

10. Tom Brady, NE

AP PATRIOTS RAVENS FOOTBALL S FBN USA MD

2014: 33 TD / 9 INT, 4,109 yards

This obviously can change if his suspension goes away, but Brady can be your first pick after most of the Top 10 go. Next couple QBs can bridge you to after he returns and he’ll be a boss when he does.

Pick 6th Round or a few after you pick your first QB

11. Phillip Rivers, SD

NFL: New York Giants at San Diego Chargers

2014: 31 TD / 18 INT, 4,286 yards

First half of last year, was Top 3 among QBS. Rivers just got paid too, which should motivate him to earn his keep. He also gets Danny Woodhead back to throw to and Keenan Allen should be better as well.

Pick 7th Round and beyond

12. Matthew Stafford, DET

Stafford

2014: 22 TD / 12 INT, 4,247 yards

This really depends on how healthy Calvin Johnson is. Megatron at his best is devastating and would make Stafford an awesome backup or even starter. Golden Tate proved to help him out too in Johnson’s absence. Theo Riddick and Joique Bell are proven to be solid pass catchers out of the backfield too.

Pick 7th Round

13. Jay Cutler, CHI

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears

2014: 28 TD / 18 INT, 3,812 yards

Jay is poised for a bounce back year and not just because #CuttyDoesIt. Former Peyton Manning OC Adam Gase has emphasized utilizing Cutler’s strengths throwing on the run and play-action. He’ll be missing Kevin White for at least the first half of the season, but finally has a true slot receiver in Eddie Royal. Also expect Martellus Bennett to be big when spread out, like Julius Thomas in past years. 

Pick 8th Round and beyond

14. Ryan Tannehill, MIA

Ryan Tannehill

2014: 27 TD / 12 INT, 4,045 yards

Gets better every year. Added proven veteran receivers, Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings, who can also play in uptempo offenses. Jarvis Landry will be Tannehill’s best weapon to stretch the field though.

Pick 8th Round and beyond

15. Cam Newton, CAR

Newton

2014: 18 TD / 12 INT, 3,127 yards

Newton is sliding in most drafts after losing Kelvin Benjamin for the season to injury. Rookie Devin Funchess isn’t as depended on as advertised with veterans like Jericho Cotchery and Ted Gin Jr. in the mix, but can put up Benjamin-like production. Ability to run for TDs makes up for lack of passing points too. 

Pick 8th Round

16. Joe Flacco, BAL

Flacco

2014: 27 TD / 12 INT, 3,986 yards

Lost Torrey Smith and his replacement, Breshad Perriman, is questionable. Flacco will be throwing a lot though with Marc Trestman as OC. Could be either really good or really meh.

Pick 9th round and beyond

17. Teddy Bridgewater, MIN

Bridgewater

2014: 14 TD / 12 INT 2,919 yards

The Vikings are a run heavy team, without question. Teddy has looked excellent in preseason though, and he has Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson to throw to. The training wheels are off in year two and you can expect Kyle Rudolph to provide a nice security blanket in the Norv Turner system

Pick 10th Round and beyond

18. Andy Dalton, CIN

Dalton

2014: 19 TD / 17 INT, 3,398 yards

Dalton’s last season was thrown off with AJ Green getting injured. The Bengals added Denarius Moore to go with Marvin Jones and Sanu. Don’t bank on him but he’s a nice backup with nice options.

Pick 11th Round and beyond

Colin Kaepernick, SF

Kaepernick

2014: 19 TD / 10 INT, 2,369 yards

The 49ers could potentially be the worst team in the NFL, but Kaepernick can still take over a game in desperate times. He still has Anquan Boldin, plus Torrey Smith and Reggie Bush who are both helpful in the passing. Kaepernick does run better than anyone on the team too. The defense will be awful so he’ll have to score plenty to stay in games.

Pick 11th Round and beyond

20. Derek Carr, OAK

Carr

2014: 21 TD / 12 INT, 3,270 yards

Carr showed flashes of the quarterback the Raiders need him to be last season. Drafting Amari Cooper helps along with a receiving group that also includes Michael Crabtree, Kenbrell Thompkins and Andre Holmes

Pick 12th Round and beyond

Do your rankings look different? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter

Also…

Running Backs Cheat Sheet

Wide Receivers Cheat Sheet 

Tight Ends Cheat Sheet

Defenses & Kickers Cheat Sheet