2016 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks 3.0

The quarterback position is the most important in the NFL game today, which was evident when the first two picks in the draft were quarterbacks despite them not being the best overall players. The game has evolved so much that throwing 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns is considered average.

Yet while quarterbacks are valued and paid more than anyone else in the league, it has become customary in Fantasy Football not to draft the position until the 3rd round at the earliest. There are some quarterbacks who can win games for you all by themselves (Cam Newton), some who will give you a solid output week-to-week (Carson Palmer) and those who could lose games for you (Hopefully not ranked here).

After publishing the first list back in February and another on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, let’s take a look one last look at the Top-25 quarterbacks who will likely be drafted in your league this year.

1. Cam Newton, Panthers

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Cam Newton scored touchdowns, whether it was through the air or on the ground, in EVERY game he played during the 2015 season. He recorded 45 in total (35 passing, 10 rushing), plus 3,837 yards passing and 636 yards rushing. It was an unprecedented year for a quarterback, and sure it’s hard to expect him or anyone to do it again…but Newton’s talent and skill-set are too unique to doubt it.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

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Aaron Rodgers saw his numbers dip a little last season without Jordy Nelson. 31 TD/8 INT are nice for anyone, but down from the 38/5 the year before. Twice he threw 4 or more touchdowns in a game in 2015, but he wasn’t helping fantasay owners much down the stretch averaging just 1 TD and 1 INT a game in the final 3 games of the season. How often, though, have you seen Rodgers make throws and finish drives like the best quarterback in the league should? The Packers offense appears to be returning to normalcy in 2016, and that bodes well for the Discount Double-Check.

3. Carson Palmer, Cardinals

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Carson Palmer consistently gave those who likely stole him in the middle rounds last year a stat line of 2 touchdowns and 290 yards per game. That consistency goes a long way when everyone after Palmer on this list (outside of Tom Brady) has proven to give you a much worse output on any given Sunday. Palmer is 36 and not getting any younger, but the talent around him should continue the momentum he has built following his best statistical season to date (35 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and 4,671 yards).

4. Russell Wilson, Seahawks

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If there was another quarterback who could put up similar numbers to Cam Newton, Russell Wilson may have the tools to do so. Take a look at 7-game sample sizes from 2015 where both quarterbacks completely lit it up:

Wilson (Weeks 10-16) – 25 total touchdowns, 1 interception

Newton (Weeks 8-14) – 29 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions

The Seahawks offense found an incredible groove in that span, and it was built around both Russell and Thomas Rawls. With most of the offense returning and hopefully a better Year 2 of Jimmy Graham, it’s not inconceivable to see Wilson sustain that production for a full season.

5. Tom Brady, Patriots

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The Patriots (and the rest of the league) appear to have accepted Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension, but that shouldn’t stop you from drafting him by the 5th or 6th round. The caveat should be that you have your fill-in quarterback drafted not long after, but Brady will be returning after throwing the most touchdown passes in 2015. He’ll also have the best tight end combo in the league (Gronk & Bennett) to absolutely terrify opposing red zone defenses.

6. Blake Bortles, Jaguars

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Despite being the most sacked quarterback in the league in each of the 2 seasons of his career, Blake Bortles was one of the most improved players overall from one season to the next. Additions to the offensive line and Chris Ivory should improve Bortles’ protection, and his wide receiver tandem of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are one of the best in the NFL.

7. Drew Brees, Saints

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Although it’s been a slight decline year-to-year, Drew Brees has averaged 5,127.4 yards thrown over the past 5 seasons. Yardage hasn’t been a problem for the 37-year-old quarterback, neither have attempts or completions as he ranked 2nd in both last season. Also declining have been his touchdown numbers though, throwing 32 last season when he averaged 40 the four years prior. He did throw multiple touchdowns in 9 of his 15 games last season, including a 7-touchdown performance Week 8 against the Giants.

8. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

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Despite missing 4 games last season, Ben Roethlisberger still got after it with the high-powered Steelers offense. For the 2nd season in a row, Roethlisberger led the league in passing yards per game (328.2). Even without Martavis Bryant, he’ll have Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Ladarius Green, and Le’Veon Bell available to make big plays for him.

9. Eli Manning, Giants

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There is only one Manning brother in the league, and he’s coming off a season where he threw the most touchdowns of his career. Eli Manning threw multiple touchdowns in 11 of his 16 games, 5 of which were for 3+ (including the 6-touchdown battle with Drew Brees). The Giants spent most of their free agency spending on the defensive side of the ball, but upgraded their pass catching group by drafting WR Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma) and TE Jerell Adams (South Carolina). Year 3 of Odell Beckham Jr. should also lead to plenty more “throw it up and catch it” plays from Eli.

10. Andrew Luck, Colts

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 After awarding him with the league’s biggest contract, 6 years for $140 million, the Colts are betting a lot on Andrew Luck to be the quarterback who threw 40 touchdowns and 4,761 yards in 2014…not the one who only played 7 games in 2015 and threw just 15 touchdowns. When you invest that kind of money in a quarterback, the pressure is on for him to produce.

11. Derek Carr, Raiders

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Derek Carr is a star in the making. Like Bortles, Carr had a much better sophomore season by throwing 11 more touchdowns than he had in his rookie season. He also led the league in comeback victories with 4 total. I expect his chemistry with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to improve even more, for Latavius Murray to compliment him better, and for their incredible offensive line to make all of that possible.

12. Philip Rivers, Chargers

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The pass-happiest quarterback of them all started out so incredibly hot in 2015. In the first half, Rivers averaged 344 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Then EVERYONE around him got injured, including Keenan Allen, Malcolm Floyd, Antonio Gates and a majority of his offensive line. It was Rivers and Danny Woodhead against the world (which needs to be a buddy comedy). Ken Whisenhunt has returned to San Diego as offensive coordinator, who helped resurrect Rivers’ Pro Bowl production in 2013. He should be available in the middle rounds as a late QB1 or top tier QB2, and his weapons will be touch to pass on as well.

13. Andy Dalton, Bengals

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I found myself rooting hard for Andy Dalton last season. He always gets the Bengals to the playoffs but can’t get them out of the first round, so he takes a lot of heat for that. Before getting injured early in his 13th game of the season, Dalton was on pace to match his career high passing touchdown total (33). 9 of the 12 games prior, he recorded multiple touchdowns and added rushing TD’s in 3 of them. There’s some concern with the departures of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, but #ADalt will still be throwing to AJ Green, Gio Bernard and Tyler Eifert when he returns. Also, don’t sleep on new addition Brandon LaFell filling in the WR2 role.

14. Tony Romo, Cowboys

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ROMOLICIOUS is back! *he says with tongue-in-cheek*

Tony Romo will, in fact, return this season and the front office has provided him with a gift from the NFL Draft in Ezekiel Elliott. We saw what Romo and the rest of the Cowboys offense was able to accomplish with an every-down back like DeMarco Murray (34 touchdowns and 9 INTs in 2014). Enter Elliott, who can run, catch, block and everything Boobie Miles’ uncle talked about in the Friday Night Lights movie. Behind the league’s best offensive line, Romo has less pressure on him and more time to throw to his favorite downfield target, Dez Bryant. Your biggest concern should be “what will happen when he takes another big hit?”

15. Kirk Cousins, Washington

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Kirk Cousins stepped up big in his first full season of starting in the NFL. He threw 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and 4,166 yards and that earned him a franchise tag from the Washington front office. His gamelogs don’t flash many multi-touchdown pass games, but he did record 5 with 3+ and 3 of those were for 4. He’ll be motivated even more to earn a longterm deal and the combo of Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson at their healthiest will be helpful in getting there.

16. Jay Cutler, Bears

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Despite injuries to his Top 3 WRs (Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White and Eddie Royal), #1 TE (Martellus Bennett), #1 RB (Matt Forte) and having to manage his offense in spite of a leaky defense, Jay Cutler produced his best statistical season since joining the Chicago Bears. He recorded multiple touchdowns in 8 of the 15 games he played with a receiver group that resembled one from the 4th quarter of a preseason game. A very much improved defense, a franchise tag motivated Jeffery, the debut of Kevin White, and offensive play-calling that compliments his strengths should help Cutler and his numbers immensley in 2016.

17. Matt Ryan, Falcons

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Despite having arguably the best WR to throw to and breakout RB Devonta Freeman, Matt Ryan threw as many touchdowns (21) and MORE interceptions (16) than Jay Cutler in more games played. Just watching him week-to-week, you wanted to yell at your television out loud, “JUST THROW IT UP TO JULIO!”, but Ryan would appear overmatched by the pass rush. Ryan will have better protection with new offensive linemen, like Pro Bowler Alex Mack at Center, and new WR2 Mohamed Sanu. The improvements to the offense should help Ryan bounce back but this will be the last straw for many people.

18. Matthew Stafford, Lions

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There was Matthew Stafford before Jim Bob Cooter (not great) and Matthew Stafford AFTER the OC took over for Joe Lombardi in Detroit. It began with 4 touchdowns against the division rival Bears in Week 6, then 8 multi-touchdown games over the next 10 games (including a 5 TD performance against Philly). Stafford’s issues over his career have always been consistency. He threw 41 TDs in 2011 but then just 20 the next. Fantasy owners better hope history doesn’t repeat itself in the now post-Megatron era.

19. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

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Jameis Winston was clearly the best rookie quarterback last season after going #1 overall and backing it up with 22 touchdowns and 4,042 yards. Unfortunately for Winston, the Bucs didn’t do much upgrading around him on offense after elevating his offensive coordinator to head coach. If Doug Martin lives up to his new contract and Mike Evans catches more balls in the end zone than he drops, Winston could ascend to monster levels, like he had on the field at Florida State.

20. Brock Osweiler, Texans

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Brock Osweiler left Denver for an excellent situation in Houston. The Texans added multi-talented RB Lamar Miller and drafted two ridiculously athletic WRs in Will Fuller and Braxton Miller to compliment the very elite DeAndre Hopkins. Osweiler showcased why he belongs in NFL with a comeback win against Chicago, a statement win against New England, and keeping pace with the high-powered Steelers offense. However, there were times when Osweiler wasn’t inspiring confidence, which setup the welcomed return of aging Peyton Manning. Head Coach Bill O’Brien will be excited to sculpt Osweiler into his kind of quarterback with a great set up weapons. It will be on Osweiler, though, to make it work.

21. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

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Adam Gase should be the best thing to happen to Ryan Tannehill. Gase made TIM TEBOW work for a season, managed Peyton Manning’s offense, and helped Jay Cutler look like the quarterback he was meant to be. Tannehill is ridiculously skilled in play-action and option-style offenses, capable of running and throwing for big plays. With budding star WR Jarvis Landry as his #1 option, Tannehill can play more like the the QB who 4 touchdowns against JJ Watt’s Texans and not the one who contributed nearly nothing in 4 different 2015 games.

22. Marcus Mariota, Titans

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In 1/3 of the 12 games Marcus Mariota played in his rookie season, he threw 3+ touchdowns (tying Peyton Manning’s Rookie record). He became the first player to throw 3 touchdowns and 250+ yards, plus run for over 100 yards as well. Overall, he proved to be a big playmaker. The Titans comitted to continuity by sticking with interim HC Mike Mularkey and also their running game by adding DeMarco Murray and Heisman winner Derrick Henry. If Dorial Green-Beckham finally emerges as a true #1 receiver and the offensive line keeps him in one piece, Super Mariota could continue to grow as Fantasy producing force.

23. Joe Flacco, Ravens

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Joe Flacco’s 3-year extension was Baltimore’s attempt to answer the age-old question “Is Joe Flacco elite?”. He’s never thrown more than 27 touchdowns in a season but can surprise you with a 5-touchdown spot, like he did against Tampa in 2014. In Steve Smith Sr’s farewell season, it shouldn’t be far fetched to see Flacco throwing deep and often to bounce back from his injury-ended 2015 season.

24. Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings

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Since coming into the league in 2014, Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t taken the next step being a viable Fantasy option. 2016 looks like an opportunity for it though, as the Vikings bulked up their offensive line and added the best wide receiver from the draft, Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell is excellent as possession option and Stefon Diggs emerged as a playmaker downfield last season. Now it’s on Bridgewater to make those plays.

25. Alex Smith, Chiefs

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Alex Smith is the safest spot-start option out of anyone that isn’t named on this list. He’s back to throwing touchdowns to wide receivers, has an excellent #1 option in Jeremy Maclin, mini-Gronk Travis Kelce, and Jamaal Charles returning. It’s also worth noting that he threw multiple touchdowns in 4 of the final 6 games of the season and has one of the league’s best defenses to enable him to score more.

More Position Rankings:

Running Backs (3.0)

Quarterbacks (2.0)

Wide Receivers (2.0)

Tight Ends (1.0)

Follow for more and ask questions on Facebook and Twitter

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2016 Fantasy Football Rankings – Quarterbacks

Not sure if you noticed, but the quarterback position in 2015 across the league got thin in a hurry. The fact that Brian Hoyer and Matt Hasselbeck were relevant was a HUGE problem.

Most of the quarterbacks below got the job done in 2015 and should be poised to do the same or more in 2016. Some, like Andrew Luck and Tony Romo, are looking for a healthy comeback.

(You’ll notice that Joe Flacco isn’t one of them. Year 2 of Marc Trestman’s play-calling and a lack of talent at wide receiver keeps him out of the Top 20)

1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

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I’ve harped on it here enough in the past 4 months, but Cam Newton was winning you multiple weeks in fantasy by himself in 2015. His 35 touchdown passes were tied for 2nd in the league…and then he added 10 more rushing. Newton also gets at least one more weapon next season with Kelvin Benjamin returning.

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

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Tom Brady is just a year younger than Peyton Manning, yet led the league in touchdown passes a year ago. Brady also chipped in nearly 300 yards per game, and made the most out of depleted receiving group. Heck, he even made Scott Chandler relevant for a week or two.

3. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers

Almost as reliable as Brady was Carson Palmer. He didn’t look great in the post season, but his loaded offense allowed him to average 291 yards and at least 2 touchdowns per game. Another healthy year like 2015 would warrant a much higher pick than where he was drafted on average a year ago.

4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson is weird. Yes for those reasons you just thought of, but also because of his streaky production. Through the first 10 weeks of the season in 2015, Wilson had just one game of multiple touchdown passes. Then he gave you 5 straight weeks of no less than 3 TDs per game. As the Seahawks look to probably move past Marshawn Lynch, it would be much more beneficial for them to let Wilson throw it and have Thomas Rawls compliment him.

5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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There are a lot of people who probably don’t like me having Aaron Rodgers this far down the list, but the truth is that the discount-double check got checked down last season. Rodgers was a different player without his old-reliable Jordy Nelson and his running game wasn’t bailing him out either when he needed it. Yes, the 2 Hail Mary’s proved he can still do whatever he wants when it matters most, but you should be able to get him with better value in the 3rd or 4th round…as of now.

6. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

Bortles

Blake Bortles jumped from throwing just 11 touchdown passes his rookie season to 35 in his sophomore year. #BortlesKombat has some room to grow, and probably will with a pair of very consistent scoring receivers like Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. The Jaguars are a team that plays in a lot of comeback situations and shootouts that make Bortles excellent for Fantasy garbage points.

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers v St. Louis Rams

Ben Roethlisberger led the league with 328 pass yards per game, and you’d think it’s hard not to replicate that kind of production when you have Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams to work with. The only question is whether or not he can stay in one piece.

 

8. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Eli

I’m always skeptic about Eli Manning, as he seems to regularly fold in high pressure situations during the regular season. His 35 touchdown passes were no joke though, and having Odell Beckham Jr. there to make him look better is also hard to argue with. As his offensive coordinator from the past 2 years takes over the reigns as head coach, the offense shouldn’t look terribly different.

9. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

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Andy Dalton was as good as anyone in the first half of the season last year. He likely went undrafted in most leagues and became the hottest free agent in a hurry in yours. He went from throwing 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2014 to 25/7 in 2015. Had he been healthy down the stretch for the Bengals, there’s a good chance they would have beaten the Steelers over Wild Card weekend. His offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson, might be elsewhere but it’s hard to imagine he’ll take a step back with AJ Green and Tyler Eifert still there to throw to.

10. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees paired with Sean Payton as head coach will always get you the yardage. “Breesus” averaged 324 yards per game. The crazy numbers don’t kick in until around mid-season though, like ya know…7 touchdowns and 505 yards in Week 8. The fact Luke McCown made an appearance makes you nervous though and wonder if he can keep it up (NOT LIKE THAT, YA JERKS).

11. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

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Derek Carr made solid strides in 2015, throwing multiple TDs in 11 of the 16 games he started. Throwing 32 touchdowns after 21 in his rookie season and growing with Amari Cooper makes his projection in 2016 even more exciting.

12. Kirk Cousins, Washington

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I don’t know which Kirk Cousins you’re going to get in 2016. The one that was just okay through Week 14, or the one that tossed 11 touchdowns in 3 games to will Washington to an NFC East title and will get him paid big time for it. The upside with a healthy Jordan Reed, and that 158.3 QB rating game in Week 10, has him ranked higher than he probably is….for now.

13. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

Cutty 2015

I don’t think there was a quarterback who did more with less than Jay Cutler.

  • No 1st Round draft pick Kevin White
  • Only 8 games with Alshon Jeffery, 9 games with Eddie Royal
  • Marc Mariani, Josh Bellamy, and Cameron Meredith as a his only WRs multiple games

Yet he still played one of his best seasons as a Chicago Bear. Having continuity in playcalling next year and healthy receivers makes me feel better about Cutler than most next season.

14. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Luck lives

Andrew Luck probably went in the first or 2nd round in most leagues last year. Those who drafted him that high got 7 games, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions to show for it. As of this moment, I’m not sure if you’re going to get the 40 touchdown guy from 2014 or the injury plagued/turnover happy QB of 2016. His talent and ability will keep him higher though.

15. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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For the first 8 games of the season, Philip Rivers averaged 344 yards and 2 touchdowns per game. Then he lost Keenan Allen for the year and it was 254 yards and 1.4 touchdowns per game the rest of the year. Rivers still got paid big money and his head coach Mike McCoy was extended through 2017, so the organization seems to be banking on next year looking like the first half of 2015.

16. Tony Romo

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There’s been more talk about who will replace Tony Romo than his potential production when he returns in 2016. If you draft Romo next season, it’s to backup your #1 guy and the possibility he stays upright for 34 touchdowns like he did in 2014. If the Cowboys pick up a DeMarco Murray-like running back, maybe he will.

17. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

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I don’t know how you can trust Matt Ryan anymore, coming off the worst statistical year of his career since his rookie season. However, he does have arguably the best wide receiver in football, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman can set him up better if his offensive coordinator can figure out how to use play-action.

18. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

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Before last season, Ryan Tannehill was improving every season. Then his coaches forgot how to coach. It’s cliche now, but Adam Gase worked wonders with Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler. So you can hold onto hope one more year with Ryan Tannehill as a backup.

19. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Bucanneers

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I get a feeling Jameis Winston is going to jump up this list a bit, and could very well be a starter for you if Mike Evans can avoid dropping the ball. What’s going to be key is seeing how his newly elevated head coach, Dirk Koetter, does handling the personnel after getting Lovie Smith launched.

20. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets

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Ryan Fitzpatrick brought the “Fitzmagic” last season, throwing more than 30 touchdowns for the first time in his career. The Jets utilized their running game to set him up greatly in the red zone, and the Brandon Marshall/Eric Decker combo ate because of it. Can you bank on Fitzpatrick doing it again though when couldn’t any of the 10 years before?

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 1 Fantasy Mailbag

FOOOOOOTBALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!

I know that’s exactly how you woke up this morning.

Your drafts are in. You’ve either comfortably sat on your lineup or you’ve been toying with who is best for your flex position every minute of the day….The latter is much more likely.

Quick Hits

  • While the NFL season kicks off tonight, so does the #BradyRevengeTour. That hashtag is meant to be tongue in cheek, but Tom Brady has an excellent matchup this week against a Steelers defense in transition to a new system and the same bad personnel as last season. 9 of the 10 quarterbacks they faced last season threw for multiple touchdowns and they were lit up by the BILLS QBs in Week 3 (gross). 

Brady vs Steelers

  • Opposite Brady will be Ben Roethlisberger, who would benefit greatly from a shootout. No Le’Veon Bell means an iffy backfield, and more throws downfield to arguably the best offensive weapon in football…Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger averaged 2.6 touchdown passes last year and faces a Patriots defense that’s now without Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. 

Big Ben vs Patriots

  • Another game I’m incredibly interested in is the Broncos vs. Ravens, and not for Peyton Manning vs. Joe Flacco…Two of the league’s breakout running backs last season were CJ Anderson and Justin Forsett, and neither were starters in their opener a year ago. Forsett led all starting running backs with 5.4 yards per carry. Since taking over #1 duties week 9, Anderson averaged 132.1 yards from scrimmage per game. Now that Forsett’s OC a year ago is guiding Anderson, it will be fun to see how the two follow up their pro bowl seasons. 

CJ Anderson TD vs Forsett

  • Giants vs. Cowboys could be quite the show as well. Tony Romo OWNED the Giants last year throwing 7 touchdowns in both games against them. In their first meeting, Dez Bryant caught 9 passes for 151 yards and then 2 touchdowns in the second. It was against the Cowboys though where Odell Beckham Jr. really came onto the scene. Beckham scored 2 touchdowns in the first game, then 10 catches, 146 yards and 2 touchdowns the second time around. Similar to tonight’s NE vs PIT game, this matchup has barn burner potential. 

Odell vs the Cowboys

Mail Time

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I think the highest ceiling from this group will eventually be Ameer Abdullah, but Lions have a mirky RB situation with Joique Bell still listed as the starter and Theo Riddick #2 on the depth chart. My rule with Week 1 is to go with your proven players while watching how your bench guys develop. DeVante Parker has a great matchup against Washington, but there are only so many balls to go around with Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings. Wait and see on his usage…I lean toward Danny Woodhead over Charles Johnson. Woodhead is Philip Rivers’s guy on passing downs and will be relieving rookie Melvin Gordon plenty against the tough Lions run defense. I trust Woodhead getting more touches than Johnson, as the Vikings will be focused on riding Adrian Peterson against the Walking Dead 49ers.

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Start with Jeremy Maclin. I really liked how he and Alex Smith looked working together in the preseason, and he’s the undisputed #1 guy for an offense that needs to use it’s receivers more in the red zone…Both Brandon Marshall and Andre Johnson have tough secondary matchups this week. Johnson is in a crowded WR group going against the Bills and Marshall will draw Joe Haden. I like Marshall as a red zone option more than Johnson though. Obviously Johnson has the better QB throwing to him, but how much will he be thrown to?

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Appreciate ya, Matt…Despite my worry of Melvin Gordon going against Detroit, Alfred Blue may have an even tougher one against Kansas City. I also don’t get the impression that the Texans are all that in love with Blue, considering they were willing to try 3rd string cornerbacks at running back in the preseason. Let Gordon loose out there.

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Although he is getting the call with Martavis Bryant out, I don’t trust Markus Wheaton yet like I do two starting running backs. Washington is a dumpster fire, but you can feel better about their running game with Alfred Morris way more than their quarterbacks and wide receivers. And take advantage of having Jonathan Stewart while he’s healthy. The key in Week 1 is starting guys that you know will be getting touches, and plenty of them. Only 5 times did Wheaton catch 5 or more passes last season.

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Amari Cooper is going to be one of the best wide receivers in the league and he’ll show it sooner than later. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will be this weekend as his quarterback may be eaten alive by the Bengals front 7. Jordan Matthews should be strong play though as the new #1 WR in Philly and going against a Falcons pass defense that was putrid a year ago.

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I don’t love Brandon Marshall at all and I don’t think his quarterbacks will be helping him much or vice versa. However…the Washington offensive line could easily get Kirk Cousins killed this weekend against Ndamukong Suh, and D-Jax simply won’t get great opportunities to make plays for you. Your chances are better with Marshall. 

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! 

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

Ranking Trainwreck’s Sports Moments

I didn’t know how sports-centric Amy Schumer’s sorta-RomCom feature would be prior to seeing it yesterday. Sure Bill Hader’s character is a sports physician/surgeon and his closest friend in the film is LeBron James, but Judd Apatow goes above and beyond in sports-ness throughout the film.

If you haven’t seen “Trainwreck” yet, I’ll warn you that there are spoilers ahead…but you should have assumed that before clicking. Let’s take a look at the numerous cameos and references that made a generally “okay” movie a little bit better.

10. Hader Sports Trivia

In an effort to distract Amy’s dad (Colin Quinn) while sewing up stitches for him following a fall in an assisted living home, Bill Hader asks him a Trivia question that many sports fans have been asking to kill time or break the ice with for years…

“Which 9 Pro Sports Team Names Don’t End With ‘S’…?”

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning 
  2. Minnesota Wild
  3. Colorado Avalanche
  4. Miami Heat
  5. Utah Jazz
  6. Orlando Magic
  7. Boston Red Sox
  8. Chicago White Sox
  9. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

You’re welcome…for future parties.

9. Amy’s Cheerleader Number

Anyone who tells me that Cheerleading isn’t a sport is dead wrong. This scene is certainly evidence of that. While it also puts the icing on the cake to define “Trainwreck” as a RomCom (like as How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days as it gets), it’s actually a super impressive scene. Schumer said herself that it took 2 and a half months to train for the scene…and at least 10 takes.

The reason I didn’t rank this higher, despite the admirable effort by Schumer, the scene and its conclusion made me walk away feeling like I just watched an Adam Sandler movie. Not a good thing.

8. “Dallas Sucks”, Tony Romo

Tony Romo Trainwreck

Kind of a sleeper in this film is Amare Stoudamire and his handful of scenes, despite being a real focal point to the movie’s plot. It’s awkward and a little dated because Amare isn’t even in New York anymore, but how can you not appreciate a “Dallas Sucks” heckle when Tony Romo is trying to have a semi-heartfelt moment introducing Hader’s character for an award.

7. John Cena “Dirty Talk”

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 11.34.46 AM

I’m going to have a hard time looking at John Cena the same way again…and wash cloths.

In an attempt to spice things up, Amy tells John Cena’s character, Steven, to try talking dirty. Cena warns her that he’s not very good at that but he gives it a shot anyway…It goes from talking about “protein” to his best attempt at a cheesy sports movie coach’s inspirational speech. The sad part is that it pretty much summed up all of the cliches Gene Hackman used in “The Replacements.”

6. Hader hitting a shot on LeBron

Hader Shot Trainwreck

I’ll be more extensive in my appreciation for LeBron James later, but I have to give props to Hader first…He takes a beating for most of this scene while LeBron is trying to give him dating advice and blocking every attempt made. It ends with a Hader jumper from the elbow, a weak contest from LeBron, and the ball hitting nothing but net.

I too would give up playing basketball forever if I hit a shot over LeBron James.

5. Colin Quinn vs. Babe Ruth

Quinn Trainwreck

Anyone else wonder where Colin Quinn had been for the last thousand years? The former SNL ‘Weekend Update’ Anchor opens the film explaining why monogamy is dumb to his kids and that kinda-but-not-really justifies Schumer’s “Trainwreck” behavior throughout the film.

He’s living in an assisted living home due to MS and goes on typical Colin Quinn rants whenever he’s on screen. The best of his rants comes toward the beginning when one of the residents brings up Babe Ruth. As a huge Mets fan, he ruins the old Yankee fan’s dreams by telling him that every latin pitcher today would destroy Babe Ruth…who never played against black ballplayers.

4. Amare really likes Tom Brady’s wife

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.02.37 PM

As I mentioned earlier, Amare is a serious sleeper in this flick. There is (and isn’t) a lot riding on Hader being able to successfully operate on Amare’s knee to get him back playing for the Knicks.

Sidenote: If this is taking place during the NBA season, why is LeBron spending so much time in New York following Hader around?

Anywho, Amare asks Hader how the procedure went and he is told that it was “Tom Brady” good. That prompts a medically drug induced Amare to profess his love and admiration for Gisele Bundchen.

From “I need me one of those” to “I follow her on Instagram”, that single scene was the perfect contrast to the creepy and gross Tom Brady stalking in “Ted 2”.

3. Marv Albert in the Intervention

Marv Trainwreck

While the scene seemed wildly out of place, and even more Sandler’ish than the cheerleader number, Marv Albert calling play-by-play of an intervention curated by LeBron for Hader following his breakup was too good.

Matthew Broderick and Chris Evert were there as well (why?), but that randomness was subsided by Marv doing his Marv thing.

2. Any and All LeBron Scenes

LeBron James Trainwreck

I want LeBron to be my best friend after seeing this movie.

He makes the movie fun by trying to be a normal dude looking out for his “best friend.” You’re not totally sure if Hader feels the same way about the LeBron, but that makes the chemistry all the more entertaining.

And you giggle like a kid when he gets pumped about “Sexual Intercourse”.

1. Hader’s “Client” Namedropping

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.41.10 PM

I laughed the loudest (and probably way more than the few people where in the theater with me) at this scene, warranting it’s #1 ranking.

While at a birthday party for Schumer’s nephew, Hader gets the “new boyfriend” treatment from the other guys there. Tim Meadows and Mike Birbiglia ask Hader specifically who he has worked on as a sports surgeon and it goes a little like this…

Bill: “Tom Brady…”

Them: “Wow!”

Bill: “Jay Cutler…”

Them: “Cool.”

Bill: “Alex Rodriguez…”

Tim Meadows: “FUCK THAT GUY!” 

Yep. The “Ladies Man” gets the smallest part in the movie, but drops the best timed punchline over the course of 2 hours and too many more minutes.

Can you think of anything else from “Trainwreck” that sticks out to you? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter

NFL Week 14 Fantasy Mailbag

It’s here. It’s finally here.

Feels like just yesterday we were drafting our teams. Some of you probably thought you were sneaky, taking Maurice Jones Drew in the late rounds. Others probably couldn’t believe they got Rob Gronkowski in the 4th round. And everybody who drafted Andrew Luck is likely bragging about where they picked him, right?

Then you had 13 weeks to tinker and toy with your lineup. Early on, it was adding Steve Smith Sr. for Eric Decker, Dwayne Allen for Jordan Reed, and Justin Forsett for Knowshon Moreno.

Forsett vs. Pitt

In October you saw Branden Oliver added for CJ Spiller, Odell Beckham Jr. for Victor Cruz, and Denard Robinson for Adrian Peterson.

Denard GIF

And when it mattered most down the stretch, CJ Anderson for Ronnie Hillman, Jarvis Landry for Larry Percy Harvin, and Kenny Stills for Larry Fitzgerald.

Kenny Stills

So what do you do to have the edge in the playoffs?

You have your players that have been reliable all year and got you where you are, but you can always add help every week.

Colts RB – Daniel “Boom” Herron: Even after fumbling twice the last two weeks, the Colts are committed to running with Boom Herron. Herron has picked up where Ahmad Bradshaw left off by making Trent Richardson look sillier and averaging 7.65 yards per carry since Ahmad Bradshaw went on IR.

Washington TE – Jordan Reed: I mentioned it a week ago, and I was right. Jordan Reed is a better player when RGIII isn’t throwing to him. Colt McCoy gets the start last Sunday and Reed catches 9 passes on 11 targets for 123 yards. If you’re in need of a tight end or Julius Thomas’s status is making you pull your hair out, pickup Reed.

Panthers RB – Jonathan Stewart: DeAngello Williams has a broken hand. Broken hand or not, Jonathan Stewart was running better than Williams anyway. Stewart gained 110 yards total (85 rushing, 25 receiving) against the Vikings defense on Sunday. Even with a 3-8-1 record, the Panthers are in the playoff hunt and establishing some kind of illusion of a run game will be key if they want to steal the horrible NFC South.

Colts WR – Donte Moncrief: The word out of Indianapolis is that Donte Moncrief has surpassed Hakeem Nicks for the #3 receiver role. He’s a boom or bust type of player much like Terrance Williams was for Dallas in the first half of the season, but Reggie Wayne’s production is sloping the wrong way. 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 3 catches last week makes Moncrief very attractive for more Andrew Luck targets and for you to grab him if he’s available.

Quick Hits

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick…WHA-HAPPENED? One minute, the “bearded one” was being benched for Ryan Mallett. The next he’s throwing 6 touchdown passes. This is the same Fitz-Beard that averaged an INT per game, and couldn’t find Andre Johnson in the end zone (he did on Sunday). It seems head coach Bill O’Brien has taken off the training wheels finally and airing it out. DeAndre Hopkins had 9 catches for 239 yards and 2 TDs while JJ Watt caught his 3rd off the season. They won’t be playing stats padding Titans again, but they will see the Jaguars this weekend for more air-time.

JJ Watt TD #3

  • Can we talk about the Rams? They only have 5 wins this year, and really that could have them first in the abysmal NFC South. 3 of those 5 wins have come against playoff contenders (Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers) and they just beat the Raiders 52-0. For a team decimated by injuries, they sure don’t act like it. Stedman Bailey (another guy to pick up for your playoff run) has emerged as Shaun Hill’s go-to receiver with 12 catches, 189 yards and a TD on 15 targets the past two weeks. Bailey had 100 yards in the first quarter alone against the Raiders. And Tre Mason just scored 3 touchdowns (2 rush, 1 rec.). He may have just scored again on the Raiders, I’m not sure.

Tre Mason TD

  • And bouncing back from having his winning streak snapped, Tom Brady catapults himself to MVP frontrunner…of commercials. That mullet is…beautiful.

And now for YOU time. 

DB Moenning on Facebook: “Got two burning Flex spot questions for you. Pick 1: Keenan Allen or Giovani Bernard. Fred Jackson or Denard Robinson.”

Normally I lean toward running backs in this situation for guaranteed touches. Before his injury, Gio Bernard would have been a no-brainer. But since returning, the Bengals have given the starter reigns to Jeremy Hill, as well as the red zone carries. I could see them riding whoever the hot hand is against the Steelers…The Phillip Rivers target machine Keenan Allen is finally making the most of his opportunities. 3 touchdowns in his last 2 games (3x his total before then) and coming off an 11 catch 121 performance against Baltimore. The Packers 3rd WR just put up similar numbers against the Patriots and that’s why I like Allen better than Gio this week.

For your second conundrum, I like Denard Robinson better and here’s why. While Fred Jackson dispelled the running-back-by-committee approach for the Bills last weekend, he’s running into a buzz saw that is the Broncos run defense. The D-line has found their groove, and allowed Jamaal Charles just 59 yards total (35 rush, 24 rec.). The Bills have a defense that could prevent the Broncos from getting out to a crazy early lead that has forced most teams to give up on the run, but I’m not necessarily counting on it…Shoelace has had a tough go the last two weeks, and it’s mostly been because of game-flow circumstances. The Jaguars had to come back from a 20 point deficit in the first half last week and that helped Marqise Lee out more than Robinson. They should have better luck with time of possession early on against the Texans defense and that bodes well for Robinson, who even got some effective Wildcat plays against the Giants.

Ryan Ricci on Facebook: “Larry Donnell or Jordan Reed?”

As I mentioned earlier, Colt McCoy throwing to Jordan Reed only means good things. Tight ends are what makes McCoy tick. If he’s healthy, go with Reed…I really don’t get Larry Donnell. I think some the occasional drop in his numbers is because the Giants OL can’t handle pass rushers without him blocking. He has a solid matchup against the Titans this week though. If Reed can’t go, Donnell will be a decent play in his place.

Craig Bucy on Facebook: “Romo or Tannehill?”

Tony Romo had a tough one last week. He’s dealing with a bad back but seemed to have a weekly routine to rest it. Romo throws 4 touchdowns in Week 12, goes just 3 days without taking a hit, and he has his worst game of the season. A full week with his regular routine against the Bears secondary may be the bounce back Romo needs. He threw 3 touchdowns against Chicago the last time he traveled to Soldier Field and the Bears are allowing 326.4 yards per game to competent quarterbacks (Stafford, Rodgers x2, Brady, Ryan)…Tannehill has good matchup against Baltimore, but Romo will be your guy.

Sam Kalmar on Facebook: “Terrance Williams or Malcom Floyd? Any potential waiver pickups suggestions welcome also.”

Terrance Williams has really fallen off in the last month. He started off hot and then Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and DeMarco Murray stopped sharing the targets from Romo. Bryant and Witten will benefit the most against the Bears soft press defense this weekend. Malcom Floyd would have been a nice play if he wasn’t going to draw Darrelle Revis or Brandon Browner….I would recommend either Donte Moncrief or Stedman Bailey who I mentioned either, as well as Robert Woods who has emerged as a startable WR thanks to #OrtonMagic and a beat up Sammy Watkins.

I’ll be on a work trip in Phoenix till Sunday, but feel free to keep asking questions on either Facebook or Twitter

NFL Week 6 Fantasy Mailbag

Just when you thought it was safe to drop Tom Brady…

cue the Jaws theme

Tom Brady hot potatoe

Did anybody have more fun in Week 5 than Mr. Suave? It’s easy to kick a guy while he’s down, especially when you’re used to seeing that guy be on top of his game for as long as Tom Brady had been. Some were even suggesting the Patriots should trade him…I took a lot of pleasure in seeing Brady be Brady again. Against the Bengals, a top 5 defense this season, Brady threw for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns. Credit his offensive line for keeping the pocket clean, but also the game plan to utilize both Rob Gronkowski and newly acquired TE Tim Wright. We’ll see if that formula works on the road in Buffalo, where the Bills defensive line is really getting after the quarterback (19 sacks, 18 hits, and 50 hurries). It was good to see Brady get his high-fives again though.

More Week 5 Recap:

– There was a united Tiger Woods style fist pump for Eddie Lacy owners. If you held onto hope (like I did), you reaped all the benefits of a 105 yard rushing, 2 TD showing against the Vikings. As the Packers offense seems to be getting back on track, expect more goal line opportunities for the 2nd year back…You should see exactly why you took him with either of your first two picks.

– Tony Romo made my favorite throw of the weekend. After nearly being Watt-Smashed, Romo shook off the $100 million monster and threw this bomb…How’s that back, Tony?

Romo bomb

– Are you okay, Percy Harvin owners? I may have lost years off of my life watching each of his 3 touchdowns called back because of penalties (2 of which were highly questionable). Here’s a reminder of what could have been.

– And wha-happened to that epic Broncos-Cardinals matchup we were looking for? It felt like a Thursday Night Football game. If you had Peyton Manning (479 yards, 4 TDs), Demaryius Thomas (8 catches, 226 yards, 2 TDs), or Julius Thomas (6 catches, 66 yards, 2 TDs)…you weren’t too upset about it.

I’m happy to see that we have more than WR questions this week from the mailbag. As much as I love you guys asking me for input, variety is the spice of life.

Andrew Hirt on Facebook: “Dalton or Roethlisberger?”

We saw this question repeatedly last season. Being in the same division, there are plenty of comparisons between the two quarterbacks on a regular basis. Dalton has had a slow start scoring with just 4 touchdowns in 4 games and only 1 interception. Reason for that is the lack of attempts in Hue Jackson’s system. That could change against Carolina as the Panthers are 7th in pass attempts against them, but losing AJ Green to a foot injury in practice suggests otherwise. After the game Matt Forte had in Week 5 (61 yards rushing, 12 catches for 105 yards receiving), anticipate the bulk of the workload to go to Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill…You probably hoped for a better game out of Ben Roethlisberger against the Jacksonville defense, which makes me concerned for the Steelers offense in general. The Cleveland secondary is ripe to bounce back against though. Joe Haden is hurt and likely not playing this week. First Round draft pick Justin Gilbert was benched against Tennessee for getting continuously burned by Kendall Wright. Start Roethlisberger in the AFC North rivalry game, despite Snoop Dogg (err Lion?) hating his offensive coordinator.

Chris Hankins on Facebook: “Picked up Hillman now that Ball is out. Should I start him over Trent Richardson?”

I know you weren’t the only one to pick up Ronnie Hillman in the mad dash following Montee Ball’s injury. Keep in mind though, CJ Anderson is a favorite of Peyton Manning’s and better built for around the goal line. Only reason Anderson wasn’t active last week was because he doesn’t play special teams. Carries are sparse to begin with in the Manning system, so I don’t feel great about the potential for Hillman’s touches against an already stout Jets run defense…And then there’s Trent Richardson. Richardson continues to just be flat out underwhelming and is being outplayed by Ahmad Bradshaw. Richardson a pretty weak flex start at best on the road going to Houston. The edge goes to Hillman simply for his pass catching ability.

Bob Kakareka on Facebook: “Should I trade Cobb and Megatron for Julius Thomas and Kendall Wright?”

I was asked about a Megatron trade a few weeks ago and was super confident he would bounce back from injury and do his thing again. That hasn’t happened yet and Calvin Johnson is still hurt. What makes this a tough call is Randall Cobb leading all receivers in receiving out of the slot and the Packers offense catching fire. Cobb has a great matchup this week alone going up against Cortland Finnegan. The question is how desperate are you for wins in the short term? Johnson could sit this week and be down for a few games but then come back and be Megatron again. Julius Thomas will continue getting touchdowns with Peyton Manning. And Kendall Wright has 3 favorable matchups against Jacksonville, Washington, and Houston in a row…If you need the wins now, DO IT. If you’re in a comfortable spot in the standings and think you’ll make the playoffs, don’t do it. Calvin Johnson could be your difference down the stretch.

Rachel Bruce on Facebook: “Cutler or Wilson?”

If you’re a Bears fan, Jay Cutler has probably bummed you out throwing bad interceptions at really bad instances. From a Fantasy Football standpoint though, Cutty Does It. Only Andrew Luck has thrown more touchdowns this season and he has multiple TDs in every game this season. The Falcons have one of the worst secondary units in football right now with starting safety William Moore injured. This weekend has strong shootout potential between for the Bears on the road…On and off the field, I love Russell Wilson. Wilson continues to prove he is one of the best in the league every week. However, his matchup with Cowboys is tougher than what he had against Washington on Monday Night Football. The Cowboys pass defense is much improved from a year ago, so it might be a heavy volume of Marshawn Lynch carries for the Seahawks. Go with the points and take Cutler.

Brennan Casey on Facebook: “Start 2: Chris Ivory, Ahmad Bradshaw, Branden Oliver.”

First, go with Branden Oliver. Oliver is a player made for the Mike McCoy offense in San Diego and you have to like his matchup against the Raiders. Even when Ryan Matthews returns, one should assume Oliver will take on the Danny Woodhead role from a year ago…This is where it gets tricky. Chris Ivory is clearly the best player in the Jets backfield, but how many chances will he get when they are forced to play from behind against the Broncos? I like Ahmad Bradshaw better after he finally got more attention than Richardson last week. Texans are the 4th worst defense against the run, and Bradshaw should be able to take advantage of that.

Sam Kalmar on Facebook: “Do I sit DeMarco murray against Seattle?”

I understand the worry when playing anyone against Seattle’s defense. They are the 2nd best run defense right now and have only given up 1 rushing touchdown. When you have the league’s leading rusher, you have to play him. DeMarco Murray is also a great threat in the pass game, and that could be the route the Cowboys offense goes if they can’t get the run going early. Keep an eye on Murray’s carries though as the season progresses. He’s on pace for more than 400 carries, and that’s just ridiculous for a back who hasn’t stayed healthy for an entire season yet.

Great stuff this week! If you have more questions, you are welcome to ask on Facebook and Twitter through the weekend.