Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week 11 Pickups

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but another week, even more injuries. This time, the breakout star RB Mike James went down with a fractured ankle in Monday Night Football. He is likely out for the rest of the season. His direct backups are Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey. Of the two back, Rainey appeared to be more impressive, averaging more yards per carry and catches out of the backfield. Leonard received more carries overall however. It will be difficult to say whether either back has the nod over the other, but I would lean towards betting on Rainey.

We also saw the first good game in Mark Ingram's career. This can be tempered on the fact that it was the Cowboys banged up defense and New Orleans was gashing their defense all day. He is worth a speculative add, however, as he could be more productive that Pierre Thomas.

Andre Brown already will be gone. If you are only reading this now, you should have listened a month ago when I told you to pick him up. Shane Vereen is also coming back this week. He should be competing with Stevan Ridley for the starting RB at New England. It may be too late to pick him up as well.

Riley Cooper followed his 3 TD performance up with a 2 TD game against Green Bay. Everyone else is really high on him right now, but I'm not. To me, the 3 catches for 102 yards puts him in the range of a Kenny Stills type of player. He can break open, but he is still a boom or bust player.

Rishard Matthews is actually the more intriguing wide receiver. He played a break out game for Miami on MNF, but you still have to realize that Mike Wallace has Darrelle Revis on him the entire game. Still the 11 receptions for 120 yards and 2 TDs can't be ignored. He may put up the best numbers for the rest of the year between him, Wallace, and Brian Hartline. Miami will need to throw the ball as well since they absolutely can't run the ball.

If anyone dropped Jarrett Boykin after his dud of a performance last week, pick him up. Seneca Wallace got injured and Green Bay upgraded to his backup Scott Tolzien, who didn't have any trouble finding Boykin for 8 rec and 112 yards.

Nate Burleson is going to come back next week. There isn't a whole lot of buzz around this, but there should be as he will instantly be an upgrade at WR2 for the Detroit Lions. They desperately need someone to catch the ball when Calvin is double teamed and other teams are wising up to the Reggie Bush screen passes. The main problem is that Burleson is more of a yardage player and not much for grabbing TDs.

Jake Locker is out for the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick did admirably in his place if you need a replacement at QB. Jay Cutler re-injured himself as well and Josh McCown is probably a top 15 QB for next week.

Week 11 Defense and Kickers

Most people were unlikely to drop Steven Gostkowski; but if anyone did, he would be the first person to pick up. Nick Folk (NYJ) and Ryan Succop (KC) are both coming off of the bye weeks and both have been doing well over the past month. Either one of them would be a good play for this upcoming week. Nick Novak will also have some good match ups over the last portion of the FFL season.

As far as Defense/Special Teams is concerned, it is pretty sparse for Week 11. Most people should have already picked up Carolina or Arizona; nobody dropped KC. Green Bay and Chicago are both injured/ineffective. New England, New Orleans and Denver all have bad match ups.

If you want a speculative bet, you can try either side of the New York Jets vs Buffalo match up. If you are looking ahead to next week, take Houston, who is playing Jacksonville next week and has a decent match up against Oakland this week.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 10 Pickups

Another week, more injuries. I'm writing this during Monday Night Football and I'm watching Aaron Rodgers leave the game with an injured non-throwing shoulder. (And all I needed was 6 points to win this week - expletive deleted!) Well, fortunately Nick Foles was available on the waiver wire. He will probably be starting for the foreseeable future for the Eagles after his 7 TD performance at Oakland. He has a couple of good match ups in the next few weeks (at Green Bay and home against Washington).

If you need a plug and play quarterback and Foles isn't available, you can try either Jake Locker, who plays Jacksonville at home next week, or you can try Eli Manning, who is playing at home against an Oakland defense that got torched for 7 TDs.

Case Keenum may be another option, as he has proven that he will throw it deep; if Houston's RB situation doesn't improve, he'll need to keep doing this. Jay Cutler may also be back next week. You may want to pick him up if he is available. Big Ben also had himself a day against the New England defense; I'm not sure if this is a good sign or a sign of a bad defense.

Running Back Pickups

Speaking of injuries, the brittle back known as Darren McFadden pulled his hamstring in the same spot as Week 4. A re-aggravation of a hamstring injury is almost always a multi-week injury. This means that Rashad Jennings should be picked up if he was dropped in your fantasy league.

If anyone gave up on Chris Ivory, you need to pick him up off of waivers. The Jets RB is always going to be a risk, however, when the Jets fall behind in games.

At first, I was skeptical of getting Jonathan Stewart because of the jumble in the Carolina backfield. However, he should start to get more carries than DeAngelo Williams. Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert will snipe a large percentage of the rushing TDs, however.

There are also some quality backup RBs that might be available. Shonn Green will start to get more carries in games that CJ starts to struggle and he should get the majority of goal line carries. James Starks will also start to get more carries, especially if Aaron Rodgers is out for a couple of weeks.

If you haven't picked them up yet and they are still available, you have to pick up Andre Brown (NYG) or Shane Vereen (NE). I've mentioned this several times, but they are both going to be viable fantasy running backs.

Wide Receiver Pickups

Aaron Dobson is going to be the hot wide receiver pickup of the week, even though New England is on a bye next week. Right now, he is lining up on most offensive plays and will be the number 3 option behind Gronk and Danny Amendola. Kenbrell Thompkins was a healthy scratch this past week.

Doug Baldwin is going to be the 2nd best WR pickup this week. Percy Harvin isn't 100% and Sidney Rice is on the IR. Baldwin has gotten more production than Golden Tate this past weekend.

If you are desperate, you can pick up Riley Cooper or Jerricho Cotchery. I wouldn't recommend starting either, however, as both 3 TD performances are unlikely to be duplicated.

If you are that desperate, you may want to pick up Mario Manningham. The 49ers have activated him off of the PUP list and he should be installed as a starter very soon. Of course, the 49ers will have to throw the ball in order for him to catch the ball. This would be an upgrade for him and Anquan Boldin. Michael Crabtree will also be coming back in a few weeks. This will muddle up things a bit, but the 49ers may finally be able to release Colin Kaepernick again.

Also, Mike Brown (Jacksonville) is still available in most leagues. The Jags are going to be behind a lot and he should get a lot of looks opposite Cecil Shorts.

If you are in need of a Tight End, you should pick up Tim Wright (Tampa Bay). He is going to be a red zone threat and an outlet for a rookie QB.

Week 10 Defenses and Kickers

If you are looking for a defense this weekend, Tennessee has the dream match up at home against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has given up fantasy points more consistently than any other team this season.

Arizona is the number two option as they are coming off of the bye week. They face Houston at home; the Texans are technically the most friendly offense towards fantasy defenses with all of the pick 6's that they have thrown. This may change with Case Keenum, but Arizona is still a good defense regardless.

Failing those two teams, you may want to (gasp) try the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense. Miami has some well documented problems on their offensive line and have been fantasy friendly even before this bullying incident happened.

If anyone dropped Denver's defense because of the bye week, this would be a good time to try to snatch them up as well.

As for Place Kickers, check to see if anyone dropped Matt Prater for Denver's bye week. Keeping two kickers is rare unless the kicker is on a prolific offense like Denver. David Akers may also be available because of the bye week, but Chicago's stadium is notoriously difficult to kick at. Robbie Gould is also an option as Detroit gives up the most field goals so far this season.

Many of the best match ups feature kickers that are probably off the board right now: Adam Vinatieri, Mason Crosby, Garrett Hartley, Dan Bailey. You may want to try either of the kickers in the Cincy vs Baltimore game (Mike Nugent or Justin Tucker).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Late Breaking News

Justin Blackmon has been suspended indefinitely and will not be eligible to return until the start of the 2014 regular season. This is because of a violation of the league's substance abuse program. This means that he can be dropped from your FFL team.

In his place, you should pick up Mike Brown who is currently the 3rd wide receiver for the Jaguars. He caught 12 passes for 212 yards and 1 TD in the past 3 games. He should be seeing a lot more targets as he gets bumped up to the #2 WR.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 8 Sunday Pickups

Well, I said to keep on eye out for Marvin Jones; but no one could have predicted that kind of day. 4 TDs on 8 catches and 122 yards is unbelievable. This also raises the value of Andy Dalton. Teams won't dare focus on Jones because AJ Green would eat them alive. If you haven't picked him up already, consider him gone unless you have a delayed waiver system.

Andre Ellington should already be gone in most leagues. He blew up today as Rashard Mendenhall was out. He posted 15 carries for 154 yards and 1 TD. He will still have his touches limited, but this proves to Arizona that they have to get him the ball every game.

Montee Ball and James Starks should both be added as stashes to your bench. Starks is clearly the number two at Green Bay and is a viable option when Green Bay is up big. Montee Ball has taken over the number two spot from Ronnie Hillman and is getting some goal line carries.

Kenny Stills may be worth an add if you are in a 12 team league. He is a home run threat and the number 4 option in New Orleans. That's about it. The numbers look good but he only had 4 targets. If you are going to get a Saints WR, take a look and see if Lance Moore is on the free agent list. He came back after an injury and might be available.

You are still going to want to pick up either Andre Brown RB NY Giants or Shane Vereen RB NE Patriots. They are both coming off of IR soon. They are both going to be must owns. Percy Harvin also should be coming back soon, but it is doubtful that he will be available now.

Week 9 Kickers and Defense Pickups

Week 9 is looking like it will be slim pickens as far as DST is concerned. Indianapolis has a favorable matchup on Sunday Night at Houston. If New Orleans is available, which is unlikely in larger leagues because they just played the Bills, the Saints are playing at the New York Jets. Baltimore was on a bye week this week; if they are available, pick them up as they are playing at Cleveland. Both Tennessee (at St Louis) and Dallas (vs Minnesota) have good matchups as well.

As far as Kickers are concerned, you can give Adam Vinatieri (Indy) a shot against Houston. Garrett Hartley may also be available, but that is more unlikely as New Orleans just played Buffalo. Robbie Gould (Chi) should also be available and he has kicked for multiple FGs in 4 of his past 5 games. Steven Hauschka (Sea) and Mason Crosby (GB) are both kicker that have been available, but are probably picked up by now. If you are desperate, you can try either Mike Nugent (Cincy) or Nick Novak (SD).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pickups for Week 8

Sorry I missed last week. There wasn't a whole lot to report except for the injury replacement of Joseph Randle in for DeMarco Murray in Dallas and Jarrett Boykin taking Randall Cobb's place in Green Bay. I missed Keenan Allen as well, who is almost the number 1 WR option for San Diego. This week has a ton of action that you need to be aware of.

First, lets go over the major injuries for this week:

Reggie Wayne WR Ind - Out for season. Pick up TY Hilton or Darrius Heyward-Bey if they are available.

Doug Martin RB TB - Out for season. Pick up Mike James immediately!

NY Giants RB situation - David Wilson is going to miss at least another month. Brandon Jacobs is banged up. The Giants only have Michael Cox and Peyton Hillis in the backfield. You need to pick up Andre Brown if he is available. He will probably be the starter immediately after the Week 9 bye week.

Nick Foles QB Phi - He did not play well even before he was knocked out of the game with an injury. If anyone dropped Michael Vick, you will want to pick him up.

Jermichael Finley TE GB - He has a neck injury and is still in the hospital. You can go with Andrew Quarless if you are desperate at TE.

Jimmy Graham TE NO - He left Week 6 with an injury and he is questionable for Week 8 after their bye. Pick up Ben Watson if he is available.

Sam Bradford QB STL - Out for season. Find another option for a quarterback, the backup Kellen Clemens is not going to be viable.

Arian Foster RB Hou - Pulled his hamstring. You will probably want to pick up Ben Tate if he is available. Houston has a Week 8 bye, so Arian will probably play in Week 9, but may be limited.

Jay Cutler QB Chi - Has a torn groin and out at least 4 weeks. Cutler has struggled with injuries in the past. The Bears have a bye week next week. Josh McCown filled in nicely, but you may want to look elsewhere for the time being.

Other Pickups

If Harry Douglas WR Atl is still available, pick him up. He was able to fill into the WR1 against a tough Tampa Bay secondary with 149 yards and 1 TD. Roddy White may be limited for a few more weeks still and Matt Ryan will find him if teams are doubling Tony Gonzalez.

Jordan Reed TE Was - If you lost Jermichael Finley, this is your best option to replace him. Jordan Reed has a performance against the Bears that mirrored Julius Thomas' Week 1 performance for Denver.

If you are in need of a QB, take a look at Jake Locker Ten, Terrelle Pryor Oak (coming off of bye week), Josh Freeman Min, or Andy Dalton Cin if no better options are available.

I already put Terrance Williams on the pick up week a couple of weeks ago, but he needs to be owned if he isn't already. He is clearly the Cowboys' number 3 option behind Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.

Keep an eye on Marvin Jones WR Cin. He may start to get consistent numbers if teams double team AJ Green all of the time.

Kendall Wright is the most consistent option at WR for Tennessee. Jake Locker will probably shake the rust off and start to find him more often.

If Percy Harvin isn't owned yet, he needs to be. He will probably be back sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Week 8 Kicker and Defense pickups

Both Sebastian Janikowski and Garrett Hartley have good matchups coming out of the bye week. I would trend towards Hartley, but he may not be available.

Alex Henery and the Eagles have a great matchup against the New York Giants at home.

Mike Nugent has done well in the past two weeks and has a home game against the New York Jets.

The Bears defense is on a bye week. They have been decimated by injuries and now Lance Briggs is out for 4 to 6 weeks. They are almost safe to drop except that they still have favorable matchups between Week 11 and Week 16.

Carolina is going to be the pickup of the week for Week 8. They are playing at Tampa Bay who is playing with a 2nd rate QB and now a backup RB as Doug Martin is gone for the season.

If they are gone, New Orleans is playing Buffalo at home. Also, Atlanta is playing at Arizona; the Cardinals consistently have given up points to every team this season.

If you are desperate, Philadelphia should be able to put up some points at home against the turnover factory that is the Giants.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Immediate Week 6 Pickups

There is a couple of developments today. You will want to pick up the following players if you have roster spots available:

Garrett Graham TE Houston Texans - He had a good game a couple of weeks ago when he was only lining up in 2TE sets. Now, Owen Daniels is out for at least a month and he has a very good matchup against the St Louis Rams this weekend.

Harry Douglas WR Atlanta Falcons - Julio Jones is most likely out for the year with a foot injury. Harry Douglas will now be the No. 2 WR behind Roddy White, who is also struggling with injuries.

Zac Stacy RB St Louis Rams - He will be the starting RB for the foreseeable future. He finished with 78 yards on 14 carries (5.6 YPC) which was by far the best effort by a Rams RB this year.

Terrance Williams WR Dallas Cowboys - Miles Austin has been struggling with injuries again and will probably lose the number 2 WR spot to Williams, who made an incredible catch against Denver and caught 4 out of 4 targets for 151 yards.

Monday, October 7, 2013

End of Week 5 Free Agent Pickups

Sorry that I've been out for a couple of weeks. I got sick to start Week 3 and had to catch up on work after that.

Week 6 Running Back Pickups

There are a couple of Running Backs that you will want to pick up.

Zac Stacy looks like he is going to take over at starting running back for the St Louis Rams. He was briefly knocked out of the game but he says that he was taken out as a precaution after he got the wind knocked out of him.

Marcel Reece looks like he will be the only healthy running back for the Oakland Raiders next week. Rashad Jennings was injured and couldn't return last night. Darren McFadden will likely return for Week 8 after their bye week.

Andre Ellington is looking much better than Rashard Mendenhall and will likely take over for him in the next couple of weeks.

Pierre Thomas had his best game in more than a year. He's taking back over at running back with Mark Ingram out. He probably isn't available and he probably won't have another game like this again.

Danny Woodhead will probably be the featured back next week with Ryan Matthews out with a concussion. Matthews has been a fantasy bust once again.

Chris Ivory might also be available in some FFLs. He has been injured but should be back tonight. He will still be the better every down back than Bilal Powell.

Week 6 Wide Receive Pickups

Terrance Williams is an immediate pickup. Austin Miles is again dealing with injuries and Williams has proven himself as the number 2 wideout for the Dallas Cowboys.

Justin Blackmon - He wasn't available in any league that I have been in, but scoop him up if he is available. Jacksonville is always going to get garbage time yards for him and Cecil Shorts.

Alshon Jeffery - Again, he wasn't available in the leagues that I have been in, but he is a legitimate number 2 wide receiver for Chicago. Look for him to have big games whenever a team decides to double team Marshall.

Austin Pettis - St Louis is a very confusing team. I don't expect him to do as well from week to week. Chris Givens and Tavon Austin have both been big disappointments and Jared Cook has been inconsistent.

Denarius Moore - Terrelle Pryor is finally starting to find some consistency and this means that Denarius is now a legitimate WR3 in most leagues.

Keenan Allen - With Eddie Royal clearly on the way down, Keenan Allen will pick up the slack as the number 2 WR for the Chargers. Phillip Rivers has been having a decent year by his standards and San Diego will have to throw the ball a lot.

Rueben Randle - Don't expect any consistency with the Giants being so terrible. However, he should be a viable emergency start during the bye weeks.

Week 6 Quarterback Pickups

Jay Cutler has shown himself to be a consistent QB as long as he is healthy. He now has multiple targets at wide receiver which will help with his numbers.

Nick Foles - You may want to pick him up in deeper leagues if you own Michael Vick. Foles is expected to start next week. If he does well, he might supplant Vick as the starter.

Josh Freeman - He was signed by Minnesota on Sunday. Ponder is out for another month at least and Freeman might get a chance if Cassel struggles.

Week 6 Tight End Pickups

Heath Miller - With Pittsburgh's offensive line as banged up as they are, Big Ben will be relying on the tight end to bail him out. I wouldn't expect many TDs, but he will probably average over 50 yards per game.

Charles Clay - If he is still available, you will want to pick him up. He has been a red zone threat and one of the only offensive weapons for the Dolphins.

Week 6 Kicker and Defense Pickups

Now that the bye weeks are in full swing, you are going to need a replacement when your kicker or team defense goes on a bye.

Adam Vinatieri faces a porous San Diego defense and has been doing really well over the past three weeks against better defenses.

Mason Crosby - He has not missed a field goal this year. The Packers are facing Baltimore and have unexpectedly been poor in the red zone of late.

Steven Hauschka - Tennessee has a very good defense and should stop Seattle short several times this week.

Philadelphia Eagles - Even with their terrible defense, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense is in shambles.

New York Jets - They are playing Pittsburgh at home and they should be able to get to Big Ben.

Detroit Lions - They have a favorable matchup at Cleveland and should get pressure on Brandon Wheedon.

Minnesota Vikings - Carolina's offense has been terrible and the Vikings are playing at home. They also play against the Giants in Week 7 if you need a fill in.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Early Week 2 Pickups

There isn't a whole lot to give you right now. There are two obvious pickups that need to be made, however.

James Starks is having a great day after Eddie Lacy went out of the game with a concussion.

Eddie Royal chased his 2 TD Monday night game with 3 TDs today. He appears to be a prime redzone target.

Also, if anyone was dumb enough to drop James Jones (doubtful) from GB after he got skunked in the opener, make sure to pick him up.

Steven Jackson went out of the game with an injury, but no one has stepped up to rush the ball.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Running Backs to pick up before Week 2

You may want to claim Willis McGahee off of free agency. He would appear to be the favorite right now to be signed by the Giants. Of course, this is assuming that he is healthy and in shape after suffering a knee injury last year. I figure that he will be a better options than Brandon Jacobs or Joe McKnight. McKnight is not an every down back and Jacobs has been struggling the past couple of seasons. McGahee has been a productive running back for the past couple of season at Denver. Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower are also a part of the workouts for the Giants. However, the only speculative pick up that I would make now before anything is announced is McGahee.

In addition to that, it would appear that Jonathan Dwyer is going to head back to Pittsburgh. This is only a temporary pick up until Le'Veon Bell is healthy. Dwyer was cut because he was out of shape. But, he is still better than Isaac Redman, who did terrible in Week 1. LaRod Stephens-Howling blew out his knee and Felix Jones was ineffective.

Week 1 - Sunday Night Recap and Monday Night Games

Any time that the Giants and Cowboys get together, you can expect a wild game. Last night's game was no different. The Dallas Cowboys got 6 turnovers on defense and scored two of them for touchdowns. They needed all six of them to salt away the New York Giants' offense.

Eli Manning went crazy after his first boneheaded pass, most of the turnovers were not his fault. Eli finished the night with going 27 of 42 for 450 yards with 4 TDs and 3 INTs. The last interception was deflected off of the hand of backup running back Da'Rel Scott and taken for the game clinching TD.

You can probably pick up Rueben Randle if he is available as a free agent. He is a legitimate number 3 and will fill in if either Cruz or Nicks gets hurt. All three of them were over 100 yards receiving, but Cruz did the most damage with 3 TDs. Brandon Myers is a legitimate #2 TE in most FFLs. Pick him up if he is available.

The Giants running game, however, is in big trouble. David Wilson fumbled the ball twice - the first time when the Giants were threatening to score and the second time lead to the first of Dallas' two defensive touchdowns. He had 7 carries for 19 yards and was benched for the second half. Before you go picking up Da'Rel Scott on your fantasy team, he didn't do a whole lot better. The 5 carries for 23 yards wasn't bad, but he made the mistake that cost the Giants the game.

You are going to want to watch this situation carefully, especially if the Giants sign a veteran free agent like Brandon Jacobs, Joe McKnight and Willis McGahee. These three RBs are going to work out with the Giants this week and one of them should get signed. Brandon Jacobs obviously worked their before, but he's not an every down back. McKnight would be a 20 to 20 yard line back. McGahee would be the most interesting if he is healthy. Stay tuned!

Tony Romo Hurt

Dallas has some bad luck on offense. Tony Romo appears to have a cracked rib again, but we'll have to wait for X-rays to be sure. He played through a cracked rib for several weeks before, so he still might not miss a start. Dez Bryant also appeared to have gone down with an injury, but he appears to be okay.

The rest of the Cowboys offense is working in good harmony. Jason Witten and Miles Austin were great and DeMarco Murray was excellent compared to the Giants RBs.

Monday Night Games

Since this is Week 1 of the regular season, there are two Monday Night games, as is the recent tradition. The first game kicks off early at 6:55PM ET between the Eagles and Redskins. RGIII says he is 100% and will be boosted by his home crowd. Both he and Pierre Garcon have to remain healthy this year for Washington to do damage. Alfred Morris should be able to pick up where he left off last year.

It will be interesting to see how Michael Vick fares now that the Eagles are short at WR. He is going to be relying heavily on LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. It is going to be very interesting to see how Chip Kelly's new offense will take. I have a feeling that it may take a couple of weeks to be really effective.

The night cap features the Texans and Chargers in San Diego. This game starts at 10:15PM ET. The Chargers are expected by most to get routed in this matchup, even though they are at home. This is primarily because they are short at wide receiver and have a new coach. Houston is expected to be the favorite in their own division and 3rd in the AFC behind Denver and New England.

Houston's defense is their focal point. They have one of the best run defenses in the NFL. This means that Phillip Rivers will have to pass a lot, which should lead to interceptions like they often have before for Rivers. Houston's running game should be interesting since the Texans say that Arian Foster will split carries with Ben Tate.

Washington is a 4 point favorite in this game. Houston is currently a 5 point favorite. You can check out the football betting lines to see if this changes before the game. You have about 80% of the bets on the Redskins right now. Houston has over 90% of the wagers so far.

I said before that you have to watch out when teams are receiving that many bets and the line is not moving. He are some example of how the sportsbooks cleaned house on Sunday:

New England (-9) at Buffalo - more than 90% of the wagers on the Patriots; Pats kick a FG at the buzzer to avoid the upset.

Tampa Bay (-3.5) at New York Jets - more than 90% of the wagers on the Buccaneers; Bucs weren't going to cover, but lost outright when Lavonte David committed a horrible late hit penalty and set the Jets up for the game winning FG.

Oakland at Indianapolis (-10) - about 85% of the wagers on the Colts; Indy needed a last minute interception to avoid the upset.

Tennessee at Pittsburgh (-7) - about 75% of the wagers on the Steelers; Pittsburgh offense was no where to be found and they lost badly.

The only game that hit for the gamblers was Seattle (-3.5) at Carolina and that was only after the Seahawks scored a 4th quarter TD to edge the Panthers 12-7.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Free Agent Fantasy Pickups from the Week 1 4:00PM ET Starts

Only two more free agent pickups for your FFL team from the late games:

#1 Jared Cook - He's obviously a top target for Sam Bradford. You might not be able to expect the TDs every week, but he gets the targets. He has 7 receptions for 141 yards and 2 TDs. He looks like a legitimate No. 1 TE.

#2 Andre Roberts - He looks like Arizona's #2 WR right now over Michael Floyd, but that could change from week to week. Andre finished with 97 yards receiving on 8 catches. Andre has more targets (9) and more receptions (8) than Michael Floyd (4 receptions for 82 yards).

Free Agent Fantasy Pickups from the Week 1 1:00PM ET Starts

There were a lot of duds this first week and some predictable results. That being said, there were a couple of free agent pickups that you need to look to make if you can. I do not have Shane Vereen on this list because he was already owned in the vast majority of FFLs.

#1 - Julian Edelman: by far he is looking like the better option as New England's 2nd wide receiver over Kenbrell Thompkins. Thompkins really hurt the Pats and almost cost them the game. He ran several wrong routes and cut off other routes early. Julian Edelman caught 7 receptions for 79 yards and 2 TDs. He made some huge catches as did Danny Amendola to help the Patriots avoid the upset.

#2 - Joique Bell: he may not be a week to week producer, but he is definitely worth the pick up if he is available. He is getting the goal line touches over Reggie Bush, who did outstanding this first game. Joique got 6 carries for 25 yards and 2 TDs. He also had 5 receptions for 67 yards.

#3 - Terrelle Pryor: Oakland has themselves a mobile quarterback. He had 13 carries for 112 yards and almost led the Raiders to an improbable win against the Colts (people everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief with their suicide picks). The downside you can't rely on his arm yet. He made a couple of costly interceptions and went 19/29 for 217 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs.

#4 - Fred Jackson: C.J. Spiller fumbled once and did not get the majority of the carries in the 2nd half. Fred Jackson also fumbled once but it wasn't recovered by the defense. He did outperform C.J. with 13 carries for 67 yards and 4 receptions for 41 yards compared to 17 carries for 41 yards and 5 receptions for 14 yards.

#5 - Brian Hartline: Don't know how many times you can expect this performance from him. Mike Wallace was locked down all day, which left him open. He was by far the best Dolphin on offense today. He got 9 receptions for 114 yards and 1 TD.

#6 - James Cameron: The lone bright spot for the Cleveland Browns in a lost to Miami. He had 9 receptions for 108 yards and 1 TD. He's not a #1 TE but he is a solid #2.

#7 - Daniel Thomas: This is a speculative pickup because Lamar Miller was just awful against the Browns. It might not matter which back you have, but you may want to hedge your bets if you have drafted Lamar. Thomas had 8 carries for 14 yards and 1 TD as well as 1 reception for 5 yards. Not impressive, but still better than Miller's 10 carries for 3 yards and 1 reception for 7 yards.

#8 - Nate Burleson: He may take a hit once Ryan Broyles comes back from injury. But, he did impress with 6 receptions for 78 yards and will get looks since Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson are going to get all of the attention from the defense.

#9 - Jerome Simpson: Impressive numbers (7 reception for 140 yards), but the Minnesota Vikings passing game is terrible. They made the Lions defense look really good today and they could key on Adrian Peterson after the first long TD run.

#10 - Harry Douglas: Only consider him if Roddy White remains hobbled by injuries. He had 4 receptions for 93 yards.

#11 - Kenny Stills: He has taken Robert Meachem's traditional spot as the deep threat #3 wide receiver. 2 receptions for 86 yards.

#12 - Kellen Winslow: A reach only if you are desperate. Jets offense is still terrible, but he should be the outlet for Geno Smith. 7 receptions for 79 yards and 1 TD.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Happy Opening Night of NFL

Opening day was full of surprises. It began early when the start of the game was delayed by lightning. The combined later start and rain soaked field might have made you think that the offenses would have some trouble and the total of 48.5 would be well under. The under was starting to look good for the first quarter as both offenses struggled a bit and Baltimore had a 7-0 lead to end the 1st. Then, a couple of bad turnovers and a blocked punt got the Broncos offense started. The Ravens still managed to go into halftime with a 3 point lead, 17-14.

And then the third quarter came and Baltimore forgot to come out of the tunnels. Peyton Manning already looks like the steal of any fantasy football draft. 7 touchdowns passes later ...

I have a couple of things to note about this game other than Peyton's historic passing night. First of which is the emergence of Julius Thomas. I was skeptical of him as a starting fantasy tight end at first. I mean, there are all of the other offensive weapons to account for. However, Peyton has always involved the Tight End in his offense, from Dallas Clark (who made a resurgence as Baltimore's TE) to Jacob Tamme. Thomas received most of his catches early on when he beat the linebacker matchups for 2 TDs and 97 yards. He was accounted for in the 2nd half, but that opened up Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas. Julius Thomas is without a doubt the free agent pickup of week 1. If you have a league where free agency happens immediately, he's already claimed. If you have to wait until Tuesday, get your claim in. Denver's offense is going to be too loaded for him to make that kind of production every week, but he will have some games where he will go off like this.

Wherefore art thou Eric Decker?

Lost in the midst of a 7 TD performance of Peyton Manning is the strange disappearing act that Eric Decker performed. 7 TDs and he doesn't even get one? A total of 32 yards receiving on 2 receptions, a dropped touchdown pass and a fumbled ball out of bounds? Ouch. He is listed as having an injury to his right shoulder, but it's probably more of a bruised pride to fantasy owners.

Demaryius Thomas wasn't looking so good either until he got most of his production in the 4th quarter. Fantasy owner can thank the Broncos' defense and especially linebacker Danny Trevathan for pulling his best DeSean Jackson impression and fumbling a pick 6 just short of the goal line. Without that play, Baltimore doesn't make a mini-comeback and that 78 yard bubble screen never happens.

What's good for Demaryius Thomas owners was horrible for the people who played Denver's defense. Not only did you lose the 6 points for the defensive touchdown that turned into a touchback, but you also lost unnecessary points when Baltimore made their comeback with slightly renewed hope.

Wes Welker is still a great option for PPR leagues with a game high 9 receptions. But, you better brace yourself for some low scoring games if you are not in a PPR league. He did get two TDs and appears to be a legitimate red zone threat, but his average of 7.5 yards per catch means that you shouldn't expect a lot of yardage from him this year.

As far as Denver running backs are concerned, you better wait a couple of weeks before you start any of them. Knowshon Moreno got the bulk of the carries in the first half and most of the production rushing and receiving, but that wasn't saying much. In the second half, all three backs split carries. Monte Ball may be the running back of the future, but he had a critical blunder near the end of the game when he ran to the wrong side of Peyton to get the ball. Ronnie Hillman appears to be nothing more than a 3rd down back.


Ray Lewis screamed it loudly last year at the Super Bowl parade, but his voice has now faded from the team. It looks like the defense might be in trouble after all with the loss of him and Ed Reed. Elvis Dumervil did have a sack and T Suggs is still the man, but otherwise this defense looks sparse this season. Peyton can make a lot of teams look bad, but the 49 points is the most the Ravens have ever let up. A couple of those TDs were on a very short field, but you have to stop them for a field goal one of those times.

Ray Rice may be in trouble. Maybe this is a one time setback, maybe it's going to be the start of a trend. But, Vonta Leach and Bernard Peirce are starting to eat away at his production. If Joe Flacco continues throwing more than 50 times per game (34 of 62 against Denver), then Ray Rice is going to have to do a lot better than 3.0 yards per carry and 4.4 yards per reception to warrant that first round fantasy pick.

Where are the Baltimore wide receivers? Besides Torrey Smith, who is going to step up? I would have said Jacoby Jones until his own man injured him on a fair catch. Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark got a lot of targets; Dickson looked pretty bad in dropping a couple of those. Marlon Brown is going to be your number 2 free agent pickup, but there is no way that you can guarantee that production again. Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark are two of your main offensive weapons? Did I time warp back to 2006?

Even Joe Flacco thinks that Joe Flacco had a bad game last night. His quarterback rating of 34.4 underlies his decent fantasy performance of 362 yards passing, 2 TDs and 2 Ints. This team simply isn't going to make the playoffs if he continues to pass the ball more than 50 times a game. He's going to need some help, though, and I just don't see it right now. Denver was without Von Miller and Champ Bailey and Baltimore's offense still didn't look that good.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fantasy Football Draft for 2013

I realize that I have been neglecting my blog for the past year or two. Sorry about that; this season I plan on changing that. I have already completely redesigned my website and have all of the current stats, rankings and advice updated.

Most of you have probably already drafted by now. I have already done this for the 3 leagues that I am in this season. If you haven't drafted yet. I suggest that you take a look at my site here. I have a cheetsheat for a small fee, but I haven't had many takers as I have offered my overall rankings and rankings by position for free.

What I did for the rankings this year was different than the other years that I have updated the Fantasy Football Manager website. Before, I just created my own lists based upon who I thought would be good in the upcoming season. This was basically a fact finding mission where I gathered the statistics from the previous year and combined that with the offseason upgrades that each team made.

This year, I decided to go with the experts whose job it is to put out these rankings. I know that sounds like a cop out, but I didn't just take the rankings from one expert. Instead, I took the opinions of roughly 30 experts and created an average based on all of their rankings. This will eliminate some of the biases to one team or one player that I have seen.

An example of this would be RGIII, who I saw ranked as high as 25th overall and as low as 108 overall. My rankings showed that he is 58 on average. There are a lot of players who were very similar, especially some of the wide receivers such as Pierre Garcon, Eric Decker, Mike Wallace, etc.

Yahoo Fantasy Leagues

Two of my leagues use the Yahoo Fantasy Football website. I like it for a couple of reasons. During the draft, you can see all of the relevant information about a player such last year's stats and bye week info. You can create your own pre-draft rankings to enter into the draft board. This is helpful because Yahoo doesn't update their draft board; Dennis Pitta, Percy Harvin, Danario Alexander and even Aaron Hernandez was left in the top 100.

I like to use my list in coordination with the Yahoo list (which is still available even if you update the pre-draft rankings) and the Average Draft Position (ADP) to see how far down the board a player I am targeting is located. If they are far enough away, you can often leave that player and they will still be around in the next round. This can burn you however, as it did when I tried to leave Kenbrell Thompkins (who got drafted way to high in my leagues).

Your draft team is readily available, but you can check out other managers with a simple click to see what positions they are likely going to select. You can also put players into a queue which will allow you to target a few players without having to see the entire draft board.

They had a neat feature which they started this year. About an hour after the draft was over, each player receives an automated Draft Grade which is powered by Automated Insights. They combine the projected points, any bye week issues, and your rank by position to receive a grade. I received a B+ in my first draft (2nd overall next to another person who also had a B+) and I finished with an A+ in my second draft (only person with an A of any kind).

My first draft includes the following players (5th pick overall) - 1. C.J. Spiller; 2. Aaron Rodgers; 3. Demaryius Thomas; 4. DeMarco Murray; 5. Dwayne Bowe; 6. Tony Gonzalez; 7. Ahmad Bradshaw; 8. Rashard Mendenhall; 9. Cecil Shorts; 10. Shane Vereen; 11. Anquan Boldin; 12. Kenny Britt; 13. Brandon Myers; 14. Joe Flacco - then a couple of throwaways and an average kicker and defense. This is my risk vs reward team and I think that the B+ was a little generous.

My second draft was much better (1st pick overall) - 1. Adrian Peterson; 2. Brandon Marshall; 3. Julio Jones; 4. Hakeem Nicks; 5. Lamar Miller; 6. Rob Gronkowski; 7. Ryan Mathews; 8. Tony Romo; 9. Montee Ball; 10. Chicago Defense; 11. Eli Manning; 12. Knowshon Moreno; 13. Antonio Gates; 14. Blair Walsh; 15. Justin Blackmon - then three throwaways. I was happy to see an A+ since only two other people in either draft even received a B+.

I'm not really a fan of picking up handcuff RBs unless it is a situation like Denver or Pittsburgh. You are probably going to drop them anyways if the starter doesn't get hurt or demoted in the first 4 weeks.

Betting on the NFL

As a fantasy owner, one of the things that I like to do is hedge my bets. That's why I specifically excluded the top 6 picks from my first draft when I was making selections for my second draft. One other way that I can hedge that bet is by betting on the Player Props at some of the Sports Betting websites that I am signed up at.

Let's say I am playing someone who owns Drew Brees and they are playing at home against Carolina that week. I will check the prop bets and place a $50 bet on Drew Brees to throw for 3+ TDs. This won't pay out much higher than 1 to 1, but I feel good either way by winning $50 or by winning that week in my fantasy league. I will do this once or twice per week with the opponent's top players. I don't like betting on my own guys because then I will feel like crap when I get the double whammy.

When it comes to betting on the spread, it's all about betting selectively and shopping the NFL betting lines.

In order to bet selectively, take a look at the games being played at 1:00PM ET. There are usually between 8 and 10 games available. Rank them in order of confidence with the spread from lowest to highest. Then, I will take the top 2 and place a $50 bet on those two games. Regardless of how I do, I will check the 4:00PM ET games; there are usually 3 or 4 of them. I will rank them in confidence and place a $50 bet on the one I am most confident with.

Bankroll management is of key importance here. I have a bankroll of $1000 that I keep for betting the spread. I bet $50 early because I don't wager more than 5% of my bankroll on any one bet. If I lose 15% of my bankroll (I.E. all three games), I'm done for the week. Period. End of story.

If I win on all three games, I will place a $100 bet on the Sunday night game. If I win either 1 or 2 games, I will place a $50 bet on the Sunday night game. If I lose the Sunday night game, I don't bet on the Monday night game. If I win the Sunday night game, I will place a bet on the Sunday night game. It's that easy.

When it comes to shopping lines, it is very important. Let's say I'm betting the favorite at -7.5. I'm going to try to find a sportsbook that offers a -6.5 or -7 line. If I am betting on the underdog, I'm going to look for a sportsbook that offers an -8 or -8.5 line. There are several good sportsbooks out there. You just need to do some work and look around.

If you do all of that and follow my advice, you will have a pretty good chance of winning money and not going broke. It's all about discipline.

Upcoming Season on Fantasy Football Manager Blog

I am planning on doing at least weekly updates as far as waiver wire pickups and injuries are concerned. If I have time, I will tell you some of my own personal stories about fantasy football and the games that I am watching or betting on. Stay tuned and come back again!