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.