September 2nd Fantasy Football Stock Update (Maurice Jones-Drew Edition)

RB Maurice Jones-Drew UP

MJD finally reported. Rashad Jennings will get the week 1 start regardless and could get the bulk of the carries for the first 2 weeks or so of the season as MJD gets back into football shape and learns the offense. There are also way too many similarities to the Chris Johnson holdout last year for me to be comfortable projecting MJD’s usual level of production until the 2nd half of the season (Chris Johnson averaged 3.0 YPC through the first 8 games last year and 4.8 through the final 8). MJD is also a candidate to get hurt lose carries some more carries than he originally would have is Jennings impresses in his tryout as starter. I’m moving him up, but he’s hardly a sure thing fantasy running back.

RB Rashad Jennings DOWN

Jennings obviously moves down with MJD coming back. He’ll probably have RB2/flex value for the first couple weeks of the season, but he’ll need an MJD injury to remain startable at any point the rest of the season. He still has the most value as a handcuff for MJD owners.




August 31st Fantasy Football Stock Update

RB Steven Jackson UP

Isaiah Pead has failed to lock down the #2 back job behind Steven Jackson. He will split the role with follow rookie Daryl Richardson. This is good and bad news for Jackson’s fantasy stock. The good news is that there’s no immediate threat to his workload and he should see the type of carries he’s used to so long as he’s healthy and running well. The bad news is that there’s no obvious handcuff should he get hurt so you’re taking a big risk with Jackson that he doesn’t get hurt or decline. History suggests he might have one more good year in him so he’s worth that risk in a weak running back class outside of the top-10 backs.

RB Isaiah Pead DOWN

Pead failed to win the #2 back job behind Steven Jackson. He’ll split the role with Daryl Richardson. Pead is undraftable right now as is Richardson, but if Jackson does get hurt, it’s worth monitoring them. The Rams will run a lot so there might be enough carries to go around for one or both to emerge as a startable fantasy player in that situation.

WR Nate Washington DOWN

Kenny Britt will only be suspended 1 game. With Britt back and Kendall Wright coming in, Washington almost definitely won’t have another 1000 yard season, but he’s improved from 2010 as a football player and his quarterback situation has been upgraded so even if he has fewer targets than in 2010, he should exceed his 2010 production. He’s a nice late round “handcuff” for Britt because he’ll see plenty of targets should Britt get hurt again.

WR Kenny Britt UP

I’ve maintained all along that Britt has the ability to be a top-10 wide receiver with Jake Locker throwing him the football. He has caught 56 passes for 1146 yards and 12 touchdowns over his last 13 full games over the last 2 seasons. Now he’s only getting suspended 1 game and should be healthy enough for a starter’s workload by week 2. He might not become a top-10 receiver this year with the uncertainty about the knee and the one game he’ll miss, but he definitely has the upside and he’s worth the risk as a WR2/flex type in the early mid rounds.

TE Jason Witten UP

Jason Witten will reportedly be a game time decision for week 1 as he tries to come back from a lacerated spleen suffered a couple of weeks ago. This is much better news than his original prognosis, which was doubtful for week 1. At the very least, this news should mean that he’ll be in the starting lineup week 2.

An incredibly consistent producer, Witten has between 64 catches for 754 yards and 96 catches for 1145 yards in every season since 2004 and is averaging 5.16 catches for 59.07 yards and 0.31 touchdowns per game in that time period. Over 15 games, that’s 77 catches for 886 yards and 5 touchdowns. That’s not a bad year at all. You can safely draft him as your TE1 in fantasy. Even if he misses one game, tight end is a deep enough position that you can pick someone up off waivers for just one game and get decent production.

RB Jonathan Stewart UP

Jonathan Stewart’s ankle injury seems to be nothing. It looked bad when he was on crutches after the game, but he’s unlikely to miss any regular season time. I’ve put his original projections back.

RB DeAngelo Williams DOWN

Jonathan Stewart’s ankle injury seems to be nothing. It looked bad when he was on crutches after the game, but he’s unlikely to miss any regular season time. I’ve put Williams’ original projections back as well.

RB Isaac Redman DOWN

For more on the Steelers’ backfield situation, click here.

RB Jonathan Dwyer UP

For more on the Steelers’ backfield situation, click here.

RB Rashard Mendenhall DOWN

For more on the Steelers’ backfield situation, click here.

RB Tim Hightower DOWN

Tim Hightower was cut by the Redskins today. He may get signed fairly quickly, but it appears he’s just not the same player he was before his ACL tear and he’s unlikely to get signed anywhere where he can make a draftable fantasy impact. Take him off your board if he was on it.

RB Alfred Morris UP

Alfred Morris is the biggest beneficiary from the Hightower release. Morris was the only one of the Redskins’ 3 remaining running backs to be held out of the preseason finale this week. This is notable because Shanahan, like many other coaches, held out all of his starters. It looks like Morris was being preserved for a week 1 start. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee anything more than that with Mike Shanahan, but if you put a gun to my head and made me pick one of the Redskins’ 3 running backs, Morris would be the one.

RB Evan Royster UP

Royster also gets a stock up with Hightower being released simply because there’s less cooks in the kitchen, but Royster did play in the finale with the 2nd and 3rd team, so it doesn’t look like he won’t be the week 1 starter, but he could easily get a bunch of starts this season. He’s worth a late round flier, if you don’t mind week to week uncertainty.

RB Roy Helu UP

Helu would seem to be 3rd on the Redskins’ running back depth chart as of right now. Not only did he play in their final preseason game, but he didn’t see much action early in the game with the 2nd team. The Redskins have expressed their doubt in him as a lead back and see him more as a change of pace back, though for what it’s worth, he’s the best pass catching back remaining on the roster now that Hightower got cut. He could also get a few starts knowing Shanahan, but I’d rank him 3rd of the Washington running backs right now.




August 27th Fantasy Football Stock Update

RB Maurice Jones Drew DOWN

Maurice Jones-Drew has yet to report and says he’d “welcome a trade,” though he also said he’d prefer to stay in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have announced that Rashad Jennings will start week 1 regardless as MJD will take some time to get back into top football shape and because he missed an entire offseason of offensive install with a new coaching staff coming in.

This is a smart move by the Jaguars because this situation is eerily similar to Chris Johnson’s situation last year and Johnson averaged 3.0 yards per carry for the first half of the season before looking like his old self and averaging 4.8 per in the 2nd half of the season. Don’t expect MJD’s production to resemble his normal levels of production until around midseason and he’s also an obvious injury risk if he’s out of shape. Remember, he’s had a lot of usage over the past 3 years (1084 touches). Those types of guys are injury risks to begin with.

RB Rashad Jennings UP

Jennings obviously gets a stock up with Maurice Jones Drew going down. He’ll get the week 1 start either way and could see a lot of action early in the season. Still, I wouldn’t draft him at his current ADP in the 8th round unless I had Maurice Jones-Drew on my roster (and likewise, I wouldn’t draft MJD without targeting Jennings in the mid rounds). There are too many unknowns here to just own one. Jennings could get two starts and then be a pure backup for the rest of the season. It’s definitely possible.

WR Mike Wallace UP

Mike Wallace is expected to report sometime this week, possibly even tomorrow. He’s still a strong candidate for a down year after an extended holdout because he could be out of top football shape and because he missed a whole offseason of offensive install with a new coaching staff coming in. The Steelers have another receiver, Antonio Brown, who is just as talented, if not more so, who has been there all offseason. He’ll be the Steelers’ primary target at least for the first half of the season, benefiting from Wallace drawing the attention away from him. He could be their primary target all season. Plus, remember, Brown had 677 yards to Wallace’s 393.

WR Antonio Brown UP

Brown also gets a stock up with Wallace coming back. The Steelers will probably use Wallace primarily as a deep decoy for the first 4-8 games of the season until he gets the playbook mastered, which sets up a perfect situation for Brown, who has been there all offseason and was the team’s leading receiver, by far, in the 2nd half of the season. Wallace had about 1200 yards last year and Brown had about 1100. Expect Brown to be closer to 1300 and Wallace to be closer to 1000 this year.

WR Emmanuel Sanders DOWN

With Wallace coming back, Sanders loses all fantasy value. Originally, he was a late round sleeper and handcuff for Sanders because of the Steelers’ strong passing game, but now, he’s worthless in fantasy circles unless an injury strikes.

RB Darren McFadden UP

I’m still down on McFadden, but I’m moving him up because he’s looked really good this preseason. He’s not worth a 1st round pick though. He’s way too injury prone. He’s never played more than 13 games in a season or had more than 227 carries and has only once gone over 113 carries in 4 seasons. He’s their everything back, but he’s almost a sure bet to miss 3-4+ games, at least.

RB Mike Goodson DOWN

Goodson lost the backup job to Taiwan Jones. If McFadden gets hurt, Jones will be the lead back and Goodson will only serve as a between the tackles runner and might not even serve in that role because he’s not an ideal power back. They might sign a veteran back in that scenario. Don’t bother drafting him.

RB Taiwan Jones UP

Jones won the backup job after a strong preseason. McFadden is almost certain to miss 3-4+ games and Jones will probably get 15+ touches in those games. He’s incredibly fast and talented. If you do draft McFadden, make sure you take this talented handcuff late.

QB Matt Ryan UP

I was worried about how Matt Ryan would do in the Falcons’ new offense because it didn’t seem to fit his skill set. I don’t like to overreact to the preseason, but Ryan has completed 45 of 60 (75.0%) for 549 yards (9.2 YPA), 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Only Russell Wilson has a higher QB rating than him. He’s got plenty of upside in the Falcons’ new explosive offense and plenty of weapons around him. He looks ready for a career year.

QB Matt Flynn DOWN

Matt Flynn has lost his starting job to Russell Wilson. Take him off your board.

QB Russell Wilson UP

Wilson has some intrigue as QB2 with upside because of his rushing ability. However, considering the history of non-1st round pick rookie quarterbacks and rookie quarterbacks in general, I don’t really like his upside. Wilson will become just the 5th non-1st round pick quarterback to get his team’s week 1 start since 1994. Other than Andy Dalton last year, they’ve all thrown for more interceptions than touchdowns.

He probably won’t throw for a high YPA (even Dalton last year averaged just 6.6 YPA) and the Seahawks ran one of the most conservative offenses in the league last year, passing just 509 times.With a rookie quarterback under center, they’ll only get more conservative, especially since with a mobile, run happy quarterback like Wilson.

As a passer, I don’t like his chances to even exceed the 3091 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions that Tarvaris Jackson threw for last season. He might if he plays all 16 games, but Pete Carroll loves constant competition at positions and likely wouldn’t hesitate to pull Wilson for Flynn, now one of the league’s most expensive backups, if he struggles.

RB Marshawn Lynch UP

Wilson under center will be a good thing for Lynch. The Seahawks will become even more conservative and run more, while Wilson’s rushing ability will open things up on the ground for Lynch. I still don’t like Lynch to match his 2011 production because he’s an injury prone, one hit wonder, known for slacking off and probably will now that he’s gotten paid, but I’m moving him up.

RB Robert Turbin UP

Turbin has had a great preseason and while he’ll be Lynch’s primary backup, Lynch could easily miss a couple games with injury and/or struggle and cede a few more carries to Turbin than a true feature back would. On top of that, the Seahawks will run more with Russell Wilson under center and Wilson’s rushing ability will open things up for him on the ground.

WR Sidney Rice UP

Terrell Owens has been cut. Sidney Rice has been cleared for contact and will likely start week 1. Remember, he’s only exceeded 32 catches for 484 yards once in his 5 year career, but he’s incredibly talented when healthy and caught 82 passes for 1312 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2009. He’s definitely worth a late round flier.

WR Doug Baldwin DOWN

I’m moving Baldwin down slightly because Rice is healthy and because I don’t like the quarterback and because Baldwin is nursing his own injury right now, though he’s expected to play week 1. Baldwin led the team in receiving last year, but only out of necessity and was hardly a fantasy stud doing it. On what figures to be a mediocre passing offense, Rice is really the only receiver worth owning and only for his upside as a late round flier.

QB Sam Bradford UP

I was a little bit lower on Bradford than I should have been. He’s only a QB2, but I’m moving him up slightly.

TE Jacob Tamme DOWN

Peyton Manning has been targeting Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen equally in the preseason. The Broncos will use a lot of 2-tight end sets this year and their two talented tight ends might just cancel each other out. Tamme caught 67 passes for 631 yards and 4 touchdowns in 10 games in 2010 with Peyton Manning, good for 107 catches for 1010 yards and 6 touchdowns over 16 games, but all that proves is Manning loves throwing to his tight ends. He always has (see Clark, Dallas). However, he’ll split his tight end targets between Tamme and Dreessen this year. Tamme will probably see more targets, but Dreessen will be the preferred goal line target and probably have more touchdowns.

TE Joel Dreessen UP

See above.

WR Andre Caldwell DOWN

I don’t know why Caldwell was still ranked. He’s worthless.

WR Demaryius Thomas UP

Like with the Caldwell entry, I don’t know why Thomas’ numbers were so low. I’m down on him, as compared to Eric Decker, but not too down.

QB Jake Locker UP

For an in depth look at Tennessee’s offense, click here. For the short version, I feel the same away about the Titans and Jake Locker that I felt about Matt Stafford and the Lions last year. You have to be conservative, but even if you are, Locker makes a lot of sense as a low end QB1. That team has drafted so well in the past 4-5 years and looks ready to pop.

WR Kenny Britt UP

See above.

WR Nate Washington UP

See above.

TE Jared Cook UP

See above.

WR Randall Cobb DOWN

Randall Cobb appears to have lost the #3 receiver job to James Jones and will be the 4th receiver at best. He’s a nice late round stash in dynasty league because of his talent and the offense he plays on, but for this season, he doesn’t have any value in normal leagues.

RB Cedric Benson UP

Cedric Benson is reportedly really impressing the Packers, to the point where James Starks might not even make the roster, in favor of a less injury prone, albeit less talented option like Brandon Saine. Benson will be the clear lead back on an explosive offense, albeit one that doesn’t run much, while Alex Green will serve solely as a change of pace back.

RB James Starks DOWN

James Starks could get cut. Take him off your board either way. Benson has stolen his job completely.

RB Alfred Morris UP

Mike Shanahan hates fantasy football. Alfred Morris could get the week 1 start. Don’t draft any Washington running back until late. He changes his mind with running backs on a weekly basis with no prior notice. I’m willing to bet that one running back not currently on the Redskins roster will get at least one start for them this season.

RB Evan Royster DOWN

See above.

RB Tim Hightower DOWN

See above.

RB Jonathan Stewart DOWN

Jonathan Stewart sprained his ankle. It’s not a huge deal and he probably won’t miss more than a week or two, but he’s currently in a race to start week 1, so I’m move him down slightly.

RB DeAngelo Williams UP

With Stewart getting hurt, even a minor injury, Williams gets the opportunity to be a pure feature back on one of the best running games in the league for a week or two. I’m moving him up slightly.

TE Greg Olsen UP

The Panthers coaching staff talked up Greg Olsen. Jeremy Shockey is gone and Cam Newton loves throwing to his tight ends. He targeted Olsen and Shockey a combined 152 times last season and could target them even more this season with Steve Smith aging on the outside. Mike Tolbert and Gary Barnridge will take some of those targets, but Olsen could see up to 100 targets this year and have a very solid year. He’ll also be Newton’s primary target around the goal line as Olsen and Shockey combined for 9 touchdowns last year. Newton also figures to throw more around the goal line this year because his 14 rushing touchdowns is going to be unrepeatable.

WR Brandon LaFell UP

Brandon LaFell is the clear starter for the Panthers opposite Legedu Naanee gone and David Gettis still hurt. In 6 starts last year, LaFell caught 15 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown, good for 40 catches for 715 yards and 3 touchdowns over 3 games. On top of that, if he had the 76 targets Naanee had last year and maintained his rates, he would have caught 49 passes for 831 yards and 4 touchdowns. Now he’s the clear starter opposite an aging wide receiver. There is upside here.

RB Doug Martin UP

Doug Martin has not only won the 3rd down job, but he’ll probably get the bulk of the 1st and 2nd down work too. Blount is still a valuable handcuff because of the history of rookie running backs in the NFL (1st round backs have averaged 165 carries per year as rookies since 2007) and because the Buccaneers will run a lot, but Martin is moving up.

RB LeGarrette Blount DOWN

Blount will still get carries on a conservative offense, especially around the goal line, but he’s the clear backup to Doug Martin.

RB Isaac Redman DOWN

Not only is Rashard Mendenhall activated off the Pup, but Redman is also hurt. He won’t miss any games, but he said his groin and hip problems could bother him all year, never a good thing for someone trying to establish himself. On top of that, Jonathan Dwyer has looked good in the preseason and will cut into his carries even when Redman is the starter, which he should still be for 3-4 weeks.

RB Rashard Mendenhall UP

Mendenhall is less likely to split carries with Redman once he returns now that Redman is nursing a lingering injury.

RB Jonathan Dwyer UP

Mendenhall is coming off a torn ACL and will miss at least 3 games. Redman has lingering groin and hip problems. All of a sudden, Dwyer, who has looked good this preseason, makes for an interesting late sleeper in deeper leagues. In normal leagues, definitely monitor him.

RB Trent Richardson UP

Trent Richardson is expected to be back for week 1, so I’m moving him up slightly, but I’m still down on him because he’s a rookie on a poor offense and coming off an offseason in which he had 2 knee surgeries. He’ll be overdrafted.

RB Montario Hardesty DOWN

Hardesty is moving down, but is still an interesting handcuff for Richardson because of Richardson’s two knee surgeries.

WR Torrey Smith UP

Torrey Smith exploded for 8 catches for 103 yards in the Ravens’ 3rd preseason game in not even 3 full quarters worth of action. He might be even more likely to have a Mike Wallace type breakout year than I originally imagined.

QB Joe Flacco UP

I’m moving Flacco up a little bit too with Smith breaking out as the legitimate #1 receiver he’s never really had. Flacco has enjoyed a strong preseason overall, completing 71.7% of his passes for 7.2 YPA and 3 touchdowns to 1 interception. He could have a career high year, but remains just a QB2 with upside because of the Ravens’ still conservative offense.

RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis UP

BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be the clear starter in Cincinnati, at least early in the season. He’s not very talented and could easy lose carries or his job to Bernard Scott sometime this season, but he moves up a little bit.

RB Bernard Scott DOWN

Bernard Scott will start the season as a pure backup, though he could end up stealing BJGE’s job by the end of the season. The problem is that Scott isn’t very talented either. I would stay away from Cincinnati’s backfield entirely.




August 20th Fantasy Football Stock Report

RB Willis McGahee UP

McGahee’s top backup, Ronnie Hillman, has been dealing with hamstring problems all Preseason. Those things can linger, so it becomes less likely that Hillman overtakes McGahee, especially since Head Coach John Fox doesn’t like rookies. McGahee is still heading into his age 31 season, but he’s reportedly the clear lead back and he should get a bunch of carries and a bunch of goal line carries on an explosive offense.

RB Ronnie Hillman DOWN

Hillman is dealing with hamstring problems and on top of that, news has come out that McGahee is the clear lead back, which makes some sense since John Fox hates rookies. Hillman does have some upside, because he’s the type of pass catching back that Peyton Manning will want on the field with him and because McGahee is heading into his age 31 season, but he’s only a late round flier. He might even start the season below Knowshon Moreno on the depth chart.

RB Jahvid Best DOWN

Best is expected to start the season on the PUP, which would cause him to miss 6 games. There’s a chance he doesn’t get cleared to play at all this season and, even if he does, it will only be as a change of pace back behind Kevin Smith and Mikel Leshoure to keep him fresh and he’ll probably just get hurt again. Don’t draft him.

RB Mikel Leshoure DOWN

Leshoure is still not 100% from his Achilles injury. He’s missed most of Training Camp and has yet to play a Preseason game. He’ll miss the first 2 games of the season anyway with suspension, but it’s definitely possible he misses a couple more with injury. Meanwhile, Kevin Smith has had a great offseason and will get the week 1 start in the absence of Best and Leshoure. He’s the Detroit back to own because he could end up being the lead back all season.

RB Kevin Smith UP

With Best likely out for at least 6 games and Leshoure out for at least 2 games, Smith will get at least two starts this season, but it seems like he’ll continue to be the lead back even once Leshoure returns as Leshoure is still struggling to return from his torn Achilles. There’s definitely upside with Smith as a RB3, but remember, he has a pretty checkered injury history too.

WR Santonio Holmes DOWN

Holmes has missed a lot of Training Camp and the Preseason with various injuries. The Jets’ passing offense isn’t going to be very good anyway so I’d let him be someone else’s problem.

WR Stephen Hill UP

If I were to own a Jets wide receiver, it probably would be Hill. Holmes can’t seem to stay healthy and while Hill is incredibly raw, he’ll be targeted around the goal line an awful lot at 6-5, just like Plaxico Burress last season, who caught 8 touchdowns. Burress caught 45 passes for 612 yards and 8 touchdowns last year. Hill, even as a rookie, should be able to get those numbers, with upside if Holmes misses any time with injury and/or Tebow becomes the starter. If Tebow becomes the starter, Hill could very well be his top target because, with Tebow, it doesn’t matter so much if you aren’t a great route runner, as long as you are athletic (see Thomas, Demaryius).

TE Dustin Keller UP

Dustin Keller had a breakout season last year, catching 65 passes for 815 yards and 5 touchdowns, leading a miserable receiving corps. I thought his production would go down this season because the receiving corps around him would be improved, but it doesn’t look like it. Keller should once again lead this miserable bunch in receiving. If you miss out on one of the top tight ends, Keller is a nice fall back option in the mid rounds.

TE Jason Witten DOWN

Witten is out indefinitely with a lacerated spleen. Unfortunately, the timetable for his return is very murky with this type of injury. He’ll have to remain idle for about a week and hope it heals and that he’ll avoid surgery. Reports says that’s the most likely scenario, but even if that scenario, he’d be questionable for week 1. Witten is incredibly tough and hasn’t missed a game since 2003, but I’m still cutting his original projected numbers to estimate that he plays 14 games instead of 16.

RB Evan Royster UP

If you’re going to own one of Washington’s running backs, Royster is the one. Tim Hightower is still not 100% back from his torn ACL and might not be ready for the opener, while Roy Helu is also hurt and viewed as only a change of pace back. Just note that Mike Shanahan is incredibly frustrating for fantasy owners. Hightower could easily take his job once he returns and he may decide to change his mind on Helu and make him the starter.

RB Tim Hightower UP

Hightower might not be ready week 1, but he could take Evan Royster’s job at any time once he’s healthy, so he’s worth a late round flier if you don’t mind dealing with the fact that Shanahan could give the starting job back to Royster or even Helu, once he’s given it to Hightower, without warning.

RB Roy Helu DOWN

Helu is hurt and the coaching staff views him as just a change of pace back, for right now at least. He’s only worth a late round flier in deep leagues and only if you don’t mind dealing with the fact that Shanahan could give the starting job back to Royster or Hightower, once he’s given it to Helu, without warning.

WR Donnie Avery DOWN

Just when it looked like he was fully healthy and ready to challenge for the starting job, he suffers a hip injury, which all but clinches the job for Austin Collie. He’ll be only the #3 wide receiver for the Colts on a team that figures to use lots of two-tight end sets and he’s also very injury prone. Don’t bother.

WR Reggie Wayne DOWN

Moving Wayne down a little bit, upon closer examination of the Colts’ receiving corps. You can read about it here.

WR Austin Collie UP

Collie is the Colts’ receiver you want to own, even after his latest potential minor concussion. Read about it here.

TE Coby Fleener DOWN

Fleener hasn’t quite been as big of a part of the offense in the Preseason as anticipated. Wide receiver Austin Collie has been his favorite target.

WR Greg Little UP

In essentially Cleveland’s 3rd preseason game (they used their 2nd preseason game as their regular season tune up instead of their 3rd because they play the Eagles in week 3 of the Preseason and week 1 of the Regular season), Little looked great and led the way with 4 catches for 45 yards. He was actually 17th in the league in targets last year, but only managed 61 catches for 709 yards and 2 touchdowns for two reasons, his quarterback play and his own play.

Browns quarterbacks completed just 56.1% of their passes for 5.8 YPA and 16 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. Brandon Weeden, at the very least, should be an upgrade. However, Little also dropped 14 passes last season. If he had caught half of those, he would have had something like 68 catches for 800 receiving yards. He was incredibly raw as a rookie, after missing his final year at North Carolina with suspension, but he’s gotten himself into better shape this offseason and seems poised for a breakout season. He’s still, by far, his team’s best receiver and could approach 1000 yards if Weeden is better than I think and is even a league average starter.

RB Isaac Redman DOWN

Rashard Mendenhall has been activated off the PUP, a very surprising move since even GM Kevin Tolbert said he’d likely begin the season on the PUP and miss at least 6 games. He won’t be ready for the opener, but he’ll likely only miss around 3 games, rather than 6+. Redman will be the lead back for 3 games and get about 15 carries per game and then get about 10, an even split with Mendenhall, for the other 13. He is the more talented back in Pittsburgh’s backfield and Mendenhall is in a contract year and unlikely to remain with the team after the season, but Redman’s window of opportunity to show himself as a true lead back has at least been cut in half.

RB Rashard Mendenhall UP

Mendenhall is officially on the fantasy radar after being activated off the PUP. He’ll still miss the first few games of the season and probably split carries for the rest of the season, but he’s worth a late round flier, especially as a handcuff to the still unproven Isaac Redman.

RB Jonathan Dwyer DOWN

With Mendenhall coming back, Dwyer becomes fantasy irrelevant as their #3 back.

WR Mike Williams UP

Mike Williams is having a strong Training Camp and is holding off Preston Parker for the starting job. Not only that, he’s been Josh Freeman’s favorite target in the Preseason, as he’s struggled to develop chemistry with new wide receiver Vincent Jackson. If Williams is back in shape this season, he could definitely lead the team in receiving because he has the familiarity advantage with Freeman. Remember, he caught 65 passes for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2010.

WR Preston Parker DOWN

Parker has lost the starting job and will remain only the slot receiver. He’s off the fantasy radar, even in PPR leagues.

WR Kenny Britt UP

Adam Schefter reports that Britt will likely receive only a short suspension, somewhere between 1-3 games. He’s also made an incredible recovery from 2 knee surgeries and is impressing in work on the side and could be activated from the PUP any day now. I originally projected him to play 12 games, now I’m changing his projections to 14 games. Remember, in his last 14 full games, he’s caught 56 passes for 1146 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s got incredible upside in the mid rounds still.

WR Nate Washington DOWN

With Britt likely misses 2 games instead of 4, like I originally predicted, Washington obviously gets a stock down. He caught 74 passes for 1023 yards and 7 touchdowns last year out of necessity, but now Britt is coming back from injury and they’ve brought in Kendall Wright in the first round. He caught just 42 passes for 687 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2010. His stats should be closer to that in 2012.

WR Kendall Wright DOWN

Wright was originally on the fantasy bubble, but he’s off the radar now since he’ll only get a couple of starts and spend most of his time as a rookie receiver operating primarily out of the slot on an average passing offense. Rookie receivers never do much anyway.

WR Denarius Moore DOWN

Moore has missed all of the Preseason and most of Training Camp with a hamstring problem, which he’s been dealing with for 2 months. Hamstring injuries tend to linger and Moore missed time with injuries last season too so he probably won’t play all 16 games this season. I’ve cut his projected stats to account for a decrease in projected games played from 16 to 14 and lowered his YPC because hamstring injuries can sap explosion.

WR Vincent Brown DOWN

Vincent Brown, who is the Chargers best wide receiver, broke his ankle in a Preseason game and could miss the entire season. Take this former sleeper off your board completely.

WR Robert Meachem UP

Meachem obviously gets a stock up with Brown going down as Brown was a major threat to his job. The fact that Meachem has struggled in Training Camp and has never caught more than 45 passes in a season, despite having Drew Brees as his quarterback, remains, but he should be a starter for the entire season on one of the more explosive offenses in the league. He’ll probably be utilized more in San Diego than New Orleans (if the utilization is in the best interest of the Chargers’ offense is yet to be determined), so he could have a career year because of the pure volume of targets coming his way.

WR Malcom Floyd UP

Floyd also moves up with Brown going down. Floyd’s starting job was never in danger, but with Brown out, Floyd becomes the obvious candidate to be San Diego’s #1 wide receiver. He’s not as physically talented as Meachem, but he’s got better chemistry with the quarterback. The biggest issue is that he’s missed 9 games over the past 2 seasons, he’s heading into his age 31 season, and he’s caught 3 or fewer passes in 14 of his last 23 games over the past 2 seasons. He wasn’t able to take advantage of the chance to be a #1 receiver in 2010 either.

TE Antonio Gates UP

Brown is probably done for the year. I’ve gone into detail on Floyd’s and Meachem’s short comings. Eddie Royal, the slot receiver, is also injury prone and hasn’t done anything of note since 2008. Gates was their #1 receiver in 2010, the last time the Chargers were without Vincent Jackson, catching 50 passes for 782 yards and 10 touchdowns in 10 games before getting hurt, on pace for a ridiculous 80 catches for 1251 yards and 16 touchdowns. He’s having a great offseason and is finally healthy and while he’s 32 and might miss a couple games with injuries, he’ll probably be the Chargers’ leading per game receiver when healthy.

TE Rob Housler UP

You can read more about Housler here.

WR Miles Austin DOWN

Miles Austin has missed all of the Preseason with hamstring problems. He should be fine for week 1, but hamstring problems tend to linger and he missed 6 games and caught just 43 passes for 579 yards and 7 touchdowns last year because of hamstring problems. He’s got upside, but let him be someone else’s problem.

WR Dez Bryant UP

Austin is battling hamstring problems still and Witten is out indefinitely with a lacerated spleen. Bryant, who is having a strong offseason on the field, could be due for a huge season in his 3rd year in the league, typically a breakout year for receivers. He’s the clear #1 option in one of the best passing attacks in the league.

QB Jake Locker UP

The Titans have named Jake Locker starting quarterback. Locker averaged 8.2 YPA and had 4 touchdowns to 0 interceptions last season, but he also only completed 51.5% of his passes. He has accuracy issues dating back to his days at Washington and if his last Preseason start is any indication (4-11 for 21 yards), those aren’t past him. He has some upside as a QB2 because of his talent, his receiving corps, his pass heavy offense, and his rushing ability, but I wouldn’t be too excited about him until I see him be more accurate. Also, if he struggles, the Titans have the option of going to a proven veteran backup, Matt Hasselbeck, and benching Locker.

QB Ryan Tannehill UP

The Dolphins have named Ryan Tannehill starting quarterback. You can do a lot better than him for a QB2 though. He has no receiving corps and he’s incredibly raw. The only reason he’s starting is because veteran David Garrard got hurt and other veteran Matt Moore stunk up the joint this Preseason. They’re starting him out of necessity, not because he’s ready. In his only Preseason start, he was 11 of 23 for 100 yards.

QB John Skelton UP

The Cardinals have not named a starting quarterback yet, but Skelton will start and play into the 3rd quarter this week, which means he’ll get all the 1st team reps in the most important Preseason game of the year. Barring a meltdown, he’ll be the starting quarterback. In 11 career starts, he’s thrown for 2248 yards, 10 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, while rushing for 153 yards. Over 16 games, that’s 3270 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, and 223 rushing yards.

He was pulled in two of those games and has thrown for 2057 yards, 9 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, while rushing for 144 yards. Over 16 games, that’s 3657 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions, while rushing for 256 yards. He’s got a good receiving corps, but there’s no guarantee he won’t be benched midseason or anything like that. You can do better in a QB2.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote).




August 13th Fantasy Football Update

WR Brian Quick DOWN

Brian Quick has been having a less than stellar Training Camp and worked with the 2nd team exclusively in their 1st preseason game. As a rookie, he would have had to earn his way into the starting lineup, which he’s really struggling to do, even in a weak receiving corps. It’s still unclear which, if any, of St. Louis’ wideouts will have fantasy value. Quick is a late round flier, at best.

WR Steve Smith UP

If any of St. Louis’ wideouts are going to be fantasy relevant this season, it’s probably going to be Smith. Smith seems to be healthy off of essentially 2 lost years with injuries. He’s working with the 1st team, having a strong camp, and was Bradford’s favorite weapon in their 1st preseason game. He probably will never be his 100 catch self again, like he was in 2009 before injury, but he’s got the most value of any of St. Louis’ receivers. He’s worth a late round pick.

RB Ryan Mathews DOWN

Mathews has broken his collarbone and will miss 4-6 weeks, which puts his week 1 and week 2 status in doubt, dampening the outlook for a player who looked poised to have a breakout year. He still remains a 1st round pick in fantasy circles, though, and he may be undervalued, going now in the late 2nd on average. Before the injury, he was going off the board 7th overall.

Yes, he will miss a game or two, but you had to figure he would when making projections for him. When in the lineup, he could easily lead all backs in fantasy points per game as the Chargers’ “everything” back. If he can play 14 or 15 games and not sustain another injury, he could still finish the year as a top-5 back. There’s no guarantees he won’t get hurt again, especially with his history, but collarbone injuries are not lingering injuries. Unfortunately, there’s not a good handcuff for him as Ronnie Brown, Curtis Brinkley, and LeRon McClain, 3 mediocre backs, will split carries if he misses any time, making all 3 fantasy irrelevant.

RB David Wilson DOWN

David Wilson is getting mixed reviews in camp. On one hand, he looks incredibly explosive as a runner, but he’s also struggling with his blitz pickup and the Giants, known for easing in rookies, won’t trust him in obvious pass downs. He’ll still get a good portion of the early down work behind Ahmad Bradshaw and he remains just an injury to one of the league’s most injury prone backs away from being a legitimate RB2, but I’m moving him down slightly.

WR Santana Moss DOWN

All of the Santana Moss hype may have been a little much. Not only does he not appear to be in the running to be the Redskins’ #1 receiver, he didn’t even start for the Redskins in their 1st preseason game. That honor went to Leonard Hankerson, while Moss operated exclusively out of the slot. You can do better things with a late round pick than taking a 33 year old slot receiver.

WR Leonard Hankerson UP

Hankerson looks like the favorite to start opposite Pierre Garcon in Washington, with Moss working out of the slot. The 2011 3rd round pick was a favorite of mine in the 2011 NFL Draft season and he showed his abilities by catching 8 passes for 106 yards in his only start last year, before getting hurt and missing the rest of the season. There’s always a chance that Pierre Garcon struggles to transition to a new team, as so many receivers do, so Hankerson has plenty of upside late.

RB Cedric Benson UP

The Packers have signed Cedric Benson. He’ll get the opportunity to run behind a great offensive line and he’ll have plenty of room to run with the Packers’ passing game spreading things out. Heading into his age 30 season, he’s got little to no explosion, but he can run through holes and he should get the bulk of the Packers’ early down work as he was signed in response to James Starks’ disappointing Training Camp, preseason, and his recent turf toe injury.

He’s also shown surprisingly durability with 956 touches over the past 3 seasons, 5th in the league over that time period behind only Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson, and Steven Jackson. On top of all that, he’ll get the goal line work on one of the league’s most explosive offenses. He’s the Packers’ running back to own.

RB James Starks DOWN

Once seen as a potential breakout candidate going into his 3rd year in the league and his 1st as a lead back, Starks had a miserable Training Camp and first Preseason game and, after sustaining a turf toe injury, the Packers signed Cedric Benson, a similar style back to him. Turf toe injuries tend to linger and this is a guy who has injury issues dating back to his time at the University of Buffalo, which is why he fell to the 6th round in 2010. Even at his age, Benson has more fantasy value this year than Starks.

RB Alex Green DOWN

Benson’s signing doesn’t hurt Green as much as it does Starks, as Green is a different kind of back, a speed, change of pace, passing catching back. However, a more crowded backfield is never a good thing for a back and it looks like Green’s role will be almost purely 3rd down and change of pace unless there are injuries.

WR Randall Cobb UP

Cobb is having a very strong Training Camp and led the team in receiving in their 1st preseason game, so he should win the starting slot receiver job. James Jones had 38 catches for 635 yards and 7 touchdowns last year, but also dropped 6 passes. Cobb could exceed those numbers and would be an injury away from being thrust into the starting lineup of the league’s most explosive offense. He’s definitely worth a late round flier.

WR Julio Jones UP

I don’t like to overreact to preseason games, but Julio Jones is insane. He caught 6 passes for 109 yards and a score in his 1st preseason game in only one quarter of play. I had him “conservatively” ranked as my #5 wide receiver, but it appears that was even too low for him. Calvin Johnson’s 2nd year stats, 78 catches for 1331 yards and 12 touchdowns, are not out of reach for him.

WR Roddy White DOWN

Any positive for Jones has to be a negative for White, who is heading into his age 31 season and will be a smaller part of the offense last year. Leading the league in targets last year, White is almost purely a volume receiver at this point in his career and he should see a much smaller volume of targets go his way as long as Julio is playing like this.

RB Trent Richardson DOWN

Poor Browns. They just can’t catch a break. Trent Richardson will have to undergo surgery on his left knee. That surgery is just a scope so it’s as minor as it comes, but this is the 2nd time that knee has been operated on this year, so it’s not what you want to see from the player you just spent the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on.

The Browns expect Richardson to be back for the opener, but that’s not certain and it’s definitely possible he’ll miss a couple games at some point this season with lingering knee pain. The Browns could also scale back his workload early in September. As talented as Richardson is, rookie running backs have had trouble adjusting to a 16-game NFL season in recent years as 1st round pick running backs have averaged just have just averaged 165 carries as rookies since 2007. It’s important to keep fantasy projections for him conservative as a rookie.

RB Montario Hardesty UP

Largely a bust as a 2010 2nd round pick for the first 2 years of his career, Montario Hardesty is reportedly finally healthy and looked it in their first preseason game, starting in the absence of Richardson. Because we need to keep projections for Richardson conservative as a rookie, Hardesty makes for an interesting handcuff and potential late round sleeper.

RB Marshawn Lynch UP

It sounds like Lynch won’t be suspended, at least in 2012, as Roger Goodell wants to wait until the result of his DUI case before assigning any penalty. That likely means that any suspension would take place in 2013, if ever. I still don’t like him this year, as a one year wonder, behind a poor offensive line, after getting a new contract, but I’m bumping him back up to my original projection for him.

RB Robert Turbin DOWN

Moving Turbin back down as his value is tied to Marshawn Lynch’s. He’s still a name to know because Lynch will probably underachieve and/or get hurt, but he’s not really draftable.

WR Hakeem Nicks DOWN

I had Eli Manning’s projected numbers back more in line with his career averages, rather than his crazy numbers from last year, as the Giants seem committed to going back running the more ball more this season. However, my projections for Nicks and Cruz were both too high. In 2009 and 2010, the Giants’ top-2 receivers combined for about 2000 yards and 16 touchdowns per year.

Nicks and Cruz should exceed that slightly, but not by much. Nicks is the safer fantasy option and, like I projected earlier, should lead the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, just like he did in the playoffs last season. Cruz is still a one year wonder whose 18.9 yards per catch will be impossible to sustain.

WR Victor Cruz DOWN

Copy and paste what’s above.




August 7th Fantasy Football Stock Report

WR Sidney Rice DOWN

Sidney Rice is not expected to be cleared for contact for most of the Preseason. It’s mostly precautionary and he should be out there week 1, but it’s definitely not a good sign. Neither is the fact that they’ve signed Antonio Bryant (eventually cut 10 days later), Braylon Edwards, and Terrell Owens in the last couple weeks. He’s still got upside if he can stay healthy and he’s worth a late round flier, but his current ADP in the 9th round is too high. He’s had 3 concussions and 2 shoulder surgeries in the last calendar year. He’s almost definitely going to be a fantasy dud this season.

WR Doug Baldwin UP

Sidney Rice is a major injury risk, Braylon Edwards is no sure thing, and Terrell Owens is done. Doug Baldwin will probably lead the team in receiving again. In his 2nd year in the league, he could definitely improve on his 51 catches for 777 yards and 4 touchdowns from last season, especially if Matt Flynn proves to be an upgrade at quarterback.

WR Dwayne Bowe DOWN

I don’t know why Dwayne Bowe is holding out. He can’t be signed to a long term deal anyway. All he’s doing is hurting himself because other guys are impressing in his absence and other guys will have a better grasp of the new offense with a new coaching staff coming in. Jonathan Baldwin has been a stud in his absence and will almost definitely eat into his production this season. All he’s doing is costing himself money on his next contract. He could also end up getting out of shape. He probably won’t miss any regular games, but let him be someone else’s problem this season.

WR Jonathan Baldwin UP

Baldwin didn’t do much as a rookie last year, but he as a 1st round pick and a bad rookie year is already damning for a receiver. Baldwin has been impressing in Bowe’s absence and should be able to nail down a starting job, moving Steve Breaston to the slot. Breaston had 61 catches for 785 yards and 2 touchdowns last year with inferior quarterback play. Baldwin is more talented and definitely has upside as a late round flier. Unfortunately, he’s limited by his quarterback and Bowe’s presence, as well as the presence of Breaston and Tony Moeaki.

WR Brandon Lloyd UP

Brandon Lloyd is reportedly dominating in Patriots Training Camp. He’s their best deep threat since Randy Moss gave a shit and he is obviously very comfortable in Josh McDaniels’ system. Remember, this guy led the league in receiving two years ago. He won’t do that because the Patriots just have too many options, but he could easily go for over 1000 yards receiving.

WR Wes Welker DOWN

Brandon Lloyd should have a strong year, which will eat at the aging Welker’s targets. He doesn’t average a lot of YPC or score a lot of touchdowns. He’s mostly a volume receiver, who ranked 2nd in the league in targets this season, and he should see a smaller volume of targets this season. Tom Brady is good, but he’s not good enough for Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez ALL to have their career high levels of production at the same time.

TE Rob Gronkowski DOWN

Same thing with Welker. Welker, Gronkowski, and Lloyd could all have 1000 yard seasons, but it’s unlikely that any of the 3 will have much more than that.

TE Aaron Hernandez UP

My previous projections for Hernandez, who is reportedly dominating in Training Camp, were too low. He’ll take a statistical hit with Lloyd coming in too, but not a huge one. Remember, he’s never played a full 16 game season either, playing 14 a piece in his first 2 seasons, so if he does that, he could have a career high in yardage. He’s also being used as a fullback and could get you yardage on the ground. He had 45 yards on 5 carries last year in the regular season and then rushed for 61 yards on 5 carries in the playoffs against the Broncos. He could surpass 100 yards rushing.

RB Stevan Ridley UP

Of the Patriots two 2nd year backs, Stevan Ridley has been the most impressive. He looks poised to take over almost the entirety of BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ old work load (410 carries in the last 2 seasons), leaving Vereen as most a change of pace back. He’s much more explosive than BJGE too and could have double digit touchdowns on this explosive offense.

RB Shane Vereen DOWN

While Ridley is impressing in Training Camp, Vereen is struggling to distance himself from undrafted rookie free agent Brandon Bolden. He’s not worth a whole lot in fantasy circles, except as a handcuff to Ridley.

QB Tom Brady UP

I’m moving Brady’s production up a little with Brandon Lloyd dominating in camp. Tom Brady was 346 for 470 (73.6%) for 4420 yards (9.4 YPA), 39 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions when throwing to Welker, Gronkowski, and Hernandez last year. Throwing to everyone else, he was 131 of 216 (60.6%), 1719 yards (8.0 YPA), 7 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions (the rest were throw aways and other non-targets). Brandon Lloyd will undoubtedly help, as will the presence of Josh McDaniels.


WR Brian Hartline DOWN

Hartline was the default favorite to be the Dolphins’ #1 receiver this season, but he’s missed most of Training Camp with injuries and might not end up being a starter. He doesn’t really have much value at all unless he’s getting a large volume of targets. I’d pretty much just stay away from Dolphin receivers.

WR Hakeem Nicks UP

I moved Nicks down a little bit when he got hurt, but he’s running pain free already and looks fine. He won’t miss any time, so I moved him back up.

RB Kevin Smith UP

Mikel Leshoure is still coming back from an Achilles tear and will be suspended for the first 2 games of the season. Jahvid Best is reportedly “weeks” away from being cleared to practice. Smith will almost definitely be their week 1 starter and could be much more if he impresses early. There’s definite sleeper value here.

RB Jahvid Best DOWN

Jim Schwartz says Jahvid Best is still “weeks” away from practicing. Even when he returns, he’ll only be used in a Darren Sproles role to keep him fresh. Sproles is good in fantasy circles in the Darren Sproles role, but he’s the only one. If Best has the mere 87 carries Sproles had last season, he’ll be undraftable in non-PPR leagues. Sproles only had fantasy value because he averaged 6.9 YPC and caught 86 passes for 710 yards and 7 touchdowns. Not a lot of guys can do that.

RB Brandon Saine DOWN

Brandon Saine was the #2 back on Green Bay’s depth chart, until Alex Green got healthy and started impressing in camp. He’s not worth anything now unless injuries hit (which they could).

RB Alex Green UP

Alex Green is finally healthy and impressing in Training Camp. He’ll be a change of pace back to James Starks, but Starks is oft injured. Green has the ability to pass catch and break off long runs and is a major sleeper. The only issue with him is he’s never had more than 146 carries in a season either in college or in the NFL and he’s coming off a torn ACL.

TE Heath Miller UP

Heath Miller is going to be a bigger part of Todd Haley’s offense, especially if Mike Wallace misses time. He’s a nice high end TE2.



I had Hilton as a deep sleeper because Bruce Arians has had success with young speedsters like him before (Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown) and because of how thin the Colts’ receiving corps is. However, he’s currently behind not only starters Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie on the depth chart, but also Donnie Avery and LaVon Brazill, a 6th round rookie.

WR Austin Collie DOWN

Austin Collie only has any fantasy value if he’s the starter. He could lose his starting job to either 6th round rookie LaVon Brazill or, more likely, Donnie Avery, who appears to be finally healthy. He’s pretty worthless in fantasy.

WR Donnie Avery UP

Donnie Avery could end up starting opposite Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis. He’s a perfect fit for Bruce Arian’s offense with his speed and Reggie Wayne could have a major statistical decline at age 34 this year. There’s some upside with Avery, who would be the major beneficiary of a Wayne decline.

RB Joe McKnight DOWN

Joe McKnight could end up being the 3rd string back behind Shonn Greene and 2nd year player Bilal Powell and might not even see the field on 3rd down. He’s pretty worthless.

RB Bilal Powell UP

Bilal Powell looks like the favorite to be Shonn Greene’s primary handcuff. He’ll only see passing downs at first, but Greene is a pretty average runner who only has fantasy value because of the large volume of touches he figures to get. It wouldn’t shock me if Powell impressed and started eating into his workload on a run heavy team. He’s an interesting handcuff for Green and late round sleeper.

TE Kyle Rudolph UP

Kyle Rudolph is a 2nd year tight end having a very strong Training Camp. Meanwhile, #2 tight end John Carlson could miss a large portion of the preseason. If he had even the 70 targets that Visanthe Shiancoe, the incumbent starter who is gone, had last season, he would have had 47 catches for 450 yards and 5 touchdowns. Heading into his 2nd season in the league, with possibly improved quarterback play, he could exceed those numbers and end up being the 2nd leading receiver on a weak receiving corps. He’s a high-end TE2 with upside.

WR Laurent Robinson DOWN

This is not what you want to hear. Laurent Robinson, a one year wonder who could regress after signing a giant contract with a team with that has a terrible quarterback, is reportedly really struggling in Training Camp and he and his team even admits it. I guess that’s what happens when you give 32.5 million over 5 years to a receiver who was a final cut last offseason. Stay away.

WR Justin Blackmon DOWN

Justin Blackmon was bound to struggle anyway this season because his quarterback sucks and because rookie receivers rarely do anything. On top of that, he missed a large portion of Training Camp with a contract dispute. Stay away.

WR Eric Decker UP

Eric Decker and Peyton Manning reportedly have great chemistry in Denver, much better than him and Demaryius Thomas. This makes a lot of sense because Peyton Manning loves crisp route runners with reliable hands, rather than pure athletic freaks like Thomas. With Peyton Manning likely to show diminished arm strength this season at age 36 after 4 neck surgeries and a year out of football, Decker should lead the team in receiving and Peter King’s prediction that Decker will rank among the league leaders in catches doesn’t sound too crazy.

RB Mark Ingram UP

Mark Ingram is healthy and the Saints reportedly want him to have 200 touches or more this season. He was on pace for 213 as a rookie in 10 games, missing 6 with injury. There’s definitely upside with him potentially having a breakout year in 2012. He’ll also get the goal line carries, which there figure to be plenty of in New Orleans.

RB Pierre Thomas DOWN

Mark Ingram being healthy is bad news for Pierre Thomas. There’s not enough room for Ingram, Sproles, and Thomas to all have fantasy value. He’s a pure handcuff to Ingram.

WR Nate Burleson DOWN

Not only could Nate Burleson lose his starting job to the vastly more talented Titus Young, he could also begin losing slots in the snap to Ryan Broyles, a 2nd round rookie pick who was cleared for Training Camp after tearing his ACL in November. Burleson has absolutely no value this season in fantasy.

RB Vick Ballard UP

Vick Ballard, not Delone Carter, is listed as Donald Brown’s primary backup. Ballard is the only one of Indianapolis’ 3 backs drafted by the current regime and in an unclear backup, that means a lot. If Brown gets benched, which will probably happen, Ballard will become a starting running back and even until then, he’ll serve as a power compliment to Brown.

RB Delone Carter DOWN

Delone Carter opens Training Camp 4th on Indianapolis’ depth chart. The new regime has no allegiance to the 2011 4th round pick, who was disappointing as a rookie. He’ll need several guys to slip up to get a shot at the job. He’s not worth a draft pick.




July 27th Fantasy Football Stock Report (Pittsburgh Steelers Edition)

WR Mike Wallace DOWN

Mike Wallace will either play out the season under his one year tender or be traded. Regardless of whether or not he gets traded, Wallace’s fantasy value could take a major hit this season. If he reports, it’ll likely be after a long holdout, which could led to him getting out of shape and will cost him valuable time learning the playbook, while other receivers like Brown and Sanders are gaining greater mastery of Todd Haley’s new system. He could also hold out into the season.

If he gets traded, he’ll be traded to a team likely with an inferior quarterback and receivers have a poor track record when switching teams, especially this close to the season. It takes time to learn a playbook and get adjusted to a quarterback. I’d let him be someone else’s problem in fantasy leagues, especially at his current ADP in the early 4th round.

WR Antonio Brown UP

If Wallace is traded or holds out into the season, Brown immediately becomes the #1 receiver. Even Wallace isn’t traded, Brown could still be the #1 receiver because he’ll have better mastery of Todd Haley’s new offense and because he won’t run the risk of getting out of shape. He’s heading into his 3rd year, normally a big breakout year for receivers. He should have career highs across the board.

WR Emmanuel Sanders UP

If Wallace holds out into the season or gets traded, Sanders would move into the starting lineup. At the very least, he’s a valuable handcuff for Wallace owners. He’s got a lot of upside late in fantasy drafts. He’s plenty talented and also heading into his 3rd year in the league. Even if Wallace reports before the season starts, he could be a bigger part in the offense because he’ll know the offense better than Wallace and he won’t run the risk of getting out of shape. Todd Haley’s offenses typically feature lots of 3-wide receiver sets anyway, like with Fitzgerald, Boldin, and Breaston in Arizona.




July 26th Fantasy Football Stock Report

RB Marshawn Lynch DOWN

Lynch was arrested again. He’s already been suspended for 3 games in the past so I expect some sort of 2-4 game suspension again for him. He also runs behind a poor offensive line (which is why he averaged just 4.2 YPC last year) and he was pretty mediocre in 2009-2010. Let him be someone else’s problem.

RB Robert Turbin UP

In Marshawn Lynch’s absence, Robert Turbin will be the lead back because Leon Washington is just a change of pace, 3rd down back, and return man. He should be a RB3 or so for a few games to start the season and then from there, you never know. This situation reminds me of 2009 when Lynch was suspended.

A then unknown Fred Jackson had 402 yards from scrimmage in the first 3 games and performed so well that he got carries the rest of the season, finishing the year with 1433 yards from scrimmage. He was also a valuable trade chip after week 3 to unaware fantasy owners. He’s definitely worth a late round pick. He’s got plenty of upside.

WR Michael Floyd DOWN

The 13th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Floyd is reportedly struggling with his work ethic and will open Training Camp as the Cardinals’ 4th receiver and may even start the season 4th on the depth chart. He could work his way up the depth chart during the season, but his fantasy value just went from minimal to none.

WR Calvin Johnson DOWN

No news to report here, but my projections were a little high for Calvin Johnson. It’s unlikely that anyone, even Johnson, can repeat what Johnson did last year, especially since his team is unlikely to pass 666 times again, has other weapons, and his quarterback has only once made it through a 16 game slate. Johnson has also had his own injury history, only playing all 16 games once before last year. He’s still my #1 receiver, but don’t buy TOO high with him expecting him to catch 96 passes for 1681 yards and 16 touchdowns again.

WR Titus Young UP

Titus Young is fully expected to win the starting job opposite Calvin Johnson. Titus Young caught 48 passes for 607 yards and 6 touchdowns as a mere rookie last year, despite 84 targets. Incumbent starter, Nate Burleson, caught 73 passes for 757 yards and 3 touchdowns on 110 targets. If Young had Burleson’s 110 targets last year, he would have caught 63 passes for 795 yards and 8 touchdowns if you extrapolate his numbers. In his 2nd year in the league, he should exceed even those numbers, even if his team does pass less than the ridiculous 666 times they passed last year.

WR Nate Burleson DOWN

With Young stepping into the starting lineup, Burleson will be demoted to the #3 receiver. Burleson caught 73 passes for 757 yards and 3 touchdowns on 110 targets last year. If he had Young’s 84 targets, his numbers would have been 56 catches for 578 yards and 2 touchdowns. Another year on the wrong side of 30 and on an offense that won’t pass 666 times again, Burleson has absolutely no fantasy value, except in the deepest of leagues. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Burleson were 4th on the depth chart by the end of the season, as 2nd round pick Ryan Broyles gets healthy.

QB Matt Stafford DOWN

Like with Megatron, nothing new to report here, but my projections were a little high here. He’s unlikely to have 663 passing attempts again and he’s only once played all 16 games. He’s still a one year wonder not quite on the level of Rodgers, Brees, and Brady. He’s still a nice value if you can get him in the 3rd round though.

RB Matt Forte UP

Forte has signed and will not hold out. He was on pace for a career high 2145 yards from scrimmage before getting hurt last year through 11 games and through 8, he was actually on pace for the 2nd most yards from scrimmage of all time. Michael Bush will steal some goal line carries, but when has he not had a back stealing goal line carries from him? Other than that, Bush will be a pure backup who will be lucky to get 1 carry for each of Forte’s 2. He’s a sneaky good value in the end of the 1st, beginning of the 2nd round in a year where good running backs are tough to find.

QB Matt Ryan DOWN

Again, nothing new to report here, but when I was doing Atlanta’s season preview, I got a better feel for the type of season we can expect from Ryan this year. He’ll be asked to throw downfield for often and throw more often overall, which should lead to a career high in yards, but also to a career high in interceptions and a career low in completion percentage. Ryan is one of the least accurate deep throwers in the NFL over his career, completing just 31.9% of his passes that go 20+ yards in the air in his career, including 25% last year. This is opposed to 64.4% on the rest of his throws.

WR Santana Moss UP

Santana Moss has gone from on the roster bubble to potentially a starting receiver. He’s gotten himself in fantastic shape, losing 15 pounds, and has been incredibly impressive in offseason practices so far. At the very least, he’ll be their slot receiver, but given that his competition for the starting job is the marginal Josh Morgan and the unproven Leonard Hankerson, he could definitely begin the year as a starter.

And given that Pierre Garcon has never been a #1 receiver and receivers tend to struggle when changing teams, there’s an outside chance that Moss leads the team in receiving. I wouldn’t predict that because that would require him to have a major bounce back season at age 33, which almost never happens (don’t see Smith, Steve). However, he’s got some value late, especially in PPR leagues. Remember, he did catch 93 balls just 2 years ago.


RB Peyton Hillis DOWN

The Chiefs reportedly want running backs Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles to touch the ball a combined 500 times next season, less than I originally projected (going off the 539 times that Charles and Jones touched the ball combined in 2010). However, they’ll still run a ton so Hillis is a decent RB3 depending on the matchup, who pass catches and will get the goal line carries. He’s also got a lot of upside since Charles is coming off a torn ACL.

RB Jamaal Charles UP

I’m moving Hillis down with the news that the Chiefs will try to have their backs touch the ball combined 500 times, but I’m actually moving Charles up because he’s been cleared for the start of Training Camp and should get the majority of the touches. There will be a 60-40 split or so and Charles, who has averaged 6.1 YPC in his career, could get a career high in touches. There’s major upside with him in the 2nd round, provided he stays healthy and plays close to 100% of his 2010 self.

WR Kenny Britt DOWN

There are three numbers that are important for Britt. The first is 12, meaning 12 touchdowns over his last 14 games, to go with 56 catches and 1146 yards, despite generally mediocre quarterbacking (Kerry Collins, Vince Young, Rusty Smith, Matt Hasselbeck). The 2nd number is 8, however, meaning 8 arrests in the last 3 years since entering the league. He’ll almost definitely be suspended after his last one, for DUI. He would have been suspended last season, but Roger Goodell agreed not to suspend guys for what they did during the lockout. He won’t be so lucky this time around.

The 3rd number is 3, meaning 3 knee surgeries in the last 10 months. I’m cutting his originally projected numbers by 25%. He might not miss 4 games, but he could and even if he doesn’t, he’ll be far from 100%. Let him be someone else’s problem, unless you can get him late, in which case he’s a sleeper with nice upside. His current ADP in the 7th round is far too rich, however.

WR Nate Washington UP

Remember, Nate Washington caught 74 passes for 1023 yards and 7 touchdowns in Britt’s absence last year. He won’t quite do that this year because Britt won’t miss as much action as he did last year and because of the presence of rookie receiver Kendall Wright. However, he deserves a stock up after Britt’s latest surgery and arrest.


WR Kendall Wright UP

Kendall Wright gets a stock up too because he’ll start in every game that Britt misses. Remember, though, that rookie receivers rarely do anything.  Discounting Julio Jones and AJ Green, since the 2005 NFL Draft, 22 receivers have gone in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. In their rookie years, they have averaged 37 catches for 524 yards and 3 touchdowns.

And this is not a group of busts. This group includes, among others, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, Jeremy Maclin, Kenny Britt, Calvin Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Robert Meachem, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and Roddy White. The leader in rookie production among those 22, strangely Dwayne Bowe, who caught 70 passes for 995 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2007. That just proves how special Julio Jones’ and AJ Green’s rookie years were, but I don’t see that happening for Wright. It’s too improbable. He’s got upside, but only in deep leagues.

QB Cam Newton UP

One of the things I realized while writing my season preview for the Panthers is that a predictable decrease in rushing touchdowns for Newton would lead to not only Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams rushing for more touchdowns, but also Newton throwing for more touchdowns, even if he does have a predictable sophomore slump.

WR Mike Wallace DOWN

Mike Wallace’s holdout could get ugly. Right now, the Steelers won’t agree to negotiate with him until he reports to camp, but he won’t report to camp until they pay him. I don’t expect him to miss any games, at least not at the moment, but an extended holdout could hurt him on the field this season. He risks getting out of shape and more importantly he also misses valuable practice with in new offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s system. Let him be someone else’s problem unless he falls to the point where he’s too good to pass on.

WR Antonio Brown UP

With Mike Wallace trending down, Antonio Brown is trending up. Brown will be the #1 receiver in Wallace’s absence at Training Camp and that could lead to him becoinge a more relied on receiver by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, especially since he figures to have better mastery of their new offensive system.

WR Emmanuel Sanders UP

If Wallace’s hold out goes into the season, Sanders would start, which could make him an instant fantasy factor. He doesn’t have a ton of value, but he’s a nice handcuff for Wallace owners and has some upside in the deepest of leagues.

RB Stevan Ridley UP

Joseph Addai was cut. Move Ridley up slightly.

RB Shane Vereen UP

Copy and paste.




July 1st Fantasy Football Stock Update

WR Brian Quick UP

Someone has to lead the Rams in receiving. Brian Quick is extremely raw, but extremely talented so he’s worth a late round flier like Greg Little was last year. Quick has a better quarterback than Little did. With all of the uncertainty in the Rams’ receiving corps, it’s looking like Quick will still almost definitely be a starter.

RB Chris Wells DOWN

Chris Wells is still uncertain for Training Camp after having what was initially called “minor” surgery on his knee earlier this offseason. Meanwhile, Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt challenged him publicly to “bust his tail” over the next few weeks because other running backs have looked good in his absence. They spent a 2nd round pick on Ryan Williams in 2011 and now that he has returned from injury, they plan to use him. The more time Wells misses, the better it is for Williams and the worse it is for Wells.

RB Ryan Williams UP

With Wells moving down, Williams moves up. Wells is hardly the picture of durability so Williams is not only a nice compliment, but will be a potential fantasy breakout candidate if Wells suffers a major injury. There’s upside here.

WR Mike Williams DOWN

Mike Williams already got knocked down the depth chart one spot with the addition of Vincent Jackson this offseason and now he might be knocked out of the starting lineup entirely. Preston Parker is impressing in practice and Williams is not meshing with the new coaching staff. If Parker starts, Williams would only play outside on 3-wide receiver sets with Parker moving inside and have minimal fantasy value.

WR Preston Parker UP

Parker is a fantasy sleeper this year. He had decent production last year, catching 40 passes for 554 yards and 3 touchdowns. With Kellen Winslow gone, he automatically got a boost in targets as Winslow will no longer be getting all of those over the middle targets (121 last year). On top of that, Parker is really impressing and could be a starter. He could be worth a late round flier.


RB Adrian Peterson DOWN

The good news is that Peterson will probably be back for week 1. The bad news is that he may be Toby Gerhart’s backup when that happens, in an effort to ease him back in. I wouldn’t take him in the first 2 rounds, despite his upside, and if I did take him, I would make sure to grab Gerhart as a handcuff.

RB Toby Gerhart UP

Gerhart could be the Vikings’ lead back even if Peterson is healthy to start the season. I don’t know how long that would last, but he’s a capable back and the definition as a mid round sleeper at his current ADP in the 9th round. He’s a value handcuff for Peterson owners as well.

RB Maurice Jones Drew DOWN

Maurice Jones Drew might be the most serious holdout this year. The Jaguars are refusing to even talk contract right now with him and he should miss at least the start of Training Camp unless something drastically changes. This reminds me a lot of Chris Johnson’s holdout last year and Johnson was out of shape as a result of it. MJD is also coming off leading the league in carries, which means he could be more worn down this season, and he’s on a terrible offense that isn’t in the red zone much and frequently faces 8 man fronts. He’s incredibly talented, but I’d let someone else take him in the 1st round.

RB Rashad Jennings UP

Jennings is a valuable handcuff to MJD owners the way Javon Ringer was for Chris Johnson owners last season.


RB Shonn Greene UP

Greene says he has been led to believe by the coaching staff that he will exceed the career high 253 carries he had last year. They don’t seem confident in backup Joe McKnight with LaDainian Tomlinson gone and they want to get back to running the football more. Greene isn’t very talented, but he’ll get you volume yardage as he could be one of the league leaders in carries if he stays healthy. He’ll also be added by Tebow the way Willis McGahee was last year.

RB Joe McKnight DOWN

The coaching staff does not really seem confident in Joe McKnight. McKnight averaged a mere 3.0 YPC last year in limited action and admitted the 15 pounds he put on this offseason was as a result of an unhealthy diet and not extra work in the weight room. He’s a pure handcuff for Greene and not a talented one. I wouldn’t draft him.

WR Percy Harvin UP

Harvin expressed frustration with his playing time in 2011 and could get more as a result. Harvin was actually 2nd on his own team in snaps played at receiver last year behind the mediocre Devin Aromashodu. Harvin has real fantasy value early in drafts. He was the #8 scoring fantasy football receiver last year and in his last 11 games, he had 69 catches for 784 yards and 6 touchdowns, good for 100 catches for 1140 yards and 9 touchdowns over 9 games.

He could even exceed those numbers if he plays more and with Christian Ponder playing his 1st full season as a starter. On top of that, he rushed for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns on 52 carries. He could easily be a top-5 fantasy football wide receiver this year. He’s currently the 19th receiver off the board based on average draft position because people don’t pay attention to his rushing ability. If he even matches what he did last year, he’s a steal at his current ADP and there’s definitely upside.

Ray Rice UP

When the Ravens used a 3rd round pick on Bernard Pierce, I thought it would be so that Pierce (27 touchdowns in 11 games last year) could play Willis McGahee’s old role as a short yardage back and vulture touchdowns. However, Pierce is reportedly not impressing in practice and has yet to even leap Anthony Allen on the depth chart. It sounds like whoever Rice’s backup is will be a pure backup this year, so you can feel free to take Rice early in the 1st round in fantasy leagues unless he holds out long into Training Camp. Franchise tagged players can’t sign long term deals after July 16th so there wouldn’t be much point in him doing so however.

Projection: 290 carries 1310 rushing yards 13 total touchdowns 70 catches 620 receiving yards (271 pts standard/341 pts PPR)

RB Bernard Pierce DOWN

Pierce is a pure handcuff for Rice, if he can even win the job. Don’t bother.

Projection: 80 carries 340 rushing yards 2 total touchdowns 10 catches 70 receiving yards (53 pts standard/63 pts PPR)