Articles By Athlon Sports

All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-4
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any website can give you.

2012 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 4 Start or Sit

Note: Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are on bye this week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 4</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 05:25
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-4
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Calvin Johnson DET vs. MIN  
2 A.J. Green CIN at JAC Victimized 'Skins (183 yards) last week.
3 Julio Jones ATL vs. CAR  
4 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. MIA Is last week (9-114-1) a sign of things to come?
5 Andre Johnson HOU vs. TEN  
6 Percy Harvin MIN at DET  
7 Roddy White ATL vs. CAR  
8 Greg Jennings GB vs. NO Big target could be taking Lambeau Leap against Saints.
9 Victor Cruz NYG at PHI  
10 Hakeem Nicks NYG at PHI Should be back after missing Week 3 (foot).
11 Vincent Jackson TB vs. WAS Skins giving up most fantasy points to WRs.
12 Steve Smith CAR at ATL Called out Cam, will it affect chemistry?
13 Brandon Lloyd NE at BUF Carving out role in Patriots' aerial attack.
14 Brandon Marshall CHI at DAL (Mon.)  
15 Demaryius Thomas DEN vs. OAK Could have big day against Raiders' thin secondary.
16 Miles Austin DAL vs. CHI (Mon.)  
17 Stevie Johnson BUF vs. NE  
18 Wes Welker NE at BUF Big part of offensive game plan last week vs. Ravens.
19 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. SD  
20 Jordy Nelson GB vs. NO Put up big numbers in home games last season.
21 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. NYG  
22 Eric Decker DEN vs. OAK Had 136 yards in loss to Texans.
23 Torrey Smith BAL vs. CLE (Thurs.)  
24 Dez Bryant DAL vs. CHI (Mon.) Austin has out-performed Bryant to this point.
25 Marques Colston NO at GB Been slowed by foot injury.
26 Malcom Floyd SD at KC Clearly Rivers' top WR target.
27 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. NYG Back at practice after missing last week (hip).
28 Santonio Holmes NYJ vs. SF  
29 Denarius Moore OAK at DEN  
30 Michael Crabtree SF at NYJ First to try and take advantage of Revis-less Jets.
31 Kenny Britt TEN at HOU  
32 Lance Moore NO at GB  
33 Pierre Garcon WAS at TB Foot issue has Garcon questionable for another week.
34 Nate Washington TEN at HOU  
35 Danny Amendola STL vs. SEA Hawks secondary will be tough test.
36 Nate Burleson DET vs. MIN Continuing to produce as Lions' No. 2.
37 Anquan Boldin BAL vs. CLE (Thurs.) No longer Ravens' No. 1 option.
38 Brandon LaFell CAR at ATL  
39 Randall Cobb GB vs. NO Returned KO for TD in pro debut in '11 vs. Saints.
40 Mike Williams TB vs. WAS  
41 Andrew Hawkins CIN at JAC Showing a knack for the big play.
42 Titus Young DET vs. MIN Did not practice Wednesday (knee).
43 Brian Hartline MIA at ARI  
44 Sidney Rice SEA at STL  
45 Robert Meachem SD at KC  
46 Golden Tate SEA at STL Looking to build off of 2-TD effort on MNF.
47 Laurent Robinson JAC vs. CIN Passed concussion tests, should play Sunday.
48 Mario Manningham SF at NYJ  
49 Greg Little CLE at BAL (Thurs.) Little having big problems bringing in passes.
50 Randy Moss SF at NYJ  
51 Jerome Simpson MIN at DET Makes season debut after three-game suspension.
52 Kevin Ogletree DAL vs. CHI (Mon.) Hasn't done much since Week 1 coming out party.
53 Andre Roberts ARI vs. MIA  
54 Davone Bess MIA at ARI  
55 Kevin Walter HOU vs. TEN  
56 Kendall Wright TEN at HOU Rookie getting plenty of looks from Locker.
57 Santana Moss WAS at TB  
58 Jon Baldwin KC vs. SD  
59 Donald Jones BUF vs. NE  
60 Cecil Shorts JAC vs. CIN Caught 80-yarder to beat Colts last week.
61 Ramses Barden NYG at PHI Could still produce even as Giants' No. 3.
62 Brandon Gibson STL vs. SEA  
63 Justin Blackmon JAC vs. CIN Rookie yet to have much of an impact.
64 Jeremy Kerley NYJ vs. SF Been productive with limited opportunities he's gotten.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 4 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 4 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 4</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 05:23
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-4
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Indianapolis and Pittsburgh on are bye this week.

2012 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. NO Motivated QB + Saints porous D = Fantasy Bonanza
2 Tom Brady NE at BUF Career 46:17 TD:INT ratio in career vs. Bills.
3 Drew Brees NO at GB  
4 Robert Griffin III WAS at TB No. 1 fantasy scorer at his position.
5 Matt Ryan ATL vs. CAR No. 2 behind Griffin, 8 TD, 1 INT thus far.
6 Eli Manning NYG at PHI  
7 Peyton Manning DEN vs. OAK Raiders gave up 384 yards, 4 TD to Big Ben last week.
8 Matthew Stafford DET vs. MIN Left last week's game, Shaun Hill will go if he can't.
9 Michael Vick PHI vs. NYG Twice as many INT (6) as TD (3).
10 Cam Newton CAR at ATL  
11 Philip Rivers SD at KC Looking to bounce back after rough Week 3.
12 Joe Flacco BAL vs. CLE (Thurs.)  
13 Tony Romo DAL vs. CHI (Mon.) Bears allowing fewest fantasy points to QBs.
14 Matt Schaub HOU vs. TEN May not be called on to pass b/c of running game.
15 Josh Freeman TB vs. WAS Skins giving up most fantasy points to QBs.
16 Alex Smith SF at NYJ  
17 Andy Dalton CIN at JAC Has had back-to-back 300-yd/3-TD games.
18 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF vs. NE Has 17 TD vs. 6 INT in last 7 September games.
19 Carson Palmer OAK at DEN  
20 Jay Cutler CHI at DAL (Mon.) Has 1 TD, 5 INT in last two games.
21 Christian Ponder MIN at DET  
22 Kevin Kolb ARI vs. MIA So far, so good - 4 TD, 0 INT in 3 games.
23 Matt Cassel KC vs. SD  
24 Russell Wilson SEA at STL Will MNF finish carry over against Rams?
25 Sam Bradford STL vs. SEA Rams second only to Packers in sacks allowed.
26 Jake Locker TEN at HOU Nice game against Lions, Texans much tougher test.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 4 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 4 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 4</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 05:20
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-4
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Jimmy Graham NO at GB  
2 Rob Gronkowski NE at BUF Still in the Top 10, despite slow(er) start.
3 Tony Gonzalez ATL vs. CAR "Old" man is No. 1 at his position.
4 Vernon Davis SF at NYJ His 4 TDs are tops (tied, Heath Miller) among TEs.
5 Martellus Bennett NYG at PHI Pretty much a must-start option now.
6 Antonio Gates SD at KC Hoping to shake slow start (7-65-0).
7 Jermichael Finley GB vs. NO  
8 Dennis Pitta BAL vs. CLE (Thurs.) Quickly becoming a favorite target of Flacco's.
9 Brandon Pettigrew DET vs. MIN  
10 Kyle Rudolph MIN at DET Young TE and QB developing chemistry.
11 Brent Celek PHI vs. NYG Leads all TEs in yards.
12 Owen Daniels HOU vs. TEN  
13 Fred Davis WAS at TB Finally showed some signs (7-90) last week.
14 Jason Witten DAL vs. CHI (Mon.) Getting the looks, not catching the ball.
15 Greg Olsen CAR at ATL Caught seven passes last week.
16 Jared Cook TEN at HOU Hurt shoulder late last week, monitor status.
17 Jermaine Gresham CIN at JAC Posted best numbers yet (5-64-1) last week.
18 Jacob Tamme DEN vs. OAK Suffered ankle injury last week, could be limited.
19 Scott Chandler BUF vs. NE  
20 Anthony Fasano MIA at ARI  
21 Marcedes Lewis JAC vs. CIN  
22 Brandon Myers OAK at DEN Suffered concussion last week, check status.
23 Joel Dreessen DEN vs. OAK Starting to take away targets from Tamme.
24 Dallas Clark TB vs. WAS  
25 Rob Housler ARI vs. MIA  
26 Ed Dickson BAL vs. CLE (Thurs.)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 4 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 4 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 4</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 05:16
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-4
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Arian Foster HOU vs. TEN Titans 29th in rushing defense.
2 Ray Rice BAL vs. CLE (Thurs.)  
3 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC vs. CIN MJD already back in top 5 among RBs.
4 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. NYG Hoping to back up trash talk against G-Men.
5 Marshawn Lynch SEA at STL Beast mode could be in full effect vs. Rams.
6 Adrian Peterson MIN at DET  
7 Jamaal Charles KC vs. SD Back in charge after 233-yard effort.
8 Darren McFadden OAK at DEN  
9 Ryan Mathews SD at KC Should see even more touches against Chiefs.
10 Frank Gore SF at NYJ Jets allowing 150 yards rushing per game.
11 Doug Martin TB vs. WAS  
12 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN at JAC BJGE should have success vs. Jags.
13 DeMarco Murray DAL vs. CHI (Mon.) Bears will be tough test.
14 Trent Richardson CLE at BAL (Thurs.) Rookie could be in for long night.
15 Michael Bush CHI at DAL (Mon.) Forte's status for this week uknown.
16 Stevan Ridley NE at BUF Hope Week 3 (13 att) is exception, not rule.
17 Reggie Bush MIA at ARI Knee checked out OK, but watch status closely.
18 Michael Turner ATL vs. CAR  
19 Darren Sproles NO at GB  
20 Cedric Benson GB vs. NO Saints giving up most fantasy points to RBs.
21 Alfred Morris WAS at TB Looks to be entrenched as No. 1 back.
22 Mikel Leshoure DET vs. MIN Can he top 100-yard debut?
23 Steven Jackson STL vs. SEA  
24 Andre Brown NYG at PHI No longer the starter, but has earned a role.
25 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at PHI Named the starter, but will share with Brown.
26 Chris Johnson TEN vs. HOU Texans not what struggling CJ needs.
27 Ryan Williams ARI vs. MIA Now the starter with Beanie Wells on IR.
28 Tashard Choice BUF vs. NE Less appealing if injured Bills return.
29 Jonathan Stewart CAR at ATL Hoping toe/ankle issues are over with.
30 DeAngelo Williams CAR at ATL  
31 Ben Tate HOU vs. TEN Solid flex option vs. Titans.
32 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. SF Powell breathing down his neck.
33 Willis McGahee DEN vs. OAK Rib injury could limit/sideline him.
34 Daniel Thomas MIA at ARI If Reggie sits, Thomas gets the start.
35 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL vs. CAR  
36 Pierre Thomas NO at GB  
37 Mark Ingram NO at GB  
38 Fred Jackson BUF vs. NE Even if he plays, expect limited impact.
39 Lance Ball DEN vs. OAK Should start if McGahee doesn't play.
40 Bilal Powell NYJ vs. SF Time to shine with Greene struggling.
41 Shaun Draughn KC vs. SD Peyton Hillis (ankle) questionable.
42 Danny Woodhead NE at BUF  
43 Daryl Richardson STL vs. SEA  
44 Lamar Miller MIA at ARI  
45 Kendall Hunter SF at NYJ  
46 Toby Gerhart MIN at DET  
47 Jackie Battle SD at KC Chargers' goal-line back?
48 Kevin Smith DET vs. MIN  

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 4 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 4 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 4</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 05:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-4
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 Houston Texans vs. TEN  
2 Seattle Seahawks at STL Had 8 sacks on MNF, Rams have allowed second-most (12).
3 Baltimore Ravens vs. CLE (Thurs.) Short turnaround, but facing rookie QB/RB in their house.
4 Arizona Cardinals vs. MIA Cards 2nd in points allowed at 13.3 per game.
5 San Francisco 49ers at NYJ Don't look for Jets to get Ground N Pound going this week.
6 Chicago Bears at DAL (Mon.) Ranked 6th in both rushing and passing yards allowed.
7 Dallas Cowboys vs. CHI (Mon.) Giving up league-low 250 yards per game.
8 Green Bay Packers vs. NO Winless Saints get Pack at worst time possible.
9 Atlanta Falcons vs. CAR Dirty Birds hoping to continue Cam's frustrations.
10 Philadelphia Eagles vs. NYG Eagles' secondary looks to slow down G-Men's aerial attack.
11 New York Jets vs. SF  
12 New York Giants at PHI Giants planning to force more mistakes from Vick, Eagles.
13 Denver Broncos vs. OAK  
14 New England Patriots at BUF  
15 Miami Dolphins at ARI  
16 Detroit Lions vs. MIN

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

 

Additional Week 4 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers

Week 4 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 4</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 05:14
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-4
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 David Akers SF at NYJ
2 Justin Tucker BAL vs. CLE (Thurs.)
3 Mason Crosby GB vs. NO
4 Stephen Gostkowski NE at BUF
5 Matt Bryant ATL vs. CAR
6 Jason Hanson DET vs. MIN
7 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at DEN
8 Nate Kaeding SD at KC
9 Garrett Hartley NO at GB
10 Blair Walsh MIN at DET
11 Shayne Graham HOU vs. TEN
12 Matt Prater DEN vs. OAK
13 Greg Zuerlein STL vs. SEA
14 Lawrence Tynes NYG at PHI
15 Robbie Gould CHI at DAL (Mon.)
16 Dan Bailey DAL vs. CHI (Mon.)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Additional Week 4 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 4 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 4</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 05:09
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-4
Body:

Injuries can have as much of an impact to a fantasy roster, if not more so, than to an NFL team’s roster. As it applies to the former, several key offensive players went down this week, including C.J. Spiller, Reggie Bush, Matthew Stafford, Willis McGahee, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Laurent Robinson and Jared Cook.

Couple all of the injuries with the fact that bye weeks start in Week 4 (Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are both off) and it looks to be another busy week on the waiver wire. Here are some names worth considering if you are in search of an injury replacement, bye-week fill in or just looking to make a change.

Quarterbacks
Last week I mentioned Andy Dalton in this space mainly because of his upcoming schedule. Dalton was coming off of a 300-yard, three-touchdown game against Cleveland headed into his Week 3 match up with Washington. All he did against the Redskins was another 300-yard, three-score game and next up for the current No. 7 fantasy scorer at his position are dates with Jacksonville, Miami and another shot at the Browns.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
Believe it or not, but Fitzpatrick is No. 5 among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring right now, even though he’s only thrown for 581 yards (28th in the NFL). How has he done it you ask? He’s tied with Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan with eight touchdown passes and he’s thrown just three interceptions so far. Fitzpatrick will have his work cut out for him next week against New England, but he does have a track record of getting off to strong starts. He has 17 touchdown passes compared to six interceptions in September games over the past two seasons.

Shaun Hill, Detroit Lions
The Lions have yet to provide any official information, but the early word is that Matthew Stafford could be dealing with a hamstring injury. The Lions are off in Week 5, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they would sit Stafford this week and let Hill get the start against Minnesota to maximize Stafford’s recovery time. Considering Hill (10-13, 172 yards, 2 TD) led the late fourth-quarter comeback that sent the game against the Titans into overtime, he may not be a bad option for your fantasy team either.

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
And speaking of those Titans, Locker had a career day (413 yards of total offense, 2 TD) in leading his team to the exciting and much-needed win over the Lions. Locker’s two scores came on passes of 61 yards or longer and he connected with eight different receivers on the day. He clearly showed why the team took him in the first round of last year’s draft, but he also faces a daunting task with a trip to Houston on tap this week.

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
Ponder has been mentioned here before, but after orchestrating Minnesota’s improbable victory over San Francisco, he deserves another endorsement. Ponder was flawless (no turnovers) against a 49ers defense that had allowed 22 or fewer points in their wins over both Green Bay and Detroit prior to giving up 24 to the Vikings. Ponder was responsible for all three Viking touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush) against the 49ers and has yet to throw an interception this season. Combine Ponder’s continual improvement with a fairly appealing schedule (at DET, TEN, at WAS, ARI, TB being the next five) and at the very least, I think he’s more than worthy of consideration as a potential bye-week fill in.

Running Backs
What can (Andre) Brown do for you? Potentially quite a lot if his 113-yard, two-touchdown coming out party against Carolina on Thursday is any indication. Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to return to practice, but nothing’s been said regarding his availability for this week’s game in Philadelphia. Even when Bradshaw returns, there’s no reason to think that Brown won’t have some sort of role in the Giants’ offense. If anything, he’s a must-have handcuff for Bradshaw owners, that is if he’s still available in your league.

In Detroit, it looks like Mikel is the (Le)shoure thing when it comes to the Lions’ backfield. The Lions’ second-round pick from the 2011 NFL Draft finally made his long-awaited NFL debut against Tennessee and promptly picked up his first career 100-yard game and scored a touchdown. Considering Kevin Smith didn’t get any carries, it appears that for the time being, Leshoure will get the lion’s share of carries.

Tashard Choice, Buffalo Bills
First it was Fred Jackson and this week it was C.J. Spiller as the latest Buffalo running back felled by injury. Although it’s pretty certain Spiller will miss this week’s game against New England, the good news is his shoulder issue doesn’t appear to be serious. Jackson also is recovering quicker than originally expected from the knee injury he suffered in Week 1, but whether he will be able to play this Sunday or not remains to be seen. That leaves Choice with an opportunity to be the Bills’ lead back. He has started four games in his career and had 91 yards rushing on 20 carries after replacing Spiller in the Bills’ win over Cleveland.

Shaun Draughn, Kansas City Chiefs
Yes Jamaal Charles went off on Sunday in New Orleans, rushing for 233 yards, but some of this can be attributed to the fact that Peyton Hillis limped off with an ankle injury in the third quarter. Charles will continue to get his carries, and probably the vast majority of them moving forward, but as long as Hillis is sidelined or limited by his ankle, Draughn will assume the backup role. As it is, the second-year pro out of North Carolina has out-produced Hillis to this point with 107 yards rushing (5.9 ypc), six receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown.

Bilal Powell, New York Jets
While there may not be a quarterback controversy at the moment for the Jets, there could be one brewing at running back. Powell is faring better than current starter Shonn Greene on a per-carry basis (4.0 to 2.8 ypc) as Greene has struggled to start the season. In Sunday’s win in Miami, Powell out-gained Greene 45 yards to 40, and did so with nine fewer carries (10 compared to 19). Don’t be surprised to see number of the carries start to even out more moving forward, especially if Greene continues to get bottled up.

Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins
Last week it was Lamar Miller who got the mention here, but that was mainly due to the uncertainty surrounding Thomas’ status as he was recovering from a concussion. Well not only did Thomas play against the Jets, he ended up leading the team in rushing (19 carries, 69 yards) after Reggie Bush left due to a knee injury. Bush didn’t suffer any structural damage to his knee, which is good, but don’t be surprised if he still misses a few weeks. In that case it looks like Thomas will be in position to get the bulk of the carries as he received 10 more attempts than Miller against the Jets. For now anyways, it appears the Dolphins prefer the veteran over the rookie.

Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals
Out in the desert, Williams has gotten more carries and more yards thus far than Beanie Wells. While Williams has been more productive, the more important thing is he’s been more durable as Wells can’t seem to shake his injury-prone nature. First it was his recovery from offseason knee surgery, but now it appears that Wells suffered a possible turf toe injury this past Sunday against Philadelphia. It may just be a matter of time before Wells is backing up Williams even when he's healthy.

Wide Receivers
For the second straight week Cincinnati's Andrew Hawkins scored on a pass play that covered more than 50 yards, as he hauled in a 59-yard touchdown strike to help put the Redskins away. Nate Burleson also made his presence felt in Tennessee as he tied Calvin Johnson in both targets (12) and receptions (10) in Detroit's overtime loss to the Titans. Johnson did much more damage yardage-wise (164 to 69), but Burleson matched his All-Pro teammate on the scoreboard with a touchdown grab, making it a very productive day for the lesser known Lion wideout.

Ramses Barden, New York Giants
Don’t look now, but the Giants may have found their third wide receiver. No one knew what to expect from the G-Men’s passing attack headed into last Thursday’s game at Carolina with Hakeem Nicks sidelined due to a foot injury. Enter Barden who stole the show by catching nine passes for 138 yards, both game highs. Nicks is expected to be back for this week’s game in Philadelphia, but that doesn’t mean Barden’s going away. Remember, last season Victor Cruz started the season as the Giants’ No. 3 wide receiver. He finished it as the No. 4 player overall at his position.

Jacoby Jones, Baltimore Ravens
Torrey Smith is the more known deep threat for the Ravens, but don’t forget about Jones. He and Joe Flacco have connected on seven of nine total targets thus far and Jones is averaging nearly 22 yards per reception. Sunday night against New England he caught three passes for 86 yards (28.7 ypc) and also drew a key pass-interference penalty on a third-down play that set up the game-winning field goal. If the Ravens continue to throw the ball down the field like they have been, Jones could see his opportunities and production continue to increase.

Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets
Santonio Holmes has twice as many targets as the next Jets wide receiver, but Kerley and rookie Stephen Hill are averaging more yards per catch and have caught two touchdown passes apiece. Hill suffered a hamstring injury in Sunday’s game in Miami, so Kerley could be in line for even more chances starting this week. Kerley is averaging more than 23 yards on his eight catches thus far and has appeared to develop some chemistry with Mark Sanchez, especially when it comes to going deep. Half of Kerley’s receptions have gone for 20 or more yards.

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars
Shorts has certainly done the most with what few opportunities he’s gotten. He leads the Jaguars in both yards (185) and touchdown catches (2) even though he’s fourth on the team with five receptions. Shorts is averaging a mind-blowing 30.8 yards per catch and his 80-yard touchdown grab with less than a minute left against the Colts turned out to be the game winner. Now with Laurent Robinson, the leader on the Jaguars in targets and receptions, having to go through the mandatory concussion tests before he’s cleared to play this week, Shorts could be in line for even more playing time.

Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans
I’m surprised that Washington, who had more than 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns last season, needs to be mentioned here, but he’s currently owned is less than 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues. That said, Washington is averaging nearly 27 yards per reception this season and he had a 71-yard touchdown catch against Detroit. Although Jake Locker has been spreading the ball out to his various targets, there’s no reason to think Washington, provided he stays healthy, won’t get his fair share of opportunities.

Tight Ends
Martellus Bennett continued his impressive start with six more catches for 73 yards and another touchdown against Carolina, while Heath Miller didn’t let a rib cartilage issue keep him off of the field and from catching two touchdowns of his own in Oakland. Bennett and Miller are currently the third and fourth top fantasy scorers at tight end, higher than the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Jermichael Finely, and a host of others.

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
I really don’t know why Rudolph, who’s currently seventh among tight ends in fantasy scoring, is owned in less than half of the Yahoo! leagues. He is Christian Ponder’s second-favorite target behind Percy Harvin and he’s already caught three touchdowns, which is second only to the aforementioned Miller and Vernon Davis among tight ends. He’s averaging better than 10 yards per reception and has caught nearly 75 percent of the targets (13 of 18) thrown his way. What else are you looking for in a tight end?

Craig Stevens, Tennessee Titans
This is purely based on the fact that Tennessee starter Jared Cook left Sunday’s game with a shoulder issue. It doesn’t appear to be serious, but if for some reason Cook is sidelined for this week’s contest in Houston, Stevens would be the guy. He caught five passes for 63 yards against Detroit and for the season is averaging more yards per reception (16.3 to 14.9) than Cook. He’s worth consideration in deeper leagues or for Cook owners who are looking for some insurance.

Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point per 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.

— By Mark Ross, published on Sept. 25, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 4</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Legends Poll
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-4
Body:

Oregon and Florida State jumped over LSU in the Legends Poll rankings this week after the Tigers struggled to remain unbeaten at Auburn.

Second-ranked Oregon ran away from Arizona, 49-0, which landed the Ducks one spot behind No. 1 Alabama.

“Oregon is like some of those old wishbone teams back when we were all young that if you couldn’t stop them a little bit, you couldn’t stop them at all,” former USC head coach John Robinson said. “The thing that they have is they have a better defense and the quarterback… they’re all talking up there that the quarterback is better than anything they’ve ever had.”

No. 3 Florida State also moved up a spot in the Legends Poll, passing its first big test against Clemson Saturday night. After trailing by 10 points in the second half, quarterback EJ Manuel turned the tide and led Florida State to a 49-37 comeback victory.

LSU held on late, but stumbled against a struggling Auburn team, which caused LSU to fall two spots to No. 4 in the rankings.

Georgia rounded out the top 5 after dismantling Vanderbilt, 48-3.

No. 9 Notre Dame continued to roll against Michigan, dropping the Wolverines out of the rankings. Kansas State was the biggest mover of the week, moving up five spots and joining the Irish inside the top 10 after a making a bold statement at Oklahoma, defeating the Sooners 24-19.

Newcomers this week were No. 19 Mississippi State, No. 21 Oregon State and No. 23 Northwestern.

To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll

THE LEGENDS POLL TOP 25

Rank Team Record Points PV RK  
1 Alabama (17) 4-0 425 1  
2 Oregon 4-0 393 3  
3 Florida State 4-0 385 4  
4 LSU 4-0 384 2  
5 Georgia 4-0 365 5  
6 West Virginia 3-0 323 7  
7 South Carolina 4-0 320 9  
8 Stanford 3-0 316 8  
9 Notre Dame 4-0 276 11  
10 Kansas State 4-0 267 15  
11 Texas 3-0 255 12  
12 Florida 4-0 231 14  
13 USC 3-1 204 13  
14 TCU 3-0 196 17  
15 Clemson 3-1 189 10  
16 Oklahoma 2-1 178 6  
17 Louisville 4-0 150 20  
18 Michigan State 3-1 121 22  
19 Mississippi State 4-0 112 -  
20 Nebraska 3-1 101 24  
21 Oregon State 2-0 87 -  
22 Boise State 2-1 54 23  
23 Northwestern 4-0 43 -  
24 UCLA 3-1 31 19  
25 Texas A&M 2-1 24 -  
 

* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward.  You can see the entire Poll at www.legendschannel.com.

Teaser:
<p> As voted on by 17 coaching legends</p>
Post date: Monday, September 24, 2012 - 05:45
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/sit-tom-brady-adrian-peterson-and-larry-fitzgerald-week-3
Body:

There are a few big name fantasy football players that will likely be duds this week. We examine three players that you should consider sitting and looking to your backups.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots, QB vs. Baltimore Ravens

Of course this sit depends on if you drafted a quality backup quarterback to go with what was likely a very early selection of Tom Brady. 

Here’s what he’s done in 2012: 552 yards passing with three scores and one interception — or 19 fantasy points per game against Tennessee and Arizona.

Here’s his history against the Ravens in four meetings since 2009: 235.8 yards passing per game with four touchdowns and seven interceptions — or 11.9 fantasy points per game. 

The Ravens allowed Michael Vick to throw for 371 with a passing TD and rushing TD last week. That 371 is the most allowed since Andy Dalton threw for 373 in Week 11 last season. In the seven games in between, Baltimore has allowed an average of 191.1 yards passing with four touchdowns and five interceptions.

Until Vick last week, the Ravens had a 19-game streak of not allowing a QB to have a multi-touchdown game.

Add in a road game, no Aaron Hernandez, not in sync with Brandon Lloyd yet and whatever’s going on with Wes Welker, and if you have a better matchup than Brady’s go with it.

 

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings, RB vs. San Francisco 49ers

In his “snap-limited” debut against Jacksonville in Week 1, Adrian Peterson carried 17 times for 84 yards and two scores. We thought he was a safe start in Week 2 against a run defense ranked 29th last year, and he posted a 16-for-60 day with no scores. 

Now he gets the NFL’s top-ranked rush defense from a year ago and currently ranked sixth at 63.5 yards allowed per game. 

Just a quick history on what the 49ers have done to opposing running backs in the last 18 regular-season games: Only one back has gained over 100 yards, only two backs have gained over 75 yards. Those backs are Marshawn Lynch and Cadillac Williams, who also had the only two TDs San Francisco allowed running backs to score on the ground last season. 

And now a quick history on what Peterson has done against top-five rush defenses the last three seasons: There have been seven such games. Peterson averaged 66 yards rushing per game with three scores. The saving grace has been his 13 catches for 167 yards. That comes out to 13.4 fantasy points on average in PPR league, 11.6 in non-PPR.

I would take 13.4 or 11.6 from Peterson in a heartbeat, but that is averaging the top five rush defenses over the last three years. This is the 49ers, who have only allowed double-digit fantasy days four times the last 18 regular-season games and that was thanks in large part to a combined 28 catches for 236 yards.

Play AP at your own risk. 

 

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals, WR vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Larry Fitzgerald may have lit Philadelphia up the last time he played the Eagles, but a couple of things have changed. Kevin Kolb is Arizona’s quarterback and Philadelphia’s pass defense has become much stingier. 

Since Tom Brady threw for three scores and 361 yards against Philadelphia in Week 12 last season, the Eagles have allowed just seven touchdown passes in the last seven games. Yes, they faced the likes of Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Moore, J.P. Losman, Mark Sanchez, Stephen McGee and Red Grossman to end last season and Brandon Weeden and Joe Flacco to start this season. But where do you rank Kevin Kolb among that list of quarterbacks?

And no receiver has eclipsed six catches of 62 yards since Week 12 (Dez Bryant) against Philly.

Fitzgerald torched the Eagles last season to the tune of seven catches on 13 targets for 146 yards and two scores. But that was via the arm of John Skelton, who threw for 315 yards and three scores on 40 attempts.

Kolb and Fitzgerald have played in 10 games together and have two touchdowns to show for it.  

Don’t let the reason of “what better option do you have” sway you from not starting a guy with the better matchup. You always hear “that’s why you drafted them this high,” well it’s also why you draft other players. Use them.

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Three big names to consider benching in Week 3</p>
Post date: Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 07:45
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/injury-updates-week-3-steven-jackson-greg-jennings-denarius-moore
Body:

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 3 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.

Steven Jackson, St. Louis RB vs. Chicago Bears

It’s been injuries and boom or bust with St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson the last four years. And here we are in Week 3 dealing with the same issue. 

Jackson (groin) missed all week of practice leading up to today’s game against the Chicago Bears and their ninth-ranked rush defense (84.5 ypg). 

The older he gets and the more the injuries pile up it becomes too difficult to trust Jackson. In 60 games since the start of the 2008 season he has had 23 games of 90-plus yards rushing with 21 total touchdowns. The problem is: you can never get a good feel of when such a game may occur.

No practice. This matchup. No thanks. Look elsewhere.

 

Greg Jennings, Green Bay WR vs. Seattle

Greg Jennings missed the Week 2 Thursday night contest against Chicago with a groin injury. He is questionable for Monday’s game at Seattle but says he should be ready. Jennings has been able to have as much rest as a schedule will allow — save for bye weeks — and it would be a big risk to hope for Jennings to help you close out the Week 3 slate.

It could be a tough matchup for any Green Bay receiver, particularly if the Packers’ offense continues to look as out of sync as it has through two games. The San Francisco and Chicago defenses certainly helped in that regard and Seattle should be able to continue the tough stretch. 

The Seahawks have surrendered just 21 completions for 260 yards and two scores through two weeks — or 48.5 total fantasy points to seven receivers in PPR formats. 

 

Denarius Moore, Oakland, WR vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Looking for a flier in Week 3 that should become a weekly stud very soon? Look no further than Denarius Moore. 

The Raiders play host to Pittsburgh today and Oakland’s defense has not shown the ability to slow anyone down — 57 points and 710 yards allowed the first two weeks. 

Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer is third in attempts (94) and fourth in yards (670) this season. 

Moore returned from a groin injury last week and saw eight targets for three catches and 67 yards before cramps in the South Florida heat sidelined him. Last year’s top receiver, Darrius Heyward-Bey, also had eight targets, pulling down four for 41 yards against Miami.

In seven games together last season, Palmer targeted Moore 46 times for 20 catches, 410 yards and three scores. 

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 07:25
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-3-ryan-mathews-pierre-garcon-heath-miller
Body:

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 3 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.

Ryan MathewsRyan Mathews, RB, San Diego vs. Atlanta Falcons

Today should be the debut for San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews. His first 2012 debut lasted just one play as he broke his clavicle on his first preseason carry. 

He gets an Atlanta Falcons defense that has already allowed two 85-yard-plus rushers and three scores on the ground to running backs. Jamaal Charles ran for 87 yards in the opener. Willis McGahee ran for 113 yards and two scores last week. Atlanta has also given up nine catches for 60 yards to running backs. 

In a game where the Chargers will want to try and limit the snaps Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones get to work with, Mathews could help that along. He also could be eased back into his role as the team’s lead ball carrier. 

It’s hard to gauge what Mathews can do in his return when the already injury-prone back was hurt on his first preseason play. But the matchup, the need for him in this offense makes him at least an RB2 and certainly a flex play.

 

Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins vs. Cincinnati Bengals

We want more of those 88-yard touchdown passes — screen pass or not. It is evident Robert Griffin III gets to air it out just as he did at Baylor and Garcon, the big free-agent acquisition for the team, is the one that will benefit the most on the other end of those deep passes. 

However, he injured his foot in the opener against New Orleans — on that 88-yard TD. He missed last week against St. Louis and is not expected to play today against a pass-friendly Cincinnati Bengals defense.

Garcon was limited in practice on Friday and coach Mike Shanahan said earlier in the week the injury is “nagging a little bit more than I thought it would.” Even if Garcon were to miraculously be active, it is not suggested you start him. You likely got him in the later rounds, so plug in one of your higher picks.

 

Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders

Heath Miller (ribs) returned to practice Friday and has a pretty good matchup against the host Oakland Raiders today.

Miller, who has been used more as a blocker in previous years, is actually a top-10 tight end currently. And he joins a top-10 list that currently includes Martellus Bennett, Scott Chandler, Dante Rosario and Dennis Pitta.

Miller has seven catches for 69 yards and two scores on 10 targets. He gets an Oakland team that held Antonio Gates to four catches for 43 yards in Week 1, gave up a TD to Anthony Fasano last week and surrendered 65 catches for 826 yards and seven scores to the position last season — ninth-worst in fantasy.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 07:10
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-starts-week-3-andy-dalton-benjarvus-green-ellis-dennis-pitta
Body:

There are a few key fantasy football players that look to earn big fantasy points in Week 3. Here are three players that are must starts.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals QB vs. Washington Redskins

Andy Dalton, QB

Andy Dalton has a few things working in his favor as a solid fantasy play for Week 3. 

The Cincinnati quarterback gets a Washington defense that has been friendly to quarterbacks through two games this season, lost two of its best pass rushers to season-ending injuries a week ago and has his own defense that has been fantasy-QB friendly as well.

Linebacker Brian Orakpo (torn pectoral) and defensive end Adam Carriker (knee) are out for the season — 15.5 sacks gone from the last 18 games — and that should mean more time for Dalton, A.J. Green, Andrew Hawkins and Co. 

The Redskins have already allowed 63 points, 800-plus yards, two 300-plus-yards passers and six touchdown passes to begin the 2012 campaign. New Orleans’ Drew Brees threw for 339 and three scores in a comeback effort that fell short (40-32) and St. Louis’ Sam Bradford threw for 310 and three scores in a 31-28 Rams win.

Last season, the Redskins surrendered nine passing days of at least 250 yards and allowed multi-touchdown pass games seven times. Dalton, as a rookie a year ago, had five games of 250-plus and six multi-TD games. He is coming off a 318-yard, three-TD performance against Cleveland.

Washington’s defense is not the only reason to give Dalton a look; his own defense helps as well. 

The Bengals have allowed nearly 300 yards passing and two touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in each of the first two games (Joe Flacco 299-2 and Brandon Weeded 322-2).

 

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals RB vs. Washington Redskins

BenJarvus Green-Ellis is clearly the workhorse in Cincinnati, as expected. He has produced probably above expectations thus far in regards to fantasy. The Law Firm has 39 carries for 166 yards and a score and four catches for 34 yards — or 15 fantasy points per game in a PPR. 

Now he gets a Washington team that was friendly to running backs last week, was friendly to running backs a year ago and, as mentioned above, just lost Orakpo and Carriker for the season.

The Redskins jumped out quickly on New Orleans in the opener and only saw 10 rushing attempts for 32 yards. Darren Sproles did get five catches, 35 yards and a score out of the backfield. Last week’s game against St. Louis was a little more traditional, and the Rams rushed 24 times for 141 yards and had two catches for 19 yards. 

Washington was 15th against fantasy running backs last season, allowing eight backs to rush for at least 88 yards. The Redskins were 21st in rushing TDs allowed (12).

Ellis should continue his run as a solid RB2, certainly a flex, for a Bengals team that is defensively challenged itself and might want to run the ball to slow Robert Griffin III and the Redskins’ offense.

 

Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens, TE vs. New England Patriots

There are a number of factors in favor of starting Dennis Pitta against the Patriots. First, he is quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite target this season and has been productive with those numbers. Second, New England has seen Tennessee’s Jared Cook and Arizona’s Todd Heap already this season and allowed a combined nine catches on 15 targets for 126 yards from the two tight ends. 

Pitta has 13 catches for 138 yards and a score on 24 targets in 2012 — 15 more targets than Anquan Boldin and 16 more targets than Torrey Smith.

Pitta did go 5-for-41 with a score against New England in the AFC Championship Game last season.

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Must start players for Week 3</p>
Post date: Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 07:00
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-3-jamaal-charles-antonio-gates-kenny-britt
Body:

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 3 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego vs. Atlanta Falcons

A late scratch against Tennessee last week, Antonio Gates (ribs) has practiced fully this week and should be good to go against high-powered Atlanta.

It was too bad Gates missed last week’s home game against a Titans team that has consistently been friendly to opposing tight ends and did not prove to be any different last week. Dante Rosario stepped in and scored three touchdowns.

 The Falcons have allowed nine catches, 102 yards and a score on just 14 targets to tight ends this season. Atlanta was generous to elite fantasy tight ends Jimmy Graham (11-for-124 and two scores in two meetings) and Jermichael Finley (4-for-67) last season.

 

Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee vs. Detroit Lions

Kenny Britt returned to action last week in San Diego after a one-game suspension and a knee injury that knocked him out in Week 3 of the 2011 season. He was expected to be on a limited play count and he was. The receiver was targeted just twice, catching one ball for five yards on 19 snaps. 

Detroit is 10th best against fantasy receivers through two games, having faced St. Louis and San Francisco. Those are not two of the premier passing offenses in the NFL, but neither are the Tennessee Titans.

You would have to figure Tennessee will be down early in this game. The Titans have little to offer in defending Calvin Johnson or Brandon Pettigrew. It should mean more time for Britt to get garbage-time production from Jake Locker. 

Britt was not limited this week and will be needed to help keep a struggling Titans squad in the game. The matchup could not be any better against a thin Lions secondary. The concern is obviously snap count for Britt and lack of work with Locker. 

Britt is the ultimate flier this week. Massive upside on an offense that is as down as it gets.

 

Jamaal Charles

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City vs. New Orleans Saints

Jamaal Charles (knee) tweaked his surgically repaired knee in a blowout loss to Buffalo last week and said he still could have played. 

This week, the inept Chiefs get the Saints generous defense in New Orleans. The question will be whether the Kansas City defense can hang on long enough to keep the running game in play for Charles.

New Orleans allowed rookie Alfred Morris to run for 98 yards and two scores on 28 attempts in the opener and the Carolina duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to run for 120 yards and a TD on 25 carries. 

It is there for the taking for Charles to have a good day and show he is back from the knee injury. But the taking is also there for the Saints offense to quickly make the Chiefs’ use of a running game futile.

 

 

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-start-or-sit-week-3
Body:

Week 3 of the 2012 NFL season has already begun, which means it's time to get those fantasy lineups ready for the rest of this week's action in your Yahoo!, NFL.com or ESPN fantasy football league. It’s still early enough to turn your team’s outlook around, but it all starts with making the right roster moves.

Athlon Sports is to help you make those important decisions each week with our Start and Sit suggestions. Keep in mind these are merely our suggestions as the ultimate decision comes down to you, the owner.

Week 3 Positional Rankings

Sneaky Start of the Week
Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City at New Orleans
Believe it or not, Cassel is currently No. 12 at his position in fantasy scoring. He’s averaging about 280 yards passing per game and has accounted for a total of four touchdowns (3 pass, 1 rush) through the first two games. It also should be pointed out that he’s turned the ball over five times (3 INT, 2 fumbles).

Still, his inclusion here is more a matter of the competition. Kansas City goes to New Orleans on Sunday to play the Saints. Not only are the Saints the worst defense in the NFL right now in both yards and points allowed; they also are giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (Kansas City has yielded the most). As long as Cassel can limit his turnovers, he could put up some surprising numbers in the Super Dome this Sunday.

Surprise Sit of the Week
Wes Welker, WR, New England at Baltimore
A lot of things can happen in a week, as evidenced by Welker going from the “Start” list to here in seven days. But the reality is that through the first two games, Welker just hasn’t been as big a part of the Patriots’ offense as he has been in recent years.

Some of this can be attributed to the fact that Welker has been ceding some snaps to teammate Julian Edelman, especially when the Patriots have been in two-wide receiver sets. There’s also the presence of tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, both of whom have more receptions than Welker so far. Whatever the reason, there’s no disputing that Welker’s production so far (8 rec., 109 yards) hasn’t been what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.

The good news is that Welker is still getting plenty of targets from Tom Brady. His 16 are second only to Lloyd on the team. But it’s clear that he and Brady are having trouble connecting (50 percent catch rate) and he’s yet to find the end zone.

Ironically, Aaron Hernandez’ ankle injury, which will sideline him for several weeks, could actually help Welker, as the Patriots may put more wide receivers on the field. That said, between Welker’s early results, this Sunday’s match up with Baltimore, a team that he has not enjoyed a great deal of success against in his career, and the fact that the Patriots seem to be shifting to more of a run-oriented offense (only 14 fewer rushing attempts compared to passing so far), that’s more than enough reasons to strongly consider leaving him out of your starting lineup.

Quarterbacks
START
Tony Romo (DAL) vs. Tampa Bay
Romo (251 yards passing, TD, INT) and the Cowboys clearly did not enjoy their trip to Seattle last week. Fortunately, they get to return to the comforts of home and get a Tampa Bay defense that Eli Manning and the Giants shredded for more than 500 yards through the air last week. Romo probably won’t throw for quite that many, but he should be able to connect with Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and his other weapons more than enough to put last week’s disappointing showing completely behind him.

Jay Cutler (CHI) vs. St. Louis
Cutler also is looking to bounce back from a rough Week 2 outing as Green Bay picked him off four times and he was sacked seven times. St. Louis’ defense isn’t considered to be on the same level as the Packers, so this should present Cutler with a nice opportunity to regain some confidence, for both himself and in the eyes of his teammates and always-vocal critics. The key for Cutler is to trust his offensive line to give him the time to make the throws that are there, and to not try and force feed Brandon Marshall down the field.

Andy Dalton (CIN) at Washington
Dalton threw for 318 yards, three touchdowns and an interception last week against Cleveland. This week he and the Bengals get a Washington defense that’s ranked 28th in the league overall, and is tied for second-to-last in passing defense. It’s also a defense that has lost two of its best players – defensive end Adam Carriker and linebacker Brian Orakpo — to season-ending injuries.

SIT
Peyton Manning (DEN) vs. Houston
Manning had a really rough start on Monday night in Atlanta, throwing three first-quarter interceptions. He was able to settle down, but in the end he finished with an atypical line of 241-1-3. The Broncos are back home on Sunday, but they will face an even more fearsome defense in Houston, which has given up a total of 392 yards (248 pass, 144 rush) in its first two games. The Texans are more athletic throughout their defense, their secondary is healthier than the Falcons’ was, and I think they will be able to bring even more pressure on Manning. Put it all together and I am expecting this week’s line to look more like last week’s compared to his Week 1 showing (253-2-0) against Pittsburgh.

Josh Freeman (TB) at Dallas
Freeman was at his best in leading his Buccaneers to an early lead over the Giants in New York. Unfortunately, the Giants’ defense did a better job of keeping Freeman and the Bucs’ offense in check, as Freeman finished with 243 yards passing to go along with two touchdowns and two interceptions. This week Freeman has to go into Dallas and face a Cowboys’ defense that’s surrendering 160 yards through the air per game. Look for the pass rush to rattle Freeman as the game goes on, resulting in some poor decisions and throws.

Sam Bradford (STL) at Chicago
Bradford and the Rams’ passing attack were running on all cylinders last week against Washington as he threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, next on the schedule is a Chicago defense that’s been stewing in its own juices since last Thursday’s loss to Green Bay. The Bears have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far and I expect that trend to continue against Bradford.

Running Backs
START

Michael Bush (CHI) vs. St. Louis
Matt Forte will not play this Sunday against the Rams because of an ankle injury. That means Bush will assume the starting role, which makes him a must-start if he’s on your roster. Remember, Bush ran for 977 yards last season with Oakland when Darren McFadden was sidelined or limited by injuries. The Rams have given up nearly 130 yards on the ground per game so far.

Stevan Ridley (NE) at Baltimore
Start a Patriots running back against a Ravens defense? Oh, how the times have changed. The fact is Ridley has clearly established himself not only as the Patriots’ top back, but a reliable one as has he’s averaging nearly 100 yards (5.0 ypc) per game. On the other side there’s a Ravens defense that has had some problems stopping the run thus far, giving up 129 yards per game on the ground. To this point the Patriots have showed a willingness to run the ball (5th in the league in rushing attempts), so Ridley should get his chances against what appears to be a more susceptible than usual Ravens rush defense.

Jamaal Charles (KC) at New Orleans
Everyone probably held their breaths when Charles was removed from last week’s game against Buffalo after falling on his surgically repaired left knee and limping off the field. The team and Charles have both since said that he only sustained a bruise and he could have gone back in, if he was needed. Charles’ production so far (22 att., 90 yds.) hasn’t been that great, but if there’s ever a week for him to get back on track it’s this one. New Orleans has given up a total of 372 yards rushing in its first two games.

SIT
Adrian Peterson (MIN) vs. San Francisco
The good news for Peterson owners is that his workload is expected to increase starting this week. The bad news is his next opponent is a San Francisco defense that’s already limited Green Bay and Detroit to a total of 127 yards rushing combined. Christian Ponder is not Aaron Rodgers or Matthew Stafford, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Peterson finds the yards very tough to come by this Sunday.

Willis McGahee (DEN) vs. Houston
McGahee is coming off of an impressive 113-yard, two-touchdown game against Atlanta on Monday night. However, Houston has given up a total of 144 rushing yards and no rushing touchdowns in their first two games. McGahee’s Broncos host the Texans this Sunday. Any questions?

Shonn Greene (NYJ) at Miami
Greene has struggled out of the gate, averaging a little better than three yards per carry. Miami’s rush defense has limited opponents to an NFL-best 2.2 yards per carry (53 yards per game). Miami’s first two games were against Houston and Oakland, otherwise known as the teams Arian Foster and Darren McFadden play for. Greene is not on the same level as these two, which should tell you all you need to know about his outlook for this week.

Wide Receivers
START

Torrey Smith (BAL) vs. New England
Smith has caught a total of four passes in the first two games, but half of those have been completions of 40 or more yards. Smith’s deep threat ability is well documented, but he still needs to show he’s more than just a one-trick pony. He should get his chance this week against the Patriots. Although the Patriots have done a very good job defensively, the Ravens’ offense will be by far their toughest challenge yet. Smith also has shown an ability to get open against the Pats’ secondary, as he caught three passes for 82 yards and a touchdown in last season’s AFC Championship game.

Lance Moore (NO) vs. Kansas City
For all their troubles on defense, the Saints have been fine on offense, as they are currently third in the league. Kansas City has had plenty of its own issues on defense and is surrendering nearly 38 points a game. I think there will be more than enough offense in this game for not only the must-starts (Dwayne Bowe, Drew Brees, Charles, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles), but also for the likes of a Moore, who should be able to find plenty of space to make the catch and then some in a Chiefs’ secondary that’s battled injuries from the start.

Jon Baldwin (KC) at New Orleans
Put Baldwin into the same category as Moore as the Saints’ defensive issues (last in NFL in yards and points allowed) have already been referenced here. What’s more for Baldwin is that he went from zero targets in Week 1 to six in Week 2. He turned three of those targets into receptions, which went for a total of 62 yards (20.7 ypc). Given his play-making ability and how he can complement Dwayne Bowe as the Chiefs’ deep threat, I expect him to build on last week’s showing and make a little noise against the Saints’ suspect pass defense.

SIT
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) vs. Philadelphia
As a huge Fitzgerald fan (and owner of him in one of my leagues), I really hope that this turns out to be a one-week deal, but I can’t ignore the early results or this Sunday’s opponent. Fitzgerald has been targeted a team-high 15 times, as he should be, but he’s only turned five of those into receptions for 67 yards. He also has yet to get into the end zone. For whatever reason, Fitzgerald and quarterback Kevin Kolb just can’t seem to get on the same page. Until these two start showing some consistent chemistry, it may be in your best interests, if you have other serviceable options, to bench the All-Pro. As far as this week goes, it certainly doesn’t help Fitzgerald’s case that Philadelphia has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Vincent Jackson (TB) at Dallas
Dallas’ revamped secondary passed its first test in the opener against the Giants' tandem of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz with flying colors. They limited the duo to 10 catches and 96 yards combined, compared to the 21 receptions, 378 yards and two touchdowns the two had last week against Tampa Bay. Now it's Jackson's turn to test the ‘Boys pass defense and unfortunately for him, the Bucs' receiving corps is more of a one-man show compared to what the Giants put on the field (Ramses Barden anyone?). In other words, good luck.

DeSean Jackson (PHI) at Arizona
The Eagles will be without the services of Jeremy Maclin (hip) this Sunday at Arizona, meaning the Cardinals will be able to focus their efforts on Jackson and attempt to limit the big plays down the field. Without them, he’s a different receiver. Last week against Baltimore, Jackson had seven receptions for 114 yards. One of those went for 49 yards, meaning the other six went for 65, or an average of 10.8 yards per catch. The big play has always been what has driven Jackson’s fantasy potential, and without it, he’s fairly ordinary, as evidenced by the fact he’s yet to score. It also doesn’t help that Jackson himself has been limited in practice by a hamstring injury.

Tight Ends
Start
Brandon Pettigrew (DET) at Tennessee
Pettigrew is second on the Lions in targets (14) and has eight catches on the year for 95 yards and a score. Next up for Pettigrew is a Tennessee defense that is giving up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Last week, San Diego's Dante Rosario, who was only playing because Antonio Gates sat out with a rib injury, victimized the Titans for three touchdown catches. Anyone else thinking Pettigrew can't wait for this one to kick off?

Brent Celek (PHI) at Arizona
I guess Celek didn't like me putting him on last week's Sit list as he promptly went out and caught eight passes for 157 yards (19.7 fantasy points) against Baltimore. Celek is leading the team in targets and the Eagles will be short-handed at receiver on Sunday against Arizona with Jeremy Maclin (hip) already ruled out and DeSean Jackson dealing with a hamstring injury. As long he keeps getting the volume of opportunities he has been, Celek can certainly maintain fantasy relevance. Getting into the end zone every now and then wouldn't hurt either.

Jermaine Gresham (CIN) at Washington
Gresham has gotten off to a slow start (4 rec., 37 yards), but Washington has given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends so far. He and the Bengals also are facing a defense that's lost two key starters (Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker) for the rest of the season, so now it's just a matter of Andy Dalton, Gresham and company to take advantage.

SIT
Jared Cook (TEN) vs. Detroit
Cook made the Start list last week and then went out and caught three passes for a grand total of 23 yards. Cook's slow start (8 rec., 87 yards) is representative of the Titans' offensive struggles as a whole. Until the Titans find some sort of consistency with both their rushing and passing attacks, Cook's probably not going to put up a lot of fantasy points.

Jacob Tamme (DEN) vs. Houston
Tamme got off to a fast start as the renewed chemistry between him and Peyton Manning resulted in four receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Last week in Atlanta, however, Tamme only caught two balls for 13 yards. This week could be even worse as Denver hosts Houston, one of the toughest defenses in the league right now. To make matters worse for Tamme (and Joel Dreessen for that matter), the Texans are giving up the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Marcedes Lewis (JAC) at Indianapolis
Lewis also got off to a nice start (5 rec., 52 yds., TD) in Week 1, but looked more like his 2011 form last week as he didn't catch a single pass. Lewis' fortunes are tied directly to how well Blaine Gabbert performs, which is enough reason in itself to not trust this Jaguar to be your starting tight end.

Defense/Special Teams
START

Dallas vs. Tampa Bay
The Dallas defense/special teams haven't really done all that much in terms of fantasy scoring to this point, but they are ranked 10th in the league in total defense and do a good job of pressuring the quarterback. As long as the Cowboys can stifle Tampa's running game, I think the pressure on Josh Freeman will help the secondary make some big plays, possibly even turn one of those into six points.

Arizona vs. Philadelphia
Arizona's defense has been very solid through its first two games, holding New England to just 18 points in the Cardinals' surprising Week 2 victory in Foxboro. Next up is Philadelphia, who has a banged up receiving corps and a quarterback in Michael Vick that's prone to turning it over. Even with LeSean McCoy in the backfield, I think the Cardinals can make enough plays (both kick returners also are capable of taking one back for a score) and hold the Eagles offense in check to be fantasy relevant this week.

SIT
New England at Baltimore
Don't look now, but New England is the No. 2 defense in the league. This can largely be attributed to the fact that the Patriots first two opponents have been Tennessee and Arizona, the 30th- and 31st-ranked offenses. That's why I don't see the Patriots defense having near as much success against Baltimore, the ninth-ranked offense and one that can beat you with both with the run and pass. If the Patriots come out of this game as the second-ranked defense, color me impressed.

Washington vs. Cincinnati
It's already been said a couple of times, but here's where it really matters most. The Redskins will be without linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive lineman Adam Carriker for the rest of the season. Orakpo is a two-time Pro Bowler and he and Carriker combined for 14.5 sacks last season. Those are two significant losses that I think will be very hard for this defense, which by the way is currently ranked 28th in the league, to overcome, especially this week against Cincinnati.

Kickers
START

Justin Tucker (BAL) at Philadelphia
Considering this is the second straight week Tucker has made this list, not to mention the fact that I added him in two of my three leagues, consider me all in on the Ravens' rookie kicker. Tucker is a perfect 6-for-6 from field goal range, with a long of 56, and has connected on all seven of his PATs so far. There's no reason to think the Ravens won't continue to give him opportunities to put the ball through the uprights.

Blair Walsh (MIN) vs. San Francisco
Just like Tucker, Walsh is a rookie who has shown everyone why the Vikings cut ties with veteran Ryan Longwell before the season started. Walsh has connected on all six of his field goal tries, including two from more than 50 yards out. This week, I don't expect the Vikings to visit the red zone many times against San Francisco, so Walsh's leg may be the best scoring option they have.

SIT
Rob Bironas (TEN) vs. Detroit
Bironas is as reliable as they come, but the Titans' offense just hasn't given him many chances to kick. So until the Titans show some form of life on offense, it's probably best to look elsewhere.

Matt Prater (DEN) vs. Houston
Prater's big leg is a perfect fit for the thin air in Denver, but Houston has allowed a grand total of one field goal attempt and just two PATs so far. Even though the Broncos are at home, I expect for them to have their share of trouble moving the ball against the Texans, limiting Prater's opportunities in the process.

— By Mark Ross, published on Sept. 21, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football: Week 3 Start or Sit</p>
Post date: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 06:36
Path: /nfl/new-york-giants-injury-update-ahmad-bradshaw-and-hakeem-nicks-both-out
Body:

The New York Giants’ offense will look quite different on the field tonight against the Carolina Panthers as starting wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and running back Ahmad Bradshaw will both be out due to injury.

Nicks will be sidelined due to a foot injury, while Bradshaw will not play because of a neck injury he sustained in last week’s game against Tampa Bay. In addition, wide receiver Domenik Hixon, who is the Giants’ regular No. 3 wide receiver, is also out due to a concussion.

With all these injuries, several Giants will have the opportunity to step up and be a difference-maker tonight, although the greatest opportunity in terms of fantasy relevance belongs to that of Andre Brown.

Brown, the fourth-year running back out of North Carolina State, has already shown what he’s capable of as he had 71 yards rushing on 13 carries (5.5 ypc) against the Buccaneers last week after Bradshaw left the game. He also caught two passes for 19 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown, a two-yard plunge into the end zone with just 31 seconds remaining.

Brown will get the start tonight in Carolina and should receive the lion’s share of carries. The Panthers enter tonight’s game ranked 28th in the NFL in rushing defense, as they have given up an average of 146.5 yards per game, not to mention 4.7 yards per carry, to their first two opponents — Washington and New Orleans.

This combination of opportunity and opponent makes Brown an appealing RB2 fantasy option this week, as evidenced by our own Week 3 running back rankings. The only reason he’s not ranked higher is due to the fact he’s still a relatively unknown commodity. That may very well change after tonight, but regardless, he’s certainly worth taking a flyer on, depending on your other options.

Brown’s present position is where many pundits and prognosticators thought rookie David Wilson would be in before the season started. However, since Wilson fumbled early in his first NFL game he has seen very few touches on offense. That could change tonight as Bradshaw’s absence moves Wilson into the No. 2 spot in the backfield.

There’s a reason the Giants took Wilson in the first round of April’s draft, and they are well aware of the speed and play-making ability he brings to the field, as he’s averaging more than 26 yards on kickoff returns. Now it’s up to Wilson to show that he can do things to help the offense, starting with holding onto the football.

For now, Wilson is fantasy irrelevant, but that could change depending on how many chances he gets tonight and what he does with those opportunities. He certainly is worth keeping an eye on, especially in deeper and keeper leagues.

With both Nicks and Hixon out, Ramses Barden and Rueben Randle both move up the depth chart. Barden will get the start opposite of Victor Cruz, and unless the Giants dramatically change their game plan, Randle, the Giants’ second-round pick from LSU, should see plenty of snaps in their three-wide sets as well. Even with the playing time and opportunities both could see, I am nowhere near as optimistic regarding their fantasy value compared to the running backs.

First, Barden has one catch on two targets through the first two games. Now that one catch did go for 24 yards, but contrast that to Nicks, who has 21 targets in two games. The point is this, unlike running back, where you just have to receive the hand off to get the ball; chemistry plays a much bigger role when it comes to a quarterback and his wide receivers. I’m just not so sure that Eli Manning will “trust” Barden, or Randle for that matter, as much as he does Nicks.

If anything, Cruz (who leads the team with 28 targets) and tight end Martellus Bennett (third with 16) should see even more passese thrown their way than they usually do. Cruz remains a top wide receiver option this week, while Bennett also enters must-start territory at his position, for this week anyways.

As far as Barden and Randle go, Barden is the better fantasy option between the two, but even then it’s really only as a flex option in deeper leagues. To that end, our wide receiver rankings have Barden at No. 54 with Randle just making the cut at No. 64.

Another way to look at it is this. Before the news came down late Wednesday about Nicks being declared out for tonight’s game, Manning was ranked No. 3 among quarterbacks for Week 3. In the aftermath of this development, Manning was moved down to No. 7, just behind Tony Romo and one spot ahead of Robert Griffin III.

The adjusted ranking shows we still have plenty of faith in Manning, who’s coming off of a 500-yard, three-touchdown (also 3 INTs) effort against Tampa Bay, but our expectations have been somewhat lowered now that we know Nicks won’t be out there to haul in his passes. After all, it’s not easy to replace someone, either on the field on on your fantasy roster, who’s 6-1, 208 and currently averaging nearly 17 yards per reception.

— By Mark Ross, published on Sept. 20, 2012

Related:

2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 3

Teaser:
<p> New York Giants Injury Update: Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks Both Out</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 10:44
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any website can give you.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

 

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:29
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

The top-scoring tight end in fantasy football last week was none other than San Diego's Dante Rosario, who caught three touchdown passes against Tennessee. However, you won't see him listed below because Antonio Gates, whose absence because of a rib injury made Rosario's big day possible, is already back at practice and is expected to go on Sunday against Atlanta. One tight end who will not be playing this Sunday or for several weeks to come is New England's Aaron Hernandez. He suffered an ankle injury that is expected to sideline him for multiple weeks. His absence only helps increase teammate Rob Gronkowski's value, although Gronk still sits behind Jimmy Graham on this week's rankings. Brandon Pettigrew, already a solid weekly starting option, could be in for a career day against Tennessee considering the Titans were the team that surrendered the three touchdown catches to Rosario last week. Martellus Bennett continued his strong start to the season as he posted six more catches for 73 yards and his third touchdown on the season in the Giants' win over Carolina on Thursday night. If Bennett's able to maintain this production over the course of the season, the tight end position becomes even deeper than it was believed to before the start of it.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Jimmy Graham NO vs. KC
2 Rob Gronkowski NE at BAL
3 Brandon Pettigrew DET at TEN
4 Vernon Davis SF at MIN
5 Jermichael Finley GB at SEA (Mon.)
6 Tony Gonzalez ATL at SD
7 Brent Celek PHI at ARI
8 Martellus Bennett NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
9 Antonio Gates SD vs. ATL
10 Jason Witten DAL vs. TB
11 Dennis Pitta BAL vs. NE
12 Owen Daniels HOU at DEN
13 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. SF
14 Jared Cook TEN vs. DET
15 Coby Fleener IND vs. JAC
16 Jacob Tamme DEN vs. HOU
17 Jermaine Gresham CIN at WAS
18 Greg Olsen CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
19 Scott Chandler BUF at CLE
20 Fred Davis WAS vs. CIN
21 Brandon Myers OAK vs. PIT
22 Dustin Keller NYJ at MIA
23 Marcedes Lewis JAC at IND
24 Heath Miller PIT at OAK
25 Dallas Clark TB at DAL
26 Todd Heap ARI vs. PHI

Injury-Related News:
Fred Davis, WAS: Sustained head injury in last week's game, but passed concussion tests and was back at practice on Wednesday. He should start on Sunday against Cincinnati.
Antonio Gates, SD: Missed last week's game with rib injury, but was back at practice on Wednesday and should play Sunday against Atlanta.
Todd Heap, ARI: Is considered day-to-day after suffering a sprained PCL in his left knee during last Sunday's game. His status for this week is uncertain.
Aaron Hernandez, NE: He is expected to miss the next several weeks due to an ankle injury sustained last week.
Dustin Keller, NYJ: Missed last week's game because of a hamstring injury. He was back at practice on Thursday, so the team is hopeful he will be able to play in Miami on Sunday.
Heath Miller, PIT: He sustained a rib cartilage injury last week and missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. There's a strong possibility he will not be able to play in Oakland on Sunday.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

— By Mark Ross, updated on Sept. 21, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:26
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Drew Brees and his Saints have struggled mightily out of the gates in the standings. This coming Sunday presents the team with a golden opportunity to not only get into the win column, but also put up some big offensive numbers in the process, as they will host Kansas City. However, don't be surprised if the Chiefs' Matt Cassel also joins in on the fun, as the Saints' defense is currently last in the league in both yards and points allowed. Jay Cutler will look to bounce back from his four-interception showing against Green Bay as Chicago hosts St. Louis. Likewise, Aaron Rodgers is hoping for better things this week than what he did (219 yards passing, TD, INT) in the win over the Bears, but he will have to do in Seattle against a Seahawks' defense that held Tony Romo (251 yards, TD, INT) and the Cowboys' offense in check last Sunday. Another quarterback match up to watch is in Foxboro as Tom Brady and the Patriots face off against Joe Flacco and the Ravens in a rematch of last season's AFC Championship game. Both teams are coming off of disappointing losses and to this point, the quarterbacks have put up similar numbers.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Drew Brees NO vs. KC
2 Matthew Stafford DET at TEN
3 Cam Newton CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
4 Aaron Rodgers GB at SEA (Mon.)
5 Tom Brady NE at BAL
6 Tony Romo DAL vs. TB
7 Eli Manning NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
8 Robert Griffin III WAS vs. CIN
9 Michael Vick PHI at ARI
10 Matt Ryan ATL at SD
11 Philip Rivers SD vs. ATL
12 Jay Cutler CHI vs. STL
13 Peyton Manning DEN vs. HOU
14 Ben Roethlisberger PIT at OAK
15 Andy Dalton CIN at WAS
16 Matt Cassel KC at NO
17 Joe Flacco BAL vs. NE
18 Alex Smith SF at MIN
19 Josh Freeman TB at DAL
20 Matt Schaub HOU at DEN
21 Andrew Luck IND vs. JAC
22 Sam Bradford STL at CHI
23 Carson Palmer OAK vs. PIT
24 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at CLE
25 Jake Locker TEN vs. DET
26 Mark Sanchez NYJ at MIA

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:24
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Opportunity knocked for Andre Brown, who got the start for the Giants Thursday night against Carolina in place of an injured Ahmad Bradshaw (neck), and the fourth-year back from North Carolina State certainly answered. Brown piled up 113 yards on the ground and two touchdowns against the Panthers, leading the Giants to a convincing 36-7 victory in the process. Like Brown, Michael Bush is in a similar position as will see an increased workload for the Bears against St. Louis with Matt Forte ruled out because of an ankle injury. Although it's possible, it's highly unlikely that either Brown or Bush will have the impact that C.J. Spiller has had since assuming the starting role in Buffalo following Fred Jackson's injury. Spiller is currently leading the league in rushing (292 yards) and should have another productive game this Sunday against Cleveland. Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson also appear to be fully reinstated as the starter for their respective teams. Jones-Drew is probably the safer play this week, however, as Peterson will test his surgically repaired knee with a heavier load against a San Francisco defense that's given up a total of 127 yards rushing so far. Willis McGahee, who had 113 yards on the ground against Atlanta on Monday night, may also find the going a little tougher this week against an equally stingy (144 yards rushing in two games) Houston defense. Another situation that bears watching is who gets the most carries in Kansas City. Last week both Peyton Hillis and Shaun Draughn got more attempts than Jamaal Charles, who limped off of the field after suffering what turned out to be a knee bruise during the Chiefs' loss to Buffalo. The good news for Charles owners is it doesn't appear to be anything serious, especially considering the Chiefs have a date in New Orleans (last in NFL in rush defense) this Sunday.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Arian Foster HOU at DEN
2 Ray Rice BAL vs. NE
3 LeSean McCoy PHI at ARI
4 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC at IND
5 C.J. Spiller BUF at CLE
6 DeMarco Murray DAL vs. TB
7 Darren McFadden OAK vs. PIT
8 Frank Gore SF at MIN
9 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. GB (Mon.)
10 Michael Bush CHI vs. STL
11 Trent Richardson CLE vs. BUF
12 Stevan Ridley NE at BAL
13 Reggie Bush MIA vs. NYJ
14 Doug Martin TB at DAL
15 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN at WAS
16 Adrian Peterson MIN vs. SF
17 Ryan Mathews SD vs. ATL
18 Darren Sproles NO vs. KC
19 Chris Johnson TEN vs. DET
20 Jamaal Charles KC at NO
21 Steven Jackson STL at CHI
22 Andre Brown NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
23 Alfred Morris WAS vs. CIN
24 Willis McGahee DEN vs. HOU
25 Michael Turner ATL at SD
26 Shonn Greene NYJ at MIA
27 Peyton Hillis KC at NO
28 Donald Brown IND vs. JAC
29 Mark Ingram NO vs. KC
30 Cedric Benson GB at SEA (Mon.)
31 Beanie Wells ARI vs. PHI
32 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
33 Ben Tate HOU at DEN
34 Pierre Thomas NO vs. KC
35 Kevin Smith DET at TEN
36 Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
37 Jonathan Dwyer PIT at OAK
38 Isaac Redman PIT at OAK
39 Mikel Leshoure DET at TEN
40 Ryan Williams ARI vs. PHI
41 David Wilson NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
42 Dexter McCluster KC at NO
43 Daryl Richardson STL at CHI
44 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL at SD
45 Lamar Miller MIA vs. NYJ
46 Toby Gerhart MIN vs. SF
47 Kendall Hunter SF at MIN
48 Jackie Battle SD vs. ATL

Injury News:
Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG: Did not play Thursday night against Carolina because of a neck injury.
Jamaal Charles, KC: Expected to play on Sunday in New Orleans after leaving last week's game due to a knee bruise on his surgically repaired left knee (ACL tear last season).
Jonathan Dwyer, PIT: Dealing with a toe injury, missed practice on Wednesday, but practiced fully on Thursday in preparation for Sunday's game in Oakland.
Matt Forte, CHI: Will not play Sunday against St. Louis because of an ankle injury.
Steven Jackson, STL: Missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday because of a groin injury, but he is still hopeful of being able to play on Sunday against Chicago.
Ryan Mathews, SD: Participated in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, including contact drills. Appears to be on track to season debut Sunday against Atlanta after missing just about all of the preseason and the first two games because of a broken collarbone.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR: Did not play Thursday night game against the Giants because of an ankle/toe injury.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

— Updated on Sept. 21, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:24
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

It turns out the Giants didn't miss Hakeem Nicks (DNP, foot) after all as Ramses Barden filled in admirably (9 rec., 138 yds.) for his injured teammate in the win over Carolina on Thursday night. Barden, running back Andre Brown (113 yards rushing, 2 TDs)  and tight end Martellus Bennett (6 rec., 73 yds., TD) did most of the damage for the G-Men, turning Victor Cruz (6 rec., 42 yds.) into a role player this week.  In other injury news, Greg Jennings is still being limited by the groin injury that caused him to miss last week's game. The Packers don't play until Monday night, which give him more time to recover, but also puts his owners in somewhat of a bind because it's the last game on the docket. Philadelphia plays in Arizona on Sunday and the Eagles' already know they will be without Jeremy Maclin, who has been ruled out because of a hip injury. DeSean Jackson has been dealing with a hamstring issue of his own, so the Eagles' passing attack may end up grounded against the Cardinals. Washington's Pierre Garcon is considered Doubtful for the Redskins game against Cincinnati, meaning he may miss a second straight game because of a nagging foot injury. In Dallas, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant are hoping for results similar to those enjoyed by Nicks and Cruz as the Cowboys host Tampa Bay and its pass defense that gave up more than 500 yards last week. There also could be plenty of offense in the Super Dome as New Orleans and Kansas City face off with each team hoping for a much-needed victory. These two teams are tied for most points allowed at 37.5 per game, which could be good news for Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston, Lance Moore and possibly even Jon Baldwin owners this week. Colston has been limited by a foot injury, but to this point it has not kept him from playing.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Calvin Johnson DET at TEN
2 A.J. Green CIN at WAS
3 Julio Jones ATL at SD
4 Victor Cruz NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
5 Steve Smith CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
6 Brandon Marshall CHI vs. STL
7 Percy Harvin MIN vs. SF
8 Roddy White ATL at SD
9 Andre Johnson HOU at DEN
10 Miles Austin DAL vs. TB
11 Jordy Nelson GB at SEA (Mon.)
12 Mike Wallace PIT at OAK
13 Dez Bryant DAL vs. TB
14 Marques Colston NO vs. KC
15 Greg Jennings GB at SEA (Mon.)
16 Dwayne Bowe KC at NO
17 Stevie Johnson BUF at CLE
18 Reggie Wayne IND vs. JAC
19 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. PHI
20 Demaryius Thomas DEN vs. HOU
21 Brandon Lloyd NE at BAL
22 Vincent Jackson TB at DAL
23 Antonio Brown PIT at OAK
24 DeSean Jackson PHI at ARI
25 Torrey Smith BAL vs. NE
26 Pierre Garcon WAS vs. CIN
27 Wes Welker NE at BAL
28 Malcom Floyd SD vs. ATL
29 Danny Amendola STL at CHI
30 Lance Moore NO vs. KC
31 Michael Crabtree SF at MIN
32 Brandon LaFell CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
33 Eric Decker DEN vs. HOU
34 Santonio Holmes NYJ at MIA
35 Denarius Moore OAK vs. PIT
36 Kenny Britt TEN vs. DET
37 Nate Washington TEN vs. DET
38 Anquan Boldin BAL vs. NE
39 Robert Meachem SD vs. ATL
40 Sidney Rice SEA vs. GB (Mon.)
41 Greg Little CLE vs. BUF
42 Donnie Avery IND vs. JAC
43 Jon Baldwin KC at NO
44 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK vs. PIT
45 Brian Hartline MIA vs. NYJ
46 Nate Burleson DET at TEN
47 Laurent Robinson JAC at IND
48 Mike Williams TB at DAL
49 Randall Cobb GB at SEA (Mon.)
50 Kevin Ogletree DAL vs. TB
51 Randy Moss SF at MIN
52 Andre Roberts ARI vs. PHI
53 Davone Bess MIA vs. NYJ
54 Ramses Barden NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
55 Kendall Wright TEN vs. DET
56 Donald Jones BUF at CLE
57 Andrew Hawkins CIN at WAS
58 Brandon Gibson STL at CHI
59 Doug Baldwin SEA vs. GB (Mon.)
60 Mario Manningham SF at MIN
61 Justin Blackmon JAC at IND
62 Mohamed Massaquoi CLE vs. BUF
63 James Jones GB at SEA (Mon.)
64 Rueben Randle NYG at CAR (Thurs.)

Injury-Related News:
Marques Colston, NO: Continues to be limited in practice, and to a degree in games, by a nagging foot issue. It has not kept him out of any games, however, and nothing's been said that suggests his status for Sunday's game against Kansas City is in question.
Pierre Garcon, WAS: Listed as Doubtful for Sunday's game against Cincinnati because of a nagging foot injury that prevented him from playing last week.
DeSean Jackson, PHI: Dealing with a hamstring issue, which limited him in practice on Wednesday. He was a full participant in practice on Thursday, so barring any setbacks he should be able to go on Sunday in Arizona.
Greg Jennings, GB: Missed last week's game against Chicago with groin injury, which continues to hamper him at practice. Nothing definitive has been said regarding his status for the Monday night game in Seattle, but it's possible he could be held out for a second straight week if he doesn't show more progress soon.
Jeremy Maclin, PHI: Will not play on Sunday against Arizona because of a hip injury. He practiced on a limited basis this week, but the team made the decision to hold him out of the game on Friday.
Hakeem Nicks, NYG: Did not play Thursday night in Carolina because of a foot injury.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

— Updated on Sept. 21, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:17
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 David Akers SF at MIN
2 Justin Tucker BAL vs. NE
3 Mason Crosby GB at SEA (Mon.)
4 Garrett Hartley NO vs. KC
5 Stephen Gostkowski NE at BAL
6 Nate Kaeding SD vs. ATL
7 Matt Bryant ATL at SD
8 Sebastian Janikowski OAK vs. PIT
9 Shayne Graham HOU at DEN
10 Dan Bailey DAL vs. TB
11 Blair Walsh MIN vs. SF
12 Jason Hanson DET at TEN
13 Alex Henery PHI at ARI
14 Robbie Gould CHI vs. STL
15 Billy Cundiff WAS vs. CIN
16 Matt Prater DEN vs. HOU

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-3
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT
1 San Francisco 49ers at MIN
2 Houston Texans at DEN
3 Chicago Bears vs. STL
4 Philadelphia Eagles at ARI
5 Pittsburgh Steelers at OAK
6 Green Bay Packers at SEA (Mon.)
7 New York Jets at MIA
8 Baltimore Ravens vs. NE
9 Dallas Cowboys vs. TB
10 Seattle Seahawks vs. GB (Mon.)
11 Arizona Cardinals vs. PHI
12 Detroit Lions at TEN
13 Atlanta Falcons at SD
14 Miami Dolphins vs. NYJ
15 Buffalo Bills at CLE
16 New England Patriots at BAL

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

 

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers

Week 3 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 3</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:14
Path: /nfl/best-and-worst-0-2-teams-nfl
Body:

Before BountyGate sent their season into chaos, the New Orleans Saints rightfully dreamed of being the first team to play a Super Bowl inside their home stadium. They were loaded with talent, one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL, and came within a whisker of advancing to the NFC championship game last year.

Now, under the weight of scandal and with their head coach sitting home, disgraced, the Saints are in a hole that is virtually insurmountable. Two games into the season they have two losses, and by now they are well aware of the daunting stats: Since the NFL expanded the playoffs to 16 teams in 1990, only 22 of the 184 teams that started 0-2 ended up qualifying for the postseason.

Sure, the Giants became Super Bowl champions after an 0-2 start as recently as 2007, but history is still working against Drew Brees and co.

The good news? They are by far the most equipped of the NFL’s six 0-2 teams to rebound from their disastrous start.

Here’s a look at the teams on the brink of disaster. And no, that’s not too strong of a word considering in that same span only three NFL teams made the playoffs after starting 0-3:

New Orleans Saints—The reason for the Saints’ horrible start has been a defense that has been manhandled and startlingly off performances by quarterback Drew Brees. Here’s the reason to hope, though: Both Brees and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo know how to dig out of a hole. Brees is too good and has too many weapons for his problems to be a long trend. And Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator with that Giants team that went 0-2 (thanks mostly to his defense) and ended up as champs (thanks in large part to his defense). Add in arguably the greatest home-field advantage in the NFL and it would be crazy to count them out.

Chances for a rebound: Good, though with the Atlanta Falcons in the same division they should already be aiming for the wild card.

 

Cleveland Browns—Their entire hopes are resting on a 28-year-old rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden and a rookie running back with injury issues in Trent Richardson. After Week 1, this looked like a program headed for disaster. But in Week 2, both of them looked terrific against Cincinnati. Richardson ran for 109 yards and Weeden threw for 322. The problem, though, is they still lost and chances are both rookies will have their struggles down the road.

Chances for a rebound: In a division with the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals? Forget it. But next year might finally look bright.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars—In the first half against the Houston Texans on Sunday, QB Blaine Gabbert had thrown for minus-4 yards and ended up with a total of 53. If that’s not reason to set off alarm bells, I don’t know what is. They have a clearly rusty Maurice Jones-Drew and a passing attack that fears nobody. They’ve earned their 0-2 start and it’s probably only going to get worse from here.

Chances for a rebound: Bad, unless Gabbert is better than expected and they have more weapons than most people think they have.

 

Tennessee Titans—Running back Chris Johnson is already furious after the Titans’ anemic start – and his too. He has 21 yards on the season with just 19 carries, which is ridiculously bad. The good news, you’d think, is he can’t get any worse, right? Also, a lot of people think Jake Locker has shown some promise. Add in the fact that their early schedule was dangerous – vs. New England, at San Diego, and it’s possible they may have bottomed out.

Chances for a rebound: Good considering Johnson is still likely to push for 1,000 yards on the season. Also they share a division with the awful Jaguars and the rebuilding Indianapolis Colts.

 

Oakland Raiders—The fact that the Raiders have scored just 27 points in their first two games is shocking considering the amount of offensive weapons they have. They had such high hopes for Carson Palmer, who seemed to develop a great chemistry late last season with WR Darius Heyward-Bey. They haven’t been able to connect and RB Darren McFadden has just 54 yards in two games so far. He’s better than that and so are the Raiders. Their defense isn’t great, but they should be able to keep up in high-scoring games.

Chances for a rebound: These are the Raiders, so by now everyone is used to false hope. A turnaround is possible, but they better hurry before the Chargers and Broncos break away.

 

Kansas City Chiefs—It is absolutely startling that Romeo Crennel is coaching a team that can’t seem to play defense. The big problem with that is that Matt Cassel is an average quarterback with good weapons who isn’t equipped to keep coming back. Throw in an average rushing attack behind Jamaal Charles (and company) and it looks like the good feelings the Chiefs built up at the end of last season were nothing but a mirage.

Chances for a rebound: Well, they lost their first two games by 16 and 18 points and now they play at New Orleans, and then home vs. San Diego and Baltimore? They’ll be lucky if they’re not 0-5.

 

By RALPH VACCHIANO

Teaser:
<p> We look at which teams are likely to rebound</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 13:10
Path: /news/peyton-manning-denver-broncos-picked-falcons
Body:

Interception. Interception. Interception. Three-and-out. Fumble. Three-and-out. Touchdown.

If you feel manic reading it, try watching it.

Those were the first six drives for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos Monday night in Atlanta. It was a dysfunctional night for Manning in his first road start as a Bronco, which resulted in a 27-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons

The dysfunction came from how the Denver offense played for a majority of the game, how the Atlanta defense lined up a majority of the game and how the replacement officials administered a majority of the game. 

Frankly, the arm strength did not look like it was there early in the contest. 

The first interception Manning threw was tipped 26 yards down field but looked like it was dying on the way to the receiver. 

The second interception was a 21-yard pass that would’ve short-hopped to tight end Jacob Tamme had Thomas DeCoud not stepped in front of it and picked it off. 

The third interception Manning threw was a 25-yard pass intended for receiver Brandon Stokley that the Falcons’ fifth cornerback, Robert McClain, made a good play on, but a pass that also did not appear to have much zip on it.

Through three series, Manning was 4-of-8 for 34 yards with three picks. He followed with 3-for-3 for 15 yards over the next three drives before finally putting a scoring drive together with 4:39 remaining in the opening half. 

It was the Eric Decker Show — the only time in this game Decker produced — as he caught three of the next four balls thrown for 35 yards. They were all short passes that moved the chains into Atlanta territory. 

A couple more short passes, a holding, a sack and a great Demaryius Thomas toe drag into the end zone for a 17-yard catch later and the Broncos were on the board. 

And the manic half came to a close. Manning’s line: 19-13-of-19 for 120 yards, the TD and the three interceptions.

He had almost an identical second half — 11-of-18 for 121 yards — sans the score and the turnovers to finish 24-of-37 for 241 yards. His longest pass of the game was the 18-yarder to Decker on the second play of the first scoring drive.

It is hard to say what to take away from the game in regards to fantasy. 

The positives: Willis McGahee was the best player on the field Monday night for the Broncos. He had 11 carries for 77 yards in the first half and finished with 22 for 113 and a score on the ground to go with two catches for 11 yards.

Thomas is the go-to receiver for Manning right now. His ability to take a pass from just around the line of scrimmage and make something out of nothing is the best on the team. He finished with the score, 11 targets and eight catches for 78 yards. 

Those two are solid fantasy starters each week.

The negatives: It may be hard to depend on the rest of the lineup.

Decker had eight targets for four catches and 53 yards — most coming on the closing drive of the first half. The target he got to start that drive was the first he had seen in over 25 minutes of action.

Brandon Stokely is the problem for Decker right now. Manning’s familiar receiver was targeted six times. And the tight ends Tamme and Joel Dreessen all but canceled each other out with four and two targets and both grabbing two balls for 13 and 16 yards. 

Once Manning gets settled in with the no-huddle in Denver, he should be fine. He might look a little frantic again next week against Houston, but his schedule becomes very fantasy friendly, until at least the start of December, with games against the Raiders, Patriots, Chargers twice, Saints, Bengals, Panthers and Chiefs.

It was not a fun performance to watch from Manning and the Broncos’ offense as a whole, but just knowing that he is healthy and has come through two games having been sacked five times and bounced back is a plus. He has a capable backfield, one stud receiver, a couple of dependable possession guys and two move-the-chains tight ends. He has thrown for at least 240 yards and a score in both games against two pretty good defenses. And after next week the schedule lightens up.

You would like to know the arm strength will get there, but if Thomas continues to be the YAC king, that certainly helps as Manning’s arm does start to strengthen.

Feel good about Manning. Feel good about knowing you probably got him as a steal. And feel good that he still has plenty of fantasy production left in him this season. 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 07:08

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