Articles By Corby Yarbrough

Path: /news/matthew-stafford-will-play-week-8-heres-why-hes-not-good-start
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Matthew Stafford has battled a sprained right ankle injury that he suffered on the final offensive play of last week’s loss to Atlanta. His status for Sunday’s game at Denver has been iffy all week long, but it looks like he will be a go for the Week 8 contest. He was a full participant in Friday’s practice after being limited the previous two days.

And even if he is a go, you might want to look somewhere else despite the Detroit Lions playing a Broncos pass defense that has been very friendly to opposing fantasy quarterbacks.

The Lions have a bye after Sunday’s game and they certainly need it to get some of the kinks worked out. Three of the last four weeks for Stafford have been sub par fantasy performances.

After having scored 23-plus fantasy points in the first three weeks, Stafford began a run of three out of four games at 16.5 points or less, including last week’s 11.32 effort at home against Atlanta.

The lack of a running game for the Lions has certainly hurt their offensive performance. They are 27th in the NFL at 92.7 yards per game with just three rushing scores. It’s pretty easy for defenses to key in on Stafford when they don’t have to respect the ground aspect of Detroit’s game.

Stafford is sixth the league in pass attempts per game at 38.4, and after having been sacked six times in the first five weeks (five coming in Week 3 against Minnesota), Stafford has been dropped eight times in the last two weeks.

Luckily for fantasy owners, Stafford has not turned the ball over the last two weeks, but you just wonder when it all will catch up with the Lions. The last two weeks, he has completed 56 and 46.9 percent of his passes, and four times altogether this season he has completed 59 percent or less.

He may get a reprieve this week vs. Denver‘s suspect pass D, but the Broncos are a different team when defensive back Champ Bailey is in the lineup.

The Broncos are 14th in the NFL with 16 sacks, but have just three interceptions. They are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68 percent of their passes (ranking them 31st in the league), throw for 247.5 yards per game and are tied for 20th in the league with 11 touchdown passes allowed.

Then there’s Bailey.

He missed Weeks 2-4 with a hamstring injury. In that time, the Broncos allowed Cincinnati to have two double-digit fantasy receivers, Tennessee to have one and Green Bay to have three. San Diego No. 2 receiver Malcom Floyd caught three balls for 100 yards and a score in Week 5 while Vincent Jackson was held to 3-for-34.

With Bailey in the lineup, the Broncos allowed Jason Campbell to throw for 105 yards and a score in Week 1, Philip Rivers to throw for 250 yards and a score in Week 5 and Matt Moore to throw for 197 yards and a score in Week 7.

So is Stafford going to play like Campbell and Moore or like Rivers?

Well, the ankle injury, the lack of a running game, only one consistent threat at receiver in Calvin Johnson, a Broncos team which is also solid against tight ends (only two scores and 19 catches all season) and it being a road game, I would look away from Stafford and seek a better option if available.

Bye weeks may not make that possible, but Denver’s a different Denver with Bailey and Stafford’s a different Stafford then he was a few weeks ago. 

By Corby Yarbrough, @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> The Broncos' Champ Bailey will make it hard for Stafford to pile up points</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 30, 2011 - 09:21
Path: /fantasy/jackie-battle-montario-hardesty-and-4-other-running-backs-avoid-week-8
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Due to injuries and due to byes this week there are a number of fantasy owners scrambling to find a one-week waiver wire replacement in their lineups for Week 8. Nowhere does this seem as prevalent as at the running back position.

And just because they are out there, just because they are perhaps going to get the bulk of the work, there are plenty of running backs whose match ups this week just aren’t worth the headache.

Here’s a look at the names I left off of the Week 8 Waiver Wire story and why you should avoid them, too.

Montario Hardesty, Cleveland (at San Francisco)
There is still question as to whether Peyton Hillis and his bad hamstring will get the bulk of the work or whether it will be Hardesty. It took Hardesty 33 carries to get to 95 yards a week ago against Seattle. Now the Browns travel to face the top defense against fantasy running backs. The 49ers have not allowed more than 64 yards rushing to a single back this season (Cedric Benson 17-64), and have allowed no touchdowns to a running back. Cleveland has the 29th-ranked rushing offense in the NFL (91.2 YPG) with just two scores.
Advantage: San Francisco

Bernard Scott, Cincinnati (at Seattle)
Scott is not a workload back. He has averaged 4.5 touches per game and has just 98 yards of offense this season. Cincinnati is 21st in rushing offense (105.3 YPG) with four rushing scores. Now the Bengals travel to play a Seattle team that’s No. 11 in the NFL against the run and seventh best against fantasy running backs having allowed just four scores and no back to reach 100 yards.
Advantage: Seattle

Jackie Battle, Kansas City (vs. San Diego)
Despite having allowed two 100-yard rushers in the last two weeks, the Chargers are still No. 8 in the NFL against fantasy running backs. They are holding that position because they have allowed just two rushing touchdowns this season. This will be the second meeting against the Chiefs. In Week 3, Kansas City was limited to 80 yards and no scores on 26 carries from four backs. He is probably the safest of the replacement players you would need this week, but his small bit of success has come against a Colts and Raiders rush defense that has been generous to fantasy backs all season long.
Advantage: San Diego

Maurice Morris, Detroit (at Denver)
The Lions’ ground game has been non existent for pretty much all but one game. They are ranked 27th in the NFL at 92.7 yards per game and three rushing touchdowns. Morris still has Keiland Williams to contend with for carries, and neither will be focused on enough to be fantasy worthy this week. And now the Lions travel to play a Denver that has actually been pretty solid against fantasy running backs. The Broncos are X against fantasy running backs. They have surrendered 100-plus yards twice (Week 1 vs. Darren McFadden and Week 5 vs. Ryan Mathews) but have not allowed a rushing TD. Morris is no McFadden or Mathews.
Advantage: Denver

Donald Brown, Indianapolis (at Tennessee)
The Colts are ranked 25th in the NFL at 94.1 yards rushing per game with four rushing touchdowns and are 30th in points scored by fantasy backs per game. With Joseph Addai hobbled by a hamstring injury, Indianapolis has leaned on rookie Delone Carter more than Brown. His TD two weeks ago against Cincinnati is the only thing that made him a blip on the fantasy radar again. Yes, the Titans have been gashed the last two weeks by running backs. But that was the Texans and Steelers. The Colts do not possess the run game of either of those two teams. Advantage: Tennessee

LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona (at Baltimore)
Beanie Wells has been taking limited reps this week, but it’s still uncertain whether he and his knee will be healthy enough to play at the Ravens this week. Alfonso Smith will get the starting nod against the NFL‘s No. 3 rush defense (85.8 YPG). Baltimore is the No. 2 ranked fantasy defense against fantasy running backs; they have allowed just one touchdown rushing and only Maurice Jones-Drew last week, on 30 carries, has eclipsed 100 yards. The Cardinals are ranked 24th in the league in rushing (98.0 YPG) with seven scores. But Stephens-Howling gets his production through the air, and it’s too sporadic to be counted on. The 5-7 back has carried five times for 16 yards and has four catches for 87 yards and a score this season. Advantage: Baltimore
 
By Corby Yarbrough, @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Just because a running back gets playing time doesn't mean you should start him.</p>
Post date: Friday, October 28, 2011 - 12:09
Path: /nfl/cj-spiller-finally-fantasy-relevant
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Fred Jackson is the No. 1 running back in fantasy football right now. We all expected that, right?

No, when we all drafted in August we thought it may be a nightmare of sorts with last year’s first-round pick, C.J. Spiller, at least getting enough reps to make the Bills’ backfield situation an annoying one like Green Bay’s currently is.

It certainly has not turned out that way. Jackson has 601 rushing yards and six scores and 279 yards receiving on 24 catches. Spiller has been virtually invisible, scoring no more than 8.6 fantasy points in a single game this season (Week 1’s 41-7 blowout of Kansas City).

Fantasy players have pleaded that Buffalo can’t possibly let a first-round, versatile talent like Spiller sit on the bench, and it looks like the Bills and coach Chan Gailey found a way to appease us.

Spiller has been moved to receiver with Donald Jones (high ankle sprain) expected to be out until the middle of next month.

That means Spiller, a RB, can now be used in that slot when he is playing as a WR. Spiller could be a perfect candidate to help you fill up a RB spot that is either on a bye, is dealing with an injury or is underperforming.

While Jackson is the top back in fantasy currently, the Bills are still a passing team at 34 pass attempts vs. 22 rush attempts per game. Spiller almost eclipsed his season totals in targets (6) he had the first five weeks with five in his first game at receiver in Week 6.

He turned it into five catches for 39 yards. In a full PPR he just gave you 8.9 in his debut at the position.
Spiller is a playmaker, and with his move to WR while still qualifying as a RB, it may be just the player you need to help you through the bye weeks.

Plus, if he is still at receiver come playoff time, the Bills play Miami (16th) and Denver (28th), currently two of the worst teams against fantasy receivers, in Weeks 15 and 16.

By Corby Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter
 

Teaser:
<p> The Buffalo Bills all-purpose back may have fantasy worth as a wide receiver now</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 03:21
Path: /fantasy/why-bernard-scott-isnt-worth-waiver-wire-add
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Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson has finally been handed down his suspension and it has gone from three games down to just this week’s game at Seattle.

Weeks ago, the suspension was supposed to be three games...and it was supposed to commence weeks ago as well. That left fantasy owners either scrambling to potentially replace Benson in their lineups with Bernard Scott or other fantasy owners simply picking up Scott to bogart the back up for themselves.

My advice to both types of owners: just leave it be.

Why do we think when a starting running back goes out that his back up will just slide right in and have fantasy value himself? He's a back up for a reason.

And particularly in the Bengals' case, neither the starter nor back ups have done anything of significance this season. Benson has 62.7 fantasy points through six games — 10.45 points per game. Scott has barely sniffed any action — he has 18.3 fantasy points total over six games — this season and is not seen as an every-down back by his team to begin with.

So let other fantasy owners add and play Bernard Scott to their lineups this week against a Seattle team No. 11 in the NFL against the run and seventh best against fantasy running backs having allowed just four scores and no back to reach 100 yards. Rashard Mendenhall (13.8), Isaac Reedman (11.5) and Michael Turner (20.8) all reached double digits thanks to touchdowns, not yards as all three were held to 70 yards or less. It took Montario Hardesty 33 carries for Montario Hardesty to reach 95 yards on Sunday. He added two catches for 27 yards.

Benson is 13th in the league in rushing yards per game with (76.3) despite being No. 5 in attempts at 19.5. He has just two touchdowns and five catches for 24 yards leaves him as the 22nd-best fantasy running back in the Athlon format through six weeks.

When we first thought the suspension was going to happen — after Week 3 — Scott had 23 yards, no catches and with the addition of Brandon Tate, was no longer part of the return game. In the three games following, Scott’s rushed 22 times for 62 yards (3.1 YPC) with one score, and added five catches for 13 yards after having no catches the first three weeks.

For a Bengals team that is 22nd in the league in total offense at 326.5 yards per game, and 21st in rushing offense (105.3 YPG), I find it hard to believe Scott is the one that will get that turned around in a week. He averaged 6.1 and 4.5 touches per game his first two seasons. This season, under new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Scott is averaging 4.5 touches.

Add all this in with the fact that Brian Leonard is still there, probably in a time share to make up for the loss of Benson, and the emergence of receivers A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson and tight end Jermaine Gresham, where will Scott fit in for just one week?

Bottom line: Don't waste your time with Scott if the Bengals aren't making time for him themselves.

Click here for our Week 8 Waiver Wire.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter
 

Teaser:
<p> Cedric Benson's suspension is finally here, so you should pick up Bernard Scott, right? Wrong.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 14:11
Path: /columns/waiver-wire/fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-8
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It is Week 8, the fourth week of bye weeks, and some big names go on vacation this weekend, so run to the waiver wire for some much needed help. You need someone to step in and hold down the fort for a week, or maybe more in some cases.

WEEK 8 BYES: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, New York Jets, Oakland, Tampa Bay

QUARTERBACKS
At quarterback the biggest name in the game is idle as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers take the week off. Also out are Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer and Josh Freeman. Outside of Rodgers, it is unlikely any of the other quarterbacks on a bye this week are the main cog of your fantasy roster.

John Beck, Washington
Beck scored 19.16 fantasy points after throwing for 279 yards an interception and a score and running for another touchdown. The loss of WR Santana Moss (hand) for perhaps the next month doesn’t help, but Beck was able to manage without Moss for much of Sunday’s game against Carolina. The Redskins are at Buffalo (in Toronto) this week — ranked 30th against fantasy quarterbacks at 24.9 points per game — then they get San Francisco and Miami, which are also bottom 12 fantasy defenses against quarterbacks. He is still available in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Tim Tebow, Denver
Tebow is the quarterback you plug into your lineup and then make sure you don’t watch him play. Just check the box score the following day and know that he got it done somehow, someway. His performance against Miami on Sunday was the epitome of fantasy vs. reality. He is not a good NFL quarterback, but he finds a way to get it done. For how long will this go on? We don’t know; I doubt not much past this season, but I am not concerned about next season. He scored nearly 23 fantasy points against Miami. Detroit comes to the Mile High City this weekend. It’s hard to gauge what you will get out of Tebow each week as a passer or runner, but it’s worth noting the Lions have allowed at least 13 fantasy points to the last three running backs and an average of 19.4 points against the last five quarterbacks they have faced. Tebow is still available in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Carson Palmer, Oakland
OK, the debut was terrible. But he was on a couch watching the NFL seven days prior and the next Sunday Palmer was the QB for the Raiders. He gets a bye week to try and get acclimated to the playbook and with the numerous weapons he will have at his disposal. Plus, when the Raiders return in Week 9 they get Denver, the 31st ranked team against fantasy quarterbacks, in the Black Hole. Palmer is still available in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Christian Ponder, Minnesota
The rookie made his first start, and the big TD to Michael Jenkins to start the game certainly helped pad his stats. But Ponder finished with 17.86 points against a Packers team that is third worst in the league against fantasy quarterbacks,. Ponder went 13-for-32 for 291 yards, two scores and two picks and added 31 yards rushing on four carries. Ponder is still available in 91 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Alex Smith, San Francisco
The 49ers travel to Washington this week to take on a Redskins team that has allowed at least 250 yards passing on an average of 18.75 completions against four of the six quarterbacks they have faced. Cam Newton threw for 256 yards on 18-of-23 on Sunday. Smith will have Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter at his disposal in addition to Michael Crabtree, the return of Braylon Edwards and stud TE Vernon Davis. If you are in a bind this week, Smith should be a good play.

WEEK 8 BYES: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, New York Jets, Oakland, Tampa Bay

RUNNING BACKS
The Nos. 1, 7 and 8 backs in fantasy are idle this week in Chicago’s Matt Forte, Oakland’s Darren McFadden and Atlanta’s Michael Turner.

DeMarco Murray, Dallas
Of course he was easily the No. 1 waiver pick up of the week going into last week’s waivers and he did not disappoint. He posted 31.3 fantasy points on 253 yards rushing and a 91-yard TD. With Felix Jones expected to miss this week at Philadelphia (ankle) as well, the rookie should have another solid week. The Eagles are 29th in the league against fantasy running backs. He is still available in 42 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Delone Carter, Indianapolis
He was the lone bright spot with his 89 yards on 10 carries in a blowout loss to New Orleans. He added a TD and a 42-yard second-quarter run. Now the Colts get a Titans team that cannot stop the run. Arian Foster scored 43.9 fantasy points against them on Sunday; Ben Tate even had 10.4 points. Tennessee, ranked 28th in the league against fantasy backs, has surrendered 382 yards to the position in its last two games. Carter is available in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver
Willis McGahee broke his hand in the win over Miami. Whether he will miss time due to the injury is unknown, but Moreno could be a good replacement in his sted. With Tim Tebow’s affinity to roll out of the pocket and freelance, Moreno could benefit as a pass catcher out of the backfield. The Broncos play host to the Lions this week, and they give up an average of 6.1 receptions for 31.9 yards per game this season to running backs. Moreno is available in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Ryan Torain and Roy Helu, Washington
The Redskins and Mike Shanahan have certainly antagonized fantasy footballers in how they handle the team’s running back situation. Well the situation may have cleared up a bit with the news that Tim Hightower was lost for the year with an ACL. Torain has been a starter this season and the rookie Helu has been used sparingly. Torain should be a good start this week against a Buffalo team that is 27th against fantasy running backs. Keep an eye on how the Skins use Helu against the Bills. Torain is still available in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues, while Helu is available in 85 percent.

Alfonso Smith, Arizona
A bone bruise for Beanie Wells is expected to sideline him for a couple of weeks. Chester Taylor was a healthy inactive against the Steelers Sunday. LaRod Stephens-Howling can’t handle a starting workload. The leaves Smith if you are desperate. He is an inside runner and basically last-man standing of those expected to get consistent touches. Here’s the problem with this week: The Cardinals travel to Baltimore, a run defense they probably won’t crack. But the following week Arizona plays host to the terrible run defense that is the St. Louis Rams. He is available in 99 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Pierre Thomas, New Orleans
The Saints’ backfield is another frustrating one. Mark Ingram left Sunday night’s game with a heel injury after having scored 10.2 fantasy points. Thomas had 57 yards on 10 carries and five catches for 68 yards and 15 fantasy points in the blowout of the Colts. Darren Sproles was also a monster for the Saints, racking up 27.78 fantasy points in a half-PPR format. Now the Saints travel to play a St. Louis team that just allowed a rookie RB on an average running Cowboys team rack up 253 yards. Monitor Ingram’s status (X-rays came back negative on Monday), but even if he plays I would go get all Saints runners this week and reap the rewards against the lowly Rams. Thomas is available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Leon Washington, Seattle
Marshawn Lynch was a scratch against Cleveland after his back spasms would not subside in pregame warm ups. Washington went on to score 9.38 fantasy points in an ugly 6-3 loss. The Seahawks take on another AFC North opponent when Cincinnati comes to town. Washington had 39 yards on seven carries and 10 yards on four receptions. If you are in leagues that award return yards, Washington is a good play. He had an 81-yard punt return for a score called back in the Cleveland loss. Monitor Lynch’s status this week, and if he goes then you need not go anywhere near Washington. He’s worth a look, but don’t waste any waiver priority on him.

WEEK 8 BYES: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, New York Jets, Oakland, Tampa Bay
Say good bye to Roddy White, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and the Chicago, Oakland and Tampa Bay flavors of the week as they are all idle for Week 8.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Michael Crabtree and Braylon Edwards, San Francisco
The 49ers are playing well, Alex Smith is playing well and so too is Crabtree. He had 15 targets two weeks ago, catching nine for 77 yards. Maybe he's finally going to emerge as a dependable player. He's still available in 62 percent of Yahoo leagues. Edwards (knee) should be healthy again after the bye. Plus, Josh Morgan is out for the year. It's all about opportunity. Edwards is available in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati
He was on a bye last week, and many of us thought he would be on an extended bye after the marijuana-at-the-house incident. Apparently the Bengals are impervious from suspension this season, and Simpson is garnering attention from QB Andy Dalton. He led the team in targets, catches and yards two weeks ago against Indianapolis, scoring 13.1 fantasy points. He’s available in 82 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
If Hines Ward (ankle) is sidelined then Brown becomes the receiver opposite Mike Wallace. Brown has been a solid playmaker for the Steelers, but the crew of Brown, Ward and Emmanuel Sanders has made it frustrating for fantasy owners. Even if Ward plays this week, Brown might be a good add and play as Pittsburgh travels to a New England team that has certainly been generous to fantasy wide receivers this season worst in the league as a matter of fact. Brown had nine targets on Sunday, catching seven for 102 yards. He is available in 70 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Demaryius Thomas, Denver
Can any receiver be counted on with Tim Tebow freelancing back there? I’m not sure. Thomas, in his season debut, was targeted a team-high 10 times, catching just three of them for 27 yards but one was for a score. So there’s the positive that Tebow looked Thomas’ way the most. That and the fact that the Denver defense is terrible is perhaps a formula for Thomas being successful. Don’t waste this week’s waiver priority on him, but if you have the space then stash and hope, Thomas is available in 91 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Davone Bess, Miami
Man, do the Dolphins stink. But one old PPR favorite re-emerged Sunday. Bess had 12 targets from Matt Moore and caught seven of them for 52 yards. If you are in a full PPR and need a WR this week, look Bess’ way as the Dolphins play a Kansas City team that is 13th worst against fantasy receivers. He is available in 72 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Steve Breaston, Kansas City
If San Diego jumps all over the Chiefs on Monday night, Breaston will have some value. He had scored in double digits before Sunday’s blowout of Oakland (still scored 8.9 fantasy points on nine targets, seven catches for 64 yards). Certainly worth an add if you think the Chargers will make it a passing affair. He is available in 71 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Early Doucet, Arizona
He has scored in double digits the last two weeks and now the Cardinals will travel to Baltimore without their starting RB. Do you see Arizona staying in this game for long? I don’t. The Ravens are middle of the road against defending fantasy receivers and Doucet has the luxury of playing opposite Larry Fitzgerald. He is averaging seven targets, 4.3 catches and 56.5 yards per game with two scores. Doucet is available in 78 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Jabar Gaffney and Anthony Armstrong, Washington
These are strictly matchup and opportunity based. Gaffney will have to step his game up to replace the injured Santana Moss and Armstrong has returned from a hamstring injury and will have to serve as the No. 2. The schedule against the pass is very favorable for the Redskins over the next few weeks. I would not waste a waiver priority against either of these receivers. I would monitor the news on both of these players as the week goes along, see who’s getting the hype and lean his way come Sunday.

Plaxico Burress, New York Jets
That’s the big target we expected Burress to be when he came to the Jets. Mark Sanchez threw for just 173 yards on 18-of-33 passing, but Burress was there to pull down three touchdowns of those 173 yards. Perhaps the bye week will help iron out some inconsistencies in the passing game, and Burress could continue his hot streak. When the Jets come back they get the Bills (currently ranked 23rd against fantasy receivers), Patriots (32nd), Broncos (28th), Buffalo again, Redskins (12th), Chiefs (20th) and Giants (27th). Burress is available in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Dezmon Briscoe, Tampa Bay
Briscoe had 10 targets, catching six for 73 and a score against the Bears in London. The Bucs spread it around too much to depend on a single receiver, but Briscoe was an emerging talent in the preseason and pushing for the No. 2 spot at the start of the year. The Bucs are on a bye this week but get New Orleans, Houston and Green Bay as the first three out of the bye. Those are three games I expect them to be out of early, increasing the chances Briscoe could produce in fantasy garbage time. He is available in 100 percent of Yahoo leagues.

WEEK 8 BYES: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, New York Jets, Oakland, Tampa Bay

TIGHT ENDS
Gone this week are Tony Gonzalez, Jermichael Finley, Dustin Keller, Kevin Boss and Kellen Winslow. It’s not a killer week for losing the position, but Gonzalez and Finley have been plug and plays that you will need to find a replacement for if you don’t carry two tight ends.

Jake Ballard, New York Giants
Ballard posted has three straight double-digit fantasy weeks, and now he gets a Dolphins team that allowed over 13 fantasy points per game to the position. He’s available in 88 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Aaron Hernandez, New England
Since his return in Week 5, Hernandez has scored 8.1 and 15.8 fantasy points. Tom Brady loves targeting those tight ends. So this is more a public service announcement, that if you see someone dropped Hernandez due to the Patriots' bye, go grab him and enjoy the rest of the year.

Fred Davis, Washington
He is not available in as many leagues as he was last week (he went from 58 percent availability to 32) after scoring 17 fantasy points against Carolina. Now with no Santana Moss (hand), no Tim Hightower (ACL) to go along with no Chris Cooley (finger), Davis’ stock is rising rapidly. Now he gets a Buffalo team ranked 12th against fantasy tight ends.

Daniel Fells, Denver
I told you to go get Daniel Fells last week because he was playing the Dolphins and their love for giving up points to the position. It took him a while to get going, but he grabbed a beautiful pass from Tim Tebow to set up the last TD, Fells then scored the touchdown. He finished with two catches for 31 yards and the score. After the great catch near the end and the late TD, plus with Tebow’s lack of accuracy perhaps he starts looking Fells’ way more. He’s available in 99 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota
Rookie quarterback + tight end are usually a good combination, right? Well, in his first career start, rookie QB Christian Ponder helped Shiancoe to his best day of 2011. Shiancoe scored 12.5 fantasy points on five catches for 45 yards and a score. If you need a one-week fix, Shiancoe could be a good one against a Carolina team that allows an average of 4.6 catches for 69.3 yards, including Fred Davis’ 6-for-80 and a score performance on Sunday. He’s available in 81 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Evan Moore, Cleveland
Moore had potential earlier in the year but has been in a time share with Benjamin Watson. Watson suffered a concussion against Seattle Sunday and his status for this week’s game San Francisco is yet to be determined. The 49ers are stout against the run, meaning the Browns will have to find a way to move the ball through the air. The Brown offense is certainly lackluster, but Moore could find some success against a 49ers team that is middle of the road against fantasy tight ends. Plus, he plays with a QB in Colt McCoy that attempts 42 passes per game (of course he produces a paltry 5.5 YPA). He’s available in 98 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

By Corby Yarbrough, @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Alfonso Smith, Leon Washington and Dezmon Briscoe lead this week's waiver wire pickups.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 01:15
Path: /news/sam-bradford-out-against-cowboys-dont-give-him-season
Body:

Sam Bradford has been downgraded to out against the Dallas Cowboys due to his high ankle sprain. But, while you may want to, now is not the time to give up on the Rams quarterback.

The two reasons to keep him are 1) the addition of Brandon Lloyd and the Rams' remaining schedule. Will these two things make a difference for your fantasy team?

Yes, but it is still going to take some time. You are probably teetering on giving up on Bradford because he has failed miserably to live up to expectations this season, but hold on a little longer.

The trade for Brandon Lloyd with the Denver Broncos brings a receiver Rams’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels certainly brought out of nowhere last season when he was head coach in Denver. St. Louis also activated Mark Clayton from the PUP list this week, a receiver that Bradford clicked with instantly last season. A knee injury last year sidelined Clayton to this point. Danario Alexander seems to be a reliable deep threat after having battled with his own injuries. And rookie Greg Salas has become a favorite target in the slot role where we all expected someone, either Danny Amendola to be the new Wes Welker.

Bradford has underwhelmed us this season to say the least. He is the 31st ranked quarterback heading into Week 7, scoring just 59.28 points in Athlon’s scoring format (6 points all touchdowns and 1 point per 25 yards passing). He has just one game in the teens which was a 19.74-point effort against a depleted New York Giants secondary.

One of the caveat’s about owning Bradford this season was the fact the Rams had a tough schedule the first half of the year. But if he can stay healthy (currently battling a high ankle sprain and may not play this week) and get acclimated with the new targets, that schedule against the pass certainly lightens up.

After Dallas, the Rams play six of their seven games against teams currently in the bottom half of the league against fantasy quarterbacks, including New Orleans (24th), Arizona (22nd), Cleveland (5th), Seattle (17th), Arizona (22nd), San Francisco (19th) and Seattle (17th). Keep in mind when your fantasy schedule matters most, the final two playoff weeks 15 and 16, the Rams play two of the top teams currently against fantasy passers in Cincinnati (3rd) and Pittsburgh (2nd).

But back to this week.

As a sidebar, if you are VERY desperate, A.J. Feeley may be a decent spot start in Bradford’s sted as the Rams should be trailing and due to Dallas’ track record against fantasy quarterbacks thus far. 

Dallasv has allowed all but one opposing QB to score 19-plus fantasy points (Mark Sanchez (22.7), Alex Smith (20.26), Matthew Stafford (19.5), Rex Grossman (13.6) and Tom Brady (21.26).

By Corby Yarbrough, @Corby_Yarbrough

Teaser:
<p> Sam Bradford won't be playing this week. But he should be in your lineup for the rest of the season.</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 23, 2011 - 09:16
Path: /news/time-find-replacement-sebastian-janikowski
Body:

It is not that often that fantasy kickers get any glory as we always tell you to wait until the last or second-to-last pick of your drafts to select the position. But Sebastian Janikowski brings what no other kicker in the league does on a consistent basis - the long ball. If your league awards bonus points for distance kicks, then Janikowski is the man to have. Through six weeks, he already has five 50-plus field goals and 12 field goals altogether.

The Raiders play host to Kansas City this week and then go on their bye. So if you are a fantasy player that doesn’t hold two kickers on your roster you were probably set to dump him next week anyways. But if you like the consistency he has brought you with the long ball over the years and 2.6 PATs per game he is averaging this season, you might have considered holding on to him through the bye week.

Janikowski was added to the injury report on Thursday, and the Raiders were trying out kickers on Friday.

It doesn’t help as a fantasy player that some of the better kickers are on bye weeks themselves. David Akers (3rd), Mike Nugent (9th), Stephen Gostkowski (9th), Rian Lindell (11th), Alex Henery (14th) and Lawrence Tynes are all idle this week.
Some of the top-20 options available are Tampa Bay’s Connor Barth, Minnesota’s Ryan Longwell, Miami’s Dan Carpenter, San Diego’s Nick Novak, Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri and Jacksonville’s Josh Scobee.

All of the aforementioned have scored at least 44 fantasy points this season (in Athlon’s format), and here is a breakdown of their Week 7 match ups.

Connor Barth (52 fantasy points) vs. Chicago (in London)
The Bears are 17th in the league at eight points allowed per game to kickers. It could be a soggy field, could bog down the offenses. This could be a field goal kicker kind of day.

Ryan Longwell (47 points) vs. Green Bay
The Packers are 4th in the league at six points per game to kickers. I don’t see much work for Longwell as rookie Christian Ponder gets the start against the Super Bowl champs.

Dan Carpenter (46 points) vs. Denver
Carpenter has the most potential as the Dolphins face a Denver team that has allowed a league-leading 10 points a game to kickers.

Nick Novak (46 points) at New York Jets
The Jets are middle of the road at 16th, allowing 7.8 points per game to kickers. I see this as a pretty good match up for Novak and the Chargers. They should be able to move the ball, but if they can’t punch it across the goal line in steps Novak.

Adam Vinatieri (44 points) at New Orleans
The Saints are 23rd in the league at 8.2 points per game to kickers. It’s indoors, so that’s always good. I doubt the Colts can go toe to toe with the Saints offensively, but they might move it enough to make Vinatieri relevant.

Josh Scobee (44 points) vs. Baltimore
The Ravens are No. 1 in the NFL against kickers, surrendering just 4.6 points per game. Say no to Sco.

If I’m on the waiver wire to replace Janikowski this week (and I am in three leagues), then I go Carpenter first then Novak, Barth and Vinatieri. 

By Corby Yarbrough, @Corby_Yarbrough

Teaser:
<p> It was being reported Friday that Sebastian Janikowski, fantasy football’s second-best kicker, may have to sit Sunday and several weeks thereafter due to a left hamstring injury.&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 02:02
Path: /news/john-beck-appealing-fantasy-add-thanks-washington-redskins-schedule
Body:

If you missed out on your waiver wire this week in getting Tim Tebow, Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel or Colt McCoy, go ahead and grab John Beck. With Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Michael Vick leading the charge of quarterbacks that are on byes this week, Beck has a pretty favorable match up to help ease your pain.

Despite having the NFL's 11th ranked pass defense (219 YPG), four of the six QBs Carolina's faced have scored at least 19 fantasy points. Blaine Gabbert (9.8) and Jay Cutler (2.3) were the only ones to falter.

In fact, Beck, if he remains the starters for the next month or so, could be in line for some decent numbers altogether. In addition to Carolina this week, he gets some of the most favorable teams against fantasy QBs in the NFL. Buffalo (23rd), San Francisco (17th), Miami (31st) and Dallas (18th) are all in the bottom half of the league against QBs, allowing at least 18 fantasy points per game.

Beck played 22 snaps in relief of Rex Grossman against Philadelphia. In those 22 plays, he was 8 of 15 for 117 yards, was sacked once, did not turn the ball over and scored a rushing touchdown. So in 22 snaps, he registered 12.08 fantasy points. He would have been on pace to score 33 fantasy points had he played all 60 of the Redskins' offensive snaps.

Of course the Redskins were playing from behind and Beck came in late in the game, but he still has a decent stable of pass-catching running backs, a tight end in Fred Davis that has the job all by his lonesome thanks to Chris Cooley's finger injury and a receiving corps that is a bunch of no names, but has yard after catch ability.

You could do better than Beck, but you could also do worse. So if you missed on the waiver wire, are in dire need of a QB or just want to take a flier for a QB with a favorable schedule, Beck is worth the add to your fantasy roster. 

Teaser:
<p> John Beck gets the start at quarterback for the Washington Redskins this week against Carolina.&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 14:43
Path: /news/carson-palmer-goes-raiders-do-you-go-him
Body:

Carson Palmer was the 13th best fantasy quarterback in 2010, averaging 17.6 points per game. He was the 15th best fantasy QB in 2009 at 15.9 points per game. That gives one optimism that he can still be serviceable. Just how serviceable is what we all want to know.

What we do know is that the Raiders are a run-based offense and have Darren McFadden to lead that attack. Oakland has attempted the second-most carries in the league this season (160) and the 10th-fewest pass attempts (179).

The Raiders’ receiving corps, due to injuries, due to it being a run-based offense, due to their abilities, has been an inconsistent bunch. Only three times has an Oakland receiver scored in double digits this season (Denarius Moore in Week 1 and Darrius Heyward-Bey in Weeks 4 and 5).

We also know that Palmer has not played since the end of the 2010 season. So we don’t know what kind of football shape he will be in. We know his arm is not what it once was. We know that he has a penchant for throwing interceptions, averaging 12.5 per year.

Will he play this week against a Kansas City team that is 12th worst against fantasy quarterbacks? Doubtful. Even if they do roll him out there against the Chiefs, would you take the chance?

The Raiders have a bye in Week 8, and we will probably see Palmer’s debut Nov. 6 against Denver. So he could serve as a bye-week replacement for those losing QBs in the final two bye weeks (Weeks 9 and 11). Assuming his debut is against Denver, Palmer will face five teams currently in the bottom 12 against fantasy QBs to close out the fantasy season, including Miami (26th), Green Bay (30th), Detroit (6th) and Kansas City (21st) in the four playoff weeks.

Bottom line: Pick him up if you have the room. A combination of a legitimate running game, a number of playmakers, albeit inconsistent, and a favorable schedule make him a good back up that could emerge as a 16-25-point guy per week and even more in the playoff weeks. Plus, if you have the room, hoard him for now and see if you can use him as trade bait later on. 

By Corby Yarbrough, @Corby_Yarbrough

Teaser:
<p> So Carson Palmer is the Oakland Raiders’ quarterback now. What does that mean for fantasy players?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 21:37
Path: /columns/waiver-wire/fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-7
Body:

By CorbyYarbrough, @Corby_Yarbrough

It is Week 7, the third week of bye weeks, and some big names go on vacation this weekend. You need someone to step in off the waiver wire and hold down the fort for a week, or maybe more in some cases.

WEEK 7 BYES: Buffalo, Cincinnati, New England, New York Giants, Philadelphia, San Francisco

QUARTERBACKS
At quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Mike Vick and Alex Smith are all on byes.

John Beck, Washington
Rex Grossman was pulled after throwing four interceptions against Philadelphia and in stepped beck. He threw for 177 yards and ran for a score. But are we going to see Grossman back in there? Will the QB be the new RB for Mike Shanahan? Will we see rotation everywhere? The matchups are favorable for the Redskins QB to get you through the bye weeks — at Carolina, at Buffalo, playing host to San Francisco, at Miami (in Week 10 where there are no byes) and playing host to Dallas. If none of the QBs below are available in your leagues, I would consider adding Beck, but I wouldn't waste my No. 1 waiver wire priority on it.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City
After a terrible start to the 2011 season, Cassel took advantage of a great match up against the Colts in Week 5, throwing for 257 yards and four touchdowns. He and the Chiefs passing game get another favorable match up this week in Oakland. The Raiders are allowing the fourth most fantasy points to QBs and just surrendered 21 points to Browns QB Colt McCoy on Sunday. The Chiefs are coming off their bye, and Cassel should have a full compliment of receivers, including rookie Jonathan Baldwin. If he's on your waiver wire, go get him.

Colt McCoy, Cleveland
McCoy has only dipped below 16 points once this season and is coming off his best fantasy game of the season — 21.2 points against Oakland. He is the epitome of a bye week replacement that could become a dependable starter come season's end. Two other factors making McCoy appealing — the Browns are 29th in the league in fantasy points by RBs (15.6) and the second-year QB is averaging 43 pass attempts per game. Sounds like opportunity to me. This week's Cleveland plays host to Seattle, which is middle of the road when it comes to defending fantasy QBs (18 PPG).

Tim Tebow, Denver
In case you didn't add him from last week's waiver wire with the Broncos on their bye, go get him now. Tebow is fantasy vs. reality. He doesn't have to be a good NFL QB, he only has to be a good fantasy QB. In leagues where QBs get only 4 for passing TDs, Tebow is a bonus with his seven career rushing TDs in 12 games. The loss of Brandon Lloyd may hurt a bit, but Tebow seems to freelance his way to fantasy points anyhow, no matter who's out there with him.

Oakland's next QB
These are the just-in-case QBs that could be your next starter for Oakland. Monitor if any of these players get added to the Raiders' roster to replace the injured Jason Campbell (collarbone). I'm avoiding Kyle Boller unless he has his wife with him.

Kyle Orton — The Broncos' former starting QB has been supplanted by Tebow and should get moved before today's deadline — at least fantasy players are hoping he is. He's obviously the most game-ready QB out there, and Oakland has plenty of weapons for him to play with.

Terrelle Pryor — The suspension is lifted, he is part of the active roster and with the success as fantasy players that Tebow, Cam Newton and Vince Young early in his career had, why couldn't Pryor be a productive fantasy player before there's too much tape out there of him?

Carson Palmer — Very risk as a pick up. His arm strength is meh and he hasn't played in nearly a year. However, if he could get the ball to the Raider weapons with short passes and let them do the work, you're still getting the fantasy points for the YAC they produce.

RUNNING BACKS
Fred Jackson, Cedric Benson, Ahmad Bradshaw, LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and the Patriots' flavor of the week are all on byes, so you need to find some bodies to stick in there for a week.

DeMarco Murray, Dallas
I dropped him in an IDP keeper league because I was impatient and should have known the Felix Jones injury was coming. At least I got Haloti Ngata as the reason I dropped him. But I digress. Jones has a high ankle sprain and is out indefinitely. The Cowboys' bye has already happened, so there's no time to rest and if they are smart, no reason to rush him back into action. Tashard Choice may be shipped out as the trade deadline is today, but even if he isn't I would grab Murray and expect him to be the lead back.

But don't expect the moon. Keep in mind the rookie RB was drafted in the third round to help bolster a Cowboys run game that was 16th in the NFL last year. Now Dallas is 30th in points per game from fantasy RBs. Murray has rushed 24 times for 71 yards (3.0 YPC) and has four catches for 23 yards. He has no TDs thus far. Favorable matchups the next few weeks make him enticing — St. Louis, Philadelphia and Seattle — but the stats and the Cowboys' offensive line speaks for itself. If Choice stays and Phillip Tanner gets some snaps, it could make for a complete mess in Dallas. So just temper your expectations.

Jackie Battle, Kansas City
He's got a great match up this week. The team comes off a bye week and now gets an Oakland defense that is third worst against fantasy RBs and just lost its QB on offense. Battle may have been the flavor of the week against a bad Indianapolis team when he ran for 119 yards two weeks ago, and Dexter McCluster and Thomas Jones might steal some thunder. But with six teams on bye and a great match up, picking up Battle, could be a great one-week play.

Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay
Graham got it done on the ground in relief of LeGarrette Blount (MCL) with 109 yards on 22 carries. He only caught two passes for 22 yards. It was the passes that PPR players were excited about, so the 109-yard effort helped offset the lack of receptions. Graham should probably get the nod once again for the Bucs as they go against Chicago in London this week. The Bears have allowed at least 10 fantasy points to the No. 1 RB in the first six games this season, and Graham's PPR abilities should help him reach that and be a decent flex play in Week 7.

Montario Hardesty, Cleveland
This is nothing more than a bye week replacement suggestion. Peyton Hillis is dealing with a hamstring and may miss or at least be limited. But Hardesty has done little with the opportunities he has had. The Browns play host to a Seattle team that is top 10 against fantasy RBs and coming off a bye. However, every opposing No. 1 RB has scored at least 11 fantasy points against the Seahawks. If you need Hardesty as a flex play, go for it, but don't expect consistency.

Maurice Morris, Detroit
Jahvid Best suffered his second concussion of the season on Sunday. If it knocks him out for any amount of time, Morris will probably get the call. According to Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus, Morris played 25 snaps in relief of Best on Sunday to just two snaps for Keiland Williams. The Lions play host to Atlanta this week, and the Falcons are allowing the eighth most points per game to fantasy RBs. Detroit has the 12th-best fantasy running game at 20.8 points per game. Again, these few weeks are about finding bodies to fill in bye week, injuries and good match ups. Morris won't light up the turf, but it is a good match up.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Thanks, byes. No Steve Johnson, David Nelson, A.J. Green, Wes Welker, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham, Desean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin or Michael Crabtree this week. Here are a few names to help you in these troubling times.

Danario Alexander, St. Louis
I really wanted to like him. His knees don't seem to be a hindrance this year. He is a good deep threat. Then the Rams go out and trade for Brandon Lloyd. The Rams have been so terrible this year, I think some combination of Lloyd and Alexander play with Greg Salas in the slot. St. Louis is not going to get any better on defense, and the receivers should have plenty of opportunities to see the field.

Nate Burleson, Detroit
He will never be consistent, but he does get targeted, and the Lions do get two of the worst defenses against fantasy WRs the next two weeks — Atlanta (9th at 32 PPG) and Denver (2nd at 35.7 PPG). After the bye, Chicago, Carolina, Green Bay and New Orleans are up. The schedule is just begging for a consistent fantasy receiver to emerge opposite Calvin Johnson.

James Jones, Green Bay
He is still available in 52 percent of Yahoo leagues. He has scored at least 10 fantasy points the last three weeks. He is a perfect bye week replacement player. On a week-to-week basis you can't count on him to be a consistent receiver, but when bye weeks leave you scrambling, a track record like Jones' is good to lean on. Also, the Packers travel to Minnesota this week. Minnesota was pushing hard for Jones' services in the offseason before he shunned them to return to Titletown, USA. Maybe he shows the Vikings they should have pushed a little harder.

Greg Little, Cleveland
He stepped into the starting role against Oakland and lead the Browns in targets, catches and yards en route to a 10.2-point fantasy effort. Both he and Colt McCoy are serviceable for the remainder of the year as Cleveland's bye has passed. Plus, their rapport should only get better and be more dependable as the season goes along.

Greg Salas, St. Louis
We're always looking for the next Wes Welker, particularly in PPR leagues. Danny Amendola was supposed to be it in St. Louis before his season-ending injury. Rookie Greg Salas had not stepped into that role until Sunday for the Rams. Yes, they were getting killed by the Packers, but Salas put up a very common slot-PPR line — eight catches, 77 yards, no scores. The Rams are going to stink all year on defense, giving the offense plenty of chances. With the addition of Brandon Lloyd on the outside, perhaps Salas can roam around now and pull down those cheap nine-yard catches that we all love from our PPR receivers.

Torrey Smith, Baltimore
Lee Evans is still bothered by his ankle injury, having not made it back to play in the Ravens' first game after their bye. If Evans is not back for the Monday night game at Jacksonville then Smith is assured significant playing time. He is obviously a solid deep threat, but the Jags have not been too shabby against the pass this season. They are seventh best against fantasy WRs. But if you are desperate for a replacement for Week 7, he's always good for a deep ball he could take to the end zone.

Demaryius Thomas, Denver
The Broncos could complete the youth trifecta if they trade away Eddie Royal along with Brandon Lloyd already being shipped to St. Louis. If Royal's gone then Demaryius Thomas steps in to give Denver second-year players starting at WR (he and Eric Decker) and QB (Tim Tebow). A broken foot hindered his rookie season — both pre-draft and last season — and a finger injury has sidelined him this season. In limited action last year, the 6-3, 225-pound Thomas caught 22 balls for 283 yards and two scores. He also averaged 24.9 yards on 16 kickoffs.

Damian Williams, Tennessee
Something tells me Chris Johnson and the offensive line are not going to get it together this year and Matt Hasselbeck will continue to sling it around the yard. Williams will be the deep threat unless Donnie Avery surprises. With the way Hasselbeck was tossing it, getting his deep threat would be a solid stash-and-hope play.

Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati
He's on a bye this week, and many of us thought he would be on an extended bye after the marijuana-at-the-house incident. Apparently the Bengals are impervious from suspension this season, and Simpson is garnering attention from QB Andy Dalton. He led the team in targets, catches and yards Sunday against Indianapolis, scoring 13.1 fantasy points. This is one of the "waiver a week ahead" type plays this week just in case injuries are killing you if the byes aren't first.

Michael Crabtree and Braylon Edwards, San Francisco
The 49ers are playing well, Alex Smith is playing well and so too is Crabtree. He had 15 targets on Sunday, catching nine for 77 yards. Maybe he's finally going to emerge as a dependable player. He's still available in 58 percent of Yahoo leagues. Edwards should come back healthy after the bye. Plus, Josh Morgan is out for the year. It's all about opportunity. Keep an eye on him.

TIGHT ENDS
What a frustrating position this has been. I guess that's what comes with this being the deepest fantasy tight end class perhaps ever. And this week, thanks to byes, we lose the Patriots' duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, Cincinnati's Jermaine Gresham and San Francisco's Vernon Davis.

Aaron Hernandez, New England
He's on a bye this week and may get dropped again as a I saw in a number of leagues happened when he suffered his Week 2 injury. But since his return in Week 5, Hernandez has scored 8.1 and 15.8 fantasy points. Tom Brady loves targeting those tight ends. So this is more a public service announcement, that if you see someone drop Hernandez due to the Patriots' bye, go grab him, stash him and enjoy the rest of the year.

Jake Ballard, New York Giants
He's on a bye this week, but the Kevin Boss replacement is officially here for the G Men. Ballard posted his third straight double-digit fantasy week, and when he gets back he faces the worst team in the league against the TE — the Dolphins at over 16 fantasy points per game to the position. This might be one of those moves you make in advance of next week so you don't have to use a priority claim. Perhaps let the wire run through this week and then pick him up once all claims have been processed if you have the room.

Fred Davis, Washington
Available in 58 percent of Yahoo leagues, Davis got back into double digits on Sunday with a 13.5-point effort against Philadelphia. Chris Cooley broke his finger, and other injuries that have plagued him should open up the door for Davis to be the exclusive TE on the team.

Ed Dickson, Baltimore
He has had good match ups each week it seems like, but just doesn't produce on a consistent basis. He gets on this list this week for two reasons — you may need a TE for a bye week quick fix and he gets a Jaguars team that is fourth worst against fantasy TEs, having given up over at least 10 points to the primary TE in the last four games.

Daniel Fells, Denver
Brandon Lloyd is gone. Tim Tebow is a young QB. The Dolphins are the worst team in the league against tight ends. Sounds like a good day to play Fells, who has scored 5.2, 8.9 and 7.2 fantasy points in his last three games.

Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay
The Bucs travel to London to play a Bears team that is second worst against fantasy TEs at nearly 16 points per game to the position. Winslow has not had the effort from a year ago, byt he has scored 5.8, 7.9, 6.5 and 7.9 fantasy points the last four games. It always seems like it's a soggy field when the NFL goes to London, and that could be good news for the short passing game.
 

Teaser:
<p> DeMarco Murray, Tim Tebow and Maurice Morris lead the list of must pick-ups in week 7</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 07:48
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-rankings-week-4
Body:

We 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. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings

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

Athlon Sports Week 4 Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 IDP Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 Start and 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:
<br />
Post date: Sunday, October 2, 2011 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-start-sit-week-4
Body:

2011 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Start & Sit

These are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings

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

Athlon Sports Week 4 Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 IDP Waiver Wire

Sneaky Start of the Week
James Starks, RB, Green Bay vs. Denver

The 30th best running back in fantasy so far, Starks should get the opportunity to handle the entire workload this week against Denver. Ryan Grant (kidney) is out, meaning the second-year player and playoff stud from a year ago, and have his best game of the season.

Denver is 14th in the NFL against the run at 100 yards per game and also give up 20.7 points a game. Now the Broncos travel to Green Bay, the No. 10 rushing team in the NFL at 109 yards per game with the league's fifth best scoring offense at 33 points a game.

Simply put: Denver will be hard pressed to stay in this game for long, leaving more than enough time for Starks to get his on Sunday.

We've seen scenarios play out like this already this year, where we think a team will roll over another, but it doesn't come to fruition. I think this one does come to fruition, and Starks is the one you want closing the deal.

Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans at Jacksonville
The Saints are the second highest scoring team in the league at 34.7 points per game; the Jaguars are the second lowest scoring team in the league at 9.7. I think a 35-10 score would suffice in this game, and if that's the case then this should be the game where we get to see a lot of the rookie from Alabama.

The Saints should be able to jump out to an early lead, and even though the Jaguars own the NFL's No. 5 rush defense at 83.7 a game, they haven't seen an offense like this yet.

Ingram is owned in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues but is the 42nd best back so far. He had his highest output of the year (10.5) last week thanks to a TD on nine carries. He should get more than nine this week as New Orleans grinds down the clock with its ground game.

Unexpected Sit of the Week
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh at Houston
Remember that whole "we thought a team would roll" scenario? Well, Pittsburgh was supposed to be that team last week in Indianapolis. Mendenhall was supposed to be the closer.

Oops.

Instead, Mendenhall is fantasy's 34th best running back, playing behind a poor, and injured offensive line and simply not producing. A first-round pick by many, Mendenhall has 25.4 fantasy points through three games.

The Texans are in the top half of the league against fantasy RBs, allowing 18.7 fantasy points a game. Miami's Daniel Thomas got 107 yards on 18 carries and no scores behind a better offensive line two weeks agon. Last week, Darren Sproles needed six catches for 50 yards and rushing TD to get to 20.2. Mendenhall has had 18-plus carries in back to back games and has a yards per carry average of 2.8 during those two games. He also doesn't catch enough balls to be a PPR threat, and he has scored just once in three games.

The Steelers are 23rd in the NFL in rushing at 85.7 yards a game, and it's not rushing that's going to keep them in this game. The Texans' defense will be able to get after Ben Roethlisberger, and the Houston offense, seventh in the league in scoring (30 PPG) should have no trouble moving the ball at home, either.

Mendenhall will become obsolete as Pittsburgh tries to keep up.

QUARTERBACKS

START

Eli Manning (NYG) at Arizona —
It would be nice if Hakeem Nicks (knee) would be a 100-percent go in this one, but even if the Giants' No. 1 receiver is down, Manning should excel. The Cardinals are 10th worst against fantasy QBs at 22.2 points per game, and Manning just got done scoring 33.9 fantasy points against a much tougher Philadelphia Eagles team.

Cam Newton (CAR) at Chicago — Newton's torrid start was only slowed by the monsoon in Charlotte last week. The Bears are allowing 22 points a game to fantasy QBs, and even in the downpour last week, the rookie still scored 17 fantasy points. Newton's WRs should be able to get beyond the Bears' Cover 2 defense, and he can also utilize his TEs, which Chicago is second worst against at 17.1 fantasy points a game.

Rex Grossman (WAS) at St. Louis — He wasn't as spectacular as I thought he would be against the Cowboys' secondary in Week 2, but he did still throw for 250 yards. Grossman gets a chance to rebound against a Rams team that just gave up 35.3 fantasy points to Joe Flacco a week ago in the dome. The Ravens had 406 yards by halftime.

SIT
Mark Sanchez (NYJ) at Baltimore — Receivers Plaxico Burress (hamstring) and Santonio Holmes (quad) are both battling injuries, the run game is beyond inconsistent, and the Ravens just made Sam Bradford look pedestrian to the tune of 11.8 fantasy points a week ago. Baltimore, despite its secondary issues, is allowing a fourth-best 12.4 fantasy points a game to QBs. If the receivers are banged up and the Ravens are able to focus more on Sanchez's BFF, TE Dustin Keller, where is the production going to come from?

Matt Ryan (ATL) at Seattle — He is not currently playing the best football of his career. And now he goes on the road, to play in a tough environment with the Seattle crowd. In 20 games outdoors (of 49 career games), Ryan has thrown 18 of his 38 career INTs, has a 57.7-percent completion rate and a QB rating of 78.2 compared to his career 86.5. That's a lot of nerd numbers, but I'm a nerd. Simply put: This team is underachieving, and going out to Seattle is not usually a place to turn things around. Plus, Seattle has actually been pretty good against fantasy QBs — top 10 actually — at 15.2 points per game.

Sam Bradford (STL) vs. Washington — You saw the pressure the Redskins put on against Tony Romo Monday night, right? They pressured Romo 13 times, got three hits and one sack and he registered 8.1 fantasy points. Last week against Baltimore, Bradford was sacked five times, hit seven times, pressured 11 times and had 11.8 fantasy points to show for it. Like Baltimore, Washington is allowing under 15 points (14.4) to fantasy QBs through three games this season.

RUNNING BACKS
START

LeGarrette Blount (TB) vs. Indianapolis — The Colts are actually pretty good against fantasy QBs at 14.1 points per game, but allow 21.4 points a game to RBs. The Bucs seem to be coming around to the idea that controlling the game with Bloiunt is the way to go. He had 24 carries for 81 yards last week. Expect to see much of the same this week, and with Curtis Painter slated to go at QB for the Colts, Blount should have plenty of possessions with which to work.

Tim Hightower (WAS) at St. Louis — Not only are the Rams letting fantasy QBs score all over them, RBs are getting in on the action as well. St. Louis is fifth worst against the position at 28.7 a game, and now they get Hightower, who is coming off a 20-carry, 96-yard performance to go along with five catches for 39 yards. Hightower, fantasy's 12th-best back currently, should be able to get his early, produce for you as a nice flex and then give way to rookie Roy Helu, who might be a sneaky play in his own right.

Peyton Hillis (CLE) vs. Tennessee — Back from strep, Hillis should be a decent flex play. The Titans are great against the pass, but middle of the road against fantasy RBs at 20.7 points per game. Hillis may have to split some of his role with Montario Hardesty, but he is still a great goal line threat and always an added bonus are his pass-catching abilities. Call it a hunch, but in a game where points will be rare, Hillis could have the Browns' via short-yardage situations. Plus, the Browns get 6-6, 330 right tackle Tony Pashos (ankle) back this week.

SIT
Frank Gore (SF) at Philadelphia — How bad has it become for Gore? He's going against the team that allows the most fantasy points to RBs (31.8) and I still think he should sit. First reason: He's battling an ankle injury. Second reason: He may share duties with rookie Kendall Hunter even if he does play. Third reason: Are the 49ers going to be in this game, at Philadelphia, long enough for the running game to even matter? Plus, 26.4 fantasy points for a top flight RB through three weeks is not getting it done.

Shonn Greene (NYJ) at Baltimore — Our patience is wearing mighty, mighty thin with the Jets' starting running back. He has not gone over 14.1 points this season, and carried the ball just seven times for 59 yards in last week's loss to the Raiders. An unlikely seven catches for 46 yards is the only thing that made it a respectable day. I doubt he gets it turned around at Baltimore or at New England the next two weeks. The Ravens are second-best in fantasy at defending RBs at 12.8 points per game. It's starting to look like another year of disappointment for those of us that drafted Greene in any of our leagues.
 
Cedric Benson (CIN) vs. Buffalo — The Bills give up 25 points per game to fantasy running backs, good for eighth worst in the league. But the Bills are also in high-scoring games. It takes two to be in high-scoring games, and I don't see the Bengals holding up their end of the bargain in that department this week. Plus, if Benson has any chance of starting his suspension in Week 5, who's to say the team doesn't start seeing what Bernard Scott or Brian Leonard can give them in live action?

WIDE RECEIVERS
START

Brandon Lloyd and Eric Decker (DEN) at Green Bay — This is purely a garbage-time play for both of them. You would expect Green Bay to pour it on at Lambeau this weekend, right? Well, if they don't, it's going to be Denver's passing game that keeps the Broncos involved. Lloyd might have a tougher time if the game is close, but Decker just finds ways to get open. Green Bay is the third-worst team against fantasy WRs at 35.7 points per game.

Sidney Rice (SEA) vs. Atlanta — I'm not crazy about it, and he is my 36th WR this week, making him the bottom of the WR3s, but he went 8-109 in his 2011 debut last week against Arizona. He's at home again, QB Tarvaris Jackson had his best game with him in the lineup and Atlanta is middle of the road against fantasy WRs at 21.2 points a game — 4.2 better than Arizona's 25.4. It's a hunch, a gamble, but worth it as a WR3/flex play.

Torrey Smith (BAL) vs. New York Jets — The deep threat is what Baltimore needed for Joe Flacco to excel, and the rookie Smith provided it with three TDs on his first three career receptions last week. Smith is back again this week with Lee Evans (ankle) still expected to be sidelined, and he may benefit from another injury, that of Jets DB Antonio Cromartie (ribs/lung). If the Jets keep Darrelle Revis on Anquan Boldin, the ninth-most targeted receiver in football (28), then Smith could excel once again for the Ravens in his prime-time debut.

SIT
Nate Washington (TEN) at Cleveland — It's going to take me a while to believe Washington can succeed as the Titans' No. 1 receiver. It certainly will be a tough debut against Cleveland DB Joe Haden, who has been targeted 22 times and given up just 10 catches, according to Pro Football Focus. I expect this to be a sluggish game due to both teams struggles on offense and their strengths being on the defensive side of the ball.

Dwayne Bowe (KC) vs. Minnesota — He's been targeted 22 times, caught 11 of them for 185 yards and a score. He's also leading the league in drops (4), and I see his QB, Matt Cassel, being dropped plenty of times thanks to the sack-happy Vikings defense, which has nine through three games. Cassel has attempted 26 passes when blitzed or pressured this season and completed 12 of them for 75 yards with three interceptions and been sacked five times, according to Pro Football Focus. Maybe this turned into more of a bench Cassel rant, which you should have already done, but it illustrates what Bowe is working with, and says don't be uplifted by the 13.8- and 14.7-point days he's had the last two weeks.

Devery Henderson (NO) at Jacksonville — Marques Colston is apparently set to return. Lance Moore is a Drew Brees favorite once again. Robert Meachem is still there, along with TE Jimmy Graham and pass-catching RB Darren Sproles. It could be any one of the aforementioned that has a big day, as it always is with the Saints, but the addition of Colston and the fact that the Saints should be in control leads me to believe we will see more of Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas than anyone.

TIGHT ENDS
START

Brandon Pettigrew (DET) at Dallas — Coach Jim Schwartz said the Lions used Pettigrew as their running game last week, spreading him out and hitting the tight end with short passes to move the chains. It resulted in 11 catches for 112 yards against the Vikings. Now he gets a Cowboys team that is 10th against fantasy RBs (16.3), but allows a seventh worst 13.7 points to TEs. Pettigrew might be the "running game" again.

Randy McMichael (SD) vs. Miami — He's never done much with the opportunities, but with Antonio Gates out, Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson nursing injuries he is a good play this weekend. The game is in San Diego, the Chargers are taking on a Dolphins team that is the worst in the league against fantasy TEs at 20.7 points per game — and worst by 3.6 points. It's just too good a match up to pass up.

Scott Chandler (BUF) at Cincinnati — Normally I'm not a low-target kind of fantasy player, but Chandler is starting to become the exception. He faces a Bengals team that is sixth worst against fantasy TEs at 14 points per game. Chandler is on a high-scoring team that has targeted him just 12 times, but he has nine catches, 89 yards and four scores off of the 12. I expect to see the Bills in the red zone often, and I expect Chandler to grab at least one score. And that's good enough for me from the TE position.

SIT
Dallas Clark (IND) at Tampa Bay — Simply put: I'm not trusting Dallas Clark until I see it. Tampa is average against fantasy TEs at 10.3 points per game. But Clark, as the 12th-most targeted TE in the NFL at 19, has just 10 catches, 83 yards and a score to show for it. The 11 target leaders ahead of him are combining to average 14 catches, 187 yards and 1.5 scores through three games; Clark is averaging 3.3-27.6 and .3 scores per game.

Ed Dickson (BAL) vs. New York Jets — Not everyone can have success against the Jets. I expect Ray Rice and Torrey Smith to be productive, but the Jets have allowed an average of 4.3 catches, 64.3 yards and no scores to the TE in the first three games of the season. Dickson's is averaging four catches for 45 yards and .3 scores per game.

Benjamin Watson (CLE) vs. Tennessee — Normally terrible against the TE, the Titans are actually doing pretty well this season — third best in fantasy at 5.7 points per game to the position. They have surrendered just nine catches for 126 yards and no scores. Watson has been inconsistent — three catches and a score the first game, two catches for 16 yards the second and five catches for 64 yards and no score the third. Plus, Evan Moore is there to garner red zone targets as well.

KICKERS
START

Jason Hanson (DET) at Dallas — First off, he's the No. 1 kicker in fantasy and only owned in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues. So go get him. He has eight field goals — two from 50-plus — and 11 PATs. Dallas has allowed six field goals and seven PATs.

Rob Bironas (TEN) at Cleveland — He's going up against a Browns team that has allowed the most field goal attempts (10) and makes (9) and just five PATs against. The Titans should be able to move the ball, but will more than likely stall out in the red zone. Enter Bironas to kick those field goals.

Ryan Longwell (MIN) at Kansas City — The Chiefs have allowed 13 PATs — the most in the league — and six field goals — also in the top half of FGs allowed. Longwell has six field goals and six PATs, and should have opportunities at both Sunday.

SIT
Dan Bailey (DAL) vs. Detroit — It's going to take more than six field goals to keep up with the Detroit offense this weekend. The Lions have surrendered just four PATs and six field goals.

Josh Brown (STL) vs. Washington — We had so much hope for the Rams' offense under Josh McDaniels this season, meaning more opportunities for Brown. He is tied for 24th amongst fantasy kickers with five field goals and just one PAT.

Mike Nugent (CIN) vs. Buffalo — The Bengals aren't going to be able to keep up with the Bills by kicking field goals, and after their poor offensive performance against the 49ers a week ago, there's nothing to say they will be involved in a shootout with Buffalo. Sit fantasy's 10th-best kicker this week.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
START

Washington at St. Louis — Owned in just 26 percent of Yahoo leagues, the Redskins are the eighth best fantasy defense with 53 points allowed, eight sacks, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, a block and a touchdown. St. Louis has scored just 36 points, given up 12 sacks and has coughed up the ball five times.

Minnesota at Kansas City — Obviously the Chiefs are scoring challenged at nine points per game, and they have the third worst total offense at 244 yards per game. The Chiefs have fumbled the ball five times, been intercepted five times and given up five sacks. The Vikings' pass rush can get to Matt Cassel as evidence to their nine sacks through three games. Minnesota also has three interceptions to its credit, and if it can put two halves of football together for once, would be a solid weekly fantasy DST. KC will make the Vikes look good this week.

Tennessee at Cleveland — Only owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues, the Titans' defense/special teams ranks 12th with just 43 points allowed, six sacks, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. It should be a sluggish game, where points are at a premium bad for fantasy offense players on these two teams, good for the fantasy defenses.

SIT
Pittsburgh at Houston — Maybe it seems obvious, maybe it doesn't. The Steelers are owned in 99 percent of Yahoo leagues and anked 17th in fantasy points. They've given up just 49 points, but have not produced in other categories — one interception, seven sacks, one fumble recovery and a TD return by Troy Polamalu that bounced right into his hands and no one in front of him to the end zone last Monday in Indy.

San Diego vs. Miami — The Chargers are owned in 70 percent of Yahoo leagues, but are the second worst defense in fantasy with just 13 points scored in three games. The Dolphins can move the ball and do not turn it over that often (three interceptions, two fumbles). They are tied for fifth with 11 sacks given up, but the Chargers are in the bottom five in sacks with five, and are 13th in points allowed at 69. Best-case scenario for San Diego this week is getting up big, forcing Chad Henne to throw and trying to get sacks and picks that way, but that's not a chance I'm willing to take with a current bottom two DST.

New England at Oakland — Owned in 76 percent of Yahoo leagues, the Patriots are the 24th best fantasy defense with 22 points scored. They have six sacks, five picks and two fumble recoveries. However, 73 points allowed is offsetting their fantasy production. Traveling out to Oakland, the Raiders will welcome them with a strong running game and an adequate enough passing game. Plus, the Raiders have given up just two sacks and only thrown one INT.

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Sunday, October 2, 2011 - 07:59
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-4
Body:

We 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. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

2011 NFL Week 4 — Tight End Rankings

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

Athlon Sports Week 4 Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 IDP Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 Start and Sit

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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.

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Rob Gronkowski NE at OAK
2 Jermichael Finley GB vs. DEN
3 Jason Witten DAL vs. DET
4 Vernon Davis SF at PHI
5 Greg Olsen CAR at CHI
6 Owen Daniels HOU vs. PIT
7 Dustin Keller NYJ at BAL
8 Jimmy Graham NO at JAC
9 Tony Gonzalez ATL at SEA
10 Brandon Pettigrew DET at DAL
11 Marcedes Lewis JAC vs. NO
12 Randy McMichael SD vs. MIA
13 Fred Davis WAS at STL
14 Scott Chandler BUF at CIN
15 Jared Cook TEN at CLE
16 Dallas Clark IND at TB
17 James Casey HOU vs. PIT
18 Jeremy Shockey CAR at CHI
19 Ed Dickson BAL vs. NYJ
20 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. BUF
21 Kellen Winslow TB vs. IND
22 Benjamin Watson CLE vs. TEN
23 Heath Miller PIT at HOU
24 Anthony Fasano MIA at SD
25 Daniel Fells DEN at GB
26 Kevin Boss OAK vs. NE
27 Chris Cooley WAS at STL
28 Zach Miller SEA vs. ATL
29 Visanthe Shiancoe MIN at KC
30 Tony Scheffler DET at DAL
31 Brent Celek PHI vs. SF
32 Leonard Pope KC vs. MIN
Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-4
Body:

We 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. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

2011 NFL Week 4 — Defense/Special Team Rankings

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

Athlon Sports Week 4 Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 IDP Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 Start and Sit

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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.

Rk Player OPPONENT
1 Green Bay Packers vs. DEN
2 Baltimore Ravens vs. NYJ
3 Chicago Bears vs. CAR
4 New York Giants at ARI
5 Detroit Lions at DAL
6 New Orleans Saints at JAC
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. IND
8 Houston Texans vs. PIT
9 Washington Redskins at STL
10 New York Jets at BAL
11 Minnesota Vikings at KC
12 Tennessee Titans at CLE
13 Arizona Cardinals vs. NYG
14 San Francisco 49ers at PHI
15 Philadelphia Eagles vs. SF
16 Buffalo Bills at CIN
Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-4
Body:

We 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. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

2011 NFL Week 4 — Kicker Rankings

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

Athlon Sports Week 4 Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 IDP Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 Start and Sit

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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.

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Jason Hanson DET at DAL
2 Neil Rackers HOU vs. PIT
3 Rian Lindell BUF at CIN
4 Sebastian Janikowski OAK vs. NE
5 Mason Crosby GB vs. DEN
6 Stephen Gostkowski NE at OAK
7 John Kasay NO at JAC
8 Billy Cundiff BAL vs. NYJ
9 Robbie Gould CHI vs. CAR
10 Nick Folk NYJ at BAL
11 Dan Bailey DAL vs. DET
12 Alex Henery PHI vs. SF
13 Ryan Longwell MIN at KC
14 Rob Bironas TEN at CLE
15 Nick Novak SD vs. MIA
16 Connor Barth TB vs. IND

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-4
Body:

We 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. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

2011 NFL Week 4 — Wide Receiver Rankings

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

Athlon Sports Week 4 Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 IDP Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 Start and Sit

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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.

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Calvin Johnson DET at DAL
2 Andre Johnson HOU vs. PIT
3 Wes Welker NE at OAK
4 Mike Wallace PIT at HOU
5 Steve Johnson BUF at CIN
6 Hakeem Nicks NYG at ARI
7 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. NYG
8 Vincent Jackson SD vs. MIA
9 Roddy White ATL at SEA
10 Greg Jennings GB vs. DEN
11 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. SF
12 Brandon Marshall MIA at SD
13 Santana Moss WAS at STL
14 Steve Smith CAR at CHI
15 Brandon Lloyd DEN at GB
16 Santonio Holmes NYJ at BAL
17 Denarius Moore OAK vs. NE
18 A.J. Green CIN vs. BUF
19 Reggie Wayne IND at TB
20 Mario Manningham NYG at ARI
21 David Nelson BUF at CIN
22 Eric Decker DEN at GB
23 Lance Moore NO at JAC
24 Dez Bryant DAL vs. DET
25 Nate Washington TEN at CLE
26 Mike Williams TB vs. IND
27 Robert Meachem NO at JAC
28 Mike Thomas JAC vs. NO
29 Torrey Smith BAL vs. NYJ
30 Nate Burleson DET at DAL
31 Julio Jones ATL at SEA
32 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. MIN
33 Jordy Nelson GB vs. DEN
34 Jabar Gaffney WAS at STL
35 Jacoby Ford OAK vs. NE
36 Sidney Rice SEA vs. ATL
37 Percy Harvin MIN at KC
38 Devery Henderson NO at JAC
39 Dexter McCluster KC vs. MIN
40 Brandon Gibson STL vs. WAS
41 Antonio Brown PIT at HOU
42 Danario Alexander STL vs. WAS
43 Early Doucet ARI vs. NYG
44 Jerome Simpson CIN vs. BUF
45 Victor Cruz NYG at ARI
46 Deion Branch NE at OAK
47 Brian Hartline MIA at SD
48 Michael Jenkins MIN at KC
49 Anquan Boldin BAL vs. NYJ
50 Johnny Knox CHI vs. CAR
51 Plaxico Burress NYJ at BAL
52 Mike Sims-Walker STL vs. WAS
53 Davone Bess MIA at SD
54 Malcom Floyd SD vs. MIA
55 Pierre Garcon IND at TB
56 Donald Jones BUF at CIN
57 Hines Ward PIT at HOU
58 Greg Little CLE vs. TEN
59 Mohamed Massaquoi CLE vs. TEN
60 Kevin Ogletree DAL vs. DET
61 Marques Colston NO at JAC
62 Arrelious Benn TB vs. IND
63 Dane Sanzenbacher CHI vs. CAR
64 Steve Breaston KC vs. MIN
65 Michael Crabtree SF at PHI
66 Patrick Crayton SD vs. MIA
67 Randall Cobb GB vs. DEN
68 Titus Young DET at DAL
69 Emmanuel Sanders PIT at HOU
70 Andre Roberts ARI vs. NYG
Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-4
Body:

We 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. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

2011 NFL Week 4 — Quarterback Rankings

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

Athlon Sports Week 4 Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 IDP Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 Start and Sit

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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.

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Tom Brady NE at OAK
2 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. DEN
3 Drew Brees NO at JAC
4 Matthew Stafford DET at DAL
5 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at CIN
6 Eli Manning NYG at ARI
7 Philip Rivers SD vs. MIA
8 Michael Vick PHI vs. SF
9 Matt Schaub HOU vs. PIT
10 Cam Newton CAR at CHI
11 Tony Romo DAL vs. DET
12 Ben Roethlisberger PIT at HOU
13 Jay Cutler CHI vs. CAR
14 Rex Grossman WAS at STL
15 Joe Flacco BAL vs. NYJ
16 Matt Ryan ATL at SEA
17 Jason Campbell OAK vs. NE
18 Mark Sanchez NYJ at BAL
19 Josh Freeman TB vs. IND
20 Kevin Kolb ARI vs. NYG
21 Kyle Orton DEN at GB
22 Chad Henne MIA at SD
23 Sam Bradford STL vs. WAS
24 Matt Hasselbeck TEN at CLE
25 Andy Dalton CIN vs. BUF
26 Donovan McNabb MIN at KC
27 Matt Cassel KC vs. MIN
28 Colt McCoy CLE vs. TEN
29 Blaine Gabbert JAC vs. NO
30 Tarvaris Jackson SEA vs. ATL
31 Alex Smith SF at PHI
32 Curtis Painter IND at TB
Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-4
Body:

We 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. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

2011 NFL Week 4 — Running Back Rankings

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

Athlon Sports Week 4 Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 IDP Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 4 Start and Sit

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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.

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Adrian Peterson MIN at KC
2 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. SF
3 Darren McFadden OAK vs. NE
4 Ray Rice BAL vs. NYJ
5 Matt Forte CHI vs. CAR
6 Fred Jackson BUF at CIN
7 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at ARI
8 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC vs. NO
9 LeGarrette Blount TB vs. IND
10 James Starks GB vs. DEN
11 Tim Hightower WAS at STL
12 Arian Foster HOU vs. PIT
13 Ryan Mathews SD vs. MIA
14 Peyton Hillis CLE vs. TEN
15 Jahvid Best DET at DAL
16 Felix Jones DAL vs. DET
17 Chris Johnson TEN at CLE
18 Michael Turner ATL at SEA
19 Steven Jackson STL vs. WAS
20 Darren Sproles NO at JAC
21 Mark Ingram NO at JAC
22 Frank Gore SF at PHI
23 Rashard Mendenhall PIT at HOU
24 Shonn Greene NYJ at BAL
25 Brandon Jacobs NYG at ARI
26 Mike Tolbert SD vs. MIA
27 BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE at OAK
28 Daniel Thomas MIA at SD
29 Beanie Wells ARI vs. NYG
30 Joseph Addai IND at TB
31 Cedric Benson CIN vs. BUF
32 LaDainian Tomlinson NYJ at BAL
33 Dexter McCluster KC vs. MIN
34 Jonathan Stewart CAR at CHI
35 Ben Tate HOU vs. PIT
36 Reggie Bush MIA at SD
37 Willis McGahee DEN at GB
38 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. ATL
39 DeAngelo Williams CAR at CHI
40 Knowshon Moreno DEN at GB
41 Michael Bush OAK vs. NE
42 Roy Helu WAS at STL
43 Thomas Jones KC vs. MIN
44 Pierre Thomas NO at JAC
45 Montario Hardesty CLE vs. TEN
46 Isaac Redman PIT at HOU
47 Kendall Hunter SF at PHI
48 Stevan Ridley NE at OAK
Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 15:00
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/washington-redskins-great-fantasy-defense-play-week-4
Body:

Ask Athlon Fantasy Football for Week 4

If you have any fantasy football questions for Ask Athlon, send them my way @AthlonCorby on Twitter or via email to corby.yarbrough@athlonsports.com

Who is the best NFL fantasy defense/special teams play this weekend? Vikings at Chiefs, Redskins at Rams, Bills at Bengals or the Jets at Ravens?
@AthlonBraden on Twitter
Washington gets my vote.

The Redskins have surrendered 53 points, registered eight sacks, three interceptions and now have safety LaRon Landry back in the fold. St. Louis has scored just 36 points, given up 12 sacks and has coughed up the ball five times.

Got to keep 4 of 5 running backs: Ben Tate, Mike Tolbert, Daniel Thomas, Joseph Addai, Steven Jackson.
— @jacobwoody on Twitter
If we're talking the rest of the season, Addai is the one I let set sail.

There's upside for the other four. Tate has already proven he can step in for Arian Foster; Mike Tolbert isn't going to go away in the Chargers' offense; Thomas is just heating up for Miami and Jackson will get the bulk of the carries on a team with a rising QB and an easier second-half schedule.

I don't trust Addai to be there all season — both in health and production. The vibes are terrible in Indy, and once they are completely out of the playoff race, who's to say rookie Delone Carter doesn't start getting the looks more?

Better waiver wire pick up: Knowshon Moreno, Ryan Grant or Nate Washington? And I was offered David Nelson and Mark Ingram for Reggie Wayne. Thoughts?
@Will_Chaklos on Twitter
Nate Washington because he is the clear go-to target now for the Titans. Moreno and Grant are both in time shares, and not on the majority end of said time share.

And I would jump on the Nelson/Ingram for Wayne in a second. Both are in high-scoring offenses. Wayne, as good as he has been, has a QB situation that is dreadful

If Benson gets suspended and misses Week 4, is Bernard "Great" Scott worthy of a start over Shonn Greene who is at Baltimore. PPR.
— Mike Crowther on Athlon Sports Facebook
Well, it looks like this might be a question for next week now that Benson is playing against the Bills this week; or will he be suspended at all? Either way, I would not even have Bernard Scott on a roster. Scott has barely sniffed any action — he has 2.3 fantasy points total over three games — this season and is not seen as an every-down back by his team to begin with. He has 23 yards, no catches and with the addition of Brandon Tate, is no longer part of the return game. He averaged 6.1 and 4.5 touches per game his first two seasons. This season, under new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Scott is averaging 2.6 touches.

Greene is still the bell cow for a Jets team that is struggling to run the ball, but he added a bit of PPR of his own in the loss to Oakland with seven catches on seven targets. If he can bring that part to the table each week as well, it will make up for his lackluster rushing numbers.

If Batman and Superman were to fight, who would win?
— Joe Campanelli on Athlon Sports Facebook
Unless Batman has kryptonie, I think Superman walks away with this one in a first-second knockout. Even if Batman did bring kryptonite into the ring, I'm sure Superman could gut it out for a few rounds before Miss Tessmacher, while Batman wasn't looking, slipped into the ring and pulled the kryptonite away.

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter

Athlon Sports Week 4 Fantasy Waiver Wire

Teaser:
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Post date: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 07:19
Path: /columns/waiver-wire/fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-4
Body:

Some of the players listed in Athlon Sports' NFL Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 4 may be one-week adds, some may be season-long adds and some are listed just for you to keep an eye on to stash on your roster if you have the space.

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.

Also, if you have any fantasy football questions for Week 4's Ask Athlon, send them my way @AthlonCorby on Twitter or via email to corby.yarbrough@athlonsports.com

Quarterbacks
Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee
Here's another QB that you don't want to waste your one waiver priority spot of the week on, but he has shown he can be an adequate fantasy QB; he is currently ranked 12th among fantasy QBs. Two caveats with Hasselbeck, however: He will be without stud WR Kenny Britt the remainder of the year, but his running game is also non-existent, meaning he will continue to air it out to whatever targets he can find.

Vince Young, Philadelphia
Young has not found the field to replace Vick in the three previous games due to the hamstring injury Young suffered in the preseason. And it's uncertain whether it would be Young or Mike Kafka to replace Vick were he out. I would not waste your first waiver priority on this spot, but Young is athletic, has a good deep ball and has plenty of weapons around him (Jeremy Maclin perhaps not included this week against visiting San Francisco due to a hamstring inuury) to succeed in Andy Reid's pass-happy offense.

Colt McCoy, Cleveland
He's probably not the greatest play this week with Tennessee coming to town and then a bye coming. However, McCoy returns from the bye to get a very favorable passing schedule of Oakland, Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville and Cincinnati to close out the fantasy regular season. Without the greatest of weapons in Cleveland, McCoy has scored 15 points or more each of the first three weeks. It's not great, but it's consistent.

Curtis Painter, Indianapolis
Just kidding.

Running Backs
Ryan Grant, Green Bay

He's probably not available in too many leagues, but I saw him dropped in a few leagues of mine and he is available in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues.  He's not the greatest of plays because of James Starks, but the same can be said for Starks. Both of them need to be held on to because they are in a high-powered offense and each of them is injury prone. It stinks that they are just insurance policies for each other, but it's better than some of the other options out there. Just a heads up if you've seen him sent back into the FA pool in your leagues.

Kendall Hunter, San Francisco
Ah, the dreaded (read: expected) Frank Gore injury occurred in Week 3. Gore. He injured his right ankle and is not sure of his availability in Week 4 against the Eagles. THIS is the reason you draft Hunter late. Yes, he had 26 yards on nine carries (2.9 YPC) which is terrible, but Gore's 17-for-42 (2.5 YPC) isn't getting it done, either. Hunter added two catches for 12 yards and is a dynamic presence for the 49ers, one that coach Jim Harbaugh needs to learn to use. Hunter also scored from seven yards out. Here's hoping Harbaugh will get Hunter away from the line of scrimmage and find ways to utilize his speed in open space — you know the modern NFL instead of the pounding it into the center of the line, closing your eyes and hoping your running back pops out the other side. That way's not getting it done with an offensive line that has a lot of money invested in it.

Dexter McCluster, Kansas City
I've told you to add him to your roster for the last three weeks now. The diminutive Chief is going to see a good portion of the Kansas City offense now that Jamaal Charles is on IR. He is still available in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues, 60 percent of ESPN leagues and 77 percent of NFL.com leagues. Thomas Jones proved as useless as expected against the Chargers Sunday (14 carries 31 yards), while McCluster got 14 touches for 63 yards. And touches is how you have to evaluate McCluster. He had nine carries for 45 yards and five receptions for 17 yards. That's 11.3 fantasy points in a full PPR. Todd Haley looked to McCluster just four times— all passes — in the first half as Thomas Jones wasted time. Assuming Haley looks McCluster's way earlier — I know what they say about assuming and Haley — McCluster has a real shot at breaking out this year.

Willis McGahee, Denver
It was a tough match up against the Titans as expected, but he still scored 12.9 fantasy points thanks to one of his three receptions. He also added 52 yards rushing on 22 carries. He is expected to get the bulk of the carries, as we suspected as the preseason wore down, even when a fully healthy Knowshon Moreno is active. Green Bay and San Diego are up next before the Broncos' bye, not necessarily the most appealing match ups, but his pass-catching ability still makes him a decent flex play in PPR leagues and he could roll into a decent RB2 play in the easier match ups.

Daniel Thomas, Miami
This is probably the last week he will be on this list. He should've been drafted in most leagues but a terrible preseason squashed that for many. He then was inactive in Week 1. But the Reggie Bush as lead back experiment died a quick death, and the rookie from Kansas State has started to show his worth. After a 12.2-point debut against the Texans, Thomas came back with a 20.7-point effort against the Browns. He rushed 23 times for 95 yards and caught three passes for 27 yards, including a touchdown. Bush, meanwhile, had 11 carries and one catch. See where the trend is going here. The Dolphins aren't dynamic enough to use Bush properly and Bush isn't traditional enough to be used as a lead back.

LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets
If the Jets' defense is going to continue to give up points, the Jets offense is going to have to continue to come back. And that is not done with Shonn Greene pounding the rock into the middle of the offensive line. It will be done with the pass-catching abilities of LT, who had five catches for 116 yards and 38 yards on six carries in the loss to Oakland. Pick him up and play him in games in which you think the Jets will trail — i.e. against Baltimore, New England, San Diego, Buffalo and New England four of the next six games.

Wide Receivers
Jason Avant and/or Steve Smith, Philadelphia

I wouldn't add either with a waiver priority. As a matter of fact, I would wait on news of Jeremy Maclin's hamstring injury before moving at all on either of the two. This is just a heads up. If Maclin were to miss Week 4 against San Francisco, then the door opens for either Avant or Smith. Avant has been targeted 16 times this season, catching eight for 102 yards; Smith, who didn't play in the opener, has eight targets, four catches for 56 yards. It may be a committee approach to replace Maclin if he's out, but it's a position that's been targeted 25 times to the tune of 19 catches, 260 yards and two scores through three games.

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
The split between Brown and Emmanuel Sanders was what we eyed early on as the annoyance from a pass-happy offense. Well, Brown has jumped Sanders and looks to have jumped veteran Hines Ward. Brown has 23 targets, 10 catches and 156 yards to Sanders' 11 targets, six catches, 85 yards and Week 1 score. Ward has 19 targets, 12 catches, and 117 yards. It could be something that drives you crazy all season long as these three battle it out in the fantasy world to play opposite Mike Wallace, but Brown has carried his solid preseason into the regular season and looks to be having more plays called his way as opposed to the freelancing of Sanders.

Victor Cruz, New York Giants
First, Mario Manningham (concussion) has already been cleared to play in Week 4. That's fine. The Giants still need a third receiving option. Domenik Hixon is out with an ACL. There is no fantasy-worthy TE. No. 1 Hakeem Nicks has battled knee injuries and was shut down completely against the Eagles. Then there's Manningham, his concussion and his drops in the Rams game the last time we saw him. Cruz stepped in Sunday and caught three balls for 110 yards and two scores. The slot position was golden for Eli Manning when Steve Smith manned it; if Cruz slides in there or stays on the outside, he should have success for the Giants.

Eric Decker, Denver
Decker was certainly a good add from the waiver wire last week after his 24.8-point performance. But he faced a tough match up against a Titans team that still has not allowed a 200-yard passer. Decker still managed a 10.3-point day in Athlon's .5 PPR scoring. He had seven catches off 12 targets and the Broncos are not going to shy away from the pass as Kyle Orton is 12th in the league with 110 attempts.

Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis
If Curtis Painter is the starting QB all Colts are going to be downgraded even more than they already are. The one spot of hope may be Painter's relationship with Garcon, He caught three balls for 53 yards when Painter stepped in for Kerry Collins and finished with six for 82 in the loss to the Steelers. I'm sure many owners across fantasy have bailed on Garcon through two weeks, and they should. But it's worth keeping an eye on the relationship between Garcon and Painter.

Brandon Gibson, St. Louis
He is available in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues but is Athlon's 39-best WR with 27.7 fantasy points scored. He has 20 targets, 12 catches, 157 yards and a score through three games. Mike Sims-Walker has one more target but has not done as much with the extra look — 10 catches, 133 yards no TDs. Gibson will continue to get the looks until Danny Amendola comes back, and even then it might open things up a little more for Gibson. He has at least 50 yards receiving in each of the first three games, and with the defense getting torched, he will always have opportunities.

Donald Jones, Buffalo
We told you about him Week 1 along with David Nelson. He hasn't been the most consistent of options, but you can't ignore targets. Jones got his biggest share on Sunday when Ryan Fitzpatrick looked his way 10 times and Nelson turned it into five catches for 101 yards. That comes after 11 targets, six catches and 27 yards and a score the first two weeks combined. Fitzpatrick has four passing options off the line of scrimmage — Nelson, Jones, Steve Johnson and TE Scott Chandler to go along with RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Jones is worth adding in deep leagues or if you are really getting killed at your WR spot by the likes of Kenny Britt, Jacoby Ford, Mario Manningham, etc.

Lance Moore, New Orleans
He shouldn't be on this list, but I saw he's available in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues. Perhaps he is already owned in all scoring systems where he's relevant — PPR leagues — but I'll give you some info about his season thus far anyway. After missing Week 1 with a groin and being eased in Week 2 (four targets, one catch, 6 yards), Moore blew up in Week 3 by catching all nine targets for 88 yards and a score. He will be inconsistent as a scorer each week, thanks Darren Sproles, but I think he will be the most consistent Saints WR option until Marques Colston gets back and screws it all up.

David Nelson, Buffalo
He is a top-20 receiver in Athlon's .5 PPR scoring. He was targeted eight times, catching six for 84 yards in the comeback win against New England. He has been targeted no less than six times, caught no less than four balls and had no less than 66 yards receiving each of the first three weeks. Also, he is still available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Sidney Rice, Seattle
He made his Seahawk debut and didn't fare too bad against a putrid Arizona secondary. He was targeted 10 times, catching eight balls for 109 yards from his former teammate in Minnesota, Tarvaris Jackson, under their former offensive coordinator with the Vikings, Darrell Bevil. Not much, if any good, has come from the Seattle offense through two weeks, so it was nice to see some spark in Week 3. I still can't advocate anything out of Seattle right now — well, the 20th anniversary deluxe edition of Nirvana's Nevermind comes out today. I do advocate purchasing that — but Rice plays Atlanta, New York Giants, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dallas, Baltimore, St. Louis and Washington over the next eight games. Six of the eight are allowing over 20 fantasy points a game to WRs through three weeks.

Torrey Smith, Baltimore
It doesn't get much better than your first three catches as a pro going for touchdowns, but that's what Smith did Sunday against the Rams. He stepped in for an injured Lee Evans, who still doesn't know when he will return from his ankle injury. The Ravens wanted to add vertical weapons for Joe Flacco so he could stop it with the check downs, and that was certainly on display Sunday. Smith was brought in specifically to be that vertical threat. One thing to keep in mind: Evans was also traded for a fourth-round pick to be that vertical threat. When he returns, the Ravens are not going to just let him ride the pine. So there might be a split of their workload, but Smith is worth the play now.

Titus Young, Detroit
He continues to get targets and is a speedy playmaker for the Lions. He went from seven targets, five catches and 89 yards in Week 2 to eight targets, four catches and 51 yards in Week 3. This is probably more of a name to keep an eye on as I don't see him being rostered in too many leagues, but as Matthew Stafford looks to lean less on his tight ends and more to other receivers not named Calvin Johnson, Young and Nate Burleson could be in for big years. The problem is: They could alternate weeks doing it, thus making fantasy owners quite angry. Keep an eye on Young and Burleson.

Nate Washington, Tennessee
He certainly paid off as the Sneaky Start of the Week for Week 3, grabbing eight balls for 92 yards and a score. He will have to do that and more from now on with Kenny Britt out for the season. I'm not sure if Washington can operate as the No. 1, but he is certainly worth the add to see if it works out. The Titans are struggling mightily in the run game and QB Matt Hasselbeck seems to have no problem going to the air. Washington has been targeted 27 times through three weeks this season, catching 21 for 258 yards and Sunday's score.

Tight Ends
Scott Chandler, Buffalo

I still think there are safer plays at a position so deep, but the problem with them is inconsistency. I would rather look for a player that is targeted at least six times a game on average and see what he can give me. Then there's Chandler. He hasn't received over five targets a game, but all he does is score. He's no different than playing the vulture-TD grabbing RB that LenDale White or Willis McGahee has been in the past. The Bills are going to move the ball and teams keep leaving Chandler wide open in the end zone. If Ryan Fitzpatrick's going to go to him, why shouldn't you?

Randy McMichael, San Diego
Simple: He's Antonio Gates replacement and Malcom Floyd is ineffective, groin injury or not. McMichael caught four of five targets for 51 yards in Gates' absence Sunday. If Gates, the game's top tight end, is going to be a game-time decision each week, then you need to either have insurance for him on your roster, or steal someone else's insurance. The position will be an effective one for fantasy owners, you just have to know who's playing it from week to week.

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville
He returned from a calf injury against the Panthers and was targeted just two times for 15 yards. I don't think he's an add just yet — hard to believe a guy with 10 TDs a year ago is still a "keep an eye on" player but he is available in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues. If healthy and motivated (here's hoping the big contract in the offseason didn't make him content), he can be a rookie QB's best friend for an offense that needs some help. MJD and Mike Thomas can't do it all, plus he plays in the AFC South and those teams aren't the greatest at defending the TE position — all were in the bottom half of the league against the position at at least seven fantasy points per game last season.

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Some of the players listed in Athlon Sports' NFL Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 4 may be one-week adds, some may be season-long adds and some are listed just for you to keep an eye on to stash on your roster if you have the space.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-week-3-start-sit-recap
Body:

Here's a recap of how Athlon Sports Week 3 Start or Sit suggestions worked out.

This is how I work out fantasy football scoring in my mind: I want to average 16 points from my QBs, RBs, WRs and Flex and average 10 points from my TEs, Ks and DSTs. It rarely works that way, but if you could get the skill spots to average 16 and the other three to average 10, that's 132 points in a 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 FLX, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DST setup; it's a score that should win you most weeks.

So if a player scored at least 16 or 10, I consider it a good start; if he scored less than that, it's a good sit.

Week 3 Accuracy
(according to the 16 & 10 average theory)
Starts called correctly: 7 of 21
Sits called correctly: 15 of 19
Total correct: 22 of 40 (55 percent)
Season Total: 65 of 116 (56 percent)

Sneaky Start of the Week
Nate Washington, WR, Tennessee vs. Denver — 8 catches, 92 yards, 1 TD (19.4 fantasy points)

Unexpected Sit of the Week
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants at Philadelphia — 3 catches, 25 yards (4.0)

Quarterbacks
START

Cam Newton (CAR) vs. Jacksonville — 158 yards, 1 TD, 27 rushing yards, 2-point conversion (17.02)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (BUF) vs. New England — 369 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs (22.76)
Kevin Kolb (ARI) at Seattle — 252 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 16 yards rushing (13.68)

SIT
Jay Cutler (CHI) vs. Green Bay — 302 yards, 2 TDs (23.24)
Eli Manning (NYG) at Philadelphia — 254 yards, 4 TDs (33.86)
Jason Campbell (OAK) vs. NYJ — 156 yards, 10 yards rushing (7.24)

Running Backs
START
Ryan Mathews & Mike Tolbert (SD) vs. Kansas City — Mathews 98 yards rushing, 2 TDs, 4 catches, 51 yards receiving (28.9), Tolbert 19 yards, 3 catches, 24 yards receiving (5.8)
Ben Tate (HOU) at New Orleans — 82 rushing yards, 1 catch, 8 receiving yards (9.50)
Daniel Thomas (MIA) at Cleveland — 95 yards, 3 catches, 27 receiving yards, 1 TD (19.7)

SIT
Joseph Addai (IND) vs. Pittsburgh — 86 yards, 1 TD, 1 catch, 2 receiving yards (15.3)
Mark Ingram (NO) vs. Houston — 38 yards, 1 TD, 2 catches (10.5)
Willis McGahee (DEN) at Tennessee — 52 yards, 3 catches, 2 receiving yards, 1 TD (12.9)

Wide Receivers
Start

Jabar Gaffney (WAS) at Dallas — 5 catches, 60 yards (8.5)
A.J. Green (CIN) vs. San Francisco — 4 catches, 29 yards (4.9)
Deion Branch (NE) at Buffalo — Zero catches (0.0)

SIT
Dwayne Bowe (KC) at San Diego — 4 catches, 67 yards, 1 TD (14.7)
Devin Hester (CHI) vs. Green Bay — 3 catches, 62 yards receiving, 45 return yards (8.83)
Mario Manningham (NYG) at Philadelphia — Did Not Play (concussion)

Tight Ends
START

Fred Davis (WAS) at Dallas — 1 catch, 23 yards (2.8)
Tony Gonzalez (ATL) at Tampa Bay — 2 catches, 18 yards, 1 TD (8.8)
Evan Moore and Benjamin Watson (CLE) vs. Miami — Moore 2 catches, 19 yards (2.9) Watson 5 catches, 64 yards (8.9)

SIT
Jermaine Gresham (CIN) vs. San Francisco — 4 catches 51 yards (7.1)
Jeff King (ARI) at Seattle — 0 catches (0.0)
Lance Kendricks (STL) vs. Baltimore — 2 catches, 25 yards (2.7)

Kickers
START

John Kasay (NO) vs. Houston — 6 fantasy points (Ranked T-20th)
Jason Hanson (DET) at Minnesota — 17 fantasy points (Ranked 2nd)
Nick Novak (SD) vs. Kansas City — 9 fantasy points (Ranked T-14th)

SIT
David Akers (SF) at Cincinnati — 9 fantasy points (Ranked T-14th)
Shaun Suisham (PIT) at Indianapolis — 13.5 fantasy points (Ranked 4th)
Mike Nugent (CIN) vs. San Francisco — 6 fantasy points (Ranked T-20th)

Defense/Special Teams
START

Arizona at Seattle — 12 fantasy points (Ranked T-8th)
San Diego vs. Kansas City — 6 fantasy points (Ranked T-22nd)
Tennessee vs. Denver — 8 fantasy points (Ranked T-18th)

SIT
Chicago vs. Green Bay — 7 fantasy points (Ranked T-20)
Houston at New Orleans — 4 fantasy points (Ranked T-26th)
New Orleans vs. Houston — 4 fantasy points (Ranked T-26th)

Teaser:
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Post date: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-start-sit-wide-receivers-week-3
Body:

Week 3 of the 2011 NFL season is almost ready to kickoff, which means it is time to start getting your fantasy football lineups in order. Athlon Sports will try to help you do that each week with its Start or Sit suggestions. Keep in mind that these are suggestions and you are the owner of your fantasy team, and setting your lineup comes down to what you think is right.

This is how I work out fantasy football scoring in my mind: I want to average 16 points from my QBs, RBs, WRs and Flex and average 10 points from my TEs, Ks and DSTs. It rarely works that way, but if you could get the skill spots to average 16 and the other three to average 10, that's 132 points in a 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 FLX, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DST setup; it's a score that should win you most weeks.

Check back each week for Start or Sit and see who we are giving our thumbs up or thumbs down to and whether we had success or failure the week prior.

Athlon Sports Week 3 Start and Sit

Athlon Sports Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings

Athlon Sports Week 3 Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 3 IDP Waiver

Athlon Sports Week 2 Start and Sit Success Rate

WIDE RECEIVERS
START

Jabar Gaffney (WAS) at Dallas — He is the second-most targeted receiver for Rex Grossman and together they get a banged up Cowboy secondary on Monday night. Gaffney has 15 targets, eight catches for 116 yards and a score. If the Cowboys' front can slow down Hightower and friends, Grossman should have plenty of success with Gaffney, Santana Moss and Fred Davis.

A.J. Green (CIN) vs. San Francisco — News of a toe injury certainly wasn't pleasant to hear Thursday afternoon; so monitor that. But the rapport the rookie receiver has developed with the rookie QB in Andy Dalton has been to the tune of 18 targets, 11 caches, 165 yards and two scores so far. Now they get a 49ers team coming to Cincy that allows the most points to fantasy receivers (42.9).

Deion Branch (NE) at Buffalo — No Aaron Hernandez. The Buffalo Bills' pass defense. He only trails PPR machine Wes Welker by four targets (23-19) and he has 222 yards on 15 catches to show for it. The forgotten man sometimes in New England, hasn't been so invisible through two games this season.

SIT
Dwayne Bowe (KC) at San Diego —
The only Chief worth giving a shot on the offensive side of the ball right now is Dexter McCluster. Bowe is a starting receiver, a No. 1 m and has just 16 targets so far, and the Chiefs have given up 89 points. How do you have just 16 targets when you give up 89 points? Bowe has not scored yet, and seven catches for 118 yards over two games isn't enticing, either.

Devin Hester (CHI) vs. Green Bay — Hester has been the most targeted Bear receiver through two games, garnering 14 of them, but he has caught just four balls for 77 yards. Now the team has injuries to Bennett and Williams, so coverage can roll to Hester even easier for him to do less with less against the Packers.

Mario Manningham (NYG) at Philadelphia — The concussion issue is certainly a problem. The lack of concentration on his catches and drops in the Monday night win over St. Louis was a problem. And having QB Eli Manning under pressure like he should be all game long against the Eagles is the final nail for sitting Manningham this weekend. SUNDAY UPDATE: Manningham is out with a concussion; Victor Cruz could be a sleeper flex play in his spot.
 

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter

Teaser:
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Post date: Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-3
Body:

We 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. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

2011 NFL Week 3 — Running Back Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Kickers

Defense/Special Teams

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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.

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Ray Rice BAL at STL
2 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. NYG
3 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC at CAR
4 Matt Forte CHI vs. GB
5 Adrian Peterson MIN vs. DET
6 Rashard Mendenhall PIT at IND
7 Chris Johnson TEN vs. DEN
8 Michael Turner ATL at TB
9 Darren McFadden OAK vs. NYJ
10 Jahvid Best DET at MIN
11 Beanie Wells ARI at SEA
12 Ben Tate HOU at NO
13 Steven Jackson STL vs. BAL
14 Frank Gore SF at CIN
15 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at PHI
16 Ryan Mathews SD vs. KC
17 Mike Tolbert SD vs. KC
18 BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE at BUF
19 Fred Jackson BUF vs. NE
20 Daniel Thomas MIA at CLE
21 LeGarrette Blount TB vs. ATL
22 Montario Hardesty CLE vs, MIA
23 James Starks GB at CHI
24 Tim Hightower WAS at DAL
25 Shonn Greene NYJ at OAK
26 Cedric Benson CIN vs. SF
27 Willis McGahee DEN at TEN
28 Darren Sproles NO vs. HOU
29 Felix Jones DAL vs. WAS
30 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. JAC
31 Dexter McCluster KC at SD
32 Brandon Jacobs NYG at PHI
33 Mark Ingram NO vs. HOU
34 Reggie Bush MIA at CLE
35 Knowshon Moreno DEN at TEN
36 Danny Woodhead NE at BUF
37 Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. JAC
38 LaDainian Tomlinson NYJ at OAK
39 Michael Bush OAK vs. NYJ
40 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. ARI
41 C.J. Spiller BUF vs. NE
42 Joseph Addai IND vs. PIT
43 Roy Helu WAS at DAL
44 Jerious Norwood STL vs. BAL
45 Thomas Jones KC at SD
46 Ryan Grant GB at CHI
47 Isaac Redman PIT at IND
48 DeMarco Murray DAL vs. WAS

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 12:00
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-rankings-week-3
Body:

We 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. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Kickers

Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 3 Start and Sit

Athlon Sports Week 3 Waiver Wire

Athlon Sports Week 3 IDP Waiver

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:
<br />
Post date: Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-3
Body:

We 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. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

2011 NFL Week 3 — Tight End Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Kickers

Defense/Special Teams

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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.

*If Gates doesn't play, San Diego backup TE Randy McMichael is starter caliber in 12-team leagues.

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Jason Witten DAL vs. WAS
2 Antonio Gates* SD vs. KC
3 Fred Davis WAS at DAL
4 Rob Gronkowski NE at BUF
5 Jermichael Finley GB at CHI
6 Evan Moore CLE vs. MIA
7 Tony Gonzalez ATL at TB
8 Dustin Keller NYJ at OAK
9 Jimmy Graham NO vs. HOU
10 Owen Daniels HOU at NO
11 Vernon Davis SF at CIN
12 Dallas Clark IND vs. PIT
13 Benjamin Watson CLE vs. MIA
14 Greg Olsen CAR vs. JAC
15 Tony Scheffler DET at MIN
16 Marcedes Lewis JAC at CAR
17 Scott Chandler BUF vs. NE
18 Kellen Winslow TB vs. ATL
19 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. SF
20 Kevin Boss OAK vs. NYJ
21 Jared Cook TEN vs. DEN
22 Brandon Pettigrew DET at MIN
23 Ed Dickson BAL at STL
24 Heath Miller PIT at IND
25 Brent Celek PHI vs. NYG
26 Jeremy Shockey CAR vs. JAC
27 Leonard Pope KC at SD
28 Chris Cooley WAS at DAL
29 Lance Kendricks STL vs. BAL
30 Jeff King ARI at SEA
31 Travis Beckum NYG at PHI
32 Zach Miller SEA vs. ARI

Teaser:
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Post date: Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 07:00

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