Articles By Mark Ross

Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-quarterback-rankings-week-8
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Peyton Manning not only laid claim to another record, he also holds the No. 1 spot in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings for Week 8. With four touchdown passes in Denver’s convincing win over San Francisco, Manning passed Brett Favre’s 508 career touchdown pass total, a number he’s likely to put completely out of reach before he retires. Manning and the Broncos have a short turnaround this week with Philip Rivers and the Chargers on tap for Thursday night. Meanwhile, no quarterback has been hotter recently than Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay has won its past four games by an average of 19.3 points, as Rodgers has looked the part of an MVP candidate: 71 percent completion rate, 977 yards, 13 TDs and no interceptions. Rodgers will look to continue his hot streak when he goes head-to-head against Drew Brees and the Saints in the Superdome on Sunday night.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

 

Teams on bye: New York Giants, San Francisco

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Peyton ManningDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
2Aaron RodgersGBat NO
3Andrew LuckINDat PIT
4Drew BreesNOvs. GB
5Russell WilsonSEAat CAR
6Philip RiversSDat DEN (Thurs.)
7Tom BradyNEvs. CHI
8Tony RomoDALvs. WAS (Mon.)
9Jay CutlerCHIat NE
10Nick FolesPHIat ARI
11Carson PalmerARIvs. PHI
12Matthew StaffordDETvs. ATL (London)
13Cam NewtonCARvs. SEA
14Ryan TannehillMIAat JAC
15Matt RyanATLvs. DET (London)
16Alex SmithKCvs. STL
17Joe FlaccoBALat CIN
18Ben RoethlisbergerPITvs. IND
19Kyle OrtonBUFat NYJ
20Andy DaltonCINvs. BAL
21Mike GlennonTBvs. MIN
22Austin DavisSTLat KC
23Teddy BridgewaterMINat TB
24Brian HoyerCLEvs. OAK
25Geno SmithNYJvs. BUF
26Ryan FitzpatrickHOUat TEN

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Quarterback Rankings: Week 8
Post date: Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-8
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Sometimes it’s all about matchups and that’s definitely the case here as it relates to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings for Week 8. For the season, Miami’s DST Is averaging 10.2 fantasy points (Athlon scoring), which places the Dolphins seventh. Jacksonville has allowed the most sacks in the NFL and is giving up 15.1 fantasy points per game to opposing DSTs. Sometimes it really is that simple. If Miami isn’t to your liking or is unavailable in your league perhaps Indianapolis’ DST would interest you? The Colts may have Andrew Luck, but this defense is coming off of a shutout of the Bengals and has posted double-digit fantasy points in each of their past five games. Indy also is one spot ahead of Miami in terms of fantasy points per game (10.9) on the season.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

 

Teams on bye: New York Giants, San Francisco

 

RankPlayerOpp
1Miami Dolphinsat JAC
2Detroit Lionsvs. ATL (London)
3Buffalo Billsat NYJ
4Houston Texansat TEN
5Dallas Cowboysvs. WAS (Mon.)
6New England Patriotsvs. CHI
7Kansas City Chiefsvs. STL
8Baltimore Ravensat CIN
9Denver Broncosvs. SD (Thurs.)
10Indianapolis Coltsat PIT
11Philadelphia Eaglesat ARI
12Seattle Seahawksat CAR
13Arizona Cardinalsvs. PHI
14Cleveland Brownsvs. OAK
15Cincinnati Bengalsvs. BAL
16Tampa Bay Buccaneersvs. MIN

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 8
Post date: Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-tight-end-rankings-week-8
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Julius Thomas didn’t catch a touchdown pass for the first game this season, but that’s not enough to knock him from his perch atop Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 8. As good as Thomas has been, however, Greg Olsen currently leads TEs in fantasy points. Thomas’ nine touchdown grabs are still pacing not only his position, but the entire NFL, while perennial fantasy stud Antonio Gates isn’t too far behind with seven. Injuries also continue to be a factor. Jimmy Graham’s sprained shoulder didn’t prevent him from playing last week, but he was nothing more than a decoy (2 targets, 0 catches) in the Saints’ loss to the Lions. Now Graham owners must decide whether to take their chances on starting him this week or look elsewhere.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

 

Teams on bye: New York Giants, San Francisco

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Julius ThomasDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
2Rob GronkowskiNEvs. CHI
3Greg OlsenCARvs. SEA
4Martellus BennettCHIat NE
5Antonio GatesSDat DEN (Thurs.)
6Jimmy GrahamNOvs. GB
7Delanie WalkerTENvs. HOU
8Jordan ReedWASat DAL (Mon.)
9Travis KelceKCvs. STL
10Dwayne AllenINDat PIT
11Zach ErtzPHIat ARI
12Jordan CameronCLEvs. OAK
13Owen DanielsBALat CIN
14Jason WittenDALvs. WAS (Mon.)
15Charles ClayMIAat JAC
16Heath MillerPITvs. IND
17Coby FleenerINDat PIT
18Jared CookSTLat KC
19Clay HarborJACvs. MIA
20Jace AmaroNYJvs. BUF
21Scott ChandlerBUFat NYJ
22Austin Seferian-JenkinsTBvs. MIN
23Niles PaulWASat DAL (Mon.)
24Jermaine GreshamCINvs. BAL

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Tight End Rankings: Week 8
Post date: Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-wide-receiver-rankings-week-8
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Demaryius Thomas isn’t leading his position in fantasy points, but no one has been more productive recently, which is why he leads off Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings for Week 8. Besides helping teammate Peyton Manning make history on Sunday night, Thomas has caught five touchdown passes in the last three games alone while scoring a total of 95.1 fantasy points (Athlon scoring) during that span. In other WR news, the hope is that A.J. Green will be back after missing the past two games with a toe injury. Our No. 9 ranking shows that we share in this optimism, but this is definitely a situation to keep an eye on as the week progresses. The outlook isn’t as promising, however, as it relates to Calvin Johnson. Megatron did return to practice this week, which is a good sign, but with Detroit’s bye on the horizon there’s really no reason to rush him back for Sunday’s game in London against Atlanta. Especially considering how well Golden Tate has played in Johnson’s absence. In the last four games, Tate has put up Megatron-esque numbers (32 rec., 448 yds., 2 TDs), which is why he checks in at No. 7 this week.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

 

Teams on bye: New York Giants, San Francisco

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Demaryius ThomasDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
2Jordy NelsonGBat NO
3Dez BryantDALvs. WAS (Mon.)
4Antonio BrownPITvs. IND
5Randall CobbGBat NO
6Jeremy MaclinPHIat ARI
7Golden TateDETvs. ATL (London)
8Julio JonesATLvs. DET (London)
9A.J. GreenCINvs. BAL
10T.Y. HiltonINDat PIT
11Mike WallaceMIAat JAC
12Emmanuel SandersDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
13Brandon MarshallCHIat NE
14Julian EdelmanNEvs. CHI
15Alshon JefferyCHIat NE
16Steve SmithBALat CIN
17Andre JohnsonHOUat TEN
18Vincent JacksonTBvs. MIN
19Michael FloydARIvs. PHI
20Kelvin BenjaminCARvs. SEA
21Sammy WatkinsBUFat NYJ
22DeSean JacksonWASat DAL (Mon.)
23Pierre GarconWASat DAL (Mon.)
24Terrance WilliamsDALvs. WAS (Mon.)
25Doug BaldwinSEAat CAR
26Roddy WhiteATLvs. DET (London)
27Marques ColstonNOvs. GB
28DeAndre HopkinsHOUat TEN
29Keenan AllenSDat DEN (Thurs.)
30Larry FitzgeraldARIvs. PHI
31Percy HarvinNYJvs. BUF
32Torrey SmithBALat CIN
33Brandin CooksNOvs. GB
34Eric DeckerNYJvs. BUF
35Kendall WrightTENvs. HOU
36Brian QuickSTLat KC
37Mohamed SanuCINvs. BAL
38Wes WelkerDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
39James JonesOAKat CLE
40Andre HolmesOAKat CLE
41Dwayne BoweKCvs. STL
42Cecil ShortsJACvs. MIA
43Greg JenningsMINat TB
44Mike EvansTBvs. MIN
45Justin HunterTENvs. HOU
46Cordarrelle PattersonMINat TB
47Brandon LaFellNEvs. CHI
48Malcom FloydSDat DEN (Thurs.)

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 8
Post date: Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-running-back-rankings-week-8
Body:

No surprise that DeMarco Murray continues to lead the way in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Week 8. Not only is Murray leading the NFL in rushing by nearly 300 yards, he also is the first player in history to post seven straight 100-yard games to start the season. Murray faces an interesting test Monday night against a Washington defense that’s been pretty good against the run. Meanwhile, last year’s rushing champion, LeSean McCoy, finally broke through in a big way two weeks ago with 149 yards rushing against the Giants. McCoy should be fresh coming off of a bye, but he must head out West for a showdown against Arizona’s stingy defense. The Cardinals are No. 1 in the league in rushing defense and in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. McCoy’s a must-start player, but he barely made our top 10 because of this matchup.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

Teams on bye: New York Giants, San Francisco

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1DeMarco MurrayDALvs. WAS (Mon.)
2Matt ForteCHIat NE
3Marshawn LynchSEAat CAR
4Arian FosterHOUat TEN
5Jamaal CharlesKCvs. STL
6Le'Veon BellPITvs. IND
7Andre EllingtonARIvs. PHI
8Lamar MillerMIAat JAC
9LeSean McCoyPHIat ARI
10Eddie LacyGBat NO
11Justin ForsettBALat CIN
12Ben TateCLEvs. OAK
13Giovani BernardCINvs. BAL
14Joique BellDETvs. ATL (London)
15Ahmad BradshawINDat PIT
16Branden OliverSDat DEN (Thurs.)
17Shane VereenNEvs. CHI
18Ronnie HillmanDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
19Alfred MorrisWASat DAL (Mon.)
20Jerick McKinnonMINat TB
21Chris IvoryNYJvs. BUF
22Mark IngramNOvs. GB
23Doug MartinTBvs. MIN
24Tre MasonSTLat KC
25Darren McFaddenOAKat CLE
26Reggie BushDETvs. ATL (London)
27Bishop SankeyTENvs. HOU
28Anthony DixonBUFat NYJ
29Denard RobinsonJACvs. MIA
30Trent RichardsonINDat PIT
31Steven JacksonATLvs. DET (London)
32Isaiah CrowellCLEvs. OAK
33Jonathan StewartCARvs. SEA
34Darren SprolesPHIat ARI
35Khiry RobinsonNOvs. GB
36Bernard PierceBALat CIN
37Bobby RaineyTBvs. MIN
38James StarksGBat NO
39Bryce BrownBUFat NYJ
40Benny CunninghamSTLat KC
41Jeremy HillCINvs. BAL
42Chris JohnsonNYJvs. BUF
43Knile DavisKCvs. STL
44Matt AsiataMINat TB
45Travaris CadetNOvs. GB
46Stepfan TaylorARIvs. PHI
47Zac StacySTLat KC
48Alfred BlueHOUat TEN

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Running Back Rankings: Week 8
Post date: Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-kicker-rankings-week-8
Body:

Stephen Gostkowski continues to lead the way in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings for Week 8, but a rookie out West also has made an impact with his leg. Chandler Catanzaro has rewarded the faith Arizona showed in the undrafted rookie from Clemson. The Cardinals cut veteran Jay Feely late in training camp, handing the starting kicking job to Catanzaro and all he’s done is go 11-for-11 on extra points and 15-for-15 on field goals, including six-for-six from 40 yards and out. He’s a top 10 fantasy kicker right now and don’t forget that unlike some of the others ahead of him, Catanzaro has played one less game because of a bye.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

 

Teams on bye: New York Giants, San Francisco

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. CHI
2Dan BaileyDALvs. WAS (Mon.)
3Adam VinatieriINDat PIT
4Chandler CatanzaroARIvs. PHI
5Justin TuckerBALat CIN
6Brandon McManusDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
7Cody ParkeyPHIat ARI
8Steven HauschkaSEAat CAR
9Nick NovakSDat DEN (Thurs.)
10Blair WalshMINat TB
11Mason CrosbyGBat NO
12Dan CarpenterBUFat NYJ
13Shaun SuishamPITvs. IND
14Robbie GouldCHIat NE
15Caleb SturgisMIAat JAC
16Matt BryantATLvs. DET (London)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Kicker Rankings: Week 8
Post date: Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-waiver-wire-week-8
Body:

While injuries continue to leave their mark on the fantasy landscape, the Week 8 outlook has already been impacted by something that happened off of the field. On Saturday, Seattle traded wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Jets for a conditional 2015 draft pick, shaking up the depth chart at the position for both teams. As it relates to this exercise, the biggest beneficiaries appear to be Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse (see below), both of whom could be available in your league.

 

Elsewhere, both of Buffalo’s starting running backs had to be carted off the field on Sunday while new ball carriers appear to be emerging for Jacksonville and St. Louis. And that’s just part of the waiver wire story this week with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay coming back from bye and the New York Giants and San Francisco taking Week 8 off.

 

Athlon Sports is here to help you sort through some of the potential free agent options. The players listed in our weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding on to all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may simply want to keep an eye on.

 

Teams on bye: New York Giants, San Francisco

 

Quarterbacks

 

Week 7 Recap: Joe Flacco didn’t repeat his five-touchdown performance from Week 6, but he did add two more to his season total. He also threw two picks, but it didn’t matter much in the Ravens’ 29-7 win over the Falcons. Flacco is still solidly among the top 10 QBs in fantasy scoring for the season.

 

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

The bruised nerve in his shoulder doesn’t look it’s just going to go away, so Palmer definitely carries a fair amount of injury risk. However, he’s made two straight starts now and in the three games he has played, Palmer’s averaged 23 fantasy points per game (Athlon scoring). Even though it’s a small sample size, Palmer’s per-game average ranks him sixth among QBs for the season. Arizona has enough weapons and a solid enough offensive line, along with a pretty good defense that can create additional scoring opportunities, to at least put Palmer in a position where he can score 20 or more fantasy points on a weekly basis. The question becomes is that enough of a potential reward to accept the inherent risk that comes with Palmer’s shoulder?

 

Running Backs

 

Week 7 Recap: Mark Ingram played for the first time since breaking his hand in Week 2, but he was ineffective (10 att., 16 yds.) against Detroit’s front seven. Neither Ben Tate nor Isaiah Crowell (7 att., 18 yds.) could find any room to run against Jacksonville, as the Browns finished with just 69 yards rushing on 30 carries in the loss to the Jaguars. And Shane Vereen completely dominated the touches on offense (16 total, 114 yds., 2 TDs) in New England’s Thursday night win over the Jets, as Brandon Bolden caught one pass for four yards and didn’t get a single carry.

 

Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon, Buffalo Bills

Sunday’s last-second win against Minnesota was a costly one for Buffalo’s backfield. C.J. Spiller broke his collarbone, most likely ending his season, while Fred Jackson could miss up to a month because of a groin injury. That left Dixon (13 att., 51 yds.) to carry the load. Dixon has been nothing special in his five seasons (3.4 ypc), but he could provide some value, especially if he gets 15-20 carries per game. Whether that happens or not could depend somewhat on Brown. Philadelphia’s seventh-round draft pick in 2012, Brown posted three 100-yard rushing games with the Eagles, including 347 in back-to-back contests in 2012. Acquired by Buffalo via trade during this year’s draft, Brown has yet to see any game action with the Bills, but that could change given the injury situation. Dixon may get the nod for the short term, but Brown carries more upside and seems to be a better fit to fill Spiller’s role after Jackson returns.

 

Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams

It has taken some time, but Mason may finally be taking over as the Rams’ No. 1 ball carrier. The third-round pick didn’t get a single carry in the team’s first four games, but he’s picked up 125 yards on 23 carries (5.4 ypc) over the last two. He led the way with 85 yards on 18 carries and scored his first career touchdown in the impressive win against Seattle on Sunday. Perhaps even more telling than Mason’s increased workload is the fact that starter Zac Stacy and backup Benny Cunningham combined for just two carries, and both of those were by Cunningham. Whether Mason has officially replaced Stacy atop the depth chart remains to be seen, but he’s definitely the hot hand right now and at minimum should be back on your radar.

 

Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars won their first game of the season thanks in large part to Robinson’s 127 yards rushing. Toby Gerhart was sidelined with a foot injury and rookie Storm Johnson got just six carries (16 yds., TD), leaving the rest up to Robinson. The former college quarterback, who also has been used as a wide receiver, wound up with 22 carries and averaged nearly six yards per tote (5.8 ypc) against the Browns. He also scored on an eight-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Even when Gerhart returns, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch may choose to stick with Robinson, since he’s been the Jags’ most productive back thus far. And in some leagues, Robinson may carry eligibility at both RB and WR, which only increases his appeal.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Week 7 Recap: As expected, Rueben Randle led the Giants in targets (nine), while finishing second in both catches (six) and yards (74) in the loss to the Cowboys. The Giants are on bye, but Randle will maintain his status as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver moving forward. Mohamed Sanu shared in the Bengals’ struggles against the Colts, catching just three of nine targets for 54 yards in the shutout loss. Brandon LeFell took a backseat to the Shane Vereen show on Thursday night, but he still topped all Patriot wide receivers in yards with 55. Arizona did a good job limiting Oakland’s big plays, as the Raiders had just one catch of 20 or more yards and it wasn’t by Andre Holmes (3 rec., 34 yds.).

 

Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, Seattle Seahawks

It was quite a weekend for the defending Super Bowl champions, who bid farewell to Percy Harvin before losing to St. Louis on the road. Trading Harvin to the Jets may actually end up being addition by subtraction for the Seahawks and it’s definitely a positive from a fantasy standpoint for Baldwin and possibly Kearse. With Harvin gone, Baldwin is without question Russell Wilson’s No. 1 target, which was evident following the 11 targets Baldwin got against the Rams. He finished with seven catches for 123 yards and a touchdown and there’s no reason to not expect similar production moving forward. Baldwin moves from borderline WR3/flex territory to becoming a pretty safe WR2 with upside. Kearse likewise also could benefit since he takes over as the starter opposite Baldwin. He averaged 16.7 yards on his three catches against St. Louis and Kearse in essence is now what Baldwin was when Harvin was still in Seattle.

 

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Evans injured his groin in the Buccaneers’ Week 4 win in Pittsburgh. Originally expected to miss between two to four weeks, Evans returned last week against Baltimore, catching his second touchdown in as many games. Now coming off of the bye, Evans has had more time to heal and could be in position to capitalize. After getting off to a slow start, Evans has averaged seven targets over his last three games. He’s caught at least four passes in every game, but has been more productive since Mike Glennon took over for an injured Josh McCown. With the hope that Evans is back to close to being 100 percent healthy, the former Texas A&M star may be ready to show the rest of the league why he was the seventh player taken in May’s draft.

 

Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins

Mike Wallace is the Dolphins’ No. 1 target, but the Miami wide receiver that has made the most waves recently has been Landry. The Fins’ second-round pick in May, Landry has averaged six targets over Miami’s last five games and he caught his first touchdown two weeks ago against Green Bay. This past Sunday, he tied tight end Charles Clay (see below) for second in targets (five) and matched Wallace’s 46 yards receiving in the win in Chicago. At minimum, Landry has replaced Brandon Gibson as the team’s slot receiver, so the rookie should see a fair amount of looks moving forward.

 

Tight Ends

 

Week 7 Recap: Jordan Reed tied for the team lead in targets (six), catching five passes for 54 yards in the Redskins’ win over the Titans. Jimmy Graham ended up playing against Detroit and although he didn’t catch a pass (2 targets), his mere presence pretty much negated any impact Benjamin Watson’s (1 rec., 3 yds.) might have had otherwise.

 

Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins

It’s just one game, but hopefully it’s the start of Clay’s return to fantasy relevance. After doing next to nothing over the first five games, Clay finished with a season-high 58 yards and, more importantly, caught his first touchdown pass since Week 14 of last season in the Dolphins’ road win in Chicago. Clay has been dealing with a knee injury since Week 1, but looked awfully spry against the Bears. I’m not ready to reinstall Clay as an every-week TE1 starting option, but he’s definitely someone I would keep a close eye on moving forward. Don’t forget, Clay was No. 7 in fantasy points among TEs last season.


Defense/Special Teams

 

Week 7 Recap: Buffalo’s DST did indeed bounce back on Sunday against Minnesota, registering five sacks and two INTs on its way to 12 fantasy points. Next up for the Bills, a visit to the Big Apple to play a Jets team that’s ranked sixth in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing DSTs.

 

Indianapolis Colts

Yes, the Colts have Andrew Luck, but maybe it’s time to start taking this defense a little more seriously. Following Sunday’s shutout of Cincinnati, Indianapolis’ DST has posted double-digit fantasy points in five straight games. The Colts have averaged four sacks per game during this span, along with a total of 11 takeaways. For the season, Indy’s DST is sixth in fantasy points and that’s after scoring just three total in the first two games (at DEN, PHI). 

 

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.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Waiver Wire: Week 8
Post date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: AFC, Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/houston-texans-vs-pittsburgh-steelers-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Two teams that missed the playoffs last season aiming to get on the right side of .500 will finish off Week 7 in the NFL when the Houston Texans take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” The Texans (3-3) are hoping to put an end to their two-game losing streak while the Steelers (3-3) are looking to bounce back at Heinz Field after a somewhat surprising 31-10 divisional setback to Cleveland last week.

 

After going 2-14 last season, results that netted Houston both a new head coach (Bill O’Brien) and the No. 1 pick in the draft (Jadeveon Clowney), the Texans got off to a 2-0 start, but have lost to the Cowboys in overtime and at home to the Colts in their last two games. Pittsburgh has gone 8-8 in each of the last two seasons, missing the playoffs both times, and has started this season by alternating wins and losses. Both teams are looking up in their respective divisions, but a win tonight would allow the victor to keep pace with the current leader.

 

Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Pittsburgh -3.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. J.J. Watt, 2014 NFL MVP?

With apologies to early MVP contenders like DeMarco Murray (league’s leading rusher by a wide margin), Andrew Luck (1,987 yards passing, 19 total TDs), and Philip Rivers (117.6 passer rating, 15:2 TD:INT ratio for 5-1 Chargers), there’s a guy on the other side of the ball who’s putting together an impressive award-worthy season of his own. Six games into the season, not only is J.J. Watt well on his way to taking home his second Defensive Player of the Year award (2012), he also is on the short list of MVP candidates. Houston’s All-Pro defensive end has four sacks and a league-leading 20 quarterback hits, but he’s much more than just a pass-rushing specialist, as evidenced by his six pass breakups (tied with Baltimore DT Haloti Ngata for most by a DL), two fumble recoveries, an interception and a blocked extra point on special teams. Watt also has three touchdowns – one on an 80-yard interception return, another on a 45-yard fumble return and the last coming on a one-yard catch when he lined up as a tight end. So not only has Watt scored more touchdowns thus far than the likes of Calvin Johnson, Frank Gore and many others, he also has as many receiving touchdowns as Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald and teammate Andre Johnson. Watt is making the six-year, $100 million contract extension he signed in September look like a bargain. And if Pittsburgh’s offensive line, which has already given up 17 sacks, and Ben Roethlisberger (3 INTs, 2 lost fumbles) aren’t careful, they may inadvertently end up endorsing Watt’s MVP candidacy tonight.

 

 

2. A More Balanced Pittsburgh Offense?

Entering Week 7, the Steelers rank sixth in the NFL in total offense (396.5 ypg). Their ground game is fifth (137.3 ypg), while the aerial attack checks in at No. 11 (259.2 ypg). Mike Tomlin’s offense is in good hands with Ben Roethlisberger orchestrating things and Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown leading the way, but this unit needs to figure out how to get more production from others, especially in the passing game. Bell is second in the league in rushing (542 yards) and Brown is second in receiving (629) and they also are their team’s leading pass-catchers (Brown 41 receptions, Bell 28). Combined, this duo has been responsible for 60 percent of the team’s total offense and nearly half (6) of the offensive touchdowns (13). Tight end Heath Miller has been a reliable and productive target for Roethlisberger for years and wide receiver Markus Wheaton was expected to emerge following an injury-plagued rookie season, but both have had minimal impacts thus far. They have combined for 50 catches and just one score. This is one of the reasons why despite all of the yards gained, the Steelers are just 23rd in the league in scoring offense (20.7 ppg). Others need to step up on offense or else Bell and Brown’s Pro Bowl-caliber efforts could wind up going to waste. And the same could be said for the Steelers’ postseason hopes too.

 

3. Houston, We’ve Had a Problem… Passing the Football

The Texans are a top 10 team when it comes to running the football (128.5 ypg), but languish in the bottom five in passing offense (208.5). This is why Bill O’Brien’s squad is middle of the pack or worse in both total (337.0 ypg, 19th in NFL) and scoring (22.0 ppg, tied for 21st) offense and is seeking to put an end to its two-game losing streak. Despite missing some time because of a hamstring injury, Arian Foster is third in the league in rushing (513 yards) and has five touchdowns, which is already more than all of last season (two TDs in eight games). Ryan Fitzpatrick on the other hand, hasn’t been near as productive in his first season as Houston’s starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick is averaging 211 yards passing per game with as many touchdowns as interceptions (six each). He’s ranked 12th in completion rate (65.0), but only 24th among starters in passer rating (86.1). All-Pro Andre Johnson and 2013 first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins have combined for just four touchdown catches and only 11 plays of 20 or more yards. And after Foster’s 16 receptions, the only other Texan with at least 10 is tight end Garrett Graham. Houston’s offense has been effective on the ground, but that could change if the passing game continues to sputter. It’s very hard to win in the NFL with a one-dimensional offense, unless that one dimension is throwing the football. And even then you need a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback to get the job done. Care to guess how many Pro Bowls Fitzpatrick has been invited to?

 

Final Analysis

 

J.J. Watt is a grown man and one of the few players in the NFL who is capable of winning a game by himself. Pittsburgh doesn’t have a defensive playmaker close to Watt’s level, but the Steelers are a more talented, well-rounded team. As talented as Watt is, even he can’t do enough as a tight end to make up for Houston’s inefficiencies on offense. Another heavy dose of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown will be enough to counter a big night from Arian Foster on the ground and Watt’s unrelenting and imposing presence on defense. Pittsburgh sticks to the script it has written thus far by following up last week’s disheartening loss with a satisfying win in front of the home crowd.

 
Prediction: Pittsburgh 24, Houston 20
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The losers of the past two Super Bowls will take the next step in their quest to get back to that stage when the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos face off tonight on NBC. Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers (4-2) have won three in a row while John Fox’s Broncos (4-1) have won both of their games since their Week 4 bye.

 

These two franchises have spilt their previous 12 regular-season meetings, but it’s the one postseason affair that will always be remembered. San Francisco destroyed Denver 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV, a title game rout that still holds the record for largest margin of victory.

 

San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Denver -6.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Manning Makes More History?

After throwing three touchdown passes last week against the Jets, Peyton Manning has 506 in his career. He needs just three more to pass Brett Favre for No. 1 on the all-time list. Even though Manning is well off of his record-setting pace from last season, he’s still tied for second in the NFL in touchdown passes (15) and is third in passer rating (110.5). He’s thrown just three interceptions while completing 67 percent of his passes. Manning is averaging three touchdowns per game, so he just needs an “average” game against San Francisco to get the record. Will it come tonight? While Manning is focused more on winning than breaking records, it should be pointed out that the 49ers are just one of two teams (Browns the other) Manning has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns against in his career. In four regular-season games, Manning is 2-2 versus San Francisco with six picks compared to five touchdowns and an 81.8 passer rating. Based on his past history, it will take a career-best showing against this 49ers defense for Manning to stake his claim to yet another record. 

 

2. San Francisco’s Spilt Personality on Offense

A signature of John Harbaugh’s teams has been an offense built around running the football. In each of his three seasons as the 49ers head coach, the team has ranked eighth or better in the NFL in rushing offense. San Francisco currently ranks seventh in that category, averaging 135.7 yards rushing per game and trails only Dallas in rushing attempts (192). The formula for the 49ers thus far has been pretty simple – run the ball 30 or more times and win. In four wins, Harbaugh’s team has averaged nearly 36 carries and 151.3 yards rushing per game. In the two losses those numbers drop to 25 and 104.5. While that seems pretty straightforward, San Francisco flipped the script on Monday night when the 49ers had more passing attempts (36) than rushing attempts (30) in the win in St. Louis. To be fair, Colin Kaepernick was more than effective throwing against the Rams’ defense, finishing with a season-high 343 yards and three touchdowns, while the team gained just 89 yards on the ground. The issue is that prior to Monday night, the 49ers had lost the two previous games in which they threw the ball more than they ran it. So as tempting as it may be to let Kaepernick throw it all over the field, the more effective strategy for San Francisco has been to establish the run and use it to wear down the opposition. However, this may be easier said than done tonight. For one, Denver’s offense is certainly capable of striking early and often, putting teams in a position where they are forced to throw to try and keep up. Secondly, the Broncos’ remade defense has been very effective against the run, checking in at No. 4 in the league at 76.8 yards per game. In fact, they are just ahead of the 49ers (79.8) in that category. So while good things tend to happen when San Francisco runs the ball, the question becomes will tonight’s opponent and/or game flow allow the 49ers to do just that?

 

3. Broncos Finding Balance?

Everyone knows about Peyton Manning and Denver’s potent passing attack. And even though the Broncos’ offense is not piling up the yards or points at the record-setting pace it did last season, it’s still been highly effective. Denver is averaging 389 yards (9th in the NFL) and 29.4 points per game (3rd), while wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both rank in the top 10 in the league in yards receiving and tight end Julius Thomas leads the NFL in touchdowns (nine). But everyone also remembers how Seattle manhandled the AFC champions in Super Bowl XLVIII, which made it painfully clear to Broncos general manager John Elway that he needed to beef up his defense and develop a more balanced offense. Elway spent a lot of money in free agency on the defensive side of the ball, while pinning his hopes of a more effective ground game on second-year running back Montee Ball. Even though Ball suffered a groin strain two weeks ago and wasn’t that productive when he was on the field, Elway’s master plan is starting to bear some fruit. Denver’s defense currently ranks fourth in the league in yards allowed, which is better than the offense. The Broncos are giving up less than 21 points per game and also have been very solid against the run (76.8 ypg, 4th). And while the rushing offense is well back in the pack (91.2 ypg, 26th), Denver has averaged 115 yards per game since its Week 4 bye and has done this against two pretty decent defenses (Arizona and the New York Jets). Ronnie Hillman rushed for 100 last week in his first start as Ball’s replacement and the more success he and the other backs have moving forward will only make things easier on Manning and the passing game. But again, if the defense continues to play as well as it has, the offense won’t need to carry this team by itself. In other words, the Broncos are sticking to the blueprint that Elway laid out in the offseason.

 

Final Analysis

 

After an early rough patch, San Francisco has turned things around in large part by doing what it does best – run the football. Denver meanwhile has started to change its image, as the defense has kept up with the offense in terms of statistical success. The 49ers’ defense is still pretty good in its own right, but its depth has been tested constantly due to injuries and Aldon Smith’s nine-game suspension. Even with Peyton Manning on the verge of breaking Brett Favre’s record for career touchdown passes, the key to this game is the other side of the ball. In that respect, I think Jim Harbaugh’s defense is just too banged up and will eventually wear down in the thin air at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Manning may not break Favre’s record tonight, but he’ll still get the chance to celebrate after the game.

 
Prediction: Denver 27, San Francisco 20
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Detroit figures to be without its No. 1 wide receiver in Week 7, while Carolina is hoping its top wideout will be cleared to play. Here are some key WR injuries to read up on before setting your starting lineup.

 

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers

Questionable – Concussion
The Panthers’ first-round pick suffered a concussion last week against the Bengals. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday while going through the league-mandated concussion protocols, but was a full go on Friday. He’s listed as Questionable, and did make the trip with the team to Green Bay, which is a good sign he's at least on track to play. Benjamin has been as good as advertised in his first season, currently just outside of the top 10 in fantasy points at his position. All indications are that Benjamin will be cleared to play, and if he's out there, he needs to be in your lineup.

 

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints

Questionable - Ankle
While the mere fact that Johnson has gone from Doubtful last week to Questionable is a good sign, I wouldn’t get my hopes up too much. He missed all of practice for the second straight week, and Jim Caldwell went as far to say “miracles have happened” when asked about Johnson’s chances to play. Johnson himself said he doesn’t intend to return until he’s confident he’s 100 percent, so it seems highly unlikely Megatron will be out there today. Reggie Bush’s expected return also takes off some of the pressure in rushing Johnson back. Once again, Golden Tate should serve as Matthew Stafford’s primary target, putting him in WR2 territory.

 

Harry Douglas, Devin Hester and Julio Jones, WRs, Atlanta Falcons at Baltimore Ravens

Out – Foot; Probable – Hamstring; Probable – Ankle
Douglas’ foot injury continues to be an issue, keeping Douglas out of yet another game. Hester and Jones are both expected to play, as each practiced in full on Friday and are listed as Probable. Jones, as always is a must-start WR1 with Hester measuring up as a slightly risky WR3/flex option.

 
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills

Probable – Hip
Patterson was a full go at practice this week and is listed as Probable, so his health seems to be the least of his issues. Instead, it’s the four catches for 23 measly yards that he’s provided over the last two games combined. Patterson has gone from a disappointment to an outright bust and fantasy owners aren’t the only ones who are frustrated with him. Mike Zimmer, Patterson’s head coach, said his talented, but maddeningly inconsistent wide receiver needs to do a better job of getting open. Patterson posted a strong second half last season and at this point that’s probably the best his owners can hope for. Until he does something meaningful on the field, I wouldn’t have Patterson in my starting lineup.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 7 Injury Updates: Calvin Johnson, Kelvin Benjamin, Julio Jones, Cordarrelle Patterson
Post date: Sunday, October 19, 2014 - 06:30
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Arizona’s offense should be close to full strength for Week 7 while Carolina is ready to welcome back one of its top running backs. Here are some QB and RB injury updates from around the NFL to help with your fantasy preparations.

 
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals at Oakland Raiders

Probable – Foot
Yes, Ellington practiced on only a limited basis this week. Yes, he’s listed as Probable for this afternoon’s game. Yes, he should be in your starting lineup, as he’s averaging 20 touches per game and is facing a Raiders defense that’s 10th in the league in fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. And yes, he’s a top-10 RB again this week. Any more questions?

 

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers (Mon.)

Probable – Groin
Foster was limited on Thursday, but he practiced fully both Friday and Saturday. The Texans are trying to limit the wear and tear on their workhorse by resting him earlier in the week. He’s listed as Probable and will be aiming for his fifth 100-yard game of the season on Monday night against the Steelers. Outside of a six-yard effort in Week 4, Foster has averaged 126.8 yards rushing in his four other games.

 

Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks

Probable – Ankle
Just like last week, Stacy sat out the first day of practice to rest, but was a full go the rest of the week. He’s listed as Probable and should see the bulk of the work against the Seahawks. Stacy had just 17 yards rushing in the Monday night loss to San Francisco, but still wound up with the most carries (eight) on the team. The production just hasn’t been there this season for Stacy, who has seen his stock drop from RB1 to flex territory.

 

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals at Oakland Raiders

Probable – Shoulder
Despite being Questionable last week, Palmer not only got the start, he also led his Cardinals to a win over Washington. The bruised nerve in Palmer’s shoulder remains an issue and continues to limit him in practice, but apparently it’s being managed enough considering he is listed as Probable. While the risk of relying on Palmer is obvious, he’s also produced an average of 23.9 fantasy points in the two games he has played. Today’s matchup against Oakland shouldn’t scare anyone away if they had thoughts of using Palmer in a 2-QB league or were looking for another option at the position.

 

Darrin Reaves, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, RBs, Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers

Questionable – Calf; Probable – Knee; Out – Ankle
The big takeaway from the Panthers’ injury report is that Stewart should be back after missing the past two games. He was able to practice fully and is listed as Probable. With Williams already ruled Out and Reaves Questionable, Stewart figures to be the Panthers’ top ball carrier today. However, don’t forget that Cam Newton actually paced the team in rushing (17 att.,107 yds., TD) last week while Reaves and Fozzy Whittaker combined for 42 yards on 17 carries (2.5 ypc). Stewart is somewhat appealing, but he doesn’t have the strongest track record and it appears that Ron Rivera doesn’t have any concerns about Newton’s surgically repaired ankle. I’m fine if you want to take a flyer on Stewart today, just be sure to temper your expectations.

 

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders vs. Arizona Cardinals

Probable – Ankle/Knee
Carr was Questionable last week yet still played and posted the best numbers (282-4-1) of his brief NFL career. He got in two full days of practice and is listed as Probable. Carr’s potential is intriguing, and the Cardinals are sixth in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. There’s plenty of risk if you decide to take a flyer on Carr this week, but the payoff could be worth it, especially in 2-QB leagues.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants – Jennings will miss a second straight game due to a sprained MCL, but the hope is he will be able to return following the Giants’ Week 8 bye. Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis will handle the workload in Jennings’ absence. Williams remains the more appealing fantasy option, even though he struggled in his first career start (17 att., 59 yds.) last week in Philadelphia. Williams should not be viewed as anything more than a RB2/flex option until he produces on the field.

 

Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos – Ball will miss his second straight game due to a groin strain. Ronnie Hillman was a workhorse for the Broncos last week, rushing 24 times for 100 yards against the Jets. Hillman is no worse than a RB2, as he also is capable of making plays as a receiver. Juwan Thompson (Probable, Knee) picked up 38 yards on eight carries last week and should remain somewhat active today. Thompson should be monitored, but he’s probably a target in deeper leagues only for the time being.

 

Donald Brown and Ryan Mathews, RBs, San Diego Chargers – Neither Brown (concussion) nor Mathews (MCL sprain) practiced this week, meaning Branden Oliver will get at least one more start. Oliver has been fantasy gold these past two weeks, rushing for a total of 215 yards and two touchdowns with eight catches for 91 yards and another score. The Chiefs’ defense figures to be a tough test for the undrafted rookie, but Oliver is still a top-10 option because of the likelihood he will see 20-30 touches.

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Fantasy Football Week 7 Injury Updates: Arian Foster, Andre Ellington, Carson Palmer, Jonathan Stewart
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Detroit’s and New Orleans’ backfields should be close to full strength for their Week 7 matchup while injuries have caused some shuffling in Denver and Jacksonville. Here some key backfield injuries to track before today’s games kickoff.

 
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions

Probable – Hand
The Saints are coming off of their bye and should be back to full strength in their backfield. Ingram broke his hand back in Week 2 and has been sidelined since. He returned to practice this week and is listed as Probable. Before the injury, Ingram was off to a great start, averaging six yards per carry with three touchdowns. Ingram’s return means fewer carries for Khiry Robinson, while Pierre Thomas (right, who also is Probable even though an illness limited his practice time) will remain the primary receiving threat out of the backfield. Ingram should be a viable RB2 moving forward, although today’s matchup against Detroit won’t be easy. Thomas’ use has been inconsistent, but he did score two touchdowns in Week 5 against Tampa Bay. RB2 potential also is there for Thomas, but right now he’s no more than a flex option.

 

Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints

Probable – Ankle
Bush was present for parts of Wednesday and Thursday’s practices and was a full go on Friday. He is listed as Probable and it sounds like he will be back after missing last week’s game. And Bush also has some extra motivation based on today’s matchup against the team that drafted him. Joique Bell could end up with more carries, but Bush should be involved enough as a receiver, especially with Calvin Johnson not expected to play, to provide RB2/flex production.

 

Ben Tate, RB, Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars

Probable – Finger
Tate picked up two rushing touchdowns last week against Pittsburgh, as the Browns continued their strong play. He’s still listed on the injury report with a finger issue, but he was a full practice participant all week and is Probable to face the Jaguars. The Browns are making a point of running the ball, so Tate should get plenty of touches against a generous Jacksonville defense. Tate checks in as a top-10 option this week and it’s possible that backup Isaiah Crowell winds up with enough carries to merit flex consideration.

 
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans at Washington Redskins

Questionable – Hand
Locker did return to practice this week, but he was limited every day. Locker is listed as Questionable, but even if he plays it looks like he won’t be 100 percent healthy. It’s also not like Locker was lighting it up when he was playing. Whether it’s Locker or Charlie Whitehurst getting the start today, there’s enough uncertainty present to push the two Titan QBs way down the board in terms of starting options for this week.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins – After missing three games with a dislocated elbow, Moreno returned last week only to suffer a season-ending knee injury (torn ACL). Moreno’s loss means the workload belongs solely to Lamar Miller, who is now locked in as a RB2.

 

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redksins – RG3 took the next step in his recovery from the dislocated ankle he suffered in Week 2 by returning to practice this week. He was limited and has already been ruled out, but it may not be too long before Jay Gruden has a decision to make at QB. Kirk Cousins has had his chances, but turnovers continue to haunt him. If Cousins can’t put together a strong game against the Titans’ defense, he may make Gruden’s decision that much easier. Despite Cousins’ struggles, this matchup with Tennessee is appealing enough to keep him on the QB-2 radar.

 

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – Gerhart will miss a second straight game because of a foot injury that won’t even let him practice. Storm Johnson led the team with 10 carries last week, but he totaled just 21 yards while Denard Robinson and Jordan Todman combined for 23 yards on eight carries. With all of the Jaguars’ struggles on offense, this backfield should be monitored and not utilized until further notice.

 

Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans – Greene went from Doubtful on Friday to Out on Saturday, so it will be the Bishop Sankey show for a second straight game. Sankey is worthy of RB2 consideration although it should be pointed out that Washington has done a pretty good against the run. The Redskins are 24th in terms of fantasy points allowed to RBs.

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Cincinnati and the New York Giants will both be without their top wide receivers in Week 7. Find out who will fill in and whether or not they should be on your fantasy radar this week.

 
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers

Probable – Ankle
A nagging ankle issue limited Johnson early on this week, but he got in a full session on Saturday. He is listed as Probable, so Johnson is safe to start against the Steelers. Johnson does have three touchdown catches, which is good considering he has topped six targets in a game just once this season. Still, the potential for a breakout game is every present, which is why Johnson is pretty much locked in as a top-15 WR.

 

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts

Doubtful – Toe
The Bengals’ injury situation at wide receiver only got worse this week. First, Marvin Jones was put on injured reserve due to an ankle injury, ending his season. Green meanwhile did not practice. After initially expressing some optimism on Green’s possible availability, Marvin Lewis changed his tune and said there’s “no time table” on when the All-Pro will be able to return from this toe injury. Green may be listed as Doubtful, but there’s no doubt in my mind – Green will not play. Mohamed Sanu filled in admirably (10-120-1) last week and should be another solid play today.

 
Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals at Oakland Raiders

Probable – Groin
Floyd was limited in practice on Wednesday due to a groin injury, but was able to participate fully Thursday and Friday. He’s listed as Probable and even though his numbers haven’t been that impressive (16-306-1), the potential is still there, especially as long as Carson Palmer is under center. Floyd is a pretty safe WR2 with upside and he’s ranked among Athlon’s top 20 WRs this week.

 
Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears

Probable – Foot
A foot issue continues to limit Wallace’s practice participation, but he doesn’t appear to be in any danger of not playing. He’s listed as Probable and needs to be your lineup as a WR2 based on him being the Dolphins’ most consistent and productive (25 rec., 4 TDs) target thus far.

 

Already Ruled Out:


Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants – Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in the Sunday night loss in Philadelphia. He underwent surgery earlier this week and is out for the rest of the season. In Cruz’ absence, Rueben Randle takes over as the Giants’ No. 1 wide receiver with rookie Odell Beckham Jr. sliding into the other starting spot. Randle is now in WR2 territory while Beckham is more of a WR3/flex option for now, but there’s plenty of upside too, especially in Beckham’s case.

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At tight end, the biggest injury-related question for Week 7 is will Jimmy Graham play or not? But Graham’s not the only prominent TE that appears on the injury report that you need to know about.

 

Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos

Probable – Back
The good news is that after not playing in Week 5, Davis was back in there on Monday night against St. Louis. The better news is that even with a short turnaround, Davis was a full practice participant every day and is listed as Probable. Now Davis’ owners hope he gets back to the player he was in Week 1 when he caught two touchdown passes. Since then, Davis has seven catches for 77 yards in three games. That said, unless you have a better option, you’re starting Davis and hope this is the week he breaks out again.

 
Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions

Questionable – Shoulder
Graham injured his shoulder two weeks ago against Tampa Bay and even though the Saints were on bye last week, reports were that the Saints’ All-Pro tight end would miss up to three more weeks because of the injury. Graham may prove a lot of people wrong, as he did enough in practice on Thursday and Friday to merit a Questionable tag, leaving open the possibility of him playing today. Graham will be a game-time decision, so the 1 p.m. ET kickoff should help in that respect. Even if he does play, Graham figures to be limited, but considering who we are talking about, it’s certainly worth waiting until the last minute to see if he can give it a go or not. Besides, you’re not going to really rely on Benjamin Watson are you?

 

Related: 5 Tight Ends to Replace Jimmy Graham

 

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers

Probable – Ankle
After being listed as Questionable a week ago because of his ankle, Olsen got in full practices on both Thursday and Friday. He’s listed as Probable, so the No. 2 scoring TE in fantasy is perfectly safe to employ today.

 

Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars

Probable – Ankle/Shoulder
Cameron caught just three passes last week, but they went for 102 yards and a touchdown (51-yard catch), as he showed why he was one of the first TEs off of the board in fantasy drafts. Cameron’s still listed with ankle and shoulder injuries, but he was a full practice participant this week and is Probable once again. At this point, there seems to be no reason to worry about whether to plug Cameron into your lineup or not.


Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints

Doubtful - Hamstring
Ebron, the Lions’ first-round pick, suffered a hamstring injury in practice on Wednesday, which sidelined him for the rest of the week. He’s listed as Doubtful, but there’s really no reason to expect him to play today. Ebron wasn’t even among the top 30 fantasy scorers at his position prior to the injury, so it shouldn’t be that hard to find a replacement if you were using him. Brandon Pettigrew will see more playing time in Ebron’s absence, but there are probably better options available.

 

Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears

Probable – Knee
Clay is coming off his best game yet in terms of yardage, but it was only 35 yards, underlining the fantasy disappointment he’s been this season. His knee still seems to be bothering him since he went from full practice participation on Wednesday and Thursday to being limited on Friday. That said, he is listed as Probable, so the expectation is that he will play. The real question is though should Clay even be in your lineup as a TE2?

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – Rudolph underwent surgery for a sports hernia on Sept. 23. The projected time frame for his recovery is a minimum of six weeks, which would put a potential return around mid-November. If you have room, I would keep Rudolph; just understand this will be a prolonged absence.

 

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars – Lewis is on the injured reserve/designated for return list because of a high ankle sprain. Unless you have an IR spot and/or are smitten with Lewis, there’s no reason to hold onto him or even stash him away.

Teaser:
Week 7 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis, Greg Olsen, Jordan Cameron
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Several top targets are missing in action as it relates to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings for Week 7. Victor Cruz is out for the rest of the season with a torn patellar tendon, while Calvin Johnson appears to be a week or two away from returning from the sprained ankle he initially tried to play through. It’s also looking like the Bengals will be without All-Pro A.J. Green another week, as his toe injury continues to bother him. Mohamed Sanu filled in admirably last week in Green’s absence, catching 10 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown, and he remains a solid play this week. Meanwhile for the Giants, Rueben Randle will move into Cruz’ No. 1 spot, increasing his fantasy potential, with rookie Odell Beckham Jr. also receiving a boost as the new starter opposite Randle. Will either or both flourish on Sunday in their new roles against what has been a surprisingly stingy Dallas defense?

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET on 10/17/14 to reflect Percy Harvin being traded to Jets. Harvin removed from rankings because Jets played on Thursday night. Seattle's Doug Baldwin (No. 27) and Jermaine Kearse (No. 45) added.

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Jordy NelsonGBvs. CAR
2Demaryius ThomasDENvs. SF
3Antonio BrownPITvs. HOU (Mon.)
4Julio JonesATLat BAL
5Dez BryantDALvs. NYG
6Brandon MarshallCHIvs. MIA
7Steve SmithBALvs. ATL
8Alshon JefferyCHIvs. MIA
9Randall CobbGBvs. CAR
10Emmanuel SandersDENvs. SF
11T.Y. HiltonINDvs. CIN
12Mike WallaceMIAat CHI
13Andre JohnsonHOUat PIT (Mon.)
14DeSean JacksonWASvs. TEN
15Golden TateDETvs. NO
16Kelvin BenjaminCARat GB
17Julian EdelmanNEvs. NYJ (Thurs.)
18Michael FloydARIat OAK
19Mohamed SanuCINat IND
20Pierre GarconWASvs. TEN
21Reggie WayneINDvs. CIN
22Rueben RandleNYGat DAL
23Larry FitzgeraldARIat OAK
24DeAndre HopkinsHOUat PIT (Mon.)
25Keenan AllenSDvs. KC
26Terrance WilliamsDALvs. NYG
27Doug BaldwinSEAat STL
28Roddy WhiteATLat BAL
29Torrey SmithBALvs. ATL
30Andre HolmesOAKvs. ARI
31Marques ColstonNOat DET
32Brandin CooksNOat DET
33Sammy WatkinsBUFvs. MIN
34James JonesOAKvs. ARI
35Michael CrabtreeSFat DEN
36Odell Beckham Jr.NYGat DAL
37Brian QuickSTLvs. SEA
38Cecil ShortsJACvs. CLE
39Kendall WrightTENat WAS
40Eric DeckerNYJat NE (Thurs.)
41Justin HunterTENat WAS
42Wes WelkerDENvs. SF
43Anquan BoldinSFat DEN
44Andrew HawkinsCLEat JAC
45Jermaine KearseSEAat STL
46Dwayne BoweKCat SD
47Malcom FloydSDvs. KC
48Cordarrelle PattersonMINat BUF

                                            

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 7
Post date: Friday, October 17, 2014 - 20:45
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-7
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Seattle’s DST hasn’t been all that productive from a fantasy standpoint, but it’s the Seahawks’ reputation and matchup that has the defending Super Bowl champions leading off Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings for Week 7. Even though Seattle lost to Dallas at home last week, the Seahawks scored their first defensive or special teams touchdown of the season and now gets a Rams team that’s allowing the most fantasy points to opposing DSTs. Elsewhere, Detroit’s defense had its way with rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater last week (8 sacks, 3 INTs), tying Philadelphia for the most fantasy points (22, Athlon scoring). The Lions are shaping up to be another strong play this week, as they are at home facing a Jimmy Graham-less New Orleans offense.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

RankPlayerOpp
1Seattle Seahawksat STL
2New England Patriotsvs. NYJ (Thurs.)
3Buffalo Billsvs. MIN
4Cleveland Brownsat JAC
5Arizona Cardinalsat OAK
6Detroit Lionsvs. NO
7Baltimore Ravensvs. ATL
8Houston Texansat PIT (Mon.)
9Denver Broncosvs. SF
10Dallas Cowboysvs. NYG
11Chicago Bearsvs. MIA
12San Diego Chargersvs. KC
13Green Bay Packersvs. CAR
14Cincinnati Bengalsat IND
15Tennessee Titansat WAS
16Pittsburgh Steelersvs. HOU (Mon.)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 7
Post date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-tight-end-rankings-week-7
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The NFL’s best tight end may be sidelined for a little longer, but there’s no slowing down the one who checks in at No. 1 on Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings for Week 7. Julius Thomas not only leads his position in fantasy scoring, he leads the entire league in touchdown catches with nine. This is something we are accustomed to seeing from Jimmy Graham, but unfortunately the Saints’ top target could be sidelined up to three weeks because of a sprained shoulder. There has been some good news on the tight end injury front, however, as Jordan Reed returned last week and made his presence immediately known with eight catches for 92 yards. Reed, Travis Kelce and Jace Amaro could be potential replacement options while Graham is out.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Julius ThomasDENvs. SF
2Rob GronkowskiNEvs. NYJ (Thurs.)
3Greg OlsenCARat GB
4Martellus BennettCHIvs. MIA
5Antonio GatesSDvs. KC
6Delanie WalkerTENat WAS
7Jordan CameronCLEat JAC
8Jordan ReedWASvs. TEN
9Travis KelceKCat SD
10Jason WittenDALvs. NYG
11Larry DonnellNYGat DAL
12Vernon DavisSFat DEN
13Dwayne AllenINDvs. CIN
14Heath MillerPITvs. HOU (Mon.)
15Jared CookSTLvs. SEA
16Owen DanielsBALvs. ATL
17Clay HarborJACvs. CLE
18Jace AmaroNYJat NE (Thurs.)
19Coby FleenerINDvs. CIN
20Jermaine GreshamCINat IND
21Tim WrightNEvs. NYJ (Thurs.)
22Eric EbronDETvs. NO
23Charles ClayMIAat CHI
24Scott ChandlerBUFvs. MIN

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Tight End Rankings: Week 7
Post date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-kicker-rankings-week-7
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Order has seemingly been restored when it comes to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings for Week 7. Not only is Stephen Gostkowski No. 1 among kickers in fantasy scoring, he also led his position in points for Weeks 6 and 7. New England appears to have rediscovered its championship form, so there’s a good chance that Gostkowski will camp out atop our rankings for the rest of the season. Except when the Patriots are on bye in Week 10 of course.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. NYJ (Thurs.)
2Dan BaileyDALvs. NYG
3Adam VinatieriINDvs. CIN
4Nick NovakSDvs. KC
5Justin TuckerBALvs. ATL
6Chandler CatanzaroARIat OAK
7Brandon McManusDENvs. SF
8Phil DawsonSFat DEN
9Steven HauschkaSEAat STL
10Dan CarpenterBUFvs. MIN
11Matt BryantATLat BAL
12Mason CrosbyGBvs. CAR
13Robbie GouldCHIvs. MIA
14Caleb SturgisMIAat CHI
15Shaun SuishamPITvs. HOU (Mon.)
16Randy BullockHOUat PIT (Mon.)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Kicker Rankings: Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-running-back-rankings-week-7
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DeMarco Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher by a wide margin, leads off Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Week 7, but he’s not the only one getting the job done. Even though Matt Forté is just seventh in the league in rushing, he trails only Murray in fantasy points among RBs thanks to a position-high 46 receptions. Murray and Forté should both earn their keep yet again this week based on their respective matchups and the number of touches each has been getting. Another back that could see his workload increase is Lamar Miller, who is now the Dolphins’ clear-cut No. 1 option with Knowshon Moreno done for the season (torn ACL). Other injured ball carriers that could be fantasy relevant as early as this week if they are able to return from injury include Reggie Bush, Mark Ingram and Jonathan Stewart. 

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1DeMarco MurrayDALvs. NYG
2Matt ForteCHIvs. MIA
3Arian FosterHOUat PIT (Mon.)
4Le'Veon BellPITvs. HOU (Mon.)
5Marshawn LynchSEAat STL
6Jamaal CharlesKCat SD
7Giovani BernardCINat IND
8Ben TateCLEat JAC
9Andre EllingtonARIat OAK
10Branden OliverSDvs. KC
11Eddie LacyGBvs. CAR
12Lamar MillerMIAat CHI
13Alfred MorrisWASvs. TEN
14Justin ForsettBALvs. ATL
15Fred JacksonBUFvs. MIN
16Andre WilliamsNYGat DAL
17Joique BellDETvs. NO
18Ahmad BradshawINDvs. CIN
19Frank GoreSFat DEN
20Ronnie HillmanDENvs. SF
21Shane VereenNEvs. NYJ (Thurs.)
22Chris IvoryNYJat NE (Thurs.)
23Reggie BushDETvs. NO
24C.J. SpillerBUFvs. MIN
25Trent RichardsonINDvs. CIN
26Pierre ThomasNOat DET
27Bishop SankeyTENat WAS
28Mark IngramNOat DET
29Steven JacksonATLat BAL
30Jerrick McKinnonMINat BUF
31Jonathan StewartCARat GB
32Brandon BoldenNEvs. NYJ (Thurs.)
33Isaiah CrowellCLEat JAC
34Zac StacySTLvs. SEA
35Darren McFaddenOAKvs. ARI
36Jeremy HillCINat IND
37Khiry RobinsonNOat DET
38Bernard PierceBALvs. ATL
39Matt AsiataMINat BUF
40James StarksGBvs. CAR
41Chris JohnsonNYJat NE (Thurs.)
42Knile DavisKCat SD
43Storm JohnsonJACvs. CLE
44Benny CunninghamSTLvs. SEA
45Antone SmithATLat BAL
46Carlos HydeSFat DEN
47Roy HeluWASvs. TEN
48Juwan ThompsonDENvs. SF

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Running Back Rankings: Week 7
Post date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-quarterback-rankings-week-7
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Joe Flacco dominated last week, but Andrew Luck still reigns supreme atop Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings for Week 7. Flacco tossed four touchdowns in the first quarter alone on his way to a season-best 42.2 fantasy points against Tampa Bay. Luck meanwhile had another strong game (370-3-1) in the win over Houston and continues to pace everyone in fantasy scoring. And while he’s still outside of the overall top 10 at his position, Tom Brady has certainly played like the Tom Terrific of old with 653 yards, six touchdowns and no picks in his last two games for a combined total of 63.7 fantasy points (Athlon scoring). Luck leads the way in this week’s rankings but Brady at home against a depleted Jets secondary checks in as a top-10 option as well. Flacco also could be in for another big game, facing a porous Atlanta defense that gave up 381 yards passing to Jay Cutler last week.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K

 

2014 NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Andrew LuckINDvs. CIN
2Aaron RodgersGBvs. CAR
3Peyton ManningDENvs. SF
4Philip RiversSDvs. KC
5Jay CutlerCHIvs. MIA
6Russell WilsonSEAat STL
7Cam NewtonCARat GB
8Drew BreesNOat DET
9Tom BradyNEvs. NYJ (Thurs.)
10Colin KaepernickSFat DEN
11Matthew StaffordDETvs. NO
12Tony RomoDALvs. NYG
13Carson PalmerARIat OAK
14Joe FlaccoBALvs. ATL
15Matt RyanATLat BAL
16Ben RoethlisbergerPITvs. HOU (Mon.)
17Kirk CousinsWASvs. TEN
18Eli ManningNYGat DAL
19Brian HoyerCLEat JAC
20Andy DaltonCINat IND
21Alex SmithKCat SD
22Ryan TannehillMIAat CHI
23Derek CarrOAKvs. ARI
24Kyle OrtonBUFvs. MIN
25Blake BortlesJACvs. CLE
26Ryan FitzpatrickHOUat PIT (Mon.)

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Quarterback Rankings: Week 7
Post date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/8-wide-receivers-replace-victor-cruz
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The New York Giants not only lost 27-0 to NFC East rival Philadelphia on Sunday, they also lost wide receiver Victor Cruz for the rest of the season to a torn patellar tendon. Cruz, the team’s leading receiver each of the past three seasons, suffered the injury while trying to catch a short touchdown pass in the third quarter.

 

Cruz underwent surgery on Monday to repair the damage to his knee. Besides putting an end to this season, this injury could impact Cruz’ availability at the start of next season, depending on the severity. But it’s too soon to start worrying about 2015, as the Giants must figure out what they are going to do to replace Cruz for their remaining 10 games this season.

 

From a fantasy standpoint, Cruz came out of nowhere to emerge as the No. 4 wide receiver in 2011 (Athlon scoring) and followed that up with a top-15 campaign in ’12. His numbers dipped a bit last season, but he still wound up just outside of the top 30 at his position. He entered this season as a top-15 option, but got off to a slow start in the Giants’ new offense under rookie coordinator Bob McAdoo.

 

After totaling just 84 yards in the first two games, Cruz posted back-to-back 100-yard efforts in Weeks 3 and 4. Now, McAdoo as well as Eli Manning will have to look elsewhere to fill Cruz’ production, as do his fantasy owners. Here are eight possible options that could fill the bill, starting with two of Cruz’ own teammates. In fact, this list also could prove helpful for Calvin Johnson (ankle) and A.J. Green (toe) owners, as both are expected to miss at least one more game due to injury.

 

Rueben Randle, New York Giants

Randle should assume the role of Giants No. 1 wide receiver following Victor Cruz’ season-ending injury. Already the most targeted Giant (49); Randle’s scoring opportunities (2 TD catches thus far) should increase in Cruz’ absence. Randle has had opportunities to emerge as a reliable, every-week fantasy starter in the past, but this could be his best chance yet. Manning needs Randle more than ever, so it’s just a matter of the third-year wideout rising to the occasion. Regardless, any wide receiver that averages 10 targets over a four-game span is worth some attention.

 

Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

While Rueben Randle moves into the No. 1 spot, don’t sleep on Beckham. He was the Giants’ first-round pick for a reason and if not for a bothersome hamstring injury that kept him out until Week 5, he may not have even qualified for this list (from an ownership standpoint). As it is, Beckham’s injury could turn out to be a blessing for a hamstrung fantasy owner, as it took just one game for the former LSU Tiger to make an impression. Two weeks ago, Beckham caught four passes in his NFL debut for 44 yards and a touchdown. He had just two grabs in Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia, but every Giant offensive player struggled in that game. Despite the missed time, Beckham was already established as the team’s No. 3 wideout and his opportunities should only increase with him moving into Victor Cruz’ starting spot alongside Randle. It’s not out of the question that Beckham finishes the season with better fantasy numbers than Randle.

 

Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals were without pair of injured wideouts in A.J. Green (toe) and Marvin Jones (ankle) against the Panthers, leaving Sanu as the No. 1 guy. He filled in admirably, as he was targeted a team-high 14 times. He paced the offense with 10 receptions for 120 yards to go along with a touchdown. The initial reports are that Green will miss at least another game, while Jones has yet to even practice, so Sanu’s reign as Cincinnati’s top wideout should last at least one more week. And even with Sanu having to share the spotlight (and targets) when Green is on the field, he’s done enough to rank just outside of the top 10 in fantasy scoring at his position.

 

Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams

Perhaps the most surprising member of this list, Quick has emerged from obscurity on his own team to become the Rams’ top receiving threat. Prior to a virtual no-show (1 rec., 10 yds.) on Monday night against San Francisco, Quick had produced double-digit scoring efforts in his previous four games, including a two-touchdown showing against Philadelphia in Week 5. St. Louis is already on its third starting quarterback of the season, but it looks head coach Jeff Fisher has settled on Austin Davis. Based on the early returns, if Davis wants to succeed he needs to make sure Quick remains actively involved in the passing game.

 

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars

An under-appreciated asset in fantasy, Shorts’ 2014 season has been hampered by injuries. He missed the first two games with a hamstring injury, then returned and paced the team in targets and caught a touchdown pass. He re-aggravated the hamstring injury a week later, but was out just one game before catching 10 passes (on 16 targets) for 103 yards Sunday against Tennessee. Don’t forget that Shorts was the Jaguars’ top wideout in both 2012 and ‘13. With first-round pick Blake Bortles now in place as the starter, Shorts is an established No. 1 wide receiver that could develop into a legitimate WR2 fantasy option before this season is over. He just needs to show he can stay healthy.

 

Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans

A popular breakout candidate entering this season, Hunter may finally be settling in as the Titans’ No. 1 wide receiver. He’s third on the team in targets (37) and receptions (15), but he’s second in yards (314) thanks to a gaudy 20.9 ypc. He has five catches of 20 or more yards, and he’s seeing the most snaps of any wide receiver on the roster. Tennessee’s quarterback situation remains a work in progress, but Hunter should remain at the forefront of the Titans’ passing game moving forward. WR1 potential and upside clearly exists with Hunter. It’s just a matter of him putting it all together.

 

James Jones, Oakland Raiders

The Raiders have plenty of issues on offense and are starting a rookie quarterback, but Jones has provided a steady, veteran presence that has provided top-25 fantasy production. The former Green Bay Packer leads the team in targets (35), receptions (26) and yards (328) and is tied for the lead in touchdowns with three. He has caught at least three passes in every game and while Oakland may have more explosive options in players like Andre Holmes, but no one has been more consistent than Jones. Sometimes consistency pays off, even in fantasy.

 

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay is on bye this week, but that actually could make Evans’ even more appealing from here out. The Bucs’ first-round pick suffered a groin injury late in the Week 4 win in Pittsburgh, a game in which he posted his best effort (4-65-1) of the season. Initially expected to miss two to four weeks, Evans sat out last week but returned Sunday against Baltimore. He caught just four passes for 55 yards in the loss to the Ravens, but what was encouraging were the targets (8) and he scored another touchdown even though he was at less than 100 percent health-wise. Now with a week to fully recover, Evans should maintain a steady presence in what has become a productive passing attack since Mike Glennon took over for an injured Josh McCown.

Teaser:
8 Wide Receivers to Replace Victor Cruz
Post date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-waiver-wire-week-7
Body:

The injury situation got worse this past Sunday, as the list of key fantasy football players who won’t play in Week 7 only got longer. Victor Cruz and Stevan Ridley are the latest to watch their seasons come to an early end, while A.J. Green and Jimmy Graham are among those expected to miss at least one more game. On top of that, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay are both on bye this week. So what’s a beleaguered fantasy owner to do?

 

Athlon Sports is here to help you sort through some of the potential free agent options. The players listed in our weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding on to all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may simply want to keep an eye on.

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

Quarterbacks

 

Week 6 Recap: Ryan Tannehill threw for two touchdown passes, but he also had two interceptions, as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers ripped the Dolphins’ guts out with a last-second, game-winning touchdown on Sunday. Brian Hoyer wasn’t needed that much (217-1-0) as the Browns ran over (158 yards rushing, 3 TDs) the Steelers.

 

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Flacco certainly isn’t a “new” quarterback in that he’s a rookie or that he hasn’t been suggested in this space before. What is new, however, is the fact that the Ravens’ offense was clicking on all cylinders against Tampa Bay. Flacco tossed four touchdown passes in the first quarter, on his way to 42.2 fantasy points (Athlon scoring), the most any player has scored in a single week this season. What’s even more encouraging is that Flacco wasn’t sacked or picked off and his 21 completions went to eight different players. On top of all of this, Baltimore hosts Atlanta, a team that just gave up 478 total yards at home to Chicago, on Sunday.

 

Running Backs

 

Week 6 Recap: Branden Oliver followed up his breakthrough game (182 total yards, 2 TDs) against the Jets with another 101 yards rushing and a touchdown against the Raiders. As long as Ryan Mathews (sprained MCL) remains sidelined, Oliver should retain a prominent role in San Diego’s offense. Ronnie Hillman also rushed for 100 against the Jets, but he didn’t score and finished with just three receptions (for 16 yards). Andre Williams’ first career NFL start did not go well (16 att, 58 yds.), as Philadelphia’s defense shut down the Giants’ offense. Benny Cunningham scored the first touchdown of the Monday night game against San Francisco, but didn't do much else the rest of the way, finishing the game with 33 total yards (21 rushing) on nine touches.

 

Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots

Stevan Ridley left Sunday’s game with a knee injury, which was later confirmed as a torn ACL and MCL. Ridley’s season is over and while Shane Vereen would seem the logical candidate to see an increase in carries, Bolden actually finished with more rushing attempts (6 to 5) against the Dolphins. It’s very hard to figure out exactly how the Patriots are going to use their running backs each week, but the mere fact that Bolden had the most carries after Ridley got hurt is a sign that he should have some sort of role moving forward. Don’t forget that Ridley was averaging about 16 carries per game. In his career, Bolden is averaging 4.5 yards per carry (126 att.).

 

Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns

Ben Tate is back from injury and has reclaimed his role as the Browns’ No. 1 option since his return, but as Sunday showed, there’s enough room in this offense for two productive rushers. Crowell picked up 77 yards on 11 carries (7.0 ypc) and his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. The important thing to note, however, is the fact that fellow rookie Terrance West was a healthy scratch against the Steelers. Tate may be No. 1 on the depth chart, but he’s already missed significant time this season because of a sprained knee. At this point, it looks like Crowell has passed West on the depth chart, so all it takes is another Tate injury for Crowell to see even more touches.

 

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

Ingram broke his hand in Week 2, but it’s possible he could be back as soon as this Sunday. Ingram likely will be eased back into action, but with all of the other injuries, this could be a golden opportunity to fortify your RB depth. Prior to the injury, Ingram was off to a great start, averaging nearly six yards per carry and finding the end zone three times in less than two complete games. The Saints also have Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson in their backfield, but the former is more of a receiving threat, while the latter was behind Ingram in the pecking order before he got hurt. Once Ingram shows his hand is completely healed, there’s no reason to not expect him to reclaim his role as New Orleans’ top rusher.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Week 6 Recap: Louis Murphy Jr. saw the second-most targets (9) behind Vincent Jackson (13) on Sunday, turning those into seven receptions for 72 yards and another touchdown. Justin Hunter was targeted just five times, but he was the Titans’ most productive receiver for a second straight game (3 rec., 77 yds.). Odell Beckham Jr. finished with just two grabs for 28 yards, but the entire Giants offense struggled mightily against the Eagles. Beckham’s role also figures to increase moving forward with Victor Cruz now out for the season.

 

Andre Holmes, Oakland Raiders

Oakland lost yet again on Sunday, but for one game, this offense didn’t look like the same old Raiders. Interim head coach Tony Sparano wasted little time in attacking San Diego’s secondary, as rookie quarterback Derek Carr hooked up with Holmes for a 77-yard touchdown on the third play of the game. Carr and Holmes also connected for a six-yard scoring strike that gave Oakland the lead early in the fourth quarter. Whether the Raiders can maintain this production remains to be seen, but it looks like Holmes may have emerged as one of Carr’s preferred targets.


Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots

After a slow start with his new team, LaFell has averaged seven targets per game over the past four. During this stretch he’s accounted for 282 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Two of those scores came on Sunday against Buffalo. Fellow wideout Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski are secure as two of Tom Brady’s most trusted targets, but the Patriots have needed someone to step up behind them. With a combination of size (6-3, 210), speed and athleticism, LaFell is starting to establish himself as the team’s most dangerous deep threat while also being productive in the red zone.


Rueben Randle, New York Giants

Even though he has just two touchdown catches, Randle has been the most targeted Giants receiver thus far (49). And that doesn’t figure to change now that that Victor Cruz is done for the season. Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in the Sunday night loss to the Eagles. With Cruz out, Randle should take over as the Giants’ No. 1 wideout with rookie Odell Beckham Jr. sliding over to Randle’s No. 2 spot. It’s entirely possible that Beckham ends up being more productive, but Randle’s fantasy potential has also increased and he should definitely be on your radar if he’s available in your league.

 

Related: 8 Wide Receivers to Replace Victor Cruz

 

Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals were without both A.J. Green (toe) and Marvin Jones (ankle) against the Panthers and Sanu filled in admirably. He led the team in all three receiving categories, as he was targeted 14 times and turned those into 10 receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. The initial reports are that Green will miss at least another game, while Jones has yet to practice since injuring his ankle, so Sanu’s reign as Cincinnati’s No. 1 wide receiver should last at least one more week. You could do worse if you are looking for a bye week or injury fill-in option.

 

Tight Ends

 

Week 6 Recap: Tim Wright got a grand total of one target Sunday against Buffalo, but it was good for a one-yard touchdown. So at least Wright’s got that going for him.

 

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

Out since injuring his hamstring in the season opener, Reed returned Sunday and was an immediate factor, if not force, in the Redskins’ passing game. He led the team in both targets (11) and receptions (8) while finishing second in yards with 92. Reed was considered a top-10 TE entering this season and he definitely has that potential, provided he stays healthy.

 

Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints

The Saints were on bye last week and it sounds like they will be without All-Pro Jimmy Graham for even longer. Graham could reportedly miss another three weeks because of a sprained shoulder he suffered against Tampa Bay. It’s virtually impossible to replace a guy like Graham, but as far as the Saints are concerned that role should fall to Watson. An 11-year veteran, Watson has been targeted just 12 times this season, catching nine of those for 64 yards. Josh Hill (7 rec., 2 TDs) and recently signed Tom Crabtree also could factor in, but Watson has the most experience. He may be someone worth keeping an eye on, especially for those looking for a bye week fill-in.

 

Related: 5 Tight Ends to Replace Jimmy Graham

Defense/Special Teams

 

Week 6 Recap: Philadelphia’s DST kept things rolling, pitching a shutout of the Giants on Sunday night. The Eagles posted eight sacks and recovered a fumble and are leading all fantasy DSTs in scoring by quite a bit. Philadelphia is on bye this week, but this could be a good time to pick this DST up, if it’s still available.

 

Buffalo Bills

The Bills were torched (37 PA, 396 yards) by New England on Sunday, but a rebound could be in order for their DST this week. Buffalo hosts Minnesota and rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is coming off a horrendous showing (188-0-3) against Detroit. The Bills are second only to the Lions in sacks with 19 and are leading the NFL in rushing defense (67.5 ypg). The Vikings meanwhile have allowed the second most sacks in the league (22) and struggled to get much of anything going against the Lions. This could be a recipe for fantasy success for Buffalo’s DST at home this Sunday.

 

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.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Waiver Wire: Week 7
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New Orleans is set to return from its bye this week, but the Saints look like they will be without All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham a little longer. Graham sprained his shoulder two weeks ago against Tampa Bay and even with a week off to recover, reports are that he could miss up to three more weeks because of the injury.

 

Graham’s loss to the Saints cannot be understated, as he leads the team in targets (46), receptions (34), yards (376) and touchdowns (3). His value in fantasy is even greater, as his per-season averages over the past three years look like this: 90 rec., 1,169 yds., 11 TDs. Those numbers are outstanding for a wide receiver, let alone a tight end, which is why Graham was a consensus first-round pick entering this season.

 

The good news is that it appears Graham will be back in about a month, but that’s still a lot of production for a fantasy owner to try and replace. While it’s impossible to find someone on Graham’s level that figures to be available in most leagues (i.e, Julius Thomas and Rob Gronkowski don’t count), here are five options to consider:

 

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Kelce may be the hardest to acquire of this list, considering he’s already a top-10 fantasy TE this season. However, the Chiefs are coming off of their bye, so this also could be an opportune time to add this talented young target. Kelce was generating some buzz regarding his potential entering this season and after somewhat of a slow start, he has responded. He has caught a touchdown pass in each of his past three games and is quickly establishing himself as one of Alex Smith’s most trusted targets. Kelce isn’t the second coming of Jimmy Graham, but there are some similarities in their skill sets and how they are used in their respective offenses.

 

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

Ranked as a top-10 fantasy TE entering this season, injuries have once again have prevented Reed from realizing his immense potential. The talented second-year tight end suffered a hamstring injury in the season opener, which opened the door for Niles Paul (23-326-1) to emerge. But Reed returned to the lineup on Sunday and was an immediate factor, if not force, in the Redskins' passing game. He led the team in both targets (11) and receptions (8) while finishing second in yards with 92. Likely forgotten because of the extended absence, Reed is one of the few options out there whose potential reward outweighs the injury risk he carries.

 

Owen Daniels, Baltimore Ravens

Dennis Pitta is on injured reserve, leaving Daniels as the Ravens’ No. 1 tight end. His numbers haven’t been that impressive (21-217-2), but his familiarity with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak can’t be overlooked. Kubiak has always shown a tendency to involve tight ends in his offense, going back to when Daniels and Kubiak were with the Texans together. As long as Daniels continues to see targets come his way (averaging 4.5 per game), he should remain a viable starting fantasy option.

 

Jace Amaro, New York Jets

The Jets’ second-round pick, Amaro was expected to add an element to the offense that has been missing for some time. Six games into his rookie season, Amaro may be ready to be that impact player he was drafted to be. In Sunday’s loss to Denver, Amaro led the Jets in targets (12), receptions (10) and yards (68), while also catching his first career NFL touchdown. Geno Smith needs to find targets he trusts and Amaro, who was a pass-catching magnet at Texas Tech, could help fill that void. One thing’s for certain about Amaro, he’s not out there to block, so any time he’s on the field he should have an opportunity to make a play.

 

Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts also have Coby Fleener, who was Andrew Luck’s teammate at Stanford, at tight end, but so far Allen has been more productive. Allen is fourth on the team in receptions (18) despite seeing fewer targets than running back Ahmad Bradshaw or No. 3 wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Allen and Luck have been successful on 67 percent of their attempted connections (18 of 27) for 253 yards and four touchdowns. Allen’s athleticism and big-play ability is evident in that he’s third on the Colts in yards and trails only Bradshaw in touchdown catches. Allen may not be a full-time starter, but he’s a big enough part of the Colts’ offense to be productive. He’s currently ninth among TEs in fantasy points.

 

And what about the Saints?
 

In most cases, it’s typical to first look to the next man on a team’s depth chart in the case of an injury. However, Jimmy Graham is no ordinary tight end, so there’s no obvious replacement for him when looking at the Saints’ roster. Benjamin Watson figures to see the biggest increase in playing time and opportunities, but the 11-year veteran has been targeted a total of 12 times this season, producing nine catches for 64 yards. Josh Hill, who has two touchdown receptions among his seven total catches, and recently signed Tom Crabtree also could factor in, which only adds to the confusion regarding this situation. While Watson could be someone to keep an eye on moving forward, the five tight ends mentioned above are considerably more appealing when it comes to potential fantasy replacement options.

Teaser:
5 Tight Ends to Replace Jimmy Graham
Post date: Monday, October 13, 2014 - 15:00
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Three is the magic number for tonight’s NFC West tilt between San Francisco and St. Louis on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” The 49ers (3-2) are trying to extend their winning streak to three games, while the Rams (1-3) are hoping to avoid their third straight loss.

 

San Francisco has held the upper hand in this matchup recently, going 4-1-1 against St. Louis over the past three seasons. The 49ers swept both games last season, including a 35-11 victory in the Edward Jones Dome in Week 4.

 

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: San Francisco -3.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. San Francisco’s Type of Game

Going back to his time at Stanford, one of the identities of Jim Harbaugh’s teams has been an effective running game. After deviating some from that game plan earlier this season, the 49ers have gone back to running teams into the ground. For the season, San Francisco is third in the NFL in rushing at 145 yards per game, but the damage has been much greater during its current two-game winning streak. In home victories over Philadelphia and Kansas City, Harbaugh’s team has racked up a total of 389 yards on 82 carries (4.7 ypc). St. Louis meanwhile, has struggled against the run to this point. The Rams are tied for 29th in rushing defense (152.5 ypg), allowing 4.9 yards per carry. Expect to see a lot of handoffs when the 49ers have the ball tonight.

 

2. Is Jeff Fisher’s Team “Ram Tough?”

After getting blown out at home by Minnesota in the season opener, St. Louis bounced back with a win in Tampa Bay on a late field goal. The Rams kept things going by jumping out to a 21-0 lead with a little more than six minutes remaining in the first half against the Cowboys in Week 3. From there, however, things took a dramatic turn in the opposite direction. Dallas scored the next 20 points and tacked on two more touchdowns (in less than 20 seconds) in the fourth quarter to pull out a 34-31 come-from-behind win. Then last week, Philadelphia built a 34-7 lead late in the third quarter before St. Louis scored 21 unanswered points. The Rams had the ball with less than two minutes left and drove to the Eagles’ 48-yard-line, but their comeback attempt stalled there, as Philadelphia held on to win 34-28. Jeff Fisher’s team has dealt with its share of adversity, starting when quarterback Sam Bradford re-tore his surgically repaired ACL in the preseason, and these past two weeks have been no different. The Rams’ schedule only gets more difficult from here – Seattle, at Kansas City, at San Francisco, at Arizona, Denver and at San Diego – so they really could use something positive to build on, starting tonight.

 

3. QB Experiment: Familiar Foe vs. the New Kid on the Block

Colin Kaepernick is just 26 years old yet tonight represents his sixth start against St. Louis compared to Austin Davis, who will be making just the fourth start of his career. Kaepernick has played well against the Rams, going 3-1-1with a 97.1 passer rating and 182 yards rushing (7.6 ypc) in those games. Davis likewise has accounted for himself well, completing 67.5 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and just two interceptions in his three starts. Kaepernick has gotten a ton of support from his running game, but he’s also still prone to making mistakes. Four of his five turnovers came in a Week 2 home loss to Chicago. Davis has been more of a focal point of the offense since the Rams’ running game hasn’t been as productive. Even though their roles may be different, how effectively each quarterback executes their respective game plan will help determine the outcome of this game. Kaepernick has faced the Rams before and vice versa, while this will be Davis’ first up close and personal look at the 49ers, and vice versa. Will this QB familiarity or a lack thereof be a factor tonight?

 

Final Analysis

 

Despite an early rough patch and constant attention paid to Jim Harbaugh’s seemingly tenuous future in San Francisco, the 49ers have been able to maintain their focus on the field and enter tonight’s game playing their best football of the season. St. Louis is on its third starting quarterback and this Rams teams has been on quite the roller-coaster ride over the course of their past three games. In recent seasons, NFC West matchups have typically been tightly contested, physical affairs, regardless of the participants’ records. I expect this one will follow a similar script, but I think St. Louis has too much stacked against it, including history. San Francisco is 45-25 in its history on Monday night, the most wins by any team. Make it 46-25 after tonight. 

 
Prediction: San Francisco 23, St. Louis 17
Teaser:
San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams Game Preview and Prediction
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Control of the NFC East is on the line tonight when New York and Philadelphia get together at Lincoln Financial Field on NBC. The Giants (3-2) have won three in a row while the Eagles (4-1) are a perfect 3-0 at home. Whichever team wins tonight will, by and large, take control of the division. Even if Dallas beats Seattle to move to 5-1, the winner of this game will go to 2-0 in NFC East play. The Cowboys have yet to play a divisional game.

 

Chip Kelly is 1-1 against Tom Coughlin with each team winning on the other’s home field last season. The Giants won the last meeting, 15-7 in Philadelphia in Week 8 last season, as they held the Eagles to a season-low 200 yards of total offense.

 

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Philadelphia -2.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Will We See the Real McCoy Tonight?

LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,607 yards on 314 carries (5.1 ypc). Not surprisingly, Philadelphia also led the league in this category (160.4 ypg). This season, the going on the ground has been considerably tougher for the Eagles. As a team, Philadelphia enters Week 6 ranked 21st in the league in rushing, averaging less than 100 yards per game (98.6) and just 3.8 yards per carry. And once again, this largely has to do with McCoy. Despite ranking second in the league with 94 carries, McCoy has gained just 273 yards on the ground in the first five games. That’s less than three yards per carry (2.9) to go along with just one run of 20 or more yards and one rushing touchdown. The Eagles are still 4-1, but the offense hasn’t been near as productive as it last season. Granted, the offensive line has been wrecked by injuries and an earlier suspension, but Chip Kelly still needs his main offensive weapon to produce. Unfortunately, that may not happen tonight, as McCoy rushed for a total of 94 yards on 35 carries (2.7 ypc) in two games against the Giants last season.

 

2. Giants Getting Offensive

After seven seasons as Eli Manning’s offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride retired in January. Tom Coughlin replaced Gilbride with Ben McAdoo, who had been Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach since 2012. With Manning and the rest of the offense practically starting over in a new system, some sort of learning curve was to be expected. And that was certainly the case in the season opener, when New York totaled just 197 yards in its 35-14 loss in Detroit. Even though it was just one game, the natives immediately got restless. The noise became even louder after a 25-14 loss to Arizona in the home opener the following week. Four turnovers (2 INTs, 2 fumbles) played a large role in the outcome, but the fan base was fixated on the perceived ineffectiveness of the new offense. Since that game, however, the Giants have been rolling, winners of three in a row and averaging 395 yards and 35 points per game during this span. The running game (157 ypg) has been particularly effective with Rashad Jennings leading the way. Unfortunately, Jennings sprained his MCL last week and is expected to miss a few games, so the workload now will fall to fourth-round pick Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis. Even with the Jennings injury, the more encouraging sign recently has been Manning getting more and more comfortable in the new system and with his new play-caller. After a rough start that saw Manning complete 61 percent of his passes with more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3), he has compiled an 8:1 TD:INT ratio over the past three games while completing 70 percent of his attempts. Philadelphia may have more of an offensive reputation, but New York looks like it’s starting to figure things out on that side of the ball too. Points may not be too hard to come by tonight.

 

3. The Tale of the Turnover Tape

Entering Week 6, New York enjoys a considerable advantage over Philadelphia when it comes to turnover margin. The Giants are tied for 10th in the NFL with a plus-three (10 takeaways, 7 giveaways) margin, while the Eagles are 28th with a minus-four (8, 12) mark. However, a closer look reveals that while New York has done a better job of protecting the ball, Philadelphia has excelled at capitalizing on other team’s mistakes. The Eagles have already scored seven touchdowns on defense and special teams, including five in the last two games alone. By comparison, all of the Giants’ points have come on offensive touchdowns and field goals. Philadelphia’s defense has returned two fumbles and an interception for touchdowns to go along with two blocked punts, a kickoff return and punt return for scores on special teams. This type of point production is a big reason why the Eagles are 4-1 despite not getting a lot of production from LeSean McCoy and the fact that Nick Foles has as many turnovers (5 INTs, 3 lost fumbles) as touchdowns (8 passing). Ball security is always an important aspect of any game, but this matchup could be determined by which team is able to make the most of the other’s miscues.

 

Final Analysis

 

It’s been a little bit of role reversal recently, as New York has won its last three games thanks in large part to a potent offense, while Philadelphia has relied more on an opportune and defense and special teams unit that has already accounted for seven touchdowns. As well as Dallas has played, both of these teams figure to have a say in how the NFC East plays out, as tonight’s winner will move to 2-0 in divisional play. Even though Eli Manning and the Giants are clicking on offense, I think the absence of injured running back Rashad Jennings will be just enough to get them out of sync. I’m not sure this is the game LeSean McCoy finally breaks out for the Eagles, but Nick Foles has more than enough weapons to make some noise of his own. The combination of Foles and another big play by the defense/special teams will result in Philadelphia maintaining both its hold on first place in the NFC East as well as its perfect mark at Lincoln Financial Field.

 
Prediction: Philadelphia 30, New York 27
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New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 09:00

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