Articles By Mark Ross

Path: /college-football/acc-2014-week-7-preview-and-predictions
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It’s a less than a full slate of ACC action this week, but there are a few intriguing divisional games, especially in the Atlantic. However, the most important matchup this Saturday is the lone game that involves a pair of teams from the Coastal Division.

 

Duke-Georgia Tech pits the defending division champions against one of the current unlikely frontrunners in the Coastal. In the Atlantic, while defending national champion Florida State should have little problem getting by Syracuse, Louisville-Clemson will meet for the first time ever, with second place in the division on the line. The other Atlantic matchup has improving teams in Boston College and NC State going head to head in search of a first conference victory.

 

Outside of conference play, Notre Dame resumes the ACC-centric component of its schedule by hosting North Carolina, and Miami hosts Cincinnati to round out the slate.

 

The majority of the league’s attention will most likely be directed towards what happens Saturday in Atlanta, but the proceedings in Clemson, S.C., and Raleigh, N.C., could prove to be just as entertaining.


Week 7 Previews and Predictions
Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 SEC 

 

ACC Week 7 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Duke at Georgia Tech (-5)
12:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network

The Blue Devils have an opportunity to take a step towards a possible repeat as Coastal Division champions when they face the front-running Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. David Cutcliffe’s team has had an extra week to stew about its 22-10 loss to Miami, while Paul Johnson has gone from the hot seat to Coach of the Year consideration in leading his Yellow Jackets to a surprising 5-0 start. For Duke, one of the keys will be giving Georgia Tech a taste of its own medicine. Last week, the Blue Devils rushed for just 85 yards in the loss to the Hurricanes, after averaging 261 over their first four games. Duke also must do what is necessary to extend drives to keep the ball out of Tech’s hands, meaning it can ill afford to go 2-for-16 third down like it did against Miami. The Blue Devils’ defense will have its hands full trying to slow down Johnson’s patented triple option attack. The Yellow Jackets are averaging nearly 300 yards rushing per game while Duke has allowed three teams in a row at least 200 yards on the ground. Not surprisingly, opponents have tried to force Georgia Tech to beat them by throwing the ball. But one of the reasons the Yellow Jackets are 5-0 is that sophomore quarterback Justin Thomas has made plays with his arm (7 TDs, 1 INT) when he’s needed to. Turnovers could play a huge role in determining the outcome of this key Coastal clash.
 

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2. Louisville at Clemson (-13)
3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Florida State is still the king of the Atlantic Division, but it doesn’t mean the battle for second place won’t be worth watching. The Cardinals have played one more conference game than the Tigers, but the new kids on the ACC block still have a home date with the Seminoles looming. Clemson meanwhile has bounced back from its heartbreaking overtime loss in Tallahassee, beating North Carolina and NC State at home by a combined score of 91-35. This will be Louisville’s first game ever against Clemson and it comes in Death Valley. Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino’s calling card has been his offenses, but it’s his defense that draws the tough assignment of trying to slow down the Tigers’ own potent attack. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has turned the reigns over to quarterback Deshaun Watson and the true freshman has responded. In two starts, Watson has completed 68 percent of his passes for 702 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception while adding 90 yards and two scores on the ground. Louisville enters this game sixth in FBS in scoring defense (12.7 ppg), but Florida State has been the only team thus far to hold Clemson to fewer than 21 points. The Tigers’ defense has held its own (22 ppg), so the Cardinals’ offense (25 ppg in ACC play) will need to step up if Louisville wants to have any chance of making its first trip to Death Valley a successful one.

 

3. Boston College at NC State (-4)
3:30 p.m. ET, RSN

It’s a battle of former Florida quarterbacks, as Boston College and NC State enter this game in search of their first ACC win. Both teams are coming off of losses, as the Eagles fell 24-21 at home to Colorado State two weeks ago, while the Wolfpack got shutout 41-0 in Clemson last week. Despite these recent results, both teams appear improved, especially NC State, which jumped all over Florida State two weeks ago at home before fading in the second half. Even though Boston College lost 2,000-yard rusher Andre Williams to the NFL, the Eagles have been productive on the ground to this point. Led by senior transfer quarterback Tyler Murphy, Boston College is leading the ACC and is sixth in the nation in rushing at 316.8 yards per game. Steve Addazio’s team relies heavily on the run (just 133.2 passing ypg), so the Wolfpack’s defense must do a better job than the 392 yards rushing it has allowed in its last two games. Meanwhile, Dave Doeren’s team has already surpassed last season’s win total thanks to a more balanced offense that’s putting up nearly 34 points per game. NC State is just one of two ACC teams (Duke) that’s averaging more than 200 yards per game both rushing and passing. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett is in charge of running Doeren’s offense, and the junior transfer is the conference’s third-rated passer thanks to a sterling 13:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The Eagles’ fourth-ranked defense (304.2 ypg) could have its hands full dealing with all of the Wolfpack’s weapons, while Murphy may need to make a few more plays with his arm (3 TDs, 6 INTs) to give NC State’s defense something else to worry about other than just stopping the run.

 

4. North Carolina at Notre Dame (-17)
3:30 p.m. ET, NBC

It’s a little bit of déjà vu for North Carolina and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Larry Fedora’s team stumbled to a 1-5 start last season before winning six of their final seven games. This season, North Carolina is 2-3, but it has lost three in a row with an average of 51.3 points per game allowed during this span. That’s not a good sign considering sixth-ranked Notre Dame is coming off a huge 17-14 win over then-No. 14 Stanford. The Cardinal are the No. 2 defense in the nation, but Brian Kelly’s team was able to put up 370 total yards against them. The Tar Heels enter this game 120th in the nation (out of 128 FBS teams) in total defense, allowing more than 505 yards per game. Statistically speaking, there’s not a lot of separation between these two teams from an offensive standpoint. Notre Dame is averaging only 14 yards per game more than North Carolina with the Tar Heels (36.0 ppg) enjoying a slight advantage over the Irish (31.4) in scoring. However, the disparity on defense cannot be overlooked, as the Irish have yet to allow an opponent to score more than 17 points and the Tar Heels are coughing up 42 per game (124th in FBS). Even if North Carolina catches Notre Dame looking ahead to next week’s showdown with Florida State, the Irish should win this one fairly easily. In fact, things could get ugly in South Bend if the Tar Heels make too many mistakes, on either side of the ball.

 

5. Florida State (-24) at Syracuse
12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Florida State finally appears to be getting its act together, which could be a bad sign for Syracuse. Since falling behind 24-7 at NC State two weeks ago, the Seminoles have outscored their opponents 62-20 over their last seven quarters. Wake Forest bore the brunt of this outburst, losing 43-3 in Tallahassee last week, as Florida State’s suffocating defense (126 total yards allowed, 3 takeaways) simply overwhelmed the Demon Deacons. The Seminoles’ offense hasn’t been near as productive as it was last season, but the defending national champions still have plenty of talent. The Orange could catch a break, however, with the possibility that Florida State could be without both its leading receiver (Rashad Greene) and leading rusher (Karlos Williams) because of injuries. Those aren’t the only key players Jimbo Fisher may not have at his disposal Saturday, but his counterpart Scott Shafer is dealing with some personnel issues of his own. Starting quarterback Terrel Hunt is out four to six weeks after breaking his leg, while offensive coordinator George McDonald has been stripped of his duties and replaced by quarterbacks coach Tim Lester. Syracuse enters this game ranked second to last in the ACC in scoring (21.6 ppg), compared to Florida State, which despite stints of inconsistency, is averaging 39.2 points per game. Even though the Seminoles have not played like champions at times and figure to be at less than full strength, the Orange still don’t match up in terms of talent and are experiencing too much turmoil on offense to be considered much of a threat to end Florida State’s 21-game winning streak.

 

6. Cincinnati at Miami (-15)
12 p.m. ET, RSN

Cincinnati and Miami are both sitting at .500 and coming off of disappointing conference losses. Because of a scheduling quirk, the Bearcats have only played four games and it’s safe to say Tommy Tuberville’s team is still trying to find its rhythm. After two wins over MAC teams, Cincinnati has been outscored 91-42 in back-to-back losses against Ohio State and Memphis. The 27-point home loss to American Athletic Conference foe Memphis is much together to swallow than losing in the Horseshoe to the Buckeyes, considering the Tigers won just three games last season. To make matters worse, Tuberville’s defense is ranked second to last in the nation (561.8 ypg) and he most likely will be without his starting quarterback. Gunner Kiel, who ranks among the nation’s best passers (15 TDs, 3 INTs, 171.2 rating), hurt his ribs in last week’s loss and is not expected to play Saturday. Munchie Legaux will likely start against the Hurricanes and the fifth-year senior does have experience to lean on. Truth be told, the Bearcats’ issues on offense stem from an inability to run the ball (103.5 rushing ypg), something that must change, especially if Kiel misses an extended period of time. Miami’s offense has been led by true freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya, who is second in the ACC with 253.3 yards passing per game. As is usually the case with freshmen signal-callers, Kaaya has made his share of mistakes (13 TDs, 9 INTs), but he hasn’t gotten a lot of support from his running game either. Miami is 12th in the ACC in rushing (133.3 ypg), despite the presence of preseason All-America pick Duke Johnson. As talented as Johnson is, he’s not producing enough (104.2 rushing ypg) to carry this offense by himself. Cincinnati’s 123rd-ranked rush defense (255.3 ypg) could be just what Johnson and his backfield mates need to get going. In fact, this game could be coming at an opportune time for the Hurricanes, who really could use a complete, well-rounded effort (on both sides of the ball), as they get ready to enter the toughest part of their ACC slate.

 

Off: Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest


ACC Week 7 Predictions

 David
Fox
Braden
Gall
Steven
Lassan
Mitch
Light
Duke (+5) at Ga. TechGT 35-21GT 28-27GT 27-24GT 30-23
Louisville (+13) at ClemsonClemson 35-21Clemson 34-27Clemson 34-20Clemson 33-27
Boston Coll. (+4) at NC StateNC State 31-24NC State 37-27NC State 30-27NC State 34-24
UNC (+17) at Notre DameND 41-14ND 45-17ND 45-17ND 41-17
FSU (-24) at SyracuseFSU 42-14FSU 44-10FSU 41-7FSU 41-0
Cincinnati (+15) at MiamiMiami 28-21Miami 34-10Miami 31-20Miami 33-21
Last Week5-15-15-15-1
Season Record49-1349-1352-1050-12

 

Teaser:
ACC 2014 Week 7 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-quarterback-rankings-week-6
Body:

Peyton Manning returned to his customary spot of leading scorer last week, which is why he reclaims his position atop Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings for Week 6. Manning threw for 479 yards and four touchdowns (along with 2 INTs) in Denver’s 41-20 win over Arizona. With 503 career touchdown passes, he’s closing in on Brett Favre (508) for No. 1 all-time. Manning probably won’t get there this week, but the Jets are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs so it’s not out of the question that he ends up as the top scorer for a second straight week. And while he may trail Manning by a whopping 443 touchdown passes (and by 208 games played), Russell Wilson looked equally impressive on Monday night when he accounted for all three Seattle touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush) and rushed for a game-high 122 yards in the Seahawks’ 27-17 win over the Redskins. Wilson and his team return home to face Tony Romo and the surprising (4-1) Cowboys.

 

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 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Peyton ManningDENat NYJ
2Andrew LuckINDat HOU (Thurs.)
3Aaron RodgersGBat MIA
4Matt RyanATLvs. CHI
5Philip RiversSDat OAK
6Russell WilsonSEAvs. DAL
7Jay CutlerCHIat ATL
8Eli ManningNYGat PHI
9Matthew StaffordDETat MIN
10Nick FolesPHIvs. NYG
11Colin KaepernickSFat STL (Mon.)
12Ben RoethlisbergerPITat CLE
13Andy DaltonCINvs. CAR
14Kirk CousinsWASat ARI
15Tony RomoDALat SEA
16Joe FlaccoBALat TB
17Cam NewtonCARat CIN
18Tom BradyNEat BUF
19Carson PalmerARIvs. WAS
20Ryan TannehillMIAvs. GB
21Brian HoyerCLEvs. PIT
22Jake LockerTENvs. JAC
23Mike GlennonTBvs. BAL
24Austin DavisSTLvs. SF (Mon.)
25Blake BortlesJACat TEN
26Teddy BridgewaterMINvs. DET

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 6
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-running-back-rankings-week-6
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Once again, injuries have caused quite a bit of shuffling to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Week 6. Montee Ball, Rashad Jennings, Zac Stacy, Reggie Bush and Donald Brown were among those who got hurt last week, opening the door for others on their teams. In Brown’s case, Branden Oliver certainly took advantage, as the undrafted rookie from Buffalo exploded for 182 total yards and two touchdowns in San Diego’s 31-0 whitewashing of the Jets. With Brown’s status still uncertain, Oliver checks in at No. 13 thanks in part to an appealing matchup against the Raiders. Not all of the RB-related injury news was bad, however, as Arian Foster looked pretty healthy in rushing for a season-high 157 yards and two scores in Houston’s overtime loss in Dallas. Now the key for Foster is how will he bounce back on a short week? (Here's a hint: we like his chances.)

 

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 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Marshawn LynchSEAvs. DAL
2Matt ForteCHIat ATL
3Arian FosterHOUvs. IND (Thurs.)
4Le'Veon BellPITat CLE
5Giovani BernardCINvs. CAR
6DeMarco MurrayDALat SEA
7Eddie LacyGBat MIA
8Andre WilliamsNYGat PHI
9Frank GoreSFat STL (Mon.)
10Andre EllingtonARIvs. WAS
11LeSean McCoyPHIvs. NYG
12Alfred MorrisWASat ARI
13Branden OliverSDat OAK
14Lamar MillerMIAvs. GB
15Ben TateCLEvs. PIT
16Ahmad BradshawINDat HOU (Thurs.)
17Justin ForsettBALat TB
18Fred JacksonBUFvs. NE
19C.J. SpillerBUFvs. NE
20Chris IvoryNYJvs. DEN
21Doug MartinTBvs. BAL
22Matt AsiataMINvs. DET
23Zac StacySTLvs. SF (Mon.)
24Reggie BushDETat MIN
25Stevan RidleyNEat BUF
26Steven JacksonATLvs. CHI
27Ronnie HillmanDENat NYJ
28Darren SprolesPHIvs. NYG
29Trent RichardsonINDat HOU (Thurs.)
30Shane VereenNEat BUF
31Jeremy HillCINvs. CAR
32Joique BellDETat MIN
33Bishop SankeyTENvs. JAC
34Chris JohnsonNYJvs. DEN
35Darren McFaddenOAKvs. SD
36Shonn GreeneTENvs. JAC
37Benny CunninghamSTLvs. SF (Mon.)
38Jerick McKinnonMINvs. DET
39Lorenzo TaliaferroBALat TB
40Toby GerhartJACat TEN
41Darrin ReavesCARat CIN
42Isaiah CrowellCLEvs. PIT
43Storm JohnsonJACat TEN
44Bernard PierceBALat TB
45Maurice Jones-DrewOAKvs. SD
46Terrance WestCLEvs. PIT
47George WinnDETat MIN
48Carlos HydeSFat STL (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 Running Back Rankings: Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-wide-receiver-rankings-week-6
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When it comes to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings for Week 6, the most important name may be one that’s not listed. Calvin Johnson has been a shell of his normal self the past two games, totaling just three catches for 19 yards. Johnson re-aggravated his ankle injury last week and has already said it will take a “lot of treatment” for him to play on Sunday. As hard as it is to bench a weapon like Johnson, the Lions may end up doing just that, which is why we did not rank Megatron this week. You have been warned. Unfortunately, Johnson’s not the only WR-related injury situation worth monitoring. A.J. Green reportedly re-aggravated a toe injury early in practice on Wednesday, resulting in him leaving the field on a cart. It’s still early when it comes to his game-day designation, but Green’s No. 10 ranking below is clearly a best-case scenario.

 

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 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

RankPlayerTeam 
1Julio JonesATLvs. CHI
2Demaryius ThomasDENat NYJ
3Jordy NelsonGBat MIA
4Antonio BrownPITat CLE
5Jeremy MaclinPHIvs. NYG
6Alshon JefferyCHIat ATL
7Emmanuel SandersDENat NYJ
8Dez BryantDALat SEA
9Brandon MarshallCHIat ATL
10A.J. GreenCINvs. CAR
11Randall CobbGBat MIA
12Steve SmithBALat TB
13Vincent JacksonTBvs. BAL
14Golden TateDETat MIN
15Victor CruzNYGat PHI
16Pierre GarconWASat ARI
17Mike WallaceMIAvs. GB
18Roddy WhiteATLvs. CHI
19Michael FloydARIvs. WAS
20Percy HarvinSEAvs. DAL
21Reggie WayneINDat HOU (Thurs.)
22DeAndre HopkinsHOUvs. IND (Thurs.)
23DeSean JacksonWASat ARI
24Andre JohnsonHOUvs. IND (Thurs.)
25T.Y. HiltonINDat HOU (Thurs.)
26Julian EdelmanNEat BUF
27Keenan AllenSDat OAK
28Kelvin BenjaminCARat CIN
29Brian QuickSTLvs. SF (Mon.)
30Wes WelkerDENat NYJ
31Larry FitzgeraldARIvs. WAS
32Kendall WrightTENvs. JAC
33Michael CrabtreeSFat STL (Mon.)
34Terrance WilliamsDALat SEA
35Sammy WatkinsBUFvs. NE
36Justin HunterTENvs. JAC
37Rueben RandleNYGat PHI
38James JonesOAKvs. SD
39Cordarrelle PattersonMINvs. DET
40Eric DeckerNYJvs. DEN
41Anquan BoldinSFat STL (Mon.)
42Mohamed SanuCINvs. CAR
43Torrey SmithBALat TB
44Andrew HawkinsCLEvs. PIT
45Greg JenningsMINvs. DET
46Allen HurnsJACat TEN
47Markus WheatonPITat CLE
48Odell Beckham Jr.NYGat PHI

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 6
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-tight-end-rankings-week-6
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Jimmy Graham, the best tight end in the NFL, is on bye in Week 6, but it’s the player that held the title previously that’s making the most waves in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings. After somewhat of a slow start in his return from a serious knee injury, Rob Gronkowski has caught a touchdown pass in each of the past three games and is coming off of his best game (6-100-1) yet.  As well as Gronk has played recently; we’re still not quite ready to put him at No. 1. Not with Graham on bye (hopefully giving him enough time to recover from a shoulder injury that knocked him out of last week’s game early) and Julius Thomas leading the league in touchdown catches (seven). Graham and Thomas also share co-billing as fantasy’s No. 1 TE (Athlon scoring), although Gronk (eighth) is slowly climbing his way up the standings.

 

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 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Julius ThomasDENat NYJ
2Rob GronkowskiNEat BUF
3Greg OlsenCARat CIN
4Delanie WalkerTENvs. JAC
5Martellus BennettCHIat ATL
6Antonio GatesSDat OAK
7Larry DonnellNYGat PHI
8Jason WittenDALat SEA
9Vernon DavisSFat STL (Mon.)
10Owen DanielsBALat TB
11Jordan CameronCLEvs. PIT
12Dwayne AllenINDat HOU (Thurs.)
13Zach ErtzPHIvs. NYG
14Heath MillerPITat CLE
15Jared CookSTLvs. SF (Mon.)
16Austin Seferian-JenkinsTBvs. BAL
17Tim WrightNEat BUF
18Charles ClayMIAvs. GB
19Garrett GrahamHOUvs. IND (Thurs.)
20Coby FleenerINDat HOU (Thurs.)
21Jordan ReedWASat ARI
22Niles PaulWASat ARI
23Eric EbronDETat MIN
24Clay HarborJACat 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 Tight End Rankings: Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-6
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San Diego was not the top-scoring fantasy DST last week, but it’s the combination of the Chargers’ most recent game and their next opponent that has this unit ranked No. 1 in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings for Week 6. The Chargers shut out the Jets last week and have scored 11 or more fantasy points (Athlon scoring) in all but one game. On top of this consistency, San Diego will take on Oakland, which has already fired its head coach, has questions at quarterback and is yielding the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing DSTs. How can you not get Charged up about San Diego’s DST 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 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

RankPlayerOpp
1San Diego Chargersat OAK
2Cincinnati Bengalsvs. CAR
3San Francisco 49ersat STL (Mon.)
4Detroit Lionsat MIN
5Seattle Seahawksvs. DAL
6Denver Broncosat NYJ
7Baltimore Ravensat TB
8Arizona Cardinalsvs. WAS
9Tennessee Titansvs. JAC
10Philadelphia Eaglesvs. NYG
11New England Patriotsat BUF
12Buffalo Billsvs. NE
13Carolina Panthersat CIN
14St. Louis Ramsvs. SF (Mon.)
15Houston Texansvs. IND (Thurs.)
16Pittsburgh Steelersat CLE

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 6
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-kicker-rankings-week-6
Body:

It’s been somewhat of a slow start, but Stephen Gostkowski finally looked the part of fantasy’s No. 1 kicker last week, resulting in a bump in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings for Week 6. Gostkowski, who tied for the league lead with 38 made field goals last season and led all kickers in fantasy points (Athlon scoring), really came through for his owners this past week. In New England’s 43-17 rout of Cincinnati, Gostkowski nailed all five of his field goal attempts and 4 PATs for season-high 21 fantasy points. With that performance he ascended into the top spot at his position in fantasy points. The only kicker ranked higher than Gostkowski this week is San Diego’s Nick Novak. And that’s mainly because the Chargers take on the lowly Raiders. Matchups count when it comes to kickers too.

 

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 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Nick NovakSDat OAK
2Stephen GostkowskiNEat BUF
3Dan BaileyDALat SEA
4Adam VinatieriINDat HOU (Thurs.)
5Cody ParkeyPHIvs. NYG
6Justin TuckerBALat TB
7Phil DawsonSFat STL (Mon.)
8Brandon McManusDENat NYJ
9Chandler CatanzaroARIvs. WAS
10Steven HauschkaSEAvs. DAL
11Dan CarpenterBUFvs. NE
12Matt BryantATLvs. CHI
13Shaun SuishamPITat CLE
14Mason CrosbyGBat MIA
15Robbie GouldCHIat ATL
16Randy BullockHOUvs. IND (Thurs.)

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 9, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-waiver-wire-week-6
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Sunday was a rough one for injuries, which figures to put the Week 6 availability of several key fantasy players in doubt, at best. Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham, Rashad Jennings, Montee Ball, Reggie Bush and Jake Locker are the biggest names that got hurt, but Kansas City and New Orleans are both on bye. While this may be good news for Graham owners (gives him time to heal), it means no Jamaal Charles, Drew Brees, Brandin Cooks, Knile Davis, Travis Kelce or any other Saint or Chief. It’s shaping up to be yet another busy week on the waiver wire.

 

And that’s where 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: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

Quarterbacks

 

Week 5 Recap: Mike Glennon also made it two wins in two starts, but Tampa Bay yielded an 11-point fourth-quarter lead on the road and eventually lost 37-31 in overtime to New Orleans. Glennon did his part, throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns with just one interception. Teddy Bridgewater also missed out on an opportunity to go two-for-two, as his injured ankle prevented him from facing Green Bay on Thursday. Bridgewater is expected to start against Detroit on Sunday.

 

Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns

Johnny who? Perhaps it’s time to stop wondering when Johnny Manziel will take over the Browns’ offense and instead give some credit to Hoyer. Trailing 28-3 with a little more than two minutes to go in the first half in Tennessee, Hoyer orchestrated the biggest comeback by a road team in NFL history. Behind his 292 yards and three touchdowns, Cleveland scored 26 unanswered points over the 30:12 of play to shock the Titans 29-28. Branded a “game manager,” Hoyer showed what he can do when called upon to make plays, as he doubled his season touchdown total in a little more than two quarters. Hoyer has just one interception on the season and it looks like offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is now starting to open up the playbook some. Hoyer faces a pretty tough test next week at home against Pittsburgh, but after that is very appealing – at Jacksonville and home vs. Oakland. If he puts together another solid showing Sunday it may be time to see what this Brown can do you for fantasy team.

 

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill was on bye last week, but this may be the ideal time to invest in this Dolphin. His numbers don’t jump out (902-6-3), but after seemingly being put on notice by his head coach, the third-year starter responded with his best game of the season two weeks ago. In London against Oakland, Tannehill completed 23-of-31 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns. He did have one interception, but the yardage and completion rate (74.2) were both season highs and he finished with a sparkling 109.3 QB rating. The Dolphins have shown signs of being a potent offensive team in first-year coordinator Bill Lazor’s system. As long as Tannehill continues in his progression as a passer and takes care of the football, he could develop into a reliable fantasy starting option.

 

Running Backs

 

Week 5 Recap: Khiry Robinson helped save the day for the Saints, rushing for 89 yards on 21 carries, including the game-winning 18-yard touchdown in overtime. Robinson and the Saints get Week 6 off though. Antone Smith was at it again on Sunday too, catching a 74-yard touchdown pass against the Giants. That catch was just one of his four total touches, so Smith’s workload is something to keep an eye on moving forward. Neither Jerrick McKinnon (7 att., 24 yds. and 3 rec., 22 yds.) nor Bishop Sankey (8 att., 27 yds.) were much of a factor in Week 5.

 

Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams

Zac Stacy suffered an apparent calf injury after fumbling in the third quarter, opening the door for Cunningham to see more touches. He capitalized on those opportunities, scoring on a 14-yard touchdown run and also catching three passes for 24 yards. The Rams’ comeback attempt came up short, but Cunningham finished the game with 47 yards rushing on seven carries (6.7 ypc) to go with that score and the 24 yards receiving. If Stacy’s injury is bad enough that he will miss time, Cunningham figures to get the starter’s reps. One thing to keep in mind regarding St. Louis’ schedule, however. The Rams just came off of their bye and will host San Francisco Monday night followed by Seattle in Week 7.

 

Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos

Continuing the injury theme, Montee Ball left in the third quarter against Arizona with a groin injury. He departed with a grand total of 18 yards on eight touches and was spotted using crutches after the game. Broncos head coach John Fox said on Monday that Ball's groin strain could cause him to miss up to three weeks, so this opens up an opportunity for Hillman to step in and produce. Against the Cardinals, Hillman rushed for a game-high 64 yards on 15 carries (4.3 ypc). Hillman has had his chances to emerge before, but he’s also no stranger to this offense, which should help his chances of securing the starting role. Even if Hillman doesn’t do his best Knowshon Moreno impression (circa 2013), any player who is a safe bet to get a decent number of touches in Denver’s offense is worth consideration.


Related: 5 Running Backs to Replace Montee Ball

 

Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers

Ryan Mathews is out with a MCL injury, Danny Woodhead is on IR with a broken leg and Donald Brown left on Sunday after sustaining a concussion. Oliver was next man up for the Chargers and the undrafted rookie took full advantage of the opportunity, showing both the athleticism and all-around ability that helped him compile more than 4,700 yards from scrimmage at Buffalo. Against the Jets and their No. 1-ranked rushing defense, Oliver ran for 114 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries (6.0 ypc). He also added a touchdown catch (4 rec., 68 yds.) and had two plays that went for more than 50 yards. Even if Brown passes the league-mandated concussion protocols and is cleared to play this week, Oliver figures to remain a part of the game plan too.

 

Andre Williams, New York Giants

Rashad Jennings left with a knee injury in the third quarter and his team trailing at home to Atlanta. Williams, the Giants’ fourth-round pick, took over and picked up 65 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown that helped fuel 20 unanswered points that led to an eventual 30-20 victory. An MRI on Monday confirmed that Jennings has a sprained MCL and while surgery won't be necessary, he is expected to miss a few weeks. Keep in mind that Cleveland’s Ben Tate suffered a similar injury in the Browns’ season opener and he didn’t get back on the field until Week 5. With Jennings sidelined for the time being, Williams should get his first NFL start this week in primetime in Philadelphia. And a strong showing against the Eagles will only help him secure his role in the Giants' offense, even after Jennings returns to action.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Week 5 Recap: Brian Quick came out of a bye and continued his steady, productive play, catching two touchdown passes in St. Louis 34-28 loss in Philadelphia. Quick sure looks like the Rams’ No. 1 target. Minnesota’s offense struggled as a whole against Green Bay, as injury replacement quarterback Christian Ponder made few plays in the passing game. As a result, no Viking pass-catcher put up big numbers against the Packers, including Jarius Wright (3 rec., 27 yds.). Marvin Jones appeared set to make his season debut after breaking a bone in his foot in August, but an ankle injury sustained earlier last week prevented him from getting on the field Sunday night against the Patriots.

 

Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

It took five games, but the Giants finally got to see their first-round pick in action and he didn’t disappoint. Beckham hauled in four of his five targets in his first career NFL game, finishing with 44 yards and what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown, a 15-yarder early in the fourth quarter. Beckham’s five targets against the Falcons placed him third, a good sign considering all of the time the rookie had missed. Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense has really been clicking during their three-game winning streak and it appears that Beckham will be a part of the game plan moving forward.

 

Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans

The Titans lost a heartbreaker at home to the Browns, but at least there was a Hunter sighting. A popular breakout candidate entering this season, Hunter’s owners were disappointed with his meager production (9 rec., 138 yds.) through the first four games. That changed late in the second quarter, however, when Charlie Whitehurst and Hunter connected for a 75-yard touchdown. That big-play ability is what had everyone excited about Hunter this season and hopefully this is a sign of things to come. The other potential positive about that touchdown catch is that it came courtesy of Whitehurst, Jake Locker’s backup. Locker injured his hand against the Browns, so maybe a QB change will be the catalyst to finally get Hunter going.

 

Louis Murphy Jr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans, the Bucs’ first-round pick, is expected to miss about a month after injuring his groin last week. Murphy stepped in for Evans last week, finishing with six catches (on 11 targets) for 99 yards to help Tampa Bay come from behind and win in Pittsburgh. Then on Sunday, Murphy was making plays again, catching a 20-yard touchdown pass in the overtime loss in New Orleans. The Buccaneers’ passing game has gotten a jolt since Mike Glennon took over for an injured Josh McCown. Vincent Jackson may be the primary beneficiary of this change, but the opportunity is there for Murphy to produce as the team’s No. 2 wideout.

 

Tight Ends

 

Week 5 Recap: Atlanta surrendered a 10-point third-quarter lead to the Giants, but the Falcons’ defense made sure Larry Donnell wouldn’t be the one to beat it. Coming off a three-touchdown game, Donnell saw just one target and didn’t record a single catch against the Falcons. Donnell still appears to be a relatively safe TE1 moving forward, but it’s also possible that he has already peaked.

 

Tim Wright, New England Patriots

This may be chasing fool’s gold, but it’s worth noting that Wright and fellow TE Rob Gronkowski both had big games in the Patriots’ rout of the Bengals on Sunday night. Gronk paced the team with six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown, but Wright was right there with five grabs for 85 and a score of his own. Wright’s five targets also placed him third on the team behind only Gronkowski (11) and leading wide receiver Julian Edelman (8). It has taken some time, but perhaps the former Buccaneer is starting to settle into his role with his new team. If that’s the case, Wright could be able to provide similar production to when Gronkowski had Aaron Hernandez as his running mate during the 2011 and ’12 seasons.


Defense/Special Teams

 

Week 5 Recap: Pittsburgh did what DSTs are supposed to be when facing Jacksonville – pile up some fantasy points. The Steelers held the Jaguars to three field goals, while also collecting a sack and picking off two passes, the last of which was returned 22 yards for a touchdown. Pittsburgh will be in Cleveland for a key AFC North matchup Sunday before going on bye.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

It’s hard to not notice what the Eagles’ DST has accomplished this past two games. Two weeks ago, this DST racked up four sacks and accounted for three touchdowns – blocked punt, INT return and punt return. On Sunday, this collective unit was at it again, registering four more sacks and two more scores (blocked punt and fumble return). Put it together and that’s 51 fantasy points (Athlon scoring) over the last two weeks. Philadelphia is the No. 1 DST in fantasy right now and as well as the Giants’ offense has performed recently, the Eagles have shown it can be productive even when it gives up a bunch of points (54 PA the past two games).

 

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 6
Post date: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 10:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/5-running-backs-replace-montee-ball
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Denver running back Montee Ball suffered a groin injury in the third quarter of the Broncos’ 41-20 win over the Cardinals on Sunday. After the game, Ball was spotted on crutches and on Monday head coach John Fox said Ball's groin strain could cause him to miss up to three weeks.

 

Entering this season, Ball was a popular choice for a fantasy breakout candidate, considering Knowshon Moreno, the Broncos’ leading rusher and the No. 4 fantasy RB in 2013, signed with Miami as a free agent. His predecessor’s success was one of the reasons why those who used an early draft pick on Ball were at least hoping for Moreno-like numbers: 1,038 yards rushing, 10 TDs, along with 60 receptions for 548 yards and three scores.

 

Unfortunately, that has not been the case with Ball, who was averaging just 3.1 yards per carry, had one rush of 20 or more yards and just one touchdown before his injury. In fact, he left Sunday’s game after rushing for just seven yards on six carries (also had 2 catches for 11 yards).

 

So the good news for Ball owners is they don’t have to worry about replacing a ton of production. They do, however, have a potential lineup or roster hole that now needs to be filled. Here are five running backs that could help Ball owners weather the storm as long as he’s sidelined In fact, this list also could be useful to those who have Rashad Jennings, Zac Stacy, Reggie Bush or Donald Brown , other backs who left their game on Sunday due to injury, on their roster.

 

Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos

When it comes to productive offensive teams like Denver, the obvious thing to do in case of an injury is to turn to the next man on the depth chart. For now, that appears to be Hillman, who took over after Ball’s injury and finished with a game-high 64 yards rushing on 15 carries (4.3 ypc). Hillman has had his chances to emerge before, but he’s also no stranger to this offense, which should help his chances of securing the starting role. Even if Hillman doesn’t do his best Moreno impression, any player who is a safe bet to get a decent number of touches in this offense is worth consideration.

 

Chris Ivory, New York Jets

The Jets brought in former 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson as a free agent, but Ivory has been the most productive ground-gainer thus far. Ivory leads the team in both carries (59) and yards (318), as he’s averaging a more than respectable 5.4 per carry. He has slowly but surely taken over as the Jets’ No. 1 back and has the ability to get the job done between the tackles as well as break off a long one (71-yard touchdown in Week 1). With the struggles the Jets have had at quarterback, they are going to have to keep running the ball to establish any sort of consistent offense. And that’s where Ivory comes in.

 

Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens don’t lack for backfield options, as three different players have already totaled at least 32 carries. But while Bernard Pierce has dealt with injuries and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro has had his moments, it’s Forsett who has been both the most consistent and the most productive. Forsett leads the team in rushing (297 yards) and his 5.9 yards per carry is tied for the top mark in the NFL. He has three rushing touchdowns and also is second on the team with 23 catches (118 yards, TD). This may look like a crowded backfield but for the time being, it appears that Forsett is option A with Pierce and Taliaferro battling for B status.

 

Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers

Ryan Mathews is out with a MCL injury, Danny Woodhead is on IR with a broken leg and Donald Brown left on Sunday after sustaining a concussion. Oliver was next man up for the Chargers and the undrafted rookie took full advantage of the opportunity, showing both the athleticism and all-around ability that helped him compile more than 4,700 yards from scrimmage at Buffalo. Against the Jets, Oliver ran for 114 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries (6.0 ypc). He also added a touchdown catch (4 rec., 68 yds.) and had two plays that went for more than 50 yards. Even if Brown passes the league-mandated concussion protocols and is cleared to play this week, Oliver figures to remain a part of the game plan too.

 

Andre Williams, New York Giants

Rashad Jennings left with a knee injury in the third quarter and his team trailing at home to Atlanta. Williams, the Giants’ fourth-round pick, took over and picked up 65 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown that helped fuel 20 unanswered points that led to an eventual 30-20 victory. An MRI on Monday confirmed that Jennings has a sprained MCL and while surgery won't be necessary, he is expected to miss a few weeks. Keep in mind that Cleveland’s Ben Tate suffered a similar injury in the Browns’ season opener and he didn’t get back on the field until Week 5. With Jennings sidelined for the time being, Williams should get his first NFL start this week in primetime in Philadelphia. And a strong showing against the Eagles will only help him secure his role in the Giants' offense, even after Jennings returns to action.

Teaser:
5 Running Backs to Replace Montee Ball
Post date: Monday, October 6, 2014 - 17:00
All taxonomy terms: NFC, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/seattle-seahawks-vs-washington-redskins-game-preview-and-prediction
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The defending Super Bowl champions’ title defense tour makes a stop in our nation’s capital, as Seattle will take on Washington on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” The Seahawks (2-1) are coming off of their bye still riding high following their overtime victory over Denver two weeks ago. The Redskins (1-3) meanwhile are back in the primetime spotlight a little more than a week after an embarrassing 45-14 home loss to the Giants.

 

This will be the first meeting between these two teams since the NFC Wild Card game following the 2012 season. In that game, NFC East champion Washington jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Seattle scored the final 24 points to advance. Robert Griffin III injured his knee in the disappointing loss and he hasn’t been the same player since. The Redskins tumbled to 3-13 last season, resulting in a head-coaching change. On the other side, this comeback win was Russell Wilson’s first playoff victory, a total he added to during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl run last season.

 

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Seattle -7.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Kirk Cousins’ Learning Curve

Following an impressive first start against Philadelphia two weeks ago, Kirk Cousins came crashing back to earth against the Giants. Filling in for an injured Robert Griffin III, Cousins nearly led his team to a road victory in Week 3 against the defending NFC East champions, throwing for 427 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. His next start didn’t go near as well, however, as the Giants’ defense harassed Cousins all night long, picking him off four times and limiting him to just 257 yards and a touchdown on 19-of-33 passing. A lost fumble put the finishing touches on a horrendous all-around performance, as Cousins and the Redskins lost by 31 points at home.  Cousins will get the opportunity to demonstrate his toughness and show that’s he learned from last week’s debacle with a solid showing against Seattle’s vaunted defense. It’s still early, but the Seahawks have allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete nearly 70 percent of their passes with six touchdowns compared to just two interceptions. Then again, the quarterbacks this unit has faced so far are pretty good – Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning. No one’s mistaking Cousins for the second coming of any from this trio, but first-year head coach Jay Gruden (not to mention Redskins fans) is certainly hoping for better results from his young signal-caller tonight compared to last week’s stat line.

 

 

2. Seattle’s Road Woes

“Woes” may not be the right word considering Pete Carroll’s team is the defending Super Bowl champion and all. However, it’s perfectly accurate to describe the Seahawks as near unbeatable at home and closer to average on the road. Two of their three losses last season came away from CenturyLink Field, and Seattle didn’t play a true road game in the playoffs either. And beyond the win-loss column, the difference on the scoreboard is pretty clear too. Last season, the Seahawks averaged nearly 30 points per game at home, outscoring opponents by 15.8 points per contest. On the road, they scored about a touchdown less per game (23 ppg) while outscoring the opposition by a similar margin (7.9 ppg). This trend stayed true three weeks ago in San Diego where Carroll’s team fell behind 20-7 before eventually losing 30-21. The Chargers dominated time of possession (42:15 to 17:45) and outgained the Seahawks handily (377-288), as the visitors wilted in the Southern California heat. The temperature shouldn’t be much of a factor tonight, not for an early fall evening in our nation’s capital, but Seattle needs to find a way to produce better results on the road. Especially against a team it should have little trouble beating. Sorry, Washington fans.

 

3. Backfield Battle Royal?

Last season, Alfred Morris and Marshawn Lynch finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in the NFL in rushing. Both ran for more than 1,250 yards and the duo combined for 19 rushing touchdowns. This season, Morris enters Week 5 fifth in the league with 316 yards on the ground while Lynch is matching his 4.5 yards per carry (with one less game played). Both backs are critical to their respective offense’s success, and containing each will be one of the focal points of the defenses tonight. Seattle is doing its customary job against the run, holding opponents to just 72.3 yards rushing per game, while Washington also has been a pleasant surprise in this department (87 ypg) early on. Not only have yards been hard to come by (2.8 ypc allowed by Seattle, 3.3 by Washington) against these defenses, they also have combined to yield just three rushing touchdowns in a total of seven games. So will we see Beast Mode unleashed tonight or a big game from the Redskins’ top ball-carrier? Or will both defenses continue to hold their ground against the run?

 

Final Analysis

 

Seattle’s the defending Super Bowl champion, coming off a bye, while Washington is still smarting from a sloppy, 31-point drubbing at home last week. Even though the Seahawks are not as fearsome on the road (see Week 2 in San Diego), as they are at home, Pete Carroll’s team is too talented and too proud to overlook any opponent. The Redskins bounce back by keeping this one closer than last week’s debacle against the Giants, but their losing streak stretches to three with another setback at FedEx Field.

 
Prediction: Seattle 30, Washington 20
Teaser:
Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Monday, October 6, 2014 - 10:15
Path: /nfl/cincinnati-bengals-vs-new-england-patriots-game-preview-and-prediction
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Teams seemingly at a crossroads will intersect when Cincinnati and New England face off tonight at Gillette Stadium on NBC. The Bengals (3-0) come off of their bye refreshed and close to full strength, while the Patriots (2-2) are still picking up the pieces from the 41-14 shellacking they got from the Chiefs on Monday night.

 

A matchup of defending division champions, Cincinnati topped New England 13-6 in Week 5 last season. In that game, not only did the Bengals’ defense hold the Patriots to just 248 total yards and two field goals, it also put an end to Tom Brady’s streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.

 

Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Cincinnati -1

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Monday Night Hangover for New England?

No matter how you slice it, Monday night in Arrowhead Stadium represented one of the lowest points in the 14 seasons Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been paired together as head coach and starting quarterback. And it’s not just in the 41-14 score, which is the second-largest margin of defeat in the 221 games (including playoffs) Brady has started, it’s how the Patriots lost. In the first half alone Kansas City outgained New England 303-98, as a defense that ranked among the best in the NFL entering this contest looked helpless to stop the Chiefs’ running or passing games. The futility and frustration carried over to the second half, as the home team kept pouring it on and Brady and the offense struggled to get anything going. Brady didn’t even finish the game, as he was pulled in the fourth quarter after throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The Patriots were thoroughly dominated in every facet of the game, something that has happened rarely during Belichick’s tenure, but the reality is this is a team with plenty of question marks, most of them coming on offense. This Brady-led unit is 29th in the league in yards gained (298.5 ypg) and 30th in passing (201.0 ypg), something that seems unfathomable considering the future Hall of Famer’s track record. The offensive line clearly has issues and lacks cohesion, the running game has struggled to find any consistency (97.5 ypg) and no one other than Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski have consistently made plays in the passing game. The mood was somber, to say the least, within and outside of the team following the Monday night meltdown. And a bad situation could only get worse depending on how the Patriots respond in a short week against an undefeated Cincinnati team that’s coming off of a bye.  

 

2. Cincinnati at Full Strength?

The Bengals are not only undefeated entering this game, they also are a slight favorite on the road in the house that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady built. This duo is 96-17 at home, including playoffs, in their 14 seasons together. Cincinnati also gets to face a dejected and discouraged Patriots team that’s still smarting from their last loss, while the Bengals are coming off of a bye. Besides giving them a chance to rest and an extra week to prepare, the bye allowed some key players to return to practice. Head coach Marvin Lewis hopes to have Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict back after he suffered concussions in back-to-back games and not playing at all in Week 3. Burfict is the heart and soul of this defense and led the NFL in tackles last season. His return would make a stingy defense (league-leading 11 ppg allowed) even better. On offense, the passing game could get a boost if wide receiver Marvin Jones gets back on the field. Second on the team last season in receiving yards (712) and touchdowns (10), Jones has been out since breaking a bone in his foot early in the preseason. His presence would not only provide quarterback Andy Dalton with another receiving threat, it also would give the Bengals a reliable red-zone target to take some of the pressure off of A.J. Green and help fill the absence of injured tight end Tyler Eifert. Some other injured starters and key reserves could be returning as well, a potentially scary proposition for the rest of the league considering the Bengals went 3-0 without the likes of Burfict, Jones, etc. on the field.

 

3. Which Team Gains the Most Ground?

New England’s struggles running the ball have already been documented. The Patriots are 23rd in the NFL in that category right now, but the Bengals haven’t fared that much better. Even with the dynamic duo of explosive Giovani Bernard and bruising Jeremy Hill leading the way, Cincinnati is just 15th in the league in rushing (121.7 ypg) and is actually averaging fewer yards per carry (3.6) than New England (3.7). The difference, however, lies in the contributions of the respective passing games. The former is 11th with 262.3 yards per game, while the latter is languishing in 30th (201.0 ypg). This is a big reason why the Bengals are seventh in the league in total offense and scoring nearly 27 points per game while the Patriots are 29th and managing just 20 points per contest. Regardless, both teams would like to establish the run tonight, especially considering the respective defenses have struggled some in this department. Cincinnati is allowing 113.3 yards per game, including 149 in Week 3 to Tennessee. New England meanwhile coughed up 207 to Kansas City in the Monday night meltdown. The team that does the best job of staying “grounded” tonight more than likely leaves Gillette Stadium as the victors.

 

Final Analysis

 

When looking at both teams’ current circumstances, Cincinnati appears to be getting New England at an opportune time. The Patriots are wounded, especially when it comes to their pride and team morale, and there seem to be more questions than available answers. On top of this, Bill Belichick’s team is dealing with a short turnaround after playing a Monday night game and has had to deal with a hungry media crush that’s more concerned about reporting on the Patriots’ pending demise. On the other side are the Bengals, undefeated, coming off of their bye well rested and as close to full strength as they’ve been this season. While I don’t think New England is headed for the basement of the AFC East, I do believe that Cincinnati is a better team at this point in their seasons. Marvin Lewis’ team adds to the misery of Patriots fans, as the Bengals capitalize on being an extremely rare road favorite in Gillette Stadium.

 
Prediction: Cincinnati 24, New England 20
Teaser:
Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-5-injury-updates-calvin-johnson-aj-green-brandon-marshall-eric-decker
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An ankle injury continues to bother one NFC North top target, while another should be at full speed for Week 5. And these aren’t the only key wide receiver injuries you need to pay attention to.

 

A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, WRs, Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots

Probable – Toe; Doubtful – Ankle
The fact that Green is even on the injury report after his bye week is a little disconcerting, but he is listed as Probable and was able to practice in at least a limited fashion every day. He should be safe to trot out as a WR1. Meanwhile it looks like Jones’ season debut will have to wait at least one more week. Jones has yet to play since breaking a bone in his foot early in the preseason, and now apparently he’s dealing with some sort of ankle issue. The bottom line is Jones did not practice at all this week so there’s little reason to expect him to play for the first time since early August. Mohamed Sanu should retain some possible WR3/flex value as the Bengals’ No. 2 WR.

 

Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, WRs, Detroit Lions vs. Buffalo Bills

Questionable – Ankle; Probable – Hamstring
Despite being Questionable a week ago, Johnson suited up against the Jets. He ended up being an extremely talented decoy (2 targets, 2 rec., 12 yds.), as it became apparent Megatron was nowhere near 100 percent. He’s still not there yet either, as Johnson missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday before returning on Friday. He’s officially listed as Questionable, but head coach Jim Caldwell did hint at the possibility of Johnson missing a game at some point if it would help him heal. For now, Johnson should remain in your lineup, but keep an eye out for any updates related to his status prior to kickoff (1 p.m. ET). Tate meanwhile did not practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday and Friday due to a hamstring injury. Caldwell said he didn’t think the issue would prevent Tate from playing and his presence is even more important with Johnson ailing. Tate should be a relatively safe WR2 with upside today at home against the Bills.

 

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers

Probable – Ankle
After being Questionable for three straight weeks, Marshall is listed as Probable for today’s game in Carolina. He practiced fully all three days and considering he’s still yet to miss a game, there should be absolutely no hesitation when it comes to plugging him into your lineup.

 

Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets at San Diego Chargers

Questionable – Hamstring
Decker’s hamstring continues to give him and his owners fits. Two weeks ago he left early after re-aggravating it, but was back on the field last week and caught a touchdown pass in the home loss to Detroit. However, after practicing on Wednesday, he was not able to participate either Thursday or Friday and head coach Rex Ryan has already announced Decker will be a game-time decision. The apparent regression is not a good sign and the Jets are on the West Coast for a 4:25 pm. ET kickoff, so caution is certainly warranted here. If you can, wait until kickoff before making your final decision. If not, I would strongly consider benching Decker this week, especially given the Jets’ struggles with their passing game.

 
Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Questionable – Knee
Coming out of the bye, Austin was still limited in practice this week by his knee injury. He’s listed as Questionable, but even if he plays, I see no reason to take a chance on starting Austin. Before the injury, he wasn’t doing much of anything (3 rec., 34 yds.) and it’s pretty clear a guy who needs his speed and elusiveness to make plays isn’t close to being 100 percent healthy.

 
Already Ruled Out:

 

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers’ first-round pick is expected to miss two to four weeks after injuring his groin last week. Louis Murphy will replace Evans in the starting lineup and the veteran made a few plays (6-99) to help the Bucs come back and beat the Steelers. Murphy is nothing more than a wait-and-see option for now with Vincent Jackson the Tampa Bay WR you want to own and rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins increasing his stock.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 5 Injury Updates: Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Mike Evans
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-5-fantasy-football-injury-updates-jamaal-charles-andre-ellington-bernard-pierce
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Carolina’s backfield is a mess entering Week 5 while Arizona got some good and bad news on the injury front coming out of its bye. Here’s the latest on those situations and the playing status of some other key running backs.

 

Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos

Probable – Foot
He’s still being limited in practice, but the hope is that the bye week allowed for Ellington’s foot to heal some. Either way, he’s listed as Probable and will be out there against the Broncos. Ellington’s owners are also hoping that the time off will benefit his production too, especially in what could end up being a relatively high-scoring affair with the Broncos. Ellington is a safe RB2 with the upside for much more.

 

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers

Probable – Ankle
Talk about your triumphant returns. Just two weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain, Charles was back on the field Monday night, scoring three touchdowns to fuel the Chiefs’ rout of the Patriots. He did tweak his leg or get a cramp at one point, but was able to return and apparently made it through OK. He was limited earlier this week in practice, but was a full go on Friday and is listed as Probable for this afternoon’s game. Charles is a must-start RB1, and if Monday night showed anything, it appears there are enough touches available for Knile Davis to remain a safe flex option too.

 

Bernard Pierce, RB, Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts

Probable – Thigh
Even though he was declared “ready,” Pierce did not see a single snap in last week’s win over Carolina. Whatever the reason for that decision, it did allow Pierce another week to recover, which seems to have paid off. Pierce was a full participant this week in practice and is listed as Probable. However, Pierce’s expected return only complicates the Ravens’ backfield picture since Justin Forsett and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro have each been productive when given an opportunity. If I were to handicap this situation, I would categorize Pierce as a risky RB2, Forsett as a relatively safe flex option and Taliaferro as the odd man out for this week but still someone worth keeping an eye on. I told you it was complicated.

 

Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, RBs, Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears

Doubtful – Knee; Out – Ankle
The Panthers are digging deep to fill out their backfield, as injuries have clearly taken their toll. Mike Tolbert (leg fracture) is on IR while Williams, who missed Weeks 2 and 3 with a hamstring injury is now dealing with a high ankle sprain and has already been ruled Out. Stewart sprained his knee two weeks ago, but was back at practice on Wednesday. It was just a brief appearance, however, and he wound up just watching practice the next two days. He’s listed as Doubtful, but there’s no reason to count on having Stewart today. Carolina’s starting running back instead will be Darrin Reaves, an undrafted free agent from UAB who was elevated from the practice squad a few weeks ago. Backing up Reaves will be journeyman Fozzy Whittaker and recent free-agent acquisition Chris Ogbonnaya. Reaves should see the bulk of the carries, but even as porous as Chicago’s run defense has been early on, I’m not sure I would want to take a chance on an unproven guy who was doing scout team work just two weeks ago.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals – The bruised nerve in his throwing shoulder will sideline Palmer for a third straight game, as Bruce Arians announced on Friday that Drew Stanton would start against Denver. After showing some signs of progress during the team’s bye week, Palmer experienced a setback earlier this week, which caused him to go seek a second medical opinion. While Palmer has said he doesn’t need surgery and this isn’t considered a season-ending injury, there’s not much else he can do other than hope his shoulder responds to treatment. In the meantime, Stanton has been steady in leading the Cardinals to back-to-back wins. He’s not likely to put up huge numbers on a weekly basis, but today’s matchup in Denver could be profitable, especially if the game develops into some short of shootout. Depending on your options, Stanton could merit QB2 consideration this week.

 

Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers – Mathews is expected to miss at least a month after spraining his MCL in Week 2 while Woodhead was placed on injured reserve after breaking his leg in Week 3. Donald Brown will carry the load for the time being with undrafted rookie Branden Oliver listed next on the depth chart.

Teaser:
Week 5 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Jamaal Charles, Andre Ellington, Bernard Pierce, Jonathan Stewart
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-5-injury-updates-arian-foster-ben-tate-joique-bell-jake-locker
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The Week 5 Lone Star State Showdown should feature both workhorse running backs, while the Browns also hope to have their No. 1 ball-carrier in the lineup. Here are some of the key running back and quarterback injuries to keep an eye on.

 

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans

Probable – Back
Romo didn’t practice on Wednesday, but that’s becoming the normal routine for the veteran. He was a full go on both Thursday and Friday and is Probable for today’s Lone Star State showdown with the Texans. The Cowboys are aiming for their fourth straight win and Romo hasn’t shown any reason during this streak to not start him.

 

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys

Probable – Hamstring
Foster was a game-time decision last week for the second straight game, but unlike Week 3 against the Giants, he ended up playing vs. the Bills. He wasn’t every effective as a rusher, however, finishing with just six yards on eight carries although he did catch seven passes for 55 yards. The Probable designation for this week is certainly encouraging, but don’t mistake that to mean he’s back to 100 percent. Foster was limited in practice this week, which is nothing new, but neither is him being a late scratch prior to kickoff. Unless something happens between now and 1 p.m. ET, Foster should be in your starting lineup. But it wouldn’t hurt to have Plan B ready, just in case.

 
Ben Tate, RB, Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans

Probable – Knee
The Browns are coming off of their bye and should get their No. 1 RB back. Tate sprained his knee in Week 1 and has been out since, but he was a full go at practice on Friday and is listed as Probable. If Tate does play, he will reclaim his starting role, which will likely decrease the number of touches rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell get. If you have Tate, you can employ him as a RB2 while West and Crowell are back to flex options. Two things to keep in mind, however, are 1) Tate’s leash may not be that long considering how productive West and Crowell were during his absence (Crowell in particular seems to be generating the most buzz from Browns camp) and 2) Tate himself didn’t sound that optimistic that he would be ready to go on Sunday, apparently worried that his knee could swell up prior to game time. If the player is worried about his knee, shouldn’t his fantasy owners be a little wary as well?

 
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans vs. Cleveland Browns

Probable – Wrist
Locker missed last week’s game due to a sore wrist, but it was business as usual this week. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has already announced that Locker will be his starter today with Charlie Whitehurst serving as the backup. The Titans have lost three games in a row by an average of 22 points and not surprisingly, Locker has struggled (TD, 4 turnovers in past two games) during this stretch. It’s not a bad bye week with only Miami and Oakland off, so you’re probably better off using someone other than Locker, even if you’re in a 2-QB league.

 

Josh McCown, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Questionable – Thumb
McCown hasn’t had surgery yet to repair his injured thumb, which has prevented him from even throwing the football. So even though he’s listed as Questionable there’s no reason to expect him to play. He hasn’t practiced all week and Mike Glennon led the team to a thrilling, come-from-behind road win in Pittsburgh last week. Even more so than last week, I think Glennon merits serious QB2 consideration.


Already Ruled Out:

 

Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions – Bell got his bell rung last week against the Jets and he wasn’t even cleared for contact until Friday. After missing an entire week of practice, the team decided to err on the side of caution and hold him out. Reggie Bush figures to be a very busy man today against the Bills, especially since fellow running back Theo Riddick has also been ruled Out (hamstring) and All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson is listed as Questionable. George Winn and fullback Jed Collins will be the only other backs active for the Lions today, barring a late signing, for those in deeper leagues that may have an interest.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 5 Injury Updates: Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Joique Bell, Jake Locker
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-5-fantasy-football-injury-updates-andre-johnson-julio-jones-dez-bryant-markus-wheaton
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Texas could be without its top wide receiver for the big in-state showdown in Week 5. Are there any other fantasy-relevant wideouts who may not be on the field today?

 

Harry Douglas, Devin Hester and Julio Jones, WRs, Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants

Out – Foot; Probable – Ankle; Probable – Ankle
The Falcons’ wide receiver corps just likes to keep things interesting, as evidenced by fact that three of them appear on this week’s injury report. Even though it’s a somewhat crowded list, it’s pretty easy to sort out. Douglas is Out because of a toe injury while Hester and Jones are both Probable and should play. Hester and Jones were both able to practice fully on Friday and as far as Jones is concerned, he’s a must-start WR1. Hester is the more interesting case, as he’s more known for his return skills. However, it looks like he’s found a home in Atlanta as the team’s No. 3/4 wideout, as Hester has scored an offensive touchdown in each of the past two games and caught five passes for 70 yards in last week’s loss to the Vikings. In leagues where special teams contributions count in the scoring, Hester certainly has appeal, but I also could make an argument me for employing him as a WR3/WR4 this week, especially with Douglas out.

 
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys

Questionable – Ankle
Johnson had been listed on the injury report previously with an ankle injury, but it has yet to keep him from playing. What’s curious about this week, however, is that after saying his ankle was fine, Johnson did not practice Wednesday, was limited on Thursday and sat out Friday’s session. Johnson’s toughness has been vouched for in this space previously, but the possibility he could sit this one out cannot be taken lightly. The 1 p.m. ET kickoff should give Johnson owners enough time to chew on the updates regarding his Questionable status before deciding to start him or not.

 

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans

Probable – Shoulder
Bryant’s on the injury report, but he was a full practice participant all week. The Cowboys are looking to keep their hot streak going against in-state foe Houston and will need all the production they can get from Bryant to beat the Texans. Bryant’s Probable and he better be in your starting lineup.

 

Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Probable – Groin
Wheaton showed up on the injury report this week with a groin issue, which limited his practice participation on Wednesday and Thursday. However, he was a full go on Friday and is listed as Probable, so he should be out there today. The matchup with a generous Jaguars’ defense is certainly appealing, but be careful to not put too much trust in Wheaton. Antonio Brown is clearly Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite target, Heath Miller is still one of his most trusted ones and Le’Veon Bell is a factor coming out of the backfield. Wheaton’s talent and potential are certainly appealing, but he’s yet to catch a touchdown and the big plays (only three catches of 20-plus yards) just haven’t been there. Wheaton’s ceiling remains high, but right now he’s safest when employed as a WR3/flex option.

 

Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons

Questionable – Hamstring
Will we finally see Beckham on the field? A hamstring injury has caused him to miss the first four games, but the mere fact that Beckham is Questionable and not already ruled Out is certainly encouraging. Even if he does play, how much remains to be seen, as it appears that Beckham has a lot of catching up to do in the eyes of the coaching staff. So while it is certainly too risky to start Beckham this week, he’s one to keep an eye on as there’s a reason the Giants drafted him in the first round.

 
Already Ruled Out:

 

Marqise Lee and Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars – Lee will miss a third straight game due to a hamstring injury, while Shorts will probably be sidelined for an extended period of time with his own hamstring issue. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson will serve as the Jags’ starting wide receivers and could be fantasy options depending on your depth at the position. Hurns is the more appealing option based on numbers (3 TDs), while Robinson’s value increases in PPR leagues. Of course how each fares today will depend largely on how Blake Bortles does in his first start at home against Pittsburgh.

Teaser:
Week 5 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Andre Johnson, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Markus Wheaton
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-5-injury-updates-vernon-davis-delanie-walker-rob-gronkowski-jordan
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San Francisco’s top tight end looks very iffy for Week 5, while Cleveland should get its back on the field. Here are the key tight end injuries you need to know about before setting your lineup.

 

Delaine Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans vs. Cleveland Browns

Probable – Shoulder
Walker was Questionable last week, but not only did he start, he also paced the Titans in receiving (5-84-1) yet again. This week he practiced some Wednesday and Thursday before being a full go on Friday. He’s listed as Probable and Walker definitely needs to be in your lineup.

 

Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Questionable – Back
It has certainly been a rough stretch for Davis. After missing Week 3 due to an ankle injury, a Questionable Davis was back on the field last week despite being a game-time decision. Unfortunately, he was not out there long after taking a big hit to his back. This latest injury prevented him from practicing at all this week so I think it’s safe to add “very” in front of his Questionable designation. Other than a strong Week 1 showing (2 TDs), Davis hasn’t done that much when he has been on the field. Benching him would probably be the safest course of action until he gets a little healthier.

 

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Probable – Knee
Pretty much the only reason Gronkowski remains in this space is because of his stature. The truth is Gronk appears to be in the best health he’s been in a while, as he got in a full week of practice. He’s listed as Probable and even with Tom Brady and the Patriots’ struggles on offense, Gronk needs to be in your lineup. After all, he caught a touchdown pass from rookie Jimmy Garoppolo in garbage time in the Patriots’ Monday night meltdown against the Chiefs.

 

Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens

Probable – Shoulder
Although he’s not fully healed, Cameron returned to practice following the Browns’ bye week, is listed as Probable and should see his first action since Week 1. Cameron has said he will probably have to deal with a separated AC joint in his shoulder the rest of the season, but as long as he can tolerate and manage the pain, he will be out there. Cameron entered the season as a top-10 TE and should get back to that territory relatively soon, as long as his shoulder doesn’t get worse.

 

Niles Paul and Jordan Reed, TEs, Washington Redskins vs. Seattle Seahawks (Mon.)

Questionable – Concussion; Questionable – Hamstring
Is a TE controversy looming for Washington? Perhaps, but it doesn’t look like it will be this week. Paul and Reed are both listed as Questionable for Monday night, but the former increased his participation in practice during the week while the latter wasn’t even a part of Saturday’s session. Paul appears on track to return after suffering a concussion last week against the Giants, whereas Reed will probably miss another game. Paul’s borderline TE1 potential remains, as does the risk associated with a player coming back from a concussion who won’t play until Monday night.

 

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Questionable – Ankle
Injuries have limited Seferian-Jenkins’ impact as a rookie, as he’s played in just two games. He’s Questionable again this week because of an ankle injury, but he did get in a limited practice session on Friday, which should help his chances of playing today. It’s hard to trust a rookie who’s been in and out of the lineup, but when’s he played he’s been somewhat productive, averaging 17.5 yards per reception. The 1 p.m. ET kickoff should at least allow an opportunity to check in on ASJ’s status before deciding whether to take a chance on starting him this week or not.

 
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers vs. New York Jets

Questionable – Hamstring
Green was active last week, but he didn’t see a single target even though Philip Rivers attempted 39 passes and threw for 377 yards. The good news is Green seems to be getting better, as he was able to practice fully on both Thursday and Friday. He’s listed as Questionable, and seems to be a fairly safe bet for being active against the Jets. Whether he’s “active” on the field remains to be seen, however, as Antonio Gates’ consistent production seemingly continues to limit Green’s opportunities. Unless you start two tight ends in your lineup, Green should probably be left on your bench.

 
Already Ruled Out:

 

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – Rudolph had surgery for a sports hernia last week. The expectation right now is that he will be out 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:
Fantasy Football Week 5 Injury Updates: Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Cameron
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/arizona-cardinals-vs-denver-broncos-game-preview-and-prediction
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Arizona and Denver are set to get back to the field when the two teams return from their byes to face each other Sunday afternoon on FOX. The Cardinals (3-0) are one of two teams (Cincinnati) still undefeated entering Week 5, while the Broncos (2-1) look continue its recent dominance at home following their overtime loss in Seattle two weeks ago.

 

On paper, this shapes up as a matchup of contrasting styles and strengths. Arizona ranks among the NFL’s stingiest defenses while Denver boasts one of the most explosive and potent offenses. The Broncos also have the benefit of playing at home, as they are 11-1 (including playoffs) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High since last season.

 

Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos

 

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Denver -8

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Arizona’s QB Controversy?

The Cardinals are 3-0 despite the fact that Carson Palmer has played just one game. Palmer has missed the past two games because of a bruised nerve in his right shoulder. After showing signs of improvement during the bye week, he experienced a setback earlier this week and met with another doctor to get a second opinion. Palmer’s status for this game is uncertain at best, but this situation is nothing new for head coach Bruce Arians. Drew Stanton has started, and won, the past two games in relief of Palmer. While his statistics (32-for-62, 411 yds., 2 TDs) may not jump off of the page, Stanton has taken care of the ball (no turnovers) and done what he’s needed to do to put his team in position to win. Arizona’s early success is due in large part to a defense that’s held the opposition to 71.7 yards rushing and 15 points per game. The Cardinals will certainly have their hands full trying to slow down Denver’s high-powered offense at home, which means the offense will definitely need to do its part. Whether Palmer will be able to play remains to be seen, but Arians and the rest of team  are more than comfortable with turning the reins over to Stanton. The question that looms, however, is what happens if Palmer continues to be hampered by his injury, especially if Stanton continues to produce winning results? Arizona’s undefeated record may not be the only thing on the line in this game.

 

2. Will the Real Broncos Offense Please Stand Up?

Denver’s offense set numerous records last season, including the mark for scoring (606 points). The Broncos averaged a whopping 37.9 points per game in 2013 and had already scored 127 (42.3 ppg) prior to their fourth game. Through three games this season that number has dropped all the way to 25 points per game. Granted they are coming off of a game in Seattle, one of the toughest places to play in the NFL against the defending Super Bowl champions, but Denver’s season-high thus far is the 31 points scored in its opener against Indianapolis. Contrast that to last season when the Broncos scored at least that many in all but three regular-season games. Some of the faces from last season’s record-setting offense have changed, but capable replacements were brought in. Emmanuel Sanders, who replaced Eric Decker, has not only fit in, he’s thrived as one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets. The running game has stumbled out of the gates though, as Montee Ball has not been able to replace Knowshon Moreno’s production thus far. Still, with Manning as the field general and a wealth of talented and explosive playmakers at his disposal, this remains one of the league’s most feared offenses. Perhaps the Broncos ironed out the kinks during their bye week and will look a lot more like the unit that lit up the scoreboard for most of last season. This matchup against a stingy Cardinals defense that has overcome a rash of injuries will certainly serve as a good measuring stick for Manning and company.

 

3. Denver’s Defensive Boost

Arizona’s defense has been one of the early surprises this far, as the Cardinals’ stop unit has been successful despite a bunch of injuries to key players. And while Denver’s defense has not enjoyed the same statistical success early on, the Broncos are about to receive a big boost with the return of starting linebacker Danny Trevathan. The team’s leading tackler last season, Trevathan fractured his knee during the preseason, but he finally returned to practice this week and should make his season debut. Trevathan’s return not only stabilizes the linebacker corps, it also means that Denver’s defense will be as close to full strength as it’s been this season. General manager John Elway will be among those paying close attention during this game to see how the unit he envisioned entering this season performs on the field now that Trevathan will line up alongside All-Pro linebacker Von Miller with free-agent additions DeMarcus Ware up front and Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward anchoring the back end. With Trevathan back in the fold, it’s time to see if Denver’s defense can be championship-caliber or is an ineffective collection of expensive pieces.

 

Final Analysis

 

Arizona, not Denver, is the undefeated team entering this matchup, but there’s a reason the Broncos are a comfortable favorite in Vegas’ eyes. Even though Peyton Manning and the offense haven’t produced the same results early on compared to last season, this unit is still as dangerous any in the NFL, especially at home. The job Bruce Arians’ team has done on defense, especially given the key personnel missing in action, has been impressive, but it’s obvious this will be this unit’s biggest test yet. The Cardinals are too well-coached, disciplined and feisty for this one to get really out of hand, but the home team simply has too much offensive firepower, and I also expect Denver’s defense to make a statement of its own at some point. Arizona puts up a fight, but it’s tough for a visiting team to leave Sports Authority Field at Mile High unscathed.

 
Prediction: Denver 31, Arizona 20
Teaser:
Arizona Cardinals vs. Denver Broncos Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 15:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-quarterback-rankings-week-5
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With just two teams on bye in Week 5, Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings have returned to “normal” for the most part. While Peyton Manning will be back on the field (at home against Arizona), Drew Brees gets the nod for the top spot since his Saints are at home in must-win mode against a Tampa Bay defense that has had problems stopping the pass. Last week’s top scorer, Eli Manning, will look to stay hot at home against Atlanta while many people will be keeping a close eye on how rookie Teddy Bridgewater (provided his sprained ankle doesn’t keep him from playing) fares at Lambeau Field in the Thursday night spotlight against a Packers defense that gave up nearly 500 yards last week to the Bears.

 

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 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Drew BreesNOvs. TB
2Peyton ManningDENvs. ARI
3Andrew LuckINDvs. BAL
4Aaron RodgersGBvs. MIN (Thurs.)
5Philip RiversSDvs. NYJ
6Russell WilsonSEAat WAS (Mon.)
7Matthew StaffordDETvs. BUF
8Matt RyanATLat NYG
9Ben RoethlisbergerPITat JAC
10Jay CutlerCHIat CAR
11Eli ManningNYGvs. ATL
12Colin KaepernickSFvs. KC
13Nick FolesPHIvs. STL
14Tony RomoDALvs. HOU
15Cam NewtonCARvs. CHI
16Joe FlaccoBALat IND
17Andy DaltonCINat NE
18Alex SmithKCat SF
19Tom BradyNEvs. CIN
20Kirk CousinsWASvs. SEA (Mon.)
21Mike GlennonTBat NO
22Teddy BridgewaterMINat GB
23Carson PalmerARIat DEN
24Ryan FitzpatrickHOUat DAL
25Blake BortlesJACvs. PIT
26Brian HoyerCLEat TEN

​Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING

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

 

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

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DeMarco Murray is leading the NFL in rushing by a pretty wide margin, so it makes sense that he sits in the top spot in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Week 5. Murray has reeled off four straight 100-yard rushing games to start this season, and there’s no reason to believe the Cowboys won’t continue to feed him the ball in their in-state matchup with Houston. Last season’s rushing champion, LeSean McCoy, has gotten off to a slow start, but it’s way too early to give up on him. The matchup against St. Louis isn’t ideal, which is why McCoy is near the back end of this week’s top 10, but this is still a legitimate RB1. If someone who has McCoy thinks otherwise, now would be an ideal time to see if he can be had for less than market value in a trade.

 

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 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1DeMarco MurrayDALvs. HOU
2Le'Veon BellPITat JAC
3Marshawn LynchSEAat WAS (Mon.)
4Rashad JenningsNYGvs. ATL
5Matt ForteCHIat CAR
6Jamaal CharlesKCat SF
7Giovani BernardCINat NE
8LeSean McCoyPHIvs. STL
9Alfred MorrisWASvs. SEA (Mon.)
10Arian FosterHOUat DAL
11Eddie LacyGBvs. MIN (Thurs.)
12Zac StacySTLat PHI
13Andre EllingtonARIat DEN
14Frank GoreSFvs. KC
15Montee BallDENvs. ARI
16Doug MartinTBat NO
17Matt AsiataMINat GB (Thurs.)
18Chris IvoryNYJat SD
19Reggie BushDETvs. BUF
20C.J. SpillerBUFat DET
21Khiry RobinsonNOvs. TB
22Ahmad BradshawINDvs. BAL
23Fred JacksonBUFat DET
24Steven JacksonATLat NYG
25Justin ForsettBALat IND
26Ben TateCLEat TEN
27Trent RichardsonINDvs. BAL
28Bishop SankeyTENvs. CLE
29Jerick McKinnonMINat GB (Thurs.)
30Jeremy HillCINat NE
31Stevan RidleyNEvs. CIN
32Shane VereenNEvs. CIN
33Chris JohnsonNYJat SD
34Donald BrownSDvs. NYJ
35Darren SprolesPHIvs. STL
36Pierre ThomasNOvs. TB
37Darrin ReavesCARvs. CHI
38Lorenzo TaliaferroBALat IND
39Toby GerhartJACvs. PIT
40Knile DavisKCat SF
41Shonn GreeneTENvs. CLE
42Bernard PierceBALat IND
43Isaiah CrowellCLEat TEN
44Terrance WestCLEat TEN
45Carlos HydeSFvs. KC
46Benny CunninghamSTLat PHI
47Alfred BlueHOUat DAL
48Joique BellDETvs. BUF

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

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

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Even with several top targets returning from bye, they all take a backseat to the leading scorer at the position in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings for Week 5. Antonio Brown currently leads all his peers, thanks to five touchdown receptions, although to be fair he has played in four games. Elsewhere, the health of a couple of No. 1 wide receivers bears watching, as Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall were both limited last week by ankle injuries. Johnson in particular was no more than an extremely athletic decoy against the Jets after being designated Questionable headed into the game. Johnson is as tough as they come and has been a quick healer, but his No. 4 ranking below speaks to a measure of concern, albeit small, regarding his Week 5 outlook.

 

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 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Antonio BrownPITat JAC
2Jordy NelsonGBvs. MIN (Thurs.)
3Julio JonesATLat NYG
4Calvin JohnsonDETvs. BUF
5Demaryius ThomasDENvs. ARI
6Dez BryantDALvs. HOU
7A.J. GreenCINat NE
8Alshon JefferyCHIat CAR
9Randall CobbGBvs. MIN (Thurs.)
10Jeremy MaclinPHIvs. STL
11Emmanuel SandersDENvs. ARI
12Brandon MarshallCHIat CAR
13Steve SmithBALat IND
14Keenan AllenSDvs. NYJ
15Michael FloydARIat DEN
16Victor CruzNYGvs. ATL
17Andre JohnsonHOUat DAL
18Vincent JacksonTBat NO
19Kelvin BenjaminCARvs. CHI
20DeAndre HopkinsHOUat DAL
21Percy HarvinSEAat WAS (Mon.)
22Michael CrabtreeSFvs. KC
23Roddy WhiteATLat NYG
24Reggie WayneINDvs. BAL
25Julian EdelmanNEvs. CIN
26Pierre GarconWASvs. SEA (Mon.)
27Brandin CooksNOvs. TB
28Wes WelkerDENvs. ARI
29Marques ColstonNOvs. TB
30Golden TateDETvs. BUF
31Larry FitzgeraldARIat DEN
32Brian QuickSTLat PHI
33T.Y. HiltonINDvs. BAL
34Cordarrelle PattersonMINat GB (Thurs.)
35DeSean JacksonWASvs. SEA (Mon.)
36Eric DeckerNYJat SD
37Terrance WilliamsDALvs. HOU
38Sammy WatkinsBUFat DET
39Markus WheatonPITat JAC
40Anquan BoldinSFvs. KC
41Rueben RandleNYGvs. ATL
42Greg JenningsMINat GB (Thurs.)
43Kendall WrightTENvs. CLE
44Torrey SmithBALat IND
45Dwayne BoweKCat SF
46Andrew HawkinsCLEat TEN
47Allen HurnsJACvs. PIT
48Malcom FloydSDvs. NYJ

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING

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

 

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Fantasy Football 2014 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 5
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Jimmy Graham continues to lead the way when it comes to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings for Week 5, but it’s the rest of the top 10 that may open some eyes. Graham, Julius Thomas, Antonio Gates and Greg Olsen are no real surprises, and the same could even be said for Martellus Bennett and Delaine Walker. However, Larry Donnell has come out of nowhere to emerge as a top-five fantasy TE, while Travis Kelce and Niles Paul are doing their best to keep up. Noticeably absent from the top 10 are guys like Rob Gronkowski (just outside), Vernon Davis and Jason Witten along with Zach Ertz and Kyle Rudolph (dealing with a sports hernia), popular breakout candidates entering this season. Needless to say, tight end has been a fluid situation in 2014.

 

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 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Jimmy GrahamNOvs. TB
2Julius ThomasDENvs. ARI
3Martellus BennettCHIat CAR
4Rob GronkowskiNEvs. CIN
5Larry DonnellNYGvs. ATL
6Delanie WalkerTENvs. CLE
7Greg OlsenCARvs. CHI
8Antonio GatesSDvs. NYJ
9Jordan CameronCLEat TEN
10Travis KelceKCat SF
11Zach ErtzPHIvs. STL
12Heath MillerPITat JAC
13Jason WittenDALvs. HOU
14Vernon DavisSFvs. KC
15Dwayne AllenINDvs. BAL
16Owen DanielsBALat IND
17Austin Seferian-JenkinsTBat NO
18Jared CookSTLat PHI
19Garrett GrahamHOUat DAL
20Coby FleenerINDvs. BAL
21Clay HarborJACvs. PIT
22Eric EbronDETvs. BUF
23Jace AmaroNYJat SD
24Jermaine GreshamCINat NE

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Tight End Rankings: Week 5
Post date: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-5
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Seattle’s defense has not performed like the No. 1 DST thus far, but the reigning Super Bowl champion’s Week 5 matchup is too tempting to not reinstate them at the top of Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings. The Seahawks may be on the road for their Monday night tilt with Washington, but the Redskins are coming off of a horrendous Week 4 loss to the Giants in which Kirk Cousins alone was responsible for five turnovers. Who are you going to trust more – the “Legion of Boom” or Cousins? That’s what I thought.

 

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 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerOpp
1Seattle Seahawksat WAS (Mon.)
2San Diego Chargersvs. NYJ
3Cincinnati Bengalsat NE
4Pittsburgh Steelersat JAC
5Detroit Lionsvs. BUF
6San Francisco 49ersvs. KC
7Houston Texansat DAL
8Denver Broncosvs. ARI
9Philadelphia Eaglesvs. STL
10New England Patriotsvs. CIN
11Kansas City Chiefsat SF
12Arizona Cardinalsat DEN
13Buffalo Billsat DET
14New York Giantsvs. ATL
15Cleveland Brownsat TEN
16St. Louis Ramsat PHI

DEFENSIVE SCORINGRankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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 5
Post date: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 06:30
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Nick Novak’s hot leg has helped San Diego win its past three games and also is a big reason why he leads off Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings for Week 5. The Chargers host the Jets, a team that has struggled to defend the pass and could wear down in the San Diego heat. As good as Novak has been early on, he trails Dallas’ Dan Bailey in fantasy points at the position. Bailey and the surprising 3-1 Cowboys will try and keep things going offensively against Houston in what should be an entertaining battle for Lone Star State bragging rights.

 

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 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Nick NovakSDvs. NYJ
2Dan BaileyDALvs. HOU
3Adam VinatieriINDvs. BAL
4Cody ParkeyPHIvs. STL
5Justin TuckerBALat IND
6Steven HauschkaSEAat WAS (Mon.)
7Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. CIN
8Greg ZuerleinSTLat PHI
9Shaun SuishamPITat JAC
10Blair WalshMINat GB (Thurs.)
11Phil DawsonSFvs. KC
12Mason CrosbyGBvs. MIN (Thurs.)
13Chandler CatanzaroARIat DEN
14Mike NugentCINat NE
15Robbie GouldCHIat CAR
16Brandon McManusDENvs. ARI

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 5
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It’s Week 5 and hopefully your team survived the first bye of the season. It was certainly a big one with Denver, Seattle, Cincinnati, Arizona, Cleveland and St. Louis all taking a breather. The good news is that this week the only two teams on bye are Miami and Oakland, who need the extra rest to recover from their trip to London. There are still injuries and other circumstances to deal with, however, and new names continue to pop up on the fantasy radar.

 

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: Miami, Oakland

 

Quarterbacks

 

Week 4 Recap: Eli Manning was the week’s leading fantasy scorer after his five-touchdown (4 passing, 1 rushing) showing in a Thursday night rout of Washington. Alex Smith tossed three more touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over a single time as the Chiefs routed the Patriots on Monday night. Smith, who is owned in less than half of all Yahoo! leagues, has more fantasy points through four games than Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Tony Romo or Nick Foles.

 

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings

Bridgewater’s first NFL start went about as well as it possibly could (317 yards passing, rush TD, 2-point conversion), leading his team to an impressive win over Atlanta, until he left in the fourth quarter on a cart because of an ankle injury. The good news is that x-rays came back negative, so it appears to be some sort of sprain. The bad news, however, is that the Vikings have a short turnaround before paying a visit to Green Bay on Thursday night, so it’s possible Bridgewater may not get the start or even play this week. Regardless, the rookie’s first impression shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you are looking for a bye-week replacement down the road or need to beef up your QB depth.

 

Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Let’s give Glennon his due. In his first start in place of an injured Josh McCown, all he did was lead his team to a comeback win in Pittsburgh in thrilling fashion. Glennon’s numbers (302-2-1) may not jump out at you, but his 22.1 fantasy points (Athlon scoring) were more than McCown had put up in any of the three previous games. Glennon started 13 games as a rookie last season and finished with respectable stats (2,608-19-9), so it’s not like he’s new to this role. Reports are that McCown could be facing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb, so there’s a chance this will be Glennon’s job for the immediate future. Depending on matchup, your bye-week situation or if you are in a 2-QB league, Glennon could be someone to keep on your radar.

 

Running Backs

 

Week 4 Recap: Another week, another receiving touchdown for Ahmad Bradshaw, who has four on the season already. He totaled just 52 yards against Tennessee, but it’s his status as one of Andrew Luck’s most trusted targets that’s driving his value. Lorenzo Taliaferro took advantage of an “inactive” Bernard Pierce and carried the ball a team-high 15 times for 58 yards and a touchdown in Baltimore’s victory over Carolina. With Pierce, Taliaferro and Justin Forsett (97 total yards, TD vs. Panthers) all in the picture, this is quickly becoming a crowded backfield. Roy Helu led Washington with five catches for 78 yards (also had two carries for eight yards) as one of the few offensive bright spots in the blowout home loss to the Giants. Donald Brown (10 att., 19 yds.) couldn’t get anything going on the ground against Jacksonville, but he should remain the primary ball-carrier for the Chargers moving forward with Ryan Mathews (MCL) injured and Danny Woodhead (broken leg) on IR.

 

Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings

Matt Asiata was certainly busy (20 att., 78 yds., 3 TDs) against Atlanta, but McKinnon also got 18 carries and turned those into 135 yards rushing. The rookie showed his explosiveness in one 55-yard run and he also caught one pass for 17 yards. Adrian Peterson’s future with the team is uncertain at best, so Asiata and McKinnon will be the backfield until something changes. Asiata may be No. 1 on the depth chart, but it looks like McKinnon will get his fair share of opportunities too.

 

Khiry Robinson, New Orleans Saints

The Saints did not look very good in a discouraging loss Sunday night to Dallas, but one positive takeaway could be the emergence of Robinson. Mark Ingram will miss a few more games after breaking his hand, so the opportunity is there for Robinson to replace Ingram’s rushing production. After falling behind early, New Orleans abandoned the run, but Robinson still finished with 87 yards on just eight carries. Granted, 62 of those came on one run when the game was pretty well decided, but it’s important for Robinson to take advantage of the opportunities he gets. Case in point: Ingram picked up three rushing touchdowns before getting hurt, so the assumption is that those goal-line looks will now go to Robinson.

 

Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans

After getting just eight carries in the first two games combined, Sankey has received a total of 19 touches (16 rushing, 3 receiving) over the past two games. It’s taken some time, but it looks like the Titans’ second-round pick is starting to settle in. Sankey’s progress in the box score may still leave more to be desired from a fantasy standpoint, but his numbers should only go up if the coaching staff continues to give him consistent touches.

 

Antone Smith, Atlanta Falcons

Steven Jackson is the leading rusher and has received nearly half (50) of the team’s 102 carries, but Smith’s impact shouldn’t be overlooked. Despite getting just 10 rushing attempts so far, Smith is second on the team with 119 yards (11.9 ypc) and he leads with two scores on the ground. On Sunday against Minnesota, Smith ripped off a 48-yard touchdown run, the Falcons’ longest play on the ground this season. He will need to see consistent carries moving forward to merit serious consideration as even a flex option; but it looks like Smith may be passing rookie Devonta Freeman and Jacquzz Rodgers (3 att., 10 yds. rushing comined vs. Vikings) in the pecking order in Atlanta’s backfield.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Week 4 Recap: Eddie Royal lived up to his reputation as a streaky player with two more touchdown catches against Jacksonville. Malcom Floyd got into the act too with his second scoring grab of the season, as the Chargers attacked the Jaguars through the air with much success. Allen Robinson was fairly active (7 targets, 5 rec., 38 yds.) against San Diego and could see even more looks considering Cecil Shorts left early after apparently re-aggravating a hamstring injury that cost him the first two games. Devin Hester took advantage of Harry Douglas’ absence and filled in nicely as the Falcons’ No. 3 wide receiver – 5 catches for 70 yards, including a 36-yard scoring strike. Hakeem Nicks (2 rec., 12 yds.) was one of the few Colts who didn’t take advantage of a generous Titans’ passing defense (393 yds., 4 TDs allowed) on Sunday.

 

Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals

Remember me? Jones broke his foot early in the preseason, but the expectation is he will be back this week. The Bengals went 3-0 without him, but Jones’ return will only help Andy Dalton and the passing game. Jones caught a total of 51 passes last season, but 10 of those went for touchdowns, a big reason why he finished 25th in fantasy points at his position. He’s not the big-play threat that A.J. Green or even Giovani Bernard is, but he’s a legitimate red-zone target, something Dalton could use with tight end Tyler Eifert (dislocated elbow) on short-term IR. Jones could be a nice boost to a team with bye week issues or needing some depth at receiver.

 

Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams

St. Louis is already on its third quarterback this season, but one constant for the Rams at wide receiver has been Quick. The third-year pro entered this season with just 29 career receptions and four touchdowns and in the shadows of teammates Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt and Chris Givens. All Quick has done however, is record 16 grabs for 235 yards and a touchdown in the team’s first three games. The Rams’ offense is still a work in progress, but they are coming off of a bye and it looks like Quick is the preferred target of whomever lines up under center. 

 

Jarius Wright, Minnesota Vikings

Cordarelle Patterson and Greg Jennings are the more popular options and remain ahead of Wright on the depth chart, but it was Wright who made the most noise on Sunday. In Teddy Bridgewater’s first career start, Wright hooked up with the rookie quarterback eight times for 132 yards in the win over Atlanta. Wright saw twice as many targets (10) as Patterson and Jennings combined (8). Over the long haul, Patterson still offers the most upside because of his athleticism and explosiveness – don’t forget he had 102 yards rushing in Week 1 – but it’s possible that Wright supplants Jennings’ as the Vikings’ No. 2 option. Something worth keeping an eye on, especially if Bridgewater (depending on his ankle injury) continues to produce in the pocket.

 

Tight Ends

 

Week 4 Recap: Travis Kelce showed up in a big way on Monday night, catching eight passes for 93 yards and a late touchdown that probably saved some people’s fantasy teams while ruining the chances of others. Steve Smith stole the show against his former team, but Owen Daniels was the second-most targeted Raven against Carolina with six. He finished the day with four catches for 43 yards and remains a borderline TE1 moving forward with Dennis Pitta (dislocated hip) on IR.

 

Larry Donnell, New York Giants

Donnell was mentioned in this space before (Week 3) and to be honest, I’m pretty much shocked his ownership rate (55% in Yahoo! leagues as of Tuesday morning) is as low as it is. All this guy has done is come out of nowhere to emerge as a top-five fantasy TE after four weeks. He’s coming off of a three-touchdown performance against Washington and has averaged nearly eight targets per game. Any questions about whether he’s legit or not should have been answered by now. Really at this point it’s a matter of where does he rank moving forward? Top 10 seems pretty safe and it’s not that far-fetched to make an argument for him as a borderline top-five option the rest of the season. Need I say any more?


Defense/Special Teams

 

Week 4 Recap: San Diego had some trouble with Jacksonville early, but settled in and held the Jaguars scoreless for pretty much the last two and a half quarters. The Chargers finished with three sacks and three takeaways (2 INTs, 1 fumble) for a solid 12 fantasy points. Next up on the schedule: home to the Jets, at Oakland and home against the Chiefs.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Not to pick on the aforementioned Jaguars, but the reality is this is a team that ranks next to last in total offense (279.3 ypg) and scoring (14.5 ppg) and the  only offense faring worse (Oakland) is on bye this week. Jacksonville also is 30th in rushing (69.8 ypg), has allowed a whopping 20 sacks in four games and is starting a rookie quarterback. The Steelers didn’t exactly look that impressive, especially late, against the Buccaneers, but this is a defense that has shown it can dominate an opponent (3 sacks, 2 takeaways, TD in Week 3 vs. Carolina) and let’s face it – the matchup doesn’t get any better than this.

 

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 5
Post date: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 10:00
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New England will try to extend its winning streak to three in a row by defeating Kansas City at home tonight on ESPN. The Patriots (2-1) have turned things around after dropping their season opener in Miami, but Bill Belichick’s team is still trying to figure out things offensively. The Chiefs (1-2) are coming off of an impressive win over those same Dolphins and hope to have their best offensive player back.

 

Even though he is off to a slow start statistically speaking, Tom Brady has enjoyed quite a bit of success on Monday night. Brady is13-5 in his career on this stage with a 42:15 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a passer rating of 101.5. Kansas City last played on “Monday Night Football” back in 2012 when the Chiefs lost to Pittsburgh on the road in overtime, 16-13.

 

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: New England -3.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Kansas City’s Suddenly Crowded Backfield?

After missing last week’s game with a high ankle sprain sustained early in the Week 2 loss in De­nver, Jamaal Charles is expected to return to the starting lineup. Charles actually practiced some just a few days after suffering the injury, but the team decided to err on the side of caution and held him out against Miami. Knile Davis has been much more than a mere fill-in during Charles’ absence, rushing for 79 yards and two scores against the Broncos and following that up with 132 on the ground and another score in the 34-15 win over the Dolphins last week. Still, Charles is an All-Pro running back who totaled 1,980 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns last season. As productive as Davis has been, Charles’ return makes the Chiefs’ running game that much more dangerous, which is important considering the passing attack isn’t that explosive (197.7 ypg, 26th in the NFL). And Davis still figures to have some sort of role, considering Charles is coming back from the type of injury that has been known to linger or resurface. Besides, two backs may be better than one since New England has done a good job about the run (104 ypg, 12th) thus far.

 

2. The Other 10 Guys on New England’s Offense

When asked earlier about the Patriots’ offensive struggles, Tom Brady was pretty succinct saying there’s been “one guy” playing well. And he wasn’t referring to himself. Instead he was talking about wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is top 10 in the NFL in both receptions (22) and yards (260) entering Week 4. As a team, New England is 26th in the league in total offense (301.3 ypg), which puts them right behind Kansas City (322.3 ypg) in that category. And while the Chiefs’ passing offense (197.7 ypg, 4 TDs) may have a reputation for being pedestrian, it has been more productive than the Patriots’ (196.3, 3). Brady’s slow start (24th in passing yards, 30th in yards per attempt) can be attributed to both a lack of reliable options and a lack of time to throw to them. Outside of Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski (11-116-2), Brady has completed a total of 19 passes to his other wide receivers and tight ends. Gronkowski’s snap counts have been held down as he’s coming back from a serious knee injury and no one outside of Edelman has stepped up to pick up the slack. However, a bigger issue could be an offensive line that’s struggling to open up holes for the running backs (3.5 ypc) and give Brady enough time to look down field for an open target (7 sacks). The running game has had its moments, such as Stevan Ridley’s 101 yards in the Week 2 win at Minnesota, but it too has been characterized by inconsistency (165 yards rushing total in the other two games) and a lack of big plays (longest run by a RB so far is 16 yards). It seems the preseason trade of longtime, reliable left guard Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay has impacted this unit more than anyone with the team (looking at you Belichick) is willing to admit. Perhaps that’s why Brady was not happy with the move to begin with? Regardless, that’s in the past and what matters now is how the “new” line performs from here out. The same can be said for any other offensive player not named Edelman or Gronkowski.
 

3. The Defense Rests?

With offenses ranked in the bottom fourth of the NFL, it takes a solid defense to keep your team competitive. And that has certainly been the case for New England and Kansas City. The Patriots enter tonight’s game third in total defense (272.7 ypg) and fourth in scoring (16.3 ppg). Since allowing Miami to run for 191 yards in the season opener, this unit has allowed a total of 121 yards on the ground and has twice as many takeaways (8) as touchdowns allowed (4). The Chiefs meanwhile have held their own despite suffering a rash of injuries that have cost them their All-Pro linebacker (Derrick Johnson), a starting defensive end (Mike DeVito) and impacted several other key players, such as All-Pro safety Eric Berry (ankle). After struggling mightily against Tennessee in Week 1, Kansas City limited Denver at home to just 24 points and 324 total yards in a seven-point loss and held Miami to only 191 yards passing and one touchdown in its 34-15 road win last week. Neither offense has been that productive or explosive to this point, so both defenses will need to keep up their good work or run the risk of putting their team in a hole it may not be able to climb out of.

 

Final Analysis

 

New England’s offense is struggling, but the defense has picked up the slack and then some. Kansas City usually plays well at home and will get a huge boost with the return of Jamaal Charles, but until the Chiefs develop more consistency and more explosiveness in their passing game, this offense will struggle against good defenses. Tom Brady’s production may be down to start the season, but his track record speaks for itself. The Patriots stick with the script that has worked them for so well these past two weeks, relying on their defense to bottle up Kansas City’s running game just enough to leave Arrowhead Stadium with a hard-fought road victory.

 
Prediction: New England 23, Kansas City 20
Teaser:
New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Monday, September 29, 2014 - 10:00

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