Articles By Mark Ross

All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-wide-receiver-rankings-week-15
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Calvin Johnson remains atop Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 15 wide receiver rankings, but he's no longer running away from the pack.

Josh Gordon maintained his hot streak last week, adding seven catches for 151 yards and a touchdown to his impressive season totals. Johnson meanwhile was held in check not by Philadelphia's defense as much as the elements, as blizzard-like conditions for much of the game severely impacted both teams' ability to pass the ball. As a result, Gordon now finds himself leading the NFL in receiving yards and is within striking distance of Johnson in fantasy points. This week Gordon will look to add Chicago's secondary to his list of victims while Megatron will no doubt be happy to be back home (and indoors) against Baltimore playing in the Monday night spotlight.

In fact, the Bears vs. Browns matchup will feature three of the most productive wide receivers in the NFL in Gordon, along with Chicago's Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The Bears' rangy and athletic duo has combined for 159 catches, 2,283 yards and 11 touchdowns. All three wideouts are top-10 options this week that should pay off big for their owners, provided the weather cooperates.

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

2013 NFL Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers
 

RkPlayerTeamOPP
1Calvin JohnsonDETvs. BAL (Mon.)
2Josh GordonCLEvs. CHI
3Demaryius ThomasDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
4Andre JohnsonHOUat IND
5A.J. GreenCINat PIT
6Alshon JefferyCHIat CLE
7Brandon MarshallCHIat CLE
8Dez BryantDALvs. GB
9DeSean JacksonPHIat MIN
10Eric DeckerDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
11Antonio BrownPITvs. CIN
12Keenan AllenSDat DEN (Thurs.)
13Vincent JacksonTBvs. SF
14Torrey SmithBALat DET (Mon.)
15Larry FitzgeraldARIat TEN
16Pierre GarconWASat ATL
17Roddy WhiteATLvs. WAS
18Jordy NelsonGBat DAL
19Riley CooperPHIat MIN
20Marques ColstonNOat STL
21Cecil ShortsJACvs. BUF
22Julian EdelmanNEat MIA
23Anquan BoldinSFat TB
24Steve SmithCARvs. NYJ
25Victor CruzNYGvs. SEA
26Dwayne BoweKCat OAK
27Harry DouglasATLvs. WAS
28T.Y. HiltonINDvs. HOU
29Mike WallaceMIAvs. NE
30Michael FloydARIat TEN
31Stevie JohnsonBUFat JAC
32Rod StreaterOAKvs. KC
33Kendall WrightTENvs. ARI
34Golden TateSEAat NYG
35Danny AmendolaNEat MIA
36Brian HartlineMIAvs. NE
37Michael CrabtreeSFat TB
38Greg JenningsMINvs. PHI
39James JonesGBat DAL
40Cordarrelle PattersonMINvs. PHI
41Emmanuel SandersPITvs. CIN
42Jarrett BoykinGBat DAL
43Hakeem NicksNYGvs. SEA
44Brandon LaFellCARvs. NYJ
45Doug BaldwinSEAat NYG
46Marlon BrownBALat DET (Mon.)
47Tavon AustinSTLvs. NO
48Andre HolmesOAKvs. KC
49Robert WoodsBUFat JAC
50Da'Rick RogersINDvs. HOU

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 15 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 15
Post date: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-tight-end-rankings-week-15
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The injury bug has struck again, causing some changes to Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 15 tight end rankings. The biggest being the removal of Rob Gronkowski, who tore his ACL and MCL last week. It's somewhat fitting that Gronk's season ends with yet another serious injury, as he missed the first half of the season recovering from back surgery.

Gronk was productive for his owners when he was in there, but the injuries have already taken a toll on his playing time and it's only a matter of time before that carries over to his draft value. Especially considering he's staring at another lengthy recovery and rehabilitation process, perhaps as long as a year, directly in the face.

While Gronkowski may be done for the season, another injured tight end who had a triumphant return was Dennis Pitta. One of Joe Flacco's favorite targets, Pitta dislocated his hip in training camp and at one time was feared lost for the entire season. He made his way back, however, and any one who doubted his importance to Baltimore's passing attack need look no further than the six passes for 48 yards and touchdown catch he produced against Minnesota last week in his first action of the season. It's a bit of a risk, but Pitta could be the answer to someone in need of a Gronkowski replacement or looking for more production from their tight end. Last season, Pitta and Flacco hooked up 61 times for 669 yards and seven touchdowns.

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

2013 NFL Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

RkPlayerTeamOPP
1Jimmy GrahamNOat STL
2Julius ThomasDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
3Vernon DavisSFat TB
4Greg OlsenCARvs. NYJ
5Tony GonzalezATLvs. WAS
6Jordan CameronCLEvs. CHI
7Jason WittenDALvs. GB
8Charles ClayMIAvs. NE
9Antonio GatesSDat DEN (Thurs.)
10Delanie WalkerTENvs. ARI
11Dennis PittaBALat DET (Mon.)
12Coby FleenerINDvs. HOU
13Garrett GrahamHOUat IND
14Martellus BennettCHIat CLE
15Jacob TammeDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
16Jordan ReedWASat ATL
17Heath MillerPITvs. CIN
18Jared CookSTLvs. NO
19Ladarius GreenSDat DEN (Thurs.)
20Rob HouslerARIat 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

Additional Week 15 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Tight End Rankings: Week 15
Post date: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-defspecial-teams-rankings-week-15
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Seattle's on the road this week, but not even a cross-country trip to face the Giants is enough to keep them from the top spot in Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 15 defense/special teams rankings. The Seahawks lost last week to the 49ers on the road, but the defense should find things a little easier against a Giants team that has yielded the most fantasy points to DSTs.

Carolina on the other hand will gladly welcome a Jets offense led by rookie quarterback Geno Smith after getting carved up last week on the road by Drew Brees and the Saints. Brees threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns against the Panthers, which along with the 31 points the Saints scored were the most Carolina has given up in a game all season. Enter Smith, who hasn't thrown for 300 yards in a game since Week 3 and has posted a 2:12 touchdown-to-interception ratio over his last eight games. Carolina's defense can hardly wait to sink its claws into the rookie signal-caller.

Then there is Kansas City's DST, which holds a fairly substantial lead over the aforementioned Panthers for top scoring honors in fantasy. Last week against Washington, the Chiefs had a sack party, piling up six of them. That marked the fourth game for this defense with at least five sacks. Besides the sacks and two turnovers, the Chiefs also returned two kicks for touchdowns, putting the finishing touches on their sixth game with a least 21 fantasy points this season. Next up is an Oakland offense that has surrendered 41 sacks (tied for the fourth most) total and turned the ball over at least twice in six of its last eight games.

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.

2013 NFL Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

RkTeamOPP
1Seattle Seahawksat NYG
2Carolina Panthersvs. NYJ
3San Francisco 49ersat TB
4Kansas City Chiefsat OAK
5Arizona Cardinalsat TEN
6Cincinnati Bengalsat PIT
7New Orleans Saintsat STL
8Buffalo Billsat JAC
9Philadelphia Eaglesat MIN
10Tampa Bay Buccaneersvs. SF
11New England Patriotsat MIA
12St. Louis Ramsvs. NO
13Pittsburgh Steelersvs. CIN
14Baltimore Ravensat DET (Mon.)
15Miami Dolphinsvs. NE
16Detroit Lionsvs. BAL (Mon.)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 15 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 15
Post date: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-kicker-rankings-week-15
Body:

To the victor goes the spoils, which is why Matt Prater leads off Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 15 kicker rankings. Stephen Gostkowski may lead in fantasy points, but no kicker had a bigger game last week than Prater. Of course the highlight was setting a new NFL record with a ridiculous 64-yard boot, and that was just one of three field goals he made in the win over Tennessee. Those along with the six PATs resulted in 17 glorious fantasy points (Athlon scoring) for Prater's owners. It may have been even more in those leagues that increase the points based on kick distance. After all, they don't get any longer than 64 yards.

For the season, Prater is tied with Gostkowski for most field goals made from 50 yards and out with five. Prater's 65 PATs are 25 more than the next guy on the list and he should be good for at least a few more on Thursday night against San Diego. Who knows, maybe the Chargers' Nick Novak can take advantage of the thin air in the Mile High City and boot a long one of his own. If you are looking for another record, however, don't get your hopes up. Novak's career best is 53 yards and that came in 2011.

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.

2013 NFL Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

RkPlayerTeamOPPONENT
1Matt PraterDENvs. SD (Thurs.)
2Steven HauschkaSEAat NYG
3Stephen GostkowskiNEat MIA
4Justin TuckerBALat DET (Mon.)
5Phil DawsonSFat TB
6Adam VinatieriINDvs. HOU
7Mason CrosbyGBat DAL
8Blair WalshMINvs. PHI
9Nick NovakSDvs. DEN (Thurs.)
10Dan BaileyDALvs. GB
11Robbie GouldCHIat CLE
12Graham GanoCARvs. NYJ
13Caleb SturgisMIAvs. NE
14Nick FolkNYJat CAR
15Ryan SuccopKCat OAK
16Shaun SuishamPITvs. CIN

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 15 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Kicker Rankings: Week 15
Post date: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 06:30
Path: /nfl/dallas-cowboys-vs-chicago-bears-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Playoff hopes could be on the line tonight when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Chicago Bears at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Jason Garrett and the Cowboys (7-5) are looking for a third straight victory, which would tie them with the Eagles for best record in the NFC East, while Marc Trestman and the Bears (6-6) are trying to snap a two-game losing streak and draw even with the Lions in the North.

Winning their division needs to be the focus of these two teams, as the Wild Card spots are currently held by Carolina and San Francisco, both of which are 9-4. The Cowboys have a better divisional record (4-0) than the Eagles (3-2), so they would assume first place with a win. The Bears are basically in must-win mode for the rest of the season, as the Lions have a better divisional mark (4-1 vs. 3-2) and have already defeated the Bears twice.

3 Things to Watch

Dallas’ December Woes
Since Tony Romo became the starting quarterback in 2006, the Cowboys are 13-17 in December. Romo, who missed 10 games in 2010, is 11-15 in the final month of the regular season. In each of the past two seasons, the Cowboys have had a chance to secure a playoff spot with a victory in their final game, and have come up short both times. To be fair, both of these games were on the road, and one of them was actually played on Jan. 1 and not in December, but the Cowboys’ inability to finish strong has been well documented and something everyone on the team is painfully aware of. In 2011, Dallas entered December 7-4 before losing four of its final five games, including the finale against the Giants on New Year’s Day, to finish 8-8. Last season, the Cowboys actually played well to start their final month, winning their first three games to put their record at 8-6. But an overtime home loss to New Orleans followed by a loss at Washington gave the Redskins the NFC East title and left Dallas at 8-8 and out of the playoffs once again. Whatever the reason behind Dallas’ late-season struggles, Jason Garrett needs to figure out a way to help get his team over the hump in December. Once again, the division title and the playoffs are within reach and Garrett knows better than anyone else what’s likely to happen if the Cowboys miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season.

Can the Cowboys Stop the Pass?
Dallas entered Week 14 ranked second to last in the NFL in passing defense. The Cowboys are giving up 294.9 yards per game through the air and have yielded 22 touchdown passes. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 64.3 percent of their passes and the Cowboys have already set an NFL record by allowing four different quarterbacks (Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford) to throw for at least 400 yards. Drew Brees (392 yards) almost made it a fifth in Week 10, but the Saints did put up 49 points, 625 yards of total offense and an NFL-record 40 first downs in their victory over the Cowboys. As productive a season as Tony Romo (3140-24-7) is having, it’s too much to ask him to constantly bring the Cowboys from behind and to bail the defense out. Even though Chicago starting quarterback Jay Cutler is going to miss his fourth straight game because of an ankle injury, the Cowboys’ defense could have its hands full with backup Josh McCown. In six games this season, four of them starts, McCown has thrown for 1,461 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception. He has posted back-to-back 350-yard efforts and has plenty of weapons to work with. Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery have become one of the league’s most productive duos, combining for 148 receptions, 2,099 yards and 14 touchdowns. Tight end Martellus Bennett has 48 catches and five touchdowns, while running back Matt Forté (58 rec.) is one of the more dangerous receiving threats out of the backfield. The Cowboys’ defense will get a huge boost with the return of linebacker Sean Lee. He injured his hamstring in the Week 10 loss to the Saints and hasn’t played since. Lee leads the team with four interceptions and is second on the team in tackles. Still Lee’s return is not necessarily a cure-all for the Cowboys’ pass defense, which will surely be tested tonight by McCown and the Bears.

Can the Bears Stop the Run?
As much as Dallas has struggled to stop the pass, Chicago has had even more issues against the run recently. Over their last six games, the Bears are allowing an average of 205.2 yards rushing per game and 5.9 yards per carry. Adrian Peterson gashed them for 211 in Minnesota’s overtime win last week, while Eddie Lacy (150), Ray Rice (131), Benny Cunningham (109) and Reggie Bush (105) all have gone over 100 yards during this six-game span. Not surprisingly, the Bears are dead last in the NFL in rushing defense at 153.6 yards per contest and for once, the Cowboys may be in ideal position to take advantage of this. Dallas has gone over 100 yards rushing in each of its last two games for the first time all season. Last week, the Cowboys had 144 on the ground in their Thanksgiving Day win over the Raiders with Lance Dunbar (12 att., 82 yds.) leading the way. Dunbar suffered a season-ending knee injury late in that game, but the team still has leading rusher DeMarco Murray. Despite missing two games because of a sprained knee, Murray leads the Cowboys with 697 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. Three of those scores came last week and for the season, Murray is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Murray is at his best when he gets plenty of carries, as he’s averaging 94.8 yards per game in the six where he has gotten at least 14 attempts. The Bears are giving up an NFL-worst five yards per carry, so look for Murray to get the ball early and often tonight. Dallas’ rushing defense isn’t exactly rock solid, allowing 126.7 yards per game, so there could be a lot of ground gained between the two teams. However, Chicago hasn’t been able to stop anyone from running the ball lately, and look for the Cowboys to extend the Bears’ misery in this department tonight.

Dallas Key Player: Tony Romo, QB
Even though the Cowboys will try and exploit the NFL’s worst rushing defense (see above), the buck on offense begins and ends with Romo. The highest paid and most visible player on America’s Team will continue to be criticized, no matter how well he plays, as long as the Cowboys continue to miss the playoffs. Romo entered Week 14 among the top 10 quarterbacks in the league in both passing yards (3,140) and touchdowns (24) and has thrown only seven interceptions, yet all he’s hearing about is how poorly he has played in December. While his record as the starter (11-15) in the final month of the regular season certainly leaves something to be desired, Romo should get a lot of credit for the fact that the Cowboys are in the thick of the NFC East race despite having the league’s worst defense. That said, Romo himself has acknowledged he needs to have a strong finish and there is no better place to start than tonight. Besides putting the Cowboys in first place in the NFC East, a win tonight would help Romo atone for one of the worst games of his career. In Week 4 of last season at home against Chicago, Romo threw five interceptions, two of which were returned by the Bears for touchdowns, in a 34-18 loss. That game also was on “Monday Night Football.” Romo has a chance to exact some revenge tonight, which would taste extra sweet considering this game is in December and a victory also would put the Cowboys one step closer to playing in January.

Chicago Key Players: James Anderson, Jonathan Bostic and Khaseem Greene, LBs
Dallas’ defense is set to get a big boost in the return of their best linebacker, Sean Lee, from a hamstring injury tonight. Meanwhile, Chicago will be without their top backer, Lance Briggs, for a sixth straight game. Briggs suffered a shoulder injury back on Oct. 20 and hasn’t played since. To make matters worse, D.J. Williams is on injured reserve, which is why the Bears have been forced to start two rookies (Bostic and Green) alongside the veteran Anderson. Bostic and Greene are former college stars at Florida and Rutgers, respectively, and believed to be the future foundation of the linebacking corps. As can be expected, however, they have endured their share of growing pains this season. Anderson is an eight-year veteran, but this is his first season with the Bears. So couple all of this inexperience with the rash of injuries Chicago’s defense has suffered to its defensive line, along with the absence of All-Pro cornerback Charles Tillman (IR, triceps), and it’s little surprise the Bears are last in the NFL in rushing defense and are giving up nearly 28 points per game. The heart and soul of last year’s Monsters of the Midway were linebackers Briggs, Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach. Briggs is injured, Urlacher is retired and Roach is in Oakland, so it now falls to the current trio to help turn around a defense that hasn’t been able to stop anyone from running the ball if the Bears wish to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Final Analysis

Considering this game is in December in Chicago and knowing Tony Romo and the Cowboys’ history of late-season swoons, you would think this would be easy picking for the Bears. Especially with the NFL’s worst defense coming to town against a quarterback that has thrown just one interception all season and is coming off of back-to-back 350-yard games.

However, this is not your typical Monsters of the Midway defense, as the Bears have been getting run over by everyone for more than a month. And even though the Cowboys are known more as a passing team with Romo under center, I would like to think Jason Garrett and his coaching staff are smart enough to attack what is an apparent weakness.

The pressure is always on when it comes to Jerry Jones’ team, but I Jason Garrett’s squad takes care of business on the road. The Bears are a team in a bit of transition with head Marc Trestman in his first season, Jay Cutler in the final year of his contract and on the sidelines because of an ankle injury, and a youth movement in place on defense because of several key injuries.

DeMarco Murray continues to torment the Bears’ rushing defense, with Romo applying the finishing touch and giving the Cowboys defense just enough of a cushion to escape Soldier Field with a much-needed December win and, more importantly, possession of first place in the NFC East.

Dallas 30, Chicago 27

Teaser:
Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears Preview and Prediction
Post date: Monday, December 9, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /nfl/indianapolis-colts-vs-cincinnati-bengals-preview-and-prediction
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AFC division leaders are set to face off when the Indianapolis Colts take on the Cincinnati Bengals at 1 p.m. ET on CBS. Andrew Luck and the Colts (8-4) currently hold a commanding three-game lead over the Titans in the AFC South, while Andy Dalton and the Bengals (8-4) are two games ahead of the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens for first place in the AFC North.

Even though the teams are tied at 8-4, Indianapolis currently is the third seed in the AFC playoffs due to a better winning percentage in conference games (6-2, .750) compared to Cincinnati (6-3, .666).

3 Things to Watch

Indianapolis’ First Half Struggles
Indianapolis has gone 3-2 since its Week 8 bye and one of the biggest reasons why has been the Colts’ slow starts. In their last five games, the Colts have managed a total of three field goals in the first quarter while their opponents have scored six touchdowns. That 42-9 scoring margin in the first quarter balloons to 100-24 by halftime. Prior to last week’s slim 12-7 lead at the half, Indianapolis had trailed by at least 11 points after the first 30 minutes of play in its previous four games. The Colts haven’t scored a touchdown in the first half since their Week 7 victory over Denver at home back on Oct. 20. Chuck Pagano’s team should get plenty of credit for going 3-2 during this span, despite trailing at halftime by an average of 15.2 points per game, but that’s only due to a remarkable comeback against lowly Houston in Week 9 and two wins against a Tennessee team that’s starting its backup quarterback. On the other hand, the losses to St. Louis at home and on the road against Arizona have not been pretty. The Colts were outscored 55-3 in the first half and 78-19 overall by the Rams and Cardinals. Indianapolis can ill afford another slow start this afternoon, especially on the road against a Cincinnati team that is a perfect 5-0 at Paul Brown Stadium this season.

Protecting the Quarterback
Both Indianapolis and Cincinnati rank near the bottom of the NFL in sacks allowed this season. However, both teams have had issues keeping their quarterback upright recently. The Colts currently are tied for 23rd in the league with 29 sacks allowed. Andrew Luck’s pocket presence and dual-threat capabilities certainly make his offensive line’s job easier, but this unit has struggled since the bye in Week 8. In the past five games, Luck has gone down 14 times or roughly half of his season total (29). To make matters worse, Cincinnati is ninth in the league in sacks with 36, with the defense producing  three or more sacks in four of its past five outings. The Bengals have fared even better than the Colts in keeping their quarterback’s jersey clean. Andy Dalton has been sacked 26 times, which places the team 27th in the league in sacks allowed. Ten of these came in Weeks 9 and 10 when the Bengals lost to the Dolphins and Ravens in back-to-back games. In fact, Miami beat Cincinnati thanks to a sack, a rare walk-off safety courtesy of the Dolphins’ Cameron Wake. The losses to the Dolphins and Ravens are the only two the Bengals have suffered over their last eight games. On the whole, the Colts’ and Bengals’ offensive lines have done a solid job of protecting their quarterbacks. Luck and Dalton both hope this trend, and not the recent hiccups in this area, continues this afternoon.

Which Offense Gets a Passing Grade?
While neither Indianapolis nor Cincinnati will ever be mistaken for Denver, New Orleans or Detroit when it comes to passing offenses, both the Colts and Bengals have really struggled in this area recently. Since the Week 8 bye, Andrew Luck has averaged 243.8 yards passing per game. His 353-yard effort in Week 10 greatly inflates this average, and that was a game in which the Colts were forced to pass because the Rams were up 28-0 at halftime. This span of five games also coincides with the number of games leading receiver Reggie Wayne has missed. The veteran tore his ACL in the Week 7 win over Denver and without him, Luck hasn’t been as near productive when he drops back to pass. The second-year signal-caller has completed just 55.2 percent of his passes and has as many touchdowns as interceptions (five apiece) in five games without Wayne. T.Y. Hilton has stepped into Wayne’s role as the No. 1 receiver, but other than a 121-yard, three-touchdown performance against Houston, Hilton has totaled 258 yards receiving and no scores since the bye. Part of the problem has been no one has emerged behind Hilton as a reliable secondary option for Luck. Pass protection (14 sacks in the last five games), also has been an issue, but the bottom line is that Luck and the Colts must figure out a way to “fix” a passing attack that has netted a total of 319 yards in the last two games combined. On the other side is Andy Dalton, who went through a three-game stretch in October during which he averaged 344.7 yards passing per game with a total of 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Since then, however, he has averaged less than 225 yards passing and has posted a 9:6 interception-to-touchdown ratio over his past four outings. Unlike Luck, Dalton has the luxury of a premier wide receiver at his disposal in A.J. Green. The All-Pro is tied for sixth in the NFL with 1,103 yards receiving and has hauled in seven touchdowns. Green has totaled just 90 yards in his last two games, but that was preceded by a three-game stretch in which he averaged 131.3, so he’s capable of breaking out at any moment. The Colts (238.7 ypg) have been a little more generous than the Bengals (213.8 ypg) in terms of pass defense this season, but it remains to be seen if either struggling aerial attack will be able to make much of an impact this afternoon.

Indianapolis Key Player: Coby Fleener, TE
The Colts’ offense hasn’t been the same since Reggie Wayne tore his ACL in the Week 7 win against Denver. T.Y. Hilton has replaced Wayne as Andrew Luck’s No. 1 target, but the second-year wide receiver can’t do it alone. The coaching staff was hoping that Darrius Heyward-Bey would step up in Wayne’s absence, but that has not materialized and the free agent acquisition is basically an afterthought in the Colts’ offensive game plans at this point. That’s where Fleener comes in. With a relationship that goes back to their days at Stanford, Luck obviously trusts Fleeer, as he’s averaged nearly eight targets per game in the five games the Colts have been without Wayne. Fleener has turned all of these looks into 22 catches for 309 yards and one touchdown. While productive, the Colts need even more out of Fleener, especially if no other wide receiver emerges behind Hilton.

Cincinnati Key Player: Giovani Bernard, RB
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is getting the most carries and may lead the Bengals in rushing (614 yards), but Bernard is the difference-maker out of the backfield. The first running back drafted in April (second round, 37th overall), the former North Carolina star has had his moments as both a rusher and receiver this season. He’s averaging 4.4 yards per carry, compared to Green-Ellis’ 3.5 and has the same number of rushing touchdowns (four) as the veteran. As a receiver, he’s second to All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green in receptions on the team with 43 and of Bernard’s 354 yards receiving, 346 of them have come after the catch. Bernard’s speed and explosiveness have already produced several highlight-reel plays, and his role in the offense only figures to grow in the Bengals’ final four games.

Final Analysis

Indianapolis is a win away from clinching the AFC South, but the Colts have been the beneficiary of a lackluster division and have not been the same team since Reggie Wayne tore his ACL back in Week 7. The offense has struggled to find its rhythm and the defense hasn’t been able to figure out how to consistently stop the run.

Cincinnati is in the driver’s seat in the AFC North, thanks to Baltimore and Pittsburgh’s slow starts, but this is not a Bengals team without its own flaws either. Outside of one ridiculous three-game stretch in October, quarterback Andy Dalton has been average at best, while the defense has lost some key personnel, most notably All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins, to injuries.

Since Wayne went down, the Colts have put themselves into big holes early in games, which is something they can ill afford to do on the road against Cincinnati. Quarterback Andrew Luck and his running mates have struggled against good defenses recently, as both Arizona and Tennessee have held the Colts’ offense in check over the past two weeks.

Like the Cardinals and Titans, the Bengals have a pretty good defense of their own and in the end, this will be the difference this afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati’s pass rush prevents Luck from getting comfortable in the pocket and finding his rhythm, while the Bengals’ offense uses playmakers A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard to attack a susceptible Colts’ secondary. The Bengals maintain serve at home in a game that will impact how the AFC playoffs shake out when all is said and done.

Cincinnati 27, Indianapolis 20

Teaser:
Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals Preview and Prediction
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One of the NFL’s best rivalries going right now will take center stage this afternoon when the Seattle Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks (11-1) have already clinched a playoff spot and can sew up the NFC West title and a first-round bye with a win. Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers (8-4) currently possess the NFC’s final Wild Card spot, but they would like to improve their postseason chances with a victory at home and snap a two-game losing streak to their division rivals in the process.

3 Things to Watch

Seahawks Flying High
Winners of seven in a row after a dominating, 34-7 victory over New Orleans on Monday night, Seattle appears to come into this one with all of the momentum. The Seahawks haven’t lost since a 34-28 defeat at Indianapolis back on Oct. 6 and have outscored the opposition by nearly 100 points (203-105) during their winning streak. In their last three games alone, the offense has averaged 414 yards and has not turned the ball over once. The No. 1 defense in the NFL, the Seahawks have held their last three opponents – Falcons, Vikings and Saints – to an average of 250 yards per game and have forced six turnovers. New Orleans, one of the top offenses in the league, managed a season-low 188 yards of offense and one lone touchdown against the Seahawks’ defense on Monday night. Seattle also has been successful against San Francisco lately, winning the last two games against the 49ers by a combined score of 71-16. In these contests, the Seahawks outgained the 49ers 348-182 on the ground and won the turnover battle 7-2. Seattle seems to be peaking at just the right time, which means San Francisco has its work cut out for it this afternoon.

Location, Location, Location
As well as Seattle is playing right now, San Francisco does have one thing in its favor – the 49ers are the home team. The Seahawks enjoy one of the greatest home-field advantages in the NFL at CenturyLink Field, which is manifested by the deafening support of their fans, collectively known as the “12th Man.” These fans have been so loud as to register on the Richter scale, and it’s apparent the home team feeds off of this energy, especially the defense. At home, the Seahawks are giving up 261.5 yards per game and just 14 points per game. On the road, those numbers grow to 316.5 and 17. At a league-best 11-1, it’s not like Seattle has played poorly on the road this season. In fact, the Seahawks could set a single-season franchise record with their sixth road win this afternoon. To do that, however, they will have to do something they haven’t done since 2008 – win in San Francisco. The Seahawks have won the last two meetings against the 49ers, but both of those games were in Seattle. San Francisco has won the past four games at Candlestick Park, including last season’s 13-6 victory in Week 7. Last year’s Seahawks team went 3-5 during the regular season on the road, won at Washington in the NFC Wild Card game before losing in Atlanta in the Divisional Round. This year’s Seahawks squad is 5-1 on the road and would be one step closer to securing home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a victory this afternoon. San Francisco made it to the Super Bowl last season by beating the Falcons on the road in the NFC title game. Can the Seahawks show the defending NFC Champions that they are a team to be feared, no matter where the game is played?

Putting the “O” in San Francisco
For the season, the 49ers are 28th in the NFL in total offense at 311 yards per game. The rushing attack is seventh at 130.8 yards per contest, but the passing game lags well behind. Only the Jets, who are starting a rookie quarterback in Geno Smith, have thrown for fewer yards this season than the 49ers (180.3 ypg). In San Francisco’s eight wins, the 49ers are averaging 365.5 yards and 32.3 points per game. In their four losses, including a 29-3 defeat to the Seahawks back in Week 2, those numbers plummet to 202 yards and just 9.8 points per game. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s play has been inconsistent to say the least this season, and he’s fared even worse against Seattle in his career. In two games against the Seahawks, Kaepernick has accounted for one touchdown pass and five (4 INTs, fumble) total turnovers, as the 49ers have been outscored 71-16 in those contests. Earlier this season, Kaepernick had arguably the worst game of his young career up in Seattle. In the Week 2 loss, Kaepernick completed just 13 of 28 passes for 127 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. He did rush for a season-high 87 yards, but he lost a fumble and also was sacked three times, as the 49ers finished with 207 yards of offense. While Kaepernick certainly needs to play better, the San Francisco offense really revolves around running the ball. After starting the season with nine straight performances of at least 90 yards rushing, the 49ers have averaged just 80 yards on the ground over their last three games. If there’s been any weak spot in Seattle’s defense this season, it’s been against the run. The Seahawks are 13th in the league in rushing defense at 107.2 yards per game, but have given up 150 or more to three different teams (Houston, St. Louis and Tampa Bay). Running back Frank Gore has had success in his career against Seattle, posting a 5.3 yards per carry average in 15 games, but he gained just 16 yards rushing against the Seahawks earlier this season and hasn’t gone over 82 yards on the ground since Week 6. Whether it’s Kaepernick or Gore or someone else, San Francisco needs to find some offense this afternoon if the 49ers have any hope of ending Seattle’s seven-game winning streak.

Seattle Key Player: Russell Wilson, QB
The Seahawks have the best record in the NFL at 11-1 and the league’s No. 1 defense. They also have a pretty good quarterback in Wilson, who has gone from an afterthought as a third-round draft pick in 2012 to a legitimate MVP candidate this season. All Wilson did as a rookie was win the starting job in the preseason and then go on to post a 26:10 touchdown-to-interception ratio while completing 64.1 percent of his passes and help lead the Seahawks to the playoffs with an 11-5 record. This season Wilson has been even better. His completion percentage is up (64.9), he’s on pace to post a 29:8 TD:INT ratio and he’s averaging 5.7 yards per carry. With four games left, Wilson has already won 22 games and has 48 touchdown passes in his first two seasons. The only quarterbacks with more touchdown passes in their first two campaigns are Dan Marino (68) and Peyton Manning (52). While Wilson may have a chance of catching Manning, what is first and foremost on his mind is securing the NFC West title and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win over San Francisco. Wilson is 2-1 against his division rivals, with both victories coming at home. In fact his only game at Candlestick Park, a 13-6 defeat in Week 7 last season, was the worst performance of his young career. In that game, Wilson completed just 9-of-23 passes for 122 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. He has been solid on the road this season (10:2 TD:INT ratio in six games), but has struggled away from home against some of the better passing defenses. A strong performance by Wilson at Candlestick Park this afternoon may not only result in a division title and first-round bye in the playoffs, it could go a long ways towards bolstering his MVP candidacy.

San Francisco Key Player: Michael Crabtree, WR
The 49ers’ leading receiver last season, Crabtree has played in a grand total of one game in 2013. He missed the first 11 after tearing his Achilles tendon in late March. Colin Kaepernick looked Crabtree’s way early and often after he became the starter midway through last season, as the duo become one of the most productive quarterback-wide receiver combinations in the NFL. In the 10 starts Kaepernick made in 2012, including playoffs, Crabtree recorded 61 receptions for 880 yards (14.4 ypr) and eight touchdowns. It’s no stretch to say that Kaepernick has missed his favorite target, as he’s thrown for just 15 touchdowns with seven interceptions this season. In his first game back, Crabtree caught two passes for 68 yards, but the 275 yards passing by Kaepernick were the most since 412 against Green Bay all the back in Week 1. While it’s expected that Crabtree will be rusty as he works his way back, it’s not out of the question for him to have an impact this afternoon. Especially considering Seattle’s vaunted “Legion of Boom” secondary will most likely be without heavy-hitting cornerback Brandon Browner, who is dealing with a groin injury.

Final Analysis

Seattle is on a roll right now. The Seahawks have won seven in a row, have the NFL’s No. 1 defense and a legitimate MVP candidate in quarterback Russell Wilson. While they have been pretty much unbeatable at home under Pete Carroll, this year’s Seahawks team has played very well away from home too, posting a 5-1 record.

San Francisco has a tentative grasp on the final Wild Card berth in the NFL, but the 49ers know they need to keep winning if they want to have a shot at getting back to the Super Bowl. The offense continues to be a mystery, as Colin Kaepernick hasn’t thrown for more than 300 yards in a game since the season opener.

These two teams clearly don’t like each other, so don’t be surprised if things get heated this afternoon at Candlestick Park. The last time they played, back in Week 2, they combined for 22 penalties for 205 yards. In fact, whichever team does a better job of controlling its emotions, if you will, will probably be better positioned to win.

That said, Seattle is peaking at the right time and appears to be a team on a mission. Wilson is playing exceptional football right now, while Kaepernick has yet to find his stride. In the end, the Seahawks make enough plays early on offense and late on defense to earn the season sweep of the 49ers, along with the NFC West division title and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Seattle 24, San Francisco 20

Teaser:
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 09:00
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Weather and injuries are two things that could factor into today’s games. Here is the latest information on some banged-up wide receivers entering Week 14’s 1 p.m. ET kickoffs.

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts
Green was limited earlier this week because of a groin issue, but he practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as Probable. Green will be out there against the Colts, and while he’s a top-10 fantasy wide receiver, the weather (wintry mix) could be a factor for today’s game. What that means is the passing game may take a back seat to the running game this afternoon and Green may not perform in accordance to his WR1 status.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Buffalo Bills
Jackson did not practice at all on Wednesday because of a hamstring injury, and only participated in a limited capacity on Thursday and Friday. He is considered Questionable for today’s game (1 p.m. ET) against Buffalo and will most likely be a game-time decision. Greg Schiano has said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about Jackson’s availability, but this is certainly a situation worth watching. Jackson is a WR1-caliber player, but only if he’s on the field.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals
Hilton was limited at practice on Wednesday because of a shoulder injury, but he was a full participant on both Thursday and Friday. He is considered Probable for today’s game in Cincinnati and should play. After Reggie Wayne (ACL) was lost for the season, Hilton became Andrew Luck’s No. 1 target. Unfortunately, Luck and the passing game have struggled recently, as Hilton hasn’t topped 50 receiving yards in any of the last three games. Between the weather forecast (wintry mix) in Cincinnati and the matchup with a tough Bengals defense (213.8 passing ypg, 8th in the NFL), Hilton should probably be viewed as nothing more than a WR3 with upside this week.

Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders at New York Jets
Moore will miss his third straight game because of a shoulder injury, which means Rod Streater and Andre Holmes will serve as the Raiders’ top receiving threats. Between the Jets’ susceptible pass defense and the state of flux that is Oakland’s backfield, Streater and/or Holmes could be worth a look if you are in need of rounding out your receiving corps or a flex option this week.

Teaser:
Injury Updates Week 14: A.J. Green, Vincent Jackson, T.Y. Hilton, Denarius Moore
Post date: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 06:30
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Even though it’s a light Sunday afternoon/night slate in Week 14 that doesn’t mean there aren’t any important games on the schedule, especially when it comes to fantasy implications. Here are some key wide receivers playing later today or on Monday that you need to keep an eye on.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys (Mon.)
Marshall’s quad strain is a minor issue at this point, as he practiced in full on Friday and Saturday. He is listed as Probable for Monday night’s game against Dallas and should be worth the wait. The Cowboys are second to last in the NFL in passing defense and are tied for the fifth-most yards allowed to wide receivers this season. Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are indisputable must-starts this week.

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos vs. Tennessee Titans
Thomas injured his shoulder last week against Kansas City, which limited him during practice for most of the week. He was able to participate fully on Friday, however, and is considered Probable for this afternoon’s game. The chilly conditions expected at game time (4:05 p.m. ET) in Denver could dictate the Broncos’ offensive game plan, but Thomas still needs to be in your lineup.

Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams
After initially injuring his shoulder, Floyd was limited some in practice this week because of an ankle injury. Regardless, Floyd is considered Probable for this afternoon’s game and this red-hot Cardinal needs to be in your lineup. Over his last three games, Floyd has caught 18 passes for 396 yards and two touchdowns.

Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos
Wright was limited on Wednesday because of an ankle injury, but he practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is considered Probable for this afternoon’s game in Denver. Wright has just two touchdown receptions on the season, but his 71 catches are seventh among wide receivers and he’s averaged nearly 10 targets over his last four games. Even with the expected cold/wintry conditions, Wright should catch enough passes to provide WR2 production with a shot at even bigger numbers.

Eddie Royal, WR, San Diego Chargers vs. New York Giants
Royal missed last week’s game because of a chest injury and didn’t practice at all this week. He is officially listed as Questionable and will be a game-time decision to suit up against the Giants. The Chargers have gone to more two-tight end sets lately with Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green, which has diminished the use of a No. 3 wideout like Royal. At this point, it would be wise to move on from Royal, as Keenan Allen is really the only Charger wide receiver worth paying attention to.

Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
Harvin’s road to recovery has experienced more than its fair share of bumps recently, as he recently underwent a minor procedure to try and alleviate soreness in his surgically repaired hip. He has been declared Out for this afternoon’s game against San Francisco and it’s very likely he won’t return until the playoffs, if even then. At this point, it’s looking like Harvin will be a no-show for the entire 2013 fantasy season.

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Week 14 Injury Updates: Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, Percy Harvin
Post date: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 06:30
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Peyton Manning should have his top tight end back this afternoon while Arizona’s quarterback is dealing with an elbow injury entering Week 14. Here’s the latest injury information on those and others at these two positions as the fantasy playoffs heat up.

Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos vs. Tennessee Titans
Thomas has missed the last two games because of a knee injury, but he practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is listed as Probable to play against the Titans. The Probable designation is a pretty good indicator he will play, but there’s nothing wrong with confirming Thomas’ status prior to the 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff, provided you have another option waiting in the wings just in case.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots vs. Cleveland Browns
Just like last week, Gronkowski is listed as Questionable, but this appears to be more procedural than anything on the Patriots’ part. Gronk has recorded a touchdown catch in four straight games, making him the most productive fantasy TE during this span. This production is why you waited so long for him to return, so there’s no reason to not stick with Gronkowski at this point.

Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers
Gonzalez is listed as Questionable yet again because of his toe injury, but the future Hall of Famer has yet to miss a game and he practiced all week in some capacity. He recorded his fifth touchdown catch of the season last week and even with Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offensive struggles, Gonzalez is worthy of TE1 consideration.

Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos
Walker sustained a concussion in last week’s loss to Indianapolis and didn’t practice this week. He is listed as Questionable to play against Denver, but the good news is his status should be known well before the late afternoon (4:05 p.m. ET) kickoff. Even if he’s cleared to play, I would be very hesitant to take my chances with Walker, despite how productive (45 rec., 5 TDs) he has been.

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams
Palmer is Questionable with an elbow injury, but head coach Bruce Arians said he expects him to play against the Rams. Palmer did participate in the team’s walkthrough on Saturday, so he’s looking like a fairly safe bet. He has thrown at least two touchdown passes in five straight games with just four interceptions during this span. Provided his offensive holds up against a fierce Rams pass rush (37 sacks), Palmer should put up decent numbers once again. He’s definitely in the 2-QB conversation and could work his way into starter status, depending on your options.

Jason Campbell, QB, Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots
Campbell missed last week’s game because of a concussion, but he returned to practice this week, passed the necessary tests and has been cleared to return. He is listed as Probable and will get the start against New England. Brandon Weeden, who sustained a concussion in last week’s loss to Jacksonville, has already been declared Out. Campbell could merit consideration in 2-QB leagues against a Patriots secondary that is somewhat banged up and also considering the possibility that he may be forced to throw the ball quite a bit because of the game circumstances.

QBs Already Declared Out

Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears – Cutler will miss his fourth game in a row because of an ankle injury, but he appears close to returning. Until then, Josh McCown will get the call and he has forced himself into the fantasy starter discussion this week against a Dallas defense that is second-to-last in the NFL in passing yards allowed and giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. McCown has put together back-to-back 350-yard performances and has posted a 9:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season.

Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings – Ponder will miss today’s game against Baltimore because of a concussion. Matt Cassel will get the start, but that only should matter to Vikings fans and the Ravens because otherwise Cassel shouldn’t be anywhere near your starting lineup.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers – Rodgers will miss a fifth game because of his broken collarbone and could end up being shelved for the remainder of the season as a precaution. Matt Flynn will get the start today against Atlanta and maybe the Falcons’ 20th-ranked passing defense will be just what he and the Packers need following a disastrous showing (139-0-1) on Thanksgiving Day against the Lions. The forecast for Lambeau Field will be chilly and snowy, so it’s up to you if you want to pin your fantasy hopes on Flynn.

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Injury Updates Week 14: Julius Thomas, Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez, Carson Palmer
Post date: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 06:30
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Week 14 means the start of the fantasy playoffs for many leagues. Here’s the rundown on all of the running back injuries you need to know about before setting your lineup.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens
Peterson is listed as Questionable with a groin injury, but there’s no indication he’s not going to play. The groin has been an issue for several weeks now and all the reigning MVP has done in his past two games is record 67 carries for 357 yards and a touchdown. Baltimore has been pretty good against the run (100.1 ypg), but unless he’s out, you’re not sitting Peterson.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos vs. Tennessee Titans
Although he was limited in practice on Wednesday, Moreno is listed as Probable and will get the start against Tennessee this afternoon. Despite rushing for just 18 yards on 15 carries last week against Kansas City, Moreno still paid dividends to his fantasy owners with four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. The more important development, however, was that Moreno finished the game no worse for the wear after sustaining a bone bruise to his right ankle two weeks ago. Moreno and Monte Ball both figure to be quite busy this afternoon, as the wintry conditions in Denver could result in the Broncos running the ball more than they usually do.

Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
Bush’s only practice appearance this week was a limited one on Friday, as he’s Questionable with a calf injury. He’s been held back in practice before and still played, but that was to rest his sore knee. The fact that this is his calf and his last game was on Thanksgiving Day is somewhat concerning. Bush rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Packers and he has an appealing matchup against the Eagles. However, with everything that’s at stake, you probably want to make sure Bush is playing today before setting your starting lineup.

Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins
Bell sustained a concussion late in the Steelers’ loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving night, but he practiced fully all week and is considered Probable for today’s game. Barring a setback and provided he has passed the necessary league-mandated concussion protocols, Bell should be out there against a Dolphins defense that is 25th in the NFL against the run (121.8 ypg). The Steelers and Dolphins kick off at 1 p.m. ET, so that should give you plenty of time to see if this Bell will toll for you this week or not.

Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, RBs, Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers
Miller was limited earlier this week because of a pectoral injury, but he was a full go on Friday and is listed as Probable. He should be in for a similar workload today as last week (22 carries vs. the Jets) against a Steelers defense that has struggled to stop the run at times. Meanwhile after initially believed to be out for the rest of the season due to a torn ligament in his ankle, Thomas returned to practice on Friday for the first time since suffering the injury. He is officially listed as Questionable, but it would be somewhat of a surprise to see Thomas return today. Miller remains the Dolphin back to start, but it looks Thomas could still be heard from before the season is over.

Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams
Questionable headed into last week’s game, Ellington was ruled inactive prior to kickoff against the Eagles because of a knee injury. He remained limited on Thursday, but participated in Friday’s practice and is considered Probable to return today against the Rams. Even with his speed and big-play ability, Ellington is probably no more than a boom-or-bust flex option, as he has taken somewhat of a backseat to Rashard Mendenhall in the Cardinals backfield.

Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert and DeAngelo Williams, RBs, Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
After entering last week’s game as Questionable, Carolina’s top three running backs are considered Probable for tonight’s pivotal NFC South showdown with New Orleans. Williams (right) missed last week’s win against Tampa Bay because of a quadriceps injury, but has been declared the starter against the Saints. Stewart (ankle) and Tolbert (knee) both missed some practice time, but they will play as well. Even with a matchup against a rushing defense that’s allowing 4.6 yards per carry, all three Panther backs are risky fantasy options. Including Cam Newton, there are four mouths to feed in the Carolina backfield and the Panthers run the ball less than 32 times a game. As it relates to the backs, Williams is probably the best option because he’s the starter, but he’s probably no better than a flex candidate. Tolbert is probably a shade ahead of Stewart because of his goal-line and short yardage usage. Tolbert also is the most likely of the three to score a touchdown (4 rush, 2 receiving).

Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden, RBs, Oakland Raiders at New York Jets
McFadden has already been ruled Out because of an ankle injury, while Jennings is Questionable due to a concussion. Jennings has yet to be cleared by the league to return to the field, although he did travel with the team to New York. Jennings’ status should be known well before game time (1 p.m. ET), but between his uncertainty and the matchup with the NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense, I would just steer clear of the Raiders’ backfield as a whole this week.

Teaser:
Week 14 Injury Updates: Adrian Peterson, Knowshon Moreno, Reggie Bush, Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams
Post date: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 06:30
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Week 14 means the start of the fantasy playoffs for many leagues. Here’s the rundown on all of the running back injuries you need to know about before setting your lineup.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens
Peterson is listed as Questionable with a groin injury, but there’s no indication he’s not going to play. The groin has been an issue for several weeks now and all the reigning MVP has done in his past two games is record 67 carries for 357 yards and a touchdown. Baltimore has been pretty good against the run (100.1 ypg), but unless he’s out, you’re not sitting Peterson.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos vs. Tennessee Titans
Although he was limited in practice on Wednesday, Moreno is listed as Probable and will get the start against Tennessee this afternoon. Despite rushing for just 18 yards on 15 carries last week against Kansas City, Moreno still paid dividends to his fantasy owners with four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. The more important development, however, was that Moreno finished the game no worse for the wear after sustaining a bone bruise to his right ankle two weeks ago. Moreno and Monte Ball both figure to be quite busy this afternoon, as the wintry conditions in Denver could result in the Broncos running the ball more than they usually do.

Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
Bush’s only practice appearance this week was a limited one on Friday, as he’s Questionable with a calf injury. He’s been held back in practice before and still played, but that was to rest his sore knee. The fact that this is his calf and his last game was on Thanksgiving Day is somewhat concerning. Bush rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Packers and he has an appealing matchup against the Eagles. However, with everything that’s at stake, you probably want to make sure Bush is playing today before setting your starting lineup.

Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins
Bell sustained a concussion late in the Steelers’ loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving night, but he practiced fully all week and is considered Probable for today’s game. Barring a setback and provided he has passed the necessary league-mandated concussion protocols, Bell should be out there against a Dolphins defense that is 25th in the NFL against the run (121.8 ypg). The Steelers and Dolphins kick off at 1 p.m. ET, so that should give you plenty of time to see if this Bell will toll for you this week or not.

Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, RBs, Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers
Miller was limited earlier this week because of a pectoral injury, but he was a full go on Friday and is listed as Probable. He should be in for a similar workload today as last week (22 carries vs. the Jets) against a Steelers defense that has struggled to stop the run at times. Meanwhile after initially believed to be out for the rest of the season due to a torn ligament in his ankle, Thomas returned to practice on Friday for the first time since suffering the injury. He is officially listed as Questionable, but it would be somewhat of a surprise to see Thomas return today. Miller remains the Dolphin back to start, but it looks Thomas could still be heard from before the season is over.

Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams
Questionable headed into last week’s game, Ellington was ruled inactive prior to kickoff against the Eagles because of a knee injury. He remained limited on Thursday, but participated in Friday’s practice and is considered Probable to return today against the Rams. Even with his speed and big-play ability, Ellington is probably no more than a boom-or-bust flex option, as he has taken somewhat of a backseat to Rashard Mendenhall in the Cardinals backfield.

Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert and DeAngelo Williams, RBs, Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
After entering last week’s game as Questionable, Carolina’s top three running backs are considered Probable for tonight’s pivotal NFC South showdown with New Orleans. Williams (right) missed last week’s win against Tampa Bay because of a quadriceps injury, but has been declared the starter against the Saints. Stewart (ankle) and Tolbert (knee) both missed some practice time, but they will play as well. Even with a matchup against a rushing defense that’s allowing 4.6 yards per carry, all three Panther backs are risky fantasy options. Including Cam Newton, there are four mouths to feed in the Carolina backfield and the Panthers run the ball less than 32 times a game. As it relates to the backs, Williams is probably the best option because he’s the starter, but he’s probably no better than a flex candidate. Tolbert is probably a shade ahead of Stewart because of his goal-line and short yardage usage. Tolbert also is the most likely of the three to score a touchdown (4 rush, 2 receiving).

Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden, RBs, Oakland Raiders at New York Jets
McFadden has already been ruled Out because of an ankle injury, while Jennings is Questionable due to a concussion. Jennings has yet to be cleared by the league to return to the field, although he did travel with the team to New York. Jennings’ status should be known well before game time (1 p.m. ET), but between his uncertainty and the matchup with the NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense, I would just steer clear of the Raiders’ backfield as a whole this week.

Teaser:
Week 14 Injury Updates: Adrian Peterson, Knowshon Moreno, Reggie Bush, Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams
Post date: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 06:30
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Path: /fantasy/week-14-injury-updates-adrian-peterson-reggie-bush-knowshon-moreno-deangelo-williams
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Week 14 means the start of the fantasy playoffs for many leagues. Here’s the rundown on all of the running back injuries you need to know about before setting your lineup.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens
Peterson is listed as Questionable with a groin injury, but there’s no indication he’s not going to play. The groin has been an issue for several weeks now and all the reigning MVP has done in his past two games is record 67 carries for 357 yards and a touchdown. Baltimore has been pretty good against the run (100.1 ypg), but unless he’s out, you’re not sitting Peterson.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos vs. Tennessee Titans
Although he was limited in practice on Wednesday, Moreno is listed as Probable and will get the start against Tennessee this afternoon. Despite rushing for just 18 yards on 15 carries last week against Kansas City, Moreno still paid dividends to his fantasy owners with four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. The more important development, however, was that Moreno finished the game no worse for the wear after sustaining a bone bruise to his right ankle two weeks ago. Moreno and Monte Ball both figure to be quite busy this afternoon, as the wintry conditions in Denver could result in the Broncos running the ball more than they usually do.

Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
Bush’s only practice appearance this week was a limited one on Friday, as he’s Questionable with a calf injury. He’s been held back in practice before and still played, but that was to rest his sore knee. The fact that this is his calf and his last game was on Thanksgiving Day is somewhat concerning. Bush rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Packers and he has an appealing matchup against the Eagles. However, with everything that’s at stake, you probably want to make sure Bush is playing today before setting your starting lineup.

Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins
Bell sustained a concussion late in the Steelers’ loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving night, but he practiced fully all week and is considered Probable for today’s game. Barring a setback and provided he has passed the necessary league-mandated concussion protocols, Bell should be out there against a Dolphins defense that is 25th in the NFL against the run (121.8 ypg). The Steelers and Dolphins kick off at 1 p.m. ET, so that should give you plenty of time to see if this Bell will toll for you this week or not.

Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, RBs, Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers
Miller was limited earlier this week because of a pectoral injury, but he was a full go on Friday and is listed as Probable. He should be in for a similar workload today as last week (22 carries vs. the Jets) against a Steelers defense that has struggled to stop the run at times. Meanwhile after initially believed to be out for the rest of the season due to a torn ligament in his ankle, Thomas returned to practice on Friday for the first time since suffering the injury. He is officially listed as Questionable, but it would be somewhat of a surprise to see Thomas return today. Miller remains the Dolphin back to start, but it looks Thomas could still be heard from before the season is over.

Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams
Questionable headed into last week’s game, Ellington was ruled inactive prior to kickoff against the Eagles because of a knee injury. He remained limited on Thursday, but participated in Friday’s practice and is considered Probable to return today against the Rams. Even with his speed and big-play ability, Ellington is probably no more than a boom-or-bust flex option, as he has taken somewhat of a backseat to Rashard Mendenhall in the Cardinals backfield.

Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert and DeAngelo Williams, RBs, Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
After entering last week’s game as Questionable, Carolina’s top three running backs are considered Probable for tonight’s pivotal NFC South showdown with New Orleans. Williams (right) missed last week’s win against Tampa Bay because of a quadriceps injury, but has been declared the starter against the Saints. Stewart (ankle) and Tolbert (knee) both missed some practice time, but they will play as well. Even with a matchup against a rushing defense that’s allowing 4.6 yards per carry, all three Panther backs are risky fantasy options. Including Cam Newton, there are four mouths to feed in the Carolina backfield and the Panthers run the ball less than 32 times a game. As it relates to the backs, Williams is probably the best option because he’s the starter, but he’s probably no better than a flex candidate. Tolbert is probably a shade ahead of Stewart because of his goal-line and short yardage usage. Tolbert also is the most likely of the three to score a touchdown (4 rush, 2 receiving).

Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden, RBs, Oakland Raiders at New York Jets
McFadden has already been ruled Out because of an ankle injury, while Jennings is Questionable due to a concussion. Jennings has yet to be cleared by the league to return to the field, although he did travel with the team to New York. Jennings’ status should be known well before game time (1 p.m. ET), but between his uncertainty and the matchup with the NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense, I would just steer clear of the Raiders’ backfield as a whole this week.

Teaser:
Week 14 Injury Updates: Adrian Peterson, Reggie Bush, Knowshon Moreno, DeAngelo Williams
Post date: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-positional-rankings-week-14
Body:

Week 14 means there are just four games remaining in the NFL regular season and that the fantasy playoffs are upon us. Congratulations to those whose teams are still in contention for your league championship. But now, here's where the rubber really meets the road, as it's win or go home from here out.

Last week was Thanksgiving and I know that those who have Eric Decker, Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery, Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson on their team were especially thankful. Those were the top five leading scorers in Week 13, led by a trio of wide receivers. Other top scorers at their respective positions included DeMarco Murray (RB), Rob Gronkowski (TE), Adam Vinatieri (K), and the Detroit Lions DST. Chances are if you had any of these players (and especially if you had more than one), you had a good holiday weekend.

Looking ahead, the Detroit-Philadelphia matchup on Sunday and the Dallas-Chicago Monday night affair should both feature plenty of offense, while Carolina-New Orleans and Seattle-San Francisco should be two of the more competitive games on the slate. At this time of year, the elements also could be a factor, especially in places like Denver (vs. Tennessee), Cincinnati (vs. Indianapolis), Pittsburgh (vs. Miami), and even Philadelphia.

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

2013 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Positional Rankings: Week 14
Post date: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-quarterback-rankings-week-14
Body:

Peyton Manning stands tall atop Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 14 quarterback rankings, but there's another signal-caller who is proving that size isn't the only thing that matters.

Manning led all quarterbacks with 41.8 fantasy points last week, thanks to five touchdown passes and 403 yards against Kansas City, but Russell Wilson wasn't too far behind with 35.1. Wilson won the battle of the 6-feet tall and under quarterbacks on Monday night against Drew Brees, as the second-year pro tossed three touchdowns and finished with 310 yards passing and no turnovers in the Seahawks' dominating 34-7 win over the Saints.

Wilson is having an MVP-caliber sophomore season, with 23 total touchdowns and 11 turnovers (6 INTs, 5 fumbles) and his team possessing the best record in the NFL at 11-1. He's fifth at his position in fantasy scoring, but could be in for a slower day at the office Sunday when Seattle goes to San Francisco for a key NFC West showdown. The 49ers are allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Meanwhile Manning and the Broncos will be at home against Tennessee and it will be interesting to see if the expected cold temperatures impact his production, as they did in New England (19-of-36, 150-2-1) two weeks ago. Philadelphia could be cold and rainy as well, but Nick Foles and Matthew Stafford are solidly among the top six options this week. Foles' remarkable season just keeps on going, as he's accounted for 21 total touchdowns (19 passing, 2 rushing) and just one turnover (fumble) in nine games played. Foles is No. 17 among quarterbacks in fantasy points on the season, but his per-game average of 30.8 in his six starts is surpassed by just one player — Peyton Manning.

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

2013 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

RkPlayerTeamOPP
1Peyton ManningDENvs. TEN
2Matthew StaffordDETat PHI
3Tom BradyNEvs. CLE
4Drew BreesNOvs. CAR
5Cam NewtonCARat NO
6Nick FolesPHIvs. DET
7Josh McCownCHIvs. DAL (Mon.)
8Tony RomoDALat CHI (Mon.)
9Russell WilsonSEAat SF
10Philip RiversSDvs. NYG
11Ben RoethlisbergerPITvs. MIA
12Alex SmithKCat WAS
13Robert Griffin IIIWASvs. KC
14Matt RyanATLat GB
15Joe FlaccoBALvs. MIN
16Colin KaepernickSFvs. SEA
17Andrew LuckINDat CIN
18Andy DaltonCINvs. IND
19Ryan FitzpatrickTENat DEN
20Mike GlennonTBvs. BUF
21Carson PalmerARIvs. STL
22Eli ManningNYGat SD
23EJ ManuelBUFat TB
24Ryan TannehillMIAat PIT
25Case KeenumHOUat JAC (Thurs.)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 14 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Quarterback Rankings: Week 14
Post date: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-running-back-rankings-week-14
Body:

Order has been restored atop both the NFL rushing rankings and Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 14 running back rankings as the reigning MVP is on another tear.

Adrian Peterson posted his fifth career 200-yard rushing game last week with 211 on 35 carries in the overtime win against Chicago. The only thing missing from Peterson's stat line was a touchdown, but I'm pretty sure his owners will gladly take the 22.1 fantasy points and run with them. Peterson has 357 yards rushing over his last two games combined and is the undisputed No. 1 RB this week, even with a date against a fairly stingy Baltimore defense.

Speaking of tough matchups, it will be interesting to see how LeSean McCoy fares against Detroit's rushing defense on Sunday. McCoy has ceded the rushing lead to Peterson, but he's still a top-five fantasy RB and someone owners are hoping to lean on in the playoffs. This week isn't shaping up to be easy, however, as the Lions are giving up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs.

Some top running backs with more appealing Week 14 matchups include Jamaal Charles (at Washington), Matt Forte (vs. Dallas), Knowshon Moreno (vs. Tennessee) and DeMarco Murray (at Chicago). In particular, the Monday night tilt between Dallas and Chicago could end up determining many a fantasy playoff game, as the Cowboys are giving up the most fantasy points to running backs and the Bears come in sixth in that respect.

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

2013 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Back
 

RkPlayerTeamOPP
1Adrian PetersonMINat BAL
2Jamaal CharlesKCat WAS
3Matt ForteCHIvs. DAL (Mon.)
4Knowshon MorenoDENvs. TEN
5Marshawn LynchSEAat SF
6Reggie BushDETat PHI
7Eddie LacyGBvs. ATL
8LeSean McCoyWASvs. KC
9DeMarco MurrayDALat CHI (Mon.)
10Andre BrownNYGat SD
11Alfred MorrisPHIvs. DET
12Chris JohnsonTENat DEN
13Ben TateHOUat JAC (Thurs.)
14Zac StacySTLat ARI
15Le'Veon BellPITvs. MIA
16Maurice Jones-DrewJACvs. HOU (Thurs.)
17Shane VereenNEvs. CLE
18Frank GoreSFvs. SEA
19Giovani BernardCINvs. IND
20Ray RiceBALvs. MIN
21Steven JacksonBUFat TB
22Fred JacksonATLat GB
23Chris IvoryNYJvs. OAK
24C.J. SpillerOAKat NYJ
25Bobby RaineyTBvs. BUF
26Ryan MathewsSDvs. NYG
27Rashard MendenhallARIvs. STL
28Lamar MillerMIAat PIT
29Donald BrownINDat CIN
30Rashad JenningsBUFat TB
31Danny WoodheadSDvs. NYG
32Pierre ThomasNOvs. CAR
33BenJarvus Green-EllisCINvs. IND
34Darren SprolesNOvs. CAR
35Montee BallDENvs. TEN
36Darren McFaddenOAKat NYJ
37Willis McGaheeCLEat NE
38DeAngelo WilliamsCARat NO
39Chris OgbonnayaCLEat NE
40Jonathan StewartCARat NO

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 14 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Running Back Rankings: Week 14
Post date: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-wide-receiver-rankings-week-14
Body:

Calvin Johnson maintains his standing as the No. 1 wide receiver in Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 14 rankings, but there's a young Brown hot on his heels.

All Josh Gordon has done the last two weeks is post back-to-back 200-yard receiving games becoming the first player in NFL history to do so. If there's any concern with Gordon, who is ranked No. 5 on this week's list, it's his quarterback situation. Both Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden are banged up and it may not be known until game time who will be under center against New England. With all the damage Gordon has done recently, it may not matter who his quarterback is, which is why you have no choice but to start him and hope for the best.

As impressive as Gordon was last week, scoring 43.1 fantasy points, he wasn't even the top player at his position. That honor goes to Eric Decker, who caught four of Peyton Manning's five touchdown passes against Kansas City. Decker totaled eight catches for 174 yards, scoring 46.4 fantasy points and moving him ahead of teammate Wes Welker to No. 11 among all wide receivers. Welker currently slots in at No. 14 and when combined with Demaryius Thomas (third), gives the Broncos three of the top 15 fantasy wide receivers. Denver hosts Tennessee on Sunday and even with the expected winter-like conditions, you didn't come this far to sit one of them now did you?

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

2013 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers
 

RkPlayerTeamOPP
1Calvin JohnsonDETat PHI
2A.J. GreenCINvs. IND
3Dez BryantDALat CHI (Mon.)
4Brandon MarshallCHIvs. DAL (Mon.)
5Josh GordonCLEat NE
6Demaryius ThomasDENvs. TEN
7Andre JohnsonHOUat JAC (Thurs.)
8Vincent JacksonTBvs. BUF
9DeSean JacksonPHIvs. DET
10Alshon JefferyCHIvs. DAL (Mon.)
11Torrey SmithBALvs. MIN
12Antonio BrownPITvs. MIA
13Victor CruzNYGat SD
14Larry FitzgeraldARIvs. STL
15Wes WelkerDENvs. TEN
16Pierre GarconWASvs. KC
17Eric DeckerDENvs. TEN
18Jordy NelsonGBvs. ATL
19Keenan AllenSDvs. NYG
20Harry DouglasATLat GB
21Kendall WrightTENat DEN
22Michael FloydARIvs. STL
23Riley CooperPHIvs. DET
24Roddy WhiteATLat GB
25Mike WallaceMIAat PIT
26T.Y. HiltonINDat CIN
27Julian EdelmanNEvs. CLE
28Cecil ShortsJACvs. HOU (Thurs.)
29Dwayne BoweKCat WAS
30Marques ColstonNOvs. CAR
31Anquan BoldinSFvs. SEA
32Steve SmithCARat NO
33James JonesGBvs. ATL
34Stevie JohnsonBUFat TB
35Danny AmendolaNEvs. CLE
36Jarrett BoykinGBvs. ATL
37Brian HartlineMIAat PIT
38Denarius MooreOAKat NYJ
39Golden TateSEAat SF
40Rueben RandleNYGat SD
41Rod StreaterOAKat NYJ
42Hakeem NicksNYGat SD
43Michael CrabtreeSFvs. SEA
44Emmanuel SandersPITvs. MIA
45Cordarrelle PattersonMINat BAL
46Tavon AustinSTLat ARI
47DeAndre HopkinsHOUat JAC (Thurs.)
48Nate WashingtonTENat DEN
49Robert WoodsBUFat TB
50Kenny StillsNOvs. CAR

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 14 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 14
Post date: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-tight-end-rankings-week-14
Body:

He has only played in six games, but Rob Gronkowski has proven his value to both his team and yours, which is why he's No. 1 in Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 14 tight end rankings. Gronk still trails Jimmy Graham by more than 100 fantasy points on the season, but Tom Brady's favorite target has recorded a touchdown in four straight games. Gronk's average of 16.6 fantasy points per game is topped by just one of his peers — Graham.

Speaking of Graham, he hauled in his 12th touchdown catch of the season on Monday night in Seattle, but the Seahawks did a pretty good job of keeping him in check with just three receptions for 42 yards. He faces another tough matchup in Carolina this week, but he and Gronkowski are clearly the cream of the tight end crop.

That doesn't mean there aren't other productive tight ends out there, however. One possible option is Julius Thomas, who is third in fantasy points at the position despite not playing the past two weeks because of an ankle injury. If Thomas is able to return to the Broncos' lineup this week, he gets a Tennessee defense that is in the middle of the pack when it comes to fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Just make sure Thomas is playing before plugging him into your lineup. Fantasy playoff time is not the week you want to risk a DNP from one of your starters.

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

2013 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

RkPlayerTeamOPP
1Rob GronkowskiNEvs. CLE
2Jimmy GrahamNOvs. CAR
3Vernon DavisSFvs. SEA
4Jason WittenDALat CHI (Mon.)
5Tony GonzalezATLat GB
6Greg OlsenCARat NO
7Julius ThomasDENvs. TEN
8Antonio GatesSDvs. NYG
9Martellus BennettCHIvs. DAL (Mon.)
10Jared CookSTLat ARI
11Coby FleenerINDat CIN
12Jordan CameronCLEat NE
13Delanie WalkerTENat DEN
14Jordan ReedWASvs. KC
15Charles ClayMIAat PIT
16Ladarius GreenSDvs. NYG
17Heath MillerPITvs. MIA
18Garrett GrahamHOUat JAC (Thurs.)
19Brandon MyersNYGat SD
20Rob HouslerARIvs. STL

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 14 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Tight End Rankings: Week 14
Post date: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-defspecial-teams-rankings-week-14
Body:

Coming off of Monday night's dominating performance against one of the best offenses in the NFL is there even any doubt as to which team tops Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 14 defense/special teams rankings? Seattle held Drew Brees and the Saints to one lone touchdown and 188 yards of offense in Monday night's dominating win at home. The Seahawks' defense scored a TD on a fumble return and on the season trail only Kansas City and Carolina in fantasy points among DSTs.

Seattle and San Francisco will lock horns this Sunday and even though the Seahawks' "12th Man" won't be present at Candlestick Park, don't expect a bunch of points from either team in this one. As for the Saints, they have another tough matchup ahead of them in the aforementioned Panthers, but New Orleans will be back home in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which is why Carolina is ranked lower this week (ninth) than it has been for most of this season.

No DST had a better week last week than the Lions. Detroit feasted on Matt Flynn and the Packers on Thanksgiving Day, as the Lions' defense gave up just a 54-yard field goal and a PAT (Green Bay's TD was on a fumble return), while amassing seven sacks, a safety and three takeaways (2 fumble recoveries, INT). The Lions DST may not be as productive, however, this week since Sunday's date in Philadelphia has all the makings of a high-scoring affair. Neither the Lions nor Eagles made our top 16 fantasy DSTs for Week 14.

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.

2013 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

RkTeamOPP
1Seattle Seahawksat SF
2Cincinnati Bengalsvs. IND
3San Francisco 49ersvs. SEA
4New England Patriotsvs. CLE
5Arizona Cardinalsvs. STL
6St. Louis Ramsat ARI
7Baltimore Ravensvs. MIN
8Kansas City Chiefsat WAS
9Carolina Panthersat NO
10Oakland Raidersat NYJ
11Denver Broncosvs. TEN
12Houston Texansat JAC (Thurs.)
13New York Giantsat SD
14Tampa Bay Buccaneersvs. BUF
15New Orleans Saintsvs. CAR
16Pittsburgh Steelersvs. MIA

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 14 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 14
Post date: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-kicker-rankings-week-14
Body:

Stephen Gostkowski heads up Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 14 kicker rankings, but no one has been hotter at the position lately than Justin Tucker. The Ravens' kicker has connected on 27 straight field goal attempts, including 13 over the past four weeks.

In his career, Tucker is 59 of 64 (92.2 percent) on field goal attempts, making him the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Tucker could be fairly busy against this week against Minnesota. The Vikings are giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to kickers this season.

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

2013 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

RkPlayerTeamOPPONENT
1Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. CLE
2Justin TuckerBALvs. MIN
3Steven HauschkaSEAat SF
4Matt PraterDENvs. TEN
5Adam VinatieriINDat CIN
6Blair WalshMINat BAL
7Dan BaileyDALat CHI (Mon.)
8Mason CrosbyGBvs. ATL
9Robbie GouldCHIvs. DAL (Mon.)
10Shaun SuishamPITvs. MIA
11Phil DawsonSFvs. SEA
12Caleb SturgisMIAat PIT
13Ryan SuccopKCat WAS
14Alex HeneryPHIvs. DET
15Garrett HartleyNOvs. CAR
16Nick FolkNYJvs. OAK

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 14 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Kicker Rankings: Week 14
Post date: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 06:30
Path: /nfl/denver-broncos-vs-kansas-city-chiefs-preview-and-prediction
Body:

First place in the AFC West and the top seed in the playoffs are on the line this afternoon when the Denver Broncos face the Kansas City Chiefs at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS. The Broncos and Chiefs are currently tied for the best record in the AFC at 9-2, with Denver holding the tiebreaker edge over Kansas City by virtue of their 27-17 win two weeks ago.

For the first time all season, both teams are coming off of losses, as Denver and Peyton Manning tied a franchise record by blowing a 24-point halftime lead to New England last week before losing in overtime, 34-31. Kansas City’s 41-38 loss to San Diego last Sunday was its second loss in a row and the first at home all season for Alex Smith and company. Now the Chiefs look to bounce back and snap a three-game losing streak to their division rivals in the process.

3 Things to Watch

You Look Familiar…
It was just two weeks ago that Denver and Kansas City faced each other. At that time, the Chiefs were the only remaining undefeated team (9-0), while the Broncos had just one loss (8-1). The Broncos jumped out to a 10-0 lead at home in the first quarter and never really looked back. Denver would go on to win 27-17 behind 323 yards passing by Peyton Manning. The 27 points were, at the time, the most allowed by Kansas City’s defense, which didn’t record a single sack of Manning. On offense, the Chiefs out-gained the Broncos 144 to 104 on the ground, but struggled to find their rhythm in the passing game. Alex Smith had one more touchdown pass (2 to 1) than Manning, but nearly 100 fewer yards and he was sacked three times. Each team lost a fumble and drew their share of yellow flags. The teams combined for 22 penalties for 135 yards, with the Broncos (13 for 82 yards) being the bigger culprit. Outside of the score and total yardage (Denver 427, Kansas City 344), there was very little separation between them, statistically speaking. First downs were even (24 apiece), the total number of plays was very close (76 to 73) and just 14 seconds separated the Broncos (29:53) and Chiefs (30:07) in time of possession. In the end, the Broncos were just a little more efficient and productive in the passing game, which combined with the Chiefs’ inability to get to Manning, resulted in Denver staying perfect at home and moving into first place in the AFC West.

Bumps and Bruises
Last week was tough for both Denver and Kansas City, and not just because they both lost after leading at halftime. Several key players for both teams sustained injuries, and their potential absences or limited capacities could greatly impact this game. For the Broncos, the biggest concern is running back Knowshon Moreno, who gashed the Patriots for a career-high 224 yards last week, but left the stadium on crutches after sustaining a bone bruise to his right ankle. Despite the initial concern, Moreno did return to practice on Thursday and Friday and is expected to play. The status of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a little more uncertain. Rodgers-Cromartie injured his shoulder against the Patriots, which caused him to leave the game and not return. His absence was one of the catalysts that helped fuel the Patriots’ second-half comeback. He was limited in Friday’s practice and is considered questionable to play this afternoon. The Broncos could get a boost, however, with the return of tight end Julius Thomas and cornerback Champ Bailey. Thomas was held out of last week’s game because of a knee injury, but is currently on track to play, while Bailey is expected to be back in the lineup for the first time since re-aggravating a foot injury back in Week 7. Kansas City’s defense, however, may not be as fortunate when it comes to its banged-up personnel. Linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hail both left last week’s game against San Diego with injuries. Hali sprained his ankle, but he has insisted that he will play. Houston, meanwhile, dislocated his elbow and reportedly could miss up to three weeks. The Chiefs entered Week 13 with an NFL-leading 37 sacks. Houston (11 sacks, tied for third in the NFL) and Hali (9, tied for 10th) are responsible for 20 of them. Kansas City didn’t record a single sack or quarterback hit on Peyton Manning in the first game two weeks ago. This task only figures to get harder without Houston and if Hail ends up being limited. For example, even though Houston didn’t have a sack in the first game, he led the Chiefs with 10 total tackles (9 solo). Injuries are just part of the game, especially at this point in the season, but it appears that the Broncos are the healthier team entering this key contest.

Which Defense Bounces Back Best?
Through the first nine games, Kansas City’s defense had allowed no more than 17 points and 283 yards passing. In their last two games, losses to the Broncos and Chargers, the Chiefs have given up an average of 34 points per game and 355 yards through the air. Last week, Philip Rivers carved up the pass defense for nearly 400 yards (392) and three touchdowns. Peyton Manning threw for 323 against Kansas City the first time, and the Chiefs will be without their most productive pass-rusher (Justin Houston) this afternoon. One way or the other, the Chiefs’ defense needs to fix what’s been ailing it the past two weeks. For Denver’s defense, it was a tale of two halves last week in New England. After shutting out the Patriots in the first half and doing everything right, the wheels came completely off in the final two quarters. Top cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie injured his shoulder on the final play of the first half and didn’t return. The Broncos’ defense wasn’t the same after that, as Tom Brady completed 81 percent of his passes and threw three touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to help send the game into overtime. A couple of untimely turnovers certainly didn’t help matters, but no doubt interim head coach Jack Del Rio and his staff spent a lot of time this week trying to figure out what went wrong, especially in pass coverage. Both defenses had their moments in the Week 11 meeting and now it’s up to both units to quickly put last week’s disastrous performances behind and focus on the task ahead. This isn’t basketball, but whichever defense “wins” the rebound battle this afternoon will likely leave Arrowhead Stadium victorious.

Denver Key Player: Montee Ball, RB
Knowshon Moreno was the man and then some last week against New England, rushing for 224 yards and a touchdown. Alas, it wasn’t enough as the Broncos blew a 24-0 halftime lead and lost 34-31 in overtime. On top of that, the 37 carries Moreno had took their toll, as he left Gillette Stadium on crutches after sustaining a bone bruise to his right ankle. Moreno is expected to play this afternoon, but the situation brought to light one of the Broncos’ biggest concerns entering the stretch run – not overworking their No. 1 back. That’s where Ball, and to a degree either C.J. Anderson or Ronnie Hillman, are supposed to come in. Ball, Denver’s second-round pick in April’s draft, has contributed more as the season has gone on, including three rushing touchdowns over his last four games. However, ball security remains an issue for the rookie, as he’s lost three fumbles. The latest was rather costly, as Ball fumbled on a screen pass on the Broncos’ first possession of the second half after New England scored its first touchdown. The Patriots turned that fumble into a touchdown just six plays later, cutting a 24-point lead to just 10 in less than 10 minutes. Ball’s fumble is not the only reason why the Broncos lost last week. However, with the wear and tear adding up on Moreno, it’s critical that the rookie show the coaching staff, and Peyton Manning for that matter, that he can get the job done when his number is called. If Ball can’t be counted on in the regular season, what do you think will happen in the playoffs?

Kansas City Key Player: Alex Smith, QB
When surrendering 17 or fewer points, the Chiefs are 9-0 this season. This is a good thing, considering the Chiefs are scoring less than 25 points per game. Kansas City has put more than 28 on the scoreboard two times this season, with one of those being the 41-38 loss to San Diego last week. Contrast that to Denver, who has scored fewer than 28 points once, when the Broncos beat the Chiefs 27-17 two weeks ago. Smith is known for being more of a game manager than a risk-taker, but as the Chiefs have found out the past two weeks, there will be some games where the defense can’t be expected to do all of the heavy lifting. Kansas City’s offense is powered by running back Jamaal Charles, but Smith has to be able to hold his own when he’s going up against quarterbacks like Peyton Manning or Philip Rivers, especially come playoff time. In the last two games, both Kansas City losses, Smith threw for a combined total of 524 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. Manning and Rivers combined for 715 yards passing, four touchdowns and no picks. Kansas City out-rushed both Denver and San Diego, and yet still lost both games – by 10 points to the Broncos and three to the Chargers. The Chiefs’ defense was a big reason why they got out to a 9-0 start. It’s now Smith’s and the offense’s turn to lead the way.

Final Analysis

Having just played each other two weeks ago, Denver and Kansas City probably spent more time this week figuring out what went wrong last week than on game planning for each other. There’s no doubt both teams are still feeling the pain from last Sunday’s disappointing (to put it mildly) losses. A strong case could be made that the Broncos’ second-half collapse was more devastating than the Chiefs’ late defensive lapses against the Chargers, but one or the way other, each team must move on.

Denver won the first meeting two weeks ago behind the passing of Peyton Manning and a stellar performance from the offensive line and running backs in pass protection. Kansas City’s disruptive pass rush never laid a hand on Manning, which gave him more than enough time to find the open man down field. Pressuring the quarterback could play another big part in this afternoon’s game, as Denver’s All-Pro linebacker Von Miller has been a difference-maker since his return from suspension, while Kansas City’s productive pass rush won’t be at 100 percent with Justin Houston sidelined and Tamba Hail likely limited.

Last week’s loss to the Patriots was definitely a hard one for the Broncos to digest, but this is a veteran team that knows full well there’s still business to take care of. Meanwhile, I think the inexperienced Chiefs are still learning how to deal with adversity, and the offense hasn’t shown an ability to completely pick up the slack while the defense has struggled these past two weeks. In the end, the growing pains for the Chiefs continue, as the Broncos pull ahead in the AFC West and the race for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Denver 30, Kansas City 20

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Quarterbacks appear to be healthy for the most part entering today’s Week 13 action. The same can’t be said as it relates to the tight end position, however.

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Gates missed some practice time with a hamstring injury, but he was a full go on Friday and is considered Probable for this afternoon’s home game. Gates has been a top-10 fantasy TE this season and even with the occasional explosive play by backup Ladarius Green, Gates remains one of Philip Rivers’ favorite targets. The Bengals have done pretty well against tight ends, but that’s no reason to shy away from Gates.

Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Thomas was held out of last week’s game because of a knee injury and he’s not back to 100 percent just yet. He was limited in practice all week, which is why he’s listed as Questionable. He was able to practice, in a limited fashion, all week so he appears to have a good chance of playing, as long as there are no setbacks. The Broncos-Chiefs game is in the afternoon (4:25 p.m. ET) and considering he didn’t play last week, a little more caution is probably warranted this time around with Thomas. As long as he’s not ruled out before kickoff, I think it’s safe to stick with Thomas, but I would have a Plan B (Jacob Tamme perhaps?) ready just in case.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots at Houston Texans
Gronkowski was listed as Probable last week, so it’s a little curious to see him Questionable for today’s game in Houston. However, this is the Patriots we are talking about, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to be concerned. Roll with Gronk as you usually do, as he’s caught a touchdown pass in three straight games.

Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (Toronto)
The future Hall of Famer has been limited in practice because of a toe injury, but he has yet to miss a game. Gonzalez is officially listed as Questionable but I don’t think he would make the long trip up north if he wasn’t intending to play. Even though Gonzalez has just four touchdown catches this season, he’s still solidly within the top 10 in fantasy scoring at his position. The numbers may not be as a big every week, but Gonzalez still carries TE1 potential and needs to be in your starting lineup.

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants
Reed missed last week’s game because of a concussion and it appears he’s not quite out of the woods yet. He’s listed as Questionable on the injury report, but the team seems optimistic about his chances of playing. With some uncertainty regarding his status, as well as the late (8:30 p.m. ET) game slot, it would probably be wise to keep Reed on your bench for at least another week and go with another tight end.

Not Playing Today

Jason Campbell, QB, Cleveland Browns – Campbell sustained a concussion last week against Pittsburgh and has already been ruled out. Brandon Weeden will start against Jacksonville in Campbell’s place and even with a matchup against the Jaguars; it is hard for me to endorse Weeden, even for 2-QB leagues.

Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears – Cutler will miss a third straight game because of an ankle injury, giving Josh McCown another start. Cutler does hope to return for the Week 14 Monday night game against Dallas, but a lot could happen between now and then. For today, McCown will get his shot at a Minnesota defense that is giving up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Last week, McCown threw for 352 yards, two touchdowns and an interception (first of the season) in the loss to St. Louis. The bye weeks are over, but I have no problem if you want to give McCown another shot, especially in 2-QB leagues.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings – Rudolph remains sidelined with a fractured foot, which leaves John Carlson as the starter. Carlson has been productive to some degree during Rudolph’s absence and has an appealing matchup this week in Chicago. The Bears are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends, so Carlson looks pretty good as TE2 option.

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One NFC West team gets its top wide receiver back in Week 13 while another will most likely be without theirs. Elsewhere, Buffalo should have its top pass-catching duo for its game in Toronto while a Giant wideout appears ready to return after missing last week.

Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams
Crabtree doesn’t even appear on the injury report this week, as he’s expected to make his season debut against the Rams. The 49ers’ leading receiver last season, Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon in late March and has been working hard to get back to the field. Even though he’s expected to play, his snaps will be limited so it’s hard to envision him making much of an impact fantasy-wise. If you have room, there’s nothing wrong with stashing Crabtree, just don’t be surprised if it takes a week or two for him to round into form.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants at Washington
Despite proclaiming that he will “surely play,” Nicks ended up being a late scratch last week because of his abdominal strain. Whatever the reasoning behind the decision, the rest appears to have benefitted Nicks. He was able to practice in some capacity all week and is considered Probable for tonight’s matchup with Washington. Nicks’ struggles have been documented (42 rec., 0 TDs), but the Redskins are 27th in the NFL in passing defense and 31st in points allowed, so maybe this will be the game he finally breaks through.

Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods, WRs, Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons (Toronto)
Johnson (groin) and Woods (ankle) both missed the Bills’ last game, but that came in Week 11 as they were on bye last week. The extra rest seemed to help both wideouts, as they are considered Probable for the Bills’ annual appearance in Toronto. Atlanta has struggled against the pass all season, so this appears to be a good matchup for Johnson and Woods. Johnson remains ahead of Woods in the pecking order and in terms of fantasy rankings, at least for now. For this week, I would put Johnson near the end of the WR2 options and Woods among the middle of the WR3 tier.

Eddie Royal, WR, San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Royal has been dealing with a toe injury for well over a month. While it’s impacted his practice time, it never cost him a game, despite always being listed as Questionable. Last week, Royal added a chest injury to his ailments and it looks like this one will cost him at least one game. Royal was downgraded from Questionable to Doubtful on Saturday, which is all you need to know. Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown figure to be Philip Rivers’ top two wideouts against Cincinnati with Seyi Ajirotutu and Lavelle Hawkins potentially seeing more playing time. Allen is the only Charger wide receiver you need to pay attention to.

Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks vs. New Orleans Saints (Mon.)
Harvin made his season debut two weeks ago against Minnesota with the Seahawks on bye last week. Unfortunately, it appears that Harvin’s surgically repaired hip isn’t quite ready to handle the load of practicing and playing, as he is considered Doubtful to play on Monday night. Harvin is experiencing continuing soreness and the team is choosing to play it safe for the time being. Hopefully you weren’t counting on Harvin to be an impact performer this week anyways.

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Even with three games on Thanksgiving Day, there’s still a full slate of Week 13 action today. Here are some wide receiver injuries you need to know about before setting your starting lineup.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
A quadriceps injury limited Marshall in practice, but he is listed as Probable for today’s game in Minnesota. Marshall hasn’t missed a beat with Josh McCown at quarterback in place of Jay Cutler. In McCown’s three starts, Marshall has averaged nearly 12 targets per game and has turned those into a total of 21 catches for 363 yards and four touchdowns. Regardless of who is under center for the Bears, Marshall is locked in as a WR1.

Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles
The shoulder is still enough of an issue to limit him in practice, but there’s been nothing wrong with Floyd come game day. He’s caught 13 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown in his last two outings. Sure, you would love to see more touchdowns, but as along as Floyd is getting the targets (18 in the last two games), he should probably be in your lineup, even with an injured shoulder. Floyd is Probable to play the Eagles and with a matchup like that you pretty much have to roll the dice and see what happens.

Cecil Shorts and Mike Brown, WRs, Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns
Shorts’ groin issue continues to limit him in practice, but he is considered Probable to face the Browns. Last week Shorts saw 11 targets against Houston, so he should be plenty busy today, though he will be matched up with Cleveland’s shutdown cornerback Joe Haden. Brown missed last week’s game because of a shoulder injury and he’s looking like a game-time decision for this one. He is listed as Questionable, but unless you have no other options, there’s no reason to wait and see if Brown will play.

Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley, WRs, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
Holmes just can’t seem to stay healthy. After missing five games because of a hamstring injury, Holmes played in the past two contests. His production, however, was minimal (12 receptions, 83 yards combined), and it appears that his hamstring is an issue once again. Holmes was limited in practice on Wednesday and then missed the next two days. Rex Ryan has already voiced his concern regarding Holmes’ availability against Miami. Holmes is listed as Questionable, but his status won’t be known until game time. With the Jets’ issues on offense and at quarterback right now, I wouldn’t wait that long to make up your mind. Bench Holmes and save yourself the disappointment later. As far as Kerley goes, he also is expected to be a game-time decision, as he’s missed the last two games with a dislocated elbow. Again, there’s nothing to get excited about when it comes to the Jets’ passing game right now and Kerley’s potential return doesn’t change this.

Already Ruled Out

Aaron Dobson, WR, New England Patriots – Dobson played just two snaps in the second half last week against Denver and it appears that a foot injury is to blame. It’s an injury that kept the rookie out of practice this week and he’s already been ruled out for this afternoon’s game against Houston. Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola are the top two pass-catching threats for the Patriots, with Julian Edelman and Shane Vereen falling in behind somewhere. I wouldn’t expect too much from Kenbrell Thompkins this week, even with Dobson sidelined.

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The Week 13 injury report is littered with the names of key running backs. Athlon Sports has the latest information on the ones you need to know about.

Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (Mon.)
Sproles (ankle) was held out of last week’s game against Atlanta, which was played on a Thursday. The extra rest seemed to have paid off, as he was a full participant in practice this week and is considered Probable for the Monday night showdown with the Seahawks. Seattle’s defense is tough, especially at home, so this isn’t the best of matchups for Sproles. Still, with this versatility as a receiver and his obvious chemistry with Drew Brees, Sproles should be a fairly safe flex option.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Moreno left last week’s loss in New England on crutches after sustaining a bone bruise to his right ankle. He was limited in practice at the start of the week, but showed marked improvement by Friday’s session. Moreno is listed as Probable and expected to play in this key afternoon matchup with Kansas City. He is coming off of a monster game (224 yards rushing, TD) against the Patriots, so if you have Moreno you’re starting him. Don’t expect to see 37 carries this week again, however, as the Broncos will probably limit Moreno’s workload to make sure he’s as fresh as possible for the playoffs.

Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Stacy sustained a concussion last week against Chicago, but not before he rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries. He practiced fully on Friday, has passed all the necessary tests and has been cleared to return. He is listed as Probable and expected to play this afternoon. The matchup with San Francisco is far from ideal, but Stacy has been too productive (410 yards rushing, 4 TDs in last four games) lately to really consider benching him. If anything, just view Stacy as a RB2 this week when setting your lineup.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Mathews is dealing with a hamstring issue, but he practiced fully on Friday and is listed as Probable. It’s been a curious season for Mathews, who has just four total touchdowns and three 100-yard rushing games. He’s scored a short touchdown in two of his past three outings and sandwiched those around 127 yards rushing against Miami. Danny Woodhead is very much a factor in the Chargers’ backfield, which probably caps Mathews’ potential as a RB2 this week.

Already Ruled Out

Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants – Listed as Questionable entering last week’s game because of a knee injury, Jacobs rushed for 75 yards on nine carries in the loss to Dallas. Whether it happened during the game or sometime after, Jacobs apparently re-aggravated the knee injury, as he’s already been declared Out against Washington. Andre Brown figures to be quite busy against a Redskins defense that has given up 13 rushing touchdowns and the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins – Thomas is out for the rest of the season because of an ankle injury, which means (hopefully) that Lamar Miller finally gets his chance at being a lead back. Miller’s usage this season has been somewhat sporadic, as it appears that the coaching stuff is reluctant to rely on him. Miller’s had his flashes (105 yards rushing vs. Cincinnati in Week 9), but he’s totaled just 21 carries over his last three games. Even though Miller has a golden opportunity in front of him, he faces a tough matchup this week in the Jets, the NFL’s No. 1 rush defense. Owners should be excited about Miller’s potential moving forward, but need to temper that enthusiasm this week.

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