Articles By Mark Ross

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

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

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

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

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

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

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

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Tight End Rankings: Week 7
Post date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-7
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Seattle’s DST hasn’t been all that productive from a fantasy standpoint, but it’s the Seahawks’ reputation and matchup that has the defending Super Bowl champions leading off Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings for Week 7. Even though Seattle lost to Dallas at home last week, the Seahawks scored their first defensive or special teams touchdown of the season and now gets a Rams team that’s allowing the most fantasy points to opposing DSTs. Elsewhere, Detroit’s defense had its way with rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater last week (8 sacks, 3 INTs), tying Philadelphia for the most fantasy points (22, Athlon scoring). The Lions are shaping up to be another strong play this week, as they are at home facing a Jimmy Graham-less New Orleans offense.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

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

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

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

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

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

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Kicker Rankings: Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-waiver-wire-week-7
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The injury situation got worse this past Sunday, as the list of key fantasy football players who won’t play in Week 7 only got longer. Victor Cruz and Stevan Ridley are the latest to watch their seasons come to an early end, while A.J. Green and Jimmy Graham are among those expected to miss at least one more game. On top of that, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay are both on bye this week. So what’s a beleaguered fantasy owner to do?

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

Quarterbacks

 

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

 

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

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

 

Running Backs

 

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

 

Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots

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

 

Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns

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

 

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

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

 

Wide Receivers

 

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

 

Andre Holmes, Oakland Raiders

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


Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots

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


Rueben Randle, New York Giants

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

 

Related: 8 Wide Receivers to Replace Victor Cruz

 

Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals

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

 

Tight Ends

 

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

 

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

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

 

Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints

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

 

Related: 5 Tight Ends to Replace Jimmy Graham

Defense/Special Teams

 

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

 

Buffalo Bills

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

 

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Waiver Wire: Week 7
Post date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
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The New York Giants not only lost 27-0 to NFC East rival Philadelphia on Sunday, they also lost wide receiver Victor Cruz for the rest of the season to a torn patellar tendon. Cruz, the team’s leading receiver each of the past three seasons, suffered the injury while trying to catch a short touchdown pass in the third quarter.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Rueben Randle, New York Giants

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

 

Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

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

 

Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals

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

 

Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams

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

 

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars

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

 

Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans

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

 

James Jones, Oakland Raiders

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

 

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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

Teaser:
8 Wide Receivers to Replace Victor Cruz
Post date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 10:00
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Three is the magic number for tonight’s NFC West tilt between San Francisco and St. Louis on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” The 49ers (3-2) are trying to extend their winning streak to three games, while the Rams (1-3) are hoping to avoid their third straight loss.

 

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

 

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: San Francisco -3.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. San Francisco’s Type of Game

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

 

2. Is Jeff Fisher’s Team “Ram Tough?”

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

 

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

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

 

Final Analysis

 

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

 
Prediction: San Francisco 23, St. Louis 17
Teaser:
San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Monday, October 13, 2014 - 15:00
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Path: /fantasy/5-tight-ends-replace-jimmy-graham
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New Orleans is set to return from its bye this week, but the Saints look like they will be without All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham a little longer. Graham sprained his shoulder two weeks ago against Tampa Bay and even with a week off to recover, reports are that he could miss up to three more weeks because of the injury.

 

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

 

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

 

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

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

 

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

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

 

Owen Daniels, Baltimore Ravens

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

 

Jace Amaro, New York Jets

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

 

Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts

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

 

And what about the Saints?
 

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

Teaser:
5 Tight Ends to Replace Jimmy Graham
Post date: Monday, October 13, 2014 - 15:00
Path: /nfl/new-york-giants-vs-philadelphia-eagles-game-preview-and-prediction-2014
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Control of the NFC East is on the line tonight when New York and Philadelphia get together at Lincoln Financial Field on NBC. The Giants (3-2) have won three in a row while the Eagles (4-1) are a perfect 3-0 at home. Whichever team wins tonight will, by and large, take control of the division. Even if Dallas beats Seattle to move to 5-1, the winner of this game will go to 2-0 in NFC East play. The Cowboys have yet to play a divisional game.

 

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

 

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Philadelphia -2.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Will We See the Real McCoy Tonight?

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

 

2. Giants Getting Offensive

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

 

3. The Tale of the Turnover Tape

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

 

Final Analysis

 

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

 
Prediction: Philadelphia 30, New York 27
Teaser:
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 09:00
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A future Hall of Fame quarterback is dealing with an ankle injury, while a rookie signal-caller is expected back for Week 6. Here are those and some other quarterback injuries you need to know about.

 

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

Probable – Ankle
Bridgewater was held out of last week’s game against Green Bay because of an ankle injury, but that was largely due to the fact the Vikings had a short turnaround for the Thursday night game. He was a full go at practice this week, is listed as Probable and will make his second career start today. Bridgewater was impressive in his first start (371-0-0, rushing TD) against Atlanta and he’s definitely worthy of QB2 consideration this week.

 
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

Questionable – Ankle
After not even appearing on the injury report Wednesday or Thursday, Brady showed up on it Friday after being limited in practice due to an ankle injury. He’s officially listed as Questionable, but I think it would be a surprise if Brady didn’t play today. Especially considering Brady and the Patriots are coming off of their best game of the season, a 43-17 rout at home against previously undefeated Cincinnati in which he threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Even though the expectation is that Brady will play, he’s not putting up the numbers he has in seasons past, so it’s not like he’s a slam dunk to start for your fantasy team, depending on your options.

 
Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, QBs, Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins

Questionable – Shoulder; Questionable – Concussion
Which quarterback is going to start for the Cardinals? That seems to be the biggest question for Arizona entering its game against Washington. After missing another game last week because of the bruised nerve in his right shoulder, Palmer was able to practice and throw the ball each day this week. However, he was still limited, there were reports that the arm strength just wasn’t there and that he sought additional treatment late Friday. Stanton meanwhile passed his final concussion test on Friday, so he could be back out there. Both Palmer and Stanton are listed as Questionable, which leaves rookie Logan Thomas as the healthiest, and most inexperienced, QB on the roster. Bruce Arians has held off naming a starter, a decision that could go all the way until right before kickoff (4:25 p.m. ET). If Stanton has been cleared to play, my guess is that he would get the call because of the uncertainty surrounding Palmer’s arm. Whatever ends up happening, even with a decent matchup against the Redskins, Cardinal QBs are better off left alone or on your bench this week.

 

Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Questionable – Hand
Locker’s bad luck with injuries continued last week when he got off to a great start against Cleveland before leaving the game after hitting his hand on the helmet of a Browns’ player. He’s officially Questionable, but it seems highly unlikely that he will play after missing an entire week of practice. Charlie Whitehurst should get the start and he was able to make a couple of big plays against the Browns last week. The matchup with the Jaguars is certainly appealing, but even in 2-QB leagues I would only use Whitehurst if I had no other viable option.

 

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers

Questionable – Ankle/Knee
Carr got hurt late in the Raiders’ loss to the Dolphins in London in Week 4, but it appears that the bye came at a good time for him. After taking a week off, Carr returned to practice on a limited basis. He’s listed as Questionable, but all signs point him to being under center today. Even if he does play, Carr is not an appealing fantasy option, even in 2-QB leagues, based on the Raiders’ struggles on offense and their matchup with a very good Chargers defense.

 
Josh McCown, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Doubtful – Thumb
To no one’s surprise, McCown didn’t play last week because of his injured thumb. He’s yet to return to practice and is listed as Doubtful for today, which pretty much means Mike Glennon will get another start. Glennon nearly made it two wins in a row, as he helped stake the Bucs to an 11-point fourth-quarter lead in New Orleans, but it wasn’t meant to be. Still, McCown put together another respectable outing (249-2-1), keeping him in the thick of the QB2 conversation for this week.


Already Ruled Out:

 

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redksins – RG3 remains sidelined by the dislocated ankle he suffered in Week 2, but he has made progress in his recovery. Kirk Cousins will continue to start in Griffin’s absence and after a disastrous Week 4 effort (5 turnovers) against the Giants; he bounced back (283-2-0) in the loss to the Seahawks on Monday night. Cousins will face another tough defense today in the Cardinals, but he’s definitely on the QB-2 radar and is a borderline QB1 in deeper leagues.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 6 Injury Updates: Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater, Carson Palmer, Jake Locker
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
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Miami’s backfield should be back at full strength for the first time in several weeks while Detroit’s looks to be a little shorthanded for its Week 6 game. Those aren’t the only running back injuries Athlon Sports is tracking for this week’s action.

 

Joique Bell and Reggie Bush, RBs, Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Probable – Concussion, Questionable – Ankle
After missing last week’s game because of a concussion, Bell was a full practice participant every day this week. He’s listed as Probable and could end up being the Lions’ bell cow with Bush being Questionable. Bush injured his ankle in last week’s loss to Buffalo and wasn’t able to practice at all this week. He’s officially considered a 50/50 shot of playing and will reportedly test out the ankle in warmups, but it seems highly unlikely that Bush will be out there. With wide receiver Calvin Johnson most likely sitting this one out, Bell could be in line for a lot of touches against the Vikings. Bell should be pretty safe to use as a RB2.

 

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins vs. Green Bay Packers

Probable – Elbow
Moreno dislocated his elbow on his first carry in Week 2 and at the time was expected to miss between four and six weeks. Looks like he’ll beat that estimate, as Moreno returned to practice this week and is listed as Probable. He’s wearing a brace on the injured elbow and admitted he’s still getting used to it, but it doesn’t appear that will prevent him from returning to the field. Lamar Miller, who also appears on the injury report (Probable, Foot), picked up the slack (5.7 ypc) in Moreno’s absence and it’s not yet known how these two will split the carries. For now, it’s safest to view each as RB2/flex options until this picture becomes a little clearer.

 

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

Questionable – Ankle
Jackson sprained his right ankle in last week’s win in Detroit and was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday because of it. He missed Friday’s session entirely, but that was due to illness. He’s listed as Questionable, but the expectation is he will play. Jackson and C.J. Spiller have been sharing the backfield work, which was impacted each’s fantasy value. Should Jackson play he remains a RB2/flex option and to be honest, Spiller’s value doesn’t change that much should Jackson not suit up against the Patriots.

 

Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Doubtful – Hamstring
Greene injured his hamstring during Wednesday’s practice and was sidelined because of it the rest of the week. He’s listed as Doubtful, but there’s no reason to expect Greene to play, not with Bishop Sankey and Dexter McCluster waiting in the wings. In fact, this may be the game Sankey owners and supporters have been waiting for, as the second-round pick may finally get the chance to showcase his skills. Even with the likelihood of more touches, Sankey should be viewed as a RB2 at best. McCluster is probably nothing more than a flex option, although he’s got the potential to be more valuable in PPR leagues.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – Gerhart has dealt with several different injuries this season, but a lingering foot issue has finally sidelined him. Gus Bradley said that the trio of Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson will share the carries, but it’s not known yet who will start. Of the three, Johnson is probably the most intriguing because he’s a rookie, but for now it’s probably best to stay away from this crowded backfield.

Teaser:
Week 6 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Knowshon Moreno, Reggie Bush, Fred Jackson, Shonn Greene
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
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A couple of top running backs will sit Week 6 out. Are there any other key fantasy ball-carriers that may not play this week?

 

Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers (Mon.)

Probable – Calf
Stacy left last week’s loss to Philadelphia with an apparent calf injury. He did not practice on Thursday, but was a full go on Friday and Saturday. He’s listed as Probable and should be out there on Monday night. Stacy is clearly the Rams’ No. 1 back, but Benny Cunningham has been effective when called upon. Stacy should be safe to start on Monday night, but expectations probably need to be tempered since the 49ers are fifth against the run (77.2 ypg).

 

Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins

Probable – Foot
Ellington’s still limited in practice, but it’s beginning to appear this is by design rather than necessitated by his injury. For one, Ellington’s listed as Probable, meaning he’s a pretty safe bet to play. Secondly, he’s coming off a game in which he compiled 144 total yards, including an 81-yard touchdown catch. He’s ranked among the top 10 RBs this week for a reason.

 

Ben Tate, RB, Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Probable – Finger
Tate made a triumphant return from a sprained knee last week, rushing for 124 yards in the Browns’ historic comeback victory against the Titans. He’s listed on the injury report this week, but it’s for a finger issue, so clearly the knee is no longer an issue. He was a full participant in practice every day this week and is listed as Probable, so Tate will be out there today carrying the load against the Steelers. Tate’s a solid top-20 option this week. If anything, Tate’s strong return probably means fewer touches for rookies Terrance West or Isaiah Crowell or maybe even both. Even though it appears that Crowell may have passed West on the depth chart, the former is still nothing more than a risky flex option.

 

Darrin Reaves, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, RBs, Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears

Probable – Hip; Questionable – Knee; Out – Ankle
Another week, more injury intrigue in the Panthers’ backfield. Let’s start with the easy one – Williams is Out for a second straight week with an ankle injury. After missing last week, Stewart was able to take part in practice both Thursday and Friday, although he was still limited. The good news is after being Doubtful last week, Stewart has been upgraded to Questionable. Stewart will be a game-time decision and this one may be worth watching. Should Stewart play, it’s likely he will see the majority of the touches. There’s still plenty of risk when it comes to trusting a guy like Stewart, but there’s the potential for a decent reward too. Reaves meanwhile got the most carries last week (11 att.), but he didn’t do much with them (35 yds.). He’s dealing with a hip injury, which prevented him from practicing on Wednesday. Reaves was a full go on Thursday and Friday, however, and is listed as Probable, so he should be out there too. A risky option to begin with, Reaves’ fantasy potential is tied directly to whether Stewart plays or not. Unless you simply don’t have any other options it may be best to steer clear of all Panther RBs this week, especially against a pretty good Bengals defense.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants – Jennings injured his knee last week against the Falcons. He’s been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and is likely to miss a few weeks. Fourth-round pick Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis will handle the workload in Jennings’ absence. Williams is clearly the more appealing fantasy option, as he rushed for more than 2,000 yards as a senior at Boston College and has scored a touchdown in each of his past two games. Williams was ranked as a top-10 RB this week.

 

Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos – Ball suffered a groin strain in last week’s win against Arizona and is expected to miss up to three weeks. Ronnie Hillman should get first crack at starter’s reps, but Juwan Thompson and C.J. Anderson both could figure into the mix and possibly supplant Hillman. For now, Hillman is an appealing RB2 option this week, especially in PPR leagues.

 

Donald Brown and Ryan Mathews, RBs, San Diego Chargers – Danny Woodhead is on IR (broken leg) and Mathews is still sidelined by an MCL sprain. Brown suffered a concussion last week against the Jets and hasn’t been cleared to return yet, which means it’s Branden Oliver’s show today against the Raiders. The undrafted rookie exploded for 182 total yards and two touchdowns last week and if he’s still available in your league, I highly recommend you pick Oliver up. It’s always risky to trust a rookie, but I really like Oliver’s skill set and his matchup, which is why he’s ranked as a top-15 RB this week.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 6 Injury Updates: Andre Ellington, Zac Stacy, Ben Tate, Rashad Jennings
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
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The Bengals and Jets are two teams that may be without their No. 1 wide receivers for their Week 6 games. And those are just two of the injury storylines Athlon Sports is keeping an eye on at the wide receiver position today.

 

Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, WRs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Questionable – Groin; Questionable – Rib
Just a week ago the expectation was that Evans would miss at least two weeks, if not more, due to a groin injury he suffered in Week 4. However, Evans may be ready to prove a lot of people wrong, as he returned to practice this week, albeit on a limited basis. Evans is listed as Questionable, but Lovie Smith sounded optimistic on Friday that his first-round choice would back in there. Jackson also is listed as Questionable because of a lingering rib injury. Jackson didn’t appear on the practice field until Friday, but apparently he did enough to give himself a decent chance of playing today. Jackson has been a different receiver since Mike Glennon took over at QB and Evans was showing signs of improvement prior to his injury. Unless something changes between now and kickoff (1 p.m. ET), I would keep Jackson in my lineup. Evans is a much riskier play. If you intend to use him, I would recommend it be as a WR3/flex.

 

A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, WRs, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Carolina Panthers

Questionable – Toe; Out – Ankle
If there was ever any doubt as to Green’s importance to the Bengals, look no further than the fact his injury is listed as a “Great Toe” issue. That said, Green didn’t practice at all this week and he was spotted in a walking boot on Friday. Head coach Marvin Lewis is referring to Green as “day-to-day,” and he’s officially listed as Questionable, but I wouldn’t count on having the All-Pro in your lineup this week. If anything, the hope is that the rest he’s getting will allow him to miss just one week instead of multiple games. Besides Green, the Bengals already know they will be without Jones for yet another game. Jones is dealing with an ankle injury that’s kept him out of practice. He initially was listed as Questionable on Friday, but the team downgraded him to Out on Saturday. With Jones out and Green likely to join him on the sideline, Mohamed Sanu is poised to move up to No. 1 in the pecking order, which increases his fantasy potential to WR2 with upside.  

 
Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. Green Bay Packers

Probable - Foot
Anytime a player comes out of a bye still dealing with an injury, it’s not a good sign. It’s even worse when that player is still limited in practice by said injury. However, in Wallace’s case there doesn’t appear to be a great deal of concern regarding his foot issue. He’s listed as Probable and the Dolphins’ most productive wide receiver to this point (20-246-3) should be out there today. After a disappointing 2013, Wallace has re-established himself as a steady, reliable WR2.  

 

Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets vs. Denver Broncos

Questionable – Hamstring
Decker ended up missing last week’s game because of his bothersome hamstring, but the extra rest may have done him some good. He was still limited in practice this week, but he was able to get some work in all three days. He’s listed as Questionable, but Rex Ryan said he was hopeful Decker would play. There’s also the added motivation of Decker facing his former team, for what that’s worth. Even if Decker ends up playing, just remember which uniform he will be wearing. Even though Decker is his team’s No. 1 WR, he’s still a fairly risky option given the Jets’ issues at QB.

 

Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Cecil Shorts, WRs, Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans

Probable – Foot; Probable –Hamstring; Probable – Hamstring
For the first time all season, the Jaguars may be at full strength at wide receiver. Lee and Shorts have both missed several games because of hamstring injuries, but both practiced in full on Thursday and Friday and are listed as Probable. Hurns also is listed as Probable, as he’s dealing with some sort of foot issue, but it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. How the targets will shake out between these three and fellow wideout Allen Robinson is anyone’s guess, as this also will Lee and Shorts’ first game with rookie Blake Bortles under center. Shorts is the Jaguars’ top WR, while Hurns has been the most productive this season. Lee probably has the most upside of any because of his skill set and he’s a rookie, while Robinson has teased of potential PPR value. Put it all together and there’s a lot more question marks than definitive answers. The best course of action if you plan on employing any of these Jaguars is to treat Shorts and Hurns as WR2s with Lee and Robinson checking in as potential flex options.

Teaser:
Week 6 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: A.J. Green, Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Eric Decker
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-6-injury-updates-calvin-johnson-julio-jones-keenan-allen-cordarrelle
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After trying to play through an ankle injury, Calvin Johnson isn’t expected to be on the field for the Lions in Week 6. Megatron isn’t the only notable fantasy wide receiver on Athlon Sports’ injury radar this week either.

 

Harry Douglas, Devin Hester and Julio Jones, WRs, Atlanta Falcons vs. Chicago Bears

Out – Foot; Questionable – Hamstring; Probable – Ankle
Douglas will miss another game because of a foot injury, while Hester is Questionable due to a hamstring issue. Hester missed the first two days of practice, but was back on Friday and he has said he will be out there today against his former team. Jones also seems a pretty safe bet even though he’s listed on the injury report with an ankle issue. He was limited on Wednesday and Thursday, but that seems to be more a matter of playing it safe. He was full go on Friday, is listed as Probable and should be in for another big day against a depleted Bears secondary. While Jones is a must-start WR1, Hester is a slightly risky WR3/flex option.

 

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Doubtful - Ankle
It is pretty clear that Johnson is nowhere close to 100 percent, and it looks like it’s finally reached the point where it doesn’t do any good for him to try and play through his ankle injury. Johnson missed all three days of practice for the first time this season and the Doubtful designation is just one step away from being ruled Out. A lot of the talk this week from Lions’ camp has been Johnson needs a break to let his ankle heal, so while there’s still a chance he will play today, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Besides Johnson, the Lions also are expected to be without Reggie Bush, which moves Golden Tate into WR1 territory and also increases Joique Bell’s outlook.

 

Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd, WRs, San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

Probable – Quad; Questionable – Calf
Allen’s been bothered by this quad injury for a few weeks now. He was limited on Wednesday and Thursday, but was a full go on Friday and wound up listed as Probable on the injury report. He should be safe to start and although he wasn’t needed last week (3 rec., 25 yds.), that could change today based on the appealing matchup with the Raiders and the fact that Floyd is listed as Questionable. Floyd was limited in practice the entire week, so while it’s possible he may still end up playing, he most likely won’t be operating at 100 percent. Floyd has been the Chargers’ primary deep threat (21.6 ypc) this season, a role that Allen can fill if needed. Floyd was already a risky play to begin with, so he should probably stay on your bench. Even though he’s been somewhat of a disappointment thus far, Allen remains a safe WR2 with WR1 upside.

 

Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys

Probable – Thigh
Harvin went from a full practice participant on Wednesday to sitting out Thursday to back at it on Friday. While that seems curious, his Probable designation should be all his owners need to worry about. Harvin’s production has been disappointing (19 rec., 133 yds.), but the potential is clearly there considering he’s a pretty good bet to get a carry or two each game. Don’t forget, Harvin also had three touchdowns called back by penalties in the Monday night win in Washington.

 

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

Probable – Hip
Patterson left last week’s loss in Green Bay with a hip injury, an issue that limited him in practice both Wednesday and Thursday. But he was a full participant on Friday and is expected to play today, hence the Probable designation. A popular breakout candidate entering this season, Patterson’s talent and upside is obvious (102 yards rushing in Week 1), but the production (15 rec., 189 yds.) just hasn’t been there to this point. Hopefully the presence of rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater will signal more touches for Patterson moving forward. WR1 potential is there, but right now he probably should be viewed as more of a WR3/flex option until his numbers increase.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 6 Injury Updates: Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, Cordarrelle Patterson
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-6-fantasy-football-injury-updates-vernon-davis-greg-olsen-delanie-walker-jordan-reed
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Two top tight ends are Questionable for their Week 6 matchup. Find out which one has a better chance of playing and the latest information on some other key TE injuries.

 

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals

Questionable – Ankle
Olsen has gotten off to a very strong start, entering Week 6 ranked No. 4 among fantasy TEs. Unfortunately, Olsen has been hobbled in practice this week by an ankle injury. He didn’t practice at all on Wednesday or Thursday was a limited participant on Friday. He is listed as Questionable, but head coach Ron Rivera said he expects Olsen to play. For what it’s worth, teammate Jonathan Stewart also is listed as Questionable, but he’s already been declared a “game-time decision.” So there does seem to be more optimism surrounding Olsen’s potential to play. A quick courtesy check on Olsen prior to the 1 p.m. ET kickoff certainly wouldn’t hurt, but I think you will be OK keeping him in your starting lineup this week.

 
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (Mon.)

Questionable – Back
Davis was made inactive prior to last week’s game because of a back injury and it’s possible that scenario could repeat itself this week. The good news is that Davis was able to practice some, but he remained limited throughout the week. He’s officially listed as Questionable, and a final decision likely won't be made until around kickoff. In Davis’ case, that won’t come until Monday night, which only adds to the dilemma his owners are facing. Considering he’s missed as much time as he’s been on the field this season, the risk may outweigh the potential reward in sticking with Davis this week.

 

Delaine Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Probable – Shoulder
Walker’s shoulder still isn’t 100 percent, as he remains on the injury report. But he was a full practice participant every day this week and his listed as Probable. Even though QB Jake Locker is not expected to play, Walker’s perfectly capable of continuing his top-10 TE fantasy production with Charlie Whitehurst throwing him passes.

 

Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Probable – Ankle/Shoulder
Cameron returned to the field last week for the first time since Week 1. While he wasn’t a huge contributor (3 rec., 33 yds.) in the Browns’ comeback win in Tennessee, the fact he made it through no worse for the wear was a good sign. And the news kept getting better, as he was a full go at practice this week. He’s still not 100 percent, but Cameron seems a pretty safe bet to play today based on his Probable designation. Brian Hoyer is settling in under center, so it only should be a matter of time before this QB-TE combo start clicking.

 

Jordan Reed, TEs, Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals

Questionable – Hamstring
Out of action since the season opener, Reed is as close to returning to the field as he’s been. A limited practice participant every day this week, Reed is considered Questionable, but is expected to give it a go unless his hamstring acts up during warmups. Niles Paul has filled in admirably in Reed’s absence, but there’s also no questioning Reed’s talent and abilities. Reed will most likely be a game-time decision, so it’s a matter of how much of a risk are you willing to take on a guy who has TE1 upside but is coming back after a lengthy absence and has some competition at the position?

 
Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins vs. Green Bay Packers

Probable – Knee
A fantasy revelation last season, Clay has been a dud (14 rec., 111 yds.) so far in 2014. He’s been bothered by a knee injury and unfortunately, the bye week didn’t seem to help him that much. For some reason, Clay went from being a full practice participant on Wednesday and Thursday to limited on Friday. He’s listed as Probable, so he should play, but one can’t help but wonder if Clay is not 100 percent healthy. It’s very hard to trust Clay as a TE1 right now and it’s getting to the point where he’s becoming more of a matchup play.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – Rudolph had surgery for a sports hernia last week. The expectation right now is that he will be out a minimum of six weeks, which would put a potential return around mid-November. If you have room, I would keep Rudolph; just understand this will be a prolonged absence.

 

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

Teaser:
Week 6 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Vernon Davis, Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker, Jordan Reed
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /college-football/acc-2014-week-7-preview-and-predictions
Body:

It’s a less than a full slate of ACC action this week, but there are a few intriguing divisional games, especially in the Atlantic. However, the most important matchup this Saturday is the lone game that involves a pair of teams from the Coastal Division.

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

 

ACC Week 7 Game Power Rankings

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Off: Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest


ACC Week 7 Predictions

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

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

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Marshawn LynchSEAvs. DAL
2Matt ForteCHIat ATL
3Arian FosterHOUvs. IND (Thurs.)
4Le'Veon BellPITat CLE
5Giovani BernardCINvs. CAR
6DeMarco MurrayDALat SEA
7Eddie LacyGBat MIA
8Andre WilliamsNYGat PHI
9Frank GoreSFat STL (Mon.)
10Andre EllingtonARIvs. WAS
11LeSean McCoyPHIvs. NYG
12Alfred MorrisWASat ARI
13Branden OliverSDat OAK
14Lamar MillerMIAvs. GB
15Ben TateCLEvs. PIT
16Ahmad BradshawINDat HOU (Thurs.)
17Justin ForsettBALat TB
18Fred JacksonBUFvs. NE
19C.J. SpillerBUFvs. NE
20Chris IvoryNYJvs. DEN
21Doug MartinTBvs. BAL
22Matt AsiataMINvs. DET
23Zac StacySTLvs. SF (Mon.)
24Reggie BushDETat MIN
25Stevan RidleyNEat BUF
26Steven JacksonATLvs. CHI
27Ronnie HillmanDENat NYJ
28Darren SprolesPHIvs. NYG
29Trent RichardsonINDat HOU (Thurs.)
30Shane VereenNEat BUF
31Jeremy HillCINvs. CAR
32Joique BellDETat MIN
33Bishop SankeyTENvs. JAC
34Chris JohnsonNYJvs. DEN
35Darren McFaddenOAKvs. SD
36Shonn GreeneTENvs. JAC
37Benny CunninghamSTLvs. SF (Mon.)
38Jerick McKinnonMINvs. DET
39Lorenzo TaliaferroBALat TB
40Toby GerhartJACat TEN
41Darrin ReavesCARat CIN
42Isaiah CrowellCLEvs. PIT
43Storm JohnsonJACat TEN
44Bernard PierceBALat TB
45Maurice Jones-DrewOAKvs. SD
46Terrance WestCLEvs. PIT
47George WinnDETat MIN
48Carlos HydeSFat STL (Mon.)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

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

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Fantasy Football 2014 Running Back Rankings: Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 06:30
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When it comes to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings for Week 6, the most important name may be one that’s not listed. Calvin Johnson has been a shell of his normal self the past two games, totaling just three catches for 19 yards. Johnson re-aggravated his ankle injury last week and has already said it will take a “lot of treatment” for him to play on Sunday. As hard as it is to bench a weapon like Johnson, the Lions may end up doing just that, which is why we did not rank Megatron this week. You have been warned. Unfortunately, Johnson’s not the only WR-related injury situation worth monitoring. A.J. Green reportedly re-aggravated a toe injury early in practice on Wednesday, resulting in him leaving the field on a cart. It’s still early when it comes to his game-day designation, but Green’s No. 10 ranking below is clearly a best-case scenario.

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

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

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-tight-end-rankings-week-6
Body:

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

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Julius ThomasDENat NYJ
2Rob GronkowskiNEat BUF
3Greg OlsenCARat CIN
4Delanie WalkerTENvs. JAC
5Martellus BennettCHIat ATL
6Antonio GatesSDat OAK
7Larry DonnellNYGat PHI
8Jason WittenDALat SEA
9Vernon DavisSFat STL (Mon.)
10Owen DanielsBALat TB
11Jordan CameronCLEvs. PIT
12Dwayne AllenINDat HOU (Thurs.)
13Zach ErtzPHIvs. NYG
14Heath MillerPITat CLE
15Jared CookSTLvs. SF (Mon.)
16Austin Seferian-JenkinsTBvs. BAL
17Tim WrightNEat BUF
18Charles ClayMIAvs. GB
19Garrett GrahamHOUvs. IND (Thurs.)
20Coby FleenerINDat HOU (Thurs.)
21Jordan ReedWASat ARI
22Niles PaulWASat ARI
23Eric EbronDETat MIN
24Clay HarborJACat TEN

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Tight End Rankings: Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-6
Body:

San Diego was not the top-scoring fantasy DST last week, but it’s the combination of the Chargers’ most recent game and their next opponent that has this unit ranked No. 1 in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings for Week 6. The Chargers shut out the Jets last week and have scored 11 or more fantasy points (Athlon scoring) in all but one game. On top of this consistency, San Diego will take on Oakland, which has already fired its head coach, has questions at quarterback and is yielding the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing DSTs. How can you not get Charged up about San Diego’s DST this week?

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

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

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-kicker-rankings-week-6
Body:

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

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

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

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Kicker Rankings: Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-waiver-wire-week-6
Body:

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

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Kansas City, New Orleans

 

Quarterbacks

 

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

 

Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns

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

 

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

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

 

Running Backs

 

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

 

Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams

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

 

Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos

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


Related: 5 Running Backs to Replace Montee Ball

 

Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers

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

 

Andre Williams, New York Giants

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

 

Wide Receivers

 

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

 

Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

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

 

Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans

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

 

Louis Murphy Jr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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

 

Tight Ends

 

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

 

Tim Wright, New England Patriots

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


Defense/Special Teams

 

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

 

Philadelphia Eagles

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

 

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Waiver Wire: Week 6
Post date: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 10:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/5-running-backs-replace-montee-ball
Body:

Denver running back Montee Ball suffered a groin injury in the third quarter of the Broncos’ 41-20 win over the Cardinals on Sunday. After the game, Ball was spotted on crutches and on Monday head coach John Fox said Ball's groin strain could cause him to miss up to three weeks.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos

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

 

Chris Ivory, New York Jets

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

 

Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens

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

 

Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers

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

 

Andre Williams, New York Giants

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

Teaser:
5 Running Backs to Replace Montee Ball
Post date: Monday, October 6, 2014 - 17:00

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