Articles By Mark Ross

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The NFL’s Thanksgiving Day slate of action ends with a tasty matchup of AFC North archrivals, as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens will meet up again at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. While Mike Tomlin’s Steelers and John Harbaugh’s Ravens both sit at 5-6, certainly not where they intended to be entering this season, they are part of the five-team jumble for the final AFC Wild Card spot and just two games behind the division-leading Bengals (7-4).

Pittsburgh has won the last two meetings with the Ravens, the most recent being a 19-16 victory in Week 7. The three-point victory is fitting, considering eight of the last 10 regular-season games have been decided by that exact margin. The Steelers hold a 20-15 edge in the all-time series during the regular season.

4 Things to Watch

When Last We Met
Entering Week 7, Pittsburgh (1-4) had finally gotten into the win column the previous week with a 19-6 victory over the Jets on the road. Baltimore was at 3-3 after dropping a 19-17 decision to Green Bay at home. On a Sunday night at Heinz Field, the defenses more or less dictated things, which is not unusual when the Steelers and Ravens get together. The home team struck first, Ben Roethlisberger connecting with tight end Heath Miller on a short touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead. The teams settled for field goals from there, with Shaun Suisham and Justin Tucker each connecting on three apiece to make the score 16-9 Steelers with less than 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ offense finally put a sustained drive together, culminating with a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Clark and a tie game with less than two minutes to go. Emmanuel Sanders put the Steelers in good field position on the ensuing kickoff, taking it from deep in his own end zone for 44 yards. Starting from his own 37-yard-line, Big Ben led his team 39 yards in seven plays, setting up Suisham for the 42-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. Statistically speaking, the game was pretty even in terms of total yards, first downs and time of possession. The Steelers had the lone turnover, a Miller fumble, but were able to overcome that and win their second straight game after starting the season 0-4. The Ravens, meanwhile, missed a golden opportunity to put their archrivals into a huge hole while also keeping pace with Cincinnati, who was 5-2 after Week 7.

Since Week 7
Baltimore went on bye the week after the loss to Pittsburgh, but the break didn’t help solve the Ravens’ offensive issues. A disappointing showing at Cleveland in Week 9 extended their losing streak to three games before bouncing back with a big overtime win over division-leading Cincinnati in Week 10. The momentum was short lived, however, as the Ravens fell to the Bears on the road the following Sunday in a game that was delayed nearly two hours due to severe weather. The roller-coaster ride continued last week with Baltimore’s defense smothering Geno Smith and the Jets for a comfortable 19-3 victory at home. The Ravens’ defense has done its part most of the season, holding opponents to just 16.8 points per game over the last four with seven takeaways. The offense, however, hasn’t returned the favor. Baltimore averaged just 274 yards and 19.3 points per game, while committing eight turnovers during this same four-game span. The running game has been an issue all season, as the Ravens rank 27th in the NFL in rushing offense, but Joe Flacco hasn’t exactly lit up defenses either. Pittsburgh meanwhile, was unable to build off of its Week 7 victory over Baltimore, as the Steelers made the trek across country to face the Raiders and put themselves into a 21-3 halftime hole they couldn’t crawl out of. The next week was even worse, getting drilled by New England 55-31 in Foxboro, Mass., in a game in which Pittsburgh set franchise records for most points and yards (610) allowed. The Steelers have since turned things around, however, winning their last three by an average margin of 13 points. The offense, behind Ben Roethlisberger, has been more productive and taken care of the ball (1 turnover in last three games), while the defense has had more moments of looking like the Steel Curtain of old. Take out one bad first half (27 PA) against Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson in Week 11 and the Steelers’ defense has given up a total of 21 points in 10 quarters. The Steelers are starting to click on both sides of the ball, and as a result have gone 5-2 since a 0-4 start and are very much alive for a postseason berth.

Smash-Mouth Football
Things are usually pretty physical when the Steelers and Ravens get together, but that doesn’t mean that either team has had much success playing that way this season. Both rank near the bottom of the NFL in rushing offense, with the Ravens coming in at 27th (81.7 ypg) and the Steelers 30th (77.3 ypg). Ray Rice finally posted his first 100-yard game of the season two weeks ago when he went for 131 against Chicago, but he’s still averaging just 2.9 yards per carry and has scored a total of four touchdowns. Pittsburgh rookie Le’Veon Bell has played in two fewer games than Rice (8 to 10) and has fewer carries (143 to 156), yet he has five more yards rushing (455 than 450) and the same number of touchdowns as the Pro Bowler. In fact, Bell’s best game came against Baltimore in Week 7, when he rushed for 93 yards on 19 carries. The Steelers out-rushed the Ravens in that game 141 to 82, and this category should factor into tonight’s game too. Pittsburgh’s success against Baltimore on the ground was somewhat surprising; considering the Ravens have been pretty strong against the run all season. Baltimore is 11th in the league in rushing defense (102.6 ypg) and has given up a grand total of one rushing touchdown so far. The Steelers have had their issues stopping the run, as they rank 23rd in the league (118.8 ypg) and have surrendered 13 rushing touchdowns. However, as the first meeting showed, how things look on paper don’t always play out on the field, especially when it’s these two teams. Either way, whichever team can gain an edge in the battle of the trenches tonight should be well positioned to walk away with the win.

Key Matchup: Ben Roethlisberger vs. Joe Flacco
Even though these are two defensive-minded teams, the connection between the quarterbacks is pretty much unavoidable. Both have led their teams to Super Bowl wins, both are paid like franchise quarterbacks, and both have received their share of criticism. From a numbers standpoint, Roethlisberger is lapping Flacco this season, as Big Ben leads in all statistical categories. He has been buoyed by some big games lately, with 11 touchdown passes and two performances of 367 yards passing or more over his last four games. Flacco has struggled in the afterglow of last season’s Super Bowl championship and since signing his lucrative contract extension. He has the same number of touchdown passes as interceptions (14 apiece) and he is averaging less than 250 yards passing per game. He has surpassed his per-game average just once over his last five outings and Flacco has thrown at least one interception in each of his last four games. It’s no stretch to say that Roethlisberger has all the momentum headed into tonight’s game, but Flacco has already proven that he’s capable of playing at a high level when it matters the most. Tonight may not be the Super Bowl, but both teams need their quarterbacks to bring their “A” game if they want to stay in the thick of the postseason race in the AFC.

Final Analysis

It’s somewhat ironic that two teams that really don’t like each other will play on Thanksgiving Day. However, it’s NFL fans that should be thankful for getting a heated rivalry like Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore as the final course of the NFL’s Turkey Day tripleheader. The fact that the two teams are tied at 5-6 and in the thick of the chase for the final AFC Wild Card spot only makes it even more appetizing.

The Steelers have turned things around in a big way since starting 0-4, and would love to beat the archrival Ravens a third straight time. On the other hand, Baltimore would like to put an end to both of Pittsburgh’s winning streaks (Seelers have won their last three games, as well as two in a row over the Ravens), while also staying within striking distance of AFC North-leading Cincinnati.

Call it a Super Bowl hangover or the result of a lot of offseason changes; the Ravens are not the same team that won the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February. The Steelers meanwhile have seemed to find their second wind after their disastrous start, and appear to be peaking at the right time. It will be another instant classic, but Ben Roethlisberger and company find a way to claim their fourth straight win and bragging rights over the defending Super Bowl champions with a sweep.

Pittsburgh 23, Baltimore 17

Teaser:
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, November 28, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /nfl/green-bay-packers-vs-detroit-lions-preview-and-prediction
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The NFL’s longest-running Thanksgiving Day rivalry will be renewed when the Detroit Lions host the Green Bay Packers at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Besides serving as the first course to the Turkey Day tripleheader, first place in the NFC North is at stake with the Lions (6-5), Bears (6-5) and Packers (5-5-1) all fighting for the head seat at the table.

Detroit, along with Dallas, is considered the two traditional Thanksgiving Day hosts. Green Bay also has an extensive history of playing on Turkey Day, as this represents the 21st meeting between the Lions and Packers on the fourth Thursday in November. Detroit holds a 11-8-1 edge over Green Bay on Thanksgiving Day, but the Packers have won the last three. The Lions have dropped their last nine Thanksgiving Day games overall.

4 Things to Watch

Changing Places?
Detroit and Green Bay first played each other back in Week 5. The Lions entered that game 3-1 with the Packers sitting at 2-2 and coming off of their bye. Green Bay would win 22-9 at Lambeau Field, as the Lions were missing their top two wide receivers — Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson – due to injury. Without two of his biggest weapons, quarterback Matthew Stafford struggled (25-of-40, sacked five times), as the Lions finished with 286 yards of total offense and their only touchdown came with a little more than two minutes left in the game. The Packers were led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers (274-1-0), and they piled up 180 yards rushing, including 72 from wide receiver Randall Cobb. Fast-forward to this week and both teams have been spinning their wheels lately. The Lions have lost two in a row, including last week’s disappointing 24-21 home loss to a two-win Tampa Bay team. The Packers haven’t won since Week 8, as they have three losses and last week’s 26-26 tie with the Vikings. Green Bays slide can be largely attributed to injuries, as Cobb remains out with a broken leg, tight end Jermichael Finley is on injured reserve after recently undergoing spinal fusion surgery, and Rodgers has missed the past three games after breaking his collarbone in Week 9 against Chicago. So while Detroit was the banged-up team entering the first meeting, it’s Green Bay that’s really feeling the hurt for this one, especially when it comes to the quarterback position. The question is can Jim Schwartz’s struggling Lions team take advantage of Mike McCarthy’s (above, right) depleted Packers roster?

Green Bay’s Quarterback Carousel
Aaron Rodgers returned to practice on Monday, the latest step in his recovery from the broken collarbone he sustained on Nov. 4. But even after that brief appearance, head coach Mike McCarthy characterized Rodgers’ chances of playing this week as “Closer to none.” So barring something short of a miracle, the Packers will turn to either Scott Tolzien or Matt Flynn to get them back into the win column. Tolzien became the starter following a season-ending groin injury to backup Seneca Wallace against Philadelphia in Week10. Tolzien, a third-year pro from Wisconsin, finished with 280 yards passing against the Eagles and followed that up with 339 against the Giants in his first career start, but he also had five interceptions and just one touchdown. Last week, he was ineffective (7-of-17, 98 yards) against Minnesota, resulting in McCarthy replacing him in the fourth quarter with Flynn. Trailing by 16, Flynn proceeded to lead the team to two touchdowns and the game-tying field goal with just 46 seconds left. Flynn couldn’t complete the comeback in overtime, as the Packers and Vikings traded field goals and settled for a 26-26 tie, but he finished his afternoon with 218 yards passing and a touchdown in less than two quarters of play. Flynn, who served as Rodgers’ backup from 2008-11 before signing a three-year, $20.5 million contract with Seattle, had already spent time this season with both Oakland (2 G, 1 GS) and Buffalo (0 G), before returning to Green Bay after Wallace was placed on injured reserve prior to Week 11. In his first action back in a Packers uniform, all Flynn did was nearly pull of a remarkable fourth-quarter comeback and in the process create something that McCarthy hasn’t had to deal with since Rodgers became the starter in 2008 – a quarterback controversy. The short week only complicates the decision facing McCarthy, as he must prepare both Tolzien and Flynn to face the Lions. Ideally, the starter gets most of the reps in practice, but that may not be the case this week because of the short turnaround. The Packers’ offense was clearly more productive with Flynn under center last week, but is that enough to convince McCarthy to give him the ball? Or does Tolzien get another shot since he’s been with the team longer this season? One other thing that McCarthy may need to consider is that in Flynn’s last start as a Packer in Week 17 of the 2011 season he threw for what was then a franchise-record 480 yards and six touchdowns. Green Bay’s opponent that game? None other than the Detroit Lions.

Can the Lions Keep Both Paws on the Ball?
Detroit is fifth in the NFL in total offense (412.1 ypg) and seventh in scoring offense (26.0 ppg), but yet the Lions are just 6-5. While there have been some defensive letdowns, particularly in the past two games, the main culprit has been turnovers. After committing just eight turnovers in their first seven games, the Lions have coughed it up 13 times over their last four. They are very fortunate to have gone 2-2 during this stretch, as they managed to come from behind and defeat the Cowboys in Week 8 despite losing the turnover battle 4-0. The Lions haven’t been as fortunate the past two weeks, however, as eight total turnovers resulted in losses to Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Prior to beating the Lions, the Steelers had won just three games, while the Buccaneers had jus two victories. Matthew Stafford is responsible for five of the Lions’ eight miscues over the past month, as he has tossed a total of eight interceptions over his last four games, but there also have been three lost fumbles. The Lions are capable of gaining a bunch of yards and putting plenty of points on the board. However, as the past two weeks have shown, they need to take better care of the football if they want this statistical success to carry over to the win column.

How will the Packers handle the Thanksgiving Day Rush?
With injuries impacting the quarterback position (see above), Green Bay has had to rely more on its ground game to move the ball on offense. The flip side of this, however, is the Packers also need to a fix a rushing defense that has been gashed on more than one occasion recently. The Packers have turned to rookie Eddie Lacy to carry the ball, as he’s seen 22 or more carries in all but one game going back to the Week 5 meeting with Detroit. In that home win over the Lions, Lacy finished with 99 yards rushing. He has followed up that strong performance with four other efforts of at least 90 yards on the ground, along with six rushing touchdowns. The Lions’ defense has really stiffened against the run over their past five games as well, giving up an average of less than 44 yards rushing per contest. Unfortunately, the Packers’ rush defense has gone the opposite direction. After holding opponents to just 79 yards rushing per game in its first six games, Green Bay has yielded 171 yards or more in three of their last four contests. That span also covers the Packers’ current slide of three straight losses followed by last week’s tie with the Vikings. So whether it’s Lacy finding room to run or the Packers’ defense standing strong against the Lions’ ground game, Green Bay needs to be at the head of the line when it comes to the holiday “rush” at Ford Field on Thursday.

Green Bay Key Player: Clay Matthews, LB
Matthews broke his right thumb in the Week 5 win over Detroit, which caused him to miss the next four games. He returned in Week 10 against Philadelphia, a game in which the Eagles rushed for 204 yards. Last week, Adrian Peterson and the Vikings gashed the Packers for 232 yards on the ground. Since Matthews’ return, Green Bay has lost two games and tied one. And in the process, the Packers have given up nearly 400 yards per game, including 171 yards rushing per contest. Matthews does have three sacks in his last two games and leads the team with six, but his impact on the defensive end against the Lions on Thursday needs to go beyond just pressuring quarterback Matthew Stafford. Because if the Lions are able to run on the Packers’ defense as successfully as the Eagles and Vikings, then Stafford may not even need to throw a bunch of passes in the first place.

Detroit Key Player: Reggie Bush, RB
Everyone knows the Lions’ offense begins with quarterback Matthew Stafford, usually connecting with wide receiver Calvin Johnson, but Bush is certainly an important piece as well. In the Lions’ six wins, Bush Is averaging 122.3 total yards per game. In the five losses that number drops to just 77.2. He had 69 total yards (44 rush, 25 receiving) against Green Bay in Week 5, a game in which Detroit posted season lows in both yards (286) and points (9). Granted, Johnson, along with No. 2 wide receiver Nate Burleson, both missed that game because of injury, but Bush’s lack of contributions certainly didn’t help matters either. Also, Green Bay’s rushing defense has struggled mightily recently, surrendering 171.4 yards rushing per game over its last four. Johnson has already proven tough to stop this season, but if Bush can get it going early, the Packers’ defense may have a no-win situation on its hands.

Final Analysis

Green Bay and Detroit are both headed in the same direction, which right now is backwards. The Packers haven’t won a game in a month, while the Lions have dropped their last two contests. Despite this, either team could finish this week in first place in the NFC North, depending on what happens when Chicago visits Minnesota on Sunday.

Even with the consecutive losses, the Lions appear to be in much better shape entering this game, as the Packers have had quarterback issues from the moment Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in Week 9. While I like Green Bay’s chances better with Matt Flynn under center than Scott Tolzien, there’s no denying the Packers’ offense is nowhere near the same unit without the 2011 NFL MVP leading the charge.

In the end, the Lions’ continuity on offense, led by the trio of Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, is too much for a disjointed Packers offense to overcome. Green Bay’s defense puts up a fight and the Packers are able to hang around thanks to a few ill-timed Detroit miscues, but the Lions wear down their division rivals late and put an end to their nine-game losing streak on Thanksgiving Day.

Detroit 31, Green Bay 23

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Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions Preview and Prediction
Post date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-waiver-wire-week-13
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With Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday, one thing that fantasy owners have to be thankful for is the end of the bye weeks. All teams will be in action in Week 13, starting with a full plate of games on Thanksgiving Day, as we not only enter the stretch run of the NFL regular season, it’s also nearing fantasy playoffs time. Depending on your team’s needs, not to mention postseason standing, one of the players listed below may be just what you need to feast on your opponent this week, and perhaps beyond.

The players listed in Athlon Sports’ weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding onto all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may want to keep an eye on. So without further ado, here are some players you may want to consider.

Quarterbacks
Week 12 Recap: Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes against Indianapolis and finished with 314 yards passing, continuing his strong second half. Ben Roethiisberger had more modest numbers (217-2-0) against Cleveland, but did help the Steelers pick up their third straight win.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
There’s no disputing that Flacco (above) has failed to play in accordance with the lucrative contract extension (six years, $120.6 million) he signed in March. He has as many touchdowns as interceptions (14) and is averaging less than 250 yards passing per game. However, what Flacco does have going for him is upcoming games against Minnesota and Detroit, two of the NFL’s worst passing defenses. It’s risky, but Flacco could (finally) pay off for someone willing to take a chance on him in Week 14 and/or 15.

Matt Flynn, Green Bay Packers
Could it be? Is Flynn ready to pull off one of the most impressive comebacks in recent NFL history? Aaron Rodgers’ backup for four seasons, Flynn turned one record-setting home start (480 yards, 6 TDs vs. Detroit in Week 17 of the 2011 season) into a three-year, $20.5 million free agent deal with Seattle. Injured in the preseason before the start of the 2012 campaign, Flynn lost the starting job to rookie Russell Wilson and was eventually traded to Oakland in April. Given another chance at being a starter, Flynn lost the Raiders’ gig in the preseason to Terrelle Pryor. Released by Oakland in October, Flynn signed with Buffalo after rookie EJ Manuel was injured. Flynn never got into a game for the Bills, who released him three weeks ago. Flynn landed back with the Packers following injuries to Rodgers (broken collarbone) and backup Seneca Wallace (groin, placed on injured reserve), but was behind Scott Tolzien on the depth chart. On Sunday, Flynn replaced an ineffective Tolzien with the Packers trailing by 16 early in the fourth quarter. Flynn produced some more magic at Lambeau Field, leading the Packers to two touchdowns and the game-tying field goal with just 46 seconds left. The game ended up as a tie, but that doesn’t change the fact that Flynn (218 yards, TD) out-performed Tolzien. Head coach Mike McCarthy was non-committal after the game about the starter for the Thanksgiving Day matchup with Detroit, but there’s not a lot of time for Rodgers to get back to practice and get game-ready. Will Flynn get the call? It’s something worth watching, especially considering the Lions’ struggles in pass defense.

Running Backs
Week 12 Recap: Montee Ball posted 40 yards rushing (Knowshon Moreno led the team with 224) and added three receptions, but he also had a costly fumble that helped fuel the Patriots’ remarkable second-half comeback against the Broncos on Sunday night. Bobby Rainey finished up his 163-yard monster game with a total of 35 yards on 18 carries against Detroit. Rainey should continue to see the majority of the carries, but the schedule (Carolina, San Francisco still remaining) isn’t necessarily kind. Donald Brown finished with negative yardage (-1) on three total touches against Arizona. To be fair, no one on the Colts’ offense did much of anything against the Cardinals’ smothering defense, so hopefully Brown can get back on track at home against Tennessee.

Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams
Rookie Zac Stacy got knocked out of Sunday’s game against Chicago because of a concussion, so the Rams turned to Cunningham to carry the load. The second-year back from MTSU responded with 109 yards rushing on 13 carries and a touchdown. The Rams shredded the Bears for 258 yards on the ground, but the important thing to keep an eye on is Stacy’s availability for St. Louis’ next game. If Stacy isn’t cleared, Cunningham figures to get the starting nod ahead of the other backs (Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead) on the roster. It’s not an ideal matchup against San Francisco, but a starting running back in the NFL is a valuable commodity, especially with fantasy playoffs right around the corner.

Wide Receivers
Week 12 Recap: Michael Floyd was at it again against Indianapolis, catching a team-high seven passes for 104 yards. Marquise Goodwin and the Bills were on bye and have Atlanta in Toronto this week. San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree didn’t return against Washington, but could be back in the lineup Sunday in a key divisional matchup with St. Louis.

Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions
In his first game back since breaking his forearm in a car accident in late September, Burleson caught seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Tampa Bay. Detroit’s No. 2 wide receiver, Burleson is the beneficiary of all the defensive attention Calvin Johnson demands and Matthew Stafford has no problem going to him (10 targets Sunday). Injuries have been an issue for Burleson the past two seasons, but when he’s been on the field he’s been productive. Locked into a starting spot in a pass-happy offense, Burleson could be a productive late-season addition to your wide receiving corps.

Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders
Denarius Moore was inactive because of a shoulder injury, allowing Streater the opportunity to emerge as the Raiders’ go-to option in the passing game. Streater and Matt McGloin hooked up for five receptions and 93 yards in the loss to Tennessee. Last week against Houston, Streater had six catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. In McGloin’s two starts, that’s 11 catches for 177 yards and a touchdown for Streater. In his nine other games he has a total of 29 receptions for 423 yards and a score. If McGloin retains the starting job over Terrelle Pryor, then Streater becomes more appealing. This is especially the case if Moore ends up missing more time because of his shoulder injury.

Tiquan Underwood, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vincent Jackson is the Bucs’ No. 1 target and tight end/wide receiver Timothy Wright has emerged this season, but Underwood has assumed the No. 2 wideout slot following Mike Williams’ season-ending hamstring injury. Underwood only had three catches on Sunday, but they went for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the Bucs’ 24-21 win over the Lions in Detroit. If quarterback Mike Glennon continues his steady (10 TD passes, 1 INT in his last six games) play, Underwood could develop into an option for those looking for wide receiver help during the fantasy playoffs.

Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
Wright is probably one of the most least-owned No. 1 wide receivers in the NFL, but maybe it’s time for that to change. Ryan Fitzpatrick is cemented as the starting quarterback the rest of the season and he and Wright are beginning to establish a good rapport. In his last three games, which go back to Week 10 when Jake Locker sustained a season-ending foot injury, Wright has averaged 9.3 targets and 87 yards per game. On Sunday, Wright went for a season-high 103 yards on six catches and the game-winning touchdown against Oakland.  Wright and Fitzpatrick are really starting click, so now may be the perfect time to get on board with the Titans’ top target.

Tight Ends
Week 12 Recap: Delanie Walker caught five passes for 46 yards in the Titans’ come-from-behind win in Oakland. He’s knocking on the door of the top 10 at his position.

Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers
This falls into the deep flyer category, but based on the last few games, the future of the tight end position in San Diego looks pretty bright with Green. Antonio Gates is still the star, but Green has been playing the role of impressive understudy. Green has 80 or more receiving yards in each of his last two games, and helped the Chargers upset the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday with a 60-yard touchdown reception that featured an impressive show of speed from the 6-6, 240-pound target. His opportunities figure to be few, but it looks like the Chargers have a pretty good idea of what Green is capable of doing once Philip Rivers gets the ball into his hands. Remaining games with Denver (Week 15) and Oakland (Week 16) could end up being fairly high scoring, so perhaps Green could be a good color if you are unsure about your tight end situation in the playoffs.

Defense/Special Teams
Week 12 Recap: The Saints held the Falcons to just 13 points in their close NFC South win on Thursday night. New Orleans forced just one turnover, but sacked Matt Ryan five times and held Atlanta scoreless in the second half.

Buffalo Bills
The Bills were on bye last week, which means the defense should be rested and raring to go for the stretch run. Buffalo’s DST has been somewhat sneaky this season, posting four games of 15 or more fantasy points. The Bills are tied for first in the NFL in both sacks (37) and interceptions (16) and have been pretty good against the pass (229 ypg). The other thing that makes the Bills appealing is their schedule. Starting with Atlanta in Toronto on Sunday, Buffalo’s final five games are all against teams ranked no lower than 19th in terms of fantasy points allowed to DSTs. Depending on your situation at DST, Buffalo may be the perfect candidate to (ahem) help beef up your lineup.

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 2013 Waiver Wire: Week 13
Post date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 08:00
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Two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history will be on display tonight when the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots face off at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Besides the unavoidable comparisons between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, this game also features a matchup of division leaders with the Broncos (9-1) in front in the AFC West after beating the Chiefs last week and the Patriots (7-3) maintaining their usual position atop the AFC East.

These two teams last played each other in Week 5 of the 2012 season. That game, like this one, was at Gillette Stadium and the Patriots won 31-21 behind a balanced offensive attack that produced 444 total yards, 251 of those on the ground. The leading receiver for the home team that game was Wes Welker, who caught 13 passes for 104 yards and Brady’s lone touchdown. Welker is now a Bronco and despite suffering a concussion last week, he is expected to play against his former team. This adds yet another layer to a game full of interesting subplots.

4 Things to Watch

Manning vs. Brady, Round 14
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have already secured busts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, when their careers are over. These two have already accounted for a combined 110,000 yards passing and 818 touchdown passes, and have won nearly 72 percent of their games, including playoffs. They have been to 20 Pro Bowls and claim six of the 15 MVP trophies that have been awarded since Manning’s rookie season in 1998. And of course there are the Super Bowl rings. Brady has three, Manning has one and each has been named MVP after starring on the NFL’s biggest stage. Even though they didn’t enter the league in the same season (Manning 1998, Brady 2000), these two will forever be linked, which is why their head-to-head matchups draw so much attention and scrutiny. Including the playoffs, this will be the 14th time Manning and Brady have met on the field. Among Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, the only two that have gone head-to-head more are Hall of Famers Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas (16 games). As it relates to Manning vs. Brady, the Patriots’ signal-caller holds a 9-4 edge, including 6-2 at home. In addition to the win-loss column, Brady also holds a statistical edge over Manning when it comes to completion percentage (66.9 to 62.4) and quarterback rating (95.3 to 86.7). Last season, even though the Broncos lost 31-21, Manning had arguably one of his best games against the Patriots, throwing for 337 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. This season, it’s pretty clear that Manning has a better supporting cast around him compared to Brady, but Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has done a good job of constructing effective defensive game plans against No. 18 in the past. Brady’s numbers may not be what we are accustomed to seeing, but the Patriots are still winning and he’s looking more and more comfortable in the pocket with each game now that all of his pass-catchers are back and relatively healthy. Either way, both quarterbacks will have a big say in how this game plays out, just as has been the case in their previous 13 meetings. 

Broncos’ Weapons Check
Denver is No. 1 in the NFL in both total (350.4 ypg) and scoring (39.8 ppg) offense, and the gap between the Broncos and No. 2 in both categories is pretty wide. Five different players – wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker, tight end Julius Thomas and running back Knowshon Moreno – have caught at least 37 passes this season. Demaryius and Julius Thomas and Welker have combined for 28 touchdown catches. Welker, who was Brady’s favorite target for six seasons in New England, sustained a concussion last week, but he is expected to be cleared in plenty of time to face his former teammates. The Broncos aren’t just a passing team, however, as Moreno leads the way with 600 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on the ground. Second-round draft pick Montee Ball also has emerged recently, scoring three rushing touchdowns over his last three games. Peyton Manning is still dealing with a lingering ankle injury, but his offensive line did an outstanding job protecting him (no sacks, no hits) against Kansas City’s ferocious pass rush last week. When given the time, Manning has a plethora of weapons to choose from and it will be interesting to see how he and offensive coordinator Adam Gase attack a banged-up Patriots defense (see below) tonight.

Patriots’ Weapons Check
As far as New England’s offense goes, Wes Welker’s departure via free agency was just one of the many personnel developments that took place during the offseason. Although the Patriots signed former St. Louis Ram Danny Amendola to take Welker’s place, the summer saw tight end Rob Gronkowski undergo back surgery in June. Not too long after, fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder and other crimes, which led to his release. Gronk didn’t return to the field until Week 7, which left Tom Brady with an unfamiliar group of pass-catchers at the start of the season. In Week 1, the Patriots’ wide receiving corps consisted of Julian Edelman, the lone holdover from the 2012 season, Amendola and rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins. Not surprisingly, Brady had just eight touchdown passes in his first six games. Injuries didn’t help Brady develop chemistry with his receivers either, as Amendola missed some time with a groin injury and later a concussion. It wasn’t until recently that Brady was able to practice with his full complement of pass-catchers, so the hope is that the passing game will find a little more consistency and rhythm. The ground game also has had its struggles, as Stevan Ridley, last season’s leading rusher, got off to a slow start in 2013 and has dealt with some injury issues of his own. The Patriots have been content to employ a running-back-by-committee, as Ridley, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen all have carried the ball at least 15 times. The all-hands-on-deck strategy has worked for the most part with the Patriots ranking ninth in the league in rushing offense (126.9 ypg). So even though this may not be a vintage, Brady-led offense, the Patriots are eighth in the league in scoring at nearly 25 points per game. The Broncos average nearly 40 points per game and their season-low output is 27 points, so Brady and company will need to find a way to move the ball and put some points on the board against a Denver defense that has been playing pretty well lately.

New England’s Feeling the Hurt on Defense
The Patriots’ uniforms may be red, white and blue (and silver), but their defense is definitely black and blue thanks to a slew of injuries. Bill Belichick’s defense looks more like a M.A.S.H. unit right now, as the current two-deep looks nothing like what he had at his disposal in Week 1. All-Pro linebacker Jerod Mayo and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork are both out for the season, as is tackle Tommy Kelly and safety Adrian Wilson. Four current starters and one key reserve appear on this week’s injury report, including three defensive backs. Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and safety Steve Gregory both missed last week’s loss in Carolina, and are questionable for tonight’s game. Aqib Talib, the other starting cornerback, had to leave the Monday night game against the Panthers early after re-aggravating a hip injury that caused him to miss the three previous games. Stopping Denver’s high-octane task is a difficult task in and of itself, but now New England must figure out a way to do so with a defense that isn’t anywhere close to full strength. Belichick is a master tactician when it comes to defensive game plans and he has had his share of success against Peyton Manning. However, with so many injuries severely limiting his depth, especially in the secondary, Belichick may not be able to rely on complicated schemes and multiple alignments. In fact, he may have a hard enough time finding 11 healthy bodies to put on the field.

Denver Key Players: Von Miller, Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan, LBs
Not only are Miller, Woodyard and Trevathan the Broncos’ starting linebackers, they are the heart and soul of this defense. Miller, who finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting last season, missed the first six games of this season due to suspension. Since his return in Week 7, Denver is allowing 318.3 yards and 24.3 points per game. Miller’s pass-rushing ability (2.0 sacks in four games) has made the most difference, especially when it comes to the Broncos’ ability to consistently pressure the quarterback. They have 12 sacks over their last four games and also have picked off four passes. This also is a big reason why Denver has given up only 191.3 yards passing per game during this span. New England has given up 28 sacks this season, and Miller is definitely someone the offensive line and running backs will have to account for. Woodyard and Trevathan are the leading tacklers on the team and also are extremely active in pass coverage. The duo has combined for 11 passes defended, while Trevathan also has three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Both fly to the ball and are key to the Broncos’ efforts to control the middle of the field. Trevathan in particular will probably be matched up on tight end Rob Gronkowski several times during this game. If Denver’s linebacking corps is making plays all over the field, especially behind the line of scrimmage, then it could be a long night for Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense.

New England Key Player: Chandler Jones, DE
Injuries have not been kind to the Patriots’ defense this season. Already down four starters, including All-Pros Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork, five others defenders are listed on this week’s injury report. Of those, four are starters and the other is a key reserve in the secondary. Up front, Jones has teamed with fellow defensive end Rob Ninkovich to anchor the Patriots’ pass rush. Jones leads the team with 9.5 sacks while Ninkovich has five along with two forced fumbles and two recoveries. Jones also Is second on the team in tackles, which is rare for a defensive lineman. Peyton Manning has been sacked just 13 times and wasn’t even touched last week by Kansas City’s No. 1-ranked pass rush. With all of the injuries in the Patriots’ back seven, it’s critical that Jones and Ninkovich get pressure on Manning and also make some plays behind the line of scrimmage. Otherwise the Broncos’ offense could very hard for this banged-up defense to slow down.

Final Analysis

All attention is on the quarterbacks, which is understandable since Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are two of the best to ever play the position. However, the 11-man units that will line up on the other side of these two will play just as big a role in determining tonight’s outcome.

Denver’s defense has been a different unit since the return of All-Pro linebacker Von Miller. His presence, as well as his athleticism, non-stop motor and pass-rushing ability has had the biggest impact on the Broncos’ pass defense. On the other side, New England is missing its play-making linebacker in Jerod Mayo, and also is without several other key defenders.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are very tough to beat at home and both have had their share of success against Manning in the past. But that was then and this is now. I just think Manning has too many weapons and the Patriots’ defense has too many injuries, which will cause it to wear down as the game goes on. Manning does a good job of spreading the wealth, but he makes sure that Wes Welker gets a touchdown against his former team as the Broncos pick up their 10th win of the season.

Denver 34, New England 30

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NFC East rivals headed in different directions are on tap this afternoon when the Dallas Cowboys meet up with the New York Giants at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX. Jason Garrett’s Cowboys (5-5) are looking to tie the idle Eagles for first place in the division, while Tom Coughlin’s Giants (4-6) are hoping to continue their remarkable turnaround. Since starting the season 0-6, the Giants have won four in a row and a victory at home this afternoon would tie them with the Cowboys, just a game behind the Eagles.

The Cowboys won the first meeting, 36-31, back in Week 1 and are going for their first regular-season sweep of the Giants since 2007. A Dallas win also would make them 4-0 in NFC East play, putting the Cowboys in the driver’s seat for the division title. The Cowboys have struggled on the road, entering this game with a 1-4 record as the visiting team, while the Giants have won three in a row at MetLife Stadium.

4 Things to Watch

Since Last We Met…
AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, served as the season-opening backdrop for the two NFC East rivals when they first met back in Week 1. The Cowboys won 36-31 thanks in large part to six Giants turnovers. Eli Manning was picked off three times and David Wilson fumbled twice, as the Cowboys turned two takeaways into defensive touchdowns. The Giants moved the ball on the Cowboys with Manning throwing for 450 yards and four touchdowns, three of those to Victor Cruz, but just couldn’t overcome their own mistakes. The Cowboys had just one turnover, a Tony Romo interception, but otherwise played a clean game and got a little more out of their ground game (DeMarco Murray had a game-high 86 yards rushing) than the Giants. The loss sent the Giants into a tailspin; as they went on to lose their next five games by an average of 19 points per contest. The Cowboys weren’t able to build off of that season-opening win either, as they lost three of their next four. Fast forward to this week and the Giants are riding high, winners of four in a row while the Cowboys are coming off of their bye week sitting at .500. Despite their horrendous start, the Giants are very much alive in the division race and a fifth straight victory would only tighten up things between them, the Cowboys and the first-place Eagles (6-5), who are on bye. The Cowboys would love to sweep the Giants to get above .500 and grab a share of the division lead. With a six weeks left in the regular season, it’s not a stretch to say the road to determining the NFC East champion begins this afternoon at MetLife Stadium.

Where’s the D in Dallas?
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired after the 2012 season and replaced by 73-year-old Monte Kiffin, who had spent the previous four seasons in the collegiate ranks. While Ryan has orchestrated a remarkable turnaround of a New Orleans defense that set an NFL single-season record for yards allowed in 2012, Kiffin’s unit has struggled. And that’s an understatement. The Cowboys entered Week 12 last in the league in total and passing defense and have been abused by good quarterbacks. Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford have all thrown for more than 400 yards against the Cowboys, the first time in NFL history this has ever happened to a defense. Even though Drew Brees didn’t join that club two weeks ago, he and his Saints did roll up a franchise-record 625 yards and NFL-record 40 first downs in a 49-17 shellacking in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 625 yards also is the most the Cowboys have surrendered in any game in their long history and was the fourth game of 500 or more total yards allowed this season. Unfortunately, the situation may not get any better any time soon, as Kiffin has several key players who are injured. Of them, the most critical missing piece is linebacker Sean Lee, who injured his hamstring in the loss to the Saints and is expected to miss a few more weeks. Sack specialist DeMarcus Ware has been dealing with a lingering quad strain and is questionable for this afternoon, while fellow lineman Anthony Spencer also has been sidelined for an extended period of time. Kiffin’s task isn’t easy, especially with all of the injuries, but he must find a way to “fix” his defense if the Cowboys consider themselves legitimate playoff contenders.

The Return of the Big Blue Wrecking Crew
At the start of the season, the Giants’ defense was having just as many issues as the Cowboys’ unit, if not more. Through the first six games, all losses, the Giants were giving up 34.8 points and 391.3 yards per game, along with nearly 25 first downs per contest. When it didn’t seem like things would ever get better, something clicked and an entirely different Giants defense emerged starting with the Monday night game against Minnesota to close out Week 7. In the last four games, the Giants are surrendering fewer than 12 points and 254 yards per game. In fact, Green Bay last week is the only team to gain more than 206 yards of total offense and throw for more than 176 yards during this stretch. No team has collected more than 16 first downs in any of these four games and one team (Oakland, Week 10) has gained more than 55 yards rushing. Takeaways (11 total) and sacks (9) have been a big part of this run and the defense/special teams units also have provided three touchdowns of their own. Critics will be quick to point out that these four games were against teams with less-than-stellar quarterbacks (Minnesota’s Josh Freeman, Philadelphia’s Matt Barkley, Oakland’s Terrelle Pryor and Green Bay’s Scott Tolzien), but the bottom line is that the Giants’ defense has taken care of its business over the last month. Just how far has the 2013 edition of the Big Blue Wrecking Crew come since Week 1? Tony Romo and company will have a front-row seat this afternoon.

Can Either Offense Gain Ground?
Back in Week 1 the Cowboys and Giants combined for 809 total yards of offense, but only 137 of those came on the ground. DeMarco Murray led the way with 86 yards on 20 carries, while Da’Rel Scott was the leading ground-gainer for the Giants with a total of 23 yards. Establishing any sort of running game has been a season-long problem for both teams, as they are tied for 28th in the NFL in rushing offense at 77 yards per game. Murray is obviously the key to the Cowboys’ rushing attack and he is coming off of an 89-yard effort with a touchdown in the loss to the Saints two weeks ago. One of the problems for Murray has been a lack of attempts. He has gotten 20 or more carries just twice this season, including exactly 20 in the first game against the Giants, and is averaging 10.8 carries in his six other games. Murray did miss two games because of a sprained knee, but coming off of the bye he should be fairly healthy and the Cowboys need to be sure to give them the ball if they want to take any pressure off of Tony Romo and the passing attack. As for the Giants, the only one who got a rushing attempt in Week 1 that will play this afternoon is quarterback Eli Manning. Scott is no longer with the team while David Wilson, who had just 19 yards rushing and two costly fumbles in that first game, sustained a neck injury in Week 5 and is on injured reserve. Instead, the Giants will turn to the two-headed monster of Andre Brown and Brandon Jacobs to carry the load. Brown made his season debut two weeks ago with 115 yards rushing against Oakland after missing the previous eight games because of a broken leg he suffered in the final preseason game. Jacobs joined the team in Week 2 and rushed for 106 yards and two scores against Chicago before a hamstring injury sidelined him for a month. The two will likely share the carries in some capacity and try to take advantage of a Dallas rushing defense that ranks near the bottom of the league at 126.8 yards per game. The Giants meanwhile have really stiffened up against the run during their winning streak. The G-Men are giving up just 60 yards rushing per game and have moved all the way up to seventh in the league (98.0 ypg) in rushing defense. 

Dallas Key Player: Miles Austin, WR
Austin got out of the gates quickly this season, catching 10 passes for 72 yards against the Giants in Week 1. Since then he has totaled nine catches for 53 yards. Austin has played in just five games, as a hamstring injury held him out of the other five games, but with the exception of the season opener, he has been virtually non-existent in the Cowboys’ passing attack. In the last two games Austin has played, Weeks 6 and 7, not only did he not record a single catch, he didn’t even receive a single target. Tony Romo doesn’t lack for options, starting with wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten, and the emergence of rookie wideout Terrance Williams has been a pleasant surprise too. But if the Cowboys are going to continue to ask Romo to carry the load offensively, he needs a healthy Austin to make his presence felt in these last six games.

New York Giants Key Player: Hakeem Nicks, WR
Eli Manning may be struggling (12 TDs, 17 INTs) this season, but he hasn’t gotten a bunch of help from his wide receivers either. Victor Cruz leads the team in receptions (58) and yards (824), but he has just four touchdown catches and three of those came in Week 1 against Dallas. Rueben Randle leads the Giants with six touchdown grabs, but he has just 29 catches on the season and a catch rate (29 of 53) of less than 55 percent. That said, Nicks is the one who has been struggling the most, as the big target is still searching for his first touchdown catch of 2013. Nicks has gone over 100 yards receiving twice, but in his other eight games he’s averaging 3.5 receptions for 45.5 yards per contest. Nicks is still capable of making the big play, as he’s averaging 14.8 yards per reception and has 10 catches of 20 or more yards. Like Randle, however, Nicks is converting less than 55 percent (42 of 77) of his targets and sometimes seems to disappear completely from the offensive game plan. Injuries have been an issue for Nicks over the past few seasons. He did miss some practice time this week due to an abdominal strain and is listed on the injury report as questionable, but Nicks has said he will be out there. Dallas is dead last in the NFL in passing defense (313.0 ypg) and Nicks posted 114 yards on five catches (22.8) against the Cowboys back in Week 1. A repeat performance this afternoon could go a long ways towards not only helping the Giants earn their fifth straight win, but also jumpstarting Nicks’ season and put him in position for a strong finish. The latter is particularly important to Nicks since he will be a free agent after the season. Wide receivers who want to get paid like a No. 1 need to play like a No. 1.

Final Analysis

Oh the wild and wacky NFC East. Philadelphia is currently in first place, but the Eagles are just 6-5 and own one of the league’s worst defenses. Dallas could pull even with the Eagles with a victory this afternoon, but things will get even more interesting if the Giants extend their winning streak to five games in a row. Either way, this is a pivotal game as it relates to how things will play out in their division the rest of the way.

The Cowboys are coming off of their bye, but probably still licking their wounds from the 49-17 debacle against the Saints two weeks ago. The Giants have all the momentum, are playing their best football, especially on defense, and are at home. The Giants have their flaws, but every team in the NFC East does, which is one of the reasons why this race is so tight.

Eli Manning has had his issues, but he did throw for a season-best 450 yards and four touchdowns against the Cowboys back in Week 1. Plenty has changed since the season opener, as the Giants have a new backfield and the Cowboys will be missing several key members of their defense. In the end, I think Dallas’ personnel losses are too much for this struggling defense to overcome, despite Tony Romo’s best efforts to keep the Cowboys in the game. The Giants rely on ball control and an effective running game to secure their fifth win in a row, setting the stage for what’s shaping up to be another fantastic finish in the NFC East.

New York Giants 34, Dallas 24

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Adrian Peterson is at less than 100 percent entering Week 12. Here’s the latest injury-related information on the reigning MVP and a few other fantasy-relevant running backs.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Peterson’s sore groin was clearly an issue for him last week against Seattle. He got 21 carries, but only gained 65 yards with a long rush of 13 yards. The Vikings have gone with rest to try and get Peterson back to 100 percent and he is listed as Questionable to face the Packers. Peterson has said he intends to play, but there’s nothing wrong with checking his status before the 1 p.m. ET kickoff just to be sure. If he does play, don’t be surprised if it’s not a vintage “All Day” performance.  Besides the sore groin, he’s also facing a Green Bay rushing defense that’s allowed just three 100-yard games to running backs all season.

Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
No one can doubt Tate’s toughness. Already playing with broken ribs, Tate also is dealing with ankle and toe injuries. Despite this trifecta of maladies, Tate is listed as Probable and will take his shot at the league’s worst rushing defense (139.1 ypg). If not for his injuries, Tate would be a RB1 this week. As it is, Tate is a legitimate RB2 and should be in your lineup.

Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals
Richardson is Questionable with a calf injury, but head coach Chuck Pagano said he feels pretty good about T-Rich’s chances of playing. That said, this could be just the “excuse” Richardson owners have been waiting for to finally bench him without any twinge of remorse (or guilt). T-Rich has been T-errible this season, regardless of which uniform he’s been in, and Donald Brown has just about replaced Richardson as the Colts’ primary back. Richardson may have a bright future, but his 2013 fantasy season is pretty much done.

Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bell got the call at running back last week following a Reggie Bush fumble. Bell was getting the job done against Pittsburgh (9 att., 49 yds., TD), but he had to leave the game because of an Achilles injury. He was a full participant in practice on Friday, but is considered Questionable to play today. His injury is believed to be tendinitis, so it’s definitely possible that he could be out there. Bell was a fairly dependable flex option early in the season, but that was before Bush started seeing the vast majority of the touches. The only reason Bell was so busy last week was because the coaching staff wanted to send a message to Bush following the fumble. There’s no reason to believe that Bush has lost his job as the No. 1 back, especially with Bell at less than 100 percent. Bell is a risky play this week, even as a flex, and probably should be avoided all together.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
After missing the previous three games with a hamstring injury, Jacobs returned last week against Green Bay and contributed nine yards and a touchdown on five carries. He’s Questionable again this week, this time with a knee injury, but is expected to play against Dallas. Andre Brown is the Giants’ bell-cow back now, so if you want to chase a potential short-yardage touchdown with Jacobs you go right ahead.

Already Ruled Out (Again)

Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders – McFadden is reportedly making progress with his hamstring injury, but not enough to return to the field. He will miss a third straight game, giving Rashad Jennings another opportunity. Jennings has gone over 100 yards rushing in two of his past three games, including 150 and a touchdown last week against Houston. The Raiders host the Titans, who are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. The matchup is enough to put Jennings into the RB2 category.

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Several wide receivers are dealing with injuries entering Week 12. Here are the ones you need to know about before setting your lineup.

Cecil Shorts and Mike Brown, WRs, Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
Shorts’ groin is not fully healed, but he’s considered Probable and will play against the Texans. Shorts has a total of nine targets in his last two games, but he’s still the Jaguars’ most dangerous receiver. The Texans are No. 1 in the NFL in passing defense, so it could be another less-than-spectacular outing for Shorts. Brown’s shoulder injury is more of a problem compared to Shorts’ groin, as the undrafted rookie is listed as Questionable. Between the matchup against Houston and his injury situation, there’s really no reason to pay Brown much attention this week.

Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, WRs, Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Even though Johnson didn’t get in a full week of practice, the knee is fine and he is Probable. The only question is how will Megatron do today when he visits Revis Island? Burleson (right), on the other hand, is set to play in his first game since Week 3. Out since breaking his forearm in a car accident in late September, Burleson practiced fully on Thursday and Friday. He is Probable and expected to start alongside Johnson. I don’t need to tell you that Johnson is a WR1, do I? Burleson is certainly appealing considering the attention Johnson receives from opposing defenses, but in his first game back it’s better to err on the side of caution. For now, view Burleson as a WR3 with upside.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Hopkins missed some practice time due to an illness, but he returned on Friday. The rookie is listed as Probable and maybe today’s matchup will be just what the doctor ordered. Over his last seven games, Hopkins has just one touchdown catch and has recorded more than three receptions one time. The good news of Hopkins’ owners is that the Jaguars have given up 12 touchdown catches to opposing wide receivers this season. Hopkins is fairly safe to employ as a WR3 this week.

Keenan Allen, Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal, WRs, San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Allen left last week’s game against Miami in the fourth quarter after sustaining a knee injury. Fortunately, he escaped without serious damage and was able to practice fully this week. Allen is listed as Probable and will be out there against the Chiefs. The rookie has emerged as the Chargers’ No. 1 wide receiver, but Allen will have his work cut out for him against a physical, athletic Kansas City secondary. Meanwhile Brown and Royal both missed some practice time this week due to their respective injuries. Brown has a shoulder injury and was a full practice participant on Friday. Royal has a toe injury which has prevented him from practicing at all for more than a month, but he has yet to miss a game. Brown is Probable, while Royal is Questionable, but both will likely be out there. Allen is clearly the best option of the three, as Brown has just one touchdown catch on the season and three or fewer receptions in each of his past five games. Royal has seven touchdown grabs, but he’s also a boom-or-bust player. The Chiefs are giving up fewer than 14 points per game, so don’t expect a lot out of any of these Chargers.

Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Despite being Probable for last week’s game, Jennings ended up not playing against Seattle because of a strained Achilles tendon. He was limited again in practice this week and is listed as Questionable, but the expectation is he will play. Even though Green Bay has been fairly generous to wide receivers this season, that doesn’t mean Jennings should be in your starting lineup. He has struggled all season and there’s no reason to expect that to change, even going against his former team. In Week 8 against the Packers, Jennings caught one pass for nine yards.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Sanders hurt his foot last week, which forced him to leave the game against Detroit early. He practiced fully all week though and is considered Probable. Antonio Brown is the Steelers’ No. 1 wide receiver, but he has a very tough matchup today with Browns shutdown cornerback Joe Haden. That could mean more opportunities for Sanders to produce, although Jerricho Cotchery, who has five touchdown catches in his last three games, also is a factor. Sanders and Cotchery should be viewed as nothing more than possible WR3 options this week.

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Welker has passed the necessary concussion tests and is on track to face his former team tonight

A concussion isn’t expected to get in the way of a Bronco wide receiver from facing his former Patriot teammates tonight. Here’s the latest on Wes Welker and some other well-known wideouts entering Week 12.

Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Welker sustained a concussion last week against the Chiefs, but he was a full go at practice on Friday and is listed as Probable. Interim head coach Jack Del Rio went so far as to label Welker a “definite” to face the Patriots. Welker’s already no worse than a WR2 on any given week, so the extra juice he will more than likely have because he’s facing his former team only increases his chances of having a big game. Especially considering how banged up the Patriots’ defense is right now.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
Nicks is listed as Questionable with an abdominal strain, which limited him in practice both Thursday and Friday. Nicks has said he will “surely play,” but the late afternoon kickoff (4:25 p.m. ET) does complicate things somewhat. The matchup with Dallas, which is dead last in the NFL in passing defense, is certainly appealing, but Nicks is still searching for his first touchdown catch of the season. He has the potential for so much more, but right now Nicks is nothing more than a WR3 option.

Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals vs. Indianapolis Colts
Listed as Questionable entering last week’s game in Jacksonville, all Floyd did was erupt for 193 yards on six catches, including a 91-yard touchdown. The shoulder injury limited his participation in practice, but the Probable designation is pretty much all you need to know. The Cardinals still have Larry Fitzgerald running routes and catching balls, but if Carson Palmer continues his strong play, there should be enough passes for both Floyd and Fitz to be productive. The Colts are 10th in the league when it comes to fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. So whether you have Floyd or Fitzgerald, I would start both Cardinal wideouts and hope they fly high this afternoon.

Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. Carolina Panthers
Wallace played through his hamstring injury last week, catching four passes for 39 yards against San Diego. He was limited during the week, but practiced fully on Friday and is listed as Probable. Carolina’s defense is giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers, so you may want to analyze your other options before rolling the dice on a maddeningly inconsistent Wallace.

Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson, WRs, New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens
At this point it would be easier to list the Jet wide receivers that are NOT injured. Kerley is Doubtful because of a dislocated elbow, so it’s pretty likely he won’t play. Holmes and Nelson are both Probable and should be on the field against the Ravens. It doesn’t mean either should be a part of your starting lineup, however, as Geno Smith completed just 8-of-23 passes with three interceptions last week against Buffalo before being replaced by Matt Simms. There’s nothing that appealing when it comes to the Jets’ passing attack right now. Holmes would be the only Jet WR I would even consider taking a flyer on, but even that’s a lukewarm endorsement.

Already Ruled Out

Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders – Moore, the Raiders’ leading wide receiver, sustained a shoulder injury in last week’s win in Houston. He didn’t practice all week, so it’s not surprising that the team went ahead and ruled him out early. Matt McGloin will make his second career start against a pretty stout Tennessee defense, and the undrafted rookie will undoubtedly miss Moore.

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Two of the NFL’s most dangerous tight ends are set to be on the same field tonight in New England and both are listed on the injury report. Is either in danger of not playing?

Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Thomas was limited in practice all week due to a knee injury. He is listed as Questionable and is considered a game-time decision. As long as he’s not ruled out prior to kickoff (8:30 p.m. ET), you should keep Thomas in your lineup. He’s second only to Jimmy Graham in both fantasy points and touchdown catches among tight ends. Even if he’s limited, Thomas is a better starting option than the majority of tight ends out there.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos
Gronkowski is listed on the injury report because of his back, but he’s also reportedly dealing with forearm and hamstring issues too. Even though he continues to be limited in practice, Gronk is listed as Probable and will be a big part of the Patriots’ game plan against the Broncos. In fact, tonight’s matchup with Denver means Gronk and Julius Thomas, two of the league’s top tight ends and both of which are at less than 100 percent, will get to size each other up in person.

Already Ruled Out

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins – Reed sustained a concussion last week and as of Friday, he had yet to pass the necessary tests to be cleared to return to the field. He is Out for the Monday night game against San Francisco, at least according to the official injury report. However, based on some comments from head coach Mike Shanahan, there does appear to be some discrepancy regarding his status. Either way, because of the Monday night time slot, it would probably be safest to employ someone other than Reed as your tight end this week.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings – Rudolph is still out with a fractured foot, leaving John Carlson as the starter. Carlson has seven catches in each of the last two games and faces a Green Bay defense that has had some issues shutting opposing tight ends down. Carlson remains a TE2 candidate.

Teaser:
Week 12 Injury Updates: Julius Thomas, Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Kyle Rudolph
Post date: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-12-peyton-manning-terrelle-pryor-christian-ponder-jay-cutler-aaron
Body:

The ankle’s not fully healed, but it won’t keep Peyton Manning from facing the New England Patriots tonight. The same can’t be said for a few other injured quarterbacks, however.

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Manning was limited in practice again this week because of his lingering ankle injury, but it certainly wasn’t a factor this past Sunday against Kansas City. He is listed as Probable and there’s very little chance, if any, that Manning misses his 14th head-to-head meeting with Tom Brady (and Bill Belichick). Considering how many key defensive players are out for the season because of injury or hobbled headed into this one, it’s very possible that Manning could put up some of the best numbers he’s had against a Belichick defense in his career.

Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Ponder dislocated his non-throwing shoulder two weeks ago, but still made the start in Seattle. After throwing two interceptions, Ponder was replaced by Matt Cassel in the loss to the Seahawks. Ponder is listed as Probable for today’s game and he will get another start. The Vikings’ offense is a mess right now, especially with Adrian Peterson not at 100 percent due to a groin injury. Ponder threw for just 145 yards and had  a rushing touchdown in the first game against Green Bay back in Week 8, and there’s no reason to expect different results today. Ponder isn’t even on the QB-2 league radar.

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders vs. Tennessee Titans
Pryor missed last week’s game because of a knee injury. He is listed as Questionable again this week and will probably be a game-time decision. It doesn’t really matter though, because if Pryor does play, it will be as Matt McGloin’s backup. McGloin got the start against Houston last week and all he did was throw three touchdown passes and no interceptions in leading the Raiders to victory on the road. Now before you run out and grab McGloin off of the waiver wire, consider this: the Titans are giving up the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and Oakland’s No. 1 wide receiver, Denarius Moore, has already been ruled Out because of a shoulder injury. My advice would be to resist the temptation to start the Silver and Black’s new signal-caller or else you may end up with a black eye at the quarterback spot in your lineup.

Getting Better, But Still Not Ready

Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears – Cutler will miss yet another game because of his injured ankle. Josh McCown will make his third start of the season in search of maintaining his spotless record. St. Louis’ defense has been pretty tough on quarterbacks, especially from a pressure standpoint. However, McCown has shown remarkable poise in the pocket and is comfortable running head coach Marc Trestman’s system. McCown still has yet to throw an interception, which is one of the reasons why he remains in the bye week fill-in or 2-QB league conversation.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers – Rodgers is out for a third straight game, although he is making progress in his recovery from a broken collarbone. Scott Tolzien will make his second career start against a Minnesota defense that is giving up the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Tolzien is still a fairly risky play, as he threw for 339 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions last week against the Giants. I would consider Tolzien in a 2-QB league, but only after giving a long, hard look at my other options.

Teaser:
Injury Updates Week 12: Peyton Manning, Terrelle Pryor, Christian Ponder, Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers
Post date: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-positional-rankings-week-12
Body:

There may be six weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, but with the fantasy playoffs right around the corner, the clock is ticking for those teams looking to make a late move. Week 12 also signals the end of the bye weeks, as Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Seattle are the last four teams to get a breather.

At this point, however, chances are no team is at full strength, as not only have bye weeks tested roster depth and an owner’s ability to work the waiver wire, but there’s also been no lack of injuries to key, if not crucial, players. Take quarterback for example. Not only are Nick Foles and Russell Wilson not available this week, owners are still waiting on Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler to return. And that’s not even the whole story at this one position.

As good as the likes of Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles, Calvin Johnson and Jimmy Graham have been this season, there’s been no shortage of those who have emerged from obscurity to post some pretty impressive numbers of their own. Last week that was Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey, who finished second only to Ben Roethlisberger in fantasy points (Athlon scoring), after rushing for 163 yards and scoring three total touchdowns against Atlanta.

I’m going to guess that Rainey wasn’t even on that many rosters, let alone starting for many teams last week. While I have no doubt the former has certainly changed, the focus shifts to the latter. If you have Rainey are you starting him this week against Detroit in hopes that he can do it two games in a row? The game is not until Sunday, so you still have some time. Just remember though, the clock is ticking.

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

2013 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Week 12 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Positional Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-quarterback-rankings-week-12
Body:

Once again, matchup has a hand in determining how the top two spots on Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 12 quarterback rankings shake out. Both Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are on the road this week, but Brees' matchup with Atlanta's shaky defense is more than enough to give him the nod over Manning, who will go head-to-head with Tom Brady for the 14th time Sunday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

While Manning and Brady are first and second in fantasy points at their position, who is No. 3 may surprise some. With a healthy assist from Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford is somewhat quietly putting together a Pro Bowl-caliber season. The Lions' signal-caller is third in the NFL in both yards passing (3,198) and touchdown passes (21) and has thrown just eight interceptions. He's also scored twice on the ground. In 2012, Stafford finished with a total of 20 touchdown passes (and four rushing) and threw 17 picks. He could be in for another solid outing this week at home against a Tampa Bay defense that is ranked 18th against the pass and has given up 19 touchdowns through the air.

Another quarterback that has been hot lately is Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben was Week 11's top overall scorer, thanks to his 367 yards passing and four touchdowns in a come-from-behind win at home against Stafford's Lions. It was Roethlisberger's second game with at least 360 yards passing and four touchdowns in the last three weeks. The Steelers have won four in a row and will look to continue their turnaround Sunday against a Cleveland defense that's fourth in the league in passing yards allowed.

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

2013 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Drew BreesNOat ATL (Thurs.)Falcons giving up fourth-most fantasy points to QBs.
2Peyton ManningDENat NEBroncos' O-line didn't give up a sack to Chiefs last week.
3Matthew StaffordDETvs. TBStafford has 8:4 TD:INT ratio in 4 home games.
4Cam NewtonCARat MIACam looked sharp (3 TDs, 0 INTs) vs. Patriots on MNF.
5Tom BradyNEvs. DENBroncos' D has allowed 191.3 passing ypg over last 4.
6Tony RomoDALat NYGThis is different Giants' D than one he faced in Week 1.
7Andrew LuckINDat ARIHas thrown 1 TD, 3 INTs in last 2 games.
8Colin KaepernickSFat WAS (Mon.)Redskins giving up fifth-most fantasy points to QBs.
9Robert Griffin IIIWASvs. SF (Mon.)49ers' D has done well against dual-threat QBs.
10Ben RoethlisbergerPITat CLEBig Ben has 9 TD passes, 3 INTs over last 3 games.
11Mike GlennonTBat DETLions are 30th in the NFL in passing defense (283.8 ypg).
12Eli ManningNYGvs. DALCowboys dead last in passing yards allowed (313.0 ypg).
13Philip RiversSDat KCChiefs still 9th in pass D after facing Peyton/Broncos.
14Alex SmithKCvs. SDHas just 4 INTs on season, Chargers' D has 5.
15Case KeenumHOUvs. JACStill the starter despite getting benched vs. Raiders.
16Carson PalmerARIvs. INDTorched the Jags (419-2-0) last week.
17Matt RyanATLvs. NO (Thurs.)Over last 4 G: 237.3 ypg, 5 TDs, 9 INTs.
18Ryan FitzpatrickTENat OAKRaiders have given up 19 TD passes w/ just 7 INTs.
19Joe FlaccoBALvs. NYJHasn't thrown for more than 250 yards in each of last 4 G.
20Josh McCownCHIat STL2-0 as the starter, has yet to throw an INT (5 TDs) in 4 G.
21Scott TolzienGBvs. MINThrew for 339 yards, but 0 TDs, 3 INTs in first start.
22Jason CampbellCLEvs. PITSteelers' pass D stiffened in second half vs. Lions last week.
23Ryan TannehillMIAvs. CARPanthers giving up fewest fantasy points to QBs.
24Kellen ClemensSTLvs. CHIHasn't thrown an interception over his last 2 games.
25Matt McGloinOAKvs. TENHeck of a debut: 3 TDs, 0 INTs in first career start.
26Geno SmithNYJat BALHas he hit the wall? 1 TD pass, 8 INTs in last 5 games.
27Chad HenneJACat HOUTexans lead the NFL in passing yards allowed (167.5 ypg).
28Christian PonderMINat GBHe may start, but no guarantee he will finish game.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Week 12 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Quarterback Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-running-back-rankings-week-12
Body:

Two elite options are on bye this week, so Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 12 running back rankings may look a little different. LeSean McCoy and Marshawn Lynch both get a breather, but there are still plenty of appealing, as well as some intriguing, options out there.

Jamaal Charles, who leads all running backs in fantasy scoring and is second only to McCoy in yards from scrimmage gets the slight edge over Adrian Peterson for the top spot. Peterson is dealing with a slight groin injury and also faces a tougher matchup, at least on paper, this week in Green Bay while Charles and the Chiefs host San Diego.

Rankings aside, the running back that many will be watching could be the same one who came out of nowhere to lead the position in scoring last week. Tampa Bay's Bobby Rainey went for 163 yards rushing and scored three total touchdowns against Atlanta, placing him second only to Ben Roethlisberger in fantasy points in Week 11.

Rainey, a second-year pro from Western Kentucky who went undrafted in 2012, didn't even start this season with the Buccaneers. After spending 2012 and most of '13 training camp with Baltimore, Rainey was released prior to the start of the season and picked up by Cleveland. Rainey played six games for the Browns, rushing 13 times for 34 yards before getting released after Week 7. Following season-ending injuries to Doug Martin and Mike James, Tampa Bay signed Rainey and he made his Buccaneers debut two weeks ago on "Monday Night Football" against Miami, rushing for 45 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. That was just a warm up to his ground assault on the Falcons at home last week and now everyone wants to see what he has in store for an encore Sunday on the road against Detroit's fifth-ranked rushing defense. As impressive as Rainey was last week, keep one thing in mind: he got 30 carries against the Falcons, a number that he likely won't repeat any week, let alone this Sunday against the Lions' tough run defense.

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

2013 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Back
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Jamaal CharlesKCvs. SDCharles has highest ypc average (5.5) in NFL history.
2Adrian PetersonMINat GBPackers giving up 141 rushing ypg over last 4.
3Matt ForteCHIat STLRams allowing fourth-most fantasy pts. to RBs.
4Eddie LacyGBvs. MINHas 4 TDs in last 5 games, but just 27 yards last week.
5Frank GoreSFat WAS (Mon.)Redskins giving up second-most fantasy pts. to RBs.
6Zac StacySTLvs. CHIBears are second to last in rushing D (133.9 ypg).
7Reggie BushDETvs. TBBenched part of 2nd half vs. PIT, just 54 total yards.
8Knowshon MorenoDENat NELed in carries, yards vs. Chiefs, but Ball had 2 TDs.
9Alfred MorrisWASvs. SF (Mon.)Has 22 or more carries in each of last 3 games.
10Andre BrownNYGvs. DALCowboys giving up most fantasy points to RBs.
11Chris JohnsonTENat OAKAll four of his rushing TDs have come in past 3 G.
12Rashad JenningsOAKvs. TENAveraging 113.3 rushing ypg over last 3 games.
13Ben TateHOUvs. JACJaguars last in rush defense, have allowed 15 TDs.
14Le'Veon BellPITat CLEEffective (4.9 ypc, 19 att.) vs. Ravens last week.
15DeMarco MurrayDALat NYGHad 86 yards on 20 carries vs. Giants in Week 1.
16Stevan RidleyNEvs. DENFumble cost him carries vs. CAR, but he did score.
17Pierre ThomasNOat ATL (Thurs.)Has 11 or more carries in five of last six games.
18Chris IvoryNYJat BALRavens have given up just 1 rushing TD.
19Maurice Jones-DrewJACat HOUHas scored a TD in back-to-back games.
20Ryan MathewsSDat KCChiefs' rush D bends (117.1 ypg), but doesn't break (4 TDs).
21Bobby RaineyTBat DETGashed Falcons for 163 yards rushing, 3 total TDs.
22Ray RiceBALvs. NYJPosted first 100-yard game (131, TD) last week.
23Shane VereenNEvs. DENOne carry, but seven receptions in first game back.
24Darren SprolesNOat ATL (Thurs.)Tweaked his ankle vs. SF, should play on Thurs.
25Danny WoodheadSDat KCLeads all RBs with 55 receptions.
26Andre EllingtonARIvs. INDJust 3 yards rushing and lost some hair last week.
27Donald BrownINDat ARIMay have replaced T-Rich as Colts' lead back.
28Steven JacksonATLvs. NO (Thurs.)Season high of 77 yards came vs. Saints in Week 1.
29DeAngelo WilliamsCARat MIADolphins giving up 122.6 yards rushing per game.
30Chris OgbonnayaCLEvs. PITLed team in carries (8) and yards (69) last week.
31Rashard MendenhallARIvs. INDHolding onto starting job, 2 TDs in last 3 games.
32Lamar MillerMIAvs. CARPanthers third in the NFL against the run (84.5 ypg).
33Jonathan StewartCARat MIANot very involved (4 att., 10 yds.) on MNF vs. Pats.
34Joique BellDETvs. TBTook over for Bush after fumble, but left w/ injury.
35Trent RichardsonINDat ARICarries continuing to decline, Cards tough vs. run.
36Montee BallDENat NERookie had 2 TDs vs. Chiefs, 3 in last 3 games.
37Daniel ThomasMIAvs. CARPosted a 5.7 ypc average and a TD last week.
38Mike TolbertCARat MIATied with DeAngelo for most RB carries (6) on MNF.
39Mark IngramNOat ATL (Thurs.)Just 25 yards vs. 49ers after 145 against Cowboys.
40Jacquizz RodgersATLvs. NO (Thurs.)Saints yielding 4.9 yards per carry.
41Bilal PowellNYJat BALIvory getting the lion's share of carries.
42Shonn GreeneTENat OAKRaiders have allowed just 7 rushing touchdowns.
43Brian LeonardTBat DETTwo carries last week compared to Rainey's 30.
44Willis McGaheeCLEvs. PITMay be running out of opportunities w/ Browns.
45Bernard PierceBALvs. NYJJets No. 1 in NFL In rushing yards allowed (73.2 ypg).
46Roy HeluWASvs. SF (Mon.)Six or fewer touches in each of last four games.
47Toby GerhartMINat GBPeterson's groin was an issue last week.
48Antone SmithATLvs. NO (Thurs.)Gained 88 yards on just two carries last week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Week 12 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Running Back Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-wide-receiver-rankings-week-12
Body:

Calvin Johnson came up huge again last week, solidifying his grip on the top spot on Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 12 wide receiver rankings, but he wasn’t the only one who posted some gaudy numbers. In Johnson’s case, he posted his third 150-yard effort in his last four games, and needed just one half to accomplish this.

Johnson was unstoppable against Pittsburgh in the first half, catching six passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers did a much better job on him in the final two quarters, holding him without a reception. But the damage had already been done from a fantasy perspective, as Megatron led his peers in fantasy points in Week 11.

That Lions-Steelers game also produced the No. 2 scoring wide receiver last week, as Antonio Brown hauled in seven passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. The most yards in Week 11 belonged to Arizona’s Michael Floyd. Despite being listed as questionable with a shoulder injury entering the game, Floyd exploded for 193 yards against Jacksonville on just six catches, highlighted by a 91-yard touchdown.

The Cardinals’ No. 1 target is All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald, but if quarterback Carson Palmer can continue his recent stretch of solid play (419 yards, 2 TDs vs. Jacksonville) there should be enough passes to keep both Fitzgerald and Floyd fantasy relevant.

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

2013 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Calvin JohnsonDETvs. TBHuge first half (6-179-2) vs. Steelers, nothing in 2nd.
2Andre JohnsonHOUvs. JACExploded for 14-273-1 in last game (2012) vs. Jags.
3Vincent JacksonTBat DETLions giving up second-most fantasy pts. to WRs.
4Demaryius ThomasDENat NEHad 121 yards vs. Chiefs on just five catches (24.2 ypr).
5Dez BryantDALat NYGHad just four catches for 22 yards in Week 1 vs. Giants.
6Brandon MarshallCHIat STLImpacted by the weather last week vs. Ravens.
7Jordy NelsonGBvs. MINVikings have surrendered NFL-worst 23 TD passes.
8Victor CruzNYGvs. DALCowboys last in passing defense (313.0 ypg).
9Josh GordonCLEvs. PITMegatron gave Steelers plenty of problems last week.
10Wes WelkerDENat NESustained concussion last week, watch status.
11Larry FitzgeraldARIvs. INDFloyd had the yards last week, but Fitz caught a TD too.
12Pierre GarconWASvs. SF (Mon.)Sustained some sort of ankle injury last week.
13Torrey SmithBALvs. NYJHas a TD catch in back-to-back games.
14T.Y. HiltonINDat ARITough matchup looming with Cards CB Peterson.
15Eric DeckerDENat NEHis role could expand if Welker (concussion) can't go.
16Marques ColstonNOat ATL (Thurs.)Colston now owns all Saints' franchise receiving records.
17Alshon JefferyCHIat STLHad 100 total yds. (83 receiving, 17 rush) vs. Ravens.
18Antonio BrownPITat CLEBig game last week, but gets CB Joe Haden on Sunday.
19Danny AmendolaNEvs. DENSix grabs vs. Panthers, but just 45 yards.
20Harry DouglasATLvs. NO (Thurs.)Posted 134 yards, TD despite playing with knee injury.
21Cecil ShortsJACat HOUJust five targets, two catches last week vs. Cardinals.
22Anquan BoldinSFat WAS (Mon.)TD vs. Saints was first since Week 4.
23Kendall WrightTENat OAKHas seen 9 or more targets in four of last five games.
24Steve SmithCARat MIADolphins have given up just 1 TD catch to a WR.
25Jarrett BoykinGBvs. MINHas recorded 14 catches for 203 yards over last 2 G.
26Keenan AllenSDat KCSustained knee injury late vs. MIA, expected to play.
27Hakeem NicksNYGvs. DALStill looking for first TD catch of the season.
28Dwayne BoweKCvs. SDTD catch vs. Broncos was first since Week 4.
29James JonesGBvs. MINHas yet to record a TD catch since Week 9 return.
30Michael FloydARIvs. IND91-yard TD highlighted huge (6-193-1) game vs. Jags.
31Rueben RandleNYGvs. DALLeads Giants with six TD receptions.
32Terrance WilliamsDALat NYGHas a TD grab in five of his last six games.
33Roddy WhiteATLvs. NO (Thurs.)Caught first TD pass of season last week vs. Bucs.
34Aaron DobsonNEvs. DENBroncos giving up 14.5 yards per catch to WRs.
35Mike WallaceMIAvs. CARPanthers' D has been tough on passing games.
36Denarius MooreOAKvs. TENTitans yielding fewest points to fantasy WRs.
37Kenny StillsNOat ATL (Thurs.)Could break a big play against porous Falcons secondary.
38Tavon AustinSTLvs. CHIHuge game (314 total yds., 3 TDs) last time on field.
39Santonio HolmesNYJat BALRecorded two catches for 71 yards in return from injury.
40Emmanuel SandersPITat CLESustained a foot injury last week, watch status.
41Jerricho CotcheryPITat CLERole could expand if Sanders (foot) can't play.
42Brian HartlineMIAvs. CAR13 targets (5-65) last week most since Week 1.
43DeAndre HopkinsHOUvs. JAC 
44Nate BurlesonDETvs. TBWill this be the week he returns to the field?
45Chris GivensSTLvs. CHI 
46Rod StreaterOAKvs. TENLed Raiders with 6 rec., 84 yds. and TD last week.
47Lance MooreNOat ATL (Thurs.)Saints should do some damage vs. Falcons' pass D.
48Brandon LaFellCARat MIAHauled in fourth TD catch of season on MNF vs. Pats.
49Miles AustinDALat NYGExpected to play for first time since Week 7.
50Greg JenningsMINat GBSomewhat surprising DNP (Achilles) last week.
51Dexter McClusterKCvs. SDChargers have given up second-most rec. to WRs.
52Rishard MatthewsMIAvs. CARHas 20 targets (15-172-2) in last two games.
53Nate WashingtonTENat OAKHauled in 42-yard catch last week vs. Colts.
54Kris DurhamDETvs. TBShould remain a factor until Burleson returns.
55Jarius WrightMINat GBThree catches, 2 TDs in place of injured Jennings.
56Cordarrelle PattersonMINat GB 
57Stephen HillNYJvs. NYJGeno Smith's issues impacting Jets WR production.
58Julian EdelmanNEvs. DEN 
59Darrius Heyward-BeyINDat ARINot taking advantage of starting role.
60Eddie RoyalSDat KCIt's pretty much all about TDs with him.
61Andre RobertsARIvs. IND 
62Marlon BrownBALvs. NYJ 
63Mario ManninghamSFat WAS (Mon.) 
64Michael CrabtreeSFat WAS (Mon.)May make season debut (Achilles) on MNF vs. Redskins.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Week 12 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:30
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-tight-end-rankings-week-12
Body:

The usual suspects head up Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 12 tight end rankings, but this season hasn’t lacked for surprises when it comes to the position either. Take Miami’s Charles Clay for example. Not really on the radar entering this season, a serious leg injury suffered by Dustin Keller, provided Clay an opportunity for more playing time, and the hybrid fullback/tight end has made the most of it.

Clay has 42 catches for 474 yards and four touchdowns, along with one rushing score, which places him eighth in fantasy points among tight ends. He faces a pretty tough matchup this week with Carolina’s defense, but his versatility and obvious presence in the Dolphins’ offense makes it hard to bench him.

This doesn’t mean that Jimmy Graham won’t continue his domination at the position or that Rob Gronkowski or Julius Thomas won’t both put up big numbers when their teams face off on Sunday night. What it does mean is that Graham, Gronk, Thomas, along with the likes of Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten aren’t the only tight ends you have to own to make some noise at the position. After all, who would have guessed that Jordan Reed would emerge as a top-10 option in 2013 or that Garrett Graham or Delanie Walker would enter Week 12 with more fantasy points than Gronk, Jermichael Finley, Heath Miller, Jared Cook or Kyle Rudolph?

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

2013 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Jimmy GrahamNOat ATL (Thurs.)No TDs in last 2 G, still No. 1 fantasy TE by wide margin.
2Rob GronkowskiNEvs. DENNo debate on the one TD he caught vs. CAR on MNF.
3Julius ThomasDENat NETied Graham with 10th TD grab, dealing w/ knee strain.
4Vernon DavisSFat WAS (Mon.)Shook off concussion, caught 8th TD pass.
5Jason WittenDALat NYGHad 8 catches for 70 yards and 2 TD vs. Giants in Week 1.
6Antonio GatesSDat KCOnly 3 TD catches, but still a top 5 fantasy TE.
7Coby FleenerINDat ARICardinals have surrendered 10 TD catches to TEs.
8Jordan CameronCLEvs. PITJust 1 TD catch in his last six games.
9Greg OlsenCARat MIAHas a TD catch in three of last four games.
10Tony GonzalezATLvs. NO (Thurs.)Played through toe injury, caught 7 passes for 63 yds.
11Jordan ReedWASvs. SF (Mon.)Held to just 1 catch for 12 yards last week by PHI.
12Delanie WalkerTENat OAKQuietly putting together solid (39-403-5) season.
13Charles ClayMIAvs. CARRecorded 4th TD catch last week, top 10 fantasy TE.
14John CarlsonMINat GBSolid (12-167-1) production in 2 G w/o Rudolph.
15Martellus BennettCHIat STLRams giving up second-fewest fantasy pts. to TEs.
16Garrett GrahamHOUvs. JACBroke out (7-136-1) last week vs. Raiders.
17Timothy WrightTBat DETHas totaled 3 catches for 32 yards in last 2 games.
18Rob HouslerARIvs. INDHas 10 catches for 127 yards and a TD in last 2 games.
19Heath MillerPITat CLESeason-high 8 catches (67 yards) last week.
20Jared CookSTLvs. CHIBears have yielded just 2 TD receptions by TEs.
21Brandon PettigrewDETvs. TBOne TD reception this season.
22Dallas ClarkBALvs. NYJJets have had some problems defending TEs.
23Jeff CumberlandNYJat BALOne of few bright spots on offense last week for Jets.
24Brandon MyersNYGvs. DAL 
25Anthony FasanoKCvs. SDFasano's presence in the passing game growing.
26Andrew QuarlessGBvs. MIN 

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Week 12 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Tight End Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-defspecial-teams-rankings-week-12
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Still riding high following its victory over New England at home on “Monday Night Football,” Carolina has ascended to the top of Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 12 defense/special teams rankings. The Panthers are third in fantasy points among DSTs, behind only Kansas City and Seattle, and will take on Miami this Sunday. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has had his problems with turnovers (16 total) this season, and he’s also been sacked an NFL-worst 41 times.

Houston, led by reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, was among the league leaders in sacks last season, but 2013 has been a struggle for the Texans DST. Near the bottom in fantasy points, Houston’s DST could be a replacement/bye week fill-in option this week, as the Texans host Jacksonville. The Jaguars are not only last in both total and scoring offense; they are giving up the second-most fantasy points to DSTs.

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

2013 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams
Teams on bye this week: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle

RkTeamOPPNotes
1Carolina Panthersat MIAKeep rising to the occasion - late INT to seal MNF win vs. NE.
2Kansas City Chiefsvs. SDDidn't record a single sack vs. Peyton Manning last week.
3San Francisco 49ersat WAS (Mon.)49ers' D still seething over what happened in New Orleans.
4Baltimore Ravensvs. NYJCan the Ravens take advantage of Geno Smith's growing pains?
5New Orleans Saintsat ATL (Thurs.)This is not the same Falcons team Saints beat in Week 1.
6Houston Texansvs. JACGave up 3 TD passes to Raiders, but just 176 passing yards.
7Arizona Cardinalsvs. INDCardinals' D has been pretty tough out in the desert.
8St. Louis Ramsvs. CHICan the Rams get to McCown? Slow down Forte?
9New York Giantsvs. DAL11.8 ppg, 253.3 ypg, 11 takeaways during 4-game winning streak.
10Green Bay Packersvs. MINPeterson (groin) wasn’t at full strength last week vs. Seattle.
11Pittsburgh Steelersat CLEHorrendous first half, solid second half last week vs. Lions.
12Chicago Bearsat STLBears have picked off at least one pass in 5 straight games.
13Tennessee Titansat OAKTitans' rushing defense could be tested by Raiders.
14Cleveland Brownsvs. PITBrowns gave up 224 yards (118 passing) last week to Bengals.
15Oakland Raidersvs. TENRaiders' D has been pretty solid in the Black Hole.
16Dallas Cowboysat NYGCowboys come off of bye for critical NFC East showdown.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Kickers

Week 12 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-kicker-rankings-week-12
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Seattle’s Steven Hauschka, the top scorer at his position, is on bye so it’s only fitting that Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 12 kicker rankings is headlined by two who will share the same field on Sunday night. New England’s Stephen Gostkowski may trail Hauschka in fantasy points, but he’s No. 1 in this week’s rankings with Denver’s Matt Prater right behind him. The Patriots host the Broncos Sunday night and expect both kickers to play a role in determining the winner of this matchup of AFC division leaders.

New Orleans also is in first place in its division (NFC South), and the Saints have an opportunity to extend that lead Thursday night against Atlanta. After a few rocky outings, Garrett Hartley has seemingly righted the ship, which makes the Saints offense that much more dangerous. Hartley entered last week’s big game against San Francisco connecting on just two of his past six field goal attempts. It got so bad that the team actually brought in some kickers to try out, although the decision was made to stick with Hartley.

Hartley rewarded the coaching staff’s loyalty by knocking through all three of his attempts against the 49ers, including a long of 42 yards that tied the game at 20 with a little more than two minutes left. The most important one, however, was the 31-yarder he made as time expired to give the Saints a hard-fought 23-20 victory over the defending NFC champions. Hartley is a clear-cut, top-10 option this week against a Falcons defense that’s allowing the most fantasy points to kickers.

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

2013 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers
Teams on bye this week: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle

RkPlayerTeamOPPONENT
1Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. DEN
2Matt PraterDENat NE
3Dan BaileyDALat NYG
4Nick FolkNYJat BAL
5Justin TuckerBALvs. NYJ
6Garrett HartleyNOat ATL (Thurs.)
7Adam VinatieriINDat ARI
8Mason CrosbyGBvs. MIN
9Robbie GouldCHIat STL
10Ryan SuccopKCvs. SD
11Shaun SuishamPITat CLE
12Nick NovakSDat KC
13Phil DawsonSFat WAS (Mon.)
14Josh BrownNYGvs. DAL
15Graham GanoCARat MIA
16Blair WalshMINat GB

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 12 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Kicker Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-waiver-wire-week-12
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With the fantasy playoffs just around the corner, there’s not much time left for those teams looking to make a last-minute push. To that end, Athlon Sports has scoured the waiver wire to identify those potential free agent pickups that could potentially buy your squad more time, as you aim to keep those fantasy postseason hopes and championship dreams alive.

The players listed in Athlon’s weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding onto all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may want to keep an eye on. So without further ado, here are some players you may want to consider.

Teams on bye in Week 12: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle

Quarterbacks
Week 11 Recap: Ryan Fitzpatrick posted nearly 250 total yards of offense with no turnovers on Thursday night against Indianapolis, but he managed just one touchdown pass in the close loss to the Colts. The elements certainly were a factor in the Ravens-Bears game in stormy Chicago, as Josh McCown struggled with his accuracy (19 of 31) and finished with 216 yards passing. He did have a touchdown pass with no turnovers and helped lead his team to an overtime victory, bringing his record as the Bears’ starter to 2-0. McCown will get a shot at 3-0 this week with Jay Cutler (ankle) already ruled out against St. Louis.

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
With a significant helping hand from Michael Floyd (see below), Palmer posted his best numbers of the season, throwing for 419 yards and two touchdowns in the win in Jacksonville. The yards were Palmer’s second-highest total in his career and, more importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over. Palmer has 17 or more fantasy points (Athlon scoring) in four of his past five games and has two appealing matchups on tap in Indianapolis and Philadelphia. After that, however, the sledding gets much tougher with an ending slate of St. Louis, Tennessee, Seattle and San Francisco. Think of Palmer as a short-term investment, especially if you need some QB help to get you into the playoffs.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
It wasn’t always pretty, but Big Ben (above) made the most of his opportunities against the Lions. In a game that didn’t lack for offensive fireworks, Roethlisberger out-dueled Matthew Stafford by throwing for 367 yards and four touchdowns. He also didn’t turn the ball over and now finds himself just on the outside of the top 10 in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks. He is by the far the least owned when it comes to the top scorers at his position, despite the fact Roethlisberger has gone over 34 fantasy points in two of his last three games. His schedule the rest of the way is very manageable with four games against teams that are ranked in the top 18 when it comes fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Big Ben is no stranger to postseason success having won two Super Bowl titles. Perhaps he can do the same for your fantasy team this season.

Running Backs
Week 11 Recap: Chris Ivory had a game-high 98 yards rushing in the Jets’ loss to the Bills on Sunday with 69 of those coming on one carry during garbage time in the fourth quarter. He also had a short touchdown run and appears pretty locked in as the Jets’ lead back for the rest of the season. Shane Vereen had just seven rushing yards on Monday night against Carolina, but he led the Patriots with 11 targets, eight receptions and 65 yards receiving. Vereen should be active enough in the Patriots' offense to maintain flex consideration, especially in PPR leagues. Rashard Mendenhall got a team-high 13 carries, but he managed just 14 yards against the Jaguars. He did post his second rushing touchdown in three games and as long as he gets more touches (16) than Andre Ellington (10), he will remain a factor.

Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
Was Sunday night a coming out party for the highly regarded rookie? Even though Knowshon Moreno dominated the carries (27 to 8), Ball scored two rushing touchdowns and caught three passes in the Broncos’ big win over the previously undefeated Chiefs. Ball’s not going to take the No. 1 job away from Moreno, not as long as he continues to have issues with ball security (fumble against the Chiefs) and in pass protection, but it’s clear the Broncos aren’t going to ignore him either. He has seen consistent work in each of the past three games and has three touchdowns during that span. It’s a bit of risk with Moreno getting the vast majority of the touches, but Ball could be setting the stage for a strong finish to his rookie season.

Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts
Brown is not a “new” name for this space, but it’s probably time to start viewing him, and not Trent Richardson, as the Colts’ primary back. Brown led the team in carries (14) against Tennessee on Thursday night, turning those into 80 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile Richardson had just 22 yards on eight carries. Richardson isn’t getting the job done, and considering Brown’s versatility (15 rec., 153 yds., TD), don’t be surprised to see him get more touches than T-Rich the rest of the way.

Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Following Mike James’ injury, the thinking was that Brian Leonard would get the majority of the carries. Instead, the coaching staff turned to the diminutive (5-8) Rainey, who gashed the Falcons for 163 yards on 30 carries. Rainey also had two rushing touchdowns and caught another, which is pretty impressive considering his size and the fact that he started the season with Cleveland. There is no guarantee that Rainey will come anywhere close to replicating this type of success, especially with some tough games remaining (Carolina, Arizona, San Francisco), but any back who gets more than 30 touches and produces more than 35 fantasy points deserves a little recognition.

Wide Receivers
Week 11 Recap: Jerricho Cotchery caught three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown against Detroit. It was his fifth touchdown catch in three games and it’s possible he could continue his hot streak if Emmanuel Sanders’ foot injury causes him to miss some time. Aaron Dobson had four catches for 38 yards in New England's Monday night loss to Carolina, as the Panthers' defense did a good job limiting the big plays. Percy Harvin made his season debut for the Seahawks, catching his lone target for 17 yards, but he also had a 58-yard kickoff return, displaying the explosiveness and big-play ability that makes him so appealing in fantasy. St. Louis rookie Tavon Austin has a similar skill set and is coming off of his best game (314 total yards, 3 TDs) as the Rams got an extra week to prepare for Sunday’s home date with Chicago.

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
Similar to Harvin (see above), San Francisco’s offense could get a much-needed jolt with the return of Crabtree. The 49ers’ leading receiver last season, Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon in late March, but returned to practice last week and could be activated in time to play in the Monday night game against Washington. While it’s certainly risky to trust Crabtree to produce immediately, don’t forget that in the 10 games, including playoffs, that Colin Kaepernick started last season, Crabtree posted the following numbers: 61 receptions, 880 yards, 8 touchdowns.

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
After injuring his shoulder last week, Floyd was actually questionable to even play against Jacksonville. Six catches, 193 yards and a touchdown later, the only question that remains is how good can Floyd be the rest of the season? Floyd was targeted a team-high 11 times and his touchdown came on a catch-and-run that covered 91 yards. Larry Fitzgerald (9 targets, 6 rec., 61 yds., TD vs. Jaguars) is the Cardinals’ top target, but if Carson Palmer (see above) can continue his recent strong play, there should be enough passes for both Fitz and Floyd to provide WR1/WR2-level production.

Marquise Goodwin, Buffalo Bills
A long jumper on the 2012 U.S. Olympics team, Goodwin also has plenty of speed to burn on the football field. He ran a 4.27 in the 40-yard dash at the 2013 NFL Combine, one of the reasons why the Bills took him in the third round of April’s draft. He and fellow rookie Robert Woods are considered the Bills’ future at wide receiver, but with Woods nursing a high ankle sprain and Stevie Johnson hobbled by a groin injury, Goodwin has made the most of his additional opportunities. He has 56 or more receiving yards in three of his past four games, including 81 on six catches in Sunday’s win over the Jets. He also has two touchdown catches in his last three outings, both of those covering more than 40 yards. The Bills are on bye this week, but Goodwin is certainly one to keep an eye on as the season winds down, especially if Woods’ or Johnson’s injury lingers.

Tight Ends
Week 11 Recap: John Carlson led Minnesota in catches (five) and receiving yards (69) for the second straight game, further strengthening his case for more ownership as long as Kyle Rudolph is sidelined with a broken foot.

Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
Walker’s role in the Titans’ passing game has seemed to evolve as this season has progressed. A member of San Francisco’s NFC championship team, Walker signed with Tennessee during the offseason and he has quietly put together respectable numbers, totaling 39 catches for 403 yards and five touchdowns. He may not be Jimmy Graham, but Walker has three touchdowns in his last four games and has averaged 12.6 fantasy points per outing during that span. He recorded a season-high 10 catches (on 10 targets) for 91 yards and a score against the Colts on Thursday night. Put it all together and he’s a borderline top-10 fantasy tight end who is barely owned in a fifth of all Yahoo! leagues.

Defense/Special Teams
Week 11 Recap: The New York Giants’ DST maintained its stretch of hot play with three interceptions, including one by Jason Pierre-Paul returned for a touchdown, and only 13 points allowed in a win over Green Bay. This Sunday the G-Men host Dallas and still have two games with Washington on the schedule.

New Orleans Saints
It has been quite the turnaround for the Saints’ defense. From setting the all-time record for most yards allowed (7.042) last season to ranking fourth in the NFL in the same category entering Week 12, first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has done an impressive job. The Saints have been especially stingy against the pass (191.4 ypg) and are near the top of the rankings in sacks (32). Next up is an Atlanta (2-8) team that is in shambles and one that New Orleans fared pretty well against back in Week 1. The Saints sacked Matt Ryan three times, forced two turnovers and held them to just 17 points in their season-opening victory, and that was with Julio Jones in the lineup. Jones is on injured reserve, a bunch of other key Falcon players are banged up, and this is basically a team that’s ready to pack it in and focus on turning things around next season. With Seattle, Cincinnati and Buffalo all on bye, there are worse fill-in DST options than New Orleans.

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 2013 Waiver Wire: Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 08:00
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The New Orleans Saints host the San Francisco 49ers this afternoon at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX in a game that could carry significant playoff implications as the NFC postseason picture continues to develop. The Saints (7-2) are in first place in the NFC South looking to maintain their winning ways at home and stay at least a game ahead of the surging Carolina Panthers. The 49ers (6-3) are trying to keep pace with the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks and also bounce back from last week’s disappointing home loss to the Panthers.

Head coach Sean Payton’s Saints have yet to lose in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this season and are coming off of their best performance of the season last week in which they posted 49 points and an NFL-record 40 first downs against Dallas. Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers have played very well on the road (3-1), but the offense led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick has struggled on more than one occasion. The 49ers managed just nine points and 151 yards of offense in last week’s 10-9 loss at home to Carolina. 

3 Things to Watch

Saints’ Home Cooking
New Orleans is one of five teams undefeated at home (5-0) this season, joining Denver, Kansas City, New England and Seattle in this distinction. The Saints’ dominance in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, however, goes far beyond their perfect record. In five home games, the Saints are averaging 35.2 points and 463.6 yards per game on offense, including the 49 points and 625 yards they put up on Dallas last Sunday night. It hasn’t just been the offense flexing its muscles in front of the raucous home crowd either. The defense, which has gone from the NFL’s worst to one of the top units under first-year coordinator Rob Ryan, is allowing just 15 points and 287.4 yards per home contest. The Saints are an entirely different team in the Big Easy than on the road, as the Superdome has become one of the loudest and most intimidating home environments in the NFL. San Francisco is somewhat familiar with this, although the 49ers were the ones who came out victorious in a 31-21 decision last season in the Superdome. There’s one rather large caveat when it comes to that game however. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended all of the 2012 season for his role in the Saints’ Bountygate scandal, and his absence clearly showed as the team stumbled to a 7-9 record. With Payton on the sidelines, the Saints have won 13 in a row at home. It’s safe to say that Cajun food isn’t the only type of home cooking happening down in the Big Easy.

“Dome Sweet Dome” for Kaepernick?
As was referenced above, this will not be Colin Kaepernick’s first game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Besides beating New Orleans in Week 12 of the 2012 regular season, San Francisco returned to the Superdome two months later to play Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII. Now while the 49ers came up short against the Ravens, Kaepernick played pretty well in both of these games and perhaps the somewhat familiar surroundings can help jumpstart what has been a very inconsistent 2013 campaign for the athletic, dual-threat quarterback. In two games at the Superdome last season, Kaepernick was 32-of-53 passing (60.4 percent) for 533 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and he also rushed 13 times for 89 yards (6.8 ypc) and two scores. Those numbers may not jump off of the page, but they are considerably better than what he’s been averaging this season. In nine games, Kaepernick has a total of 12 touchdowns (9 pass, 3 rush) to go along with nine turnovers (5 INTs, 4 fumbles). He is completing 56.4 of his passes for an average of only 186.1 yards per game and his rushing average is down (5.8 ypc compared to 6.6 in 2012) as well. The 49ers are still winning games, but they are dead last in the NFL in passing offense. Can Kaepernick rediscover last season’s form in the dome? It remains to be seen, but two potential obstacles in the way are the absences of wide receiver Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis. Crabtree is recovering from a torn Achilles he sustained in late March and while he is closer to returning, he is considered a longshot at best to play this afternoon. Meanwhile, Davis sustained a concussion last week and will need to pass the mandatory tests before he is cleared to face the Saints. In the Super Bowl loss to the Ravens in February, Crabtree and Davis combined for 11 catches, 213 yards and a touchdown. So while it may be a familiar scene for Kaepernick this afternoon, he likely won’t see the same faces when he drops back and scans the field for an open target.

Which Defense Stands Tall?
San Francisco is sixth in the NFL in total defense and fourth in scoring defense, which is not a surprise to anyone who closely follows the league. However, it’s New Orleans’ defense that’s opening many people’s eyes in 2013, as the Saints are just behind the 49ers in both categories. First-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has done nothing short of a miracle in turning around a unit that set an NFL record for yards allowed (7,042) last season into one of the league’s stingiest in 2013. Statistically speaking, only seven total yards and eight points separate these two defenses. The 49ers have done a little better job stopping the run, while the Saints are giving up less than 200 yards passing per game. The Saints’ defense has been at its best at home, using its attacking style to create pressure (29 sacks, tied for 8th in the NFL) and force teams to make mistakes (15 takeaways). The 49ers have allowed more than 300 yards passing to a team just once and that was Green Bay back in Week 1. On the road, San Francisco’s defense is yielding 291 yards and less than 17 points per contest. New Orleans’ high-powered offense will no doubt be one of the toughest tests San Francisco has faced this season, but the reality is that even if the 49ers’ defense is able to slow down Drew Brees and company, the Saints’ stop-unit could have just as much say, if not more, in the outcome of this game.

San Francisco Key Player: Frank Gore, RB
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been very inconsistent as a passer this season, putting more pressure on Gore to carry the load on the ground. The veteran workhorse is sixth in the NFL in rushing with 700 yards and tied for third with seven rushing touchdowns. Gore is averaging 4.3 yards per carry this season and, not surprisingly, has been instrumental in the 49ers’ success. In the team’s six wins, Gore is averaging 86.7 yards rushing per game. That drops to 60 yards per contest when the 49ers lose, and all seven of Gore’s rushing touchdowns have come in victories. As well as New Orleans’ defense has played this season, teams have said some success running the ball (117.7 rushing ypg). The 49ers obviously need Kaepernick to be more productive when he drops back to throw, and a strong game from Gore could go a long ways towards making his quarterback’s job easier.

New Orleans Key Player: Mark Ingram, RB
The Saints are more known for their passing attack, but that doesn’t mean head coach Sean Payton totally ignores the ground game. New Orleans is 23rd in the NFL in rushing offense at 97.8 yards per game, but posted a season-high 242 yards in last week’s 49-17 rout of Dallas. Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles have been the primary ball carriers this season, but it was Ingram who broke out in a big way against the Cowboys. Prior to this past Sunday night, Ingram had totaled 50 yards rushing on 21 carries (2.4 ypc), as a toe injury and ineffectiveness had limited him to just three games. Against Dallas, Ingram exploded for 145 yards on just 14 carries (10.4 ypc) running over Cowboy defenders and refusing to let the first would-be tackler bring him down, looking every bit of the Heisman Trophy winner he was as a sophomore at Alabama in 2009. The Saints don’t need 100-plus yards out of Ingram every game, although they will gladly take it. They just need their 2011 first-round pick to be the between-the-tackles runner they drafted him to be. When effective, Ingram is the powerful, punishing rusher that rounds out the Saints’ talented backfield trio. In other words, a productive Ingram gives head coach Sean Payton and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael yet another weapon to play with, which is pretty much the last thing an opposing defensive coordinator wants to worry about.

Final Analysis

This game could have serious playoff implications by the time the dust settles in the NFC. New Orleans is trying to stay ahead of Carolina in the NFC South, while San Francisco can ill afford another loss with NFC West-leading Seattle already three games up on the 49ers in the win column. San Francisco may be the defending NFC champs, but this is a team still searching for its identity on offense, while the Saints have shown they are much more than just Drew Brees throwing the ball all over the field.

The Saints have been near unstoppable at home this season and while I don’t expect Brees and company to march down the field at will; I do think Sean Payton and his quarterback will be able to find some plays that work against the 49ers’ defense. On the other side of the ball, the Saints’ defense adds to Collin Kaepernick’s woes, as the 49ers lose their second game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a span of less than 10 months.

New Orleans 24, San Francisco 20

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San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints Preview and Prediction
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The AFC’s top two teams go head-to-head when the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos get together tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The Chiefs (9-0) are coming off of a bye looking to go two games up on the Broncos (8-1) in the AFC West. This is the first of two meetings between the division rivals, with the rematch set for Dec. 1 in Kansas City.

First-year head coach Andy Reid has directed a remarkable turnaround of a Chiefs team that went 2-14 last season. The Chiefs’ defense is largely responsible for this, as linebacker Derrick Johnson and his running mates rank first in the league in points allowed. For the Broncos, interim head coach Jack Del Rio is filling in for a recovering John Fox, as the Peyton Manning-led offense is putting up more than 40 points per game and has yet to really be stopped by any team.

4 Things to Watch

No. 1 Offense vs. No. 1 Defense – Something’s Got to Give
Denver is far and away No. 1 in the NFL in scoring offense at 41.2 points per game. The Broncos have scored 40 or more points five times and their season low is 28, which came last week against San Diego. Kansas City is tops in scoring defense, giving up just 12.3 points per game. The Chiefs have held three opponents to seven points or fewer and the most they have allowed are 17 (twice). This is the head-to-head matchup everyone will be watching, as no defense has been able to hold Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense to less than 397 yards of offense. The Chiefs have allowed that many in a game just twice and also lead the league in sacks (36) and takeaways (23). Denver has made a habit of running away with games, as its 371 points through nine games is a NFL record and it has outscored teams by 133 points or 14.8 per game. Even though Kansas City is averaging nearly 18 points fewer per game (23.9) than Denver, the Chiefs have still outscored the opposition by 104 because of their stingy defense. The Broncos have been able to control the tempo and direction of games all season with their offense. The Chiefs have done the same, but with their defense. Whichever unit handles its toughest challenge yet will more than likely be well positioned to win tonight.

Protecting Peyton
It’s no secret. The key to Denver’s prolific offense is No. 18. A surefire, first-ballot Hall of Famer, the four-time MVP has raised his production to another level this season. In nine games, Manning has thrown for 3,249 yards, 33 touchdowns and just six interceptions. To put it another way, Manning is averaging more yards passing per game (361) than 20 NFL teams are in total offense and his 33 touchdown passes alone account for more points (198) than 12 teams have scored this season. While it’s certainly true that Manning has the benefit of throwing to some talented pass-catchers like wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker and tight end Julius Thomas, the running game led by Knowshon Moreno and the offensive line deserve a fair share of credit too. According to ProFootballFocus.com, the Broncos’ offensive line ranks as the top unit in the league, which is impressive considering the team is without All-Pro starting left tackle Ryan Clady and have employed Manny Ramirez, normally a guard, at center all season. As a whole this unit has allowed just 13 sacks, which is the second-fewest in the league, although eight of these have come in the past three games. Manning is not known for being a mobile quarterback, especially now at 37 years old, and he has taken some pretty big hits recently. He sustained a sprained ankle a few games ago, and re-aggravated the injury last week against the Chargers. While the ankle injury won’t prevent him from playing, it has had a noticeable effect on his mobility as well as the crispness and velocity of his intermediate and deep passes. Kansas City leads the league with 36 sacks, as linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston have combined for 20. Denver’s offensive line already has its work cut out for them, but Manning’s ankle injury only makes it even more critical that the front line finds a way to hold the Chiefs’ pass rush at bay and keep Manning’s jersey clean. The Broncos can ill afford to lose their lead horse.

The Von Miller Effect
Kansas City’s defense has far better statistics than Denver, but that doesn’t mean the Broncos’ unit should be overlooked. While Denver is giving up nearly 50 yards more (374.9 ypg to 326.9) per game and more than twice as many points (26.4 ppg to 12.3) per contest compared to Kansas City, a big reason for this is the success of the Broncos’ offense and the fact that most of the games have been blowouts. To put it simply, Denver has given up a lot of yards and a fair amount of points in what is known as “garbage time.” That said, the Broncos’ defense has had its issues, especially against the pass, but it’s been a different unit over the past three games. In its first six games, Denver yielded more than 400 yards per game. In their last three contests, the Broncos have given up less than 310 yards per game. So what has changed over the last month? How about the return of All-Pro linebacker Von Miller? After missing the first six games due to suspension, Miller has picked up right where he left off last season when he finished second to Houston’s J.J. Watt in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year. Miller’s presence has recharged the entire Denver defense, which is playing its best football of the season. This defense has produced eight sacks and six takeaways over its last three games and also is holding teams to fewer than 190 yards passing per game during this span. The statistics may not match up but the Broncos’ defense is just as capable of taking over a game as its counterpart, and no doubt it would certainly like to prove just as much tonight.

Charles in Charge
While Kansas City’s defense has been outstanding in preventing other teams from scoring, the Chiefs’ offense has had to do its part as well. Head coach Andy Reid may have had the most to do with the team’s turnaround in 2013, but another new Chief shouldn’t be overlooked. Quarterback Alex Smith has made the most of his fresh start, as the former San Francisco starter has done just what the coaching staff has asked him to do since trading for him in the offseason. Smith’s statistics pale in comparison to Peyton Manning’s, but the two quarterbacks run entirely different offenses. Smith deserves plenty of credit for his steady play, as he has accounted for 10 total touchdowns (9 pass, 1 rush) with just four interceptions. However, Kansas City’s offense begins and ends with running back Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs’ most productive offensive weapon, Charles ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing with 725 yards. He is fourth in the league in carries (170) and also has posted a team-leading 47 receptions for 389 yards. Charles is second only to LeSean McCoy in both yards from scrimmage (1,114) and total touches (217). All told, Charles is accounting for 37.2 percent of the Chiefs’ total offense this season, so he will need to find a way to do some damage when he gets the ball tonight. His task won’t be easy, however, as Denver is fourth in the league in rushing defense (87.0 ypg). The most yards on the ground the Broncos have given up to any player this season is 93 (Alfred Morris), so that would be a good number for Charles to aim for tonight. In fact, if Charles is able to run the ball successfully not only will he be doing his offense a favor, he also will be helping his defense by keeping the ball out of Manning’s hands.

Kansas City Key Player: Dwayne Bowe, WR
Even before Sunday, Bowe’s season could only be labeled as disappointing. After signing a five-year, $56 million contract extension, Bowe has struggled to develop any sort of consistent chemistry with new quarterback Alex Smith. Bowe is second to running back Jamaal Charles in receptions with 33, but he has totaled just 369 yards (11.2 ypr) and two touchdowns. Supposedly the Chiefs’ best vertical threat, Bowe has three catches of 20 yards or more. Things only got worse for Bowe when he was arrested early Sunday, during the team’s bye week, for marijuana possession and speeding. Bowe has already been suspended once by the NFL, four games in 2009 for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, but his latest legal matter is covered by a different policy. That is the main reason why Bowe will be on the field tonight, as both the Chiefs and the NFL are prohibited, under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), from disciplining Bowe until the matter is resolved by the police and the legal system. The bottom line is Bowe’s arrest is an off-the-field matter and distraction the Chiefs didn’t want to have to deal with, especially this week. As it relates to his legal issues, it doesn’t matter one way or the other how well he plays. As it relates to his teammates, however, tonight would be the perfect time for Bowe’s production to start matching up with his paycheck. 

Denver Key Player: Knowshon Moreno, RB
Kansas City has Jamaal Charles, but Denver has its own productive running back in Moreno. Largely an afterthought after the Broncos selected Wisconsin’s Montee Ball in the second round of April’s draft; Moreno has earned the starting job due in large part to his pass-protection skills, and has certainly made the most of his opportunities. Moreno enters this week 17th in the NFL with 521 yards rushing, but his eight rushing touchdowns are second only to Adrian Peterson. Moreno is not a workhorse, averaging 14 carries per game, but he’s also been a presence in the passing attack (37 rec., TD) and has yet to lose a fumble in 160 total touches. More importantly, he’s one of the reasons why Peyton Manning has been sacked just 13 times, as he’s adept at picking up the blitz and taking care of his assignments in pass blocking. Kansas City leads the league in sacks (36), but the Chiefs have been somewhat susceptible to the run this season, giving up 118.6 yards rushing per game. With Manning dealing with a lingering ankle injury, Moreno’s dual role as rusher and pass protector bears even more importance tonight. For once, it may be in Denver’s best interests to keep the ball out of Manning’s hands and instead let Moreno carry the load.

Final Analysis

It’s not often that you have two NFL teams that have lost a total of one game face off in the middle of November. Other than the records, however, Denver and Kansas City have little in common. The Broncos have been doing it with offense, the Chiefs defense. Denver has a Hall of Fame-bound quarterback, while Kansas City has a signal-caller who fits the mold of “game manager” to a tee. Even the head coaches are opposites, as Andy Reid hails from an offensive background and Broncos’ interim head coach Jack Del Rio is the team’s defensive coordinator.

It’s easy to understand why the focus for this game has been on Denver’s offense vs. Kansas City’s defense and that would be the case even if Peyton Manning wasn’t walking around on a gimpy right ankle. However, I think the deciding factor will be which of the unheralded units, the Broncos’ defense or the Chiefs’ offense, makes the bigger contribution.

In the end, I think Manning and company are able to put together enough scoring drives and the defense makes the game-saving play late in the fourth quarter to earn the narrow victory. And whether this matchup plays out like a classic confrontation or not just remember, these two teams will do it all again in just two weeks.

Denver 23, Kansas City 20

Teaser:
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 09:00
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Several workhorse running backs are nursing injuries entering Week 11. Are any in danger of not playing today?

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks
Peterson did not participate in practice on Thursday or Friday, as the Vikings wanted to give him extra time to rest his sore groin. He is Probable and expected to be ready to go for this afternoon. If you own Peterson you’re playing him, even if he is matched up against Seattle’s physical defense. The Seahawks have had some issues with their run defense recently, and there’s no doubt Peterson is capable of taking advantage should these problems continue.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Arizona Cardinals
MJD missed some practice time this week because of a knee injury, but he was a full go on Friday and is considered Probable. It has been a struggle for Jones-Drew this season, averaging just 3.0 yards per carry, but he’s in absolutely no danger of losing any of his touches. The Cardinals are third in the NFL in rushing defense, so don’t be surprised if it’s another disappointing day at the office for MJD.

Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders
Tate’s broken ribs still haven’t healed completely, but he is listed as Probable and will get the start today. Dennis Johnson will get a few carries, but Tate is the Texans’ primary back for the rest of the season and is pretty much a must-start.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins
Mathews is on the injury report with a hamstring issue, but he was able to practice fully on Friday and is considered Probable. After posting back-to-back 100-yard games in the two games prior to the Chargers’ Week 8 bye, Mathews has rushed for a total of 93 yards in his last two outings. He has scored a touchdown in two of his last three games, but Danny Woodhead is very much a part of the offensive game plan, so Mathews’ value is no more than a RB2 with upside.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers
Jacobs must be improving, because he is Questionable this week after being Doubtful and missing his third game in a row last week. It really doesn’t matter if Jacobs plays or not, as Andre Brown has replaced Jacobs as the primary ball carrier and Brown is the Giant back you want to own.

Already Ruled Out

Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders – McFadden will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury. This is good news for Rashad Jennings owners, as he has 283 total yards in his last two games. The going may be a little tougher today against Houston, but considering the Raiders will be starting rookie Matt McGloin instead of Terrelle Pryor at quarterback, Jennings is probably the only Raider you would even consider starting.

Done For the Season

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans – Injured reserve (back)

Mike James, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Injured reserve (broken ankle)

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Injured reserve (shoulder)

David Wilson, RB, New York Giants – Injured reserve (neck)

Teaser:
Week 11 Injury Updates: Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ben Tate, Ryan Mathews
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-11-calvin-johnson-cecil-shorts-michael-floyd-mike-wallace
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At this point of the season very few fantasy relevant wide receivers aren’t dealing with some sort of bump or bruise. Are any of these injuries serious enough to prevent them from taking the field in Week 11?

Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, WRs, Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers
Johnson’s knee injury is still enough of an issue that he missed two days of practice this week. Still with a Probable designation, there’s no reason to not expect him to suit up against the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s pass defense has been pretty good this season, but this is Megatron we are taking about. As long he is playing, you are starting Johnson. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Burleson will be lining up alongside him. Despite practicing the past two weeks for the first time since breaking his forearm in September, Burleson is considered Doubtful. Whether he’s still not healthy enough to get back on the field or the coaching staff just doesn’t think he’s ready, don’t count on Burleson this week. This means that Kris Durham will serve as the Lions’ No. 2 wide receiver, making him a possible WR3/WR4/flex option against the Steelers.

Cecil Shorts and Mike Brown, WRs, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Arizona Cardinals
Shorts (right) is still dealing with a lingering groin injury, which is impacting his ability to practice. He is listed as Probable, so there’s no reason to not expect him to play, but he also faces a pretty tough matchup this week in Cardinals’ cornerback Patrick Peterson. Shorts is the Jaguars’ No. 1 target, but quantity may not equal quality this week. Brown is dealing with an ankle injury, but he’s also Probable and should play. He has yet to take full advantage of replacing a suspended Justin Blackmon as the starter opposite Shorts, so it’s hard to expect that to change this week against a solid Arizona passing defense.

Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts, WRs, Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars
Floyd injured his shoulder last week and is listed as Questionable. He was limited in practice both Thursday and Friday, but head coach Bruce Arians said he expects Floyd to play. Roberts is dealing with a knee injury, but he is Probable, making him more of a certainty than Floyd. The Cardinals haven’t exactly thrived in the passing game this season and everyone knows that Larry Fitzgerald is the No. 1 target. Floyd is the No. 2 wideout with Roberts serving as the slot receiver. Floyd and Roberts more or less compete for looks behind Fitzgerald, so unless Floyd is ruled out prior to kickoff (1 p.m. ET), he and Roberts appear to be very risky options this week.

Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. San Diego Chargers
Wallace is listed as Questionable because of a hamstring injury, but he said he fully expects to play, barring a setback. The later kickoff time (4:05 p.m. ET) complicates matters somewhat, especially considering Wallace’s general lack of production. The highly paid vertical threat has two 100-yard games and just one TD catch in his first season in a Dolphins uniform. Already relegated to WR2/WR3 status, it may not be worth the headache to wait long enough to see if Wallace suits up against the Chargers.

Eddie Royal, WR, San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins
Royal is making a habit out of not practicing during the week yet still playing come Sunday. Royal’s toe injury continues to prevent him from practicing and has resulted in a Questionable designation for the fourth straight week. However, Royal has yet to miss a game, so it seems likely this pattern will continue. Royal’s value is clearly tied to his ability to get in the end zone (7 TD catches), so keep that in mind should you decide to roll the dice once again with a “hobbled” Royal.

Teaser:
Injury Updates Week 11: Calvin Johnson, Cecil Shorts, Michael Floyd, Mike Wallace
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 06:30
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Atlanta, Buffalo and the New York Jets have banged up wide receiving corps entering Week 11. Here’s the latest injury-related information on those wide receivers and a few others to help you get your lineup ready.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Jackson was limited during Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury, but was able to go full speed on both Thursday and Friday. He is listed as Probable and could post some pretty nice numbers against Atlanta. The Falcons have struggled on defense this season and Jackson caught a season-high 10 passes for 138 yards and two scores against them the first time they played. It pretty much goes without saying, but VJax is a legitimate WR1.

Harry Douglas and Roddy White, WRs, Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Injuries have not been kind to the Falcons this season. Already without All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, Matt Ryan’s current favorite targets – Douglas and tight end Tony Gonzalez – are both Questionable. Douglas is dealing with a knee injury and his only practice participation this week was a limited appearance on Friday. He’s probably a game-time decision, although the early kickoff (1 p.m. ET) should allow for enough time to make up your mind on Douglas. White (right), on the other hand, is Probable, so for the first time in many weeks his playing status seems pretty clear. Production is still an issue, but Douglas’ potential absence and Gonzalez’ uncertain availability could mean more targets for White. All in all, this is not shaping up to be a promising situation for anyone who has an Atlanta offensive player in their lineup.

Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings
It took a while, but Harvin is on track to make his much-anticipated season debut for the Seahawks. Harvin is considered Probable and it’s only fitting that his first game will come against his former team. There’s no denying Harvin’s talent and potential, but he’s coming back from offseason hip surgery and hasn’t played in over a year, so if you are planning on starting him this week, be sure to temper your expectations.

Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks
Jennings was limited in practice this week because of a strained Achilles tendon, but he is listed as Probable and should play today. The bigger concern when it comes to Jennings is his lack of production (34 rec., 2 TDs), the matchup against Seattle’s 2nd-ranked passing defense and the fact that his quarterback, Christian Ponder, is dealing with a dislocated (non-throwing) shoulder. Put it all together and you have one risky fantasy play.

Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill, WRs, New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
The Jets have had to deal with injuries to their wide receiving corps for a good part of the season and this week is no different. The good news is that Holmes, who has missed the last five games because of a hamstring injury, is Probable and expected to return today. Hill is dealing with a foot injury, but he too is Probable, while Kerley has already been ruled Out because of a dislocated elbow. Even with Holmes’ return, it’s very hard for me to endorse any Jets wide receivers right now. For one, the Jets have been employing the committee approach, as David Nelson and Greg Salas have also been factors in recent weeks. Second, quarterback Geno Smith is still trying to get acclimated to the pro game, as the Jets are just 26th in the NFL in passing offense and have a total of eight touchdown passes in nine games.

Already Ruled Out

Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods, WRs, Buffalo Bills – EJ Manuel will be without his top two wide receivers against the Jets, as Johnson (groin) and Woods (ankle) have both been ruled out for today. T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin should get the start in their absence, but both probably carry more risk than reward if you are considering employing them this week.

Teaser:
Week 11 Injury Updates: Vincent Jackson, Harry Douglas, Roddy White, Percy Harvin, Santonio Holmes
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 06:30
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A certain sprained ankle may be getting all the attention entering Week 11, but that’s not the only quarterback injury you need to know about. Athlon Sports has the latest on the quarterback injury front around the NFL.

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans
This one is a bit of a surprise. Pryor was listed as Questionable on the Friday injury report with a knee injury, but he was downgraded to Out on Saturday afternoon. Matt McGloin, an undrafted rookie from Penn State, will make his first career NFL start against Houston, which owns the NFL’s No. 1 passing defense. Forget about McGloin’s fantasy outlook, those who own wide receiver Denarius Moore should be concerned about the possibility of minimal fantasy production and may want to consider starting someone else in his place.

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs
This is the most-watched ankle in the world. Manning was limited in practice this week because of a high ankle sprain, but he is listed as Probable and there’s no doubt he will take the field tonight against the undefeated Chiefs. The bumps and bruises are starting to pile up somewhat for the 37-year-old quarterback, so it’s critical that he get rid of the ball quickly and the Broncos’ offensive line do its job against the NFL’s most disruptive and productive pass rush.

Jason Campbell, QB, Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Campbell is dealing with some bruised ribs, but Cleveland is coming off of its bye and he was a full practice participant all week. He is Probable and will get the start against the Bengals. Believe it or not, Campbell may be worth a look if you need a replacement or are in a 2-QB league. Cincinnati’s defense is pretty good, but Campbell has five touchdowns and no interceptions in his last two games, one of which was against Kansas City.

Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks
Ponder dislocated his non-throwing shoulder in last week’s win over Washington, but he is listed as Probable and on track to start today. However, considering today’s matchup with the Seahawks on their home turf, there’s no guarantee that Ponder will finish the game and it’s probably best to steer clear of him this week.

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
Vick got in some practice time this week and has actually improved from last week’s Doubtful designation to Questionable. That said, Nick Foles is fully expected to get the start against the Redskins, as he has 10 touchdown passes in his last two games. There’s no reason for the Eagles to risk Vick re-injuring his hamstring (again) with the bye week on tap in Week 12. If anything, Foles has made a pretty strong argument for keeping the starting gig even after Vick is back to 100 percent health, and Foles is definitely a bona fide starting option, even in shallow leagues, against a generous Washington defense.

Also Ruled Out

Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears – As expected, Cutler will miss today’s game against Baltimore because of the high ankle sprain he sustained last week. Josh McCown will get the start and he has been impressive in his limited playing time, throwing for 538 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions in three games. McCown is definitely in the bye week fill-in or 2-QB league conversation for this week.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers – Rodgers will miss his second game because of a broken collarbone. Seneca Wallace got the start last week, but he suffered a groin injury and was placed on injured reserve, leaving third-stringer Scott Tolzien as the last healthy Packer quarterback standing. Tolzien will make his first career NFL start today against a New York Giants defense that has been playing very well lately. There are only two teams (Dallas, St. Louis) on bye this week, so even with all of the other QB injuries; I still think you should be able to find a “safer” option than Tolzien to use as your starter.

Teaser:
Injury Updates Week 11: Terrelle Pryor, Peyton Manning, Jason Campbell, Jay Cutler
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
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The Week 11 injury report reads like a “who’s who” when it comes to the tight end position. Here is the latest injury-related information you need to read before setting your lineup.

Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gonzalez hasn’t missed a game since the 2006 season, but that streak (111 games) could come to an end today. Gonzalez has a toe injury that kept him out of practice for basically the entire week. He is listed as Questionable and more than likely will be a game-time decision to face the Buccaneers. The Falcons have several banged up weapons, as wide receiver Harry Douglas also is Questionable and fellow wideout Roddy White has been dealing with injuries all season. Even if he plays, Gonzalez will be limited by the toe injury, so if you plan on starting the future Hall of Famer, don’t count on TE1 production from him.

Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints
Davis sustained a concussion last week against Carolina, but he appears on track to play this afternoon. He is listed as Questionable and was limited in practice, but barring a setback, he is expected to be on the field. Davis has emerged as Colin Kaepernick’s favorite target over the past month or so, so the 49ers desperately need him in the lineup. There’s always a risk when it comes to someone who sustained a concussion, and the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff adds to it in this case, but the potential reward in playing Davis should outweigh the risk, unless you have another viable starting option.

Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers
Graham’s plantar fasciitis won’t be completely healed until after the season, but unlike the past few weeks, he is listed as Probable for today’s big game against San Francisco. The 49ers’ defense is among the best in the NFL, but Graham has shown that’s he the best at his position and he doesn’t have to be 100 percent to be productive. Start him with confidence.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers (Mon.)
Gronkowski continues to be limited in practice due to several injuries, but the Patriots are coming off of their bye, so in some ways Gronk should be as healthy as he’s been in a while. He is listed as Probable for Monday night’s tilt with Carolina and Gronk will be needed against a Panthers defense that is second in the NFL in both yards and points allowed. There’s no question you start Gronk, just don’t be surprised if he doesn’t put up huge numbers.

Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears vs. Baltimore Ravens
Bennett was a late add to the injury report after not practicing at all on Thursday and being limited on Friday because of an ankle injury. He is Questionable and most likely will be a game-time decision today. The early game time (1 p.m. ET) will help, but he has just one touchdown in his last seven games, so maybe it would be best to just leave Bennett on the bench this week.

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
Gresham missed the last game because of a groin injury, but he was back at practice this week and is listed as Probable. The interesting thing to see is if he and Tyler Eifert will go back to a timeshare or if Eifert will get the majority of the targets. Last week, Eifert got a season-high nine targets, catching three of them for 55 yards. Eifert probably carries a little more upside than Gresham, but as long as both of them are sharing the targets, they are very hard to trust from a production standpoint.

Already Ruled Out

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings – Rudolph will miss several weeks with a fractured foot and John Carlson has already taken advantage of the additional playing time. Last week against Washington, Carlson led the Vikings with nine catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. Seattle’s defense is tough, especially at home, but that doesn’t mean that Carlson still can’t catch enough balls to produce. He’s certainly a viable replacement option if you own Rudolph and belongs in the TE2 conversation.

Teaser:
Week 11 Injury Updates: Tony Gonzalez, Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 06:30

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