Articles By Mark Ross

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NFC East rivals headed in opposite directions will put a bow on Sunday’s slate when the Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants tonight on NBC. The Cowboys (7-3) come out of their bye rested and probably with one eye on Thursday’s showdown with the Eagles. The Giants (3-7) are reeling, losers of five in a row and looking like a team that already has one eye on next season.

 

Dallas beat New York 31-21 back in Week 7 and has won three in a row against its longtime divisional rivals. One big difference between then and now is that the Giants were without leading rusher Rashad Jennings, who was out because of a knee sprain. 

 

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Dallas -3.5

 

Dallas' Key to Victory: Stick to the Game Plan

The Cowboys’ bye last week couldn’t have come at a better time. Even though Tony Romo threw for 246 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the 31-17 win over Jacksonville in London, it was pretty apparent that he wasn’t completely healthy. Romo missed the previous game with a back injury and given how stiff he looked moving around the pocket against the Jaguars and the extra time he took to get up off of the turf, Dallas is very fortunate he was able to finish the game relatively unscathed. The bye gave Romo an extra week to recover, so he should be in pretty good shape for tonight’s game. That doesn’t mean, however, that the game plan should call for him to throw it all over the field, even though the Giants’ secondary has been decimated by injuries. A big reason the Cowboys are 7-3 is because they have let DeMarco Murray and one of the NFL’s best offensive lines do the heavy lifting. Murray is leading the league in rushing by nearly 300 yards, as Dallas is averaging 153.2 yards per game on the ground. New York entered this week dead last in rushing defense (145.0 ypg) and has yielded nearly 500 yards in the last two games alone. In all three of the Cowboys’ losses, the offense had more pass attempts than rushes. A heavy dose of Murray has worked well for Dallas so far, so there’s no reason to change up things now.

 

New York's Key to Victory: Get Rashad Jennings Back on Track

The Giants are 3-7 and have lost five games in a row. While the defense has been a huge issue during this losing streak, allowing 431.4 yards and 30.4 points per game, the offense has offered little support. In particular, the running game has really struggled, gaining less than 80 yards per game. This of course puts more pressure on Eli Manning and the passing game, which hasn’t been able to carry the load. Manning has seven touchdowns and six interceptions in the last five games, with five of those picks coming last week against San Francisco. New York won three in a row from Weeks 3-5 and it was due in part to a ground game that averaged 157 yards per contest. Jennings, their No. 1 running back, was responsible for 286 of those yards, before leaving the Week 5 win over Atlanta early with a knee injury. Jennings missed the next four games, all Giant (no pun intended) losses, as Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis were unable to replace his production. Jennings returned last week and picked up 59 yards on 18 carries, but it should be pointed out that New York only lost by six points despite Manning’s five interceptions. This Giants’ offense is clearly a different animal when Jennings is in the backfield, so it’s critical that coordinator Bob McAdoo and Manning get the ball in his hands early and often. Besides, it’s not like the pass-heavy approach has worked that well these past five games right?

 

Final Analysis

 

Dallas has lost two of its past three games, but coming off of a bye that seems like a long time ago. New York has lost five in a row and it has been a long time since it beat Atlanta back in Week 5. The Cowboys should be rested and pretty healthy as they gear up for a stretch run that includes two games in a span of 17 days against Philadelphia and a date with Indianapolis. The Giants won’t roll over, since this is a divisional rivalry, but this defense is too banged up and has offered little to no opposition recently. Dallas should be able to control the clock with its running game, which will open up big-play opportunities down the field for a healthier Tony Romo. Cowboys tune up for Thursday night’s showdown against the Eagles by beating the Giants for the fourth time in a row.

 
Prediction: Dallas 31, New York 23
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Post date: Sunday, November 23, 2014 - 09:00
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The Denver Broncos will try to regroup at home when they face the Miami Dolphins this afternoon on CBS. The Broncos (7-3) have lost two of their last three games after managing just seven points in a disappointing showing in St. Louis. The Dolphins (6-4) right now are on the outside of the AFC playoff picture looking in, but have won four of their past five contests.

 

Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos

 

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Denver -7.5

 

Denver’s offense is once again among the league leaders to the surprise of no one, but the running game has been up-and-down lately. The Broncos rushed for just 28 yards last week and had 43 yards three weeks ago in the blowout loss to the Patriots. In three losses this season, Peyton Manning’s ground support has averaged a meager 35.7 yards rushing per game. Ronnie Hillman (foot sprain) and Montee Ball (groin strain) are dealing with injuries, so it’s up to C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson to do some damage against a Miami defense that entered this game eighth against the run (94.5 ypg).

 

The Broncos need to establish some sort of run game or else the Dolphins’ pass rush could cause problems for Manning. Statistically speaking, Denver’s offensive line has done a fine job in pass protection, giving up an NFL-low 11 sacks. However, as the Rams and other teams have shown already, a successful pass rush against Manning doesn’t have to result in sacks.

 

Manning is nowhere near as dangerous a passer if he’s consistently forced to move around in the pocket or when his timing is thrown off. Case in point, even though St. Louis only recorded two sacks of Manning last week, he completed 34 of 54 (63 percent) attempts. The only game this season in which Manning had more attempts and a lower completion rate was three weeks ago in the 43-21 loss to New England, where he went 34 of 57 (59.6 percent) with two interceptions.

 

Miami is second in the league in passing defense (208.0 ypg) and tied for third in sacks (30). The Dolphins figure to have their hands full against Manning and company at home, but the combination of a disruptive pass rush as well as Emmanuel Sanders’ (concussion) and Julius Thomas’ (ankle) uncertain statuses could prove troublesome for the Broncos’ offense.

 

Miami’s offense isn’t as explosive as Denver’s, but the Dolphins have done a better job running the ball (127.3 ypg compared to 89.9) and aren’t too far behind the Broncos in scoring (24.9 ppg to 29.3) either. Denver’s defense did give up 131 yards on the ground last week to the Rams, but still ranks second in the league in rush defense (73.4 ypg). Ryan Tannehill and his playmakers are going to have to make the most of their opportunities and can’t afford self-inflicted mistakes like penalties or turnovers.

 

Denver may be reeling somewhat, but the Broncos are back at home where they always seem to play well. Don’t forget that Arizona’s lone loss this season was a 41-20 dismantling at Sports Authority Field at Mile High back in Week 5. That offensive outburst by Peyton Manning and company was preceded by an overtime loss in Seattle. The Broncos may not put 40-some points on the board in this one, but I expect a similar script to play out this afternoon against the Dolphins.

 

Prediction: Denver 28, Miami 20
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Cincinnati’s backfield is expected to be back at full strength for Week 12, but Houston’s situation is a little more uncertain. Detroit and Tampa Bay also are situations worth paying attention to before setting your lineup.

 

Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

Probable – Hip/Clavicle
Bernard’s been nursing several injuries, which have caused him to miss the past three games, but after getting in full practices on Thursday and Friday it looks like the Bengals’ backfield will be back to full strength today. Bernard is Probable and expected to play, but don’t be surprised if Jeremy Hill winds up with more touches. The coaching staff may choose to ease Bernard back into action and Hill has rushed for more than 150 yards in two of the past three games. I would classify both as RB2 options this week with Hill higher up the ladder than Bernard.

 
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Questionable – Groin
After being held out of last week’s game, Foster was able to practice some on Wednesday. But that was his only appearance, as he didn’t participate at all on Thursday or Friday. Foster is listed as Questionable and will be a game-time decision, according to head coach Bill O’Brien. It’s an early game, so that will help with timing, but I wouldn’t bank on Foster being available. That would mean another heavy dose of Alfred Blue, who rushed for 156 yards on 36 carries last week against Cleveland. If Foster misses a second straight game, Blue is most definitely in the RB2 conversation.

 

Joique Bell and Reggie Bush, RBs, Detroit Lions at New England Patriots

Probable – Ankle; Questionable – Ankle
Bell missed Wednesday’s practice because of an ankle injury, but ratcheted up his participation from there and was a full go on Friday. He’s listed as Probable and will try and take advantage of a New England run defense that’s struggled at times. Meanwhile, Bush was not activated for last week’s game because of his lingering ankle injury and it’s not looking that promising for today either. He was a limited practice participant this week and is considered Questionable. It’s entirely possible the coaching staff decides to sit him again and let Theo Riddick fill his role. Bell should be started if he’s on your roster, but I can’t say the same for Bush. Even if he plays, I wouldn’t count on much production from a guy who’s averaging 3.6 yards per carry and has scored double-digit fantasy points once all season.

 
Doug Martin and Charles Sims, RBs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears

Questionable – Ankle; Questionable – Ankle
Martin was able to practice some every day this week, earning him an upgrade to Questionable. Meanwhile Sims didn’t practice at all on Wednesday because of an ankle injury, but was back at it on a limited basis Thursday and Friday. He also is Questionable. Sims missed the first half of the season because of an ankle injury that required surgery. So while this may not seem like a good sign, Sims is still the Buccaneer back you want to own. I think the team has moved on from the ineffective and oft-injured Martin, who doesn’t have much fantasy relevance at this point, while Sims figures to get more touches than Bobby Rainey. The matchup with the Bears is certainly appealing, but Sims still needs to be viewed as a low-end RB2/flex, at least until he starts putting some decent numbers together.

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Minnesota’s backfield is a little bit up in the air entering Week 12 while there’s no doubt who will see plenty of carries in this afternoon’s NFC West showdown between Arizona and Seattle. Elsewhere, Philip Rivers is battered and bruised, but he will be on the field when his Chargers host the Rams.

 

Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

Probable – Foot/Hip
The only new development regarding Ellington is that he’s now listed with foot and hip injuries. He’s still Probable and will get his usual number of touches this afternoon against Seattle. Ellington is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, but the volume of targets he gets and his big-play potential continue to fuel his fantasy value. Expectations for Ellington should probably be lowered somewhat today, as he’s facing a Seahawks defense that usually is pretty tough at home. But if you have Ellington you are starting him regardless of the matchup.

 

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

Probable – Back
The injuries have been different, but the routine has been the same. Lynch hasn’t practiced on Wednesday or Thursday each of the past three weeks, but he’s yet to miss a game and has been pretty productive (309 yds. rushing, 6 TDs) during this stretch too. This week Lynch is listed with a back injury, but he was a full go on Friday and is listed as Probable. There’s absolutely no reason to not expect Lynch to get the call this afternoon, but don’t be surprised if yards are a little harder to come by against Arizona’s third-ranked rushing defense. Lynch remains a must-start RB1, but the big numbers just may not be there this week.

 

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers vs. St. Louis Rams

Probable – Chest
Rivers suffered a minor chest injury late last week against Oakland, which was enough of an issue to show up on the injury report. However, he was a full go in practice every day and is listed as Probable. Rivers has taken his share of hits lately, but there’s no concern that he won’t be out there today. What is more concerning, however, is the fact that he has thrown for just 321 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in his last two games. Rivers still sports a respectable 21:8 TD-to-INT ratio, but this dip in his production is enough to make him more QB2 material rather than QB1. Especially against a St. Louis defense that likes to get after the quarterback and held Peyton Manning and the Broncos to just seven points last week.

 
Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon, RBs, Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers

Out – Concussion; Probable – Back
Asiata has already been ruled out due to a concussion and McKinnon was limited in practice because of a lower back injury. However, McKinnon’s listed as Probable and fully expected to play today. Just keep in mind that he’s yet to score a touchdown and has a total of 92 yards rushing in his last two games. The Vikings also claimed Ben Tate off of waivers following his release by the Browns. Although Tate’s role figures to be pretty minimal in his first game with his new team, his addition could mean fewer touches for McKinnon down the road. For this week, McKinnon is the better fantasy option, albeit as a low-end RB2, slightly safer flex candidate.

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Buffalo’s Week 12 game got moved to Monday night, and the Bills may or may not have their leading rusher back in the fold. Elsewhere, the Saints should get one of their RBs back on Monday night, while the Dolphins’ QB-RB combination is a little banged up and Tony Romo should be feeling pretty good coming off of the bye.

 
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

Probable – Back
Even though the Cowboys were coming off of a bye, Romo still didn’t practice on Wednesday. Don’t worry, there’s no reason for concern here, as that’s been the normal routine this season. The important thing is that Romo got an extra week to let his back recover, something that Jerry Jones has already been quoted as saying couldn’t have come at a better time. Romo is Probable and is safe to employ this week. The Giants’ secondary is pretty beat up, so it’s possible that Romo is able to make some plays down field, but don’t be surprised if the Cowboys continue to lean heavily on the ground game.

 

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets (Detroit, Mon.)

Questionable – Groin
Jackson returned from a groin injury two weeks ago, but may have jumped the gun too soon. Not only did he get just three carries, he also wasn’t able to make the quick turnaround and ended up being inactive for the Bills’ Thursday night game last week. A massive snow storm in Buffalo earlier this week disrupted the Bills’ preparation for what was supposed to be a home game against the Jets. Instead, the game was moved to Monday night in Detroit. The good news is that Jackson was able to practice some, but he’s officially listed as Questionable. Even if he does play, he will share carries with Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon. The Jets are fourth in the league in rushing defense, so between the unusual circumstances leading up to this game and the matchup, this is a backfield-by-committee full of possible flex options and nothing more.

 
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos

Questionable – Shoulder/Knee
Miller has been battling a shoulder injury for the past few weeks, but he’s added a knee issue to his woes. He went from a full practice participant on Wednesday to limited on Thursday. He’s officially listed as Questionable, but reports are that Miller will play this afternoon. He went from just 10 yards rushing two weeks ago to 86 last Thursday, but Denver’s run defense is third in the league. Miller’s still safe to use, but he should be viewed more as a RB2/flex this week.

 

Travaris Cadet, Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas, RBs, New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens (Mon.)

Probable – Hamstring; Probable – Shoulder; Out – Forearm; Probable – Rib/Shoulder
Every Saint running back appears on the injury report, but for the most part it’s good news. Robinson has already been ruled out, but the other three are Probable. Ingram is the workhorse and a . Thomas hasn’t played since Week 7, but after practicing on a limited basis, he’s expected to be out there Monday night. Thomas could still be limited, but his return could mean fewer touches for Cadet. As far as this trio goes, Ingram is the only must-start back in the bunch. Both Thomas and Cadet are risky plays, even as flex options.

 

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins vs. Denver Broncos

Probable – Shoulder
Tannehill was limited some in practice because of a left shoulder issue, but he’s listed as Probable and will be out there this afternoon. He’s been sacked 15 times in the past five games, so the wear and tear is starting to add up. Tannehill could be an intriguing option this week given his matchup against Denver, but he has been inconsistent over the past several weeks. Proceed with caution unless you are in a 2-QB league.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman, RBs, Denver Broncos – Ball returned last week after missing five games with a groin injury, only to re-aggravate it before he even touched the ball. He and Hillman, who is nursing a foot sprain, didn’t practice at all this week and both have been ruled out for this afternoon’s game. That leaves C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson to carry the load. Anderson has been the Broncos’ most productive back the past two games and he remains the more appealing fantasy option. Miami’s among the league leaders in rushing defense, but Anderson should see enough targets to maintain RB2 status with upside. Thompson’s primary role is that of short-yardage and goal-line back, which makes him a little riskier to rely on.

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Plenty of wide receivers and tight ends appear on the Week 12 injury report. From Foxboro to Green Bay and even Jacksonville, Athlon Sports has the injury situations on the top fantasy targets covered like a shutdown cornerback.

 

Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, WRs, Detroit Lions at New England Patriots

Probable – Ankle; Probable – Hip
Johnson didn’t practice on Wednesday and was listed as being limited on Thursday and Friday. However, this has pretty much been his normal routine this season, so all you should worry about is his Probable designation. The same pretty much goes for Tate (right), who wasn’t listed on the injury report the first two days before being a limited practice participant on Friday. He too is Probable, as it looks like this is mostly a case of giving your top guys some extra rest. Johnson is back among the elite starting WRs while Tate remains a solid WR2 option.

 
Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, WRs, Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Probable – Hamstring; Probable – Ankle
Neither Jeffery nor Marshall practiced on Wednesday, but both were out there on Thursday and Jeffery was a full go on Friday. The bottom line is both are Probable and as long as neither suffers some sort of setback during warmups they will play today. Jeffery and Marshall are both WR1 material with the latter slightly ahead in fantasy points due to twice as many (8 to 4) touchdown catches. Jeffery may actually be the slightly safer bet this week than Marshall considering he was able to do more in practice. Regardless, both tall, rangy targets should be started.

 

Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles

Probable – Concussion
Walker did not pass the league-mandated tests following his concussion two weeks ago, so he was not able to play on Monday night. He has since cleared the last hurdle, as he was a full participant in practice this week. Walker is Probable and will be back out there today. The Titans’ top pass-catcher and a top-10 fantasy TE, Walker needs to be back in your starting lineup.

 

Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots vs. Detroit Lions

Probable – Thigh
Edelman injured his thigh last week against the Colts, resulting in him playing a season-low 35 snaps. He was limited in practice all week, but is listed as Probable and pronounced himself ready to play on Thursday. Edelman will be out there today, but the combination of Rob Gronkowksi’s re-emergence and more support from the running game has resulted in fewer opportunities for Edelman. He is still one of Tom Brady’s most trusted targets, but Edelman is more of a WR2/3/flex at this point.

 

Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers

Questionable – Rib
Jennings missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a rib injury that clearly affected him last week. He was back on the field on Friday and is listed as Questionable. The expectation is that Jennings will play, but I’m not sure I would want to trust any Viking offensive player in my lineup right now, especially a wide receiver. Cordarrelle Patterson has been a huge disappointment this season while Jennings has barely been a top-60 fantasy WR. With Jennings already iffy, there’s no reason to even consider using him this week.

 
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers

Probable – Abdomen/Groin
Rudolph was in action last week for the first time September, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at the box score. Rudolph wasn’t even targeted in his first game since Week 3, but the big takeaway is that he made it through no worse for the wear. Rudolph was a full go every day at practice this week, so this time his Probable tag is a mere formality. However, Rudolph is still probably too risky to put back into your starting lineup since it appears the Vikings are slowly working him back into their game plan.

 
Already Ruled Out:

 

Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns – The good news is that Cameron was finally cleared by a neurosurgeon and returned to practice on Friday. The bad news is that’s not enough to get him back on the field, as Cameron’s already been ruled out for a fourth straight game. Cameron could be back next week though, so you may as well hold onto him for little longer.

 

Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis Colts – Allen suffered an ankle injury last week and wasn’t able to practice at all. It’s no surprise he’s been ruled out, especially since the Colts promoted Weslye Saunders from the practice squad earlier in the week. With Allen sidelined, Coby Fleener , coming off of a huge (7 rec., 144 yds.) game last week.

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Denver and Arizona both could be without one of their top targets for Week 12. Here is the rundown on the WR and TE injuries you need to be aware of in the late afternoon games.

 

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos vs. Miami Dolphins

Probable – Concussion
Sanders left last week’s loss in St. Louis because of a concussion, but not before he caught five passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. After not practicing at all Wednesday or Thursday, Sanders was not only cleared to return to practice on Friday, he also was cleared to play. He’s listed as Probable, so it appears that the No. 5 fantasy WR will be available for duty today. In fact, with tight end Julius Thomas considered Questionable (ankle), it’s possible that Sanders will see more than the nine targets he’s been averaging.

 
Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos vs. Miami Dolphins

Questionable – Ankle
Thomas injured his ankle last week against the Rams, joining teammate Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) on the injury report following the game. Unlike Sanders, Thomas wasn’t able to practice, although he did take part in some individual drills. Thomas is officially listed as Questionable, which means he has a 50-50 shot at playing. He could wind up being a game-time decision, so at minimum make sure you have a viable backup plan (game kickoffs at 4:25 p.m. ET) in case Thomas is unable to play. Jacob Tamme could be that guy, as he would be next man up, but his track record and upside aren’t on the same level compared to Thomas.

 

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

Questionable – Knee
Fitzgerald injured his knee on a big hit last week and he was later diagnosed with a Grade 2 MCL sprain. Not surprising, he didn’t practice this week. If anything, his Questionable designation could end up being more wishful thinking, but head coach Bruce Arians said Fitzgerald would be a game-time decision. Fitzgerald has played in 110 consecutive regular-season games, the second-longest active streak among WRs, and he said earlier this week that’s he’s optimistic he will be able to play. Fitzgerald’s positive outlook aside, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Also Fitzgerald’s numbers are down (two 100-yard games, 2 TDs), so it’s not like he’s a legitimate, must-start WR1 anymore. At best, Fitzgerald is a WR3 with quite a bit of upside, but I’m not sure his track record is enough to consider starting him this week against the defending Super Bowl champions at home.

 

Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos

Probable – Calf
Wallace was limited in practice by a calf injury, but he’s listed as Probable so he looks like a safe bet to play. Wallace has been the Dolphins’ most productive target this season and he could be called upon even more with tight end Charles Clay (hamstring) considered doubtful. Wallace is a legitimate WR2 starting option.

 
Jared Cook, TE, St. Louis Rams at San Diego Chargers

Questionable – Back
Cook didn’t practice on Wednesday and was only able to participate some both Thursday and Friday. He’s listed as Questionable for today’s game and there’s always the chance that the cross-country flight only made his back issue worse. There’s also the fact that Cook is part of the NFL’s 27th-ranked passing offense, has eclipsed 19 yards receiving just once in his past four games and is facing a San Diego defense that’s giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to TEs. Does that sound like a TE you want to rely on this week?

 
Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos

Doubtful – Hamstring/Knee
Clay has been dealing with a knee injury all season, but this time it’s a hamstring issue that could wind up sidelining him. Clay apparently suffered the injury during practice and was unable to get back out there. He’s listed as Doubtful, but there’s really no reason to wait that long to make a decision. Bench Clay and take your chances with someone else.

 
Already Ruled Out:

 

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins – This time it’s the right hamstring that’s going to cause Reed to miss at least one game. A left hamstring injury earlier this season cost Reed four games, which unfortunately has been the story of his young career. With Reed out, Niles Paul will get the call once again. He was productive earlier in the season, but given Washington’s offensive issues and all of the controversy surrounding Robert Griffin III, it may be best to steer clear of this situation.

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Aaron Rodgers continues to lead the pack in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings for Week 12, while a couple of elite signal-callers look to bounce back from disappointing showings. Rodgers led the Packers to their second straight 50-point effort last week and he now has thrown nine touchdown passes and no interceptions in the past two games. Meanwhile, neither Peyton Manning nor Drew Brees enjoyed quite as much success, with the duo combining for just two touchdowns, two picks and two losses last week. Manning has some banged-up playmakers, but he will try and get back on track at home against Miami, while Brees and the Saints look to do the same on Monday night against Baltimore. Elsewhere, Andrew Luck should post good numbers against the Jaguars, while Tom Brady and the Patriots host the Lions and the NFL’s No. 1 defense.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: I I I I I

 

2014 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

 

Teams on bye: Carolina, Pittsburgh

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Aaron RodgersGBat MIN
2Andrew LuckINDvs. JAC
3Peyton ManningDENvs. MIA
4Drew BreesNOvs. BAL (Mon.)
5Tom BradyNEvs. DET
6Jay CutlerCHIvs. TB
7Tony RomoDALat NYG
8Colin KaepernickSFvs. WAS
9Russell WilsonSEAvs. ARI
10Mark SanchezPHIvs. TEN
11Ryan TannehillMIAat DEN
12Matthew StaffordDETat NE
13Philip RiversSDvs. STL
14Matt RyanATLvs. CLE
15Josh McCownTBat CHI
16Joe FlaccoBALat NO (Mon.)
17Kyle OrtonBUFvs. NYJ (Detroit)
18Andy DaltonCINat HOU
19Alex SmithKCat OAK (Thurs.)
20Eli ManningNYGvs. DAL
21Robert Griffin IIIWASat SF
22Brian HoyerCLEat ATL
23Zach MettenbergerTENat PHI
24Blake BortlesJACat IND
25Teddy BridgewaterMINvs. GB
26Ryan MallettHOUvs. CIN

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

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The NFL’s leading rusher is back from bye so it’s only fitting that he regains his position atop Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Week 12. DeMarco Murray is ahead of Arian Foster by nearly 300 yards for the league lead and is coming off a bye ready to face a Giants defense that’s given up nearly 500 yards on the ground in the last two games. As good as Murray has been this season, no running back’s been better fantasy-wise the last four weeks than Jamaal Charles. Following last week’s 159-yard, two-touchdown effort against Seattle, Charles has 402 yards rushing and six touchdowns in his last four games. His strong play should continue this week, as the Chiefs take on the Raiders Thursday night. Oakland is giving up the eighth-most fantasy points to RBs. Another thing to watch in Week 12 is the possible returns of both Arian Foster (groin) and Giovani Bernard (hip/clavicle). Alfred Blue (156 yards vs. CLE) and Jeremy Hill (152 vs. NO) both filled in admirably last week, but their Week 12 value is directly tied to whether or not they get another start.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: I I I I I

 

2014 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

Teams on bye: Carolina, Pittsburgh

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1DeMarco MurrayDALat NYG
2Jamaal CharlesKCat OAK (Thurs.)
3Matt ForteCHIvs. TB
4Arian FosterHOUvs. CIN
5Eddie LacyGBat MIN
6Marshawn LynchSEAvs. ARI
7LeSean McCoyPHIvs. TEN
8Justin ForsettBALat NO (Mon.)
9Mark IngramNOvs. BAL (Mon.)
10Denard RobinsonJACat IND
11Rashad JenningsNYGvs. DAL
12Jeremy HillCINat HOU
13Andre EllingtonARIat SEA
14C.J. AndersonDENvs. MIA
15Alfred MorrisWASat SF
16Frank GoreSFvs. WAS
17Ryan MathewsSDvs. STL
18Isaiah CrowellCLEat ATL
19Tre MasonSTLat SD
20Lamar MillerMIAat DEN
21Joique BellDETat NE
22Steven JacksonATLvs. CLE
23Trent RichardsonINDvs. JAC
24Chris IvoryNYJvs. BUF (Detroit)
25Jonas GrayNEvs. DET
26Shane VereenNEvs. DET
27Giovani BernardCINat HOU
28Jerick McKinnonMINvs. GB
29Fred JacksonBUFvs. NYJ (Detroit)
30Bishop SankeyTENat PHI
31Terrance WestCLEat ATL
32Charles SimsTBat CHI
33Darren SprolesPHIvs. TEN
34Reggie BushDETat NE
35Branden OliverSDvs. STL
36Bryce BrownBUFvs. NYJ (Detroit)
37Darren McFaddenOAKvs. KC (Thurs.)
38Latavius MurrayOAKvs. KC (Thurs.)
39Alfred BlueHOUvs. CIN
40Daniel HerronINDvs. JAC
41Juwan ThompsonDENvs. MIA
42Bobby RaineyTBat CHI
43Roy HeluWASat SF
44Chris JohnsonNYJvs. BUF (Detroit)
45Knile DavisKCat OAK (Thurs.)
46Carlos HydeSFvs. WAS
47Andre WilliamsNYGvs. DAL
48Ben TateMINvs. GB

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

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Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Running Back Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Friday, November 21, 2014 - 10:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-wide-receiver-rankings-week-12
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Antonio Brown is on bye so for at least this week, he will cede the No. 1 spot on Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings for Week 12 to Demaryius Thomas. Brown leads the position in fantasy points, but Thomas isn’t too far behind after stringing together seven straight games with at least 100 yards receiving. Thomas could be busier than usual Sunday against Miami, depending on the health of teammates Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) and Julius Thomas (tight end). While Thomas and Brown have been setting the pace this season, no wideout has been more valuable fantasy-wise the past four weeks than rookie Mike Evans. Tampa Bay’s first-round pick leads his peers with 97.1 fantasy points (Athlons scoring) the past four weeks, including 658 yards receiving and five touchdowns in the last three games alone. Last week, Evans torched Washington for 209 yards and two scores and this week he will get his shot against a Chicago defense that’s yielded 12 touchdown passes in the last three games.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: I I I I I

 

2014 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

 

Teams on bye: Carolina, Pittsburgh

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Demaryius ThomasDENvs. MIA
2Jordy NelsonGBat MIN
3Dez BryantDALat NYG
4Calvin JohnsonDETat NE
5A.J. GreenCINat HOU
6Jeremy MaclinPHIvs. TEN
7Brandon MarshallCHIvs. TB
8Randall CobbGBat MIN
9T.Y. HiltonINDvs. JAC
10Alshon JefferyCHIvs. TB
11Julio JonesATLvs. CLE
12Mike EvansTBat CHI
13Josh GordonCLEat ATL
14Odell Beckham Jr.NYGvs. DAL
15Emmanuel SandersDENvs. MIA
16Sammy WatkinsBUFvs. NYJ (Detroit)
17Roddy WhiteATLvs. CLE
18Golden TateDETat NE
19Mike WallaceMIAat DEN
20DeAndre HopkinsHOUvs. CIN
21Jordan MatthewsPHIvs. TEN
22Torrey SmithBALat NO (Mon.)
23Andre JohnsonHOUvs. CIN
24Vincent JacksonTBat CHI
25DeSean JacksonWASat SF
26Reggie WayneINDvs. JAC
27Julian EdelmanNEvs. DET
28Percy HarvinNYJvs. BUF (Detroit)
29Anquan BoldinSFvs. WAS
30Keenan AllenSDvs. STL
31Michael CrabtreeSFvs. WAS
32Mohamed SanuCINat HOU
33Brandon LaFellNEvs. DET
34Michael FloydARIat SEA
35Marques ColstonNOvs. BAL (Mon.)
36Cecil ShortsJACat IND
37Kendall WrightTENat PHI
38Allen HurnsJACat IND
39Eric DeckerNYJvs. BUF (Detroit)
40Doug BaldwinSEAvs. ARI
41Rueben RandleNYGvs. DAL
42Kenny StillsNOvs. BAL (Mon.)
43Steve SmithBALat NO (Mon.)
44Larry FitzgeraldARIat SEA
45Kenny BrittSTLat SD
46Terrance WilliamsDALat NYG
47Malcom FloydSDvs. STL
48Dwayne BoweKCat OAK (Thurs.)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

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Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Friday, November 21, 2014 - 10:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-tight-end-rankings-week-12
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Rob Gronkowski fared better than Jimmy Graham last Sunday, so for now the pecking order will remain the same as it relates to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings for Week 12. Gronk caught a touchdown pass for the third straight game in the Patriots win over the Colts, while Graham was held to just three catches and 29 yards in the Saints’ home loss to the Bengals. At least both of these big targets are healthy, something that can’t be said of Julius Thomas. The NFL’s leader in touchdown catches (12), Thomas left last week’s loss in St. Louis early because of an ankle injury. He didn’t practice on Wednesday, but the Broncos are holding out hope he will be able to go on Sunday against the Dolphins. Based on his No. 4 ranking below, we are optimistic about his chances of playing, although it’s pretty much a given he will be at less than 100 percent. Be sure to have a replacement ready to go in case Thomas isn’t able to suit up.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: I I I I I

 

2014 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

 

Teams on bye: Carolina, Pittsburgh

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Rob GronkowskiNEvs. DET
2Jimmy GrahamNOvs. BAL (Mon.)
3Antonio GatesSDvs. STL
4Julius ThomasDENvs. MIA
5Martellus BennettCHIvs. TB
6Larry DonnellNYGvs. DAL
7Jason WittenDALat NYG
8Travis KelceKCat OAK (Thurs.)
9Coby FleenerINDvs. JAC
10Delanie WalkerTENat PHI
11Owen DanielsBALat NO (Mon.)
12Mychal RiveraOAKvs. KC (Thurs.)
13Charles ClayMIAvs. GB
14Zach ErtzPHIvs. TEN
15Kyle RudolphMINvs. GB
16Jared CookSTLat SD
17Jordan ReedWASat SF
18Austin Seferian-JenkinsTBat CHI
19Jace AmaroNYJvs. BUF (Detroit)
20Vernon DavisSFvs. WAS
21Scott ChandlerBUFvs. NYJ (Detroit)
22Eric EbronDETat NE
23Jermaine GreshamCINat HOU
24Dwayne AllenINDvs. JAC

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

 

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Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Tight End Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Friday, November 21, 2014 - 10:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-12
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Jacksonville is back from bye, but Oakland has the worst offense in the NFL, which is why Kansas City checks in at No. 1 in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings for Week 12. The Chiefs are tied for third in the league in sacks (30) while the Raiders are last in total (276.5 ypg) and scoring (15.2 ppg) offense and tied for fourth in giveaways (20). It sure sounds like a recipe for good things from Kansas City’s DST this week. But don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about the Jaguars. Jacksonville still leads the way in fantasy points allowed to opposing DSTs, which is why Indianapolis is a top-10 option even though the Colts gave up 502 yards (246 rushing) and 42 points to the Patriots last week.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: I I I I I

 

2014 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

 

Teams on bye: Carolina, Pittsburgh

 

RankPlayerOpp
1Kansas City Chiefsat OAK (Thurs.)
2Buffalo Billsvs. NYJ (Detroit)
3San Francisco 49ersvs. WAS
4Green Bay Packersat MIN
5Seattle Seahawksvs. ARI
6Arizona Cardinalsat SEA
7Philadelphia Eaglesvs. TEN
8Indianapolis Coltsvs. JAC
9Denver Broncosvs. MIA
10Houston Texansvs. CIN
11New England Patriotsvs. DET
12Baltimore Ravensat NO (Mon.)
13San Diego Chargersvs. STL
14Dallas Cowboysat NYG
15St. Louis Ramsat SD
16Detroit Lionsat NE

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

 

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Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Friday, November 21, 2014 - 10:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-kicker-rankings-week-12
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Green Bay’s offense and defense have both been on a roll lately, which is why Mason Crosby is near the top of Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings for Week 12. The Packers have averaged more than 50 points per game over their last three, so it should be no surprise that Crosby has produced double-digit fantasy points in each. Points shouldn’t be that much of an issue for Green Bay this week against Minnesota, making Crosby a very appealing option. The only kickers we like better this week are Adam Vinatieri (at JAC) and Stephen Gostkowski (vs. DET). What’s one thing all three kickers have in common? They get to clean up after the NFL’s top three scoring offenses. Good gig to have.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: I I I I I

 

2014 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

 

Teams on bye: Carolina, Pittsburgh

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Adam VinatieriINDvs. JAC
2Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. DET
3Mason CrosbyGBat MIN
4Cody ParkeyPHIvs. TEN
5Dan BaileyDALat NYG
6Justin TuckerBALat NO (Mon.)
7Phil DawsonSFvs. WAS
8Steven HauschkaSEAvs. ARI
9Cairo SantosKCat OAK (Thurs.)
10Caleb SturgisMIAat DEN
11Chandler CatanzaroARIat SEA
12Randy BullockHOUvs. CIN
13Greg ZuerleinSTLat SD
14Dan CarpenterBUFvs. NYJ (Detroit)
15Brandon McManusDENvs. MIA
16Robbie GouldCHIvs. TB

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Kicker Rankings: Week 12
Post date: Friday, November 21, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Adrian Peterson, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/adrian-peterson-suspended-where-will-he-play-2015
Body:

The Adrian Peterson saga returned to the national spotlight with the NFL announcing early Tuesday that the Minnesota Vikings’ All-Pro running back has been suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season. The league suspended Peterson for violating the league’s personal conduct policy and said he will not even be considered for reinstatement before April 15, 2015.

 

Peterson’s suspension is the latest development from his September indictment on a felony charge of injury to a child stemming from an incident involving his four-year-old son. Peterson was placed on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List shortly after the indictment was handed down. While on the exempt list, Peterson was not allowed to be with the Vikings, but he was still paid.

 

On Nov. 4, Peterson pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless assault, seemingly paving the way for his removal from the exempt list and eventual return to the field. However, the NFL kept Peterson on the exempt list while reviewing his case, a decision that prompted the NFL Players Association (NLFPA) last week to file a grievance for immediate reinstatement on his behalf.

 

A hearing on the grievance was held on Monday and the arbitrator is expected to announce a decision soon, but the NFL decided to act first, suspending Peterson without pay for a personal conduct violation. From a legal perspective, Peterson’s case is far from being over, but it appears that he will not play again this season.

 

But what about next year? Peterson can apply for reinstatement in April and provided he adheres to the conditions (including counseling and treatment) laid out by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, there’s no reason to think his professional career is over.

 

For one Peterson won’t turn 30 until March and he played just one game prior to being placed on the exempt list, so in essence, he has one less year of wear and tear than would be expected. Second, this is a player who is just two seasons removed from a MVP campaign during which he ran for 2,097 yards. He has rushed for 10,190 yards in 104 career games and is not just one of the top players at his position, but also in the entire league.

 

As a player, there’s no NFL team that wouldn’t want Peterson on its roster. But we all know that talent and ability are no longer the only factors when it comes to personnel decisions. Even if he’s reinstated, Peterson will join the growing list of players who come with plenty of baggage.

 

However, Peterson’s case is unique in that no player, not even fellow running back Ray Rice whose career was put on hold this season because of a disturbing incident involving his then-fiancée, now wife, with perceived “baggage” is of the same caliber as it relates to on-field production and accomplishments. So with that in mind, here is a look at which NFL team Peterson could wind up playing for in 2015.

 

Why Not Minnesota?

Peterson is under contract with the Vikings through 2017, so he is their property until they decide otherwise. However, given everything that’s transpired this season, it’s certainly not out of the question that the team decides to part ways with Peterson, either by trade or simply releasing him. Minnesota would obviously save cap space by getting rid of Peterson and the dead money ($2.4 million in 2015) amount it would absorb should the Vikings release him is certainly manageable. The Vikings saw one major sponsor cut ties with them as soon as Peterson was indicted, so no one would be surprised if the team decides it’s time to turn the page and move on.

 

The Best Fits:

 

New England – Stevan Ridley tore his ACL in Week 6 and the Patriots right now are relying on third-year journeyman Jonas Gray to carry the load. Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger and depending on whom you ask, New England’s championship window with him is getting narrower. What better way to help an aging quarterback than give him an All-Pro running back? Besides, it’s not like Bill Belichick hasn’t gone down this road before. Do the names Corey Dillon or Randy Moss ring a bell?

 

Indianapolis – The Colts have a franchise quarterback in place in Andrew Luck. They thought they traded for the running back they needed last season when they acquired Trent Richardson. It has not worked out that way, to say the least, and Indianapolis just lost reliable veteran Ahmad Bradshaw to a broken leg. Luck is much younger than Brady and Peterson could be the missing piece the Colts need to become a perennial Super Bowl contender.

 

Seattle – The Seahawks’ defense of their Super Bowl title has not gone smoothly. The team has already traded Percy Harvin and now it appears that Marshawn Lynch is not a happy camper. Lynch was a late report to training camp due to a contract dispute, and he will be a free agent after next season. He’s a year younger than Peterson, but chemistry seems to be a rather important factor when it comes to Pete Carroll’s team. If the Seahawks were to cut ties with Lynch what better way to replace him than by bringing Peterson on board?

 

Oakland – This one’s pretty simple. The Raiders need all of the offensive playmakers they can get. It looks like Oakland has a building block in rookie quarterback Derek Carr, but there’s been no semblance of a running game this season. The Raiders also have a reputation for attracting “bad boys,” if you will, and I have little doubt that the Black Hole wouldn’t welcome Peterson with open arms should he end up on the West Coast.

 

Dallas/Houston – Peterson is a Texas native who was a star for three seasons at Oklahoma. The Cowboys connection is not only obvious, it’s also already apparently been discussed by Peterson and Jerry Jones. Tampering allegations aside, I think Jones will sign DeMarco Murray to a long-term contract before Peterson’s even eligible for reinstatement. But there’s more than one team in the Lone Star State and Houston may decide it’s time to move on from injury-prone Arian Foster. Foster is under contract for two more seasons, but most of the guaranteed money has already been paid out, limiting the hit the Texans would take if they decided to release him. Both teams are probably a long shot, but Peterson would certainly consider any opportunity to play in his home state.

 

Other Possible Options:

 

Atlanta – Steven Jackson has not aged well since joining the Falcons, so Peterson would be a definite upgrade to an offense that already has a potent passing attack.

 

Carolina – The Panthers like to run the ball and need to run the ball to make life easier for Cam Newton, but haven’t had a 1,000-yard back since 2009. Injuries and ineffectiveness have been the main products of Carolina’s backfield since Newton was drafted in 2012.

 

Denver – Peyton Manning paired with Adrian Peterson. Who wouldn’t want to see that? Putting Peterson in the Broncos’ high-powered offense would only help extend Manning’s career in his quest for another Super Bowl ring. Financial resources and offensive system could be possible obstacles, but it’s still fun to dream, right?

 

Jacksonville – Just like Oakland, the Jaguars need superstar players like Peterson to help speed up the development of a young team led by a rookie quarterback. Peterson also would be a coup for Jacksonville in terms of marketability and a reason for the fan base to get engaged. And if there were one team where financial resources shouldn’t be an issue it would be the Jags and their billionaire owner Shad Khan.

 

New York teams – The Jets are probably more likely than the Giants, given the former’s current running back situation and uncertainty surrounding the coaching staff, but what better place for Peterson to rebuild his image off of the field and reputation on it than the media capital of the world?

 

Rest of the NFC North – If Peterson were a vengeful guy, he would want a situation that would present him with the most chances to exact some payback on his former team. That’s where the NFC North enters the picture, since joining one of Minnesota’s division rivals would guarantee two games against the Vikings every season. Green Bay’s been down both sides of this path recently, first with Brett Favre then Greg Jennings, but the Packers have Eddie Lacy so I don’t see a “need’ there. Chicago added former Viking Jared Allen this season, but the Bears have Matt Forté and let’s face it, offense is the least of this team’s problems right now. That leaves Detroit where Peterson would easily become the best running back the Lions have had since Barry Sanders tormented defenses in the 1990s. The only difference is that Sanders never had a supporting cast that included the likes of Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Could Peterson be the final piece that helps the Lions finally reach the Super Bowl?

Teaser:
Adrian Peterson Suspended: Where Will He Play in 2015?
Post date: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 13:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-waiver-wire-week-12
Body:

Just two teams on bye in Week 12, but Carolina and Pittsburgh aren’t the only teams whose players may not be available. Denver, Indianapolis and New Orleans are among the teams who may have to dig a little deeper into their depth charts this week. And the same can no doubt be said for a number of fantasy owners. The flip side to this coin is that injuries always present an opportunity for someone else on a roster to emerge, as was the case for a New England running back this past week. And don’t forget about the impending return of a certain wide receiver in Cleveland either.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Carolina, Pittsburgh

 

Quarterbacks

 

Week 11 Recap: Josh McCown made it back-to-back strong outings with 288 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a victory over Washington. Drew Stanton helped his Cardinals beat the Lions and threw for 306 yards, but his two touchdowns were offset by two interceptions. Teddy Bridgewater could not get much going against the Bears, finishing with just 158 yards passing with a touchdown and a pick and only two yards rushing.

 

Kyle Orton, Buffalo Bills

Orton threw for as many touchdowns (zero) as you or I last week, but things should be better this Sunday. The Bills host the Jets, who are giving up the most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. Yes, the Jets are coming off of their bye and Orton is apparently dealing with a minor toe injury, but he also put up by far his best numbers (238-4-0) against New York just three weeks ago. It’s a bit of leap of faith to trust Orton in a week where only Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger are on bye, but his matchup against the J-E-T-S certainly looks appealing.


Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill’s roller-coaster season continued Thursday night with 240 yards passing and two touchdowns (one fumble) against Buffalo. Here is Tannehill’s fantasy output (Athlon scoring) the past five games: 27.9, 16.6, 34.2, 13.3, and 22.3. If this trend were to continue, Tannehill would be in for a down week. However, the Dolphins will be in Denver Sunday to take on a Broncos defense that is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Perhaps this is the week Tannehill breaks his pattern?

 

Running Backs

 

Week 11 Recap: C.J. Anderson didn’t score and had just 29 yards rushing, but he caught eight passes for 86 yards in the Broncos’ loss to the Rams. Anderson also escaped unscathed; something Montee Ball was unable to do, re-aggravating a groin injury. With Ball and Ronnie Hillman ailing, Anderson should see a heavy workload Sunday against a solid Dolphins defense. Alfred Blue filled in admirably for an injured Arian Foster (groin), rushing for 156 yards on 36 carries in the Texans’ win over the Browns. Blue could remain in the RB2 picture should Foster miss another game. Fred Jackson apparently returned too soon, as he was held out of the Bills’ Thursday night loss in Miami, somewhat because of the quick turnaround from the previous week.

 

Jonas Gray, New England Patriots

When Stevan Ridley tore his ACL, the thought was that Shane Vereen or Brandon Bolden or even rookie James White would get the majority of the carries. That was until Gray made his presence known with an 86-yard effort against the Bears a couple of weeks ago. And that’s definitely the case following his monster 201-yard, four-touchdown breakout performance Sunday night against the Colts. The Patriots fed Gray early and often (38 att.) and the third-year pro answered with an impressive and record-setting (rushing TDs in a game by a Patriot) showing. I wouldn’t expect 35-plus carries moving forward, especially Sunday against a stout Lions run defense, but there’s no reason to think Gray won’t get his fair share of touches either.
 

Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams

Mason picked up 113 yards on 29 carries on Sunday against Denver’s No. 1-ranked rushing defense. It was the first 100-yard game for the Rams’ third-round pick, who has averaged 21 carries over the last three games. Mason seems to have grabbed hold of the No. 1 job in St. Louis’ backfield and Jeff Fisher has a reputation for running the ball. The Rams’ next two games are against the Chargers and Raiders, which are 14th and eighth, respectively, in terms of most fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs.

 

Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

Richardson is averaging a woeful 3.4 yards per carry and has scored a total of two touchdowns. But with Ahmad Bradshaw now sidelined, likely for the rest of the season, with a fracture in his fibula, Richardson is now the Colts’ No. 1 back. This doesn’t mean Richardson will turn into a fantasy monster, but touches shouldn’t be an issue. That is unless Daniel Herron seizes the opportunity and emerges.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Week 11 Recap: Jordan Matthews posted his second straight 100-yard game against the Packers and now has four touchdowns in his last three contests. It certainly looks like he and Mark Sanchez are on the same page. James Jones caught just two passes for 35 yards, but that was better than either Dwayne Bowe (2 rec., 18 yds.) or Preston Parker (1, 9).

 

Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns

Yes, Josh Gordon is back on the active roster and will immediately become the Browns No. 1 wide receiver. However, Gordon’s addition also could benefit his fellow wideouts, especially if tight end Jordan Cameron continues to be sidelined by a concussion. Hawkins has the better statistics (45-601-2) and more experience, while Gabriel is an undrafted rookie who is averaging 18.2 ypc and has posted four games with at least 81 yards receiving. Hawkins is probably the safer flyer option between the two, but it all depends on how Brian Hoyer distributes the targets with Gordon back in the fold.
 

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars were on bye last week and still suffered a loss. This time it was on their roster, as rookie Allen Robinson, who was leading the team in catches (48) and yards (548) was put on injured reserve because of a broken right foot. Robinson’s loss should be Shorts’ gain. Shorts has been the Jags’ top target in each of the past two seasons and he was second only to Robinson this season, despite missing three games. Allen Hurns leads the team with five touchdown catches, but Shorts should be the one who replaces Robinson as Blake Bortles’ top target.

 

Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints

The Saints will be without first-round pick Brandin Cooks for at least a month because of a broken thumb, which means more snaps for Stills. Drew Brees still has tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Marques Colston to throw to, but as the No. 3 wideout Stills has managed three fewer catches than Colston (31 to 34), despite 18 fewer targets (42 to 60). Stills should replace Cooks, who was second only to Graham in all three receiving categories, as the No. 2 wide receiver, and it’s safe to expect the explosive Stills to be used in a similar manner. It’s now up to Stills to take advantage of this golden opportunity.

 

Tight Ends

 

Week 11 Recap: Jared Cook got five targets (3 rec., 19 yds.) in Shaun Hill’s first game back as the Rams’ starting quarterback. Austin Seferian-Jenkins and the rest of the Buccaneers took a back seat to the Mike Evans (7-209-2) show, as the big target caught just one pass for seven yards in the win over Washington.

 

Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts

Dwayne Allen left the Sunday night game early with an ankle injury and Fleener took full advantage. With the Colts trailing the Patriots the entire game, Fleener caught a season-best seven passes for 144 yards. And this comes on the heels of a four-catch, 77-yard effort (on a season-high 11 targets) two weeks ago before Indianapolis went on bye. It’s also possible that Fleener will be able to maintain this level of production moving forward, especially with Allen’s health up in the air and the added loss of running back Ahmad Bradshaw (broken ankle). And don’t forget Andrew Luck and Fleener were teammates at Stanford, so chemistry isn’t an issue either.


Defense/Special Teams

 

Week 11 Recap: Cleveland not only let a rookie, backup running back gash them for 156 yards on the ground (213 total), the Browns’ defense also managed just one takeaway (INT) against an offense that featured a quarterback making his first career NFL start.

 

Green Bay Packers

The Packers have scored 108 points in the last two games, and while Aaron Rodgers certainly had a big part in this, let’s not overlook the defense. Green Bay’s DST has put up 51 fantasy points (Athlon scoring) in dominating wins over Chicago and Philadelphia, including 32 on Sunday against the Eagles. While Rodgers and company filled up the stat sheet against the Bears and Eagles, the defense and special teams got into the act as well: seven sacks, seven takeaways (4 INTs, 3 fumbles) and four touchdowns (2 INT returns, fumble return, punt return). Next up is a Minnesota offense that managed 243 yards of offense against a Bears defense that had given up 106 points in its previous two games. The Vikings also are sixth in the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing DSTs, including the 24 (6 sacks, 3 TOs, INT returned for TD) they yielded to the Packers back in Week 5.

 

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.

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Fantasy Football 2014 Waiver Wire: Week 12
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The Pittsburgh Steelers will try and get back on track when they take on the Tennessee Titans on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” The Steelers (6-4) had won three in a row before losing to the Jets last week, while the Titans (2-7) have dropped their past three games.

 

Pittsburgh is in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt, thanks to the NFL’s fourth-ranked offense, but the Steelers can ill afford to lose to a team they are expected to beat. Tennessee is playing more for pride and draft position than anything, but first-year head coach Ken Whisenhunt would no doubt love to see improvement and signs of growth, especially from rookies like quarterback Zach Mettenberger and running back Bishop Sankey.

The Titans have won two in a row against the Steelers, including last season’s 16-9 victory in Pittsburgh in the season opener. That game was dominated by both defenses, as Jake Locker and Ben Roethlisberger combined for just 316 yards passing and were sacked six times. Besides starting out 0-1, this game also was costly for the Steelers in that they lost starting center Maurkice Pouncey and linebacker Larry Foote to season-ending injuries. Pittsburgh would go on to finish 8-8, missing the playoffs for the second straight season while the Titans would win just six more games, resulting in the firing of head coach Mike Munchak.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Pittsburgh -6.5

 

Pittsburgh’s Key to Victory: Don’t Play Down to the Competition


The Steelers are 6-4, including wins over AFC South division leader Indianapolis and AFC North foes Baltimore and Cleveland. Pittsburgh’s four losses have come against the aforementioned Browns and Ravens, the Buccaneers at home and the Jets on the road. There’s no shame in losing divisional games, especially in the AFC North, the only division in the NFL that has four teams with winning records. Tampa Bay and New York on the other hand are a combined 4-16. Besides the Steelers, the only teams the Buccaneers and Jets have defeated this season are the winless (0-10) Raiders and a 3-7 Redskins squad. That’s not exactly the resume of a playoff team is it? Fortunately for Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin, his team’s postseason hopes are very much alive, but the Steelers need to treat every game from here out as a must win. To be fair, it’s not like Pittsburgh was blown out by either Tampa Bay or New York. The Bucs won on a last-second touchdown pass while the Jets took full advantage of four Steeler turnovers, but a loss is still a loss and either could end up costing Pittsburgh a playoff berth. If there’s anything that stands out, statistically speaking, in the four losses it is turnovers (minus-seven) and a lack of a running game (89.5 rushing ypg compared to 125 in the six wins). However, it also should be pointed out that for whatever reason, the Steelers have had a tendency under Tomlin to not show up against what is perceived to be lesser competition. This pattern needs to end tonight, especially if Pittsburgh wants any chance of ending its longest playoff drought since the late ‘90s.

 

Tennessee’s Key to Victory: Embrace the Spotlight


The Titans have just one win since beating the Chiefs in Kansas City in their season opener. And that was of the two-point variety against 1-9 Jacksonville. There have been some close calls for Ken Whisenhunt’s bunch, namely a one-point loss at home to AFC North leader Cleveland and a two-point loss in Washington. But the reason Tennessee lost to the Browns was because the Titans coughed up a 15-point fourth-quarter lead while also allowing the Redskins to go 76 yards in the final 3:14 to set up the game-winning, chip shot field goal. There also have been some blowout losses (33-7 vs. CIN, 41-17 vs. IND), which should be expected from a team that entered Week 11 ranked second to last in the NFL in both total (308.7 ypg) and scoring (16.0 ppg) offense and 26th in point differential (-8.8 ppg). Other than draft position, the only thing the Titans really have to play for at this point is pride. Tonight is the first of two primetime games for Tennessee (at JAC for the Thursday night game in Week 16), something not typically afforded teams who are already out of the playoff picture. So why not embrace the national spotlight and the chance to play spoiler? Honestly, what do the Titans have to lose at this point?

 

Final Analysis

 

On paper, this is a complete mismatch. Pittsburgh has one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses while Tennessee has struggled to score any points of its own as well as slow down the opposition. However, the Steelers have been in this situation before, including twice this season, and have come out on the losing end. That said, there’s also some history between these two teams, and while it’s been nearly six years since the Terrible Towel stomp in Nashville, there are still a few players who were standing on Pittsburgh’s sideline when said incident occurred. One of those was Ben Roethlisberger and whether he will admit it or not, I expect Big Ben to make a statement or two of his own in the Music City tonight.

 
Prediction: Pittsburgh 31, Tennessee 20
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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans Preview and Prediction
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Points could be plentiful at Lambeau Field when the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers get together this afternoon on FOX. The Eagles (7-2) are fourth in the league in scoring at 31 points per game with the Packers (6-3) just a tick behind (30.8). Last week alone they outscored their opponents 100-65.

 

Philadelphia is percentage points ahead of Dallas (on bye this week) for the top spot in the NFC East while Green Bay trails NFC North leader Detroit by one game. The Eagles are coming off of a season-high 45 points in their Monday night win against Carolina, which also was Mark Sanchez’ first start in place of an injured Nick Foles.

 

The Packers are a perfect 4-0 at home following a dominating 55-14 victory over the archrival Bears. Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdown passes in the first half against a helpless Chicago defense. Green Bay’s offense has been clicking lately, averaging 419 yards and 36 points over the past four games.

 

From a coaching standpoint, Chip Kelly is 1-0 against Mike McCarthy courtesy of a 27-13 victory at Lambeau last season. Foles tossed three touchdown passes in the win, but this game is more remembered because it was the first one Aaron Rodgers missed after breaking his collarbone the previous week. Seneca Wallace started in place of Rodgers, but he left after just one series with a groin injury, giving way to Scott Tolzien. In his first NFL action, Tolzien finished with 280 yards passing, one touchdown and two interceptions.

 

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers

 

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Green Bay -6.5

 

Philadelphia’s Key to Victory: Offensive Balance

 

On Monday night against the Panthers, Mark Sanchez completed just one of his first eight pass attempts, but eventually got it going. He finished with 332 yards passing and two touchdowns in the easy 45-21 victory. The 45 points were a season high, despite the fact that Philadelphia had just 37 yards rushing. While Sanchez’ final line looked impressive, he struggled with his accuracy (20-of-38 passing), mishandled two shotgun snaps and got a lot of help from both the defense (5 takeaways, 9 sacks, INT returned for a TD) and special teams (punt return TD).

 

One of the reasons why Chip Kelly’s offense has worked so well his first two seasons in the NFL is that it’s fueled by tempo and play-calling more than who is under center. The Eagles are fourth in the league in scoring and tied for seventh in offensive plays per game (71) even though they are second to last in time of possession (26:55). Kelly uses a diverse and creative running game to keep defenses off balance, and it is imperative Philadelphia runs the ball against Green Bay for several reasons. First and foremost, the more production the Eagles get on the ground from LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles and Chris Polk, the better for Sanchez. From the offensive line to the tight ends, this is by far the best supporting cast Sanchez has had around him as a pro, so why not put it to use? Second, even though Philadelphia isn’t known for time-consuming drives, success running the ball should translate into more scoring opportunities, which would then put more pressure on Green Bay’s offense to respond. It also, to a degree, would reduce the amount of time Aaron Rodgers and company would be able to possess the ball. Lastly, the Eagles need to stay committed to the run because the Packers have done a poor job stopping it this season. Green Bay enters this game 30th in the league in rushing defense and this is after holding Chicago to 55 yards last Sunday. Prior to that game the Packers yielded 193 on the ground to New Orleans and have already given up 200-plus twice (Seattle and the Bears in their first meeting). Sanchez did just fine in his first start, but there’s no reason for Philadelphia’s offense to, well, run solely through him.

 

Green Bay’s Key to Victory: Protect the Franchise

 

While Philadelphia managed its transition from Nick Foles to Mark Sanchez (at least for one game) under center seamlessly, there’s no question that the most important player on Green Bay’s roster, let alone the offense, is its No. 1 quarterback. Aaron Rodgers has been the MVP of both the regular season (2011) and the Super Bowl (XLV) and he is the career leader in passer rating (106.2). He’s 64-32 as a starter (39-11 at home) and if there was ever any doubt as to how much Rodgers means to the success of this team, look no further than last season. In 2013, the Packers got off to a 5-2 start and entered its Week 9 Monday night home date with the Bears on a four-game winning streak. But Chicago linebacker Shea McClellin sacked Rodgers in the first series, causing him to leave the game. Green Bay lost 27-20, but the real damage had already been done, as Rodgers was diagnosed with a broken collarbone. Beginning with the Monday night loss to the Bears, the Packers went 2-5-1 during Rodgers’ absence. He returned for the regular-season finale against the Bears and threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 46 seconds left to give Green Bay its third straight division title. With Rodgers under center, the Packers are a legitimate NFC and Super Bowl contender, regardless of how poorly the defense is playing or how little support he gets from the running game. Rodgers is a mobile quarterback capable of extending plays in the pocket and picking up yards on the ground when called upon, but he still needs his offensive line to give him time to find a receiver down field and to keep him upright. He has been sacked 20 times in nine games, but nine of those have come in the team’s losses to the Seahawks, Lions and Saints. Philadelphia has made a living putting pressure on the quarterback this season, ranking second in the NFL in sacks with 32. The Eagles sacked Cam Newton nine times on Monday night and have forced 16 (9 fumbles, 7 INTs) takeaways. Kelly’s Chip Kelly’s defense has been very opportunistic with those turnovers (six defensive touchdowns), but this unit also has given up a fair amount of big plays too. For Green Bay’s offense, it all starts under center, which is the one spot on the field Packer fans don’t want to see Matt Flynn. Unless of course their team is up 45-7 in the third quarter.

 

Final Analysis

 

Unless the weather takes a drastic change for the worse (expected to be cold, but no precipitation or significant wind), this should be a fairly high-scoring affair. Yes, Chip Kelly is employing a backup quarterback, but Mark Sanchez is just part of the equation when it comes to Philadelphia’s up-tempo, creative offense. On the other hand, Aaron Rodgers is the engine that makes Mike McCarthy’s system hum and it’s hard to see this Eagles defense keep the Packers in check all game long. Defense will still play a part, especially if one unit is able to create some turnovers and chip in a big play or two of its own, but in the end this game could come down to which team has to settle for field goals instead of six points. The Lambeau Field tundra may not be frozen just yet, but the Packers are 32-3 in their last 35 regular-season games that Rodgers has started. The Eagles will put up a fight, but R-E-L-A-X Packer fans, your QB’s got this.

 
Prediction: Green Bay 34, Philadelphia 26
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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 09:00
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The NFC’s best record will be on the line this afternoon when the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals face off on FOX. Entering this season, few if any would have predicted Jim Caldwell’s Lions (7-2) would be in first place in the NFC North this far into the schedule or that Bruce Arians’ Cardinals (8-1) would not only have a two-game lead in the NFC West, but also boast the NFL’s best record.

 

Leading surprising first-place teams is not the only thing Caldwell and Arians have in common either. Both have won Super Bowls as offensive coordinators (Caldwell with Baltimore in the 2012 season, Arians with Pittsburgh in ‘08) and are former Indianapolis head coaches as well. Caldwell took over for Tony Dungy in 2009 and went 26-22 in three seasons, including an appearance in Super Bowl XLIV in his first season. Caldwell was fired after the 2011 season and replaced by Chuck Pagano, who brought in Arians as his offensive coordinator. In 2012, Arians served as interim head coach while Pagano battled cancer, leading the Colts to a 9-3 record and earning AP Coach of the Year honors in the process. Despite their shared history, this will be the first meeting between Caldwell and Arians as head coaches.

 

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

 

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Arizona -1

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Drew Stanton’s Second Starting Stint

Arizona’s come-from-behind divisional win over St. Louis last week was somewhat bittersweet. At the start of the fourth quarter, Carson Palmer’s left knee appeared to give way when he dropped back to pass. He was eventually carted off the field and later diagnosed with a torn ACL. Drew Stanton replaced Palmer and promptly threw a go-ahead, 48-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver John Brown in the Cardinals’ next series. With Palmer on injured reserve and done for the season, this is now Stanton’s team. The pressure is on the seven-year pro to finish what Palmer started – win the NFC West and take this team deep into the playoffs. Stanton has started seven games in his career, but three of those came earlier this year when Palmer was sidelined by a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder. Stanton went 2-1 in those games, beating the Giants and 49ers before losing big to the Broncos in Denver. For the season, Stanton is completing less than half of his passes (46 of 93) for 614 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Stanton hasn’t been asked by Arians to do too much in the pocket, but he’s made plays when he’s needed to and, more importantly, he’s taken care of the football (no turnovers). Arizona has a very good defense and a productive running game powered by Andre Ellington, but much of its success moving forward also will depend on the quality of play it gets from Stanton. And to that end, he better be at the top of his game this afternoon against a Detroit defense that’s ranked No. 1 in the league in both yards and points allowed.

 

2. Ground to Gain?

Besides the aforementioned coaching ties, another thing Detroit and Arizona have in common is what has transpired on the ground. The Lions are No. 2 in the NFL in rushing defense (71.3 ypg) with the Cardinals close behind (78.6). Both teams have allowed just one opponent to rush for more than 100 yards and the most either has given up to a running back is 84. On the flip side, both teams also have had trouble establishing their own running games. Detroit is second to last in the league (77.8 ypg) in rushing offense with Arizona not faring much better at 29th (83.6). In summary, neither team has given much ground this season nor have they gained much. Will either side of this coin flip this afternoon or it will be more of the status quo?

 

3. Saving the Best for Last

A big reason why Detroit and Arizona are a combined 15-3 entering Week 11 is that both have excelled in late-game situations. The Lions have won four games in a row, with the last three by a combined six points courtesy of fourth-quarter comebacks. The Cardinals have orchestrated three fourth-quarter comebacks of their own, two of which featured the game-winning points within the final three minutes. Detroit did yield an eight-point, fourth-quarter lead at home in its 17-14 Week 5 loss to Buffalo, but the Lions haven’t lost since. In Week 6, two touchdowns in the final 3:38 served as the final points in a 24-23 win over New Orleans at home. Next was a 12-point fourth quarter capped off by a 48-yard field goal with no time left to edge Atlanta 22-21 in London. Then last week, an 11-yard Matthew Stafford-to-Theo Riddick touchdown pass with 29 seconds remaining produced a 20-16 win over Miami. The Lions have worked their late-game magic both at home and on the road, while Arizona’s three comebacks have all been at University of Phoenix Stadium. Both teams are certainly no stranger when it comes to late-game heroics, so it will be interesting to see which one gains the upper hand should this afternoon’s proceedings develop into a nip-and-tuck affair through three quarters. And considering just 1.5 points separate these teams when it comes to overall point differential, that’s an entirely plausible scenario.

 

Final Analysis

 

Detroit hasn’t enjoyed this much success since 1954, while Arizona has seized control of what many perceive to be the NFL’s toughest division, despite having to deal with a rash of injuries. Both the Lions and Cardinals have relied heavily on their defenses, so don’t be surprised if this is a low-scoring affair. Arizona has to carry on without Carson Palmer, but Drew Stanton more than held his own during a three-game starting stint earlier this season. Detroit may seem to have the advantage offensively because of the quarterback situation, but the Cardinals are undefeated at home and Bruce Arians has been pushing the right buttons all season. I don’t expect that to change this afternoon, even with a backup quarterback going up against the league’s No. 1-ranked defense.

 
Prediction: Arizona 20, Detroit 17
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Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 09:00
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Houston will be without its workhorse for Week 11, but Seattle’s bruising back is fully expected to play. Here are some other key backfield injuries to know about before finalizing your lineup.

 

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs

Questionable – Calf/Rib
Lynch didn’t practice at all until Friday, but head coach Pete Carroll said that’s because his workhorse is “just banged-up.” This is understandable considering Lynch punished the Giants for 140 yards rushing and four touchdowns last week. Lynch is listed as Questionable, but there’s no reason to be concerned here. The Seahawks need every yard they can get from their big back against a pretty tough Kansas City defense at home. Lynch is a must-start RB1 firmly entrenched and perhaps the rest of the season.

 

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Probable – Ankle
The Redskins are coming off of their bye, so it’s possible that Griffin is as healthy as he’s been this season. He was a full go at practice every day and is listed as Probable. He not only will get the start, but RG3 also is a against a Bucs defense that’s giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing signal-callers. If you have stuck with RG3 this long, this may be the week that patience pays off.

 

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

Probable – Back
McKinnon was the Vikings’ third-round pick in May and all the rookie has done is lead the team in rushing since Adrian Peterson was placed on the exempt list. McKinnon apparently tweaked some sort of lower back injury on Wednesday, but after being limited on Thursday he was a full practice participant on Friday. He is listed as Probable so there’s no reason to not expect him to play. McKinnon should probably be started if he’s on your roster as the Vikings are facing a reeling Bears defense, but just remember that Matt Asiata has been filling the role of the goal-line back (i.e. touchdown vulture), which could impact McKinnon’s potential.

 

Josh McCown, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Redskins

Probable – Back
McCown suffered a thumb injury in Week 3 and was replaced by Mike Glennon as the Bucs’ starter. After going just 1-4 with Glennon under center, head coach Lovie Smith named McCown the starter prior to last week’s game. Tampa Bay lost again, but McCown posted by far his best numbers (301-2-2) of the season. McCown appears on the injury report with a back issue, but he was a full practice participant and is listed as Probable. The Bucs are a bad team, but this isn’t a bad matchup for McCown, who is worthy of QB2 consideration this week.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans – Foster injured his groin two weeks ago, but Houston was on bye last week so the expectation was that he would be ready in Week 11. Well Foster didn’t practice at all and even though he was listed as Questionable on Friday, the Texans downgraded Foster to Out on Saturday. With Foster inactive, sixth-round pick Alfred Blue will get the start. Blue filled in for an injured Foster earlier this season, rushing for 78 yards on 13 carries (6.0 ypc) vs. the Giants. Blue may not be Foster, but his workload as the Texans’ starter is enough to view him as a RB2, especially against a Cleveland defense that has struggled against the run.

 

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Martin returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, but the team has already ruled him Out for Week 11. This will be the third straight game Martin has missed with an ankle injury, but it’s also safe to say that the team has decided to move on with Bobby Rainey and Charles Sims. Rainey got the start last week, but he wasn’t able to get much going (14 yds. rushing, 41 receiving). Sims, the Bucs’ third-round pick in May, made his much-awaited NFL debut and wound up with a team-high eight carries, but only 23 yards rushing and he also lost a fumble. Rainey may have missed an opportunity to seize the starting job, as it appears the coaching staff wants to see what Sims can do. Both should get touches, but it may take another game or two to figure out how the workload is going to be split. For now, it’s wisest to view Rainey and Sims as risky RB2s and a little safer flex options.

Teaser:
Week 11 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Robert Griffin III, Jerick McKinnon
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The Giants will finally have their No. 1 RB back in the starting lineup for Week 11, but that’s not the case for the Bengals. Meanwhile, New Orleans’ and San Francisco’s top rushers are banged up, but both are fully expected to play today.

 

Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers

Probable – Knee
Jennings practiced, albeit on a limited basis, every day this week and is listed as Probable. So barring a setback leading up to kickoff (1 p.m. ET), Jennings should be back after missing the past four games with a MCL sprain. Jennings’ return pushes rookie Andre Williams to a complementary role, but it doesn’t make him irrelevant. Head coach Tom Coughlin already has said that he doesn’t intend for Jennings to handle a full workload in his first game back, so Williams should get some carries. Still, Jennings is more established and needs to be in your starting lineup. Williams remains flex-worthy, especially with Peyton Hillis going on injured reserve due to a concussion he suffered last week.

 
Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas, RBs, New Orleans Saints vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Probable – Shoulder; Out – Arm; Out – Rib/Shoulder
Despite all the injuries in the Saints’ backfield, the situation is pretty straightforward. Robinson and Thomas will miss yet another game, while Ingram, who is still dealing with a lingering shoulder injury, is listed as Probable and is a pretty safe bet for at least 20-25 carries today. Ingram has posted three straight 100-yard rushing games, pretty much cementing his status as a must-start RB1. With Robinson and Thomas out, Travaris Cadet figures to get some touches, making him a flex option, particularly in PPR leagues.

 

Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants

Probable – Hip
Gore was limited in practice on Wednesday, but was a full go on Thursday and Friday. The veteran is dealing with a hip injury, but he’s listed as Probable and should be fairly busy today against the Giants. Gore is coming off of one of his stronger efforts (81 yds., TD), and has now gotten at least 14 carries in six of the past seven games. The Giants coughed up 140 yards rushing and four touchdowns last week to Marshawn Lynch, so it’s no surprise that they are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Gore’s production has left something to be desired this season, but he’s because of his plum matchup.  Backup Carlos Hyde also should see some carries, but his touches and production have been so inconsistent it’s probably best to not have to rely on him, even as a flex.

 

Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, RBs, Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Probable – Ankle; Probable – Foot
It has been a rough season for the Panthers’ backfield, as every running back that has been on the roster has been hurt at one point or another. Stewart was limited in practice this week by an ankle injury, while Williams missed the first two days with a foot injury. However, both were full participants on Friday, are listed as Probable and expected to play. This duo combined for 67 yards rushing on 24 carries on Monday night against Philadelphia, and has scored a total of two touchdowns this season (both belonging to Stewart). There’s no clear-cut workhorse here and it’s really hard to endorse either as a flex option because of the lack of production. If you’re desperate, I would lean towards Stewart over Williams, but you’re probably better off steering clear from this situation.

 
Already Ruled Out:

 

Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals – Bernard has yet to return to practice while dealing with multiple injuries, so it’s no surprise that the Bengals ruled him out on Friday. Bernard will miss his third straight game, leaving Jeremy Hill and Cedric Peerman to carry the load. Hill disappointed (12 att., 55 yds.) last week against Cleveland, but the rookie from LSU remains a solid RB2 option today versus New Orleans. Peerman is listed on the injury report with a knee issue, but he’s Probable and expected to play. Peerman could be flyer-worthy as a flex option, but only in deeper leagues.

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Fantasy Football Week 11 Injury Updates: Mark Ingram, Rashad Jennings, Frank Gore, Giovani Bernard
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San Diego and Denver will welcome back a couple of rushers in Week 11, but Detroit may be down one of its ball carriers today. Here are some key injuries to pay attention to involving the later games.

 

Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson, RBs, Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams

Probable – Groin; Out – Foot; Probable – Knee
The Broncos’ backfield has been in motion recently and it’s set to take another turn today. Hillman has not only been ruled out for today’s game because of a foot sprain, but he’s also expected to miss at least one more. In the meantime, Ball (right) appears a safe bet to return after missing the past five games with a groin strain. But Ball is not the Denver back getting all of the attention this week. No that honor belongs to C.J. Anderson, who worked his way back up the depth chart and came up big (163 total yards, TD) last week. Anderson is the hot hand and the healthiest of the Bronco backs, but that is not a guarantee he will get the bulk of the carries. Ball was the starter entering the season and is a second-round draft pick. Anderson will probably get the majority of the carries today, but it’s best to err on the side of the caution and treat him as a RB2. Ball meanwhile is probably more of a flex flyer because of the time he missed and the uncertainty surrounding his workload. That leaves Thompson, who could end up being the one most affected by this RB roulette, especially if Anderson or Ball gets the goal-line work. For this week, Anderson carries the most upside, Ball the most intrigue and Thompson is probably odd man out.

 

Ryan Mathews, RBs, San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders

Probable – Knee
Mathews was a full participant every day of practice and is listed as Probable. He is expected to play for the first time since Week 2 and will get the start. Mathews’ return leaves Donald Brown and Branden Oliver to fight for the leftovers. I expect the Chargers to use Oliver similar to how they used Danny Woodhead (on IR) last season, primarily as a receiver out of the backfield. This could make Oliver an intriguing flex option in PPR leagues. Mathews immediately goes back to RB2 status, especially based on his matchup this afternoon against the winless Raiders. I don’t think Brown will see enough touches to merit any fantasy consideration.

 
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions

Probable – Foot
The coaching staff is wisely limiting Ellington’s practice time, as the Cardinals need their workhorse to stay healthy, especially with Drew Stanton taking over at quarterback for an injured Carson Palmer. Ellington is Probable, so he will be out there today. And even though the Lions are the No. 1 defense in the NFL, Ellington has earned his RB1 status.

 
Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

Questionable – Ankle
Bush left last week’s game early after re-aggravating a bothersome ankle injury and didn’t practice at all this week. Even though he’s looking (highly) doubtful, the Lions have yet to rule him out officially, listing him as Questionable. If he plays, he will not be anywhere near 100 percent, so that alone is enough reason to leave Bush on your bench. Joique Bell will continue to carry the load for the Lions, while Theo Riddick has more or less taken over Bush’s role. It’s a very tough matchup against a strong Cardinals defense, but Bell remains a low-end RB2 while Riddick is a decent flex candidate.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles – Foles is out for several more weeks with a broken collarbone. Mark Sanchez will make his second start and is coming off of a solid showing (322-2-0) in the Monday night win over the Panthers. Sanchez is certainly QB2-worthy today in what could end up being a shootout against Green Bay, and depending on your options, he could even be QB1 material.

Teaser:
Week 11 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Ryan Mathews, Montee Ball, Andre Ellington, Reggie Bush
Post date: Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-11-injury-updates-brandon-marshall-martellus-bennett-kyle-rudolph
Body:

Week 11’s NFC North tilt between Minnesota and Chicago features a trio of pass-catchers who show up on the injury report. Will the Vikings and Bears have all of their weapons today?

 

Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings

Probable – Ribs
Bennett played last week despite being listed as Questionable, so the mere fact he’s Probable pretty much means he’ll be out there again today. He didn’t practice on Wednesday, but was a full participant on Friday, which is another strong signal he will play. Bennett clearly didn’t look like himself against the Packers last week, but he’s still an integral part of an offense that really needs a strong showing. He may not be 100 percent, but Bennett needs to stay in your lineup because he’s been a pretty safe TE1 this entire season.

 

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings

Probable – Ankle
Among the many things that did not go right for the Bears last week against the Packers, was when Marshall re-aggravated his ankle injury. He didn’t practice on Wednesday, but he was out there some both Thursday and Friday. He’s listed as Probable and has yet to miss a game because of this bothersome ankle, so there’s no reason to expect that to change, especially with the Bears desperately needing a win. The Vikings’ defense has been solid this season against the pass, but as long as he plays, you’ve got to start Marshall.

 

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

Probable – Abdomen/Groin
Rudolph underwent surgery for a sports hernia on Sept. 23, but after taking part in practice in some capacity every day this week it looks like he’s finally ready to return. Rudolph hasn’t played since Week 3 and didn’t have the greatest stats (10-96-1) prior to his injury, but this is a guy who was viewed as a top-10 fantasy TE entering this season. He should definitely be owned, but don’t be surprised if the Vikings decide to ease him back into action. It’s probably best to leave Rudolph on your bench one more week and see how he fares today.


Already Ruled Out:

 

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns – Cameron suffered a concussion in Week 8 and is still working his way back. He didn’t practice at all this week and has been ruled out for a third straight game. I would still hold on to Cameron at least until something more definitive comes out regarding his status.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 11 Injury Updates: Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, Kyle Rudolph, Jordan Cameron
Post date: Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-11-fantasy-football-injury-updates-calvin-johnson-delanie-walker-travis-kelce
Body:

Tennessee may not have their tight end on Monday night, but Detroit is expected to get three big targets back for its Week 11 showdown against Arizona. Oh and Calvin Johnson will play too.

 

Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Mon.)

Questionable – Concussion
Walker left last week’s game against Baltimore with a concussion after taking a big hit following a catch. He didn’t practice at all Wednesday or Thursday, but did get a limited session in on Friday. He’s listed as Questionable and reports are Walker still has to pass one more test to be cleared to play. Walker is the Titans’ most productive pass-catcher and a top-10 fantasy TE, but the combination of him not being completely cleared just yet and playing on a Monday night is more than enough reason to at least have a Plan B ready.

 

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

Probable - Ankle
Johnson returned from his three-game absence by catching seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown last Sunday. He didn’t practice on Wednesday, but that was more a precaution, as he was back at it on Thursday and Friday. He’s Probable and there’s no doubt that he will be out there today. This is an intriguing matchup against a talented, athletic and physical Cardinals secondary, but he’s still a must-start WR1, as evidenced by our .

 

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Seattle Seahawks

Probable – Ribs
Kelce’s still on the injury report, but he once again was a full go at practice and is listed as Probable. He didn’t do much of anything (2 rec., 19 yds.) last week, but could be in line for even more snaps today because Anthony Fasano is Questionable with a bruised knee. Even if Fasano ends up on the field, Kelce is the Chiefs target you want, especially considering the Seahawks have given up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing TEs this season. A top-10 fantasy TE with a top-10 matchup. What more could you ask for?

 

Eric Ebron, Joseph Fauria and Brandon Pettigrew, TEs, Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

Probable – Hamstring; Probable – Ankle; Probable – Foot
From no healthy tight ends to too many? That appears to be the case for the Lions, as Ebron, Fauria and Pettigrew, who have missed a combined 11 games this season, all practiced to some degree and are listed as Probable. If there’s a leader among this group, it’s probably Ebron, the team’s first-round pick, but his production has been inconsistent to the say the least. Fauria is a legitimate red-zone threat, but that’s also pretty much the only area of the field where the Lions use him, while Pettigrew is basically a blocking TE who catches the occasional pass. Ebron carries the most upside and potential, but probably still needs to show a little more before he becomes starting material, unless you want to take a chance on him as a TE2. I wouldn’t bother with Fauria or Pettigrew.

Teaser:
Week 11 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Calvin Johnson, Delanie Walker, Travis Kelce
Post date: Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-running-back-rankings-week-11
Body:

Marshawn Lynch was in vintage “Beast Mode” last week, but it's the workhorse who won't be playing on Sunday that's grabbing all of the attention as it relates to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Week 11. Arian Foster injured his groin two weeks ago, but the Texans were on bye last week. With a week to recover, the expectation was that Foster would be good to go on Sunday against a Cleveland defense that is 28th in the NFL in rushing defense. Unfortunately, that's not the case as Foster was unable to practice at all and on Saturday the Texans downgraded him from Questionable to Out. Rookie Alfred Blue will get the start in Foster's place and while he's not as talented and explosive (or experienced) as Foster, he should still make for a decent RB2 this week. Some other key running backs are expected to return this week from prolonged absences due to injury, including Rashad Jennings (MCL sprain), Ryan Mathews (MCL sprain) and Montee Ball (groin strain).

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: I I I I I

 

2014 NFL Week 11 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

Teams on bye: Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville, New York Jets
 

Updated at 1 p.m. CT on 11/15/14 to reflect the news that Arian Foster will not play on Sunday. Alfred Blue (No. 22) will get the start in Foster's place.

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Matt ForteCHIvs. MIN
2Marshawn LynchSEAat KC
3Jamaal CharlesKCvs. SEA
4Le'Veon BellPITat TEN (Mon.)
5Mark IngramNOvs. CIN
6Eddie LacyGBvs. PHI
7Alfred MorrisWASvs. TB
8LeSean McCoyPHIat GB
9Andre EllingtonARIvs. DET
10Ahmad BradshawINDvs. NE
11Frank GoreSFat NYG
12Shane VereenNEat IND
13Jeremy HillCINat NO
14Rashad JenningsNYGvs. SF
15Steven JacksonATLat CAR
16Jerick McKinnonMINat CHI
17C.J. AndersonDENat STL
18Ryan MathewsSDvs. OAK
19Terrance WestCLEvs. HOU
20Joique BellDETat ARI
21Lamar MillerMIAvs. BUF (Thurs.)
22Alfred BlueHOUat CLE
23Ben TateCLEvs. HOU
24Trent RichardsonINDvs. NE
25Tre MasonSTLvs. DEN
26Bishop SankeyTENvs. PIT (Mon.)
27Jonathan StewartCARvs. ATL
28Montee BallDENat STL
29Darren SprolesPHIat GB
30Branden OliverSDvs. OAK
31Bobby RaineyTBat WAS
32Darren McFaddenOAKat SD
33Matt AsiataMINat CHI
34Jonas GrayNEat IND
35Bryce BrownBUFat MIA (Thurs.)
36Charles SimsTBat WAS
37Carlos HydeSFat NYG
38DeAngelo WilliamsCARvs. ATL
39Andre WilliamsNYGvs. SF
40Isaiah CrowellCLEvs. HOU
41Theo RiddickDETat ARI
42Anthony DixonBUFat MIA (Thurs.)
43Benny CunninghamSTLvs. DEN
44Knile DavisKCvs. SEA
45Roy HeluWASvs. TB
46Travaris CadetNOvs. CIN
47Juwan ThompsonDENat STL
48Reggie BushDETat ARI

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit .

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Running Back Rankings: Week 11
Post date: Saturday, November 15, 2014 - 14:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-quarterback-rankings-week-11
Body:

Aaron Rodgers needed just one half to put up the most fantasy points last week, so it’s only fitting that he lead off Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings for Week 11. Rodgers tossed six touchdown passes against a helpless (and some might say hapless) Chicago defense in the first half, and now has his sights set on keeping pace with Philadelphia’s up-tempo offense. This will be Mark Sanchez’ first road game as the Eagles’ starter, but given how he fared Monday night and the potential for a shootout against the Packers, we have him ranked as a borderline QB1. However, the QB pairing everyone will be watching is Tom Brady vs. Andrew Luck. Brady has been red hot, tossing 18 touchdowns and just one interception over his past five games, while Luck continues to lead his peers in scoring. It should make for an entertaining Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

 

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

 

Positional Rankings: I I I I I

 

2014 NFL Week 11 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

 

Teams on bye: Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville, New York Jets

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Aaron RodgersGBvs. PHI
2Peyton ManningDENat STL
3Andrew LuckINDvs. NE
4Tom BradyNEat IND
5Drew BreesNOvs. CIN
6Philip RiversSDvs. OAK
7Ben RoethlisbergerPITat TEN (Mon.)
8Colin KaepernickSFat NYG
9Matthew StaffordDETat ARI
10Robert Griffin IIIWASvs. TB
11Russell WilsonSEAat KC
12Jay CutlerCHIvs. MIN
13Mark SanchezPHIat GB
14Matt RyanATLat CAR
15Cam NewtonCARvs. ATL
16Josh McCownTBat WAS
17Eli ManningNYGvs. SF
18Ryan TannehillMIAvs. BUF (Thurs.)
19Andy DaltonCINat NO
20Teddy BridgewaterMINat CHI
21Derek CarrOAKat SD
22Alex SmithKCvs. SEA
23Kyle OrtonBUFat MIA (Thurs.)
24Brian HoyerCLEvs. HOU
25Shaun HillSTLvs. DEN
26Drew StantonARIvs. DET

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit .

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Quarterback Rankings: Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 06:30

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