Articles By Mark Ross

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The bulk of the byes are over with as we enter Week 10, but they will remain a factor for a little longer. This week Cleveland, Kansas City, New England and the New York Jets are on bye, which means just as soon as the Patriots finally get their offense going, they take a week off. Have no fear though, as the NFL’s record-holder for touchdown passes in a game, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, and a few Texans are among those who may be available if you’re looking for some help this week.

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

Teams on bye in Week 10: Cleveland, Kansas City, New England, New York Jets

Quarterbacks
Week 9 Recap: Alex Smith certainly didn’t fill up the box score (124 yards passing, 7 yards rushing), but his Chiefs are the NFL’s lone undefeated team at 9-0 and get a well-deserved break this week.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
Foles is not a new discovery by any stretch, but any time someone ties the NFL single-game record for touchdown passes, it’s worth taking notice. After missing a game due to a concussion, Foles was one gigantic headache for Oakland on Sunday, passing for 406 yards and seven touchdowns, which tied the single-game record. Foles had more touchdowns than incompletions (six) and did all of this damage in three quarters. While I’m not saying that Foles is the second coming of Peyton Manning, he does have two things going in his favor. First, with Michael Vick nursing a hamstring injury, it appears Foles’ hold on the starting job is secure for the time being. Secondly, the Eagles’ next two games are against Green Bay and Washington, two teams that rank among the top 11 in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.

Case Keenum, Houston Texans
The Texans didn’t win on Sunday night, but Keenum certainly did his part. Making his second career NFL start, the former University of Houston gunslinger took center stage on NBC by throwing for 350 yards and three touchdowns and energizing the Texans offense and home crowd in the process. In two games, Keenum has yet to throw an interception, which is one of the main reasons why Matt Schaub lost the starting job, and has re-introduced the vertical passing game into the Texans’ offense. Keenum averaged 10.4 yards per completion against the Colts and leaned heavily on his All-Pro target, Andre Johnson (9-229-3). With the Texans sitting at 2-6 and Schaub’s future with the team up in the air, Keenum figures to get more chances to show the team if he’s the potential long-term solution at quarterback or not.

Eli Manning, New York Giants
Very few things have gone right for Manning and the Giants this season, but now may be the ideal time to get back on the bandwagon, at least fantasy-wise. After throwing at least one interception in his first six games, all losses, Manning has not tossed a pick in the past two, both wins. The Giants come off of the bye, hopefully rested and healthy, and are expected to get running back Andre Brown back. Then there’s the schedule. The rest of the way, the Giants face one team (Seattle) whose pass defense is not ranked in the bottom half of the league. Of those remaining seven games, six are against teams that are 24th or lower in the NFL when it comes to defending the pass, starting with a Oakland defense that just gave up 406 yards and seven touchdown passes to Nick Foles. If there ever was a time to buy low on a guy whose thrown for more than 3,900 yards and at least 26 touchdowns in each of the past four seasons, this could be it.

Running Backs
Week 9 Recap: Chris Johnson was the man for the Titans (150 yards rushing, 2 TDs), against the Rams, but Shonn Greene also got nine carries and was busy around the goal line (5-yard TD). Jonathan Stewart made his season debut and led the Panthers in rushing (43 yards) despite getting fewer carries than DeAngeio Williams (9 to 13). Stewart also caught three passes on three targets, making him a viable flex option from here out. The Giants’ Andre Brown is expected to play in his first game since breaking his leg in the preseason and should get plenty of opportunities against the Raiders. Arizona rookie Andre Ellington was on bye last week, but the memory of his 154-yard rushing effort in Week 8 against Atlanta certainly still lingers and should mean a similar number of touches this week even if Rashard Mendenhall returns (toe).

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
This may be a stretch since Ingram has a grand total of 50 yards rushing this season, but some of this can be attributed to injury. Ingram picked up 19 yards on four carries on Sunday against the Jets in his first action since Week 2. The Saints ran the ball a total of 13 times against the Jets, so game plan played a role in Ingram’s workload as well. Ingram could be in line for more touches this week against Dallas because Darren Sproles sustained a concussion in the first quarter on Sunday. If Sproles isn’t cleared in time to play this week, Ingram and Pierre Thomas figure to be the most active running backs for the Saints. Dallas is allowing 114 yards rushing per game, so this may be just the opportunity Ingram’s been waiting for to get himself back on the fantasy radar.

Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders
Darren McFadden is hurt, again, and Jennings took full advantage of the extra touches on Sunday. Even though the Raiders were blown out by the Eagles, Jennings finished the game with 102 yards rushing and a touchdown on 15 carries (6.8 ypc) and added 74 yards receiving on seven catches. McFadden re-aggravated an earlier hamstring injury, so there’s a good chance he could miss several games. Jennings would replace McFadden as the starter, which immediately makes him one of the most popular potential free agents this week.

Ben Tate, Houston Texans
Despite playing with four broken ribs, Tate rushed for 81 yards on 22 carries against Indianapolis on Sunday night. He got so many carries because Arian Foster, who was questionable entering this game with a hamstring injury, left after suffering a back injury in the Texans’ first offensive series and did not return. With Foster’s availability for this week clearly in question, Tate figures to get the bulk of the carries, as long as his ribs don’t get worse. Dennis Johnson is also someone to keep an eye on, as the undrafted rookie who was among the Texans’ final preseason cuts before re-signing with them last week, picked up 36 yards on eight carries. If Foster’s injuries result him in missing a game or two, Johnson could become Tate’s handcuff, just as Tate is to a healthy Foster.

Wide Receivers
Week 9 Recap: Emmanuel Sanders led the Steelers in both targets (11) and receiving yards (98) in the shootout loss in New England. Kenny Stills was held in check by the Jets, as he posted three receptions for a modest 35 yards. In that same game, David Nelson, who is dealing with a quad injury, hauled in one pass for 19 yards, as the Jets relied heavily on the run in their win over the Saints. The Chiefs’ passing offense was a non-factor in Sunday’s win in Buffalo, as Dexter McCluster caught two passes for a total of nine yards and went for negative four yards on one carry.

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
Sidney Rice is out for the rest of the season, so someone needs to step up to help Golden Tate in the passing game. The Seahawks should get Percy Harvin back at some point, but he recently suffered a setback in his return from hip surgery, which only further muddies his timetable. That leaves Baldwin, who on Sunday led the team with six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown in the Seahawks’ comeback win over Tampa Bay. Tate may be the de facto No. 1 wide receiver for Russell Wilson, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t enough passes to go around for Baldwin to provide some solid numbers of his own.

Mike Brown, Jacksonville Jaguars
Justin Blackmon has been suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, so someone else will need to line up opposite Cecil Shorts in the Jaguars’ offense. Brown has come on in recent weeks, as the second-year pro has posted 12 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown in the past three games. While Shorts will remain the Jags’ top target, the offense most likely will be throwing the ball quite a lot, as dictated by the likelihood they will be trailing many a game. The Jags are about to find out what (Mike) Brown can do for their team, will you do the same?

Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles
Cooper had quite a game on Sunday, catching five passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns against Oakland. While that accounts for a majority of his season’s worth of production (25 rec., 453 yds., 5 TDs), one important detail should not be overlooked. In two games with Nick Foles as the starter, Cooper has recorded nine catches on 12 targets for 259 yards and four touchdowns. Granted it’s an extremely small sample size, but that type of production plays in fantasy so it may be worth giving Cooper a longer look if you are in need of rounding out your receiving corps. Especially if Foles remains the starter and can play like he did against the Raiders (406 yds., 7 TDs).

Mario Manningham, San Francisco 49ers
Manningham was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Monday and should be see his first action this season against Carolina on Sunday. Manningham has been recovering from a torn ACL and PCL and could be just the boost the 49ers’ passing attack needs, especially with Michael Crabtree (torn Achilles) believed to still be a few weeks away from returning. Colin Kaepernick really needs another wide receiver other than Anquan Boldin to emerge, as the next most-targeted wideout on the 49ers is Kyle Williams with 25 (11 receptions). Manningham posted 42 receptions in 12 games last season with the 49ers, so it shouldn’t take him and Kaepernick too long to get reacquainted. You may want to do the same if you are looking for a proven wide receiver.

Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints
After missing three games because of a hand injury, Moore has returned and had an immediate impact in the Saints’ passing game. Moore has nine catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the past two games and could be in line for more targets if Marques Colston’s knee injury lingers. Moore got off to a slow start this season with just four catches for 44 yards in the first three games, but he did have the hand injury and also has a track record of success with Drew Brees. He posted more than 1,000 yards receiving last season and has recorded six or more touchdown catches in four of the past five. Someone other than Jimmy Graham has to catch passes from Brees, right?

Tight Ends
Week 9 Recap: Garrett Graham caught four passes for 46 yards from Case Keenum in the Texans’ disheartening loss to the Colts on Sunday night.

Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams
Entering this season, expectations were that this could finally be the year that Cook breaks out and makes good on all his athletic ability and potential. Unfortunately, that has not transpired so far and to make matters worse, quarterback Sam Bradford is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. While Cook has been a major disappointment, he has shown some signs of progress recently. He has at least six targets in each of the past three games and his touchdown catch on Sunday against the Titans was his first since Week 1. Kellen Clemens, Bradford’s replacement at quarterback, isn’t likely to try and beat many teams deep, which should mean more opportunities for Cook in the middle of the field and on intermediate routes. With no Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Cameron in Week 10, Cook is at least worth a look if you need a fill-in tight end.

Defense/Special Teams
Week 9 Recap: Indianapolis had its hands full on Sunday night with Houston. Case Keenum threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns while the Colts’ defense managed just one sack in a hard-fought 27-24 win on the road. The Colts are back at home against St. Louis and backup quarterback Kellen Clemens this Sunday.

Miami Dolphins
Cameron Wake’s return to the starting lineup has seemingly re-energized the Dolphins’ defense. Wake had 3.5 sacks, forced and recovered a fumble and most important of all, was responsible for the walk-off safety that beat Cincinnati in overtime on Thursday night. Besides the five total sacks, the ‘Fins also picked Andy Dalton off three times, one of which was returned 94 yards for a touchdown. The Dolphins gave up a bunch of yards (465 total), but the defense still managed to put together a 24-point effort (Athlon scoring). Next up is a road trip to Tampa Bay to face a 0-8 Buccaneers team that is employing a second-string quarterback (Mike Glennon) and running back (Mike James) and has committed seven turnovers in four home games.

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

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Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 07:30
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The NFL’s longest running rivalry resumes tonight when the Chicago Bears take on the Green Bay Packers at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Packers (5-2) are in first place in the NFC North and have won five in a row overall, while the Bears (4-3) have dropped three of their last four games after opening the season 3-0. With the Bears dealing with so many injuries on both sides of the ball, it will be up to All-Pro cornerback Charles Tillman and a patchwork defense to try and slow down Aaron Rodgers and a well-balanced Packers offensive attack.

This represents the 187th meeting, including playoffs, between these historic, long-time divisional rivals. This is the NFL’s longest running rivalry and although Chicago holds a slim lead (92-88-6) in these head-to-head matchups, the Packers have won six in a row overall and the last five played at Lambeau Field. Green Bay also has won 11 straight against NFC North opponents, a big reason why the Packers have won the last two division titles.

3 Things to Watch

Will Chicago’s Offense Click Without Cutler?
Jay Cutler will miss tonight’s game because of the groin injury he sustained in the Bears’ last game, a Week 7 loss to the Redskins. With Cutler sidelined, Josh McCown will make his first start since the end of the 2011 season. An 11-year veteran with more than 30 career starts under his belt, McCown filled in quite nicely after Cutler got hurt, completing 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown in the 45-41 loss to Washington. McCown is a veteran who has not only faced the Packers before, he also has played at Lambeau Field. McCown’s first start in 2011 was on the road against Green Bay on Christmas Day. He threw for 242 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions that day, a 35-21 loss. McCown won’t be asked to do it all by himself, as running back Matt Forté will be heavily involved in the game plan, and he also has wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and tight end Martellus Bennett at his disposal. Still, the Bears need McCown to execute the offense and take care of the football, because Chicago’s defense is too banged up and not playing well enough right now to expect it to be able to shut out the Packers entirely. Following Cutler’s injury, the initial time frame for his return was about four weeks. Cutler is making progress and has stated that his goal is to return sooner than expected. How well McCown fares on the road in a big divisional game could go a long ways in determining how the Bears approach Cutler’s recovery timeline.

Bear-ing Down on Defense
Chicago’s defense was one of the NFL’s best last season, ranking fifth in yards allowed and third in points allowed. This year’s unit has struggled under new coordinator Mel Tucker, ranking 27th in yards allowed (391) and 29th in points (29.4) entering Week 9. While there have been several key personnel changes, the biggest problem this season has been staying healthy. The Bears have lost both starting defensive tackles and a linebacker to season-ending injuries with Lance Briggs, the unit’s veteran leader, expected to be out more than a month. There is still talent left, but key parts like All-Pro cornerback Charles Tillman are playing hurt and the Bears are relying on two rookie linebackers as starters. Chicago knows full well the task ahead of them, as Aaron Rodgers is 8-2 in his career against the Bears. One way or another, this Bears defense has to find a way to force Rodgers and company to earn their yards and points. Whether that be someone unheralded stepping up along the defensive line, the rookie linebackers flashing their talent and potential in select spots, or Tillman and fellow All-Pro corner Tim Jennings shutting down the Packers’ passing game, the 2013 version of the Monsters of the Midway need to make an appearance tonight if the Bears have any hope of winning.

Will the Packers Stick to the Script?
Green Bay has won four games in a row, although not in the fashion you may think. Aaron Rodgers is averaging less than 284 yards passing during this span with just seven touchdown passes. The Packers have been hit hard by injuries to its offensive skill players, as wide receiver Randall Cobb is out until the middle of December with a broken leg, tight end Jermichael Finley is out indefinitely with a spinal contusion and wideout James Jones has missed the last two games because of a sprained knee. Jones could possibly return tonight, but what the Packers have done during their winning streak is lean heavily on the running game. Green Bay is averaging more than 150 yards rushing per game during this streak and for the season is third in the NFL in rushing offense (141.4 ypg). The main engine has been rookie Eddie Lacy, who has 395 yards rushing over his last four games. He has gotten 22 or more carries in each of these contests and is averaging four yards per attempt. Lacy even got a helping hand from James Starks last week, who returned against Minnesota after missing the previous three games with a knee injury. Starks had seven carries for 57 yards and a touchdown, while Lacy went for 94 and a score in the 44-31 victory. The Packers have found something that works and there’s no reason to expect them to go away from that against a Bears defense that is giving up more than 117 yards rushing per game. Unlike past meetings, Rodgers doesn’t have to do it all against the Bears, which makes him and the Packers offense that much more dangerous.

Chicago Key Player: Matt Forté, RB
The Bears will miss having Jay Cutler under center tonight, but the real key to this offense is Forté. New head coach Marc Trestman keeps his No. 1 running back busy, as Forté is eight in the NFL in rushing yards (533) and entered Week 9 third at his position in receptions (35). Green Bay’s defense has done a very good job against the run thus far, ranking fourth in the league at 83.6 yards per game. However, Forté is much more than just a rusher and he needs to find a way to make plays tonight to not only help the offense move the ball down the field, but to make things easier on backup quarterback Josh McCown, who is making his first start since late in the 2011 season. Forté figures to be one busy Bear tonight, he also needs to be a productive one.

Green Bay Key Player: A.J. Hawk, LB
The Packers’ defense entered this game 11th in the NFL in yards allowed and 16th in points allowed. The unit has been very good against the run (4th, 83.6 ypg) and has been at its best during this current four-game winning streak. One of the reasons for their success has been the play of Hawk, who has stepped up his production in his eighth season in Green Bay. Hawk leads the team in tackles (59) by a wide margin and is tied for second with three sacks. He has posted double-digit stops in two of his last three games, which also is the amount of time his teammate, All-Pro Clay Matthews has missed with a broken thumb. Even though Hawk and company are facing Chicago backup quarterback Josh McCown tonight, they know that it won’t be easy, especially with the weapons the Bears have. It will be up to Hawk to take charge in stopping Matt Forté, both as a runner and a receiver, as well as protecting the middle of the field where McCown may look for one of his wide receivers or tight end Martellus Bennett. The Packers defense hasn’t missed a beat since Matthews went down and Hawk will try to maintain the status quo tonight.

Final Analysis

Even with Jay Cutler at quarterback, Chicago would have had its work cut out against a Green Bay team that is playing exceptionally well right now. Josh McCown will get some things done, but the Bears don’t have enough firepower to keep up with a balanced Packers offense that has rediscovered its running game.

In the end, the Packers hammer the Bears on the ground, which allows Aaron Rodgers to pick and choose his shots through the air. The Bears hang in there, but fall too far behind and can’t make enough stops on defense as the Packers extend their winning streak to five with a seventh straight victory over the Bears.

Green Bay 34, Chicago 23

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The Indianapolis Colts will try and extend their lead in the AFC South tonight when they face off with the Houston Texans at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The Colts (5-2) currently lead the Titans by two games and the Texans (2-5), who have lost five in a row, by three.

Andrew Luck and the Colts have gotten back to the basics this season, putting more of an emphasis on running the ball and playing more physical on defense. J.J. Watt and the Texans’ defense have done their job for the most part, but the offense has made too many costly mistakes and has struggled to put points on the scoreboard.

3 Things to Watch

Who Becomes Luck’s “New” No. 1 Target?
The Colts headed into their Week 8 bye on a high, beating the previously undefeated Broncos 39-33 in Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis. The win didn’t come without a cost, however, as wide receiver Reggie Wayne tore his ACL, ending his season. Wayne has been Andrew Luck’s favorite target since the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft made his first start, as the two have combined for 144 receptions for 1,885 yards and seven touchdowns in 23 regular-season games. More importantly, Luck targeted Wayne on 252 of 851 pass attempts during that same span. To put it another way, three out of every 10 passes Luck has thrown in the NFL have gone to Wayne. Now those looks have to go to someone else, as Luck needs one of his other pass-catchers to emerge and become as reliable and productive as Wayne. The primary options are fellow wideouts T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey and tight end Coby Fleener. All three have caught at least 18 passes this season, but that was with Wayne on the field with them, drawing defenders’ attention away. What happens now will be key to how the second half of the Colts’ season plays out. And if there wasn’t enough pressure on Hilton, Heyward-Bey and Fleener already, tonight’s matchup with the No. 1 passing defense in the league is not exactly the ideal situation in which to “break in” a new passing attack.

Does Keenum Make His Case?
Matt Schaub’s problems in the pocket have been well documented. Earlier this season, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw an interception returned for a touchdown in four straight games. Then to make matters worse, after Schaub got hurt against the Rams in Week 6, backup T.J. Yates took over and made it five games in a row with a pick-six. Houston head coach Gary Kubiak then turned the reins over to undrafted, second-year pro Case Keenum. Although the Texans fell to the Chiefs, Keenum was solid in his first career start, throwing for 271 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions, although he did lose one of his two fumbles. Still, Keenum apparently showed enough that he remained the starter after the bye. He will make his second NFL start tonight against an Indianapolis defense that has done a decent job against the pass. The Colts entered this week 13th in the league in passing defense and this is a unit that has already faced Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning. If Keenum is able to make some plays through the air, lead the Texans on some scoring drives and protect the ball, he could secure his status as the Texans’ starter for the rest of the way, even though Schaub is healthy enough to play.

Houston’s Hurting in the Backfield
For all of their offensive woes, the Texans have still been productive in the running game. Although the numbers aren’t where they were last season, the Texans are currently 10th in the NFL in rushing at 127.7 yards per game. After a slow start, Arian Foster has picked things up, averaging 113.7 yards rushing per game during a three-game stretch in which the Texans played all NFC West teams – Seattle, San Francisco and St. Louis. Unfortunately, Foster lasted just four carries in his last game before exiting with a hamstring injury. He was still limited in practice this week, even after the bye, and will be a game-time decision to play tonight. Foster has especially enjoyed facing the Colts, as he’s averaging 173 total yards in six games against them with six touchdowns. And the Colts have had some issues stopping the run this season. They enter this game 29th in the league in rushing defense at 122.3 yards per game. Foster’s not the only Texan back hurting either. His backup, Ben Tate, is dealing with four broken ribs, but he will play. So with Foster a question mark and Tate at less than 100 percent, Deiji Karim, who has yet to play a single snap this season, could be called on. Whoever ends up getting the ball, they must find a way to take advantage of the perceived weak spot in Indianapolis’ defense. Otherwise, quarterback Case Keenum’s job, in just the second start of his NFL career, is going to be a lot harder.

Indianapolis Key Player: Trent Richardson, RB
Three yards per carry and two touchdowns isn’t exactly what the Colts were hoping for when they sent a first-round pick in next year’s draft to Cleveland for Richardson. Since joining the Colts in Week 3, Richardson has averaged less than 46 yards rushing per game and his longest run has been 16 yards. Backup Donald Brown (5.9 ypc) and Ahmad Bradshaw (4.5), who is now on injured reserve, have both been more productive with their carries, as has been quarterback Andrew Luck (6.5). Richardson also hasn’t made any impact as a receiver out of the backfield, catching just two passes on seven targets for 19 yards. This will be Richardson’s sixth game with the Colts and he just had a bye week to help him get more comfortable with the playbook. The Texans, like the Colts, have struggled against the run this season, allowing 122.1 yards rushing per game. With Reggie Wayne lost for the rest of the season, the running game will need to maintain its production while Luck and the pass-catchers figure the new pecking order out. There’s a reason the Colts traded for Richardson, and tonight would be as good as time as any for the third overall pick of the 2012 draft to show everyone why.

Houston Key Player: J.J. Watt, DE
The Texans may be 2-5, but their defense is No. 1 in the NFL. Despite all of the problems on offense, Watt and his running mates have done everything they can to keep this team afloat. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year may not be making as much noise as he did last season, but he does have 4.5 sacks, 34 total tackles, three passes defended and a forced fumble in seven games. Watt is capable of changing the direction of a game on any snap, and a big play on defense may be just what this Texans team needs to get it going. Andrew Luck is a mobile quarterback who can move around in the pocket and make plays with his legs if need be, but he’s also well aware of Watt’s vast skill set. Unless the offense suddenly figures things out, the Texans will need Watt to have some sort of impact tonight if they want to end their five-game losing skid.

Final Analysis

Headed into this season, most NFL analysts and pundits expected this game to feature the AFC South division leader. The only problem is that Houston was the team projected to be in first place, not Indianapolis. Even at 2-5, the Texans aren’t completely out of the wild-card discussion, but this is pretty much a must-win situation.

The Colts may be in first, but their offense has to figure out how to make things work without Reggie Wayne. Andrew Luck has been as good as advertised since being taken No. 1 overall in the 2012 draft, but this will be his first game without his top target.

Even without Wayne, the Colts have a huge advantage at quarterback, as Case Keenum will be making his second career start tonight. Both teams are coming off of a bye, but the Texans are still pretty banged up, especially in the backfield. This will make it harder for them to take advantage of a generous Colts rushing defense.

The Texans put up a spirited fight in front of the home crowd, but in the end Luck and the Colts simply make more plays. Indianapolis’ defense forces Keenum into a critical mistake late in the game to help send the defending divisional champions to a potentially crippling sixth straight loss.

Indianapolis 27, Houston 23

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Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 09:00
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Once again, six teams are on bye in Week 9 and plenty of other running backs are dealing with injuries. Who is looking good for today and whose playing status is a little more uncertain?

Arian Foster and Ben Tate, RBs, Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts
There is nothing worse, or frustrating for that matter, than watching your star running back come off a bye week and still not be completely healthy. That’s the case with Foster, who is still dealing with a lingering hamstring injury. He was able to practice some this week, but he’s considered Questionable and will be a game-time decision for tonight’s (8:30 p.m. ET) game. Tate (right), who is playing with four broken ribs, is Probable and will play against the Colts. Foster has enjoyed considerable success in his career against the Colts, averaging 173 total yards in six games with six touchdowns, but the late start time and game-time decision status put his owners in a tough position. I would keep an eye on any updates this morning, but unless you have a better option, I think you have to roll the dice and hope Foster plays. Meanwhile Tate is definitely in the flex discussion with a rather appealing upside, especially if Foster doesn’t play.

C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, RBs, Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Spiller sat out last week’s game to give his ankle more time to heal and it appears the decision has paid off. While not back to 100 percent, Spiller returned to practice on Thursday in a limited basis and was a full go on Friday. He is Probable and is expected to be back on the field. Jackson continues to deal with his lingering knee issue, but he practiced fully on both Thursday and Friday and also is Probable. Neither are terrific options against a tough Kansas City defense, especially considering the timeshare that will happen between Jackson and Spiller with Tashard Choice also getting a few carries. Jackson and Spiller still carry the most fantasy appeal, but both should be viewed as nothing better than RB2s this week, with Jackson having the slight edge over Spiller.

DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar, RBs, Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings
Murray was a possibility to go last week, but the coaching staff decided to keep him sidelined. He practiced fully all week, is Probable and will be back in there against Minnesota. Murray is a solid starting option against a Vikings defense that is giving up 113.7 yards rushing per game. Murray’s return means fewer opportunities for rookie Joseph Randle. In fact, Randle and Dunbar, who is Probable even though he’s dealing with a hamstring injury, will share backup duties to Murray. Even though Murray likely won’t see a heavy workload in his first game back, it’s too risky to count on either Randle or Dunbar this week, even as a possible flex option. For one, there’s no telling which one will get the most touches or, more importantly, do the most with them. There’s also the possibility that Philip Tanner could vulture a goal-line or short-yardage touchdown. In other words, as far as Cowboy backs go this week, there’s Murray (RB2 with upside) and the rest don’t even matter.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Charles has been dealing with some bumps and bruises and he was held out of practice earlier in the week because of a sore knee. He practiced fully on Friday and is Probable for today’s game in Buffalo. Charles is leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage, averaging about 128 total yards per game, and is No. 1 in fantasy points at his position. Need I say anything more?

Zac Stacy and Daryl Richardson, RBs, St. Louis Rams vs. Tennessee Titans
Stacy was quite impressive last week against Seattle, rushing for 134 yards on 26 carries, but he rolled his ankle late. He was a full participant in practice on Thursday, but was limited on Friday and is considered Questionable to play the Titans. His backup, Richardson, did not practice at all on Friday, and he too is Questionable. There have been no reports of Stacy suffering any sort of setback, so unless something changes between this morning and the 1 p.m. ET kickoff, he should be on the field. Richardson appears far more uncertain, and his fantasy potential was already limited because of Stacy’s emergence. While expectations need to be limited, you should be able to employ Stacy as a RB2/RB3/flex this week, and I would not mess with Richardson.

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Carolina’s backfield is set to get a little more crowded today, while owners are hoping normalcy returns in Week 9 as it relates to Seattle’s running game. Here is the latest information on those and some other running back injury situations.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Williams left last week’s win in Tampa Bay early after injuring his quadriceps. He was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but was back on Friday. He is Probable for today’s game and is still considered the starter in the Panthers' backfield. Williams has been productive with his touches, but his fantasy impact has been limited by a lack of touchdowns. He scored his first of the season last week despite averaging more than 16 carries per game. Jonathan Stewart (right) also was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Saturday and is expected to join a crowded backfield that already has Williams and Mike Tolbert, not to mention quarterback Cam Newton, who has 50 carries this season. While Williams should maintain his double-digit carries, his touches figure to decrease some moving forward because of the presence of Stewart and Tolbert. Add to that his lack of scoring chances and while Williams is probably the best of the trio of Panther backs, the reality is that he may be nothing more than a flex option with upside potential from here out.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lynch didn’t practice at all on Thursday because of a knee injury, but was a full go on Friday. He is Probable to play later this afternoon (4:05 p.m. ET kickoff) and at least on paper, looks the part of a RB1. The problem, however, is the eight carries Lynch got on Monday night against the Rams. Whether that was because of the knee, a coaching decision, a combination of the two or something else, who knows, but anytime a so-called workhorse back gets less than 10 total touches, it’s concerning. Still, at home and against a reeling Buccaneers team, you have to roll with Lynch and hope last week was the exception, not the rule.

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks
To the surprise of no one, Martin will miss his second game because of a shoulder injury. Mike James will continue to handle the load in Martin’s absence, but he has another tough matchup ahead. James had 64 total yards last week against Carolina and today faces a Seattle defense that’s back at home and wants to redeem itself after allowing 200 yards rushing to the Rams last week. If you have James as Martin’s handcuff, you probably have to start him, just be sure to temper your expectations.

Bernard Pierce, RB, Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Pierce is dealing with a thigh injury, but he practiced fully all week and is Probable for today’s game. Last week’s bye gave him extra time to rest and recover, and hopefully he and Ray Rice can get the Ravens’ running game going. Baltimore has struggled mightily on the ground and face a Cleveland defense that is allowing less than 104 yards rushing. Rice hasn’t done a lot this season, but he’s in no danger of losing his No. 1 status to Pierce. While Pierce could get back into the flex conversation, I would advise against employing him there this week, unless you have no other option.

Willis McGahee, RB, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
Once again, the Browns are being intentional in giving McGahee planned rest days for his surgically repaired knee and once again he is Probable to play. That said, McGahee is averaging just 10 carries over his last three games and is gaining 3.5 yards per attempt during this stretch. Today he faces a Ravens defense that is rested coming off of the bye and has allowed just one rushing touchdown all season. Six teams are on bye and McGahee is still nothing more than a RB3/flex option.

Teaser:
Injury Updates Week 9: DeAngelo Williams, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Bernard Pierce, Willis McGahee
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-desean-jackson-marques-colston-pierre-garcon-eddie-royal-james-jones
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Whether it’s an ankle, knee, calf or toe, wide receivers across the league are dealing with an injury entering the bulk of Week 9’s action. Which ones should you be most concerned about? Athlon Sports has the latest information.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders
Jackson “tweaked” his ankle during practice this week, but he is listed as Probable is expected to start against Oakland. Jackson hasn’t done much in the past two games, but he’s the Eagles’ No. 1 wide receiver and needs to be in your lineup. He has clicked with Nick Foles, who will return to the lineup today, quite nicely and at worst, Jackson should provide WR3 production with the potential for much, much more because he is targeted so much.

Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints at New York Jets
Colston actually missed practice on Friday because of a knee injury, so even though he is listed as Questionable, I would exercise caution with him. He will be a game-time decision for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff, but his numbers in recent games also portray the picture of a wide receiver whose role is diminishing. Whether it’s injury-related or not, Colston has six catches on 11 targets for just 44 yards in his last three games combined. He also has just one touchdown reception all season, as Drew Brees has relied more on rookie Kenny Stills, the recently returned Lance Moore, and of course, tight end Jimmy Graham. The Jets' defense has done a decent job this season against the pass, so if you have another option, it may be best to leave Colston on your bench this week.

Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins vs. San Diego Chargers
Garcon was limited somewhat in practice this week by a calf injury, but he is Probable and should play against San Diego. He is Robert Griffin III’s No. 1 target, but the big plays have been few and far between this season. Garcon has 47 receptions (on 78 targets), but only four of those have gone for 20 yards or more, and he has just two touchdown receptions. As long as he plays, Garcon needs to be in your lineup and you just hope he breaks out at some point in the near future.

Eddie Royal, WR, San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins
Coming off of the bye, Royal is still dealing with a toe injury that held him out of practice all week. He is listed as Questionable, but that was the same situation two weeks ago when he ended up playing and catching a touchdown against Jacksonville. Royal has cooled off considerably from his incredibly hot start, but he’s shown that he can come through in any week. Royal’s outlook is strictly that of a WR3/flex, and the 1 p.m. ET kickoff should give you plenty of time to make a decision about whether to put him in your lineup or not.

Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys
Jennings missed practice on Wednesday because of a knee injury, but was a limited participant on both Thursday and Friday. He is Probable to play the Cowboys, but he also is coming off a game in which he caught just one pass for nine yards. Christian Ponder will get the start for the Vikings, but that really has nothing to do with Jennings, who hasn’t done much of anything in his first season with his new team. He has 25 catches for 336 yards and two touchdowns in seven games, but only 11 grabs for 84 yards and no scores in his last three combined. The only Viking offensive skill players you want in your lineup this week are Adrian Peterson and Kyle Rudolph.

Miles Austin, WRs, Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings
Austin missed last week’s game because of a hamstring injury and that’s when he was listed as Questionable. This week looks even less likely, as he’s Doubtful. The reality is that Austin has not caught a pass since Week 3 and has just 15 receptions with no touchdowns on the season. Dez Bryant is clearly the top target for Tony Romo, followed by tight end Jason Witten. After those two, Austin has been replaced by rookie Terrance Williams, who has a touchdown catch in four straight games. There’s really no reason to even keep Austin on your roster at this point.

James Jones, WRs, Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears (Mon.)
Jones has missed the last two games with a sprained knee, but did finally return to practice this week, albeit in a limited capacity. He is listed as Questionable to play Monday night, which is an upgrade from last week’s Dobtful designation. With him playing in the final game of the week, Jones is probably too risky to count on this week, unless you have another Bear or Packer on your roster that you can plug in should Jones be ruled out prior to kickoff.

Teaser:
Week 9 Injury Updates: DeSean Jackson, Marques Colston, Pierre Garcon, Eddie Royal, James Jones
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-9-danny-amendola-darrius-heyward-bey-stevie-johnson-dwayne-bowe-roddy
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Six teams are on bye in Week 9 so injuries only add to the dilemma facing fantasy owners enterting today's action. Here are some key wide receiver injuries to pay attention to before setting your lineup.

Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Amendola is still listed on the injury report, but this week it’s because of his lingering groin issue not the concussion, and he’s Probable, not Questionable like he was last week. Edelman (right) also is Probable with a thigh injury. Both were able to practice in some capacity during the week and are expected to play. However, the Patriots’ passing game has struggled to produce and the Steelers’ defense is not only second in the NFL against the pass, it has been extremely stingy to opposing wide receivers. Pittsburgh has given up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. While Amendola is likely to see an increase in targets this week, he should probably be viewed as nothing more than a WR3 with upside. Meanwhile Edelman’s value took a hit first with the return of Rob Gronkowski, then Amendola and now it appears that rookie Aaron Dobson has passed him in the pecking order. Edelman’s best fantasy days may be past him.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Reggie Wayne tore his ACL in the Colts' Week 7 win over Denver, ending his season and presenting Heyward-Bey with a huge opportunity to step up not only for his team, but for his fantasy owners. Unfortunately, Heyward-Bey injured his hamstring in practice on Thursday and did not get on the field at all on Friday. He is listed as Questionable to face the Texans tonight, although head coach Chuck Pagano expects him to play. Wayne’s targets from Andrew Luck need to go to someone, so while the hamstring issue is not ideal, I think you need to throw DHB out there and see what happens.

Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Johnson is dealing with a hip/groin issue, but he was a practice participant to different degrees this week and is Probable. The Bills’ quarterback situation is definitely up in the air with Thad Lewis listed as Doubtful because of a rib injury, but regardless of who is under center, Johnson should remain an active part of the passing game. He has 13 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown in his last two games combined. Kansas City’s defense has been one of the best in the NFL, so Johnson’s ceiling this week is probably limited to WR2.

Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery, WRs, Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Bowe has been limited this week by a groin issue, but he practiced fully on Friday and is Probable. Avery has been dealing with a shoulder issue, but he also is Probable and good to go against Buffalo. The question is, however, does it matter? Bowe caught one pass for seven yards last week and his season-high numbers are five catches for 66 yards (Week 2). He has just two touchdown receptions in eight games. Avery has one 100-yard game to his credit, but he has one touchdown grab and just 11 receptions on 17 targets in his last four games combined. The Chiefs have been winning with Jamaal Charles on the ground (and as a receiver out of the backfield) and with a strong defense. Right now, it’s really hard to trust any Chief receiver in fantasy, as Dexter McCluster has been the most productive wideout the past two games. Bowe has been a disappointment this season and Avery has not been anywhere near as involved as he was earlier. If you are relying on either Bowe or Avery this week, I hope you have limited expectations.

Roddy White, WRs, Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
White hasn’t played since Week 5 due to a hamstring injury, but there’s a chance he could return today. He practiced on a limited basis on Friday and officially is listed as Questionable. He most likely will be a game-time decision, and while the 1 p.m. ET kickoff helps, this isn’t vintage White we are talking about. Hampered by a high ankle sprain from the start, he has 14 catches and no touchdowns in five games. With Julio Jones on injured reserve, Harry Douglas has become Matt Ryan’s No. 1 target and he’s the Falcon wideout you must start, not White.

Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson and Stephen Hill, WRs, New York Jets vs. New Orleans Saints
Talk about your banged up position groups. A total of six Jets wide receivers appear on this week’s injury report. The worst of the bunch is Santonio Holmes, who will miss another game because of a hamstring injury. The rest are Probable, starting with Kerley, who missed some practice time due to illness. He should be fine for today’s game with New Orleans. Nelson was limited all week by a quad injury, while Hill is dealing with a foot injury. All three should play against the Saints, but Kerley seems to be the safest of this trio. Nelson has actually been the most productive wideout over the past two games, but it looks like he won’t be 100 percent today. Kerley is probably in the WR3 category, with the potential for more because of the injury situation to his running mates, while Nelson is a flex candidate. Hill has been the odd man out the past month and it’s too risky to expect that to change this week.

Teaser:
Injury Updates Week 9: Danny Amendola, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Stevie Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Roddy White
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-9-tom-brady-robert-griffin-iii-nick-foles-jay-cutler-thad-lewis
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Six quarterbacks are on bye in Week 9 while several other appear on the injury report. Which ones are in danger of not taking the field? Athlon Sports has the latest injury information on the quarterback front.

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Brady is still listed on the injury report with a shoulder injury, but this is the Patriots we are talking about. The key is that he is Probable and is fully expected to face the Steelers. Even with Rob Gronkowski (Probable, back) and Danny Amendola (Probable, groin) back in the fold, Brady’s numbers have been very un-Brady-like this season. He has one 300-yard passing game and a total of nine touchdown passes in eight games. The Steelers are second in the NFL in passing defense. I’m not saying you should sit Brady, but I think we have reached the point where you at least have to give it some thought, especially if you have another option on your bench.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins vs. San Diego Chargers
RG3 is listed on the injury report with a knee issue, but he practiced fully all week and is Probable for today’s game. After showing signs of improvement, RG3 posted a dud last week against Denver (132-1-2, 7 yards rushing, fumble), so his owners can only hope he can turn things around this week at home. He is averaging nearly 320 yards passing per game at FedEx Field.

Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders
Michael Vick re-injured his hamstring last week and has already been ruled Out for today’s game. Fortunately, Foles returned to practice last week and will be back under center against Oakland. Foles missed one game because of a concussion, but he was cleared early in the week and is locked in as the starter. Foles fared very well as the starter after Vick got hurt the first time, throwing for 296 yards and three touchdowns against Tampa Bay in Week 6, and his return also is a good sign for the other Eagle offensive skill players. The Raiders’ defense hasn’t been horrible, especially at home, but I think you need to start Foles today if he’s your best option.

Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (Mon.)
Despite some early optimism, Cutler will miss the Monday night game because of a groin injury. Josh McCown will start in his place and even though this is his first start since late in the 2011 season, I like his prospects as a possible bye-week replacement or fill-in this week. McCown threw for 204 yards and a touchdown in relief of Cutler against the Redskins and the Packers aren’t exactly shutting down opposing passing games. If anything, McCown may have no choice but to throw the ball if the Bears end up trailing the Packers by a significant amount.

Thad Lewis, QB, Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Lewis is dealing with a rib contusion and was able to practice only on Friday on a limited basis. He is considered Doubtful to suit up against Kansas City and at best is a game-time decision. If Lewis can’t go, Jeff Tuel or Matt Flynn would get the call, as EJ Manuel (sprained LCL) will not be returning this week. This already was a bad matchup to start with Kansas City and its ferocious pass rush on the other side. Now, it’s a “stay away” situation, as I wouldn’t want any part of the Bills’ quarterback position this week.

Teaser:
Injury Updates Week 9: Tom Brady, Robert Griffin III, Nick Foles, Jay Cutler, Thad Lewis
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-jimmy-graham-rob-gronkowski-jeff-cumberland-jermichael-finley
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Yet again, Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski both appear on the injury report. Is either in danger of not playing in Week 9?

Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints at New York Jets
Graham is dealing with plantar fasciitis, which is a painful issue that probably won’t be completely healed until after the season. The good news is that as long as it doesn’t get worse and he can manage the pain, Graham should be able to keep playing. That was the case last week, when even though he was a game-time decision, he suited up against the Bills. Graham is listed as Questionable this week, but he was able to practice, albeit in a limited capacity, and is fully expected to play. Graham is one of the few players who can have a big impact even with limited snaps, such as last week when he caught all three of his targets for 37 yards and two touchdowns. The 1 p.m. ET kickoff should provide you the luxury of just making sure Graham is in the Saints’ lineup, as he should definitely be in yours.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Gronkowski will probably stay on the injury report for the rest of this season, but as long as he’s listed as Probable, there’s really nothing to worry about. What his owners should be concerned with, however, is the two catches for just 27 yards he totaled last week against Miami. Pittsburgh is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season, so it could be another slow day at the office for Gronk.

Don’t Forget…

Jeff Cumberland, TE, New York Jets – Cumberland sustained a concussion last week against the Bengals and as of Saturday night, had yet to be cleared to return to the field. So even though he practiced on a limited basis on Friday and is Questionable on the injury report, I would not count on Cumberland playing today.

Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers – Finley is out indefinitely with a spinal contusion and unless you can afford the roster spot, he probably shouldn’t be owned in any league. His possible return to the football field is secondary to his health at this point. Andrew Quarless will replace Finley as the Packers’ starting tight end, but he is nothing more than a wait-and-see option for now.

Teaser:
Week 9 Injury Updates: Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Jeff Cumberland, Jermichael Finley
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Coaches on the hot seat, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/nfls-coach-hot-seat-rankings-midseason-edition
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Halfway through the season and a handful of NFL teams are either already out of the playoff race – at least realistically – or on their way there. That means that somewhere, deep in their offices, people are already pondering the 2014 season.

And the biggest thing they’ll be thinking about is: Who will be their coach?

It’s a good bet that several NFL coaches are already on a very hot seat, needing to do a lot of winning during the second half of the season in order to save their jobs. Here’s a look those whose seats are the hottest – some of whom are already burned:

The Hot Seats
(Team record entering Week 9)

1. Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay (0-7)
It’s hard to remember a regime that’s been a bigger disaster than Schiano’s regime currently is. There are many around the NFL who hate him for a variety of reasons – including his famous strategy of having his defense attack quarterbacks who take a knee at the end of games. But now he’s got players angry at him for the way he (and his general manager) mishandled the MRSA infection in the locker room, not to mention the ugly way he dealt with Josh Freeman, which included accusations of leaked information. And now they’re 0-7, too. If the Bucs aren’t already thinking ahead to the next coach, they should be.

2. Leslie Frazier, Minnesota (1-6)
The Vikings were 10-6 and made the playoffs last year, and now they’d need to go 9-0 just to equal that mark. That’s a huge drop-off for a team with the NFL’s best running back in Adrian Peterson. Yes, the Vikings have QB issues, but Frazier isn’t handling them well. His decision to go to Josh Freeman seemed premature, as was his decision to have Freeman throw 53 times in a loss to the Giants while Peterson gathered dust. With a new stadium on the way in two years, Vikings may want to clean house to make sure they can build a contender again by 2016 before they waste any more of AP’s years.

3. Gary Kubiak, Houston (2-5)
This isn’t all Kubiak’s fault and the Texans have been hammered by injuries, but how many years can he get away with the Texans being one of the league’s biggest disappointments? He is in his eighth year as the Texans’ coach. They’ve been to the playoffs twice and lost in the divisional round twice, even though there are probably five or six years there when they were expected to go farther. Houston’s desire for stability is admirable, but it may be time for a change.

4. Jason Garrett, Dallas (4-4)
Yeah, the Cowboys are in first place, but only because the rest of the NFC East stinks. They probably should be 6-2, but instead they’re just one game ahead of the awful Eagles and two games ahead of the disastrous 2-6 Giants. The Cowboys are the most talented team in the division and probably could make a run at being one of the best in the conference. If they don’t win the division in this down year, how could Jerry Jones not make a change?

5. Rex Ryan, New York Jets (4-4)
They may be in second place, but they have two very fortunate wins that hinged on controversial decisions by officials, and they’re coming off a beat-down in Cincinnati. All in all, given the roster turnover and the rookie quarterback, Ryan has done an impressive job. But his seat will be red hot without a playoff berth because he has yet to get a vote of confidence from ownership or new GM John Idzik, who most people believe is determined to bring in his own coach next year if he even has the smallest opportunity to do so.

The Warm Seats

6. Ron Rivera, Carolina (4-3)
They’re starting to show signs of life behind Cam Newton, and they better keep it up because when a No. 1 overall draft pick like Newton doesn’t cause a pretty significant turnaround for a franchise it’s usually the coach that takes the fall. It doesn’t help that the Panthers changed GMs, hiring ex-Giants executive Dave Gettleman, who stuck with Rivera for one year but likely wouldn’t do it for two if there wasn’t a playoff berth involved.

7. Mike Shanahan, Washington (2-5)
The Redskins’ problems can probably be tied directly to the health and performance of Robert Griffin III, but Shanahan was already under fire a bit for the way he handled RGIII’s knee injury last season. Besides, if they don’t make the playoffs this season that would make three of four misses under Shanahan’s watch, plus a loss in the wild-card round. And in a down year in the NFC East where there should’ve been an easy opportunity for the ‘Skins to make a run, the impetuous Dan Snyder has to consider blowing things up.

8. Mike Munchak, Tennessee (3-4)
The Munchak era started with such promise – a 9-7 record in 2011 – but last year was a setback and this year they’re only clinging to the fringe of a very winnable wild-card race. The death of Bud Adams likely means the Titans won’t make a change because organizations don’t like a lot of upheaval at the top at one time. But Munchak’s reign has been marked by mediocrity at best and no visible signs of taking a step towards the next level.

Cold Seats … but only for now

Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh (2-5) – He works for an organization known for sticking with coaches longer than any other. And he’s had too much success for the Steelers to ponder giving up on him now.

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (2-6) – Ownership and management remain strongly in his corner, but at 67 retirement always looms. Plus a second-half disaster in the New York fishbowl could always force unexpected changes.

Gus Bradley, Jacksonville (0-8) – His team stinks and he has no quarterback and it’s doubtful ownership will fire him after just one year. But if they get to 0-16 – which isn’t out of the question – all bets have to be off.

Jim Schwartz, Detroit (5-3) – He’s coming off an extremely disappointing 4-12 season, so anything short of a playoff berth in his fifth season could cost him his job. They do seem to appear to be on their way, though.

Dennis Allen, Oakland (3-4) – Expectations weren’t high in Oakland and they do seem to have found a quarterback in Terelle Pryor. But these are the Raiders, so nothing can be ruled out.

By Ralph Vacchiano, @RVacchianoNYDN
Teaser:
NFL's Coach on the Hot Seat Rankings: Midseason Edition
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-positional-rankings-week-9
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Congratulations, you survived last week, win or lose, when six teams were on bye. Just don't get too comfortable, however, because you get to do it all over again this week. And with the likes of Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, the New York Giants and San Francisco on bye in Week 9, a case could be made that this week will be even tougher than last week. Especially when it comes to the wide receiver position.

Speaking of wide receivers, Week 8 belonged to one man, Calvin Johnson. Already the NFL record-holder for receiving yards in a single season, Megatron came eight yards shy of claiming the single-game record after piling up 329 on a career-high 14 catches in Detroit's wild comeback win over Dallas. Instead, Johnson will have to settle for the record in a non-overtime game, as Flipper Anderson's mark of 336 yards from 1989 will remain No. 1, for now. Johnson's fantasy owners also got a nice consolation gift in the 44.9 fantasy points (Athlon scoring) he provided. Those who went up against Megatron probably weren't as fortunate. Johnson's encore will have to wait a week, however, as he and the Lions are on bye.

Johnson wasn't the only who paid big dividends for fantasy teams last week, as Cincinnati's Marvin Jones caught a franchise-record four touchdowns and Andy Dalton torched the Jets for five scoring strikes overall. Drew Brees matched Dalton's five touchdowns and although Peyton Manning had four turnovers (3 INTs, 1 fumble) he also threw four more touchdown passes in the Broncos' come-from-behind home win over the Redskins. Manning finally gets a much-needed break this week, while Dalton will be in Miami on Thursday night and Brees goes to the Big Apple to face the Jets.

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

2013 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Positional Rankings: Week 9
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-quarterback-rankings-week-9
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Andy Dalton is not No. 1 on Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 9 quarterback rankings, but he's all alone when it comes to production over the past three weeks. Dalton has 1,034 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions in his last three games combined, all Cincinnati wins, making him fantasy's top scorer during that span. He's a top-10 option this week, as the Bengals go to Miami to face a Dolphins defense that ranks in the middle of the pack against the pass.

With Peyton Manning getting a well-deserved break, this week's top quarterback is Drew Brees. The Saints' signal-caller actually outscored Dalton in Week 8, as both tossed five touchdown passes. The difference between the two was that Brees edged Dalton in yards passing (332 to 325) and didn't turn the ball over. This Sunday Brees will get his shot at the same New York Jets pass defense that Dalton victimized last week.

With both Mannings Matthew Stafford and Colin Kaepernick all on bye, quarterback depth could be more of a factor this week. Some good news on that front is the return of Nick Foles, who sustained a concussion two weeks ago and didn't play last Sunday. Foles threw for 296 yards and three scores in his only start thus far, so he could work his way into the 2-QB league/matchup play discussion if he can re-ignite an Eagles offense that has stalled in recent weeks.

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

2013 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks
Teams on bye:
Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York Giants, San Francisco

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Drew BreesNOat NYJJets got torched by Andy Dalton (325-5-1-) last week.
2Aaron RodgersGBvs. CHI (Mon.)Had 4 TDs, 1 INT in 2 wins over Bears last season.
3Cam NewtonCARvs. ATLHas 8 total touchdowns, 0 TOs in last 3 games.
4Tony RomoDALvs. MINHad just 206 yards last week, but 3 TD passes.
5Philip RiversSDat WASRedskins have allowed 3 QBs to pass for 350+ yards.
6Russell WilsonSEAvs. TBSeahawks' O-line must do better job protecting Wilson.
7Andrew LuckINDat HOUTexans No. 1 in NFL in passing defense.
8Matt RyanATLat CARNeeded 61 pass attempts to get 301 yards, TD last week.
9Robert Griffin IIIWASvs. SDBroncos knocked RG3 around pretty good last week.
10Andy DaltonCINat MIA (Thurs.)Has thrown 11 touchdowns, 2 INTs in last 3 games.
11Terrelle PryorOAKvs. PHIPryor posted second 100-yard rushing game last week.
12Tom BradyNEvs. PITBrady has 1 300-yard game, PIT is No. 2 vs. pass.
13Alex SmithKCat BUFBills have allowed league-high 20 TD passes.
14Ben RoethlisbergerPITat NEPatriots have at least one INT in every game but one.
15Nick FolesPHIat OAKWill make his first start since sustaining concussion.
16Joe FlaccoBALat CLEDid Flacco/Ravens "fix" passing game during bye?
17Jake LockerTENat STLRams sacked Russell Wilson 7 times on MNF.
18Ryan TannehillMIAvs. CIN (Thurs.)Has 6 TOs (4 INTs, 2 fumbles) in last 2 games.
19Josh McCownCHIat GB (Mon.)Put up 204-1-0 in relief of Cutler in Bears' last game.
20Geno SmithNYJvs. NORoad woes continue: 2 pick-sixes vs. CIN last week.
21Case KeenumHOUvs. INDKeenum gets 2nd start in place of Schaub.
22Jason CampbellCLEvs. BALHeld up nicely (293-2-0) vs. Chiefs in Browns debut.
23Josh FreemanMINat DALShould as long as he's healthy/cleared (concussion).
24Mike GlennonTBat SEASeahawks tied for league lead with 13 INTs.
25Thad LewisBUFvs. KCChiefs have given up 8 TD passes compared to 10 INTs.
26Kellen ClemensSTLvs. TENGutsy (158-0-2) effort in close loss to SEA on MNF.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Quarterback Rankings: Week 9
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-running-back-rankings-week-9
Body:

Ryan Mathews is not No. 1 on Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 9 running back rankings, but he is in the top 10 for the first time in quite a while. Mathews has posted back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time since 2011 and could make it three in a row this Sunday against Washington's 30th-ranked rushing defense. Maybe, just maybe, Mathews is finally ready to live up to all the hype and promise that surrounded him when the Chargers took him with the 10th overall pick of the 2010 draft as the heir apparent to LaDainian Tomlinson. Those who have stuck with Mathews this long can only hope.

Meanwhile, Jamaal Charles remains No. 1 in the running back rankings, as he leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 1,018. Charles has been dealing with his own bumps and bruises, including a sore knee that limited him in practice this week, but he should be ready to face a Buffalo defense that is allowing nearly 118 yards rushing per game.

In fact, with six teams on bye, health situations like Charles' play an even more important role this week. That is why particular attention needs to be paid to players like Charles, as well as Arian Foster (dealing with a hamstring injury, watch closely) DeMarco Murray (may return this week), Zac Stacy (rolled his ankle late on Monday night), DeAngelo Williams (hurt his quadriceps last Thursday vs. Tampa Bay), C.J. Spiller (missed last week because of high ankle sprain) and even Ben Tate (dealing with cracked ribs). This week is not one you want to take a chance on starting a running back that may not end up playing.

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

2013 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Back
Teams on bye: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York Giants, San Francisco

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Jamaal CharlesKCat BUFLeads NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,018).
2Adrian PetersonMINat DALHas 62 yards rushing or fewer in each of last 3 G.
3Matt ForteCHIat GB (Mon.)No 100-yard rushing games yet, but 8th in NFL.
4Marshawn LynchSEAvs. TBSeason-low 8 carries and 23 yards vs. Rams.
5Eddie LacyGBvs. CHI (Mon.)Averaging 99 yards rushing over last four games.
6LeSean McCoyPHIat OAKAveraging 3.1 ypc over last 2 G, 5.1 in first 6.
7Alfred MorrisWASvs. SDAveraging 5.2 ypc, but only getting 15.4 att/game.
8Arian FosterHOUvs. INDDealing with a hamstring injury, monitor closely.
9DeMarco MurrayDALvs. MINVery appealing matchup for his hopeful return.
10Ryan MathewsSDat WASHas posted back-to-back 100-yard games.
11Ray RiceBALat CLESeason-best is 74 yards rushing, averaging 2.8 ypc.
12Le'Veon BellPITat NEJust 24 yards on 13 att. vs. OAK, but did score.
13Darren McFaddenOAKvs. PHIHad 73 yards, 2 TDs in first game after bye.
14Fred JacksonBUFvs. KCKnee issue is keeping his workload down.
15Stevan RidleyNEvs. PITHad 79 yards, TD despite not playing in 1st quarter.
16Chris JohnsonTENat STLHis longest run this season has been 23 yards.
17Zac StacySTLvs. TENHuge game (134 yds.) on MNF, but rolled ankle late.
18DeAngelo WilliamsCARvs. ATLHurt quadriceps last week, but should be OK.
19Giovani BernardCINat MIA (Thurs.)Dolphins allowing second-most rec. yds to RBs.
20Trent RichardsonINDat HOUCan T-Rich get going vs. Texans (28th vs. rush)?
21Lamar MillerMIAvs. CIN (Thurs.)Basically splitting carries with Thomas right now.
22Danny WoodheadSDat WASRedskins giving up most fantasy points to RBs.
23Darren SprolesNOat NYJFinished with 0 yards (4 rec.) vs. Saints.
24Pierre ThomasNOat NYJJets No. 1 against rush (77.9 ypg).
25Steven JacksonATLat CARGrounded (11 att., 6 yds.) in return from injury.
26BenJarvus Green-EllisCINat MIA (Thurs.)Miami giving up fourth-most fantasy pts. to RBs.
27C.J. SpillerBUFvs. KCHeld out last week b/c of high ankle sprain.
28Mike JamesTBat SEAYards could be tough to come by in Seattle.
29Bilal PowellNYJvs. NOTops in team with 10 carries (also 4 rec.) last week.
30Mike TolbertCARvs. ATLFalcons have allowed just 3 rushing TDs.
31Ben TateHOUvs. INDDealing with cracked ribs, but hopeful to play.
32Chris IvoryNYJvs. NOWent from 34 carries in Week 7 to 6 last week.
33James StarksGBvs. CHI (Mon.)Picked up 57 yards, TD in return from knee injury.
34Brandon BoldenNEvs. PITContinues to see 8-10 touches, has TD in 2 straight.
35Jacquizz RodgersATLat CARGot just 4 touches in SJax' return.
36Roy HeluWASvs. SDGot just 6 touches last week, after 10+ in last 3 G.
37Willis McGaheeCLEvs. BALRavens have yielded one rushing TD.
38Daniel ThomasMIAvs. CIN (Thurs.)Making most of opportunities recently.
39Donald BrownINDat HOUGot season-high 11 carries, 14 touches in last game.
40Joseph RandleDALvs. MINVikings giving up second-most fantasy pts. to RBs.
41Daryl RichardsonSTLvs. TENTeamed w/ Stacy for effective 1-2 punch on MNF.
42Tashard ChoiceBUFvs. KCWill be a factor as long as Spiller is sidelined.
43LeGarrette BlountNEvs. PIT11 carries vs. MIA was third game w/ 10 or more.
44Shonn GreeneTENat STLNow healthy, could eat into Johnson's workload.
45Lance DunbarDALvs. MIN 
46Marcel ReeceOAKvs. PHIGot 3 carries, but no targets last week vs. Steelers.
47Robert TurbinSEA  
48Deiji KarimHOUvs. INDAdded to roster this week b/c of injury concerns.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Running Back Rankings: Week 9
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-tight-end-rankings-week-9
Body:

Even though he is dealing with plantar fasciitis, Jimmy Graham maintains his hold on the top spot on Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 9 tight end rankings. After all, that's what happens when you are "limited" and still haul in two touchdowns. While Graham and other young tight ends like Jordan Cameron, Julius Thomas and more recently, Jordan Reed, have been putting up solid numbers, there are still some veterans out there making noise.

For example, Antonio Gates is 33 years old and in his 11th season with San Diego, but you couldn't tell by looking at his numbers. Gates is well on his way to his best statistical production in several years, as after just seven games he's already close to surpassing his catch and yardage totals from 2012. Right now, Gates is on pace for 96 receptions and 1,136 yards. The catches would represent a career-best while the yards would rank second behind the 1,157 he compiled during his 2009 All-Pro campaign. The only complaint Gates owners can make at this point is he has caught just two touchdown passes, but that could change Sunday in Washington. The Redskins are tied for 27th in passing defense and have already yielded six touchdown receptions to opposing tight ends.

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

2013 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends
Teams on bye: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York Giants, San Francisco

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Jimmy GrahamNOat NYJStill had 2 TDs despite being "limited" by foot issue.
2Jordan CameronCLEvs. BALCaught 5 passes for 95 yards in Week 2 vs. BAL.
3Rob GronkowskiNEvs. PITGronk held in check (2 rec., 27 yds.) by 'Fins.
4Antonio GatesSDat WASRedskins have allowed six touchdown catches to TEs.
5Jordan ReedWASvs. SDLed Redskins w/ 8 catches for 90 yards last week.
6Tony GonzalezATLat CARHasn't had much impact w/ Julio and Roddy out.
7Jason WittenDALvs. MINVikings have given up 6 TD catches to TEs.
8Martellus BennettCHIat GB (Mon.)Caught one pass for TD in last game.
9Greg OlsenCARvs. ATLHauled in first TD pass since Week 2 vs. Bucs.
10Charles ClayMIAvs. CIN (Thurs.)Held w/o TD last week for first time in 4 games.
11Kyle RudolphMINat DALCowboys allowing second-most fantasy pts. to TEs.
12Coby FleenerINDat HOUWill his role expand w/ Reggie Wayne out for season?
13Heath MillerPITat NEHas been under 20 yards in each of last 2 games.
14Garrett GrahamHOUvs. INDColts have surrendered just one TD catch to a TE.
15Jared CookSTLvs. TENWould love to have big game against former team.
16Jermaine GreshamCINat MIA (Thurs.)Caught first TD of season last week.
17Timothy WrightTBat SEACaught first career TD pass last week.
18Scott ChandlerBUFvs. KCChiefs have allowed fewest fantasy pts. to TEs.
19Jeff CumberlandNYJvs. NOSustained mild concussion last week.
20Dallas ClarkBALat CLERavens looking for more from passing game,
21Delanie WalkerTENat STLRams been pretty good against opposing TEs.
22Tyler EifertCINat MIA (Thurs.)Timeshare w/ Gresham limiting opportunities.
23Zach MillerSEAvs. TB 
24Anthony FasanoKCat BUF 
25Brent CelekPHIat OAKEagles have too many TEs to trust any one.
26Andrew QuarlessGBvs. CHI (Mon.)Saw just 2 targets in first game as starter last week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Tight End Rankings: Week 9
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-kicker-rankings-week-9
Body:

Matt Prater on bye means there's a new name atop Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 9 kicker rankings. Stephen Gostkowski ascends to the No. 1 position this week, as he leads the NFL with 20 made field goals, but he's not the only AFC East kicker having a productive season. The Jets' Nick Folk is a perfect 19-of-19 on field goal tries this season, one of only four kickers in the entire league with 10 or more attempts who have yet to miss.

There's a strong chance that Folk's services will be needed Sunday at home against New Orleans. Not only are the Saints are giving up less than 21 points per game on the road, the Jets' offense has struggled in recent weeks to get the ball into the end zone. Folk and his counterpart, the Saints' Garrett Hartley, are both solid top-10 options this week.

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

2013 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers
Teams on bye this week: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York Giants, San Francisco

RkPlayerTeamOPPONENT
1Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. PIT
2Mason CrosbyGBvs. CHI (Mon.)
3Dan BaileyDALvs. MIN
4Steven HauschkaSEAvs. TB
5Adam VinatieriINDat HOU
6Justin TuckerBALat CLE
7Garrett HartleyNOat NYJ
8Nick NovakSDat WAS
9Nick FolkNYJvs. NO
10Robbie GouldCHIat GB (Mon.)
11Ryan SuccopKCat BUF
12Graham GanoCARvs. ATL
13Blair WalshMINat DAL
14Mike NugentCINat MIA (Thurs.)
15Randy BullockHOUvs. IND
16Shaun SuishamPITat NE

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams


Week 9 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Kicker Rankings: Week 9
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-defspecial-teams-rankings-week-9
Body:

Cincinnati is not No. 1 on Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 9 defense/special teams rankings, but no DST was more dominant last week than the Bengals. Not only did the defense take two Geno Smith interceptions back for touchdowns, the unit had four sacks and held the Jets to just three long field goals in the 49-9 rout. This week Cincinnati heads to Miami to face a Dolphins offense that hasn't scored any more than 23 points in its last four games and is led by a quarterback (Ryan Tannehill) who has more turnovers (10) than touchdowns (7) in that same span.

Seattle and Kansas City are the two DSTs ahead of Cincinnati in this week's ranks. The Seahawks get the nod despite an uneven performance (9 PA, 2 INTs and 3 sacks, but also 339 yards allowed, including 200 rushing) on the road against St. Louis because they are back at home facing a Tampa Bay team that is winless and struggling mightily. Kansas City is on the road in Buffalo where the Chiefs will look to add to their league-leading sack total (36) against a Bills offense that is 30th in passing and a banged-up backfield.

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

2013 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams
Teams on bye this week: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York Giants, San Francisco

RkTeamOPPNotes
1Seattle Seahawksvs. TBOnly 9 PA and 2 INTs, but gave up 200 yards rushing to Rams on MNF.
2Kansas City Chiefsat BUFChiefs giving up 12.3 ppg overall, just 4 TDs in 3 road games.
3Cincinnati Bengalsat MIA (Thurs.)Bengals had two pick-sixes, 4 sacks last week vs. Jets.
4New Orleans Saintsat NYJJets averaging 20.3 points at home, Saints allowing 20.7 on road.
5Carolina Panthersvs. ATLPanthers have given up 15+ points once this season.
6Indianapolis Coltsat HOUKeenum making 2nd career start, Texans RBs banged up.
7New England Patriotsvs. PITPatriots allowing 14.3 ppg at home, Steelers 17.9 ppg overall.
8Green Bay Packersvs. CHI (Mon.)Packers won't have to worry about facing Cutler on MNF.
9Pittsburgh Steelersat NESteelers' fourth-ranked defense needs some help from the O.
10Dallas Cowboysvs. MINCowboys had no answers for Megatron, Lions late last week.
11Cleveland Brownsvs. BALBrowns sacked Alex Smith six times last week.
12Baltimore Ravensat CLEBrowns tied for fourth-most sacks allowed (28). BAL has 25.
13St. Louis Ramsvs. TENRams' D-line punished Russell Wilson (7 sacks) on MNF.
14Houston Texansvs. INDTexans' No. 1 defense ready to make last stand?
15Oakland Raidersvs. PHIGiving up just 17 ppg at home, 10th in NFL in ypg.
16Philadelphia Eaglesat OAKDefense playing better lately, 18.3 ppg over last four.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Kickers

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 9
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-wide-receiver-rankings-week-9
Body:

Calvin Johnson was the story of Week 8, but he and the Lions are on bye, so there's someone else sitting atop Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 9 wide receiver rankings. Ironically enough, it's Dez Bryant, who made plenty of noise before his head-to-head matchup with Megatron last week and nearly stole the headlines away from Johnson following his late-game, sideline "tirade." Turns out the uproar over Bryant's actions were much ado about nothing and the attention paid them overshadowed his two touchdown catches against the Lions. While Johnson hauled in 14 receptions, Bryant had just three on six targets, but expect both of these numbers to go up quite a bit this week. Minnesota is 29th in the league in passing defense and gave up seven catches for 123 yards and two scores to Jordy Nelson, Green Bay's No. 1 receiver, last week.

Speaking of Nelson, he has looked quite comfortable in his new role as Aaron Rodgers' favorite target following Randall Cobb's season-ending injury. In two games without Cobb, Nelson has 12 catches for 165 yards and three scores. Even though Chicago has a pair of All-Pro cornerbacks in Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, Nelson is still a fairly safe bet this week, as evidenced by his No. 2 ranking. This also is somewhat attributed to the fact that besides the aforementioned Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, Larry Fitzgerald, Justin Blackmon, Eric Decker, Hakeem Nicks, Cecil Shorts and Anquan Boldin are all on bye this week. So which unheralded wide receiver will be the one to step up for his fantasy team this week?

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

2013 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers
Teams on bye: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York Giants, San Francisco

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Dez BryantDALvs. MINDez did have more TDs (2) than Megatron last week.
2Jordy NelsonGBvs. CHI (Mon.)Has 12 rec., 165 yds., 3 TDs in 2 G w/o Cobb/Jones.
3A.J. GreenCINat MIA (Thurs.)Took a backseat to teammate Jones last week.
4Brandon MarshallCHIat GB (Mon.)Must do without Cutler for another game or two.
5Andre JohnsonHOUvs. INDPosted season-best 42-yard reception last week.
6Josh GordonCLEvs. BALClicked with Campbell (5-132-1) right away vs. KC.
7DeSean JacksonPHIat OAKLooking to get things going again with Foles back.
8Pierre GarconWASvs. SDContained (6.6 ypr) by Broncos last week.
9Antonio BrownPITat NEPatriots' pass D could get Talib (hip) back this week.
10Vincent JacksonTBat SEASeattle's Legion of Boom will zero in on VJax.
11Steve SmithCARvs. ATLSaw his TD streak end at 2 games last week.
12Harry DouglasATLat CARSecond straight big game (12-121) replacing Julio.
13Terrance WilliamsDALvs. MINSet Cowboys rookie record w/ TD in four straight G.
14Torrey SmithBALat CLEAveraging 20.1 ypr, but has 1 TD catch.
15Denarius MooreOAKvs. PHIEagles allowing second-most passing yards.
16T.Y. HiltonINDat HOUNo. 1 role now his with Reggie Wayne out for season.
17James JonesGBvs. CHI (Mon.)Will he be back (knee) after missing last 2 games?
18Keenan AllenSDat WASRedskins allowing third-most fantasy pts. to WRs.
19Jarrett BoykinGBvs. CHI (Mon.)Has gone for 13-192-1 in first 2 games as starter.
20Alshon JefferyCHIat GB (Mon.)Has 100+ yards in three of last four games.
21Golden TateSEAvs. TBUnquestioned No. 1 w/ Rice (ACL) out for season.
22Stevie JohnsonBUFvs. KCHauled in TD vs. Saints, but dealing w/ groin issue.
23Mike WallaceMIAvs. CIN (Thurs.)Wallace still trying to get comfortable w/ new offense.
24Dwayne BoweKCat BUFGroin an issue, but Bills have given up 20 TD passes.
25Marques ColstonNOat NYJHas just 6 catches for 44 yards in last 3 G combined.
26Marvin JonesCINat MIA (Thurs.)Caught 4 TD passes vs. Jets, has 6 in last 3 games.
27Emmanuel SandersPITat NEPosted season-high 88 yards w/ TD last week.
28Danny AmendolaNEvs. PITJust 3 catches for 15 yards in return from concussion.
29Darrius Heyward-BeyINDat HOUBig opportunity w/ Reggie Wayne out for season.
30Brian HartlineMIAvs. CIN (Thurs.)Has just one 100-yard game, no TDs since Week 3.
31Kendall WrightTENat STLHas seen eight or more targets in each of last 4 G.
32DeAndre HopkinsHOUvs. INDHauled in 29-yard TD from Keenum in last game.
33Greg JenningsMINat DALCowboys giving up most passing yards in NFL.
34Kenny StillsNOat NYJHauled in two long TDs (69, 42) vs. Bills last week.
35Lance MooreNOat NYJCaught a TD pass in first game (hand) since Week 3.
36Nate WashingtonTENat STL 
37Jeremy KerleyNYJvs. NOGeno Smith has been much better at home vs. road.
38Aaron DobsonNEvs. PITCaught TD vs. Miami, 22 targets over last 3 games.
39Vincent BrownSDat WASHas just 4 rec., 57 yds. since Week 5 (7-117) explosion.
40Eddie RoyalSDat WASCaught first TD pass since Week 2 in last game.
41Rod StreaterOAKvs. PHIEagles giving up second-most fantasy pts. to WRs.
42Drew DavisATLat CARMaking most of opportunities with Roddy sidelined.
43Marlon BrownBALat CLE 
44Julian EdelmanNEvs. PITSteelers second in NFL in passing defense.
45Dexter McClusterKCat BUFHas 67+ yards in each of last 2 G, got 1st TD vs. CLE.
46Austin PettisSTLvs. TENTitans yielding second-fewest fantasy pts. to WRs.
47Brandon LaFellCARvs. ATL 
48Stephen HillNYJvs. NO 
49Kenbrell ThompkinsNEvs. PITRookie disappearing from passing game.
50Leonard HankersonWASvs. SD 
51Chris GivensSTLvs. TEN 
52David NelsonNYJvs. NOHas been Jets' most productive WR last 2 games.
53Jacoby JonesBALat CLERavens need more consistency from Jones.
54Donnie AveryKCat BUFBills giving up most fantasy points to WRs.
55Riley CooperPHIat OAK 
56Robert WoodsBUFvs. KCHasn't been as involved with Lewis at QB.
57Jerome SimpsonMINat DAL 
58Cordarrelle PattersonMINat DALTied NFL record with 109-yard KOR for TD vs. GB.
59Roddy WhiteATLat CARMaking progress (hamstring, ankle) but status unclear.
60Tavon AustinSTLvs. TENRookie still searching for consistent role in offense.
61Miles AustinDALvs. MINDid not play last week b/c of hamstring.
62Doug BaldwinSEAvs. TB 
63Cole BeasleyDALvs. MIN 
64Percy HarvinSEAvs. TBBack at practice, but suffered slight setback w/ hip.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 9
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-waiver-wire-week-9
Body:

Similar to last week, fantasy owners figure to have their work cut out for them with six teams on bye in Week 9. No Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York Giants and San Francisco means a lot of fantasy firepower is already on the bench. Add to that several other key players who aren’t expected to play and it looks like the waiver wire/free agent pool will be a popular destination yet again this week.

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

Teams on bye in Week 9: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York Giants, San Francisco

Quarterbacks
Week 8 Recap: Andy Dalton continued his hot streak, throwing for 325 yards, five touchdowns and one interception in the Bengals’ rout of the Jets. Dalton now has 11 touchdown passes and two interceptions over his last three games. Next up is a Thursday night visit to Miami.

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Smith is not known for being a big-time fantasy producer, but he’s actually top 15 at his position for the season and has more yards passing than Andrew Luck and Cam Newton and more total touchdowns (10) than Tom Brady and Robert Griffin III. The main reason a guy like Smith would be appealing this week is because of the matchup with the Bills’ 26th-ranked defense and the fact that the likes of Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Colin Kaepernick and Eli Manning are all on bye, while Jay Cutler, Michael Vick and Sam Bradford are injured.

Other possible bye-week replacement QBs less than 70 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues:
Terrelle Pryor, OAK vs. Philadelphia; Ben Roethlisberger, PIT at New England; Joe Flacco, BAL at Cleveland; Ryan Tannehill, MIA vs. Cincinnati (Thurs.); and Jason Campbell, CLE vs. Baltimore

Running Backs
Week 8 Recap: Mike James produced 64 total yards in his first career NFL start in the Buccaneers’ loss to the Panthers on Thursday night. James should continue to get the majority of the backfield touches, although Doug Martin (shoulder) is expected to return at some point. Chris Ivory carried the ball just six times for 11 yards in the Jets’ blowout loss to the Bengals. Roy Helu Jr. got a total of six touches against Denver and finished with only 25 total yards. Jacquizz Rodgers carried the ball just twice and had two receptions as Steven Jackson returned and the Falcons’ running game managed a total of 27 yards rushing in the loss to the Cardinals.

Andre Brown, New York Giants
The Giants are on bye this week, but Brown is expected to return in Week 10. He has been on injured reserve since breaking his leg in the final preseason game. Brown was expected to play a big role in the Giants’ backfield entering this season and as long as he’s healthy, there’s no reason to expect that to change. Especially since the current cast of characters is made up of retreads Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis, neither of which were even with the Giants to start the season. Jacobs has missed the past two games because of a hamstring injury, while Hillis is averaging less than three yards per carry in two games with the G-Men. David Wilson (neck) is still out due to a neck injury, so there’s not much competition keeping Brown from seeing the same number of touches that allowed him to generate 5.3 yards per carry and eight touchdowns last season.

Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are another team on bye this week, but anytime a rookie running back piles up 154 yards rushing, he deserves mention. That is especially true for Ellington, since 1) he’s available in nearly half of Yahoo! leagues and 2) there’s no reason to expect his opportunities to decrease from here. While Ellington may not get 20+ carries a game, his versatility as a receiver out of the backfield, along with his explosiveness and big-play ability (see his 80-yard TD sprint against Atlanta), should provide enough opportunities for consistent flex production, at minimum.

Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans
Greene has played in just two games and has a total of five carries in them, but the Titans brought him in do more than just spell starter Chris Johnson. Greene has two 1,000-yard seasons with the Jets on his resume and was envisioned as the Titans’ short-yardage and goal-line back when he signed with the team. Coming off of the bye, Greene should be as healthy as he’s been prior to getting hurt in Week 1. It’s speculative, but it’s possible that Greene works his way back into fantasy consideration, especially should Johnson (3.2 ypc) continue to struggle. If anything, CJ owners should definitely consider adding Greene as his handcuff.

Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
This is another speculative play, but Stewart’s case is a little different in that he has previously been “the man” for Carolina. Stewart was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list before the start of the season, as he recovered from offseason ankle surgery. He finally returned to practice last week and said he plans on playing this week. One thing that could be in his factor is that DeAngelo Williams, the current starter, bruised his quadriceps in Thursday’s win over Tampa Bay. Williams should be fine for this week, especially with the extra rest that comes from playing on Thursday, and there’s no reason to expect Stewart to get a ton of carries should he get on the field Sunday against Atlanta. Still, Stewart needs to be on your radar, especially if you have Williams on your roster, as the Panthers’ backfield is about to get a little more crowded.

Other possible bye-week replacement RBs less than 70 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues:
Joseph Randle, DAL vs. Minnesota; Pierre Thomas, NO at New York Jets; BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN at Miami (Thurs.); Mike Tolbert, CAR vs. Atlanta; Daniel Thomas, MIA vs. Cincinnati (Thurs.); Donald Brown, IND at Houston; and James Starks, GB vs. Chicago (Mon.)

Wide Receivers
Week 8 Recap: If not for Calvin Johnson’s near-record-breaking performance against Dallas, Marvin Jones would have been the top fantasy scorer at his position this week. Jones outscored the Jets by himself as he caught eight passes for 122 yards and four touchdowns in the 49-9 cakewalk. In that same game, Jeremy Kerley recorded just three catches for 27 yards. Sidney Rice was targeted three times on Monday night against Seattle before leaving with a knee injury of some sort. Darrius Heyward-Bey was on bye but he will get his chance at replacing an injured Reggie Wayne starting Sunday in Houston.

Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs
McCluster is very hard to trust, but what can’t be ignored is that he has led the Chiefs in receiving in each of the past two games. Dwayne Bowe has been a disappointment and is now dealing with a groin injury, while Donnie Avery has cooled off considerably following his hot start. So it looks like, at least for the time being, that Alex Smith (see above) has turned his attention to McCluster. There’s no way to tell if he’ll see 10 targets against the Bills, but with so many productive wide receivers already on bye this week, McCluster may be worth a flyer.

David Nelson, New York Jets
After playing for the Bills the past three seasons, Nelson signed with the Browns before getting cut late in the preseason. He then joined the Jets in early October and has posted 15 receptions in his first four games. He has gone for 80 yards receiving in each of the last two and has seen a total of 19 targets during this time. Nelson and Geno Smith are already working well together and this could develop into an even more productive pairing as the season progresses.

Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers
Two weeks ago, Sanders had just one catch for seven yards in the win over Baltimore. Outside of that, he’s caught at least three passes for 39 yards receiving in every game. He’s topped 70 yards three times and has two touchdown catches over his last three outings. Sanders is the type of No. 2 wideout that could provide valuable depth for a fantasy team, especially in a week like this with six teams on bye.

Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints
The rookie from Oklahoma has seen more than five targets and caught more than three passes just once this season, but he has three touchdown receptions in his last two games and his averaging 25.2 yards per grab. Stills has caught six balls from Drew Brees over the last two contests for 193 yards and three scores. Even with Lance Moore making his way back from a hand injury, Stills has shown he can be a valuable deep threat for a potent Saints passing attack that really doesn’t have one right now.

Other possible bye-week replacement WRs less than 70 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues:
Brian Hartline, MIA vs. Cincinnati; Brandon LaFell, CAR vs. Atlanta; Donnie Avery, KC at Buffalo; Rod Streater, OAK vs. Philadelphia; Lance Moore, NO at New York Jets; and Timothy Wright*, TB at Seattle

Tight Ends
Week 8 Recap: Jordan Reed led all receivers in Sunday’s Washington-Denver matchup with eight catches for 90 yards. Andrew Quarless caught both of his targets in his first start in place of an injured Jermichael Finley for, but they went for just 13 yards.

Garrett Graham, Houston Texans
Owen Daniels will be out until at least Week 14 with a broken leg, leaving the starting tight end job in Houston all to Graham. He was productive when he was sharing snaps with Daniels, catching 17 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns, and those looks should only go up from here. He got eight targets from Case Keenum in his first start two weeks ago, so establishing a rapport with the new quarterback doesn’t seem to be an issue either. Graham is available in more than 75 percent of all Yahoo! leagues and a pretty strong case can be made starting him in 12-team leagues and deeper this week.

Other possible bye-week replacement TEs less than 70 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues:
Heath Miller, PIT at New England; Coby Fleener, IND at Houston; Jermaine Gresham, CIN at Miami (Thurs.); Timothy Wright*, TB at Seattle; Tyler Eifert, CIN at Miami (Thurs.); and Delanie Walker, TEN at St. Louis

Defense/Special Teams
Week 8 Recap: The New York Jets defense gave up 37 points, had one sack and one takeaway (INT) in a 49-9 shellacking at the hands of Cincinnati on Sunday.

Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have been suggested before, but since they are coming off of their bye, a reminder seemed in order. Indy’s DST has gotten at least one sack in every game and have only one game without a takeaway. In their last game against Denver, the Colts sacked Peyton Manning four times, one of them for a safety, and also collected three takeaways (2 INTs, 1 FR) in the win over the Broncos. The real reason the Colts are being mentioned again, however, is an upcoming schedule that begins with a Houston offense that has Case Keenum making his second career start, followed by a visit from St. Louis, who has backup quarterback Kellen Clemens under center. There are also two games with Tennessee and one more with Houston and Jacksonville on tap before the end of the season. If anything, the Colts would be a nice DST to have handy as a matchup option in certain weeks.

Other possible bye-week replacement DSTs less than 70 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues:
New Orleans
at New York Jets; Dallas vs. Minnesota; Tennessee at St. Louis; Baltimore at Cleveland

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.

*Timothy Wright of Tampa Bay is both WR and TE eligible in Yahoo! leagues.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Waiver Wire: Week 9
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 07:30
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /20-greatest-halloween-related-names-sports-2013
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Whether it’s their given name or a nickname, these athletes and sports figures fit right in on Halloween.

Hal Mumme
College football coach (Iowa Wesleyan 1989-91, Valdosta State 1992-96, Kentucky 1997-2000, Southeastern Louisiana 2003-04, New Mexico State 2005-08, McMurry 2009-12, SMU 2013)

Mumme (pronounced mummy) has been a college football head coach for more than 20 years and has more than 130 wins on his resume. For all his success, however, he is best known for his four seasons at Kentucky, where he went 20-26 overall and only 10-22 in SEC play. Mumme’s tenure with the Wildcats was (ahem) wrapped up at the end of the 2000 season with an eight-game losing streak and an investigation into NCAA rules violations related to illegally paying recruits. After taking a break from coaching, Mumme returned to the profession in 2003 and currently is serving as an assistant coach/passing game coordinator at SMU.

Boo Weekley
PGA golfer (2002-present)

Weekley’s given name is Thomas Brent, but everyone knows him by his nickname, Boo. This nickname came from Yogi Bear’s sidekick, Boo Boo, and not from trying to scare people, which is fitting given Weekley’s colorful personality on and off the golf course. It was on full display during the 2008 Ryder Cup when he rode his driver like it was a horse down the fairway during Singles play. Weekley and the rest of the U.S. team certainly put a fright into the European team at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., as the underdog Americans won back the Ryder Cup with a convincing five-point victory. Weekley picked up his third career PGA Tour victory in May when he won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial by one stroke over Matt Kuchar.

Boomer Esiason
NFL (Cincinnati Bengals 1984-92, ’97; New York Jets 1993-95; Arizona Cardinals 1996)

A quarterback for 14 years in the NFL, Norman Julius, better known as Boomer, finished his career with 37,920 passing yards and 247 touchdown passes. His best season came in 1998, when he was the league’s MVP and led the Bengals to a spot in Super Bowl XXIII. He and his teammates came up short in that game against San Francisco, but Esiason will always be loved in Cincinnati, where he spent 10 seasons. The same cannot necessarily be said in New York, at least as it relates to his playing career. Esiason heard many a boo from the home crowd during his 15-27 run as the Jets’ starting quarterback from 1993-95. Esiason has remained in the game as a television and radio analyst and he also co-hosts a morning radio show on WFAN Radio in New York.

Red Grange, “The Galloping Ghost”
NFL (Chicago Bears 1925, ’29-’34; New York Yankees 1926-27)

Harold Edward, better known as “Red,” first made a name for himself and earned his spectral nickname when he starred as a halfback at Illinois. While noted sportswriter Grantland Rice was the first to record Grange’s collegiate exploits in prose, it was his colleague, Warren Brown, who then wrote for the Chicago American, who dubbed Grange “The Galloping Ghost.” Grange went on to play10 seasons in the NFL, most of them with the Chicago Bears, who later retired his number. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

Spook Jacobs
MLB (Philadelphia Athletics 1954, Kansas City Athletics 1955-56, Pittsburgh Pirates 1956)

His given name was Forrest Vandergrift, but for some unknown reason  he went by Spook during his brief baseball career. A second baseman, Jacobs hit .247 in 188 career games and never hit a home run.

Jerry Adair, “Casper the Friendly Ghost”
MLB (Baltimore Orioles 1958-66, Chicago White Sox 1966-67, Boston Red Sox 1967-68, Kansas City Royals 1969-70)

Adair’s major league career lasted 13 seasons, in large part due to his glove and ability to deliver in the clutch. He played most of his career for the Orioles and was a .254 hitter with 57 career home runs. He finished with a career .981 fielding percentage as he played all four infield positions (primarily second base and shortstop) at some point during his time in the majors.

Michael Myers
NFL (Dallas Cowboys 1998-2003, Cleveland Browns 2003-04, Denver Broncos 2005-06, Cincinnati Bengals 2007)

Mike Myers
MLB (Florida Marlins 1995, Detroit Tigers 1995-97, Milwaukee Brewers 1998-99, Colorado Rockies 2000-01, Arizona Diamondbacks 2002-03, Seattle Mariners 2004, Boston Red Sox 2004-05, New York Yankees 2006-07, Chicago White Sox 2007)

Michael Dewayne Myers terrorized quarterbacks as a defensive end in the NFL for six seasons collecting 15.5 sacks, while Michael Stanley Myers lasted 13 seasons in baseball as a left-handed relief pitcher. Myers didn’t exactly slash his was through major league batters, as he played for nine different teams in his career. His major league totals include a 25-24 record, 4.29 ERA, 256 walks and 429 strikeouts in 541 2/3 career innings pitched.

John Candelaria, “Candy Man”
MLB (Pittsburgh Pirates 1975-85, ’93; California Angels 1985-87; New York Mets 1987; New York Yankees 1988-89; Montreal Expos 1989; Minnesota Twins 1990; Toronto Blue Jays 1990; Los Angeles Dodgers 1991-92)

Candelaria was a left-handed pitcher who won 177 games during his 19-year major league career. The “Candy Man” finished with a respectable 3.33 career ERA over his 2,525 2/3 innings pitched. He was at his sweetest in 1977 when he went 20-5 with a National League-leading 2.34 ERA. He made his only All-Star Game that season and finished fifth in the NL Cy Young voting.

Vladimir Guerrero, “Vlad the Impaler”
MLB (1996-2003 Montreal Expos, Anaheim Angels 2004, Los Angeles Angels 2005-09, Texas Rangers 2010, Baltimore Orioles 2011)

For 16 years Guerrero struck fear into the hearts and minds of major league pitchers because of his tendency to swing at whatever they threw at him, regardless of where it was located. A career .318 hitter who was named AL MVP in 2004, Guerrero finished many of his at-bats holding his wooden stake after driving it right through the pitcher’s heart with yet another monster home run or game-winning hit.

George Wolfman & Cedric Wolfman
Minor league catcher 1934-35; Minor league pitcher 1954-56

Neither of these guys got a chance to howl on the major-league level, although I bet they were a lot of fun on nights with a full moon.

Moonlight Graham
MLB (New York Giants 1905)

Best known for his inclusion in the iconic movie, “Field of Dreams,” Archibald Wright, better known as “Moonlight” was in fact a real major leaguer. The outfielder’s career in the big leagues lasted all of one game, actually one inning, with the New York Giants 1905 when he was 27. He spent seven seasons in the minors, including his last in professional baseball in 1908. After his baseball dreams came to an end, he worked as a doctor in Chisholm, Minn., for 50 years before passing away in 1965 at the age of 85.

Warren Moon
NFL (Houston Oilers 1984-93, Minnesota Vikings 1994-96, Seattle Seahawks 1997-98, Kansas City Chiefs 1999-2000)

After going undrafted out of college, Moon started his professional football career playing for the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. Six seasons later, Moon migrated from north of the border to Houston where he started his NFL career with the Oilers. Moon played 10 seasons for the Oilers, setting numerous franchise records, before moving on to the Vikings, Seahawks and ending his career with the Chiefs in 2000. Moon’s No. 1 jersey was retired by the Oliers (now Tennessee Titans) and he finished his NFL career with 49,325 yards passing and 291 touchdown passes. In 2006, Moon became the first modern African-American quarterback inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s also a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (2001).

Jose Bautista, “Joey Bats”
MLB (Baltimore Orioles 2004, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2004, Kansas City Royals 2004, Pittsburgh Pirates 2004-08, Toronto Blue Jays 2008-present)

Bautista bounced around with four different teams in his first season in the majors before finding a home in Pittsburgh. However, it’s been the past three seasons in Toronto that Bautista has made a name for himself and earned his nickname for the damage he’s done with his Louisville Slugger. In 2010-11, Bautista truly drove opposing pitchers batty as he hit a combined 97 home runs, drove in 227 runs, scored 214 and walked 232 times. He was named to the American League All-Star team and finished in the top four of the AL MVP voting each of these seasons. Injuries have derailed him in each of the past two seasons, causing him to miss a combined 114 games. He still made the AL All-Star team in both 2012 and '13, as he managed to hit a total of 55 home runs and drive in 138 in 210 total games played.

Torii Hunter, “Spider-Man”
MLB (Minnesota Twins, 1997-2007, Los Angeles Angels 2008-12, Detroit Tigers 2013)

The recipient of nine straight Gold Gloves from 2001-10, Hunter has an established reputation for his defense, most notably the art of robbing the home run. First with the Twins, then the Angels, Hunter earned his nickname for his adept ability at climbing the outfield wall or timing his leap just perfectly to snag what seemed like a certain home run. Many a batter has experienced the agony of defeat as they watched the baseball that seemed ticketed to go over the fence get ensnared in the web of Hunter’s glove instead. Hunter signed with Detroit as a free agent prior to the start of the 2013 season, and turned out to be a valuable addition as the Tigers won 93 games and their third straight AL Central title. Hunter hit .304 with 90 runs scored for his new team and also was named to his fifth All-Star team.

Spider Webb
Formula 1 driver 1950, ’52-‘54

Webb’s racing career lasted all of four races, in which he never finished higher than 19th. Tony Stewart may have made the move famous, but it would have been something to see Webb climb the fence after reaching Victory Lane, no?

Webb Simpson
PGA golfer (2008-present)

The professional golfer’s given name is James Frederick Webb, but whatever you choose to call him, you have to include major champion in that title. Simpson won the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco with a final score of one-over par. Simpson also played in his first Ryder Cup last year, as one of four rookies on the U.S. team that fell victim to a historic comeback by the European team. Earlier this month, Simpson earned his fourth career PGA Tour victory by claiming the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open title by a commanding six strokes.

Brandon Webb
MLB (Arizona Diamondbacks 2003-09)

Shoulder injuries have short-circuited his pitching career, but Webb was at his best from 2005-08. He won 70 games during that four-year span, including 22 in 2008. He spun the best season of his career in 2006 as he went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA and was awarded the NL Cy Young Award. He finished second in the voting the next two seasons, but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2009.

Spud Webb
NBA (1985-91, ’95-‘96 Atlanta Hawks; Sacramento Kings 1991-95; Minnesota Timberwolves 1996; Orlando Magic 1998)

Anthony Jerome, better known as “Spud,” stands all of 5’7, but he never let his lack of size limit his impact on a basketball court. After playing at NC State for Jim Valvano, Webb was drafted in the fourth round of the 1985 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. He never played for the Pistons and ended up spending the first six seasons of his NBA careeer with the Atlanta Hawks. Webb will forever be remembered for winning the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend as he surprised everyone in defeating defending champion and Hawks teammate Dominique Wilkins for the title. Webb remains one of only two participants under six feet tall (Nate Robinson, who is 5’9 won it in 2006) to win the slam dunk competition. Webb’s NBA career lasted 12 seasons and he is documented as the third-shortest player in NBA history.

Teaser:
20 Greatest Halloween-Related Names in Sports
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 17:00
Path: /nfl/green-bay-packers-vs-minnesota-vikings-preview-and-prediction-2013
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Division rivals headed in opposite directions are on tap for tonight when the Green Bay Packers take on the Minnesota Vikings at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Mike McCarthy’s Packers (4-2) entered Week 8 having won three in a row and with a half-game lead on the Lions and Bears in the NFC North. Leslie Frazier’s Vikings (1-5) are alone in the cellar and have been outscored 58-17 in their last two losses. Minnesota also is starting its third quarterback in as many games, as Christian Ponder goes back under center after Matt Cassel started in Weeks 4 and 6 and former Tampa Bay starter Josh Freeman got the nod this past Monday night against the Giants.

The Packers have been hit hard by key injuries on both sides of the ball, but continue to find a way to win. The Vikings have issues on both sides of the ball, but most of their problems start at quarterback. This also represents the last game in the Metrodome between these two long-time division rivals. The Vikings are set to play the 2014 and ’15 seasons at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium while the team's new home is under construction at the Metrodome site in downtown Minneapolis.

3 Things to Watch

Can Peterson Run “All Day” on the Packers?
Regardless of the sad state of Minnesota’s quarterback situation, everyone knows that the Vikings’ offense begins and ends with Adrian Peterson. The reigning NFL MVP enjoyed quite a bit of success against Green Bay last season, rushing for 508 yards in three games, including the Wild Card loss at Lambeau Field. Peterson gained 199 yards on 34 carries in the Vikings’ home win over the Packers in the 2012 regular-season finale, clinching Minnesota’s playoff berth and coming just nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s rushing record in the process. This season, Peterson has 511 yards rushing and five touchdowns through six games. He’s actually ahead of last season’s pace (499 yards through six games), which only reinforces how ridiculously good he was in the second half of 2012. That said, it has been Green Bay’s rushing defense that has been ridiculously good this season. The Packers are third in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing just 79 yards per game, and only one running back has gained more than 50 yards (Alfred Morris, 107) on the ground against them. The Vikings obviously need Peterson to lead the way, but will this year’s Packers defense be as accommodating?

Ponder’s Last Stand?
Ponder suffered a rib injury in the Week 3 loss to Cleveland, which caused him to miss the next game. Matt Cassel took over and led the Vikings to a win over the Steelers in London before throwing two interceptions in a blowout loss at home to the Panthers in Week 6. A few weeks ago, Minnesota signed Tampa Bay cast-off Josh Freeman, who then made his Vikings debut on Monday night against the Giants. Freeman was horrendous, completing 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards and an interception, as the offense scored no points (lone touchdown was on a punt return) and totaled 206 yards in the 23-7 loss. As bad as Freeman played, he would have gotten another start had he not sustained a concussion. That’s all that needs to be said about the team’s confidence in Ponder, who needs to approach this game as his opportunity to show not just the Vikings, but the rest of the teams, that he has what it takes to be a serviceable quarterback in the NFL. Ponder’s numbers this season (59 percent completion rate, 691-2-5) certainly don’t inspire confidence, but he did come up big against the Packers last season when it mattered the most. With the Vikings facing a must-win situation to secure a playoff berth, Ponder threw for 234 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-34 victory over Green Bay in the 2012 regular-season finale. That game also was played in the Metrodome, so no doubt Ponder would love to repeat that performance tonight. His NFL future may depend on it.

Green Bay’s New Aerial Attack
Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target, wide receiver Randall Cobb, suffered a broken fibula two weeks ago against Baltimore and will be out until the middle of December, at minimum. In that same game, fellow wideout James Jones sprained his knee. Although he escaped serious injury, Jones didn’t play last week and it’s highly doubtful he will be on the field tonight. The Packers also are without tight end Jermichael Finley, who had to be taken off the field on a stretcher last week after taking a big hit. Finley spent several days in the hospital and has been diagnosed with a spinal contusion. He is out indefinitely, which means the Packers could be without three of their four top pass-catchers. Jordy Nelson has assumed the role of No. 1 wide receiver, while Jarrett Boykin filled in quite nicely last week in place of Cobb and Jones. Boykin will need to continue his outstanding production and the Packers also will need contributions from backup tight end Andrew Quarless and perhaps rookie running back Johnathan Franklin to prevent defenses from focusing all their attention on Nelson. The Vikings are a good matchup for a team looking to break in its new aerial attack, as they are 29th in the NFL in passing defense (288.8 ypg). So while some of the names of those catching his passes have changed, Rodgers is hoping the results won’t.

Green Bay Key Player: Eddie Lacy, RB
The Packers’ second-round choice in April’s draft, Lacy got off to a slow start. He rushed for just 41 yards in his first NFL game and then sustained a concussion on his first carry in Week 2. After missing a game, Lacy returned after the team’s bye and has shown why he was so highly touted coming out of Alabama. Lacy has 301 yards rushing in his last three games, all Green Bay wins. Lacy’s success on the ground is even more critical now that the Packers are without wide receiver Randall Cobb (broken leg) and tight end Jermichael Finley (neck injury) for an extended period of time, and could be missing wideout James Jones (sprained knee) tonight as well. Aaron Rodgers has one 300-yard passing game during the team’s current three-game winning streak, as the Packers have relied more on the ground game to eat up the clock and wear down defenses. Minnesota is allowing 102.3 yards rushing per game, which is right around Lacy’s average over the past month. As far as Green Bay is concerned, another “average” performance tonight from its rookie running back wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Minnesota Key Player: Greg Jennings, WR
Even without his obvious ties to tonight’s opponent, Jennings is one of the Vikings who really needs to step up against the Packers. After spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Packers, Jennings was Minnesota’s big free-agent acquisition during the offseason. And if signing a five-year, $45 million contract wasn’t enough; he had no problems taking several shots at his former team and quarterback on his way out of Green Bay. Jennings has wisely backed off or tried to explain those earlier comments this week, but he also knows he can’t take them back completely. The easiest way for him to move past this is to make more noise on the field, and tonight would be as good a game as any for him to finally break out as a Viking. Jennings is tied for second on the team with 24 catches for 327 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers have been more generous against the pass compared to the run, so Jennings and his teammates should get their opportunities to make some plays. While quarterback play has certainly been an issue for the Vikings this season, Jennings can’t use that as an excuse. After all, no one has a better understanding of the quarterback situation for these two teams than him.

Final Analysis

Green Bay has been hit hard by injuries, but yet has still found a way to win. The offense is adjusting to its personnel, as rookie running back Eddie Lacy has been able to take some off of the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. The defense has kept things together despite linebacker Clay Matthews’ extended absence and is among the best in the league in stopping the run.

Minnesota is a team in transition, but turmoil is probably the more fitting descriptor. The Vikings have employed a revolving door at quarterback, which not only means the passing game has struggled to find a rhythm or any consistency, but it also allows defenses to focus solely on slowing down Adrian Peterson. Meanwhile the defense is starting to show its age and a few key injuries have exposed this unit’s weaknesses.

Peterson ran wild against the Packers last season, but that was a different defense and it’s Green Bay who has flexed its muscles on the ground lately. Even without three of his top four weapons, Rodgers shows why he’s one of the NFL’s best as he and Lacy combine to dominate the time of possession battle and simply wear out the Vikings defense in the process. Green Bay wins its fourth in a row without really breaking a sweat, closing out its record in the Metrodome at 15-16.

Green Bay 31, Minnesota 17

Teaser:
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury update, NFL, Fantasy, News
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Roster depth will really be tested in Week 8 with six teams on bye. Here are some running backs that were listed on their team’s injury report that you need to know about before setting your lineup.

C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, RBs, Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints
A mini-soap opera of sorts developed this week as Spiller and the Bills’ coaching staff were not on the same page, at least initially, regarding the condition of his ankle. What can’t be disputed, however, is that Spiller missed practice three days in a row and is Doubtful to face the Saints. Doubtful is really just a step away from “Out,” so if you own Spiller, you need to have a plan B in place. Jackson (right) is dealing with a lingering knee injury, but he is Probable and figures to get the majority of the carries in Spiller’s absence. Tashard Choice also should see some touches, but probably not enough to merit fantasy consideration.

Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (London)
Gore did not practice on Wednesday due to an ankle injury, but he was a full go on Friday. He is Probable to play and since I don’t think he would have made the long flight from the U.S. to England if he wasn’t going to suit up, London fans and his fantasy owners really have nothing to worry about. Besides, nothing can help you heal quicker than a matchup with the NFL’s worst rushing defense.

Brandon Jacobs and David Wilson, RBs, New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Wilson has already been ruled Out with a neck injury and Jacobs isn’t looking much better. After missing last week because of a hamstring injury, Jacobs is considered Doubtful for today’s game. It is highly unlikely that Jacobs will play meaning the Giants will turn to Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox to carry the load. Hillis got the most touches and did find the end zone on Monday night against Minnesota, but I don’t need to tell you how risky a play either of these Giants are do I?

Willis McGahee, RB, Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs
The Browns continue to give McGahee planned rest days during the week because of his knee, but he is Probable to play today. Even though McGahee is a safe bet for double-digit carries, the matchup with Kansas City is not appealing whatsoever. The Chiefs are giving up 11.6 points per game and have a pass rush that is just waiting to tee off on Brandon Weeden. Even in a week when six teams are on bye, McGahee is nothing more than a RB3/flex option.

Teaser:
Week 8 Injury Updates: C.J. Spiller, Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs, Willis McGahee
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury update, NFL, Fantasy, News
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Dallas is hoping to have its workhorse back while Atlanta’s top ball-carrier finally looks ready to fly again. Here is the latest on some key running back injury situations entering today’s action.

DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar, RBs, Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions
As expected, Murray missed last week’s game because of a sprained knee. Following the initial diagnosis the Cowboys were hopeful of getting their No. 1 back after just a week or two, and it looks like that could come to fruition. Murray practiced three days in a row on a limited basis and although he is listed as Questionable, the team is hopeful that he will be able to play. Most likely Murray will be a game-time decision, and this is one of those weeks you will want to try and wait as long as possible before making a final decision. With six teams on bye, if Murray does play, I think you need to strongly consider putting him out there and seeing what happens. If he doesn’t, then that’s good news for rookie Joseph Randle, who would get his second straight start. As a starter, Randle is a legitimate fill-in for this week, but even if Murray doesn’t play, Lance Dunbar will make his return to the field. Dunbar has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury and prior to the injury was ahead of Randle on the depth chart, so he will get some touches against the Lions. Similar to Randle, Dunbar’s fantasy potential is tied to whether Murray plays or not. If Murray doesn’t go, Dunbar could be a flex option in deeper leagues. Otherwise, he would probably see fewer touches than Randle in a crowded Cowboy backfield.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers
Peterson is still dealing with some sort of hamstring issue, but he was able to practice fully on Thursday and Friday. He is Probable for tonight’s primetime matchup with the Packers and even with the Vikings’ offensive struggles; you simply don’t sit the reigning MVP. Peterson rushed for 508 yards in three games against the Packers last season, but Green Bay’s rush defense has fared considerably better this season. The Packers are third in the league against the run, so it could be another tough night at the office for Peterson.

Steven Jackson and Jason Snelling, RBs, Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
The Falcons have already lost Julio Jones and Roddy White will miss a second straight game, but at least it looks like they will finally get Jackson back. After sitting out four games, Jackson is listed as Probable and is expected to play against the Cardinals. Jackson immediately will go back to being the Falcons’ No. 1 back, but he likely won’t see a full workload, which means Jacquizz Rodgers will still be a factor. Jackson needs to be back in your lineup, but if you have Rodgers, don’t bench him just yet, especially this week. These two won’t have to worry about a third wheel this week, as Jason Snelling has already been ruled Out because of an ankle injury. Unfortunately, Snelling’s window of opportunity has probably closed with Jackson’s return and how well Rodgers has been playing over the last several weeks.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons
Mendenhall didn’t practice at all on Thursday or Friday, which is why he is Doubtful for this afternoon’s game. Reports are he will see how his injured toe feels in the morning, but expectations are that rookie Andre Ellington will get his first career start. In many ways, Ellington has been more productive than Mendenhall despite getting fewer touches, so this will be a chance for the sixth-round pick to show what he’s capable of. Ellington goes from flex to RB2 because of Mendenhall’s expected absence and this also could mean more touches than usual for the Cardinals’ other rookie back, Stepfan Taylor

Teaser:
Injury Updates Week 8: DeMarco Murray, Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, Rashard Mendenhall
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury update, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-8-injury-updates-wes-welker-eric-decker-calvin-johnson-dez-bryant-james-jones-dwayne
Body:

Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant may not be at 100 percent, but both are ready for their head-to-head matchup today. Which other top wide receivers dealing with injuries can be counted on for Week 8?

Wes Welker and Eric Decker, WRs, Denver Broncos vs. Washington Redskins
Welker and Decker were limited in some capacity during practice this week, but for the most part it was just the coaching staff giving some of the veterans, including Peyton Manning, a little time off. Welker is dealing with an ankle injury, while Decker has a sore toe. Both were full participants on Friday and are Probable to go up against the Redskins. Washington is allowing the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers, so a case can be made that Welker, Decker and Demaryius Thomas are all WR1 options this week.

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys
Johnson was limited in practice on both Thursday and Friday, but he is Probable to face the Cowboys. After posting two atypical games, Johnson was back to his old self last week against Cincinnati, posting nine catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys are 30th in the league in passing yards allowed and Megatron also has the extra incentive of showing Dez Bryant (see below), his Dallas counterpart, why he’s viewed the best wide receiver in the NFL. Regardless of who comes out on top in this, Johnson and Bryant should live up to their WR1 status.

Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, WRs, Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions
Bryant appears on the injury report with a hamstring issue, but he’s Probable and there’s no way Bryant’s missing this “showdown” with the Lions’ Calvin Johnson. Bryant is a no-doubt WR1 every week and he should be able to make some plays against Detroit’s 29th-ranked passing defense. Austin, on the other hand, is Questionable due to his nagging hamstring injury. It continues to limit him in practice and although he’s played the past two weeks, he has yet to record a catch. Even with so many teams on bye, there’s really no reason to have Austin in your lineup, unless you simply have no other options. After Bryant, Terrance Williams is the Cowboy wideout to have on your roster, as he’s a borderline WR2 this week.

James Jones, WRs, Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Jones missed last week’s game and didn’t practice at all this week because of his sprained knee. He is officially considered Doubtful, but I would be surprised if Jones plays. For one, Green Bay needs to get Jones back healthy as the team is already without Randall Cobb for several more weeks because of a broken leg. Secondly, Jarrett Boykin showed he’s capable of carrying the load in the meantime. Boykin led the Packers with eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown last week against Cleveland. Jordy Nelson is the current No. 1 wideout, but Boykin has already made his case for WR2 status this week, if not beyond.

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns
Bowe is a new addition to the injury report, as he was limited in practice on Thursday with a groin injury. It got worse from there, however, as he missed all of Friday’s practice and is considered Questionable to play today. Bowe has been a disappointment thus far, with just 25 catches for 295 yards and two touchdowns. So add to that his gimpy groin and the prospect of being shadowed by Cleveland’s shutdown cornerback Joe Haden, and maybe it’s for the best to give Bowe a week off. If you do play him, at least you shouldn’t be shocked if he in turns in another mediocre effort.

Teaser:
Week 8 Injury Updates: Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, James Jones, Dwayne Bowe
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury update, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-8-larry-fitzgerald-justin-blackmon-cecil-shorts-danny-amendola-roddy
Body:

A couple of highly drafted wide receivers could finally pay some dividends this week while a pair of Jaguars is ready to go on the prowl in London. Here’s the latest on their playing status and some other wide receivers for Week 8.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons
Fitzgerald has been dealing with injuries to both of his hamstrings and while he has yet to miss a game, there have been times where it’s apparent he was not 100 percent on the field. Last week, Fitzgerald managed just two catches for 17 yards against Seattle. The good news is that Fitzgerald was a full go at practice all week and he is listed as Probable. While his production to this point has been disappointing, this could be the week Fitzgerald finally breaks out as the Falcons are 23rd in the NFL in passing defense and are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts, WRs, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Francisco 49ers (London)
The good news is that Blackmon (right) and Shorts both made the trip to London. Unfortunately, Blackmon didn’t practice on Friday because of a hamstring injury and Shorts is still listed on the injury report with a sprained shoulder joint. Both are Probable and expected to face the 49ers. The matchup is not great by any means, but if you have either Jaguar receiver you pretty much have to take your chances and hope for the best. The Jaguars probably will end up throwing the ball quite a lot, as the 49ers are heavy favorites to win by a comfortable margin.

Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, WRs, New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins
First Rob Gronkowski came back last week and now, just maybe, Amendola can do the same. After missing last week’s game because of a concussion, Amendola returned to practice and has passed all of the necessary tests and NFL protocols to clear the way for him to play. He has been limited in practice and Amendola is officially listed as Questionable, but on Friday he proclaimed, “I’m healthy and I’m ready to play.” The final decision doesn’t rest with him, but as long as you are able to check on his status leading up to the 1 p.m. ET kickoff, you should be safe to put Amendola back in your lineup. There’s no telling how many snaps he will get against the Dolphins or targets, but he has borderline WR1 potential, so it’s worth the risk. Amendola’s fantasy prospects look even better depending upon Edelman’s status. Edelman took Amendola’s place as the Patriots’ No. 1 wide receiver while the latter was sidelined, first for a groin injury and then the concussion, but the former has been dealing with his own thigh injury. Edelman has yet to miss any time, but he is Questionable and with Gronk back and Amendola feeling good about his chances to play, it’s possible the Patriots could decide to rest Edelman. Either way, Edelman is a riskier play this week than Amendola in my opinion, although both should probably be employed if they do play.

Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
Julio Jones is on injured reserve and White will miss his second straight game, as he’s already been ruled Out due to a hamstring injury. The team is hoping that White will get healthy soon, although Harry Douglas filled in quite nicely last week. Douglas caught all seven of his targets against the Buccaneers for 149 yards and a touchdown. Douglas is a must-start this week and the only thing keeping me from putting him in the WR1 discussion is the potential matchup with Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.

Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes, WRs, New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals
Holmes remains Out because of a hamstring injury and probably won’t return until after
the Jets’ bye in Week 10. Kerley was limited in practice on Thursday because of a hamstring injury, but was a full participant on Friday. He is Probable to play the Bengals and is coming off his best game yet, eight catches for 97 yards and a touchdown in the overtime win against the Patriots. Geno Smith is hard to trust, especially on the road, but Kerley has been his most productive target recently and he is probably worth employing as a WR2/WR3 this week.

Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets
Jones didn’t practice on Thursday because of a shoulder injury, but he was back on the field on Friday. He is considered Probable to play this afternoon and has a touchdown catch in each of his last two games. The Jets are a solid defense, but most of their attention will be on limiting A.J. Green so Jones could be the beneficiary for a third straight week. If you are in need of WR help this week, you may want to take a look at Jones.

Teaser:
Injury Updates Week 8: Larry Fitzgerald, Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, Danny Amendola, Roddy White
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury update, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-8-peyton-manning-tom-brady-michael-vick-ryan-tannehill
Body:

Two elite quarterbacks were surprise additions to the Week 8 injury report, while another fantasy favorite appears ready to return to the field. Here are the quarterback injuries you need to know to get your team ready for today’s action.

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos vs. Washington Redskins
Don’t get alarmed, even though Manning missed practice on Wednesday because of an ankle injury, he was back at it on Thursday and Friday and was reported to be showing no ill effects. He is Probable for today’s game and you better believe he wants his shot at the Redskins, who are giving up nearly 400 yards of offense and more than 30 points per game, not to mention Manning is still probably seething over last week’s loss. It should be another rewarding day for those fortunate enough to have Manning on their team.

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins
Anytime an elite quarterback like Peyton Manning, or in this case, Brady shows up on the injury report, it’s news. Brady was a limited practice participant on Thursday because of an apparent shoulder injury, which certainly made headlines. He was a full go on Friday and is Probable for today’s game, so it looks like it was much ado about nothing. If anything, it’s a sigh of relief for Brady owners, especially in a week where six teams are on bye. They and NFL fans and analysts alike are anxious to see what the Patriots’ quarterback can do with tight end Rob Gronkowski in the lineup for a second straight game as well as the possible return of wide receiver Danny Amendola.

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
Last week, Vick said he needed another week for his hamstring to heal and it looks like he was telling the truth. Vick practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is Probable to face the Giants. He will reclaim his starting job from Nick Foles, who has already been ruled Out because of a concussion he sustained last week. Besides starting for the Eagles, Vick needs to be starting for your fantasy team again, and you just have to hope he can stay healthy, especially in an appealing matchup like this one.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Tannehill was limited on Wednesday with a shoulder injury, but was a full go in practice on Friday and is Probable. While he’s certainly in the fantasy starting conversation, probably more for 2-QB leagues than standard, Tannehill has struggled recently. He’s thrown as many interceptions as touchdown passes (5 each) over his last three games and is on the road facing a New England defense that’s 11th in passing defense and should get cornerback Aqib Talib back this week. I don’t think there’s any doubt Tannehill will play today, but there’s plenty of doubt as it relates to what sort of numbers to expect from him.

Josh Freeman, QB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers
Freeman has been ruled Out because of a concussion, but after his disastrous Viking debut on “Monday Night Football” (20-of-53, 190-0-1), you weren’t planning on starting him in the first place were you? Christian Ponder will get the nod instead, but unless you’re feeling lucky, you probably don’t want to take your chances with him either.

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Francisco 49ers (London)
After missing the past two games with a hamstring injury, Gabbert is Probable this week. It doesn’t really matter, however, as Chad Henne will get the start against the 49ers. Henne is an option for 2-QB leagues while the only way Gabbert will probably get on the field is because of injury or mop-up duty.

Already Ruled Out:

EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills – The Bills’ first-round pick has yet to even return to practice as he’s still recovering from a LCL sprain in his knee. Thad Lewis will continue to start in Manuel’s place and faces a tough test this week on the road against New Orleans. The Saints are ninth in the league in passing defense, love to get after the quarterback and are a very difficult team to play in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. I would analyze all of my options before relying on Lewis this week.

Teaser:
Injury Updates Week 8: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Ryan Tannehill
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 06:30

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