Articles By Mark Ross

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The defending Super Bowl champions’ title defense tour makes a stop in our nation’s capital, as Seattle will take on Washington on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” The Seahawks (2-1) are coming off of their bye still riding high following their overtime victory over Denver two weeks ago. The Redskins (1-3) meanwhile are back in the primetime spotlight a little more than a week after an embarrassing 45-14 home loss to the Giants.

 

This will be the first meeting between these two teams since the NFC Wild Card game following the 2012 season. In that game, NFC East champion Washington jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Seattle scored the final 24 points to advance. Robert Griffin III injured his knee in the disappointing loss and he hasn’t been the same player since. The Redskins tumbled to 3-13 last season, resulting in a head-coaching change. On the other side, this comeback win was Russell Wilson’s first playoff victory, a total he added to during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl run last season.

 

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Seattle -7.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Kirk Cousins’ Learning Curve

Following an impressive first start against Philadelphia two weeks ago, Kirk Cousins came crashing back to earth against the Giants. Filling in for an injured Robert Griffin III, Cousins nearly led his team to a road victory in Week 3 against the defending NFC East champions, throwing for 427 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. His next start didn’t go near as well, however, as the Giants’ defense harassed Cousins all night long, picking him off four times and limiting him to just 257 yards and a touchdown on 19-of-33 passing. A lost fumble put the finishing touches on a horrendous all-around performance, as Cousins and the Redskins lost by 31 points at home.  Cousins will get the opportunity to demonstrate his toughness and show that’s he learned from last week’s debacle with a solid showing against Seattle’s vaunted defense. It’s still early, but the Seahawks have allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete nearly 70 percent of their passes with six touchdowns compared to just two interceptions. Then again, the quarterbacks this unit has faced so far are pretty good – Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning. No one’s mistaking Cousins for the second coming of any from this trio, but first-year head coach Jay Gruden (not to mention Redskins fans) is certainly hoping for better results from his young signal-caller tonight compared to last week’s stat line.

 

 

2. Seattle’s Road Woes

“Woes” may not be the right word considering Pete Carroll’s team is the defending Super Bowl champion and all. However, it’s perfectly accurate to describe the Seahawks as near unbeatable at home and closer to average on the road. Two of their three losses last season came away from CenturyLink Field, and Seattle didn’t play a true road game in the playoffs either. And beyond the win-loss column, the difference on the scoreboard is pretty clear too. Last season, the Seahawks averaged nearly 30 points per game at home, outscoring opponents by 15.8 points per contest. On the road, they scored about a touchdown less per game (23 ppg) while outscoring the opposition by a similar margin (7.9 ppg). This trend stayed true three weeks ago in San Diego where Carroll’s team fell behind 20-7 before eventually losing 30-21. The Chargers dominated time of possession (42:15 to 17:45) and outgained the Seahawks handily (377-288), as the visitors wilted in the Southern California heat. The temperature shouldn’t be much of a factor tonight, not for an early fall evening in our nation’s capital, but Seattle needs to find a way to produce better results on the road. Especially against a team it should have little trouble beating. Sorry, Washington fans.

 

3. Backfield Battle Royal?

Last season, Alfred Morris and Marshawn Lynch finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in the NFL in rushing. Both ran for more than 1,250 yards and the duo combined for 19 rushing touchdowns. This season, Morris enters Week 5 fifth in the league with 316 yards on the ground while Lynch is matching his 4.5 yards per carry (with one less game played). Both backs are critical to their respective offense’s success, and containing each will be one of the focal points of the defenses tonight. Seattle is doing its customary job against the run, holding opponents to just 72.3 yards rushing per game, while Washington also has been a pleasant surprise in this department (87 ypg) early on. Not only have yards been hard to come by (2.8 ypc allowed by Seattle, 3.3 by Washington) against these defenses, they also have combined to yield just three rushing touchdowns in a total of seven games. So will we see Beast Mode unleashed tonight or a big game from the Redskins’ top ball-carrier? Or will both defenses continue to hold their ground against the run?

 

Final Analysis

 

Seattle’s the defending Super Bowl champion, coming off a bye, while Washington is still smarting from a sloppy, 31-point drubbing at home last week. Even though the Seahawks are not as fearsome on the road (see Week 2 in San Diego), as they are at home, Pete Carroll’s team is too talented and too proud to overlook any opponent. The Redskins bounce back by keeping this one closer than last week’s debacle against the Giants, but their losing streak stretches to three with another setback at FedEx Field.

 
Prediction: Seattle 30, Washington 20
Teaser:
Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Monday, October 6, 2014 - 10:15
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Teams seemingly at a crossroads will intersect when Cincinnati and New England face off tonight at Gillette Stadium on NBC. The Bengals (3-0) come off of their bye refreshed and close to full strength, while the Patriots (2-2) are still picking up the pieces from the 41-14 shellacking they got from the Chiefs on Monday night.

 

A matchup of defending division champions, Cincinnati topped New England 13-6 in Week 5 last season. In that game, not only did the Bengals’ defense hold the Patriots to just 248 total yards and two field goals, it also put an end to Tom Brady’s streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.

 

Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Cincinnati -1

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Monday Night Hangover for New England?

No matter how you slice it, Monday night in Arrowhead Stadium represented one of the lowest points in the 14 seasons Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been paired together as head coach and starting quarterback. And it’s not just in the 41-14 score, which is the second-largest margin of defeat in the 221 games (including playoffs) Brady has started, it’s how the Patriots lost. In the first half alone Kansas City outgained New England 303-98, as a defense that ranked among the best in the NFL entering this contest looked helpless to stop the Chiefs’ running or passing games. The futility and frustration carried over to the second half, as the home team kept pouring it on and Brady and the offense struggled to get anything going. Brady didn’t even finish the game, as he was pulled in the fourth quarter after throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The Patriots were thoroughly dominated in every facet of the game, something that has happened rarely during Belichick’s tenure, but the reality is this is a team with plenty of question marks, most of them coming on offense. This Brady-led unit is 29th in the league in yards gained (298.5 ypg) and 30th in passing (201.0 ypg), something that seems unfathomable considering the future Hall of Famer’s track record. The offensive line clearly has issues and lacks cohesion, the running game has struggled to find any consistency (97.5 ypg) and no one other than Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski have consistently made plays in the passing game. The mood was somber, to say the least, within and outside of the team following the Monday night meltdown. And a bad situation could only get worse depending on how the Patriots respond in a short week against an undefeated Cincinnati team that’s coming off of a bye.  

 

2. Cincinnati at Full Strength?

The Bengals are not only undefeated entering this game, they also are a slight favorite on the road in the house that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady built. This duo is 96-17 at home, including playoffs, in their 14 seasons together. Cincinnati also gets to face a dejected and discouraged Patriots team that’s still smarting from their last loss, while the Bengals are coming off of a bye. Besides giving them a chance to rest and an extra week to prepare, the bye allowed some key players to return to practice. Head coach Marvin Lewis hopes to have Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict back after he suffered concussions in back-to-back games and not playing at all in Week 3. Burfict is the heart and soul of this defense and led the NFL in tackles last season. His return would make a stingy defense (league-leading 11 ppg allowed) even better. On offense, the passing game could get a boost if wide receiver Marvin Jones gets back on the field. Second on the team last season in receiving yards (712) and touchdowns (10), Jones has been out since breaking a bone in his foot early in the preseason. His presence would not only provide quarterback Andy Dalton with another receiving threat, it also would give the Bengals a reliable red-zone target to take some of the pressure off of A.J. Green and help fill the absence of injured tight end Tyler Eifert. Some other injured starters and key reserves could be returning as well, a potentially scary proposition for the rest of the league considering the Bengals went 3-0 without the likes of Burfict, Jones, etc. on the field.

 

3. Which Team Gains the Most Ground?

New England’s struggles running the ball have already been documented. The Patriots are 23rd in the NFL in that category right now, but the Bengals haven’t fared that much better. Even with the dynamic duo of explosive Giovani Bernard and bruising Jeremy Hill leading the way, Cincinnati is just 15th in the league in rushing (121.7 ypg) and is actually averaging fewer yards per carry (3.6) than New England (3.7). The difference, however, lies in the contributions of the respective passing games. The former is 11th with 262.3 yards per game, while the latter is languishing in 30th (201.0 ypg). This is a big reason why the Bengals are seventh in the league in total offense and scoring nearly 27 points per game while the Patriots are 29th and managing just 20 points per contest. Regardless, both teams would like to establish the run tonight, especially considering the respective defenses have struggled some in this department. Cincinnati is allowing 113.3 yards per game, including 149 in Week 3 to Tennessee. New England meanwhile coughed up 207 to Kansas City in the Monday night meltdown. The team that does the best job of staying “grounded” tonight more than likely leaves Gillette Stadium as the victors.

 

Final Analysis

 

When looking at both teams’ current circumstances, Cincinnati appears to be getting New England at an opportune time. The Patriots are wounded, especially when it comes to their pride and team morale, and there seem to be more questions than available answers. On top of this, Bill Belichick’s team is dealing with a short turnaround after playing a Monday night game and has had to deal with a hungry media crush that’s more concerned about reporting on the Patriots’ pending demise. On the other side are the Bengals, undefeated, coming off of their bye well rested and as close to full strength as they’ve been this season. While I don’t think New England is headed for the basement of the AFC East, I do believe that Cincinnati is a better team at this point in their seasons. Marvin Lewis’ team adds to the misery of Patriots fans, as the Bengals capitalize on being an extremely rare road favorite in Gillette Stadium.

 
Prediction: Cincinnati 24, New England 20
Teaser:
Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 10:00
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The Week 5 Lone Star State Showdown should feature both workhorse running backs, while the Browns also hope to have their No. 1 ball-carrier in the lineup. Here are some of the key running back and quarterback injuries to keep an eye on.

 

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans

Probable – Back
Romo didn’t practice on Wednesday, but that’s becoming the normal routine for the veteran. He was a full go on both Thursday and Friday and is Probable for today’s Lone Star State showdown with the Texans. The Cowboys are aiming for their fourth straight win and Romo hasn’t shown any reason during this streak to not start him.

 

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys

Probable – Hamstring
Foster was a game-time decision last week for the second straight game, but unlike Week 3 against the Giants, he ended up playing vs. the Bills. He wasn’t every effective as a rusher, however, finishing with just six yards on eight carries although he did catch seven passes for 55 yards. The Probable designation for this week is certainly encouraging, but don’t mistake that to mean he’s back to 100 percent. Foster was limited in practice this week, which is nothing new, but neither is him being a late scratch prior to kickoff. Unless something happens between now and 1 p.m. ET, Foster should be in your starting lineup. But it wouldn’t hurt to have Plan B ready, just in case.

 
Ben Tate, RB, Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans

Probable – Knee
The Browns are coming off of their bye and should get their No. 1 RB back. Tate sprained his knee in Week 1 and has been out since, but he was a full go at practice on Friday and is listed as Probable. If Tate does play, he will reclaim his starting role, which will likely decrease the number of touches rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell get. If you have Tate, you can employ him as a RB2 while West and Crowell are back to flex options. Two things to keep in mind, however, are 1) Tate’s leash may not be that long considering how productive West and Crowell were during his absence (Crowell in particular seems to be generating the most buzz from Browns camp) and 2) Tate himself didn’t sound that optimistic that he would be ready to go on Sunday, apparently worried that his knee could swell up prior to game time. If the player is worried about his knee, shouldn’t his fantasy owners be a little wary as well?

 
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans vs. Cleveland Browns

Probable – Wrist
Locker missed last week’s game due to a sore wrist, but it was business as usual this week. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has already announced that Locker will be his starter today with Charlie Whitehurst serving as the backup. The Titans have lost three games in a row by an average of 22 points and not surprisingly, Locker has struggled (TD, 4 turnovers in past two games) during this stretch. It’s not a bad bye week with only Miami and Oakland off, so you’re probably better off using someone other than Locker, even if you’re in a 2-QB league.

 

Josh McCown, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Questionable – Thumb
McCown hasn’t had surgery yet to repair his injured thumb, which has prevented him from even throwing the football. So even though he’s listed as Questionable there’s no reason to expect him to play. He hasn’t practiced all week and Mike Glennon led the team to a thrilling, come-from-behind road win in Pittsburgh last week. Even more so than last week, I think Glennon merits serious QB2 consideration.


Already Ruled Out:

 

Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions – Bell got his bell rung last week against the Jets and he wasn’t even cleared for contact until Friday. After missing an entire week of practice, the team decided to err on the side of caution and hold him out. Reggie Bush figures to be a very busy man today against the Bills, especially since fellow running back Theo Riddick has also been ruled Out (hamstring) and All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson is listed as Questionable. George Winn and fullback Jed Collins will be the only other backs active for the Lions today, barring a late signing, for those in deeper leagues that may have an interest.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 5 Injury Updates: Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Joique Bell, Jake Locker
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 06:30
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Carolina’s backfield is a mess entering Week 5 while Arizona got some good and bad news on the injury front coming out of its bye. Here’s the latest on those situations and the playing status of some other key running backs.

 

Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos

Probable – Foot
He’s still being limited in practice, but the hope is that the bye week allowed for Ellington’s foot to heal some. Either way, he’s listed as Probable and will be out there against the Broncos. Ellington’s owners are also hoping that the time off will benefit his production too, especially in what could end up being a relatively high-scoring affair with the Broncos. Ellington is a safe RB2 with the upside for much more.

 

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers

Probable – Ankle
Talk about your triumphant returns. Just two weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain, Charles was back on the field Monday night, scoring three touchdowns to fuel the Chiefs’ rout of the Patriots. He did tweak his leg or get a cramp at one point, but was able to return and apparently made it through OK. He was limited earlier this week in practice, but was a full go on Friday and is listed as Probable for this afternoon’s game. Charles is a must-start RB1, and if Monday night showed anything, it appears there are enough touches available for Knile Davis to remain a safe flex option too.

 

Bernard Pierce, RB, Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts

Probable – Thigh
Even though he was declared “ready,” Pierce did not see a single snap in last week’s win over Carolina. Whatever the reason for that decision, it did allow Pierce another week to recover, which seems to have paid off. Pierce was a full participant this week in practice and is listed as Probable. However, Pierce’s expected return only complicates the Ravens’ backfield picture since Justin Forsett and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro have each been productive when given an opportunity. If I were to handicap this situation, I would categorize Pierce as a risky RB2, Forsett as a relatively safe flex option and Taliaferro as the odd man out for this week but still someone worth keeping an eye on. I told you it was complicated.

 

Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, RBs, Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears

Doubtful – Knee; Out – Ankle
The Panthers are digging deep to fill out their backfield, as injuries have clearly taken their toll. Mike Tolbert (leg fracture) is on IR while Williams, who missed Weeks 2 and 3 with a hamstring injury is now dealing with a high ankle sprain and has already been ruled Out. Stewart sprained his knee two weeks ago, but was back at practice on Wednesday. It was just a brief appearance, however, and he wound up just watching practice the next two days. He’s listed as Doubtful, but there’s no reason to count on having Stewart today. Carolina’s starting running back instead will be Darrin Reaves, an undrafted free agent from UAB who was elevated from the practice squad a few weeks ago. Backing up Reaves will be journeyman Fozzy Whittaker and recent free-agent acquisition Chris Ogbonnaya. Reaves should see the bulk of the carries, but even as porous as Chicago’s run defense has been early on, I’m not sure I would want to take a chance on an unproven guy who was doing scout team work just two weeks ago.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals – The bruised nerve in his throwing shoulder will sideline Palmer for a third straight game, as Bruce Arians announced on Friday that Drew Stanton would start against Denver. After showing some signs of progress during the team’s bye week, Palmer experienced a setback earlier this week, which caused him to go seek a second medical opinion. While Palmer has said he doesn’t need surgery and this isn’t considered a season-ending injury, there’s not much else he can do other than hope his shoulder responds to treatment. In the meantime, Stanton has been steady in leading the Cardinals to back-to-back wins. He’s not likely to put up huge numbers on a weekly basis, but today’s matchup in Denver could be profitable, especially if the game develops into some short of shootout. Depending on your options, Stanton could merit QB2 consideration this week.

 

Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers – Mathews is expected to miss at least a month after spraining his MCL in Week 2 while Woodhead was placed on injured reserve after breaking his leg in Week 3. Donald Brown will carry the load for the time being with undrafted rookie Branden Oliver listed next on the depth chart.

Teaser:
Week 5 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Jamaal Charles, Andre Ellington, Bernard Pierce, Jonathan Stewart
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 06:30
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An ankle injury continues to bother one NFC North top target, while another should be at full speed for Week 5. And these aren’t the only key wide receiver injuries you need to pay attention to.

 

A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, WRs, Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots

Probable – Toe; Doubtful – Ankle
The fact that Green is even on the injury report after his bye week is a little disconcerting, but he is listed as Probable and was able to practice in at least a limited fashion every day. He should be safe to trot out as a WR1. Meanwhile it looks like Jones’ season debut will have to wait at least one more week. Jones has yet to play since breaking a bone in his foot early in the preseason, and now apparently he’s dealing with some sort of ankle issue. The bottom line is Jones did not practice at all this week so there’s little reason to expect him to play for the first time since early August. Mohamed Sanu should retain some possible WR3/flex value as the Bengals’ No. 2 WR.

 

Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, WRs, Detroit Lions vs. Buffalo Bills

Questionable – Ankle; Probable – Hamstring
Despite being Questionable a week ago, Johnson suited up against the Jets. He ended up being an extremely talented decoy (2 targets, 2 rec., 12 yds.), as it became apparent Megatron was nowhere near 100 percent. He’s still not there yet either, as Johnson missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday before returning on Friday. He’s officially listed as Questionable, but head coach Jim Caldwell did hint at the possibility of Johnson missing a game at some point if it would help him heal. For now, Johnson should remain in your lineup, but keep an eye out for any updates related to his status prior to kickoff (1 p.m. ET). Tate meanwhile did not practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday and Friday due to a hamstring injury. Caldwell said he didn’t think the issue would prevent Tate from playing and his presence is even more important with Johnson ailing. Tate should be a relatively safe WR2 with upside today at home against the Bills.

 

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers

Probable – Ankle
After being Questionable for three straight weeks, Marshall is listed as Probable for today’s game in Carolina. He practiced fully all three days and considering he’s still yet to miss a game, there should be absolutely no hesitation when it comes to plugging him into your lineup.

 

Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets at San Diego Chargers

Questionable – Hamstring
Decker’s hamstring continues to give him and his owners fits. Two weeks ago he left early after re-aggravating it, but was back on the field last week and caught a touchdown pass in the home loss to Detroit. However, after practicing on Wednesday, he was not able to participate either Thursday or Friday and head coach Rex Ryan has already announced Decker will be a game-time decision. The apparent regression is not a good sign and the Jets are on the West Coast for a 4:25 pm. ET kickoff, so caution is certainly warranted here. If you can, wait until kickoff before making your final decision. If not, I would strongly consider benching Decker this week, especially given the Jets’ struggles with their passing game.

 
Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Questionable – Knee
Coming out of the bye, Austin was still limited in practice this week by his knee injury. He’s listed as Questionable, but even if he plays, I see no reason to take a chance on starting Austin. Before the injury, he wasn’t doing much of anything (3 rec., 34 yds.) and it’s pretty clear a guy who needs his speed and elusiveness to make plays isn’t close to being 100 percent healthy.

 
Already Ruled Out:

 

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers’ first-round pick is expected to miss two to four weeks after injuring his groin last week. Louis Murphy will replace Evans in the starting lineup and the veteran made a few plays (6-99) to help the Bucs come back and beat the Steelers. Murphy is nothing more than a wait-and-see option for now with Vincent Jackson the Tampa Bay WR you want to own and rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins increasing his stock.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 5 Injury Updates: Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Mike Evans
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 06:30
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Texas could be without its top wide receiver for the big in-state showdown in Week 5. Are there any other fantasy-relevant wideouts who may not be on the field today?

 

Harry Douglas, Devin Hester and Julio Jones, WRs, Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants

Out – Foot; Probable – Ankle; Probable – Ankle
The Falcons’ wide receiver corps just likes to keep things interesting, as evidenced by fact that three of them appear on this week’s injury report. Even though it’s a somewhat crowded list, it’s pretty easy to sort out. Douglas is Out because of a toe injury while Hester and Jones are both Probable and should play. Hester and Jones were both able to practice fully on Friday and as far as Jones is concerned, he’s a must-start WR1. Hester is the more interesting case, as he’s more known for his return skills. However, it looks like he’s found a home in Atlanta as the team’s No. 3/4 wideout, as Hester has scored an offensive touchdown in each of the past two games and caught five passes for 70 yards in last week’s loss to the Vikings. In leagues where special teams contributions count in the scoring, Hester certainly has appeal, but I also could make an argument me for employing him as a WR3/WR4 this week, especially with Douglas out.

 
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys

Questionable – Ankle
Johnson had been listed on the injury report previously with an ankle injury, but it has yet to keep him from playing. What’s curious about this week, however, is that after saying his ankle was fine, Johnson did not practice Wednesday, was limited on Thursday and sat out Friday’s session. Johnson’s toughness has been vouched for in this space previously, but the possibility he could sit this one out cannot be taken lightly. The 1 p.m. ET kickoff should give Johnson owners enough time to chew on the updates regarding his Questionable status before deciding to start him or not.

 

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans

Probable – Shoulder
Bryant’s on the injury report, but he was a full practice participant all week. The Cowboys are looking to keep their hot streak going against in-state foe Houston and will need all the production they can get from Bryant to beat the Texans. Bryant’s Probable and he better be in your starting lineup.

 

Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Probable – Groin
Wheaton showed up on the injury report this week with a groin issue, which limited his practice participation on Wednesday and Thursday. However, he was a full go on Friday and is listed as Probable, so he should be out there today. The matchup with a generous Jaguars’ defense is certainly appealing, but be careful to not put too much trust in Wheaton. Antonio Brown is clearly Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite target, Heath Miller is still one of his most trusted ones and Le’Veon Bell is a factor coming out of the backfield. Wheaton’s talent and potential are certainly appealing, but he’s yet to catch a touchdown and the big plays (only three catches of 20-plus yards) just haven’t been there. Wheaton’s ceiling remains high, but right now he’s safest when employed as a WR3/flex option.

 

Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons

Questionable – Hamstring
Will we finally see Beckham on the field? A hamstring injury has caused him to miss the first four games, but the mere fact that Beckham is Questionable and not already ruled Out is certainly encouraging. Even if he does play, how much remains to be seen, as it appears that Beckham has a lot of catching up to do in the eyes of the coaching staff. So while it is certainly too risky to start Beckham this week, he’s one to keep an eye on as there’s a reason the Giants drafted him in the first round.

 
Already Ruled Out:

 

Marqise Lee and Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars – Lee will miss a third straight game due to a hamstring injury, while Shorts will probably be sidelined for an extended period of time with his own hamstring issue. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson will serve as the Jags’ starting wide receivers and could be fantasy options depending on your depth at the position. Hurns is the more appealing option based on numbers (3 TDs), while Robinson’s value increases in PPR leagues. Of course how each fares today will depend largely on how Blake Bortles does in his first start at home against Pittsburgh.

Teaser:
Week 5 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Andre Johnson, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Markus Wheaton
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 06:30
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San Francisco’s top tight end looks very iffy for Week 5, while Cleveland should get its back on the field. Here are the key tight end injuries you need to know about before setting your lineup.

 

Delaine Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans vs. Cleveland Browns

Probable – Shoulder
Walker was Questionable last week, but not only did he start, he also paced the Titans in receiving (5-84-1) yet again. This week he practiced some Wednesday and Thursday before being a full go on Friday. He’s listed as Probable and Walker definitely needs to be in your lineup.

 

Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Questionable – Back
It has certainly been a rough stretch for Davis. After missing Week 3 due to an ankle injury, a Questionable Davis was back on the field last week despite being a game-time decision. Unfortunately, he was not out there long after taking a big hit to his back. This latest injury prevented him from practicing at all this week so I think it’s safe to add “very” in front of his Questionable designation. Other than a strong Week 1 showing (2 TDs), Davis hasn’t done that much when he has been on the field. Benching him would probably be the safest course of action until he gets a little healthier.

 

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Probable – Knee
Pretty much the only reason Gronkowski remains in this space is because of his stature. The truth is Gronk appears to be in the best health he’s been in a while, as he got in a full week of practice. He’s listed as Probable and even with Tom Brady and the Patriots’ struggles on offense, Gronk needs to be in your lineup. After all, he caught a touchdown pass from rookie Jimmy Garoppolo in garbage time in the Patriots’ Monday night meltdown against the Chiefs.

 

Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens

Probable – Shoulder
Although he’s not fully healed, Cameron returned to practice following the Browns’ bye week, is listed as Probable and should see his first action since Week 1. Cameron has said he will probably have to deal with a separated AC joint in his shoulder the rest of the season, but as long as he can tolerate and manage the pain, he will be out there. Cameron entered the season as a top-10 TE and should get back to that territory relatively soon, as long as his shoulder doesn’t get worse.

 

Niles Paul and Jordan Reed, TEs, Washington Redskins vs. Seattle Seahawks (Mon.)

Questionable – Concussion; Questionable – Hamstring
Is a TE controversy looming for Washington? Perhaps, but it doesn’t look like it will be this week. Paul and Reed are both listed as Questionable for Monday night, but the former increased his participation in practice during the week while the latter wasn’t even a part of Saturday’s session. Paul appears on track to return after suffering a concussion last week against the Giants, whereas Reed will probably miss another game. Paul’s borderline TE1 potential remains, as does the risk associated with a player coming back from a concussion who won’t play until Monday night.

 

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Questionable – Ankle
Injuries have limited Seferian-Jenkins’ impact as a rookie, as he’s played in just two games. He’s Questionable again this week because of an ankle injury, but he did get in a limited practice session on Friday, which should help his chances of playing today. It’s hard to trust a rookie who’s been in and out of the lineup, but when’s he played he’s been somewhat productive, averaging 17.5 yards per reception. The 1 p.m. ET kickoff should at least allow an opportunity to check in on ASJ’s status before deciding whether to take a chance on starting him this week or not.

 
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers vs. New York Jets

Questionable – Hamstring
Green was active last week, but he didn’t see a single target even though Philip Rivers attempted 39 passes and threw for 377 yards. The good news is Green seems to be getting better, as he was able to practice fully on both Thursday and Friday. He’s listed as Questionable, and seems to be a fairly safe bet for being active against the Jets. Whether he’s “active” on the field remains to be seen, however, as Antonio Gates’ consistent production seemingly continues to limit Green’s opportunities. Unless you start two tight ends in your lineup, Green should probably be left on your bench.

 
Already Ruled Out:

 

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

 

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 5 Injury Updates: Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Cameron
Post date: Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/arizona-cardinals-vs-denver-broncos-game-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Arizona and Denver are set to get back to the field when the two teams return from their byes to face each other Sunday afternoon on FOX. The Cardinals (3-0) are one of two teams (Cincinnati) still undefeated entering Week 5, while the Broncos (2-1) look continue its recent dominance at home following their overtime loss in Seattle two weeks ago.

 

On paper, this shapes up as a matchup of contrasting styles and strengths. Arizona ranks among the NFL’s stingiest defenses while Denver boasts one of the most explosive and potent offenses. The Broncos also have the benefit of playing at home, as they are 11-1 (including playoffs) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High since last season.

 

Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos

 

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Denver -8

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Arizona’s QB Controversy?

The Cardinals are 3-0 despite the fact that Carson Palmer has played just one game. Palmer has missed the past two games because of a bruised nerve in his right shoulder. After showing signs of improvement during the bye week, he experienced a setback earlier this week and met with another doctor to get a second opinion. Palmer’s status for this game is uncertain at best, but this situation is nothing new for head coach Bruce Arians. Drew Stanton has started, and won, the past two games in relief of Palmer. While his statistics (32-for-62, 411 yds., 2 TDs) may not jump off of the page, Stanton has taken care of the ball (no turnovers) and done what he’s needed to do to put his team in position to win. Arizona’s early success is due in large part to a defense that’s held the opposition to 71.7 yards rushing and 15 points per game. The Cardinals will certainly have their hands full trying to slow down Denver’s high-powered offense at home, which means the offense will definitely need to do its part. Whether Palmer will be able to play remains to be seen, but Arians and the rest of team  are more than comfortable with turning the reins over to Stanton. The question that looms, however, is what happens if Palmer continues to be hampered by his injury, especially if Stanton continues to produce winning results? Arizona’s undefeated record may not be the only thing on the line in this game.

 

2. Will the Real Broncos Offense Please Stand Up?

Denver’s offense set numerous records last season, including the mark for scoring (606 points). The Broncos averaged a whopping 37.9 points per game in 2013 and had already scored 127 (42.3 ppg) prior to their fourth game. Through three games this season that number has dropped all the way to 25 points per game. Granted they are coming off of a game in Seattle, one of the toughest places to play in the NFL against the defending Super Bowl champions, but Denver’s season-high thus far is the 31 points scored in its opener against Indianapolis. Contrast that to last season when the Broncos scored at least that many in all but three regular-season games. Some of the faces from last season’s record-setting offense have changed, but capable replacements were brought in. Emmanuel Sanders, who replaced Eric Decker, has not only fit in, he’s thrived as one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets. The running game has stumbled out of the gates though, as Montee Ball has not been able to replace Knowshon Moreno’s production thus far. Still, with Manning as the field general and a wealth of talented and explosive playmakers at his disposal, this remains one of the league’s most feared offenses. Perhaps the Broncos ironed out the kinks during their bye week and will look a lot more like the unit that lit up the scoreboard for most of last season. This matchup against a stingy Cardinals defense that has overcome a rash of injuries will certainly serve as a good measuring stick for Manning and company.

 

3. Denver’s Defensive Boost

Arizona’s defense has been one of the early surprises this far, as the Cardinals’ stop unit has been successful despite a bunch of injuries to key players. And while Denver’s defense has not enjoyed the same statistical success early on, the Broncos are about to receive a big boost with the return of starting linebacker Danny Trevathan. The team’s leading tackler last season, Trevathan fractured his knee during the preseason, but he finally returned to practice this week and should make his season debut. Trevathan’s return not only stabilizes the linebacker corps, it also means that Denver’s defense will be as close to full strength as it’s been this season. General manager John Elway will be among those paying close attention during this game to see how the unit he envisioned entering this season performs on the field now that Trevathan will line up alongside All-Pro linebacker Von Miller with free-agent additions DeMarcus Ware up front and Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward anchoring the back end. With Trevathan back in the fold, it’s time to see if Denver’s defense can be championship-caliber or is an ineffective collection of expensive pieces.

 

Final Analysis

 

Arizona, not Denver, is the undefeated team entering this matchup, but there’s a reason the Broncos are a comfortable favorite in Vegas’ eyes. Even though Peyton Manning and the offense haven’t produced the same results early on compared to last season, this unit is still as dangerous any in the NFL, especially at home. The job Bruce Arians’ team has done on defense, especially given the key personnel missing in action, has been impressive, but it’s obvious this will be this unit’s biggest test yet. The Cardinals are too well-coached, disciplined and feisty for this one to get really out of hand, but the home team simply has too much offensive firepower, and I also expect Denver’s defense to make a statement of its own at some point. Arizona puts up a fight, but it’s tough for a visiting team to leave Sports Authority Field at Mile High unscathed.

 
Prediction: Denver 31, Arizona 20
Teaser:
Arizona Cardinals vs. Denver Broncos Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 15:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-quarterback-rankings-week-5
Body:

With just two teams on bye in Week 5, Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings have returned to “normal” for the most part. While Peyton Manning will be back on the field (at home against Arizona), Drew Brees gets the nod for the top spot since his Saints are at home in must-win mode against a Tampa Bay defense that has had problems stopping the pass. Last week’s top scorer, Eli Manning, will look to stay hot at home against Atlanta while many people will be keeping a close eye on how rookie Teddy Bridgewater (provided his sprained ankle doesn’t keep him from playing) fares at Lambeau Field in the Thursday night spotlight against a Packers defense that gave up nearly 500 yards last week to the Bears.

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Drew BreesNOvs. TB
2Peyton ManningDENvs. ARI
3Andrew LuckINDvs. BAL
4Aaron RodgersGBvs. MIN (Thurs.)
5Philip RiversSDvs. NYJ
6Russell WilsonSEAat WAS (Mon.)
7Matthew StaffordDETvs. BUF
8Matt RyanATLat NYG
9Ben RoethlisbergerPITat JAC
10Jay CutlerCHIat CAR
11Eli ManningNYGvs. ATL
12Colin KaepernickSFvs. KC
13Nick FolesPHIvs. STL
14Tony RomoDALvs. HOU
15Cam NewtonCARvs. CHI
16Joe FlaccoBALat IND
17Andy DaltonCINat NE
18Alex SmithKCat SF
19Tom BradyNEvs. CIN
20Kirk CousinsWASvs. SEA (Mon.)
21Mike GlennonTBat NO
22Teddy BridgewaterMINat GB
23Carson PalmerARIat DEN
24Ryan FitzpatrickHOUat DAL
25Blake BortlesJACvs. PIT
26Brian HoyerCLEat TEN

​Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING

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

 

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Quarterback Rankings: Week 5
Post date: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-running-back-rankings-week-5
Body:

DeMarco Murray is leading the NFL in rushing by a pretty wide margin, so it makes sense that he sits in the top spot in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Week 5. Murray has reeled off four straight 100-yard rushing games to start this season, and there’s no reason to believe the Cowboys won’t continue to feed him the ball in their in-state matchup with Houston. Last season’s rushing champion, LeSean McCoy, has gotten off to a slow start, but it’s way too early to give up on him. The matchup against St. Louis isn’t ideal, which is why McCoy is near the back end of this week’s top 10, but this is still a legitimate RB1. If someone who has McCoy thinks otherwise, now would be an ideal time to see if he can be had for less than market value in a trade.

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1DeMarco MurrayDALvs. HOU
2Le'Veon BellPITat JAC
3Marshawn LynchSEAat WAS (Mon.)
4Rashad JenningsNYGvs. ATL
5Matt ForteCHIat CAR
6Jamaal CharlesKCat SF
7Giovani BernardCINat NE
8LeSean McCoyPHIvs. STL
9Alfred MorrisWASvs. SEA (Mon.)
10Arian FosterHOUat DAL
11Eddie LacyGBvs. MIN (Thurs.)
12Zac StacySTLat PHI
13Andre EllingtonARIat DEN
14Frank GoreSFvs. KC
15Montee BallDENvs. ARI
16Doug MartinTBat NO
17Matt AsiataMINat GB (Thurs.)
18Chris IvoryNYJat SD
19Reggie BushDETvs. BUF
20C.J. SpillerBUFat DET
21Khiry RobinsonNOvs. TB
22Ahmad BradshawINDvs. BAL
23Fred JacksonBUFat DET
24Steven JacksonATLat NYG
25Justin ForsettBALat IND
26Ben TateCLEat TEN
27Trent RichardsonINDvs. BAL
28Bishop SankeyTENvs. CLE
29Jerick McKinnonMINat GB (Thurs.)
30Jeremy HillCINat NE
31Stevan RidleyNEvs. CIN
32Shane VereenNEvs. CIN
33Chris JohnsonNYJat SD
34Donald BrownSDvs. NYJ
35Darren SprolesPHIvs. STL
36Pierre ThomasNOvs. TB
37Darrin ReavesCARvs. CHI
38Lorenzo TaliaferroBALat IND
39Toby GerhartJACvs. PIT
40Knile DavisKCat SF
41Shonn GreeneTENvs. CLE
42Bernard PierceBALat IND
43Isaiah CrowellCLEat TEN
44Terrance WestCLEat TEN
45Carlos HydeSFvs. KC
46Benny CunninghamSTLat PHI
47Alfred BlueHOUat DAL
48Joique BellDETvs. BUF

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

 

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Running Back Rankings: Week 5
Post date: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-wide-receiver-rankings-week-5
Body:

Even with several top targets returning from bye, they all take a backseat to the leading scorer at the position in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings for Week 5. Antonio Brown currently leads all his peers, thanks to five touchdown receptions, although to be fair he has played in four games. Elsewhere, the health of a couple of No. 1 wide receivers bears watching, as Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall were both limited last week by ankle injuries. Johnson in particular was no more than an extremely athletic decoy against the Jets after being designated Questionable headed into the game. Johnson is as tough as they come and has been a quick healer, but his No. 4 ranking below speaks to a measure of concern, albeit small, regarding his Week 5 outlook.

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Antonio BrownPITat JAC
2Jordy NelsonGBvs. MIN (Thurs.)
3Julio JonesATLat NYG
4Calvin JohnsonDETvs. BUF
5Demaryius ThomasDENvs. ARI
6Dez BryantDALvs. HOU
7A.J. GreenCINat NE
8Alshon JefferyCHIat CAR
9Randall CobbGBvs. MIN (Thurs.)
10Jeremy MaclinPHIvs. STL
11Emmanuel SandersDENvs. ARI
12Brandon MarshallCHIat CAR
13Steve SmithBALat IND
14Keenan AllenSDvs. NYJ
15Michael FloydARIat DEN
16Victor CruzNYGvs. ATL
17Andre JohnsonHOUat DAL
18Vincent JacksonTBat NO
19Kelvin BenjaminCARvs. CHI
20DeAndre HopkinsHOUat DAL
21Percy HarvinSEAat WAS (Mon.)
22Michael CrabtreeSFvs. KC
23Roddy WhiteATLat NYG
24Reggie WayneINDvs. BAL
25Julian EdelmanNEvs. CIN
26Pierre GarconWASvs. SEA (Mon.)
27Brandin CooksNOvs. TB
28Wes WelkerDENvs. ARI
29Marques ColstonNOvs. TB
30Golden TateDETvs. BUF
31Larry FitzgeraldARIat DEN
32Brian QuickSTLat PHI
33T.Y. HiltonINDvs. BAL
34Cordarrelle PattersonMINat GB (Thurs.)
35DeSean JacksonWASvs. SEA (Mon.)
36Eric DeckerNYJat SD
37Terrance WilliamsDALvs. HOU
38Sammy WatkinsBUFat DET
39Markus WheatonPITat JAC
40Anquan BoldinSFvs. KC
41Rueben RandleNYGvs. ATL
42Greg JenningsMINat GB (Thurs.)
43Kendall WrightTENvs. CLE
44Torrey SmithBALat IND
45Dwayne BoweKCat SF
46Andrew HawkinsCLEat TEN
47Allen HurnsJACvs. PIT
48Malcom FloydSDvs. NYJ

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 5
Post date: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-tight-end-rankings-week-5
Body:

Jimmy Graham continues to lead the way when it comes to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings for Week 5, but it’s the rest of the top 10 that may open some eyes. Graham, Julius Thomas, Antonio Gates and Greg Olsen are no real surprises, and the same could even be said for Martellus Bennett and Delaine Walker. However, Larry Donnell has come out of nowhere to emerge as a top-five fantasy TE, while Travis Kelce and Niles Paul are doing their best to keep up. Noticeably absent from the top 10 are guys like Rob Gronkowski (just outside), Vernon Davis and Jason Witten along with Zach Ertz and Kyle Rudolph (dealing with a sports hernia), popular breakout candidates entering this season. Needless to say, tight end has been a fluid situation in 2014.

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Jimmy GrahamNOvs. TB
2Julius ThomasDENvs. ARI
3Martellus BennettCHIat CAR
4Rob GronkowskiNEvs. CIN
5Larry DonnellNYGvs. ATL
6Delanie WalkerTENvs. CLE
7Greg OlsenCARvs. CHI
8Antonio GatesSDvs. NYJ
9Jordan CameronCLEat TEN
10Travis KelceKCat SF
11Zach ErtzPHIvs. STL
12Heath MillerPITat JAC
13Jason WittenDALvs. HOU
14Vernon DavisSFvs. KC
15Dwayne AllenINDvs. BAL
16Owen DanielsBALat IND
17Austin Seferian-JenkinsTBat NO
18Jared CookSTLat PHI
19Garrett GrahamHOUat DAL
20Coby FleenerINDvs. BAL
21Clay HarborJACvs. PIT
22Eric EbronDETvs. BUF
23Jace AmaroNYJat SD
24Jermaine GreshamCINat NE

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Tight End Rankings: Week 5
Post date: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-5
Body:

Seattle’s defense has not performed like the No. 1 DST thus far, but the reigning Super Bowl champion’s Week 5 matchup is too tempting to not reinstate them at the top of Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings. The Seahawks may be on the road for their Monday night tilt with Washington, but the Redskins are coming off of a horrendous Week 4 loss to the Giants in which Kirk Cousins alone was responsible for five turnovers. Who are you going to trust more – the “Legion of Boom” or Cousins? That’s what I thought.

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerOpp
1Seattle Seahawksat WAS (Mon.)
2San Diego Chargersvs. NYJ
3Cincinnati Bengalsat NE
4Pittsburgh Steelersat JAC
5Detroit Lionsvs. BUF
6San Francisco 49ersvs. KC
7Houston Texansat DAL
8Denver Broncosvs. ARI
9Philadelphia Eaglesvs. STL
10New England Patriotsvs. CIN
11Kansas City Chiefsat SF
12Arizona Cardinalsat DEN
13Buffalo Billsat DET
14New York Giantsvs. ATL
15Cleveland Brownsat TEN
16St. Louis Ramsat PHI

DEFENSIVE SCORINGRankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 5
Post date: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-kicker-rankings-week-5
Body:

Nick Novak’s hot leg has helped San Diego win its past three games and also is a big reason why he leads off Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings for Week 5. The Chargers host the Jets, a team that has struggled to defend the pass and could wear down in the San Diego heat. As good as Novak has been early on, he trails Dallas’ Dan Bailey in fantasy points at the position. Bailey and the surprising 3-1 Cowboys will try and keep things going offensively against Houston in what should be an entertaining battle for Lone Star State bragging rights.

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Nick NovakSDvs. NYJ
2Dan BaileyDALvs. HOU
3Adam VinatieriINDvs. BAL
4Cody ParkeyPHIvs. STL
5Justin TuckerBALat IND
6Steven HauschkaSEAat WAS (Mon.)
7Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. CIN
8Greg ZuerleinSTLat PHI
9Shaun SuishamPITat JAC
10Blair WalshMINat GB (Thurs.)
11Phil DawsonSFvs. KC
12Mason CrosbyGBvs. MIN (Thurs.)
13Chandler CatanzaroARIat DEN
14Mike NugentCINat NE
15Robbie GouldCHIat CAR
16Brandon McManusDENvs. ARI

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Kicker Rankings: Week 5
Post date: Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, waiver wire, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-waiver-wire-week-5
Body:

It’s Week 5 and hopefully your team survived the first bye of the season. It was certainly a big one with Denver, Seattle, Cincinnati, Arizona, Cleveland and St. Louis all taking a breather. The good news is that this week the only two teams on bye are Miami and Oakland, who need the extra rest to recover from their trip to London. There are still injuries and other circumstances to deal with, however, and new names continue to pop up on the fantasy radar.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Miami, Oakland

 

Quarterbacks

 

Week 4 Recap: Eli Manning was the week’s leading fantasy scorer after his five-touchdown (4 passing, 1 rushing) showing in a Thursday night rout of Washington. Alex Smith tossed three more touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over a single time as the Chiefs routed the Patriots on Monday night. Smith, who is owned in less than half of all Yahoo! leagues, has more fantasy points through four games than Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Tony Romo or Nick Foles.

 

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings

Bridgewater’s first NFL start went about as well as it possibly could (317 yards passing, rush TD, 2-point conversion), leading his team to an impressive win over Atlanta, until he left in the fourth quarter on a cart because of an ankle injury. The good news is that x-rays came back negative, so it appears to be some sort of sprain. The bad news, however, is that the Vikings have a short turnaround before paying a visit to Green Bay on Thursday night, so it’s possible Bridgewater may not get the start or even play this week. Regardless, the rookie’s first impression shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you are looking for a bye-week replacement down the road or need to beef up your QB depth.

 

Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Let’s give Glennon his due. In his first start in place of an injured Josh McCown, all he did was lead his team to a comeback win in Pittsburgh in thrilling fashion. Glennon’s numbers (302-2-1) may not jump out at you, but his 22.1 fantasy points (Athlon scoring) were more than McCown had put up in any of the three previous games. Glennon started 13 games as a rookie last season and finished with respectable stats (2,608-19-9), so it’s not like he’s new to this role. Reports are that McCown could be facing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb, so there’s a chance this will be Glennon’s job for the immediate future. Depending on matchup, your bye-week situation or if you are in a 2-QB league, Glennon could be someone to keep on your radar.

 

Running Backs

 

Week 4 Recap: Another week, another receiving touchdown for Ahmad Bradshaw, who has four on the season already. He totaled just 52 yards against Tennessee, but it’s his status as one of Andrew Luck’s most trusted targets that’s driving his value. Lorenzo Taliaferro took advantage of an “inactive” Bernard Pierce and carried the ball a team-high 15 times for 58 yards and a touchdown in Baltimore’s victory over Carolina. With Pierce, Taliaferro and Justin Forsett (97 total yards, TD vs. Panthers) all in the picture, this is quickly becoming a crowded backfield. Roy Helu led Washington with five catches for 78 yards (also had two carries for eight yards) as one of the few offensive bright spots in the blowout home loss to the Giants. Donald Brown (10 att., 19 yds.) couldn’t get anything going on the ground against Jacksonville, but he should remain the primary ball-carrier for the Chargers moving forward with Ryan Mathews (MCL) injured and Danny Woodhead (broken leg) on IR.

 

Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings

Matt Asiata was certainly busy (20 att., 78 yds., 3 TDs) against Atlanta, but McKinnon also got 18 carries and turned those into 135 yards rushing. The rookie showed his explosiveness in one 55-yard run and he also caught one pass for 17 yards. Adrian Peterson’s future with the team is uncertain at best, so Asiata and McKinnon will be the backfield until something changes. Asiata may be No. 1 on the depth chart, but it looks like McKinnon will get his fair share of opportunities too.

 

Khiry Robinson, New Orleans Saints

The Saints did not look very good in a discouraging loss Sunday night to Dallas, but one positive takeaway could be the emergence of Robinson. Mark Ingram will miss a few more games after breaking his hand, so the opportunity is there for Robinson to replace Ingram’s rushing production. After falling behind early, New Orleans abandoned the run, but Robinson still finished with 87 yards on just eight carries. Granted, 62 of those came on one run when the game was pretty well decided, but it’s important for Robinson to take advantage of the opportunities he gets. Case in point: Ingram picked up three rushing touchdowns before getting hurt, so the assumption is that those goal-line looks will now go to Robinson.

 

Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans

After getting just eight carries in the first two games combined, Sankey has received a total of 19 touches (16 rushing, 3 receiving) over the past two games. It’s taken some time, but it looks like the Titans’ second-round pick is starting to settle in. Sankey’s progress in the box score may still leave more to be desired from a fantasy standpoint, but his numbers should only go up if the coaching staff continues to give him consistent touches.

 

Antone Smith, Atlanta Falcons

Steven Jackson is the leading rusher and has received nearly half (50) of the team’s 102 carries, but Smith’s impact shouldn’t be overlooked. Despite getting just 10 rushing attempts so far, Smith is second on the team with 119 yards (11.9 ypc) and he leads with two scores on the ground. On Sunday against Minnesota, Smith ripped off a 48-yard touchdown run, the Falcons’ longest play on the ground this season. He will need to see consistent carries moving forward to merit serious consideration as even a flex option; but it looks like Smith may be passing rookie Devonta Freeman and Jacquzz Rodgers (3 att., 10 yds. rushing comined vs. Vikings) in the pecking order in Atlanta’s backfield.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Week 4 Recap: Eddie Royal lived up to his reputation as a streaky player with two more touchdown catches against Jacksonville. Malcom Floyd got into the act too with his second scoring grab of the season, as the Chargers attacked the Jaguars through the air with much success. Allen Robinson was fairly active (7 targets, 5 rec., 38 yds.) against San Diego and could see even more looks considering Cecil Shorts left early after apparently re-aggravating a hamstring injury that cost him the first two games. Devin Hester took advantage of Harry Douglas’ absence and filled in nicely as the Falcons’ No. 3 wide receiver – 5 catches for 70 yards, including a 36-yard scoring strike. Hakeem Nicks (2 rec., 12 yds.) was one of the few Colts who didn’t take advantage of a generous Titans’ passing defense (393 yds., 4 TDs allowed) on Sunday.

 

Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals

Remember me? Jones broke his foot early in the preseason, but the expectation is he will be back this week. The Bengals went 3-0 without him, but Jones’ return will only help Andy Dalton and the passing game. Jones caught a total of 51 passes last season, but 10 of those went for touchdowns, a big reason why he finished 25th in fantasy points at his position. He’s not the big-play threat that A.J. Green or even Giovani Bernard is, but he’s a legitimate red-zone target, something Dalton could use with tight end Tyler Eifert (dislocated elbow) on short-term IR. Jones could be a nice boost to a team with bye week issues or needing some depth at receiver.

 

Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams

St. Louis is already on its third quarterback this season, but one constant for the Rams at wide receiver has been Quick. The third-year pro entered this season with just 29 career receptions and four touchdowns and in the shadows of teammates Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt and Chris Givens. All Quick has done however, is record 16 grabs for 235 yards and a touchdown in the team’s first three games. The Rams’ offense is still a work in progress, but they are coming off of a bye and it looks like Quick is the preferred target of whomever lines up under center. 

 

Jarius Wright, Minnesota Vikings

Cordarelle Patterson and Greg Jennings are the more popular options and remain ahead of Wright on the depth chart, but it was Wright who made the most noise on Sunday. In Teddy Bridgewater’s first career start, Wright hooked up with the rookie quarterback eight times for 132 yards in the win over Atlanta. Wright saw twice as many targets (10) as Patterson and Jennings combined (8). Over the long haul, Patterson still offers the most upside because of his athleticism and explosiveness – don’t forget he had 102 yards rushing in Week 1 – but it’s possible that Wright supplants Jennings’ as the Vikings’ No. 2 option. Something worth keeping an eye on, especially if Bridgewater (depending on his ankle injury) continues to produce in the pocket.

 

Tight Ends

 

Week 4 Recap: Travis Kelce showed up in a big way on Monday night, catching eight passes for 93 yards and a late touchdown that probably saved some people’s fantasy teams while ruining the chances of others. Steve Smith stole the show against his former team, but Owen Daniels was the second-most targeted Raven against Carolina with six. He finished the day with four catches for 43 yards and remains a borderline TE1 moving forward with Dennis Pitta (dislocated hip) on IR.

 

Larry Donnell, New York Giants

Donnell was mentioned in this space before (Week 3) and to be honest, I’m pretty much shocked his ownership rate (55% in Yahoo! leagues as of Tuesday morning) is as low as it is. All this guy has done is come out of nowhere to emerge as a top-five fantasy TE after four weeks. He’s coming off of a three-touchdown performance against Washington and has averaged nearly eight targets per game. Any questions about whether he’s legit or not should have been answered by now. Really at this point it’s a matter of where does he rank moving forward? Top 10 seems pretty safe and it’s not that far-fetched to make an argument for him as a borderline top-five option the rest of the season. Need I say any more?


Defense/Special Teams

 

Week 4 Recap: San Diego had some trouble with Jacksonville early, but settled in and held the Jaguars scoreless for pretty much the last two and a half quarters. The Chargers finished with three sacks and three takeaways (2 INTs, 1 fumble) for a solid 12 fantasy points. Next up on the schedule: home to the Jets, at Oakland and home against the Chiefs.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Not to pick on the aforementioned Jaguars, but the reality is this is a team that ranks next to last in total offense (279.3 ypg) and scoring (14.5 ppg) and the  only offense faring worse (Oakland) is on bye this week. Jacksonville also is 30th in rushing (69.8 ypg), has allowed a whopping 20 sacks in four games and is starting a rookie quarterback. The Steelers didn’t exactly look that impressive, especially late, against the Buccaneers, but this is a defense that has shown it can dominate an opponent (3 sacks, 2 takeaways, TD in Week 3 vs. Carolina) and let’s face it – the matchup doesn’t get any better than this.

 

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

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Waiver Wire: Week 5
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New England will try to extend its winning streak to three in a row by defeating Kansas City at home tonight on ESPN. The Patriots (2-1) have turned things around after dropping their season opener in Miami, but Bill Belichick’s team is still trying to figure out things offensively. The Chiefs (1-2) are coming off of an impressive win over those same Dolphins and hope to have their best offensive player back.

 

Even though he is off to a slow start statistically speaking, Tom Brady has enjoyed quite a bit of success on Monday night. Brady is13-5 in his career on this stage with a 42:15 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a passer rating of 101.5. Kansas City last played on “Monday Night Football” back in 2012 when the Chiefs lost to Pittsburgh on the road in overtime, 16-13.

 

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: New England -3.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Kansas City’s Suddenly Crowded Backfield?

After missing last week’s game with a high ankle sprain sustained early in the Week 2 loss in De­nver, Jamaal Charles is expected to return to the starting lineup. Charles actually practiced some just a few days after suffering the injury, but the team decided to err on the side of caution and held him out against Miami. Knile Davis has been much more than a mere fill-in during Charles’ absence, rushing for 79 yards and two scores against the Broncos and following that up with 132 on the ground and another score in the 34-15 win over the Dolphins last week. Still, Charles is an All-Pro running back who totaled 1,980 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns last season. As productive as Davis has been, Charles’ return makes the Chiefs’ running game that much more dangerous, which is important considering the passing attack isn’t that explosive (197.7 ypg, 26th in the NFL). And Davis still figures to have some sort of role, considering Charles is coming back from the type of injury that has been known to linger or resurface. Besides, two backs may be better than one since New England has done a good job about the run (104 ypg, 12th) thus far.

 

2. The Other 10 Guys on New England’s Offense

When asked earlier about the Patriots’ offensive struggles, Tom Brady was pretty succinct saying there’s been “one guy” playing well. And he wasn’t referring to himself. Instead he was talking about wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is top 10 in the NFL in both receptions (22) and yards (260) entering Week 4. As a team, New England is 26th in the league in total offense (301.3 ypg), which puts them right behind Kansas City (322.3 ypg) in that category. And while the Chiefs’ passing offense (197.7 ypg, 4 TDs) may have a reputation for being pedestrian, it has been more productive than the Patriots’ (196.3, 3). Brady’s slow start (24th in passing yards, 30th in yards per attempt) can be attributed to both a lack of reliable options and a lack of time to throw to them. Outside of Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski (11-116-2), Brady has completed a total of 19 passes to his other wide receivers and tight ends. Gronkowski’s snap counts have been held down as he’s coming back from a serious knee injury and no one outside of Edelman has stepped up to pick up the slack. However, a bigger issue could be an offensive line that’s struggling to open up holes for the running backs (3.5 ypc) and give Brady enough time to look down field for an open target (7 sacks). The running game has had its moments, such as Stevan Ridley’s 101 yards in the Week 2 win at Minnesota, but it too has been characterized by inconsistency (165 yards rushing total in the other two games) and a lack of big plays (longest run by a RB so far is 16 yards). It seems the preseason trade of longtime, reliable left guard Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay has impacted this unit more than anyone with the team (looking at you Belichick) is willing to admit. Perhaps that’s why Brady was not happy with the move to begin with? Regardless, that’s in the past and what matters now is how the “new” line performs from here out. The same can be said for any other offensive player not named Edelman or Gronkowski.
 

3. The Defense Rests?

With offenses ranked in the bottom fourth of the NFL, it takes a solid defense to keep your team competitive. And that has certainly been the case for New England and Kansas City. The Patriots enter tonight’s game third in total defense (272.7 ypg) and fourth in scoring (16.3 ppg). Since allowing Miami to run for 191 yards in the season opener, this unit has allowed a total of 121 yards on the ground and has twice as many takeaways (8) as touchdowns allowed (4). The Chiefs meanwhile have held their own despite suffering a rash of injuries that have cost them their All-Pro linebacker (Derrick Johnson), a starting defensive end (Mike DeVito) and impacted several other key players, such as All-Pro safety Eric Berry (ankle). After struggling mightily against Tennessee in Week 1, Kansas City limited Denver at home to just 24 points and 324 total yards in a seven-point loss and held Miami to only 191 yards passing and one touchdown in its 34-15 road win last week. Neither offense has been that productive or explosive to this point, so both defenses will need to keep up their good work or run the risk of putting their team in a hole it may not be able to climb out of.

 

Final Analysis

 

New England’s offense is struggling, but the defense has picked up the slack and then some. Kansas City usually plays well at home and will get a huge boost with the return of Jamaal Charles, but until the Chiefs develop more consistency and more explosiveness in their passing game, this offense will struggle against good defenses. Tom Brady’s production may be down to start the season, but his track record speaks for itself. The Patriots stick with the script that has worked them for so well these past two weeks, relying on their defense to bottle up Kansas City’s running game just enough to leave Arrowhead Stadium with a hard-fought road victory.

 
Prediction: New England 23, Kansas City 20
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New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs Game Preview and Prediction
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One All-Pro running back looks ready to return for his Week 4 Monday night matchup, while a couple of struggling starting quarterbacks could end up sitting this one out. Here are some key running back and quarterback injuries you need to pay attention to.

 

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Probable – Knee
As was expected, Martin did not play against Atlanta on Thursday night last week due to a knee injury he sustained in the season opener. However, he was back at practice this week and is listed as Probable to start against the Steelers. Bobby Rainey, who started the two games Martin missed, will slide back into his backup role and should be viewed as no more than a flex option this week. Martin meanwhile has been a disappointment dating back to last season when a torn labrum ended his season after just six games. A legitimate RB1 as a rookie, Martin looks more the part of a RB2/flex right now, especially given the Buccaneers’ own offensive struggles.

 

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots (Mon.)

Probable – Ankle
Even though he was limited in practice it sure sounds like Charles will be back on the field just two weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain. He’s listed as Probable for the Monday night game and all indications are that he will play. The Monday night game complicates matters a little, but unless something changes between now and prior to kickoff of today’s early games, I think you need to plan on starting Charles. One thing to keep in mind though is considering how effective Knile Davis was during Charles’ absence, there’s a chance the coaching staff may try and limit the All-Pro’s touches in his first game back from injury. That said, as long as Charles doesn’t re-aggravate the ankle injury, I think he’s a safe bet for at least 20 touches against the Patriots.

 

Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

Questionable – Wrist
The Titans took their lumps last week against the Bengals and apparently that included their quarterback. Locker injured his wrist at some point in the 33-7 loss and it was sore enough that it prevented him from doing much of anything in practice. Locker is Questionable, but if I had to put odds on him playing, I would place them well below the 50-50 associated with that designation. The other side of the coin is that since a solid Week 1 showing, Locker hasn’t played very well, providing one touchdown compared to four turnovers in the past two games combined. If Locker can’t go Charlie Whitehurst would get the call. Either way, unless you’re desperate or have no other options, I would consider the Titans’ QBs as being on bye this week too.

 

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints

Probable – Back
Back tightness continues to be an issue for Romo, who did not practice on Wednesday. But just like last week, he was a full go on both Thursday and Friday and is Probable for tonight’s home date with New Orleans. The Cowboys have depended on the running game early on this season, but the possibility of a high-scoring affair exists with the Saints on tap. Regardless, you are starting Romo, especially this week with six teams on bye.

 

Josh McCown, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Doubtful - Thumb
McCown got pummeled last week by the Falcons, leaving the game early after suffering a thumb injury. He’s listed as Doubtful for today with the expectation that Mike Glennon will start. The truth is you would have to be pretty desperate to use McCown right now since he’s looked pretty bad thus far. As far as Glennon goes, he was more than respectable (19 TDs, 9 INTs) as the primary starter last season when he was a rookie, so he has a fair amount of experience. The Buccaneers have struggled early on, but with six other teams on bye, I can support someone who wants to take a flyer on Glennon, especially as a QB2.

 
RBs Already Ruled Out:

 

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints – Ingram broke his hand in Week 2 against Cleveland and underwent surgery. He’s expected to miss at least a month. Pierre Thomas will continue to serve as the primary receiving back, while Khiry Robinson will get the bulk of the carries, especially around the goal line.

 

Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers – Mathews is expected to miss at least a month after spraining his MCL in Week 2 while Woodhead was placed on injured reserve after breaking his leg last week against Buffalo. Donald Brown will carry the load for the time being with undrafted rookie Branden Oliver listed next on the depth chart.

 

Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins – Moreno is out at least a few weeks after dislocating his elbow in Week 2. He is hoping to return following the team’s Week 5 bye. Lamar Miller will continue to get the starter’s reps while Moreno is out.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 4 Injury Updates: Jamaal Charles, Doug Martin, Jake Locker, Josh McCown
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Six teams are on bye in Week 4, which means the depth of many a fantasy team will be tested. Here are some key running back injury situations to keep an eye on before setting your starting lineup.

 

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans

Probable – Chest
Spiller was added to the injury report on Thursday with some sort of chest injury, but head coach Doug Marrone said he’s not worried about his running back’s availability. Spiller is Probable and will look to team with Fred Jackson to take advantage of a Texans defense that gave up 176 yards rushing to the Giants’ Rashad Jennings last week. Spiller’s as explosive as they come at running back, but he’s been inconsistent and injury-prone. He needs to be in your starting lineup, but viewed as a RB2 with upside.

 

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills

Questionable – Hamstring
Foster was somewhat of a surprise late scratch last week and he will be a game-time decision again today. He didn’t play against the Giants after being limited in practice leading up to that game and the same scenario has played out this week. The hope would be that Foster would have increased his practiced participation over the course of this week, but apparently that did not happen. Running back depth is already being tested with six teams on bye, but unless you want to run the risk of him getting scratched again, you will want to check on Foster’s status before kickoff and have a Plan B in place. Don’t forget that rookie Alfred Blue (13 att., 78 yds.) held his own filling in last week.

 

Bernard Pierce, RB, Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers

Probable – Thigh
Pierce missed last week with a thigh injury, but he’ll back in there today. Justin Forsett should remain in his supporting role, in which he has provided flex-worthy production all three weeks. Meanwhile rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro, who opened some eyes last week with 91 yards and a TD and has been a popular pickup since, probably takes a backseat against Carolina. Pierce should see enough carries to employ as a relatively safe RB2/flex option, but his leash may not be as long as it previously was given Taliaferro’s recent success.

 

Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, RBs, Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens

Questionable – Knee; Probable – Thigh
It has been a rough couple of weeks for Panther running backs. First, Williams missed the past two weeks with a thigh (really hamstring) injury. Then last week, Mike Tolbert (leg fracture) and Stewart both got hurt in the blowout home loss to Pittsburgh. Tolbert was placed on short-term injured reserve and Stewart is looking very iffy for today after not doing much at all during practice this week. The silver lining, however, is the return of Williams, whose Probable designation all but guarantees he’ll be back. Given the other injuries, a quarterback who is still dealing with bruised ribs and a need to run the ball, this is as good a week as any for Williams to finally provide RB2/flex production.

 
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Oakland Raiders vs. Miami Dolphins (London)

Probable – Hand
Jones-Drew missed the past two games after injuring his hand in the season opener, but he was a full participant in practice this week and will be back out there today. While I wouldn’t rush to get MJD back into your lineup, it does appear that he will reclaim his starting role, so in a week like this, he may not be the worst RB3/flex option. On the other hand this probably downgrades Darren McFadden’s value, as he will go back to a complementary role and is now competing with the likes of Marcel Reece for touches.

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Week 4 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Arian Foster, C.J. Spiller, Bernard Pierce, DeAngelo Williams
Post date: Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 06:30
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Several No. 1 wide receivers for different teams are dealing with varying injuries headed into Week 4. Are any of these targets in danger of not playing?

 

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers

Questionable – Ankle
The good news is that Alshon Jeffery doesn’t appear at all on this week’s injury report. Unfortunately, Marshall not only re-aggravated his ankle injury Monday night against the Jets, he did next to nothing in practice this week. He’s Questionable for a third straight week, but I would say there’s more danger this week of him not being able to play than there was last week. Don’t forget that because the Bears played on Monday night, it’s been a short week for them, not giving Marshall much time to recover. Marshall is as tough as they come, but it was obvious he was in a lot of pain on Monday and he finished that game with one catch. It’s very hard to bench a weapon like Marshall, especially with so many other wide receivers on bye, but there’s a good chance that even if he does play, he won’t be able to help your team much. Just be sure you understand the risk when it comes to employing Marshall this week.

 
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions at New York Jets

Questionable – Ankle
Many an owner held their collective breaths earlier this week when news came out that Johnson, currently No. 4 in fantasy points at his position, missed not one, but two days of practice because of an ankle injury. Those owners can exhale, somewhat, as Johnson returned to the field on Friday and got some work in. Even though he’s listed as Questionable, Johnson has said he fully expects to play this week. I for one am willing to take him at his word and also would go as far to make the argument that he’s a must-start regardless. Don’t forget Alshon Jeffery also was listed as Questionable headed into the Monday night game with the Jets and he proceeded to exploit an inexperienced and undermanned secondary for 105 yards on eight catches.

 

Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets vs. Detroit Lions

Questionable – Hamstring
Decker gutted through this hamstring injury on Monday night, only to leave the game after re-aggravating it. He did not return to practice until Friday, but he said he will be out there today, a sentiment head coach Rex Ryan echoed. The risk of counting on him is still very much in play, however, as it’s very likely Decker will be limited once again. Quite a few Week 3 fantasy matchups were probably decided when Decker finished his night with one lone catch for 19 yards. Just make sure you are willing to accept the possibility of the same outcome before inserting Decker into your lineup.

 

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints

Probable – Shoulder
Bryant was Questionable last week, but not only did he start, he also rewarded his owners with a 68-yard touchdown reception. He was a limited practice participant throughout the week, but the Probable designation is all his owners need to worry about. Bryant is a must-start WR1 even when he’s not 100 percent healthy.

 

Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Probable – Wrist
It was revealed this week that Jackson sustained a hairline fracture in his right wrist in the blowout loss in Atlanta. There doesn’t appear to be any real concern regarding the injury at this time, as Jackson took part in practice and he’s listed as Probable. Like every other Buccaneer skill position player, Jackson has gotten off to a slow start, but the WR1 potential still exists. And it’s possible that he could get back to that level of production as soon as this week with Mike Glennon, last season’s primary starting quarterback, slated to start in place of an injured Josh McCown. Last season, when Glennon made 13 starts as a rookie, Jackson finished with the following numbers: 78 catches, 1,124 yards and seven touchdowns.

 

Harry Douglas and Roddy White, WRs, Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings

Questionable – Foot; Probable – Hamstring
White missed the Week 3 rout of Tampa Bay because of a bothersome hamstring, while Douglas suited up, caught a touchdown pass and then left early due to a foot injury. White was still limited in practice this week, but both he said he’s “ready to roll” and head coach Mike Smith also declared White a go for today. Douglas’ status seems to be a little more up in the air even though he did more in practice on Friday than White did. But when it comes to the pecking order, White is the clear-cut No. 2 behind Julio Jones, while Douglas is a No. 3 capable of putting up decent numbers of his own. White should be started with no hesitation, but be sure to evaluate your other options before using Douglas.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars – Lee will miss a second straight game due to a hamstring injury. Cecil Shorts and Allen Hurns (Probable, Ankle) will most likely get the starting nods with Allen Robinson next in line. Shorts is a WR2 with WR1 upside, while Hurns offers the potential of big plays and Robinson’s value is greater in PPR leagues. However, there are two caveats when it comes to the Jaguars’ offense as a whole this week – 1) the cross-country visit to San Diego to face a pretty nasty Chargers’ defense and 2) rookie quarterback Blake Bortles is making his first career NFL start.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 4 Injury Updates: Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker
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San Francisco may be without its tight end in Week 4, while New England is hoping to get more from theirs on Monday night. Those aren’t the only tight end injuries you need to know about before setting your lineup.

 

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs (Mon.)

Probable – Knee
Pretty much business as usual for Gronkowski – limited in practice, but listed as Probable. What could change, however, is Gronkowski’s snap count. After seeing that number drop in Week 2, Gronk played a season-high 42 of 73 offensive snaps last week in a game in which he caught three passes for 44 yards and a touchdown. The big numbers owners were hoping for haven’t been there yet, but a breakout could be coming if Gronkowski’s time on the field keeps increasing.

 

Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Questionable – Ankle
Not surprisingly, Davis was held out of last week’s game against Arizona because of an ankle injury. Davis was limited in practice again and said earlier in the week that he would be a “game-time decision.” Davis’ owners could undoubtedly use him this week, especially with fewer replacement options available due to six teams being on bye, but the late kickoff doesn’t help. Most likely a decision on Davis will need to be made by his owners before the 49ers make theirs later this afternoon.

 
Delaine Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

Questionable – Shoulder
Walker has been the Titans’ most productive pass-catcher thus far, so his Questionable designation is a little concerning. He injured his shoulder last week and apparently it was barking at him bad enough to limit his practice reps. While it would be somewhat of a mild surprise if Walker didn’t play, his owners need to accept the possibility of that exact scenario happening. At minimum, expectations for the productive tight end need to be lowered, especially considering Jake Locker’s own Questionable status due to a wrist injury.

 

Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Questionable – Hamstring
Antonio Gates is listed as Probable, but it’s his running mate Green who gets the Questionable tag this week. Green went from a limited practice participant on Thursday to merely a spectator on Friday, which is typically not a good sign. While Green’s talent and upside is obvious and certainly appealing, Gates remains the starter and currently is the No. 8 among his position in fantasy points. Even with six teams on bye, the safest course of action may be to just bench Green this week.

 

Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins vs. Oakland Raiders (London)

Probable – Knee
Clay’s knee continues to be an issue, as is his lack of production, but he’s Probable and will be out there today. With six teams on bye you may be forced to stick with Clay in your lineup, but if you have another option I would certainly consider going that route.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – Rudolph underwent surgery for a sports hernia and is expected to miss a minimum of six weeks, and there’s a chance he could be placed on season-ending injured reserve. If you have room, I would hold onto Rudolph, but move forward as if he’s going to be out for 6-8 games.

 

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

Teaser:
Week 4 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Vernon Davis, Rob Gronkowski, Delanie Walker
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Teams headed in opposite directions will take the stage when Philadelphia pays a visit to brand-new Levi’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon to face San Francisco on FOX. The Eagles (3-0) look to stay undefeated by taking advantage of a 49ers (1-2) team that’s reeling somewhat after two consecutive losses.

 

Chip Kelly and Jim Harbaugh have faced each other before when they were coaching in the Pac-12 (Oregon and Stanford, respectively), but this will be their first NFL matchup. They split their two previous meetings with the home team winning both times. However, home-field advantage has not been kind to San Francisco against Philadelphia recently, as the Eagles have won the last four games these two have played on the West Coast, dating back to 2002. Then again, all of those games were at Candlestick Park whereas this will be just the second game the 49ers have played in Levi’s Stadium. 

 

Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers

 

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: San Francisco -4.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Can 49ers Stop Their Freefall?

Since the end of the third quarter of its Week 2 game, San Francisco has been outscored 44-14, a big reason why Jim Harbaugh’s team is trying to put an end to a two-game losing streak. The 49ers blew a 20-3 fourth-quarter lead two weeks ago at home to Chicago and followed that up with an uninspiring 23-14 loss to divisional foe Arizona. Two Colin Kaepernick interceptions led directly to two touchdowns to fuel the Bears’ comeback while nine penalties for 107 yards played a huge role in last week’s outcome. The end result is a team with Super Bowl aspirations currently sitting at 1-2 and already trailing NFC West-leading Arizona by two games. There’s still plenty of time for San Francisco to turn things around, but this discouraging start has only drawn more attention to Harbaugh’s unsettled contract situation and done nothing but increase the chatter related to his seemingly uncertain future with the team. On top of that, the finger pointing has also begun with the targets varying from the referees to the game plan to themselves. While turmoil may be too strong of a word to describe the 49ers with still so many games remaining, a win against an undefeated Philadelphia team would go a long ways towards righting what has the appearances of a listing ship. 

 

2. Philadelphia’s Patchwork Offensive Line

What started out as a bad situation up front for the Eagles has only gotten worse. After having all five offensive linemen start every game last season for the NFL’s No. 2 offense (yards per game), Chip Kelly will be digging deep into his depth chart to even put together a starting quintet this week. Starting right tackle Lane Johnson was hit with a four-game suspension before the season even started and then All-Pro left guard Evan Mathis (MCL sprain) and Allen Barbe (ankle), Johnson’s replacement, both went down with injuries before halftime of the season opener. Mathis is on the injured reserve list with a designation to return while Barbe’s season is over. Already down two starters, Kelly lost another when center Jason Kelce got hurt last week against Washington. Kelce underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia and it’s not yet known how much time he will miss. The bottom line is that this line has been decimated by injuries, as reinforcements have had to be brought in via both the free-agent market as well as the practice squad. Philadelphia is 3-0, but what was the league’s most productive rushing attack in 2013 is averaging 108.7 yards per game and just 3.8 yards per carry through three games. San Francisco’s defense isn’t at full strength either, with All-Pro linebackers NaVorro Bowman (PUP list) and Aldon Smith (suspension) as well as starting defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (IR) all sidelined, but it pales in comparison to the attrition the Eagles have had to deal with along their offensive line. Is this the week these increasing cracks up front show up on the field?

 

3. How Will San Francisco Try to Gain Ground?

During Jim Harbaugh’s tenure, the 49ers have been known primarily for doing two things extremely well – running the football effectively and playing tough defense. In each of the past three seasons, San Francisco has ranked eighth or better in the NFL in rushing offense as Frank Gore has posted three consecutive 1,100-yard seasons. In the season opener, the 49ers ran the ball 30 times for 127 yards against Dallas compared to just 23 passes in a relatively easy 28-17 win. Two weeks ago the run-pass distribution flipped to 27 rushing attempts and 34 passes in a game in which San Francisco blew a 17-0 halftime lead in large part due to three interceptions thrown by Colin Kaepernick. The pass-heavy theme continued last week with 37 throws and just 23 rushing attempts. What stood out even more, however, was the fact that Kaepernick was responsible for nearly half of the carries (12), while Gore got a grand total of six (for 10 yards). As a team, the 49ers gained just 82 yards on 23 carries (3.6 ypc) and for the season currently rank 17th in the league at 112 yards rushing per game. A recommitment to the running game seems likely given Harbaugh’s reputation, but perhaps a bigger question is who’s going to get the carries? Gore has proven his effectiveness in a workhorse role in the past and he now has fresh legs to relieve him in second-round pick Carlos Hyde (4.5 ypc, 2 TDs). Kaepernick may be a record-setting dual-threat quarterback, but it seems it would be in the team’s best interests that the workload on the ground falls more to Gore and Hyde than him. After all, San Francisco’s lone victory thus far came in a game in which Gore and Hyde combined to run the ball as many times as Kaepernick threw it.

 

Final Analysis

 

Philadelphia comes into this game undefeated, but the Eagles have been a slow starter and a strong finisher. The Eagles have been outscored 54-27 in the first half, but have dominated (74-24) the proceedings after halftime. Besides digging themselves out of early holes, Chip Kelly’s team also has weathered a rash of injuries along the offensive line and at a few other key positions. San Francisco has had to deal with its own injuries, but it’s the self-inflicted mistakes – turnovers, poor execution, a lack of cohesion and inopportune penalties – that have done the most damage.

 

The 49ers need this game much more than the Eagles and are trying to avoid the first three-game losing streak in Jim Harbaugh’s tenure as head coach. Philadelphia’s offense will be tough to slow down, but I think this is the week the losses up front will be felt on the field, even against a depleted San Francisco defense. The 49ers get back to the basics in that they rely on the ground game to control the clock and limit the opportunities the Eagles get on offense while the defense makes enough stops late to seal the team’s first-ever victory at Levi’s Stadium.

 
Prediction: San Francisco 27, Philadelphia 23
Teaser:
Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Francisco 49ers Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, September 26, 2014 - 13:00
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Longtime divisional rivals will get reacquainted when NFC North counterparts Green Bay and Chicago square off at Solider Field Sunday afternoon on FOX. The Packers (1-2) have gotten off to a slow start thanks in large part to a sluggish offense and suspect run defense. The Bears (2-1) have turned things around after losing their season opener at home in overtime, posting consecutive road wins against the 49ers and Jets.

 

The NFL’s longest-running rivalry, this will be the 189th overall meeting (only two of these occuring in the postseason) between these historic franchises. Chicago holds a slim 93-89-6 lead, but Green Bay has dominated during the Aaron Rodgers era. Since Rodgers became the starter in 2008, the Packers are 10-3 against the Bears, including a win at Soldier Field in the 2011 NFC Championship Game.

 

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

 

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Green Bay -1.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Green Bay’s Offensive Woes

Raise your hand if you thought after three games this season the Packers would rank near the bottom of the NFL in total offense. Even with the season opener in Seattle, no one expected an Aaron Rodgers-led offense to be averaging fewer than 300 yards and only 18 points per game. Rodgers’ 697 yards passing in these first three games is the lowest in his career as a starting quarterback, while his 62.8 completion rate is his worst since 2009 (56.7). He does have five touchdown passes compared to just one interception, but these numbers pale in comparison to the damage he did in the first three games of 2013: 1,057 yards, eight touchdowns, three picks. Again, putting up low numbers (189-1-1) on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks is perfectly understandable, but last week’s 162-yard passing effort against Detroit represented the fewest in any start (90 career) during which Rodgers didn’t leave early due to injury. The Packers’ offensive line issues are well documented and the running game certainly hasn’t done its part (more on that later), but everyone knows that this offense begins and end with No. 12. He’s had a great deal of success against Chicago in his career (10-3 record, 21:10 TD:INT ratio), so maybe a familiar face will be just the medicine this ailing offense needs to get well.

 

2. Will Cutler “Pack” it in Again?

While Aaron Rodgers has thrived against Chicago, Jay Cutler has struggled mightily against his divisional rival. In 10 career games against Green Bay, including playoffs, Cutler is 1-9 having lost six in a row dating back to the 2010 season. Of these 10 games, all but one have been with the Bears and in those contests, Cutler has completed 54.4 percent of his passes for less than 200 yards per game (193.8), 10 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He as thrown at least one interception in every game he has started for Chicago against the Packers, including one in a forgettable performance in the 2011 NFC title game. He left that game in the third quarter due to a knee injury, but in many ways his stat line that afternoon (6-of-14 passing, 80 yards, INT) sums up his struggles against Green Bay perfectly. Now in his second season in head coach Marc Trestman’s up-tempo offense, Cutler has looked comfortable and poised in the early going, despite the fact that the offensive line has been operating without two starters most of the way. Through three games this season, Cutler has completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 750 yards, eight touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s done this despite getting little support from the running game (more on that below), getting sacked seven times and facing pressure on a fairly regular basis, especially last week against the blitz-happy Jets. There’s no dispute that this is Cutler’s offense and he certainly has a wide range of talented, explosive weapons to work with at every skill position. He also has a little bit of additional momentum in that he’s coming off of his best statistical showing yet against the hated Packers. In Week 17 last season, Cutler completed 15 of 24 passes (62.5 percent) for 226 yards, two touchdowns and one interception (good for a passer rating of 103.8), as the Bears dropped a heartbreaker on a late long touchdown pass by Rodgers. Even though it was in a losing effort, Cutler showed enough improvement that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this will be the game in which he finally breaks through against his longtime nemesis. 

 

3. Something’s Gotta Give on the Ground

When it comes to the running game so far this season, Green Bay and Chicago have had a lot in common, but not in a good way. The Packers and the Bears both rank near the bottom of the NFL in rushing offense and have had just as much trouble stopping the run as well. In 2013, Chicago’s Matt Forté and Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy finished second and eighth in the league in rushing, respectively. This season each is averaging less than 3.3 yards per carry, as the Bears are dead last at 64 yards rushing per game and the Packers not much better (27h) at 78.7. Both teams can lay some of the blame on injuries along their offensive lines, but their Pro Bowl-caliber backs need to start producing accordingly for either team to reverse this disconcerting early trend. The good news there is that this sets up as an ideal matchup with both defenses struggling mightily to stop the run. Green Bay is giving up 156 yards rushing per game (30th in the NFL) while Chicago dropped to 144.7 after “holding” the Jets to just 114 on 26 carries (4.4 ypc) in its win on Monday night. As important as the passing game is when these two teams get together, whichever offense is able to gain the most ground as it relates to the run game, on either side of the ball, figures to have the advantage this afternoon. 

 

Final Analysis

 

It’s always must-see TV when these two historic rivals get together. Green Bay is trying to gain some footing after getting off to a slow start and can ill afford to drop to 0-2 in divisional play. Chicago is hoping to build on the momentum it’s gained from consecutive road wins while picking up a key early victory in NFC North play. Both teams have dealt with their share of injuries early on, especially along the offensive line, and have gotten next to nothing from their running games or run defenses for that matter. And at quarterback, Aaron Rodgers has been stellar against the Bears while Jay Cutler has struggled mightily against the Packers. So what’s going to give this afternoon? I’m not saying Cutler completely outshines his MVP counterpart, but I do think the Bears’ highly criticized signal-caller’s positive plays will outweigh the negative ones. However, Cutler won’t have to defeat Green Bay by himself, as a sizeable contribution on the ground from Matt Forté, some key stops from a patchwork secondary and an effective pass rush will come together to round out a balanced, team effort that puts Chicago in the driver’s seat in the division.

 
Prediction: Chicago 28, Green Bay 27
Teaser:
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, September 26, 2014 - 09:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-running-back-rankings-week-4
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First it was injuries, now bye weeks have added to chaos that is reflected in Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for Week 4. With six teams on bye, owners’ backfield depths will be tested, especially those who rely on Marshawn Lynch, Montee Ball, Giovani Bernard or Zac Stacy on a weekly basis. Instead, Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell tops our rankings following his impressive 147-yard effort against what is usually a stingy Carolina defense. The Giants’ Rashad Jennings also is a top-10 option after running all over the Texans (176 yards). Elsewhere, Jamaal Charles and Arian Foster owners are optimistic they will be back on the field after missing last week, situations that not only need to be monitored throughout the week, but likewise complicate the outlooks for their backups Knile Davis and Alfred Blue. Davis in particular thrived with more playing time, rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown against Miami last week. A popular waiver wire target, Charles’ return would certainly damper the enthusiasm of those who were able to enjoy the fruits of Davis’ labor and don’t have Charles on their roster. 

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

 

Teams on bye: Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, St. Louis, Seattle

 

RankPlayerTeamOppComments
1Le'Veon BellPITvs. TBGashed Panthers for 147 yards rushing.
2DeMarco MurrayDALvs. NONFL's leading rusher vs. No. 9 rush D.
3LeSean McCoyPHIat SFTotaled just 22 yards against WAS.
4Matt ForteCHIvs. GBHasn't been able to get it going on ground.
5Jamaal CharlesKCvs. NE (Mon.)Ready to return after missing just 1 game?
6Alfred MorrisWASvs. NYG (Thurs.)Left with a knee injury last week, but returned.
7Eddie LacyGBat CHIIs this the game he gets it going?
8Rashad JenningsNYGat WAS (Thurs.)Ran all over (176 yds.) Texans last week.
9Arian FosterHOUvs. BUFHamstring injury could still be an issue.
10Lamar MillerMIAat OAK (London)Ran for 108 in losing effort vs. Chiefs.
11Donald BrownSDvs. JACGot 31 carries last week, Woodhead now on IR.
12C.J. SpillerBUFat HOU 
13Frank GoreSFvs. PHIGot just six carries last week.
14Fred JacksonBUFat HOUAveraging 4.8 yards per carry behind Spiller.
15Stevan RidleyNEat KC (Mon.)Will Patriots commit to run against Chiefs?
16Khiry RobinsonNOat DAL 
17Doug MartinTBat PITHas missed last 2 games b/c of injury.
18Ahmad BradshawINDvs. TENContinues to outshine Richardson.
19Darren SprolesPHIat SF 
20Matt AsiataMINvs. ATLWill keep value as long as he gets touches.
21Chris IvoryNYJvs. DETRunning ball well. More carries coming?
22Pierre ThomasNOat DAL 
23Reggie BushDETat NYJ26-yard TD run highlight last week.
24Trent RichardsonINDvs. TENHas 156 yards, but just 3.8 ypc and no TDs.
25Joique BellDETat NYJSaw fewer snaps than Bush last week.
26Shane VereenNEat KC (Mon.) 
27Steven JacksonATLat MIN 
28Chris JohnsonNYJvs. DET34 rushing yards and 2 costly drops on MNF.
29Shonn GreeneTENat IND 
30Bernard PierceBALvs. CARWill thigh injury sideline him again?
31Darren McFaddenOAKvs. MIA (London)Could see less work if MJD returns.
32Toby GerhartJACat SD4 QBs, WR have more rushing yards (82).
33DeAngelo WilliamsCARat BALShould see plenty of carries in depleted backfield.
34Alfred BlueHOUvs. BUFSolid (13 att., 78 yds.) in relief of Foster.
35Lorenzo TaliaferroBALvs. CARRookie led way w/ 91 yds., TD vs. Browns.
36Knile DavisKCvs. NE (Mon.)Even if Charles returns, he should get work.
37Bobby RaineyTBat PIT 
38Maurice Jones-DrewOAKvs. MIA (London)May finally get back on field.
39Carlos HydeSFvs. PHIOnly three carries, but scored another TD.
40Bishop SankeyTENat INDMade presence known (61 yds.) vs. Bengals.
41Justin ForsettBALvs. CARAlready supplanted by rookie?
42LeGarrette BlountPITvs. TBPiled on (118, TD) in rout of Panthers.
43Roy HeluWASvs. NYG (Thurs.)Could see more work if Morris (knee) limited.
44Branden OliverSDvs. JACOpportunity knocks w/ Woodhead on IR.
45Jerick McKinnonMINvs. ATLCould get more looks if Asiata doesn't produce.
46Andre WilliamsNYGat WAS (Thurs.)
47Devonta FreemanATLat MIN 
48James StarksGBat CHI 

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

 

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

 

(Rashad Jennings photo courtesy of New York Giants' Web site, newyorkgiants.com)

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Running Back Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-wide-receiver-rankings-week-4
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Several top targets are on bye this week, which means Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings for Week 4 go a little deeper than usual. Wide receivers who have been relegated to the bench early on may be forced into spot duty depending on a team’s roster depth. At least there are still some legitimate starting options to cling to, beginning with Calvin Johnson. A Green Bay vs. Chicago NFC North clash also should be productive for the usual suspects, depending on the condition of Brandon Marshall’s injured ankle. This also could be a week some younger wideouts emerge, such as Carolina’s Kelvin Benjamin. One of the lone bright spots for the Panthers in last week’s blowout home loss, Benjamin came through with his first 100-yard game. A tough matchup against Baltimore is on tap, but Benjamin is still a relatively safe WR2 option with WR1 upside, especially this week.

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

 

Teams on bye: Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, St. Louis, Seattle

 

RankPlayerTeamOppComments
1Calvin JohnsonDETat NYJHeld in check (6-82) by Packers last week.
2Julio JonesATLat MINBucs had no answer for Julio (9-161-2) last week.
3Jordy NelsonGBat CHIDrew plenty of attention from Lions' secondary.
4Dez BryantDALvs. NOBack-to-back games with a TD, 68-yarder vs. STL.
5Antonio BrownPITvs. TBBig Ben's favorite target gets suspect Bucs D.
6Alshon JefferyCHIvs. GBFocus of passing game on MNF (8-105 on 13 targets).
7Brandon MarshallCHIvs. GBRe-aggravated ankle injury on MNF, had 1 catch.
8Julian EdelmanNEat KC (Mon.)Only Patriot doing their job on O acc. to Brady.
9Jeremy MaclinPHIat SFBig-play machine (19.3 ypc, TD) vs. WAS.
10Randall CobbGBat CHI 
11Andre JohnsonHOUvs. BUFStill in search of first TD this season.
12Michael CrabtreeSFvs. PHIVery busy (10-80-1) vs. Cardinals last week.
13Pierre GarconWASvs. NYG (Thurs.)Clicked big time (11-138-1) w/ Cousins vs. PHI.
14Victor CruzNYGat WAS (Thurs.)First big game (5-107-1) in new offense.
15Mike WallaceMIAvs. OAK (London)Reliable and consistent through first 3 games.
16Vincent JacksonTBat PITCaught his first TD, but finished w/ just 2 rec.
17Roddy WhiteATLat MINWill hamstring continue to be an issue?
18DeSean JacksonWASvs. NYG (Thurs.)DJax got his "revenge" (5-117) vs. PHI, stat-wise.
19Steve SmithBALvs. CARAnother 100-yard game from the Sr. Smith.
20Keenan AllenSDvs. JACClearly hampered by groin injury last week.
21Cordarrelle PattersonMINvs. ATLHow soon will he and Bridgewater get on same page?
22Kelvin BenjaminCARat BALRookie coming up big (8-115-1) for struggling O.
23Marques ColstonNOat DALDid come through with big TD reception.
24Brandin CooksNOat DALContinues to be one of Brees' primary targets.
25DeAndre HopkinsHOUvs. BUFLed Texans with 6 grabs for 116 yards vs. Giants.
26Golden TateDETat NYJ 
27Reggie WayneINDvs. TENTitans enter this game No. 2 vs. pass.
28Sammy WatkinsBUFat HOUFollowed up Week 2 breakout w/ dud (2-19).
29Kendall WrightTENat IND 
30Eric DeckerNYJvs. DETRe-aggravated hammy injury on MNF, left early.
31T.Y. HiltonINDvs. TEN 
32Markus WheatonPITvs. TBHad touchdown catch vs. CAR waved off.
33Greg JenningsMINvs. ATL 
34Terrance WilliamsDALvs. NOScored a TD vs. Rams, but still not very active.
35James JonesOAKvs. MIA (London)Most productive Raider WR so far.
36Anquan BoldinSFvs. PHI 
37Cecil ShortsJACat SDCatches a TD pass in season debut.
38Torrey SmithBALvs. CARHow much longer can owners wait on Torrey?
39Justin HunterTENat INDStill waiting on breakout game.
40Dwayne BoweKCvs. NE (Mon.)Minimal impact in passing game thus far.
41Rueben RandleNYGat WAS (Thurs.)10 targets, but just 5 receptions last week.
42Jeremy KerleyNYJvs. DETPicked up slack in Decker's absence (7-81-1) on MNF.
43Malcom FloydSDvs. JACAveraged 49 yards on 2 catches vs. Bills
44Mike EvansTBat PITStill looking for that first big, memorable play.
45Allen HurnsJACat SDLone reception last week went for 63 yards and TD.
46Hakeem NicksINDvs. TENOnly Colt WR to catch a TD pass thus far.
47Jordan MatthewsPHIat SFRookie caught first 2 TDs vs. WAS last week.
48Riley CooperPHIat SF 
49Allen RobinsonJACat SDTied Shorts for lead in targets last week w/ 10.
50Brian HartlineMIAvs. OAK (London)Chips in with a TD catch vs. Chiefs last week.
51Eddie RoyalSDvs. JACCould remain a factor if Allen's groin injury lingers.
52Stevie JohnsonSFvs. PHIStepped up (9-103) in V. Davis' absence vs. ARI.
53Harry DouglasATLat MINCaught TD vs. Bucs, but also left w/ toe injury.
54Donnie AveryKCvs. NE (Mon.) 
55Aaron DobsonNEat KC (Mon.) 
56Robert WoodsBUFat HOU 
57Devin HesterATLat MINHelped by versatility, big-play ability and ATL game plan.
58Danny AmendolaNEat KC (Mon.) 
59Kenny StillsNOat DAL 
60Davante AdamsGBat CHI 
61Santonio HolmesCHIvs. GB 
62Nate WashingtonTENat IND 
63Andre RobertsWASvs. NYG (Thurs.) 
64Jarrett BoykinGBat CHI 

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2014-tight-end-rankings-week-4
Body:

Even with six teams on bye, there are not a lot of changes as it relates to Athlon Sports’ Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings for Week 4. Yes leading scorer Julius Thomas is not playing and his absence will probably be felt, but he’s the only one in the top 10 that’s not available this week. Jimmy Graham continues to lead our rankings, despite being third in fantasy points, and he has an appealing matchup this week against Dallas. Martellus Bennett, Greg Olsen and Delanie Walker continue to provide consistent production, as have a couple of guys who weren’t even on anyone’s radar entering this season – Niles Paul and Larry Donnell. Paul has taken advantage of another injury to Jordan Reed and quickly is entering must-start status, as he trails Graham by just one yard (253 to 254) for top billing among TEs.

 

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

 

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

 

2014 NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

 

Teams on bye: Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, St. Louis, Seattle

 

RankPlayerTeamOppComments
1Jimmy GrahamNOat DALDAL most fantasy pts. allowed to TEs. Uh oh.
2Rob GronkowskiNEat KC (Mon.)Playing time still limited, but gets TD vs. OAK.
3Greg OlsenCARat BAL 
4Antonio GatesSDvs. JACFollows up 3-TD game w/ just 1 catch vs. BUF.
5Martellus BennettCHIvs. GBMotivated by Ryan's quip, catches 2 TDs on MNF.
6Vernon DavisSFvs. PHIShould be back after missing last week.
7Delanie WalkerTENat INDHas been Titans' post productive pass-catcher.
8Zach ErtzPHIat SFOnly targeted 3 times vs. WAS.
9Niles PaulWASvs. NYG (Thurs.)Remaining active (6-68) in passing game.
10Travis KelceKCvs. NE (Mon.)Snaps on rise, catches TD vs. Miami.
11Jason WittenDALvs. NOJust 10 catches, no TDs through first 3 G.
12Larry DonnellNYGat WAS (Thurs.)Involved (6-45), but upstaged by Cruz vs. HOU.
13Dwayne AllenINDvs. TENAlso got into scoring column vs. Jaguars.
14Heath MillerPITvs. TB 
15Owen DanielsBALvs. CARMoves up to starter w/ Pitta (hip) on IR.
16Charles ClayMIAvs. OAK (London)Disappointing start continues for Clay.
17Ladarius GreenSDvs. JACHis 4 grabs for 64 yards best showing yet.
18Coby FleenerINDvs. TENRecords first TD catch of season vs. JAC.
19Garrett GrahamHOUvs. BUFRecorded five catches vs. Giants last week.
20Jace AmaroNYJvs. DET 
21Brandon MyersTBat PITSeferian-Jenkins (ankle) still ailing.
22Scott ChandlerBUFat HOU 
23Levine ToiloloATLat MIN 
24Andrew QuarlessGBat CHIAfter quiet 2 G, shows up (4-43-1) vs. DET.
25Mychal RiveraOAKvs. MIA (London) 
26Eric EbronDETat NYJToo inconsistent to trust?

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

 

Need more fantasy help? Visit www.FantasyRundown.com

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2014 Tight End Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 06:30

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