Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week 4. Byes. Injuries, Rankings and Sleepers.

     Week 4 brings with it the first round of Byes for NFL teams. The Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks will all sit this week out and prepare for their week 5 match-up and the rest of the season. This also means that if you have some key players from these teams, you might be able to drop their back-ups in week 5 to clear some roster space for players that could help your team. For example if I have Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco, I'm probably dropping Flacco after this week as Manning should be able to get you through the rest of the season. You're not going to bench him anyway, are you? 

     I said last week that Denis Pitta was the man in Baltimore.. Now, he's the (other) man in Baltimore who's career could be over. Pitta suffered an injury to the same hip that left him side-lined last season and underwent surgery on Monday. He is done for the season, and has a very tough road ahead of him in order to play again in the NFL. We could very well be hearing news of a retirement sometime soon. 
Kyle Rudolph will miss at least 6 weeks but could be done for the season per league sources. Ruldolph had surgery on what is being called a "sports hernia". This could be the same injury that has been nagging him since the preseason. Drop. Replace. Repeat as necessary. In the same game, Quarterback Matt Cassel "fractured multiple bones" in his foot and is unlikely to return this year. Enter Teddy Bridgewater (Didn't I mention him last week?).
Danny Woodhead suffered a gruesome looking injury to his right ankle that is being considered a severe high ankle sprain and a fractured fibula. It is very likely that he misses the remainder of the season leaving former first-rounder Donald Brown to carry the majority of the workload. But, keep an eye out for the Chargers making an addition to their roster with fellow RB Ryan Mathews already slated to miss some time. 
M. Tolbert and J. Stewart were both banged up in that atrocious Carolina loss on Sunday night. Both could miss a month or more leaving a once crowded backfield looking awfully scarce. Meaning, If D-willy is coming back and can stay healthy, he becomes an interesting RB2/Flex option in all leagues for the next month or so. Cam isn't being Cam with his legs, and this rushing offense looks just awful. Stay away from Carolina running-backs till further notice. 
T.Y. Hilton Suffered a slight ankle injury in a blowout win against the Jaguars on Sunday. From what I'm told, he will be able to suit up this weekend as the colts take on the Titans. Which, isn't really a great match-up for him, anyway. 
Vincent Jackson fractured his wrist Sunday. BUT, is expected to play through the injury. I knew the man was tough, but DAMN. His team needs him right now and he knows it. 

     There are still plenty of players that remain on the injury report from last week that you need to keep an eye on. Also, there were plenty of other injuries on defense as well. But, I don't play with IDP's so I can't really help you there. 

Jordan Reed remains doubtful and has no timetable for his return. Frustrating to all his owners, myself included. Niles Paul should be owned in his absence.

Alfred Morris and DeSean Jackson are both a little banged up but both are practicing. Keep an eye out for ALL Redskin players as they all have the Thursday night game. 
WR Odell Beckham Jr did not practice Monday, but that really doesn't have much in the way of fantasy implications.  Again, Monitor all NYG and WSH players prior to the Thursday night kickoff. 

Jake Locker is banged up. Stay away from his replacement, too, if he doesn't play.
Josh McCown says he might play, but I am not buying it. Also, stay away from Mike Glennon, too.

Arian foster is still sore as well with a nagging hamstring injury. He is my #12 running-back this week, so I think he plays. Keep an eye out for his status leading up to the early round of kick-offs Sunday.
Rob Gronkowski... yeah. He'll be on the injury report all year so don't buy too much into this. 
Jamaal Charles' status is still up in the air. Which is even more frustrating with him playing in the Monday night game against the Patriots. If you have him, you're going to want to have Knile Davis as well.
Brandon Marshall was able to play on Monday night but looked, not right. Alshon Jeffery played as well and looked better. Both remain on the injury report this week but I think both play, and play well. 
Vernon Davis sat out on Sunday, and of course, the 49ers lost. They don't win often when he isn't in the line-up. The team is optimistic that he plays this week.

Other players to keep an eye on, Roddy White, Harry Douglas, Eric Decker and Sammy Watkins. 

I am doing rankings this week, and I am doing them early. Things could change as Sunday approaches. I'll be on Twitter (@Ryanknowledge) all the way up till kickoff. 

  1. Drew Brees
  2. Andrew Luck
  3. Matt Ryan
  4. Aaron Rodgers
  5. Matthew Stafford
  6. Phillip Rivers
  7. Jay Cutler
  8. Kirk Cousins
  9. Nick Foles
  10. Colin Kaepernick
  11. Ben Rothlisberger
  12. Tony Romo
Pretty straight forward, I think. It kills me to rank Rivers so high but he has been pretty good this year and has a good match-up. 

  1. DeMarco Murray                                                                                                   
  2. Le'Veon Bell                                                                                                          
  3. Matt Forte                                                                                                              
  4. Alfred Morris                                                                                                         
  5. Knile Davis/Jamaal Charles                                                                                
  6. Eddy Lacy                                                                                                             
  7. LeSean McCoy                                                                                                     
  8. Ahmad Bradshaw                                                                                                 
  9. Donald Brown                                                                                                       
  10. Rashad Jennings                                                                                                 
  11. Lamar Miller                                                                                                          
  12. Arian Foster                                                                                                          
Again, A lot of these are based on match-up. I am nerveous about the Knile Davis Jamaal Charles ranking and honestly hope Charles is ruled out just so I know for sure who is going to get the majority of the work. Lacy and Forte have not been good this year but am hoping for a breakout week from both. Bradshaw and Jennings have the workload and are looking very good. Miller and Brown have the match-ups and should get the workload, as well. 

  1. Calvin Johnson
  2. Antonio Brown
  3. Julio Jones
  4. Dez Bryant
  5. Jordy Nelson
  6. Brandon Marshall
  7. Jeremy Maclin
  8. DeSean Jackson
  9. Micheal Crabtree
  10. Pierre Garcon
  11. Alshon Jeffery
  12. Steve Smith Sr.

  1. Jimmy Graham
  2. Rob Gronkowski*
  3. Antonio Gates*
  4. Greg Olsen
  5. Delanie Walker*
  6. Vernon Davis*
  7. Zac Ertz
  8. Martellus Bennett
  9. Larry Donnell
  10. Niles Paul
  11. Travis Kelce
  12. Dwayne Allen
Lots of uncertainty with Tight-Ends this week. Those little * mean their availability is in question. I am ranking them because I think they play. Again, pay attention.

  1. Shaun Suisham
  2. Stephen Gostkowski
  3. Adam Vinatieri
  4. Matt Bryant
  5. Nick Novak
  6. Graham Gano
  7. Alex Henery
  8. Mason Crosby
  9. Kai Forbath
  10. Cody Parkey
  11. Dan Bailey
  12. Dan Carpenter
  1. Chargers
  2. Dolphins
  3. Patriots
  4. Lions
  5. Falcons
  6. Bears
  7. Colts
  8. Panthers
  9. Ravens
  10. 49ers
  11. Steelers
  12. Texans

  • RB- I Like Fred Jackson this week. He's been getting the work, and is viable Flex or an RB2 in a PPR league. Lorenzo Taliaferro looked better than any other Ravens running-back so far this year. Also, I think Khiry Robinson has the breakout game I've been waiting for all season.
  • WR- Jordan Matthews is a rising star and looks to gain that second WR role behind Jeremy Maclin. Brandon Cooks continues to get looks from Brees, and could have a good game against a weak Dallas secondary. 
  • TE-Owen Daniels should be getting some more work with the absence of Pitta. And if Gates is out this week, I think Ladarious Green would make his way into my top 12. Could get some extra work either way.
  • K- If you're desperate for a kicker this week, you could probably do worse than Calib Sturgis or Robie Gould
  • D/ST- I know they are a bit banged up, But the Redskins could put a hurting on the Giants. Especially if Eli struggles, again. 
That's it folks. I hope this helps someone. Please, comment, ask questions and follow me on Twitter!

PLAY ON!                                  


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Week 3, and the struggles writing about Fantasy Football

    The weeks march on, and so shall we, the loyal Fantasy Football champions. Injuries quickly dismantle our draft day hopes and the committee running-back is threatening to derail all of our dreams of becoming the very best. Still, we march on. Although scandal and abuse and the horrors of humanity threaten the sport we all love so very much... WE, MUST march on.
     I refuse to focus on the negative impact that recent developments have left upon the world of fantasy football. You should know that adjustments are going to have to be made because of off-field conduct issues. All I can really say is this: A few bad apples. I love this sport with or without the fantasy implications and absolutely hate anything that jeopardizes the future and integrity of this league. We WILL march on.

     Writing about Fantasy Football is hard. Trying to discern between fluke or trend, especially in the first two weeks of the season, is extremely difficult. You can see the numbers. Evaluate the preseason, know the schemes and the match-ups and try to sort out fact from fiction with the information that is given. But, no one is going to be perfect. All I am trying to do, is do the research for you. There is skill involved in winning this game, believe it or not.
Also, No one will trade with you when you're writing about this stuff, even if it is a balanced trade. Everyone thinks I have a trick up my sleeve just because I pay closer attention than the average weekend warrior. And, the more I talk about an un-owned player... The more they get snaked from me on the wire. Lesson learned. Shut up till Wednesday (Thursday for leagues).
     After week 2 though, things start to pan out. Yes you'll still have injuries. Such is the nature of the game. But clearer pictures are being painted and we are starting to see the strengths and weaknesses of each team.
     I talked a little bit in my late addition last week about playing the match-up in order to win your fantasy week. I want to now emphasize my point with some examples and more elaboration upon the fact.
Unless you have a top three D/ST, there is no reason to fall in love with them, or even if you do, play them every week. Even if I jumped to pick the Seattle defense, I am NOT playing them week 3 against the Denver Broncos. The chance of them forcing turnovers against the veteran Manning and this offense are very slight, and I am willing to bet you can pick up a better match-up off the waiver wire. I know there are experts that disagree with me on this, but I'm standing firm. DO NOT play a defense against a high powered offense.
I saw the Chiefs D being played in every single league I am in this past week. I scored 20 fantasy points in an league with the Buffalo Bills, and had a superior (on paper, at least) defense on my bench with the Denver Broncos. Some offenses you want to play against this year SO FAR are, Tampa, Oakland, New York Giants, Jacksonville... and until last week, I would have said the Redskins (which is why I recommended the Jags D in week 2), but now that the have a low risk low mistake man at the helm, this offense is a lot less prone to turn overs. More later about the redskins. Look for an offense that is struggling, and exploit them with a defense that is capable of capitalizing upon this.
Kickers are a little more tricky to pick. You can go with a kicker with a great offense and who dominates in the red-zone. But, then you are more likely to get only extra points worth one fantasy point. If you can find a kicker that is on a good offense that struggles in the red-zone (Cody Parkey) then you are racking up 3+ points per kick.

     It is also widely considered unacceptable to play a defense that is going against your starting Quarterback. It is simply counter-productive to play two opposing forces on your fantasy team. Think about it: every TD your QB gets goes AGAINST your defense. And if your defense does good, it's highly likely that your quarterback did not do as well.
I am not saying you should drop key players in order to play the match-up each week. That, is just silly. Not only will you not be able to use those key players in the future, but you risk those players being used AGAINST you. I have already made the mistake of dropping Sammy Watkins in a league. While I think he is going to be a hit or miss player for his first NFL season, I now face the risk of him being the key factor in a match-up down the road. I would rather have a player of his caliber on my bench, than in an opponents lineup.
     The waiver wire really can be key. Even if you don't need the top pick of the week, AND see potential in the add due to new developments, AND have an expendable player with high waiver priority, take him! Better on your bench, than in an opponents line-up.


     Thursday we will see the Bucs vs the Falcons.
Unfortunately, The rb situation for Tampa is still unclear. My money, is on Bobby Rainey this week though, and he becomes a great rb2 or flex option in this game as The Falcons are currently ranked 31st in the league against the run surrendering a total of 283 yards and 5 touchdowns to opposing backs in the first two weeks. If Martin plays, however, Things become a little less certain. I still think that Rainey has done enough to earn a more significant role in this offense and it could be that both running backs become viable options. Another concern is the Tampa defense, who really hasn't been horrible so far. But, if Atlanta gets off to an early lead, Tampa might have to abandon the run (again) early, opening the doors for Vjax and Mike Evans to have big games. Atlanta has surrendered 363 yards and 2 touchdowns to opposing wide-outs through 2 weeks.
Roddy White is questionable coming into this contest, but I think he still plays. Julio Jones will do what Julio Jones does and I predict he scores 2 touchdowns in this contest. Again, The Tampa defense isn't that bad, But Julio is just that good. Another key factor in this game, I believe, will be Steven Jackson. I am looking for Atlanta to dominate the time of possession and Jackson could get of garbage time plays to bolster his fantasy stats.
My BOLD sleeper pick of the week out of this game, Levine Toilolo Atl, TE.
     Next we have Chargers VS. Bills in what I think is going to be a very exciting game. The Bills defense is better than most people think. But the Chargers stole a game away from the Superbowl Champions last week and it really wasn't a fluke. Antonio Gates and Phillip Rivers have a chemistry that any married couple would envy. Look for Gates to have a modest game this week though. I expect him to at lest catch 5 passes for 80+ yards. But, look for Ladarious Green to score his first touchdown of the 2014 season.
Wait, WHAT? Ryan Matthews is injured? NO WAY!!!! Of course he is. The real surprise is that he has been as productive as he has been up till this point. I think it is Donald Brown, the former first rounder who is the must start in his absence. Although, Danny Woodhead could be an interesting flex play. But, I am letting Danny ride the fantasy pine till I see how San Diego adjust to the loss of Mathews. Brown is an RB2 or flex option though, for sure. Also, I predict that fantasy owners are reminded of exactly why the drafted Keenan Allen this week, as he WILL be a top ten fantasy wide-out.
For Buffalo, C.J. Spiller should have a great game. So far this year he hasn't really got the touches we expect from a number one running back. But I think that's just Doug Marrone's way of keeping opposing defenses off kilter. I think Spiller will be more utilized in this game in every aspect. Jackson will continue to do what Jackson does best (frustrate the hell out of defenses, and fantasy owners). I think both will have descent fantasy outputs.
Sammy Watkins showed us exactly what all the hype was about. And I think San Diego has spent a considerable amount of time watching tape to prepare for him. Robert Woods, on the other hand, is going to be the Buffalo wide-out that that keeps the Chargers secondary shaking their heads all afternoon. HE, has a lot of skill, too. As long as Manuel keeps his mistakes to a minimum, I think the Bills will be victorious and in charge of the AFC East, for another week, at least.
     Tennessee vs. Cincinnati..Let me start by saying that I think The Bengals D is going to dominate this game. If the Titans can get anything going on the ground early in order to open up the passing game, Then Wright and Hunter could both see some significant fantasy value. But, I'm not counting on that. Green and Sankey have been non-factors in games so far. Leaving room for Walker to have another good game this week.
I am willing to bet that A.J. Green sits out this game as the team has a bye next week and has won it's first two games. Mohamed Sanu should be able to capitalize on this. Heck, he even threw a pass for a big gain to fellow wide-out Brandon Tate last week! With the defense playing the way they have been, the Bengals are going to look to control the game with Gio and fellow running back Jeremy Hill (both great options this week in fantasy).
     Packers vs. Lions. Although the Lions defense does look much improved  compared to years past, The Packers are going to exploit their weakness as they always have. I am looking for Richard Rodgers (TE) to finally earn the hype he was receiving in the preseason by exploiting the Lions weakness at the corner-back position. Although Detroit has been pretty good against the run so far, it is easy for a team to wear out this defense by sticking to the run and keeping them on the field for an extended amount of time.
On the Lions side of the ball, It will be Bell and not Bush that should be a factor if this team wants to stay in the game. Green Bay has been Iffy against the run and Detroit knows this. Once a run game has been established, Look for Golden Tate to be the big play maker although Johnson will surely get his dues. This is a BIG game for the NFC North. Just hoping my Lions can regroup after that loss against the Panthers last week.
     Colt vs. Jaguars. The Colts are one of the best 0-2 teams this season. But their losing streak will end this weekend. Trent Richardson looked better last week than he had since his rookie campaign (even though he coughed up a costly fumble). But, I think its going to be Ahmad Bradshaw who is the bigger factor as a colts RB. He is simply the better receiver out of the backfield). All three of Indy's key wide-outs are on the injury report this week, but I believe all three play. Also, look  for Dwayne Allen to finally be the contributor we all thought he was capable of being.
As for Jacksonville, well, good luck , boys. Lewis and Lee have both been ruled out for this week. Gerhart is banged up (Enter Dendard Robinson?) and star Cecil Shorts has yet to play a snap this season, though Gus Bradley is optimistic that he will play this week. I can't see a lot of upside to this offense right now, and wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Blake Bortles make his NFL debut very soon. The Colts should Dominate this game, making both Indianapolis RB's at the very least, great flex options.
     Patriots vs. Raiders. This should be another blow-out, in New England's favor. REMEMBER, in lopsided match-ups the favored teams RBs usually do very well. Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley should both put up some big numbers in this game. Gronk should be doing the patented Gronk spike early in this game. But his snaps should be limited because of the complete dominance on the Patriots behalf. If your team is hurting for a TE this week, I think Tim Wright might actually put up decent numbers as there will be no reason to put Rob Gronkowski in danger in a game that I believe will be a blow out.
I honestly don't see a single start-able player in the Raiders offense. In deeper leagues, I suppose, James Jones could be viable, though he is the only player I have seen in recent memory that has fumbled the ball twice on the SAME PLAY. Streeter is there safest bet as a receiver, and that isn't saying much. He is also showing up on the injury report. If you need to start an Oakland running-back, I think it's Darren Mcfadden and not the injured MJD.
     49'ERs vs. Cardinals. VERY interesting match-up here with two very good defenses battling it out. I honestly wouldn't be at all surprised if the two kickers become the top fantasy performers in this game. Kaepernick is going to have to try to spread out this defense with his feet in order to open the doors for the passing game. And Gore, will have to do what Gore does with his head first style of running in order to keep Arizona's secondary honest. If you have Gore you're obviously starting him but I wouldn't be surprised if he is held to single digit fantasy points this week. And after a mediocre home opener for Carlos Hyde, look for him to get more involved in this offense this week as well.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals QB situation is still up in the air (Stanton was named the starter as of Friday). Drew Stanton managed the win in week 2 despite a very mediocre performance (but, he didn't turn the ball over!). The 49ers are struggling against the pass so far in the first two weeks of play giving up 336 yards and 4 touchdowns to wide-receivers alone. Arizona is going to need to set the pace with their defense and hope to control the clock with the ball in the capable hands of Andre Ellington (dwyer will not play in this game). Look for Micheal Floyd to put up big numbers as well.
     Ravens vs. Browns. The Browns have actually surprised me in the first two weeks of the season, losing a last minute game against the Steelers and a great come back win versus the Saints. Although they are lacking in serious receiver options, Hoyer has done what he can with what he has (he has yet to throw an interception this year). The Browns are another team that relies on it's defense (arguable lead by Joe Haden) and a stellar rushing attack. Ben Tate, along with teammate Jordan Cameron, will probably sit this game out (Ben Tate ruled out). Which, I believe, opens the doors for Terrence West and TE Jim Dray (not Gary Barnidge) to have decent outings. Granted there are probably WAY safer bets for Cameron owners out there than Dray, I am still willing to bet he puts up some fantasy points this week. As for West, Automatic RB2. This defense will need to shut down Flacco and company and control the clock in order to win this game. BOLD START OF THE WEEK, MILES AUSTIN. 
Baltimore gave Owen Daniels 2 red-zone touchdowns last week (frustrating every Dennis Pitta owner), but this isn't a trend that I think will continue. Pitta is their man even while running two tight end sets, and his numbers should steadily increase week to week.
In the running game, Bernard Pierce could be a fumble away from losing more touches to Forsett. But for know, He is the guy. Though the later could steal some goal-line touches. I think Haden will probably be on the Steve Smith Sr. side of the field this week, so also look for Torrey Smith to finally produce the yards we all know he is capable of.
     Cowboys vs. Rams. Did you know that kicker Dan Bailey is the second highest fantasy scorer behind only DeMarco Murray on the Cowboys? Gross, right? The Cowboys looked much better last week and pulled off a win. Romo looked...better? I guess. Still, a lot of questions surrounding this offense. The key to victory seems to be, GIVE THE BALL TO MURRAY! As long as the ball is out of Romo's hands (and therefore, his mind) Dallas seems to have a chance to win. I think Witten finally justifies a top ten TE pick this week with a big game.
The Rams, on their third quarterback of the season already, are in need of finding some sort of rhythm in order to have any success this year. I remain a believer in Zac Stacy and think he needs to be given the ball in order for the Rams to stay in the game. I am however in serious doubt about the WR's that Hill has to work with. If they can make the run work early, look for Quick and Cook to spread the field with their raw talent. BOLD START OF THE WEEK, JARED COOK.
     Texans vs. Giants. The Texans can pretty much do whatever they want in this game offensively, as long as their defense keeps playing the way they have been. Any player for Texas you drafted is probably start-able in this game. I am a little worried about the work load of Arian Foster, but believe he is still going to put up the numbers you need him to this week. The Giants look terrible, on both sides of the ball. Although if they do have a strength on defense, it is their front line. Still, Foster should dominate. Hopkins and Johnson also look to capitalize early.
Like I said, Texans D has looked very good so far. But, have given up a total of 33 fantasy points to running-backs through two games this season. Jennings is a viable RB2 start this week, and as far as I'm concerned, is the best offensive weapon on this lackluster team.
     Vikings vs. Saints. Another too good to be 0-2 team, is the New Orleans Saints. They lost Mark Ingram this week who was on the verge of having his best NFL season to date. I think It's Khiry Robinson (and not frenchy Thomas) that benefits most from this. Robinson is a player that has been looking to break out and I think he finally gets his chance this week. Colston will not have another game without a catch, but I think Brandon Cooks i's going to have another great game.
I personally don't know what to tell you about the Vikings offense. One good game was equaled out by another very poor game. You know who the stars are. Patterson is worthy of a WR1 start this week. Asiata, flex boarder-line RB2. Although, from what I've seen, Jerick McKinnon looks like a better option as this team moves forward without Peterson. The Saints will NOT fall to 0-3 and will be making a statement early.... Leaving a bitter taste and the word "Bridgewater" on the tongues of all Minnesota fans.
     Redskins vs. Eagles. This is another game I, for one, am highly anticipating. Cousins is really the man that the Redskin Nation (is that racist? I'm still unsure.. ) wants in control of their team. Jackson maybe sitting this one out. But Garcon along with Andre Roberts and veteran Santana Moss are still more than capable of filling that role. ENTER NILES PAUL! Wow, What a game he had. Even if Reed returns I don't see Paul not getting more snaps than he or Paulsen (WHO?). They will all certainly have their work cut out for them though.
I was shocked to see the Eagles pull off a victory on the road against the Colts. Foles knows this Chip Kelly offense well. And NEVER, in all my years of watching football, have I seen a team not only more dedicated to the run, but do it better than the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles. Sproles and McCoy are not simply a one-two punch, but a Hiroshima/Nagasaki, war over, knock-out! No team can even hope to run better than this one does. And I'm not sure there is one out there that can stop it.
     Broncos vs. Seahawks. Even before the season began last year, I picked this match-up in the Superbowl, with the Denver Broncos bringing home the Lomobardi. I was (half) wrong. And no one is more pissed off about that than the Peyton Manning. Broncos look to be on point again this year, and I can't see a single team in the AFC that can come close to toppling these gods among men. If you have a Bronco player, start them. A lot has been said about Sanders value now that Welker has been reinstated. Should you be worried? Well, all I can think to say is this: Were you worried about starting Eric Decker last year? Same scenario. Manning passes and passes well and loves to spread the ball around. Sanders will be GREAT this week, I guarantee it.
In Seattle there is talk about Lynch and an ailment to his back..... I heard that for 17 straight weeks last season while Lynch accumulate nearly 1,600 yard. Beast mode is BEAST MODE!!!!!! I think Russel Wilson is going to have to throw the ball a bit more than usual (36 for 53 with 393 yards 4 TD's and 0 INT) in order to keep up with the Broncos as Peyton. Harvin will have a good game here, and so will Baldwin, I suspect. But the Broncos are going to win and your defending champions are going to fall to 1-2 BOLD START OF THE WEEK, Zach Miller. 
     Panthers vs. Steelers. Ron Rivera is pretty sure that running-back DeAngelo Williams will play this week. I, however, am not. I am giving my nod to Jonathan Stewart (for the first time EVER in my fantasy football tenure). I think Stewart is going to be a key factor in keeping the Steelers O-line off Cam Newton and opening up the pass game. The Panthers are 2-0 solely because of their defense. They lost a play maker in Hardy this week and is going to need to rely on Cam and his ability to run the ball, a lot. Cotchery and Avant will be targeted often since defenses are going to focus on the number one receiver, Greg Olsen (though I'd be willing to bet Olsen still receives the most targets). Also, look for rookie Kelvin Benjamin to be a difference maker in this game.
Although the Panthers are GREAT against the run, look for second year running-back Le'Veon Bell to put up some huge numbers this week. He is simply one of the best pass catchers out of the backfield that I have seen in recent years and Antonio Brown can't do it all by himself.
     Chiefs vs. Dolphins. Will it be Knile Davis or Jamaal Charles? Either way, I think I am going to avoid these players for this match-up. Whoever plays is probably going to put up some decent numbers against this Miami defense. But I am just too concerned about a limitation of Charles use, or a time share coming into affect. I had Charles ranked number one coming into this season, and selected him second over-all in one league, but he has yet to produce a single fantasy point this year. We know he is talented. We know the Chiefs need him in their lineup. What we don't know, is the severity of this so called "high ankle sprain". I might lose a game this week because of this. but I think I am avoiding the Kansas City running game for the fact that we just don't know. If charles is ruled out, I am starting Davis as he will be, once again, a key factor in this offense. If he is a go, well, I am worried he will be limited anyway or a risk to re-injure. Very gloom outlook for this game.
On the Miami side of the ball, Knowshon is out for what could be two months leaving Lamar Miller to shoulder the workload... or could it be Daniel Thomas? Who knows... which is why I am trying to stay away from the running game in this match-up, even though it looks to be the backfield that will be the deciding factor in this game. My guess, is that Bowe and TE Charles Clay will be at the top of fantasy scoring in another "anything goes" game. But, If I can help it, I'm staying away from all of them.  
     Bears vs. Jets. Monday night, prime-time football! So, Was there some Harbaugh-type shenanigans being used last week AGAINST Harbaugh? Maybe. Alshon and Brandon Marshall were both said to be questionable before the Sunday night kickoff. But, both played. While Alshon didn't quite have the production of his all-star counterpart, both had a huge impact in spreading out this stout San Fran defense. I will go on record right now saying that any Chicago player should be used in this game. The Jets defense DOESN'T suck.. But there are enough Bears weapons to make them look like maybe they do.
The Jets rush defense is really it's strong suite. But Forte, if any back can, is capable of exploiting its weaknesses and making them pay.
Meanwhile, the Bears have struggled against the run. I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to see the CJ2K of old break off a couple to put this Bears D in check. Although I think the Jets will fall behind early, Geno is capable of exploiting a rush defense that should open up opportunities for Kerley and Cumberland.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

     I won 5 of 5 Fantasy games week 1. Which, is pretty surprising since I have such RB tandems as Doug Martin and Reggie Bush (16 team league) and Jamaal Charles and Zac Stacy (10 team family and friends league). Also I was starting Jordan Reed and Jordan Cameron in these leagues as well. All of these players had terrible fantasy outputs in week one, and some of them were injured. Am I worried going forward? A little. But playing the match-up has done me well in the past if  I haven't been able to make a trade work. PAY ATTENTION to the opponents your fantasy players are up against. Matt Bryant (yes, a kicker) helped me win 3 of my 5 games last weekend. I knew that game against NFC South rivals, New Orleans was going to be a shoot-out. Meaning, lots of extra-point attempts. I knew that the Eagles were facing a speculative offense at home against Jacksonville. And though it didn't look good for them in the first half, their defense came through with 14 fantasy points for me... and that's nothing to scoff at. Playing your match-ups is the number one key to fantasy success.
     In my 16 team league I drafted running-backs in the first four rounds. For my wide-receivers, I took Terrance Williams from Dallas and Mike Wallace in Miami. You may think that those sound like some pretty awful wide-outs.. but I disagree. Dallas is going to have to throw the ball a ton this year in order to make up for a defense that is just plain bad. Bryant and Witten will seek most of this reward. But, Williams is a talented big body that will see single coverage most of the season.
      And Wallace, well, I like the Miami offense this year. I had no idea that Moreno would dominate the way he did but i'll be damned if he didn't look just as good as last year under a Peyton Manning led offense. This is going to open the doors for all Miami players. So, While I am skeptical about my teams longevity, I do feel confident in some of the choices I made based on the systems my players are in.

     I apologize to anyone that benched Cordarrelle Patterson because of me. I honestly thought the Rams D was better than that. Or is Patterson just THAT good? Maybe both. But I am starting Patterson and dropping the Rams, in any case for week two.  
     Am I the only one that thought in his limited capacity, James Starks looked better than Eddy Lacy? Don't get me wrong, they are two totally different styles of running-backs. But Starks made it through the gaps quicker and had a better yards after contact than the lead back, Lacy. I am pretty sure Lacy will play this weekend given he was lucky enough to play on Thursday night and will be eligible under the NFL's 10 day concussion rule. But, if he were to miss any time Starks becomes automatically own-able in all leagues and I think he maybe a viable flex option in deeper leagues. Beware this week though. The Jets defense doesn't suck.
     Bobby Rainey, AGAIN? Doug Martin looked just terrible in this game. Granted they fell behind early (though the game was never out of reach) and Carolina's D is very stout, yet again. But Rainey gave them a much needed spark that Martin just couldn't produce. I am very worried as I own Martin in one league this year, and might just bench him for Rashad Jennings till he proves to me he can mimic that epic rookie season.
     Hakeem Nicks scored is first touchdown since the 2012 season, and I am willing to bet I am not the only one that is glad he went to the Colts this year. He maybe getting older, and Luck certainly has no shortage of options to throw to. But, I think Nicks revitalizes his career in Indianapolis and Victor Cruz is going to fade into obscurity as Nicks had last year due to and awful offense led by... the OTHER Manning. I'm not sure where the blame really falls in New York. But if they don't get it right soon, heads will roll.
     Speaking of the Colts, how about veteran Ahmad Bradshaw? He looked very good against a much improved Denver defense last Sunday night. There may be no better pass catcher out of the backfield than Bradshaw, currently playing. All due respect to Matt Forte and Jamaal Charles, but this guy has been getting it done for the better half of a decade now and injuries be damned! He keeps showing his critics that he can come back and be a key contributor to ANY team. He IS only 28 and unowned in the majority of ESPN leagues (*HINT). Trent Richardson will never be as good as he was in college and the Colts just signed Dion Lewis to nail down that point. I think Bradshaw should be owned in all leagues and will be a viable flex option given the match-up.
     My Detroit Lions looked VERY good in that first Monday night game in week one. Our Offense was never really under speculation, but the D looked better than I have seen in years. Maybe the New York football Giants really are as bad as I think they might be AGAIN this year.  Matthew Stafford put a lot of fears on their deathbeds with his feet this week. Those who said he wasn't worth a top five fantasy QB pick this year should be eating their words, soon. Bell and Bush's "thunder and lightening" combo looks to be among the best in the NFL.
     What does this all mean for fantasy players? Well, They are all starters. The giants secondary looked bad but so does nearly every teams when facing Calvin Johnson and Co. Golden Tate, even in the shallowest leagues is a viable WR2 or flex option every week. New York's front line looked much better but still couldn't stop Bell's head first style of running. Bell and bush are great Bye week fill-ins and every week flex options. Stafford has learned a LOT from Lombordi and has finally become the decision maker us Detroit fans have been dreaming of since, well, forever. Look for this offense and its play-makers all season to win you your important fantasy match-ups.
     Was I right about Kelvin Benjamin or what? This kid is special. Which leaves Panther fans thinking, Steve Who? I for one can't wait to see what he can do with a GOOD quarterback under center. He is playing a Lions defense this week with a shaken secondary... And it kind of scares me to see what he can do.

Julius Thomas will not score 48 touchdowns this year.
Lamar Miller will soon be drop-able.
Jets rbs are good options in all leagues.
Zach Ertz should finish as a top five fantasy tight-end.
Texans D/ST is for real, again.
Redskins offense will probably struggle, all year.
Marshawn Lynch is good.
So is Andrew Luck.
Anybody on the Denver Broncos is probably start-able every week.
Adrian Peterson will probably miss 6 games.
Justin Forsett should be the starter in Baltimore before the season is finished.


TE- Jermaine Gresham, Zach Ertz. Delanie Wlaker. Dwayne Allen.
RB- Terrance West. Chris Ivory/Chris Johnson. Mark Ingram,
WR- Jeremy Maclin. Kelvin Benjamin. Micheal Floyd. Roddy White.
QB- Jake Locker. Carson Palmer. Andy Dalton.
D/ST- Texans. Jaguars. Titans
K- Brandon McManus. Blair Walsh. Calib Sturgis

TE- Vernon Davis. Zach Miller. Coby Fleener. Kyle Rudolph.
RB- Stephen Jackson. Toby Gerhart. Andre Ellington.
WR- Malcolm Floyd. Kendall Wright. Anquan Boldin.
D/ST- Vickings. Panthers. Jets. Bengals.
K- Robbie Gould. Greg Zuerlein. Billy Cundiff


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pre Week One Moves and Drops. Start/Sit

     The preseason is (finally) over. Thursday we get our first succulent taste of the 2014 NFL season with a game that should be very exciting. Lets get right to it this week with some news from around the league.
     I know kickers are not the most coveted postion in fantasy football, but here are some note worthy moves you non-addicted cats might not be aware of... 
     Connor Barth has been released from the Tampa Bay squad. I know most people wouldn't normally be looking at a Bucs kicker for fantasy production anyway. But I think this offense could see a huge boost in production this year. Lovie Smith is in town. You may have heard that he likes to run the football. Bringing in Logan Mankins as an all-pro guard helps, A LOT. I expect that even if Martin is now in a committee situation (which I don't really believe can happen due to injuries), he is still poised to put up big fantasy numbers this year. ENTER Josh McCown. Say what you will about this man but he is capable of getting the job done. In Cutlers absence last year, he put up 13 TD's to 1 INT in 7 games. With the great Vincent Jackson and arrival of rookie Mike Evans, McCown has two of the biggest wide-outs in the game. I expect very good things from this offense this year.
     Did I really just write a full paragraph based around CONNOR BARTH??? Yep. I like to rant. Lets keep moving. 
     Another very high scoring kicker last year,  Ryan Succop, was released from the Kansas City Chiefs this past week, but landed himself on a new squad, The Titans. Which automatically downgrades him in fantasy production. You should pick kickers based on offense production. And while I like a few key players in Tennessee, I can not see them even scoring as much as Jamaal Charles did last year, let alone the whole Kansas City team. If you drafted Succop, drop him. You'll thank me later. 
     Alex Henery of the Eagles has also been cut. Meaning the unknown Cody Parkey is a great option if you need a fill in at kicker, or just a guy to carry. Nick Foles and company will score a ton of touchdowns this year.
     Matt Prater has been suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season. Brandon McManus can now be considered the top kicker through this stretch, as I fully expect Prater to regain the job once his suspension is over. This is fantasy note worthy! Denver is also going to score a mass amount of touchdowns this season and you need to be in on it, even from the "lowly" kicker position.
     Shayne Graham was dropped, then signed to an extension. Nothing to report here, apparently.

     Now, to some players that might actually matter, at least in deeper leagues.
AS I was writing this it was announced: Wes Welker OUT 4 games for amphetamine use! 

    Stephen Hill did not make the Jets active roster this year, and instead finds himself on the Panthers practice squad. I honestly think the jets screwed the pooch on this one. I don't really see a ton of weapons on this offense. Hill was just coming into his third year after being drafted quite high. His first year, he dealt with a Mark Sanchez fiasco. Second year, an unproven Geno Smith takes the helm. I don't think Rex gave his second round pick in '12 a fair chance. QB issues were the problem, really. At 6'4 this kid has the body and intensity to play in the National Football League. He now finds himself on a practice squad in need of speedsters like him. The Carolina Panthers are entrusting a rookie and an aged vet in Kelvin Benjamin and Jerricho Cotchery (respectively) to lead this team behind a weak and often banged up backfield. Cam maybe be Superman, but he is going to need a little help unless he wants to get his ass kicked by the worlds greatest detective, again. You nerds know what I'm talking about,

     Vincent Brown was a remarkable talent out of San Diego State and was cut by the chargers this preseason. Brown was slated to fill the void that Vincent Jackson left when he went to Tampa, but simply could not stay on the field due to injuries. He was a sleeper of mine last year that didn't pan out (mostly due to the emergence of Keenan Allen, ...and more injury woes). Brown has yet to find a team or fully recover from a hamstring injury. But at 25, it's hard for me to believe this youngsters career is over.

     The Detroit Lions have opted to waive both WR Kris Durham and running back Mikel Leshoure.
From a Lions fan perspective, the Durham cut really surprised me as the team has decided to go the way of youth in Corey Fuller and the never healthy (not even in college) Ryan Broyles. Are the lions cursed with first or second round WR/RB draft picks not named Calvin? Seems that way. Though I really like Broyles if he can stay healthy and I completely understand keeping George Winn on after the preseason he had. They are making room for the future.
     That said, Kris Durham still has time to play in this league. He was the 2nd best Detroit WR last year and now finds himself on a practice squad with potential to play this year. Tennessee needs red-zone targets, and I wouldn't be surprised if Kris is called in to fill that roll at some point this year. Keep an eye on him in deeper leagues.

     Ryan Mallett also finds himself on the Tennessee squad and all I can think is: how long till he's a starter? New England and Old Bill aren't known for silly draft picks especially when it comes to quarterbacks. Need I remind you that Tom Brady was the 199th pick in his draft? Anyway, Mallett is someone to keep an eye on in deeper leagues and bye weeks. If there is an injury to your starter, well, just keep your eyes open.

     Tim Wright was traded from Tampa to New England in one of the more interesting trades of the late off-season and has the best chance of any player mentioned so far to be an impact in fantasy football. New England LOVES two tight-end sets and their current number one, as you may have heard, isn't always healthy.

    I think that's it for my so called "note worthy" moves up to date. Before I move on to the start sit portion, I just want to mention a few sleepers you may not be aware of:

  • Jordan Mathews: This is a kid you saw progress (and never regress) his entire college career at Vanderbilt. Twice named first-team All-SEC, this 6'3 super-vision stud has been appointed the right squad for instant stardom. The Eagles Will throw this year, and often. McCoy is going to be the first body on defense's minds and Foles is capable of airing out the long ball. Riley Cooper isn't the answer in Philly, Mathews is.. 
  • Carlos Hyde: I can't stop talking about this guy. I don't even think he should be considered a sleeper, or a handcuff. The 49ers drafted Hyde from Ohio State to be an instant impact, and that is exactley what he'll be. San Francisco might save Gore for their play-off run, even. Making Hyde an early season star. In keeper leagues, I don't think there is any rookie RB I would have drafted before him
  • Markus Wheaton: Pittsburgh cut ties with Emmanuel Sanders this year and second year WR out of Oregon State should benefit greatly. At 5'11, 182lbs he certainly isn't the biggest guy at the position, but he is in line for a heavy work-load opposite Antonio Brown. I am still not a believer in the Steeler's backfield or defense. I think they will throw, a lot. Wheaton and veteran TE Miller should see a huge increase in production, this year. 
  •  Jerricho Cotchery: I know all eyes are on Benjamin for Carolina Wide-outs. But, consider this: Cotchery quietly had 10 touchdowns on just over 600 yards last season. Making him not a deep threat, but a red-zone target, at least. Carolina is going to need to throw the ball to take pressure off Cam Newton. Lets see what this vet can do. 
  • Travis Kelce: I am not the only one talking about this kid this off-season. And again, it's where he is playing that makes a difference. Kansas is going to need to throw the ball. Alex Smith is often noodle-armed and unable to make the long ball a reality. Who is the obvious check-down besides the double covered J-Mail? The open TE, of course. Big body. Great hands. Can block as well as get open. Fasano might start the season on the field a bit more, but look for Andy Reid to run a few more two tight-end sets in order to give Smith more time to inevitably check down for a 10 yard gain, Kelce is far more talented than any other KC tight-end.
  • Derek Carr: I have to mention him just because I didn't have a QB sleeper yet. Carr was named the Oakland Raiders starting QB for week one this week, and I really think it's the right move. Schaub is a bum. And I know Fresno State isn't Texas. I know The Mountain West Conference ISN'T the SEC or BIG TEN. But 50 touchdowns as a senior is mighty impressive, where ever you play. I would take a chance on him pending your bye-week match-up. 
       Starts and sits are based upon the fact that if you drafted someone early enough, you are going to start them. What I am trying to do here is give you my opinion of match-ups and flex options. Some later round picks might have it TOO good this week to turn down. 
                                                        STARTS FOR WEEK 1
  1.  49er's offense: ALL of them. Dallas is a horrible defense and I don't even think this game is close. Vernon Davis is a must start (Not just because you overreached for him in the draft) and I believe Carlos Hyde is a legitimate flex option or even an RB2. They will get ahead and control the game. What better way to see what your rookie RB's are made of?
  2. Emanuel Sanders: Not sure if you remember the Denver V Colts game last year, but it was a shootout. Oh, And this just in, WES WELKER SUSPENDED 4 GAMES!! Also look for Cody Latimer In deep leagues.
  3. Terrance Williams: Cowboys will be playing from behind and airing it out. Williams is great option.
  4. Chris Johnson: I am higher on this guy than most. But, I really like a week 1 match-up with Oakland. 
  5. Heath Miller/Jordan Reed: Two tight-ends with excellent match-ups. 

                                                       SITS FOR WEEK 1

  1. Rashard Jennings: I like the Lions defense in this match-up. Plus, we didn't get a huge sample of what this guy can do in his new offense. I am sitting him if I have a better option. 
  2. Bishop Sankey: Really thought he would have the starting job by now. And although he doesn't, keep an eye on him later. I just don't like him in this match-up.
  3. Miami Running-Backs: You probably didn't draft them to start anyway. Lets see how it unfolds before plugging them into our lineups, shall we?
  4. Wes Welker: As of writing this he was suspended just 24 minutes ago, So, No worry about the injuries. He should be solid by week 6 (Broncos have bye week 4, making him eligible week 6)
  5. Cordarrelle Patterson: That one may be hard to swallow, but I really don't like him going against the Rams defense. If you can start someone else, you probably should.

That's it folks. I was going to do a Pick-'em portion as well but feel I ran too long as it is. We shall try for next week.

COMMENT BELOW: What are the fantasy implications of the Wes Welker suspension???

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Top 20 Fantasy Players (and why you should wait on Quarterbacks)

     We're back, folks. That's right. It's football season all over again. And, more importantly (especially if your fanaticism leaves you with a team not in line for the big dance this year (GO LIONS!), It's Fantasy Football season! The chance for every fan, no matter where you're from, to become equals on the make-believe grid iron. What's at stake? Well, bragging rights, of course. What better feeling is there as a fan than saying you predicted and navigated the season better than anyone in your league? How great does it feel to hoist that (proverbial) trophy while your best mates gaze upon you with admiration and disgust, knowing that this was the the moment that they had been dreaming about every night for four straight months??!?
     OK. Not all of our leagues are quite that dramatic. But winning feels good, even in a "garbage league". 
     I am here to give my insight on the fantasy season and how it plays out. I might not be considered an expert, per-say. But, I have an extensive knowledge of the sport and players and a passion that can only be matched by those making $100,000+  a year for advise I am going to give you for FREE! Take it or leave it. But, if you take it, please share this blog with your friends and co-players. I will give weekly start/sit advise pending on match-up, and answer any questions you may have via email (twitter @ryanknowledge).
     So, You ready? lets get to IT!!!!

     I prefer to play in ten team standard leagues, though my top ten would vary very little for deeper or PPR leagues. My philosophy, like many others is, take running-backs first and often due to the shallow depth at the position, and likelihood of injury. Why take handcuffs late when you can have two other backs that are guaranteed starting rolls in their respective offense? 
     Also, Quarterbacks are plentiful in any standard league. If you are playing a two quarterback system or playing in a league where QB's are rewarded bonus points for yardage or 6 points (as opposed to the standard 4) per TD pass, then by all means, take Peyton Manning first over-all in your draft. But I wont be, 
     Think about this, there was (roughly) 105.7 point production variance between the top ten QB's of the 2013 season ( besides Manning's incredibly fantastic fantasy year), and 3 of those quarterbacks (Andy Dalton[3] Phillip Rivers[6] and Ben Rothlisberger[8] (based on FFtoday default scoring, ESPN has them slightly shifted, but all within top ten), that aren't even being drafted as starters in ten team leagues this year! That is roughly 7 points per game that you could easily make up for with stud RB's and WR's in the first four rounds, and start aiming for QB's after you have a solid roster started. 
     Tight-ends are different. But, I am still waiting on them. After Graham, Thomas and (maybe) Gronk, the similarities are so slight that there is no reason to jump for a Vernon Davis or Greg Olsen. Jordan Cameron can definitely give you value, if you can take him outside the first 6 rounds. But, in my draft experience thus far, Cameron is going much sooner than that. There is no reason you should think that you can get less value from a Dennis Pita or Jordan Reed this year and get just as much "bang for your buck".
     Ok, almost to the rankings segment, but, there is one more thing I want to say about drafting this year. And that is, go with your gut. If you are drafting late in a 12 team league and it's between Marshawn Lynch or Peyton Manning, I would not fault you for taking the QB in this scenario. You have to go where the value is. And while I, personally, value the running-back more so than any other position, I have seen many-a-leagues won with a first round stud QB selection. And that is what I am trying to convey with my rankings. While I am most certainly aiming for certain players this year, given a draft position can easily change my feelings about not only a player, but a player position. 

OK! Here they are...


Jamaal Charles- I don't care if you are in a PPR (points per reception) league or not, Charles is my #1 overall in any draft. 19 total TD's last year. And while the argument against Charles is a scattered and unproven offensive line, Chiefs Running-backs have averaged roughly 4.5 YPC this preseason. So, obviously the situation isn't THAT abysmal.

LeSean McCoy- DeSean is gone, and LeSean should gain. While I don't think QB Nick Foles has another 27 TD-2 INT season (his numbers will level out a bit...I think 30/10 is reasonable), I am sure that the Eagles offense is going to feature McCoy and his Ridiculous skill set. Look for him to put up similar numbers as his 2013 campaign.


Matt Forte- As a Detroit fan, it kills me to say that I, really like the Bears offense this year. Jay Cutler is poised to have a great year with two of the most dangerous vertical weapons in the game. And, Forte looks to benefit from the abundance of options in this explosive offense. He should easily eclipse 1,200 yards and 9 TD's this year. BUT, beware in keeper leagues. I think he has one, maybe two solid years left in him. 


Adrian Peterson- Another NFC North running-back that you just have to love as a fantasy player. This man is super-human at times! The only reason I have him at forth instead of first (like the general ADP for the second straight year) is simply because I don't believe in this offense. I know they brought in Norv Turner who is an offensive minded coach that should be able to stretch the field. But his weapons are limited. Matt Cassel as the starting QB actually HURTS ADP's chance of a repeat at the top of the fantasy field. With the nearly ancient Gregg Jennings playing across from the rising star that is Cordarrlle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph (who just got injured while I was typing this sentence) I see no reason why teams can't double cover Patterson, and stack the box against Petterson and Cassel. But...I could be wrong. It would be hard passing him up at the four spot in your draft given his remarkable talent. 


Eddy Lacy- Just one look at that mugshot like pose tells you that E-D- LACY AIN'T NOTHIN' TO @#$! WITH. This man won the starting role as a rookie outright, albeit in a pass heavy system. James Jones sought greener pastures in Oakland and I don't see Eddy not bettering his performance from last year because of it. Yes, Rodgers is back and will be a superstar once again. But, He is a nice guy, who has no reason NOT to share his glory with this All-Star in the making. 


Calvin Johnson- I said it earlier, I like running-backs FIRST! But after the first five running-backs, I can't see a player on the draft board that will make your team great BESIDES ol' Megatron. Look, You want players in the first rounds that will make a difference. If Calvin is there, I can't find a reason not too take him in the first, and select high upside RB's in the next few rounds. Hey, You wont lose BECAUSE of Megatron!


Demaryius Thomas- There is really no need for an explanation here. Huge guy, sure hands, great speed, Peyton Manning. That is really all you need to know. With Josh Gordon out of the picture, I see no reason why Thomas doesn't finish #1 at his position this year, if not in all of of fantasy. Towards the end of the first round, If I can't take an RB I like, I am taking an elite receiver. 


A.J. Green- Really, the first three WR's are interchangeable, really. There just are not that many RB's I like in the first round. Especially with A.J. sitting pretty on the draft board. You should know he has talent. He hasn't NOT made the Pro Bowl yet in his career. He is the man in Cincinnati and will be in the top of his profession for years to come.


Doug Martin- Most people are really down and Martin this year. And with the disappointing 2013 campaign he had, I can see why. But he had a decent start last year hitting double digit fantasy points in his first three games. And Tampa's offense wasn't that good last year. Then, of course, he was injured in week 7 and his season is over. I don't think he will repeat his rookie year, but I think he is worthy of a first round pick. 


Montee Ball- Tenth is probably the highest you have seen Ball ranked so far this preseason. So, Am I crazy? Maybe. But not because of this pick. If you are looking for RB1 potential currently going outside the second, Ball is your guy. I drafted Knowshon Moreno in the fifth round or later in nearly everyone of my leagues last year. And the leagues i dind't win, I at least made the playoffs. Ball IS better than Moreno! And really, it's the system he finds himself in. Manning LOVES the hurry up no huddle fast pace style of football. Meaning whoever is on the field is going to stay on the field. I see great things from this kid this year. 

11-Mashawn Lynch- AKA, BEAST MODE. A lot of people have him going in the first round and I can see why. Seattle is a running team and Lynch is the top dog there. I am just worried about his overuse and that little summer hold out he had.. We have seen how that's worked out for others in the past..
12-Jimmy Graham- Really, I think you can wait on the TE position and still do just fine. But Graham is definitely an elite talent and can give you the same value as a top tier WR. Plus, if you do get another good tight-end late in the draft, remember, they can be used in most flex spots, too. 
13-Peyton Manning- Okay. I kept you in suspense long enough. Manning is the #1 QB this year. I don't think he hits that 50 touchdown mark again, but he'll be close. I know I am the lowest on him and if you really have your heart set, you'll have to take him in the first round. 
14-DeMarco Murray- If you chose to not choose a RB in the first round, I think you really need one now. Murray, if he can stay healthy, can give you RB1 like numbers in the second round. He is just someone I would probably handcuff with probably Lance Dunbar later in the draft. 
15-Arian Foster- Foster is another guy I am probably too low on. But if you haven't noticed a trend, you will soon. This is where I am putting great RB potential that I feel come with a lot of risk, and probably another handcuff (I think it's Jonathan Grimes, at this point). If he falls to you in the middle to end of the second round, I think he could make you happy. 
16-Giovani Bernard- I really liked this kid as a rookie last year, and still do. Great vision and speed. If it wasn't for a man that goes by BGE, Bernard easily could have doubled his touchdowns to 10, and added a couple hundred all-purpose yards. I think he'll get more work especially around the goal line this year. But watch out for Jeremy Hill!
17-Zac Stacy- Stacy did just fine without Sam Bradford last year, and I think he'll do just fine again this year without him. He is the feature back in a team lacking serious weapons. He'll get the work needed to be a top 10 running-back this year and he is going late in the second round in most drafts. 
18-Dez Bryant- Being on a team with the absolute worst defense can only help it's best wide receiver. They will be playing catch-up a lot and Dez should put up big numbers because of it. 
19-Aaron Rodgers- What? Not Drew Brees? Shouldn't I have ranked Rodgers a lot higher? Maybe. But I won't even take him here. There is little doubt of his greatness. I just think you can find good QB value later in the draft and need to stack up on other positions first.
20-Drew Brees- I am sure you have me figured out by now. I really don't think I will take Brees with my second pick, either. But if I didn't have the top three fantasy point producers( all QB's) somewhere in my top twenty, I would never be taken seriously.

Honorable Mentions- Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones, Le'Veon Bell, Alfred Morris

     Well, that's it. I know it's a little late but my top 20 players are done! Next week I'll talk about any new developments, injury or arrests, probably. Also do a list of 10 start/sit players going into the opening weekend of football!