Sophomore Surgers: 2014 Fantasy Football

There were many rookies that exceeded expectations last year and can be considered obvious early round picks this year in fantasy. Don’t forget about these 2nd year players that are also poised to impress, my sophomore sellouts:

Ellington

1. Andre Ellington (RB, Arizona Cardinals): With the recent retirement of injury prone Rashard Mendenhall, Ellington has a good shot at taking over as the lead back with promising upside. This versatile weapon learned all three receiver sets this offseason and is hopeful to play an even greater role in the passing game, one that he already flourishes in. Not to mention putting on 10 pounds of muscle this spring, the reward outweighs the risk for this speed demon. Ellington led his team with 5.5 yards per carry last season and is expected to work with more touches this season, despite the offseason signing of veteran bruiser Jonathon Dwyer who may vulture some goal line carries. Andre Ellington reminds me of a younger version of Jamaal Charles, he can score from anywhere on the field. It seems very likely that he will receive and should receive at least 18 total touches a game. With his versatility, he has the potential to put up stud RB2 numbers in any format. A mediocre offensive line should lead to lots of check downs. Having veteran and experienced Carson Palmer calling the shots, the reliable hands of Larry Fitzgerald and late season stud Michael Floyd will free up space for the ground game. There will be a plentiful supporting cast for Ellington. Last season against divisional opponents (STL, SF, & SEA) Ellington had 60 total touches for 295 total yards, that’s nearly 5 yards a pop against his toughest matchups! He averaged only 10 touches a game and those totes can easily double this season.

2. Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Minnesota Vikings): Maybe trading Percy Harvin to the Seahawks won’t be so bad after all? With the 29th overall pick the Minnesota Vikings selected Cordarrelle Patterson. #84 matured throughout the course of last season and went on a run towards the end. He showed electrifying speed, quickness and big play ability especially in the return game; like a younger Percy Harvin. Although, he has been criticized for his messy routes, Minnesota brought in Norv Turner from Cleveland as their Offensive Coordinator who had recent success with WR Josh Gordon in a pitiful offense. The Vikings need to balance their run attack by having an aerial threat. Cordarrelle has the raw talent to take the pressure off of Adrian Peterson. I expect this guy to run a few back and get open down field a lot. Regardless of who earns the starting QB job in Minnesota, I am all in on this guy.

3. Giovanni Bernard (RB, Cincinnati Bengals): Gio is way too talented and can be as deadly as anybody in open space. The law firm’s days are diminishing and even though rookie Jeremy Hill may be in the mix, Gio is the guy to have in this running back committee. He fits in perfectly with this pass heavy offense. He could very well lead the league in receptions and yards amongst running backs. Look, if Marvin Lewis wants to win a damn playoff game he will have to, I repeat he will have to give this guy the ball!

4. Jordan Reed (TE, Washington Redskins): With Jay Gruden in town, look for the Redskins to take some shots with RG3 and the air attack. Even though the WR core has vastly improved by bringing on DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, the middle of the field will be wide open for this young beast to roam. With a record 14 targets in one game last year, RG3 will look his way, especially in the red zone. Double-digit TD machine this year so save your TE pick and wait for him.

5. Terrance Williams (WR, Dallas Cowboys): 3rd in fantasy points for rookie WR last year and Miles Austin has moved on to Cleveland; Williams will take over as the number two wideout for Tony Romo. You already know Dez is going to draw double teams being one of the best in the league. Williams went on a little streak of his own last year grabbing 5 TD within a 6 game span during the middle of the season. Look for his stats to improve across the board.

6. Markus Wheaton (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers): They let Emmanuel Sanders walk for a reason. 2011 version of Jordy Nelson? Maybe to a lesser degree but  get this guy late. Big Ben throws it more then you think.

7. Monte Ball (RB, Denver Broncos): Manning has to hand it off to somebody. The former Badger has the talent to handle the load if he can solve his fumbling issue and stay on the field. Manning draws enough attention. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of fantasy teams named Monte Ball so hard.

8. Le’Veon Bell (RB, Pittsburgh Steelers): He put up impressive numbers last year even though he missed some time due to injury. He is a great receiver and although Blount could vulture some touchdowns, Bell’s getting his. Strong RB2 candidate.

Photo cred: http://goo.gl/3VMNWJ

Jack Ghizoni is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @CapnJack2424!

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Mock Draft: Players You Aren’t Seeing But Should Be Watching In Preseason

We all play in different types of fantasy football leagues; 8, 10, 12 or more teams, 2 QB, PPR, flex, decimal scoring, IDP, and about a million other formats. In regards to this article, I have been doing handfuls of mock drafts on different outlets to see if the opinion on certain players changes from site to site. I took notes, chatted with people on the message boards, and (as always) had a great time in my mocks. Today, I wanted to throw out a few names that I saw that were going late in mock drafts, or weren’t getting drafted at all. Since my bench is always made up of excess RB and WR, that is what this list will be made up of.

*For this article I focused on 10 team mock drafts. Some players in this article may be getting drafted in deeper leagues but are not currently being drafted in the majority of mock drafts that I have been a part of.

Kelvin Benjamin WR, Carolina Panthers:
Benjamin is entering the league after a huge year at Florida State where he caught 54 passes for 1,011 yards and 15 TD on their way to a BCS National Championship and undefeated season. Now with Cam Newton as his QB and Steve Smith gone, can Benjamin step up and be the real deal in the NFL? Currently going un-drafted in 10 team mock drafts, he would be one of the players that I will be targeting in the final rounds of my drafts while people crap-shooting for defenses and kickers. His skill set looks to translate into the NFL, and reports out of Carolina’s training camp is that he is force to be reckoned with. Every other number one wide receiver in the league will be drafted, why not Benjamin with his opportunity?

Andre Williams RB, New York Giants:
Williams is a name that will probably end up on draft boards in a few weeks, but for now, he’s flying under the radar. Coming off a good performance in the HOF Game, people started seeing what he could do in the open field. Tom Coughlin almost always has a running back committee but with David Wilson gone for the season, Williams looks to be in the running for snaps. Currently ranked 4th on the Giants depth chart, Williams is fighting against Michael Cox, Peyton Hillis and Rashad Jennings. Look for Williams and Jennings to be the two-headed monster when the Giants opens up the season. With how much the Giants run, both can make a fantasy impact for your team in 2014. With Rashad Jennings going around pick 60 in mock drafts and Williams around 135 in the latest ADP updates on ESPN, I would much rather have Andre Williams on my team, and will look to grab him later on in my drafts.

Marqise Lee WR, Jacksonville Jaguars:
If you watch football on Saturday afternoons, you have heard this name for the past few years tearing up the field at USC. Marqise Lee is 22 years old and stands 6 feet tall, weighing 192 pounds. Drafted 39th by Jacksonville this year, Lee looks to take the place of Justin Blackmon who can’t seem to get it together since joining the Jaguars. Lee is coming off an injury that took away much of his 2013 season at USC but in 2012 Lee had 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 14 TD. Lee has the potential to be a breakout star in this league for years to come. In keeper and dynasty leagues I would be looking to take Lee, and in redraft leagues, why take a backup QB when you can take a chance on a couple guys at the end of drafts? Last year, when people were taking their second QB, other owners were taking a shot on WR like Keenan Allen and Alshon Jeffery. Those are the owners who currently polish their fantasy football trophies.

Devonta Freeman RB, Atlanta Falcons:
Since I began this article with a Florida State WR, I thought we would end with a Florida State RB. Currently being drafted as the RB55 in ESPN mock drafts and also currently 4th on the Falcons depth chart, Freeman might end up being the starter on week 1 when the Falcons face off against the Saints. Atlanta’s current number one RB is Steven Jackson, who is coming off injury and cannot be trusted to suit up over the course of the entire season. The latest news from the Atlanta Falcons’ website is that he should be ready for week 1, but face it  Steven; you are old. You are 31 years old and have a lot of mileage on those wheels. It’s time to let the rookie grab the reigns. Other tailbacks on the Falcons roster include Jaquizz Rodgers, which is about the most fun name in the NFL, but it doesn’t mean that he can be the answer. The Falcons also have Antone Smith (also from Florida State), who had 5 carries in 2013. He did take two of them in for scoeres, but he is also 28, and does not have the track record on a team looking to bounce-back from a terrible 2013 season. That leaves Freeman, who might have some room to run now that we will see the pass game open up with Julio and Roddy both back and looking healthy. Freeman is worth a look a stash in deep leagues.

Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!

Late-Round Sleeper Targets: 2014 Fantasy Football (PPR)

QB:

1. Ryan Tannehill: Since being drafted 8th overall by the Dolphins back in 2012, Tannehill has produced middle-to-upper tier QB2 numbers. Last year, he was the victim of being in an offense run by Mike Sherman which didn’t help Tannehill’s development. Further, Miami failed in properly utilizing deep-threat receiver Mike Wallace. This year though, he has a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor. Lazor was the quarterback coach for the Eagles a season ago and was a big part of  the Nick Foles breakout. His offensive approach will incorporate the unique skills of the play-makers he has, which will include Mike Wallace. Along with a reliable slot receiver in Brian Hartline and a running back who can catch passes out of the backfield in Lamar Miller, I could see drafting Tannehill as a QB2 who could turn in a low-end QB1 season. Tannehill has a lot of talent and will have the chance to put it all on display this year, and with a talented core around him, he has a pretty high ceiling in his third season.

2. Josh McCown: I’ve seen McCown drafted as one of the final quarterbacks in mock drafts, but he deserves more credit than that. McCown had a terrific 2013 filling in for the injured Jay Cutler, helping Alshon Jeffery break out as well. Now he is in a new system and away from quarterback whisperer Marc Trestman, but he has shown that he has the talent to be a starter in the NFL. I believe he will hold off Mike Glennon and retain the starting job entering the season. McCown will have a talented starting WR tandem in Vincent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans along with passing-down back Charlie Sims. He will also have the chance to work with a plethora of TE in Tim Wright, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Brandon Myers. When he filled in for Cutler, he produced QB1 numbers and while I don’t expect a repeat of last year, he should be one of the top QB2 options this year who. He could sneak into low-end QB1 consideration if the development of Tampa’s youngsters goes according to plan.

3. Brian Hoyer: One of the biggest pre-season camp battles early on will be whether or not Hoyer can hold off rookie Johnny Manziel for the starting gig in Cleveland. After seeing reports from their TC so far and the Browns’ firm stance on Hoyer being the favorite, I’m inclined to believe them. Up until last year, Hoyer was a career 2nd string QB. When Hoyer got an oppurtinity a season ago, he ran with it, even though the Browns had no run game and very little elsewhere outside of stud Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron. Now I know Gordon is more than likely done for the year and you can’t replace his talent, but Hoyer may still have a chance to post solid numbers if he keeps progressing as he has been and builds connections with his other wideouts. Cameron will be a reliable target and Hawkins’ arrow is shooting up after how well he has been doing so far. Plus, he could have a speedy running back in West (who I think will win the starting job) who can catch passes out of the backfield. I’m also not ruling out the Browns adding a wide receiver via trade or free agency, so that could help as well. With a great offensive line protecting him as well, he could have plenty of time to make solid throws. Target him as low end QB2 right now but as with most of the players on this list, keep an eye out for him in camp and during the pre-season. Upside remains.

RB:

1. Chris Ivory:  We all know that there is a new sheriff in town. Chris Johnson is now a Jet. However, there is another Chris in town. A man they call Ivory is being all but forgotten about in fantasy drafts. Ivory looks to be in line to out-produce his rankings. Last year, he rushed for over 800 yards and had a respectable 4.6 YPC. Johnson is coming off meniscus surgery and the Jets will most likely be incorporating a “1A-1B” running back system in the early going. If Chris Johnson is garnering RB2 consideration, Ivory deserves to be getting RB3 consideration then. If Johnson goes down with an injury or struggles, Ivory will be given more carries and with his talent, could produce RB2 stats and see 15 touches a game. He is being drafted as a RB4 or 5 right now because of his inability to catch passes, but his rushing ability should help him maintain middle-tier RB3 stats if he is given 10 or more touches a game, which looks to be the case this season.

2. James White: New England’s running game a season ago was a roller coaster ride, to say the least. Stevan Ridley struggled early on and Shane Vereen looked to be their feature back but then went down with a serious wrist injury. Ridley was then forced back into a primary role and LeGarrette Blount got more carries as the season progressed. But with Blount now a Steeler, who fills his spot? That player is James White. Already praised by the Patriots’ running back coach, he could get a fair share of carries this year as their change-of-pace back and might only be a Vereen injury or Ridley fumble away from a more prominent role in the offense. He is a talented runner and the Patriots have a pretty good offensive line. White could be a steal in the territory in which he is being selected early on in drafts. His role is up in the air, but one could argue that he has a non-zero chance of leading New England’s backfield at some point this season and has RB4 upside.

3. Robert Turbin: With Marshawn Lynch holding out, everyone is talking about young speedster Christine Michael. People are forgetting about the veteran Turbin, who could get first crack at the starting job and get more looks as camp progresses. Michael is a high upside prospect in the making, but Seattle may be hesitant to give him a lot of carries early on, opening the door for Turbin to get a crack. I remember two years ago when it was rumored that Lynch was going to be suspended, everyone was on the Turbin bandwagon. He could end up being a lot more valuable than people think and the Seahawks still still have faith in him.

WR:

1. Jarrett Boykin: When James Jones and Randall Cobb went down last season, Boykin stepped in and did a pretty good job for the Packers considering also that Aaron Rodgers also went down in Week 9 with a broken collarbone. With James Jones in Oakland Boykin is firmly entrenched at WR3 for Green Bay. Boykin has a chance to expand his role substantially in this potent offense. Green Bay is famous for utilizing 3 receiver sets and that means Boykin will see a lot of snaps and targets as defenses plan their coverage around Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. Boykin is currently being selected in WR5 territory, but he could be a PPR weapon and merit flex consideration at some point this season. Draft him as a WR4 and considering the injury history of Jordy Nelson, Boykin could be much, much more.

2. Justin Hunter: I wrote in  my “Breakouts & Busts” piece that Kendall Wright could be a breakout player and I believe his teammate Justin Hunter is being overlooked as well. As a rookie catching passes from a backup quarterback Hunter had a solid first season in the league in 2013. He produced some big plays, had a 19.67 YPC and has a new coach who will focus on the passing game much more. Jake Locker is finally healthy and has a lot to prove, and although he is being painted as a bust, could prove a lot of people wrong. Locker’s wideouts will have a lot to say about whether or not this happens, however. He will be a deep threat receiver for Jake Locker while Kendall Wright serves as the medium yardage target. Hunter will have the opportunity to out-produce his current ADP and could flirt with 8 scores this season, he found pay dirt 4 times a season ago while only catching 18 passes.

3. Harry Douglas: Harry Douglas and Jarrett Boykin find themselves in similar scenarios. Douglas was a receiver stepped up last season while the Falcons dealt with injuries to both of their stud wideouts. He had a great year: 85 receptions for over 1,000 yards receiving. He had only 2 scores, but his PPR production was solid regardless. Roddy White and Julio Jones will return to their starting roles, but Atlanta will be running a lot more 3 receiver sets this year to help make up for losing Tony Gonzalez to retirement. Douglas is arguably the best #3 receiver in the league and he showed it last season. He will be on the field more this season and act as their slot receiver, which is a PPR gamer’s favorite position. It’s downright criminal where he’s being selected in early mocks, in the 60’s for wide receivers.

TE:

1. Dwayne Allen: Yes, I know Allen is coming off major hip surgery Allen was hurt in the Colts’ first game of the season and had surgery soon after. He is reportedly 100% healthy and ready to go entering camp, however. His return is huge, it adds another dimension to the Colt’s passing game. Now I know Pep Hamilton’s offense is run-heavy, but with a QB like Andrew Luck, there will be plenty of balls put in the air as well . Allen is a talented tight end who has good chemistry with Andrew Luck which will grant him the chance to expand upon his solid rookie campaign (45 catches, over 500 yds receiving and 3 scores). Now I know Coby Fleener is there, but Allen is the superior talent and the coaching staff seems to like Allen a bit more despite Hamilton and Luck’s history with Fleener at Stanford. With a full off-season to rest and heal up, Allen is sneaky tight end prospect who is being drafted as a middle-tier TE2, but could put up low-end TE1 numbers. Despite the depth at the position this season, Allen could morph into a TE1 by season’s end. Grab him as your backup but be ready to watch him put up bigger numbers.

2. Travis Kelce: Oh boy, another tight end coming off of surgery. At first glance, micro-fracture surgery is a tough and major procedure for an NFL player, but like Allen, Kelce does not have an extensive injury record. He had some personal issues in college, but those seem to be far behind him. Otherwise, he was great in college, especially during his senior year (45 catches, 722 receiving yards and 8 TD). Now in his “rookie” year, he will be the #1 TE on a team that is sorely lacking good receivers outside of Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe. Kelce is a pass-catching TE who will be thrown to a lot. Right now, he’s not even being drafted in most leagues, but he could be a high end TE2 by the end of the year. Pick him up in the last few rounds and you could have a very good year at the TE position.

3. Colt Lylera: Lylera made more headlines last year for arguing over what his coach at Oregon said as well as his drug issues. He went undrafted in May but was picked up by Green Bay and couldn’t be in a better situation. I’ve talked several times about his talent and a lot of scouts have said Lylera has 1st or 2nd round talent at the position but had major off-the-field issues. The Packers have a wide open competition after they chose not to bring Finley back. They drafted Richard Rodgers but he and Brandon Bostick have failed to impress so far. Arguably, Lylera has the most talent of any of the Packer tight ends. He is in a great organization that will help keep his head on straight as well. He has a chance to grab the starting job and run with it and could be in line to be the best rookie tight end this season. Unless you have a TE3 spot or want to take a flier on him, I wouldn’t draft him just yet, but keep both eyes on Green Bay’s training camp and preseason reports for and scoop him up if he runs away with the job

Doug Moore is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @DMM0822!

Week 12 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Most of you are enjoying the Monday Night matchup between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers and others are already planning for week 12. Bobby Rainey lead the charge for week 11 with 167 total yards and 3 TDs totaling 34 Fantasy Points (36 in PPR). This week will bring some challenges as we have the Eagles, Bills, Bengals and Seahawks all on a bye this week. So lets jump right into it with my week 12 sleepers.

Week 12 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Tom Brady vs. Denver Broncos

(UPDATED: Threw for 296 yards and a TD against the Panthers) Brady has always brought his A game when playing Peyton Manning and this game will be no different. This matchup has a lot at stake especially potential playoff seeding. The Broncos just gave up 230 yards and 2 TDs to Alex Smith and Brady comes to town not having the greatest of Fantasy season’s (crazy to think of him as a sleeper huh?). But I like the matchup for him this week.

Eli Manning vs. Dallas Cowboys

Manning and the Giants are riding a 4 game winning streak after starting the season 0-6. Eli coming off another mediocre performance with only 1 TD and he threw another interception but in his 1st game against the Cowboys on opening day he threw for 450 yards and 4 TDs (yes 3 INTs too). The Cowboys pass D hasn’t gotten any better since week 1 either. If you have Russell Wilson, Nick Foles or Andy Dalton on a bye this week, Eli is a nice plug and play this week.

Rashard Jennings vs. Tennessee Titans

Jennings has rushed for over 340 yards and 2 TDs over the last 3 games and even with the eventual return of Darren McFadden you have to figure Jennings has wrestled the job away. He faces a Titans run D that has given up multiple TDs to opposing RBs in 4 straight games. Jennings is worth the flier this week.

Ben Tate vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

I think the big question surrounding this game is who will be the QB for the Texans this week but I care about this great matchup for Ben Tate. While the Jaguars have been better against the run the last two games (Minus the TD to Mendenhall), the Texans are going to have to set up the run. Tate has a chance at a great game against this mediocre run D.

Marques Colston vs. Atlanta Falcons

Well Mr. Colston welcome to the 2013 Fantasy Football season, you are only about 10 weeks late to the party. He has 12 catches 187 yards and a TD over the past two games after having 6 catches for 44 yards in his previous 4 games. It’s hard to trust him quite yet but facing a Falcons team giving up an average of 25 PPG to opposing WRs, he has a solid matchup for the Thursday Night game.

Anquan Boldin vs. Washington Redskins

Boldin found the endzone for the 1st time since week 4 and has potentially the best matchup up of the season for him. The Redskins haven’t been very good against the pass and this could be the type of game to get Boldin back on track.

Mychal Rivera vs. Tennessee Titans

Matt McGloin led the charge for the Raiders this week against the Texans tossing 3 TDs including one to Mychal Rivera (also leading the charge of the who the heck are these guys). McGloin should be under center for the week 12 matchup against the Titans and that’s great news for Rivera as the Titans just got torched by Cody Fleener and are giving up the 8th most Fantasy Points to TEs this year.

Green Bay Packers D vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Packers haven’t been great since losing Aaron Rodgers but the Vikings have Ponder/Cassell/Freeman (whoever plays QB) so their fortune hasn’t been much better. The Packers D will be on of the top streaming options for week 12.

Also don’t forget to check out the Sports Script podcast every Sunday morning at 11am (EST) as we answer any and all start and sit questions.www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration

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Week 11 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Week 10 is in the books for Fantasy Football and what a week it was. Drew Brees, Pierre Thomas and Demaryius Thomas were among the leading group for the week. We also saw Tavon Austin and Mark Ingram have coming out parties this week. Injures have been tough for 1st round running backs this year as we have seen Ray Rice battling injures and being healthy, Doug Martin finally put on the IR and news over the weekend is that Arian Foster is next man on the list. You never know when you are going to have to step up and replace a top player, so it’s always good to be good at the wire. Before I dig into week 11 sleepers I take a look back on how I did in week 10.

Sleepers that I hit

Pierre Thomas – 111 total yards and 2 TDs – He was on fire as was the rest of the Saints RBs but Thomas provided much need spark for Fantasy owners.
Golden Tate – 6 catches/106 yards/ 1 TD – He can only get better once Harvin is back in the mix.
Riley Cooper – 3 catches/102 yards/2 TDs – So 5 TDs in two games, WOW.
New York Giants D – 20 points/ 4 sacks/ 1 TD – That’s three straight solid performances for this D and next up Scott Tolzien and the reeling Packers.

Don’t Forget to Check out PerfectStreak.com as we are partnering up this week to give one lucky person that signs up for the site this week a special Sports Script prize pack. All you have to do is make a deposit and send us proof that you signed up to enter.

Sleepers I whiffed on

Jake Locker – He got taken out of the game but didn’t look great while he was in there.
Eli Manning – 140 yards/1 TD/ 1 INT – Mediocre game for the Mediocre QB.
Garrett Graham – 2 catches 18 yards – Had a great matchup this week and just didn’t do anything with it. This guy is droppable in all formats.

Mike James and Timothy Wright play tonight.

Week 11 Fantasy Football Sleepers (bye week: Rams and Cowboys)

Mike Glennon vs. Atlanta Falcons

(Prior to tonight’s Monday Night Football Game)

Glennon has looked really good as of late throwing for 5 TDs and 0 INTs over the past 3 games. In his last outing against the Falcons he threw for 256 yards and 2 TDs and the Falcons haven’t gotten any better on the defensive side of the ball. Glennon is a nice sleeper if you have Romo on a bye this week.

Scott Tolzien vs. New York Giants

I know this is crazy and we have very small sample size from the guy to even consider having to start him. But I am in a 2QB league where I have to start Kellen Clemens the past two weeks. Tolzien looked good enough to get the nod from McCarthy after the game. He threw for 280 yards, 1 TD and 2 picks. The Giants have been better the last few weeks against the pass but the Packers will open up the running game with Lacy and that should let Tolzien makes some throws to the multiple weapons he has at his disposal. So got Romo on a bye? Rodgers hurt? Or a QB with a tough matchup, take a chance on Tolzien.

André Ellington vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Owners of Mr. Ellington are going to have to start writing hate mail to Bruce Arians for his horrendous use of him. He had 11 carries for 55 yards (5.0 YPC) and Rashard Mendenhall had 13 carries for 42 yards (3.2 YPC) plus a crucial fumble late in the 4th quarter. Ellington I know isn’t really big enough to be an every down back but has too much ability to be wasted. He gets a Jaguars team that has given up over 400 yards and 5 rushing TDs over the last 3 weeks, Ellington will be a solid RB2/Flex play this week.

Chris Ivory vs. Buffalo Bills

The Bills gave up there 1st rushing TD since week 5 to Le’Veon Bell this week. Ivory had a great game before the bye against the Saints and has rushed for over 100 yards in 2 out of his last 3 games. Even though they seem to be going with the hot hand in New York but Ivory is just the better back and will see enough carries to make him a solid sleeper.

Trent Richardson vs. Tennessee Titans

Okay so I might lose all credibility I have ever had by suggesting the Trent Richardson is a sleeper this week. The Titans have given up 2 rushing TDs in 4 straight weeks and the Colts need to run the ball and are going to have to try and use the guy they gave up a 1st round pick for. He hasn’t been impressive running the ball since coming over in the trade but if there is any team right now in football that can make your confidence go up it’s the Tennessee Titans. I think he will fit nicely in a Flex role this week.

Dwayne Bowe vs. Denver Broncos

Bowe and Smith finally are heading in the right direction towards each other. Bowe has 23 targets over the last 3 games, catching 13 of them for 140 yards. Also he has a great matchup ahead of him against division foe Denver Broncos whom are giving up 25 PPG to opposing WRs. Off the bye week I really like Bowe and you should too.

Percy Harvin vs. Minnesota Vikings

Of course you have to keep an eye out for his status but if he is playing, you are playing him. Playing against his old team and finally getting his 1st game in a Seahawk uniform he is going to want to do big things.

Jarrett Boykin vs. New York Giants

His value seemed diminished once James Jones came back, when Rodgers got hurt and then when Wallace went down but Tolzien looked his way often on Sunday with 13 targets and he caught 8 of them for 112 yards. Tolzien is getting the nod against this week and Boykins should get yours.

Rob Housler vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Housler found the endzone for the 1st time this season on Sunday and added 3 more catches totaling 57 yards. The Jaguars have a huge weakness against the tight end position as they have given up a TD in 6 out of their last 7 games against them. Housler is a deep sleeper and is a great streaming TE this week.

Carolina Panthers D vs. New England Patriots

The Panthers D has been unreal this season and coming off a huge game against the 49ers in San Fran this weekend, they face the Patriots who are coming off their best offensive output of the season. But I wouldn’t fear the Panthers have a great pass rush

Follow me on twitter @RickyGangster

Also don’t forget to check out the Sports Script podcast every Sunday morning at 11am (EST) as we answer any and all start and sit questions. www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration

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Week 8 Fantasy Football Must Start/Must Sit

So my Must starts last week were 2-5 and my Must sits were 6-1, I am just not sure how to feel about that this week. Each week a new QB comes out and scores more points than Tom Brady, we’ve lost Reggie Wayne, Doug Martin (Possibly) and Sam Bradford for the season. Injuries are just brutal, not just in real football but in Fantasy Football. I am thankful that I have not been hit with multiple injury bugs on one team. I have been hit with injuries just not 2 or 3 guys on one team like some have. With all the injuries and some big time players on bye-weeks, some fantasy owners (including myself) are looking for some big time help in week 8. Before we dive into that let’s take a look at how my Must Start/Must Sit did last week.

Starts that made me look good

Mike Wallace – 5 catches 76 yards (12 yards rushing) Wallace was heavily targeted (10); he didn’t find the endzone but did do the damage this week.
Green Bay Packers Defense – 13 points, 216 yards, 3 sacks and 1 turnover

Starts that made me look bad

Jay Cutler – He got a whopping -1 point this week. Hopefully he does have a speedy recovery from the groin injury.
Ray Rice – Totaled 72 yards but didn’t find the endzone for the 2nd straight game.
DeAngelo Williams – Great matchup and just didn’t produce off it. 59 total yards.
T.Y. Hilton – 2 catches 27 yards. The targets where there (11) just didn’t produce with them.
Antonio Gates – 6 catches 31 yards – Gates had 6 catches but the yards weren’t there to back it up.

Sits that made me look good

Bilal Powell – 6 yards – Not only was he not effective, Ivory took over the full load and Powell may be in jeopardy of losing his job.
Dwayne Bowe – 5 catches for 66 yards – In PPR leagues he was solid and in Standard he has produced what he has been, not much of anything.
Anquan Boldin – 5 catches for 74 yards – Same as Bowe, PPR leagues he was good but Standard it was his 3rd straight single digit output.
Garrett Graham – 3 catches 38 yards – Had a tough matchup this week, going forward he should produce better Fantasy stats.
Cleveland Browns Defense – 31 points, 1 sack and 0 turnovers – Just manhandled by a better team.

Sits that made me look bad

Le’Veon Bell – 99 total yards, he didn’t find the endzone but looked really good against a tough Ravens Run D.
Matt Ryan – 20/26 for 273 yards and 3 TDs – Ryan proved me wrong and worthy of a start against a solid Bucs D.

Week 8 Fantasy Football Must Start

Robert Griffin III vs. Denver Broncos

So last week against a depleted Bears D, we finally saw the RGIII we all wanted when we drafted him. He also had his highest output of the season on the ground with 84 yards on 11 carries (also a season high). He is facing a Broncos team fresh off their 1st loss of the season to the Colts. Even better news for RGIII owners is that the Broncos give up the most Fantasy points to opposing QBs. Whether the game is high scoring or not, we will see a lot of points from him this week.

Russell Wilson vs. St. Louis Rams

Outside of the two fumbles (he does have 5 on the season) Wilson had a tremendous game throwing the ball against a pretty good Cardinals D. This week he matches up against a St. Louis team that is going to have a change at QB with Bradford out for the year. The Seahawks force turnovers and that can mean nothing but good things for Wilson. Great matchup for him this week and even better we get to watch it happen on Monday Night Football.

Knowshon Moreno vs. Washington Redskins

Raise your hand if you thought Moreno would be leading the league in TDs (8)? Sit down you are all liars. Moreno has been nothing short of amazing for Fantasy Owners this season. He has a TD in 4 straight games (totaling 6 in that span) and has a firm grip on this RB job that no one thought he would have. Guess Moreno owners? The Redskins have given up 8 rushing TDs this season and 22 Fantasy PPG to RBs. Start Moreno in every format known to man this week.

Eddie Lacy vs. Minnesota Vikings

Lacy carries over the last 3 games 23, 23 and 22, he has totaled 301 yards rushing over the last 3 games (most in the NFL in that time frame). He also received 7 targets out of the backfield in week 7 due to all the injuries the Packers have on offense. With Finley out for a few games and James Jones still dealing with injuries, this team is going to rely on Lacy and he has stepped up to the plate.

Terrence Williams vs. Detroit Lions

He was on my Sleeper list for 2 straight weeks and came through with TDs. It’s time for him to be on the big boy list of the Must Starts. He has caught a TD in 3 straight games and faces a Lions team that has given up TDs in 4 straight games to WRs (including a big 80 yards bomb to AJ Green last week). I like Williams and think he is a top 20 play this week. If for any reason he is available on any of your waiver wires, he is a must pick up right now!

Pierre Garcon vs. Denver Broncos

Love the pair of RGIII/Garcon this week against Denver. Garcon hasn’t reached the endzone since week 4 but has been heavily targeted in the passing game. WRs have found pay dirt 8 times this year against the Broncos and I expect Garcon to make that nine.

Larry Fitzgerald vs. Atlanta Falcons

In what was supposed to be a huge bounce back season for Fitzgerald, it has been just as frustrating owning him this year as any year in the past. But this week a great matchup is store for Fitzgerald and we can only hope that Carson Palmer will take advantage of this and throw to Cardinals and not the Falcons this week. Even though you may be frustrated, this is a week where you have to start him.

Tony Gonzalez vs. Arizona Cardinals

When the Cardinals give up TDs to tight ends they do it right. 4 times they have given up 2 touchdowns to TEs in one game. They are coming off back to back games in doing so; last week was a frustrating week to own Gonzo as he only produced 2 catches on 4 targets for 30 yards. Teams are going to key in on him with the injuries to White and Julio but this week’s matchup is too hard to turn down. Stick with him this week and expect big numbers in return.

Carolina Panther vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Panthers after spending a few weeks on my Sleepers piece, have made it to the big time and made my Must Start Defense of week 8. The Panthers D is giving up only 13 PPG (1st in the NFC), 19 sacks and they have forced 14 total turnovers. The Bucs have given up the ball 10 times this year and QBs have been sacked 14 times. All the Thursday night games have been a bit sluggish, so the Panthers will have a field day against this Bucs team that’s going to be without their best RB in Doug Martin.

Week 8 Fantasy Football Must Sit

Terrelle Pryor vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

After the bye the Steelers D has awoken from total abomination. They are 2-0 after the bye and have given up only 17 points in two games against QBs. Even though there is a lot of QBs on a bye week this week, I still don’t like this matchup for Pryor. Only start in 2QB leagues this week.

DeAngelo Williams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs are only one of two teams that have yet to give up a TD to a RB. But hey, Williams owners also know that he has yet to find the endzone this year either. I really don’t like this matchup for him and don’t expect him to find much running room on Thursday night.

Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Arizona Cardinals

Rodgers found the endzone through the air on Sunday twice but couldn’t muster up any rushing yards, totaling only 16 on 8 carries. Cardinals have been rock solid only giving up 12 fantasy points a game to RBs this year. Rodgers is an easy must sit for week 8.

Josh Gordon vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Fantasy Owners (me included) just want a QB that will get Gordon the ball and get it to him regularly. Weeden is just not that guy and he has the unfortunate opportunity of going into Kansas City and playing against the #1 defense in football. It’s really hard to decided and sit your stud but this is the week I would take a look at better matchups.

Kenbrell Thompkins vs. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are the only team in football that has yet to give up a TD to opposing WR. With the way Brady has played lately, I don’t expect that to change after this week either. Thompkins has 4 single points Fantasy games this year and this week will make it 5.

Jared Cook vs. Seattle Seahawks

After any amazing week 1 performance, everyone thought we finally saw the Jared Cook we all have been waiting for. He totaled 24 points in standard leagues (31 in PPR) in week 1; he has 19 points (35 in PPR) since then. Cook is facing a Seahawks D that is very good against TEs (5 PPG). He isn’t worth a start this week.

New Orléans Saints Defense vs. Buffalo Bills

I don’t expect the Bills to beat the Saints but I think this going game will be competitive this week. The Bills have scored 20 or more points in every game this season. The Saints have been good but not great on defense this year. I would look for a better option on the wire this week (Panthers, Steelers or Falcons).

Also don’t forget to check out the Sports Script podcast every Sunday morning at 11am (EST) as we answer any and all start and sit questions. www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration

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Week 5 Fantasy Football Sleepers

2013 Fantasy football has been filled with some of the most random happenings in the time I have played it. Greg Jennings finally showed up, Tony Gonzalez shredded the Patriots and Phillip Rivers is looking more and more like a startable week to week QB.

My sleepers were hit and miss again this week. The running back trio of MJD/Bernard/Pierce decided to make me look rough. Avery wasn’t so hot either but Bradford played well, Heath Miller was a stud and the Colts D took care of business. Week 4 brought a mixed bag of goods and week 5 we see a lot of studs on a bye. From now until all the bye weeks are over Sleepers are a key to helping you win matchups with good players on byes.

Fantasy Football Week 4 Sleepers (Bye Week – Bucs, Steelers, Vikings & Redskins)

Brian Hoyer vs. Buffalo Bills

Hoyer has 590 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions (none in week 4) since taking over for the injured Brandon Weeded. With RGIII and Big Ben on a bye week you could be looking for a replacement and the Bills are ranked 23rd against the pass and have given up an average of 2 touchdown passes to each quarterback they have faced this year. Not only is Hoyer a good-bye week replacement I think over the next 3 weeks he is a serviceable QB1.

Sam Bradford vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Outside week 2 when the Jaguars shut down Pryor, they have given up 9 touchdown passes to QBs. Bradford comes into the game averaging 273 YPG passing with 7 touchdowns. Bradford was my sneaky play last week and played good not great. But with the success of other QBs against this awful Jaguars team, Bradford will be a nice play this weekend.

David Wilson vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Wilson had his best game to date rushing for 55 yards on 13 carries. He also caught his 1st 2 balls on the season. He faces an Eagles team this week that is terrible against the run (121 YPG). The Giants have had a hard time getting the run going because before they know it they are down 2 and 3 scores. So I look for the Giants to take advantage of this Eagles D and get Wilson going. His value won’t get any lower than it is now, so I think if you can trade for him now do it.

Lamar Miller vs. Baltimore Ravens

Miller is coming off a nice performance against the Saints (68 yards/a TD), he comes in against a Ravens team that just gave up over 150+ yards and a touchdown to the combo of Spiller/Jackson. With Martin/Bell/AP/Morris on a bye this week Miller is an easy RB1.

Kenbrell Thompkins vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals were banged up against the Browns and it showed as they let Hoyer pass for over 269 yards and 2 touchdowns. Thompkins has been on fire over the last two games, he has caught 9 passes for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has been Brady’s go to target in the red zone as well; all 3 of his touchdowns were caught inside the opponents 20 yard line. He should only improve with Gronkowski and Amendola possibly coming back as well.

Robert Woods vs. Cleveland Browns

Woods targets have gone up since only seeing 1 in week 1. He has 6,10,8 over the last 3 games. He had 4 catches for 80 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens. His role in this offense is only going up and this week with some talented WR’s on a bye, Woods is a solid option for this week.

Tyler Eifert/Jermaine Gresham vs. New England Patriots

Tony Gonzalez torched the Patriots last week and a lot had to do with the Patriots focused in on Julio Jones. They are going to have to do the same thing with A.J. Green this week. Both of these guys were targeted 5 times this week and they caught 3 a piece for 92 yards. I would go Eifert over Gresham but both could be a suitable replacement this week at TE.

St. Louis Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Any Defense against the Jaguars is startable, they are just laughable on the offensive side of the ball. They are averaging only 7 points a game over the 1st 4 games. The Rams should have no problem shutting down the Jaguars and are a great start this week.

Also don’t forget to check out the Sports Script podcast every Sunday morning at 11am (EST) as we answer any and all start and sit questions. www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration

Week 4 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Another Fantasy Football week is in the books. We had some surprise big hitters on Sunday (Brian Hoyer, Jonathon Franklin & Antonio Brown) and some real duds (Eli Manning, Marshawn Lynch & T.Y. Hilton). Well I am here to give you some sleepers for week 4 but before I do that I show you how I did in week 3.

Sleepers I hit

Alex Smith was the 16th rank QB, Deangelo Williams torched the Giants for 120 yards, Nate Burelson caught 7 passes for 115 yards & DeAndre Hopkins hit for 6 catches for 60 yards.

Sleepers I whiffed on

Matt Schaub was just god awful against the Ravens and Tony Gonzalez was terrible even with a great matchup (4 catches for 24 yards).

Week 4 Fantasy Football Sleepers (Bye weeks start this week with the Packers & Panthers)

Sam Bradford vs. San Francisco 49ers (202 yards & a TD against the 49ers on Thursday) Wasn’t great but he could’ve done worse.

Bradford has been a really good Fantasy option this year. He had a rough day against the Cowboys getting sacked 6 times. He has a matchup against a 49ers team reeling after 2 straight blowout losses to the Colts and Seahawks. Bradford’s last 2 games against the 49ers his stats are 496 yards, 2 TDs & 67% completion ratio.

Matt Flynn vs. Washington Redskins

If you are an owner of either Aaron Rodgers or Cam Newton you could be looking for a bye week option this week. I would say Flyyn is going to throw for 2 TDs against this terrible Redskins D. That is enough for me to give him the sleeper tab or even start him in 2QB leagues.

Bernard Pierce vs. Buffalo Bills

Pierce led the way against the Texans with 65 yards and a touchdown. As it looks now, Rice is 50/50 to play this week but I would look for them to ease him back in if he does play. He is going to face the Bills who are one of the worst teams against the run in football. They are giving up an average of 155 yards per game on the ground. Pierce will have a field day against the Bills.

Giovanni Bernard vs. Cleveland Browns

Bernard is coming off the best game of his young career. He had a total of 14 touches turning them into 99 yards and a touchdown. What seemed like a time share with the Law Firm is turning into the Bernard show. The Browns have been pretty good against the run but Bernard will be a nice start this week regardless.

Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Indianapolis Colts

Jones-Drew provided a some solid Fantasy points against the Seahawks in week 3. He faces a Colts team in the bottom half of football against the run. The Jaguars are going to want to set up the run if they have any chance of upsetting the Colts. MJD looks healthy and looks good to go.

Donnie Avery vs. New York Giants

The Giants have been really bad this year and I don’t think they are going to get better. Avery stepped up his game this week against the Eagles. The Giants gave up 6/124/3 TDS to the pair of LaFell/Ginn, 9/87 to Decker & 10/72 to Austin. Avery could be a real sneaky play this week.

Antonio Brown vs. Minnesota Vikings

Brown spent the week gripping and complaining about the lack of targets. Well he recieved 13 targets, catching 9 of them for 196 yards and a TD. This week he has a great matchup against the Vikings who just got torched by Brian Hoyer. The Steelers looked a lot better on offense last week and Brown was a key part of that.

Heath Miller vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings defense has given up 6 touchdowns to tight ends in 3 weeks. Heath came back against the Bears and saw 4 targets. The Steelers offense looked a lot better in week 3 than the previous two. A healthy Miller is one of the better fantasy tight end options, so if you are missing on Finley (injury/bye) or Olsen (bye), he will be a good replacement.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Colts defense stepped up last week against a 49ers team that most thought they would lose too. They gave up only 7 points, sacked Kaepernick 3 times and forced 2 turnovers. They face a Jaguars team that is averaging 9 points a game and less than 250 yards a game. The Colts are a top 10 option in week 4.

Also don’t forget to check out the Sports Script podcast every Sunday morning at 11am (EST) as we answer any and all start and sit questions. www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration

Week 3 Fantasy Football Sleepers

What a first 2 weeks of Fantasy Football. In week 2 we had even more surprises than we did in week 1. Eddie Royal caught 3 TDs (5 in two games), Knowshon Moreno ran for 2 scores and Sam Bradford threw for 352 yards with 3 TDs against the Falcons. So “Anything is Possible” should be the theme for the first 2 weeks of the season. I have my Fantasy Football Sleepers for week 3 ready but, before we get to them, I’ll give you a review of who made me look good and bad last week.

Sleepers I hit

EJ Manuel made me look good throwing for 296 and a TD. I had him down as a solid QB2 and he produced those types of numbers. Brandon Myers caught 6 balls for 74 yards. (Which isn’t terrible). The Oakland Raiders D shut down the Jaguars, holding them to 248 total yards, 9 points and sacked the QB 3 times.

Sleepers I whiffed on

Vick Ballard got injured the day before my last piece and I’m probably to blame for this. DeAngelo Williams wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great either (86 total yards). Mike Williams and Jerome Simpson totaled a whopping 4 catches for 58 yards (Sorry?).

So it was a pretty even split down the middle, some hit and some didn’t. You can’t win them all, can you? Alright enough about week 2…

My Week 3 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Matt Schaub vs. Baltimore Ravens

I really like this matchup for Schaub this week. I would keep an eye out for the status on Andre Johnson, but he played really well in the 4th quarter and OT without him. The Ravens D did a good job of shutting down the combination of Weeden/Campbell. Let’s be honest though, neither of those guys are really good at being QBs. Schaub has led two 4th quarter comebacks in back-to-back weeks with over 600 yards and 6 TDs through the first two games. He didn’t get to 6 TDs until his 4th game last year and he only threw for 1 TD in the first 2 games last season. I think he is a borderline QB1 this week.

Alex Smith vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Did anyone see Alex Smith out there running around like he was RGIII on Sunday? Boy was that fun to watch. This Eagles pass D isn’t very good, as we have witnessed over 700 total yards and 6 TDs over the first 2 games. We also have Andy Reid coming to town to face his old team. I think Reid has revenge on his mind. He has done a great job in utilizing Smith so far. I think, minus the rushing yards, Smith’s stats (maybe a bump in yards) should resemble those of the game against the Cowboys.

Knowshon Moreno vs. Oakland Raiders

Oh my God, am I really recommending starting Moreno in 2013? He had a really solid game against the Giants this past week (107 yards and 2 TDs). He has a bit of a tougher matchup this week against a surprisingly good Raider Run D. I believe however, that Monday Night the Broncos are going to try to set up the run again to slow down the pace and keep Pryor & Company off the field. They will make big plays but I think Moreno produces RB2/Flex numbers.

Deangelo Williams vs. New York Giants

So I Williams made me look bad last week, but I am giving me one more chance to show me something, and I think you should too. The Giants let Moreno run all over them last week and Williams has received a bulk of the touches in Carolina. He has hit 80+ yards in two straight but I believe finds the endzone in week 3, giving him solid RB3/Flex ranking.

Nate Burleson vs. Washington Redskins

I still think Aaron Rodgers is throwing for touchdowns on the Redskins as I am typing this. The Redskins pass D is atrocious and isn’t getting any better by the end of the week. Burelson has garnered 16 targets (catching 13 of them) in the first 2 games. I think the Redskins are going to “attempt” to take Calvin Johnson out of this game, which will give Burelson and company a chance to shine.

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Baltimore Ravens

Hopkins had a coming out party against the Titans in the 2nd half and OT. With the possibility of Andre Johnson either not playing or being limited, the Texans could rely heavy on Hopkins. He has 18 catches so far in the season, 10 of which have come in the 2nd half. I am big on Schaub this week and big on his #1 target from last week. Hopkins is a WR3/Flex play for the week.

Tony Gonzalez vs. Miami Dolphins

Starting tight ends have 13 catches, 177 yards and 2 TDs through 2 games. Future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez is coming to town on Sunday. I look for him to be a solid TE1 this week with this favorable matchup.

New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills

The Jets did a great job of playing defense against the Patriots and the Buccaneers. They are giving up an average of 248 totals yards (181 passing & 59.5 rushing) a game, which is good for 2nd best in football. EJ Manuel and the Bills are coming in playing good but not great football. The Jets D could be a great play for you this week, especially if you are into streaming defenses.

Also don’t forget to check out our new Podcast/Show on Sunday’s at 11am (EST) http://www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration we answer questions your Fantasy Football questions live on the air.