|Colts complete wild comeback to knock off Chiefs||01.04.14 at 8:13 pm ET|
Andrew Luck engineered one of the great comebacks in NFL history Saturday night, erasing a 28-point third-quarter deficit on the way to a 45-44 win over the Chiefs in a crazy AFC wild-card contest.
Luck and the Colts trailed 38-10 at the start of the third quarter, but Luck threw three second-half touchdowns, the last one coming with just over four minutes left in regulation, to lift Indy to the improbable win. Donald Brown added a pair of rushing scores in the second half for Indy, which will advance to the AFC divisional playoff series next weekend.
Luck ended up 29-for-45 for 443 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions, while T.Y. Hilton had 13 catches for 224 yards and two touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Kansas City’s Alex Smith finished 30-for-46 for 378 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Dwayne Bowe led the way for the Chiefs’ offense with eight catches for 150 yards and a touchdown.
Early on, it was all Smith and the Chiefs, as Kansas City busted out to a 24-7 first-half lead, thanks to three first-half touchdown passes from Smith — one to Bowe, one to Donnie Avery and one to Anthony Sherman. Knile Davis tacked on a late second-quarter rushing touchdown to make it 31-10 heading into halftime. The early led was made all the more impressive by the fact that the Chiefs lost All-World running back Jamaal Charles in the first quarter because of a head injury.
Smith connected with Davis on a 10-yard touchdown pass to open the third to make it 38-10, but that set the stage for the comeback. The Colts were able to put up two quick scores at the start of the third to draw to within 38-24, but while the Chiefs were unable to register anything more than a pair of Ryan Succop field goals over the last quarter-plus, Luck and the Indy offense was in command.
Down the stretch, Luck connected with Brown, Coby Fleener and Hilton for second-half scoring strikes, with the pass play to Hilton coming with 4:21 remaining in regulation and going for 64 yards down the middle of the field — it gave the Colts a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. A late drive from the Chiefs came up short, as Kansas City turned the ball over on downs with just under two minutes to go.
|Fantasy Football: Week 16 starts, sits||12.20.13 at 9:09 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 16 starts and sits! I’ve tried to find some good recommendations that aren’t too obvious. I’ve thrown in a few that I just wanted to emphasize, like Chris Johnson and Shane Vereen, who I think should be locked into lineups. Obviously, there is a lot of talent that we do not address in this article, so hit Rotobahn for our full lineup rankings. And on Sunday, stop by WEEI for our Sunday chat at 11 a.m. I’ll be happy to address any last-minute decisions you may have. Good luck to all this week! Bring home the hardware!
Kirk Cousins, Redskins vs. Cowboys
Talk about tricky! There are some very compelling reasons to consider Cousins as your quarterback for Week 16. The obvious one is the matchup at home against the defenseless Cowboys. I know a lot of people are talking about risk. Sure, there always is some uncertainly with an inexperienced quarterback. Then again, there’s risk playing Tom Brady on the road vs. the Ravens. At least there is from a fantasy football perspective. With Cousins, we see a lot more reasons to play him than to sit him. Here’s the most compelling one: Washington is marketing the player. Cousins is an asset that the Redskins need to maximize, as they have holes all over their roster. A lot of football experts see Cousins as a potential NFL starter, and we agree. The Redskins wants draft pick compensation for Cousins, and they are going to throw the football. And, with their defense, they’ll need to do it for four quarters. Cousins can help you if you have a need at quarterback. He’s an obvious choice for those who’ve been using Robert Griffin III.
Andrew Luck, Colts at Chiefs
Quite simply, he is capable in any matchup. I would not hesitate to play Luck in Week 16. Yes, the matchup is tough, but Luck has stepped it up on the road against tough defenses before. Look at what he did to the Bengals a few weeks ago. Luck is a viable option in any format this week. Check out our lineup rankings if you have a strong second option to consider.
Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Vikings
As with Luck, Dalton falls outside of my top 12 for Week 16 but remains a very solid option with plenty of scoring potential. Dalton can be your starter this week if you need him. He has outstanding receiving options, and most of them are red zone guys.
Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Colts
It’s often ugly or random, but Smith almost always ends up with good numbers at the end of the day. Another fact worthy of a mention is his success at home, where he’s had only one weak fantasy start all year long. Smith can be your quarterback this week if you need him.
|Fantasy Football: Week 15 starts, sits||12.06.13 at 12:35 pm ET|
Welcome to the Week 14 starts and sits! It’s playoff time and I’ve done my best to distill the talent pool for you. If your key player is not covered here, check out our full lineup rankings over at Rotobahn or participate in our Sunday morning chat, where I will answer all of your remaining lineup questions. Best of luck to all this week!
Josh McCown, Bears vs. Cowboys
He’s far better than most folks, including us, ever expected. He will get at least one more start, and that start comes at home vs. a struggling Dallas defense that has been giving up plenty of fantasy points. I know it’s tough starting a journeyman in the playoffs, but if you are jammed with an injury to a guy like Aaron Rodgers, McCown may be the bridge to Rodgers and an appearance in the semifinals next week. Do not be afraid to play McCown.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Dolphins
It’s not a great week for quarterbacks, but Big Ben should give you some solid production in a home matchup against a beatable opponent. The big game is a possibility, but it’s the solid floor that I find most appealing. He’s a good option in any league.
Rivers is a safe option this week. You beat the Giants by throwing the ball, so expect a few scores and solid yardage and perhaps a big game if New York can score enough points to push the San Diego offense for four quarters. Rivers has had some mediocre games but no killers. He should come in somewhere between 16-30 points this week in standard scoring.
Alex Smith, Chiefs at Redskins
He’s been better for fantasy than I ever thought he’d be. It’s pretty amazing when you consider how poor Kansas City’s downfield passing game is. Smith makes plays every week with his feet and his arm, and his receivers get yards after the catch, especially Jamaal Charles. Smith can start for you this week if you need him, and he’ll most likely fare well against a soft Redskins defense.
Curse the schedule-maker! Is there anything worse than having your QB1 playing at San Francisco during wild card week? Here’s the skinny on Wilson: You can play him, but you should also consider other options. Based on what we saw last week when St. Louis played San Francisco, he has a chance, because Kellen Clemens missed a lot of throws — throws that Wilson will not miss. So Wilson can be played, just be realistic with your expectations. If he gets you 20 points in standard leagues, you did well.
|Fantasy Football: Week 11 starts, sits||11.15.13 at 9:28 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 11 starts and sits. It’s a tough week with a lot of bad matchups, but I’ve done my best to find some appealing options for this weekend. If you need some more feedback on players not listed here, hit Rotobahn for our full lineup rankings. And don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast, too. I’ll also be back at WEEI on Sunday at 11 a.m. for our regular chat, so send in those questions.
Nick Foles, Eagles vs. Redskins
Is Michael Vick healthy yet? Will it matter when he is? Foles has been outstanding lately, and I’d be very willing to start him this week against a Washington defense that fails to inspire fear in opponents. He’s a QB1 in Rotobahn’s Week 11 rankings.
Case Keenum, Texans vs. Raiders
This kid can play, and there’s very little reason to doubt him in this plus matchup at home. Expect a few big plays and a solid performance that yields numbers worthy of a start in most formats.
Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Browns
Dalton has played well against Cleveland in the past and he has enough options to work around CB Joe Haden if he’s having a good day against A.J. Green. Dalton should give you solid production that’s good enough to be a QB1 in 12-team leagues.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals at Jaguars
The Jaguars will give him some opportunities, and he’s been solid the last few weeks against stronger opponents. If you need an option this week, Palmer can give you a serviceable start.
|Fantasy Football: Week 9 waiver wire||10.29.13 at 10:18 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 9 waiver wire. I know a lot of you are too busy enjoying the Red Sox to go digging in the fantasy weeds, so it’s probably a good thing (for you) that I’m a Mets fan. In the words of Tommy Callahan, ‘I got spare time.’
We had more injuries in Week 8, and that makes this upcoming week a challenge in terms of putting a team on the field, especially in deeper formats. I’ll do my best to give you ideas and options for all league types and sizes. For those of you playing in large formats, feel free to head over to Rotobahn.com, where I’ll be adding more targets throughout the day as I continue to work through last week’s game tape.
Andy Dalton, Bengals
He’s already taken in 76 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but that leaves enough possibility to mention him. Dalton is on a serious hot streak over the last three games and is a solid QB1 in all leagues based on his production so far. The skill talent around him is simply outstanding. Add him if you can.
Alex Smith, Chiefs
He’s still available in 41 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and you can’t argue with his consistent production. Smith is coming off of his best fantasy week so far in Week 8, and he gets the Bills in Week 9. Add him if you need short- or long-term help at the position, but be wary of his Week 10 bye.
Jake Locker, Titans
He’s past the bye and he’s healthy. Throw in the fact that the Titans have already played the worst part of their schedule and you have a player to own in 12-team formats. He’s also largely available, with a 17 percent ownership rate in Yahoo! leagues.
Terrelle Pryor, Raiders
He got it done in a tough matchup last week. Granted, he got a lot of his points on a single play. Pryor has some solid matchup value in all formats with the Eagles and Giants on the schedule the next two weeks. He is available in 64 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Josh McCown, Bears
He’ll be the man until Jay Cutler comes back. McCown can help you in deeper formats as a Cutler replacement or as bye week help. I thought he looked pretty good in relief against Washington in Week 7 — making some good throws and clean reads. The matchups the next two weeks are at Green Bay and home vs. Detroit. That’s not too bad, and you can get McCown in all but 4 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Geno Smith, Jets
Geno was a ‘sit’ in my Week 8 starts and sits column at WEEI, but he’s a reasonable play this week, at home vs. the Saints. The Jets will need to throw if they are going to compete, and hosting New Orleans is a far easier task than playing the Bengals on the road. Smith can help you in large formats if you’re in a jam, and you can still get him in 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Case Keenum, Texans
Keenum will draw the start this week at home vs. the Colts. He’s a player to add in large formats for sure, because he has a chance to take this gig for the rest of the season if he plays as well as he did in Week 7 at Kansas City. He’s available in 97 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
|Fantasy Football: Week 8 starts, sits||10.25.13 at 11:26 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 8 starts and sits. This is one ugly week, especially if you play in a big league with a weak waiver wire. With all the byes and all the injuries, there are a lot of fantasy GMs looking for answers. This week is more about finding options than eliminating them. For this reason, you’ll see more starts than usual and fewer sits. I’ll also make an effort to get into the lesser-known options. If you need more lineup clarity, go to Rotobahn.com for full Week 8 lineup rankings. We’ve got you covered.
Tom Brady, Patriots vs. Dolphins
I have to say that I am a bit surprised by all the Brady doubters out there. I am sure there are less of them in the Boston area, but there’s more anti-Brady buzz then I have ever heard, and it might be time to use it to your benefit. I’ve made deals for Brady in two leagues this week. In both deals, the owner of the team trading with me thought they were getting a QB upgrade. I gave up Matt Stafford in one deal and Tony Romo in the other. In the Romo deal, I got back Eddie Lacy in addition to Brady, and all I had to throw back was Fred Jackson. I think I’ll end up winning both sides of that deal. In the Stafford deal, I got Matt Forte in addition to Brady, and I threw the guy T.Y. Hilton. I feel even better about that deal. The point is, in typical leagues, you might be able to get Brady below his true value. I expect him to post better numbers over the second half, and I am willing to gamble on it and buy low right now. I also like Brady a lot as a starter this week. He’s a QB1 in any league size.
He has some risk because of the re-injury factor. Hamstring recoveries always carry that risk. Still, this is a very nice home matchup, and it’s a big game for the Eagles and for Vick, who wants to re-stake his claim to the starter’s job. He’ll do what it takes to get the job done, and he’ll make some big plays to DeSean Jackson. He’s a QB1 in 12-team leagues.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins at Patriots
Beggars can’t be too choosy this week, and though he may not be sexy, Tannehill will keep your team in the game. They let him throw the ball a lot, and we project them to be chasing the Patriots on the scoreboard, which means they should be throwing all game. Tannehill may not have a stellar day, but he should get you decent fantasy numbers.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals vs. Falcons
He’s had a tough time this year, but it’s not all his fault. The Cardinals have serious issues on the offensive line, and it probably will be some time in 2014 before coach Bruce Arians gets this offense where he really wants it to be. That said, Palmer has a solid matchup this week against an Atlanta defense that has been fantasy-friendly so far in 2013. He can help you if you are in a jam.
Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Browns
Smith lacks upside this week and on most weeks. However, he does provide a nice floor, because the Chiefs offense has been consistent and he gets enough balls to the backs and with his feet to cobble together decent fantasy output. He can help you this week if you need a QB. He’s nothing sexy and a big game is unlikely, but he’ll be solid.
Terrelle Pryor, Raiders vs. Steelers
He lacks his typical upside, because the Steelers are disciplined on defense and cut down on big plays. That being said, Pryor is dynamic and he makes things happen one way or the other. He won’t run all over the Steelers like he might on some teams, and his receivers will have trouble getting behind the defense, but they will make their share of plays. Pryor is a viable option in 12-team leagues.
|Fantasy Football: Week 6 starts, sits||10.11.13 at 9:08 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 6 starts and sits. I’ve tried to vary the level of options to give people in all league sizes something to chew on. If you are looking for more comprehensive rankings, go to Rotobahn.com, where we rank them all every week and update the rankings every weekend. Jim Hackett and I will be doing our weekly podcast later Friday and we’ll cover these starts and sits in depth. Check it out. You can find it in our audio on demand area. I’ll also be back Sunday, as usual, to answer all of your lineup questions in our Sunday morning chat sponsored by our friends at Mohegan Sun.
Andy Dalton, Bengals at Bills
There are better options out there, obviously, but Dalton should do well this week against a Bills squad that is beat up on the back end. He’s got weapons all around him and a solid ground game to work off of.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Jets
The Steelers are looking better than they did a few weeks back and they get a Jets team that may be down a few cornerbacks. This bodes well for Big Ben and his receivers. He’s a good play in most formats.
Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Raiders
If you are looking for help this week, Smith can step in for you. A big game may not be in the cards, but a solid effort seems to be something you can count on from Smith and Andy Reid‘s offense.
Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Packers
There will be plenty of points in this game, and Flacco will need to attack the Pack downfield. Ray Rice‘s major contributions likely will be in the passing game, and that helps Flacco. He’s a decent play if you are in need.
Matt Schaub, Texans vs. Rams
He’s risky, as he could have a short leash this week in a home game in front of potentially hostile fans. He’s playable if you are stuck with him, but this is definitely a week to consider other options. Schaub may not get a chance to finish if he starts poorly.
It’s a bad matchup, and Palmer has really been struggling lately. He may post some garbage-time numbers, but the 49ers usually are pretty good at playing hard for 60 minutes. I’d avoid Palmer this week. This offense has a lot of upside, but this is not the week to roll the dice with it.
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