|Fantasy Football: Week 15 starts, sits||12.14.12 at 9:25 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 15 starts and sits. It’s semifinals week in most fantasy football leagues, so all decisions have major consequences. As always, I have done my best to list players that are on the edge of lineups in 12-team leagues. I’m sure I didn’t get to every player you have questions about. And, toward that end, feel free to consult our full lineup rankings at Rotobahn.com. I’ll also be here on Sunday morning for another chat and hopefully it will be as active as it was last week.
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers at Saints
Freeman has come back to earth from a fantasy perspective. Though he’s hasn’t fallen apart, he’s only had one-plus game in the last five weeks for fantasy purposes. The Saints defense was playing with urgency and adrenaline in recent weeks, but now that New Orleans effectively is finished, I expect that enthusiasm to wane. Freeman has a good chance to succeed and is a solid start in 12-team leagues.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Cowboys
He showed last week that he is capable of posting solid numbers, and we think the Cowboys secondary can be had right now. If you need him, Big Ben is a quality option in 12-team leagues and a viable one in smaller leagues, too.
Matt Schaub, Texans vs. Colts
After last week’s debacle at Foxboro, we expect Schaub to bounce back. We also expect the Texans to do what they can to avoid overusing Arian Foster, who is racking up immense carry and touch totals in 2012. Schaub should do well in Week 15 and he can start for you in 12-team leagues as a QB1 if you need him.
Jay Cutler, Bears vs. Packers
If all you want is some upside, then Cutler might be an answer, but if you want to avoid risk, then you should stay away from Chicago’s quarterback in Week 15. He struggled against the Packers in Week 2, but the bigger reason is that the guy is just too banged up to count on. In 2012 Cutler has battled concussion symptoms, knee issues and a neck injury. The two latter problems are fresh and could affect him this week. Based on Rotobahn’s current rankings, you have 18 more palatable options. Consider using one if you can.
Jake Locker, Titans vs. Jets
As with Cutler, if all you want is a guy who might post a good number, you could go with Locker, but we’re worried about his downside. Rex Ryan defenses cause confusion, and the young quarterback already has serious issues with accuracy. We’d avoid Locker this week.
The stakes simply are too high.
|Boomer Esiason on D&C: Patriots best team in AFC||12.03.12 at 9:43 am ET|
CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan and talked about the Patriots’ victory over the Dolphins, the AFC playoff picture, the Jets’ quarterback situation and more news from around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Patriots defeated the Dolphins 23-16 and clinched the AFC East title. Although the victory wasn’t the most overwhelming, like the past two games, Esiason said coach Bill Belichick likely was happy with another win.
“I would say that if I were a fan of the Patriots I would be happy about my defense getting some headlines, especially late in the season like this,” Esiason said. “Because you know this offense is going to put up points. … As Bill Belichick will tell you, and as any coach will tell you, even Rex Ryan would say it this morning, ‘I don’t care how we win, I don’t care what it looks like, just give me one more point than the other team just so I can at least breathe a little bit easier when I wake up this morning.’ ”
The Patriots are on the heels of the Texans and play them next Monday night. Esiason said that if the Patriots can pull out a win over the Texans next week, they put themselves in a position to capture the No. 1 seed.
“If they can beat the Texans, go on to win the rest of their games, and the Texans somehow slip up against the Colts because they have to play them twice in the last three weeks, now all of a sudden you have a tied record, and by virtue of the fact that the Patriots beat the Texans on Monday night next week, they could be the No. 1 seed, which is really amazing when you think of all the stuff we’ve been through thus far to this point,” Esiason said.
In Sunday’s game, the Patriots rushed for 11 yards on seven carries in the first half. But in the fourth quarter, they turned it on when they needed. The Pats embarked on a drive of 77 yards that took 16 plays, 12 of which were runs, for a field goal that gave them a two-possession lead. Despite the loss, Esiason said the Dolphins defense played well.
“I give the Dolphins a lot of credit,” Esiason said. “They played a tough game last week against Seattle. A lot of people, including myself, thought that they would probably lose that game, but somehow they figure out a way to win. Now, all of a sudden, they come into this game knowing that they’re playing one of the best teams in football. They have to raise their level of play, they have to raise their focus during the week to get ready to go against Tom Brady. It’s a great challenge. … For the most part, I thought the Dolphins defense supported themselves very well yesterday.
“Ultimately, what’s going to happen, the best team is going to come out and they’re going to come out and they’re going to win nine times out of 10. And put these two franchises on the field and that best team is always going to be New England, and the reason that it’s going to be that way is because of the quarterback that’s behind center for them.”
After Sunday’s games, there are three AFC teams at 9-3: the Patriots, Ravens and Broncos. Esiason said he would rank the Patriots first among those teams, but cautioned that the return of Ben Roethlisberger could give the Steelers an edge.
“I thought about three weeks ago that it would be the Broncos and the Texans that would be heading to the AFC championship game, now I’m not so sure,” Esiason said. “Simply because, injuries start to take hold. The Texans lost two linebackers who are two of their most important players. And their quarterback in Matt Schaub is not as good as what’s going on in Denver and certainly with the Patriots. … If Pittsburgh can get Ben Roethlisberger back and that defense can play like it has for the past three weeks, now all of a sudden you have to put them in the mix. In my estimation, how I would rank them would probably be: Patriots, Texans, Broncos, Steelers, in that order. I think the Ravens are a little bit outside of that, simply because their defense is probably the worst of the four.”
|Boomer Esiason on D&C: Aqib Talib ‘definitely a very different sort’||11.05.12 at 9:50 am ET|
CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan and recapped Week 9 in the NFL, touching on the Colts, the Falcons, the Buccaneers, Peyton Manning and more news from around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Patriots traded for suspended Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib last week, and Esiason said it’s up to the team to convince him to heed the Patriot Way.
“If he stays out of trouble, he will [be successful],” Esiason said. “I know what they’re banking on here. They’re banking on the locker room, they’re banking on the organization. … This Aqib Talib kid is definitely a very different sort, very, very different. Hopefully up in Foxboro, he’s not going to get himself in trouble. This is what you call rolling the dice.”
The Colts posted a 23-20 victory over the Dolphins on Sunday behind Andrew Luck’s rookie-record 433-yard game. Esiason said the way ailing coach Chuck Pagano addressed the team following the game in the locker room was very impressive.
“The Andrew Luck-Chuck Pagano show was something special,” Esiason said. “I picked Miami to win the game yesterday. … Andrew Luck doing what he did, throwing for as many yards as he did, setting a rookie record in a single game and then tying Peyton Manning for most 300-yard games in a season at the number four. How lucky are the Indianapolis Colts fans to be able to go from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck. Hopefully a career of greatness that we’ll see there.
“The Chuck Pagano thing, for anybody who knows anybody whose ever dealt with cancer, to see him in the locker room after that game to talk about his daughter’s weddings and things of that nature, just gave me chills. So I would say that was really impressive.”
Eli Manning had a tough game on Sunday, throwing for just 125 yards with an interception in the Giants’ 24-20 loss to the Steelers.
“I thought the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to beat the New York Giants, because the Steelers now, whether you love them or hate them, these are the Steelers that we know and love or hate,” Esiason said. “They’re coming back defensively. Big Ben [Roethlisberger] is doing exactly what he does in games in which they win — he extends plays and makes throws and stands in there in the face of the pass rush. He’s as brave as any quarterback in football and he showed that yesterday.
“And the Giants, Eli Manning hasn’t played that well the last couple weeks. They won a game in Dallas, they won a game at home against [Robert Griffin III], but when you take a look at the stats and you see the yards that opposing offenses are putting up against that defense, it wasn’t shocking to me that the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Giants yesterday.”
|Fantasy Football: Week 7 starts, sits||10.19.12 at 10:53 am ET|
Welcome to Rotobahn’s Week 7 starts and sits. There are plenty of quality options on a bye this week, so feel free to go to Rotobahn and use our full lineup rankings. They can be helpful if you don’t see your key lineup choices highlighted here. As usual, we’ve done our best to avoid the obvious choices and to talk about players that are on the fringe of lineups in 12-team leagues. Good luck to all in Week 7!
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Bengals
He’s a matchup play for a lot of owners since he was a such a steal in the mid- to late rounds on draft day. This is a week to play him for sure. The Steelers will need to throw it a bunch to make up for their banged-up backfield.
Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Steelers
The Steelers are still banged up on defense and we expect the Bengals to throw it early and often. Stud receiver A.J. Green is in the zone right now, so starting his QB is pretty good business. Dalton is a solid play in any format.
Joe Flacco, Ravens at Texans
He’s struggled a bit lately but we like him here. With so many injuries on defense, the offense will be asked to do more. We expect more no-huddle and more shots downfield. The Texans are not as tough on defense as they were a few weeks ago with the loss of Brian Cushing and some struggles in the secondary.
John Skelton, Cardinals at Vikings
He’s the guy and he may be playable at some point, but we’d avoid him here. Minnesota is playing pretty well defensively and Skelton may lack mobility due to a recent ankle injury. You should be able to land a better option on a typical waiver wire.
Mark Sanchez, Jets at Patriots
Sanchez has had his moments, but we don’t expect to see many this week. In fact, it would not shock us if we saw more Tim Tebow than we have seen so far. Even if he is your backup, check our rankings for other alternatives. For example, Matt Hasselbeck is a stronger play and is largely available. There are a lot of really good plays at QB in Week 7. Just avoid the really bad ones like Sanchez and Skelton.
|Catching up with … the Steelers||10.13.12 at 2:40 pm ET|
It’s been some time since the Steelers weren’t players in the AFC playoff picture — with their track record, they should be considered contenders until decisively proven otherwise. That said, the Steelers have some issues, as evidenced by their 26-23 loss to the Titans on Thursday night.
The Titans, as Patriots fans can recall from Week 1, are not a good team and currently have 37-year-old Matt Hasselbeck as their quarterback. Yet, a last second Rib Bironas field goal knocked the Steelers down to 2-3 on the year with losses to the Raiders and Titans … who have collectively beaten one team that is not the Steelers so far this season.
Pittsburgh still has Ben Roethilsberger under center and Dick LeBeau and Mike Tomlin running that defense, which should make up for many of the personnel issues they have. That said, the defense is not getting any younger and they can’t seem to keep a running back on the field, leaving their playoff chances in a state of flux. Here’s what we know about the Steelers:
|Fantasy Football Week 3 starts, sits||09.21.12 at 12:05 pm ET|
Welcome to the Week 3 starts and sits. We’ve highlighted some options that we like and some that we don’t like for the upcoming weekend’s games. If you need deeper analysis, join us at Rotobahn.com and check out our comprehensive lineup rankings. If you want information on late-breaking injury information on game day, follow us on Twitter. Just use the link on our home page. Good luck to all this week!
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Raiders
There was a time when you wouldn’t put Big Ben on a start/sit list, but he’s a fringe QB1 these days. This is a week to play him in any format. The Raiders haven’t stopped much, and the Steelers are fully loaded when it comes to the passing game.
Peyton Manning, Broncos vs. Texans
Yet another guy I’ve never had to put in this kind of column. We aren’t scared off Manning because of last week. He’ll be back home in Denver, so the noise will not be an issue. He’s a solid play if you don’t have an elite option.
Andy Dalton, Bengals at Redskins
He’s got a solid crew at receiver with stud A.J. Green leading the way. He’s also got a nice foundational ground game led by ex-Patriot BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Redskins defense has been giving up numbers so far and we expect a high-scoring game overall, so Dalton has a good chance to be throwing for four quarters.
Matt Cassell, Chiefs at Saints
We have no confidence in Cassel in most situations, but on the road in the dome in New Orleans is certainly not a place we want to play him. You can do better in all formats.
Jake Locker, Titans vs. Lions
Locker needs to prove to me that he can hit a moving target. Heck, he needs to prove to me that he can hit a stationary one. Locker’s been the most inaccurate QB we have seen in the league this year. No way do we play him until he gets straightened out. Getting stud receiver Kenny Britt back should help, but the Titans are not giving Britt a full complement of reps at this point, so leave Locker on the bench in all formats.
|Will Carroll: Rob Gronkowski looking at 4-6 week recovery time after ankle surgery||02.10.12 at 6:06 pm ET|
In the wake of his arthroscopic surgery Friday morning at Massachusetts General Hospital on his injured left ankle, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski should be OK to participate in the majority of offseason workout programs.
Noted sports injury expert Will Carroll of SI.com said there’s reason to believe New England is looking at a 4-6 week recovery time for the big tight end, which should allow him to be ready by mid-April and the start of offseason minicamps.
“He just had it cleaned out, from what I understand,” Carroll said. “I think that the fact they just went in and cleaned it out is a big positive. He’s got plenty of time to get back, even if it had been more serious.”
Gronkowski suffered the injury in the second half of the AFC championship win over the Ravens. He wore a walking boot for much of the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl but clearly was not himself in the Super Bowl against the Giants, catching just two balls for 26 yards in the loss.
Gronkowski, who insisted after the Super Bowl he would not have to have surgery, had his scope done by Patriots ankle specialist Dr. George Theodore, according to Pro Football Talk.
There are several other NFL stars who suffered high-ankle injuries over the course of the 2011 season, including Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Jets center Nick Mangold. Carroll indicated that there’s no real comparable situation when it comes to Gronkowski’s injury and rehab time because of who he is, but indicated that there shouldn’t be any concern when it comes to long-term effects.
“There’s not really a perfect comparison because he’s half tight end and half wide receiver,” he said. “There’s tons of high ankles out there, but they’re not long-term injuries.”
Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal was the first to report the news of the surgery.
2013 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2013 NFL DRAFT
- The Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2012: Number 8
- New England Patriots Links 5/21/13 - Watching for Early Signs of...
- Tedy Bruschi Elected To Patriots Hall Of Fame
- Jason Vega Speaks With the Pulpit
- Rob Gronkowski Undergoes Successful Forearm Surgery
- Patriots Sign WR Mark Harrison, K David Ruffer; Fill Roster
- Brandon Spikes Absent From Patriots OTAs