|Fantasy Football: Week 12 starts, sits||11.27.15 at 12:45 pm ET|
I’m taking some deep shots today in hopes of helping those in need, so you’ll want to be careful with how you use these recommendations. As I said last week, it’s a good idea to cross-reference these ideas against my full lineup rankings that are up at Rotobahn and will be fully updated Saturday afternoon.
As always, I will be here Sunday at 11 a.m. for our weekly chat. Bring your lineup questions and I’ll do my best to help. And don’t forget to tune in to the Fantasy Football Hour this Sunday at 8 a.m. when Jim Hackett and I will discuss trending Week 12 topics and crucial game day information.
Brian Hoyer, Texans vs. Saints
The matchup is syrupy sweet, and he has enough healthy weapons to take advantage of it. DeAndre Hopkins has taken his game to another level, and the Saints simply do not play there. Cecil Shorts is healthy, and so is deep threat Nate Washington. The table is set here, so use Hoyer if you are looking to stream a quarterback in Week 12.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins at Jets
The Jets are banged up on defense and the injuries are to their crucial players, like Darrelle Revis and Sheldon Richardson. I’d be all-in on Tannehill, but he may be without his security blanket, Jarvis Landry. Still, if this was a chess match, the Jets are down a queen and a bishop while Tannehill loses a knight. He has a good chance to post QB1-type numbers.
Josh McCown, Browns vs. Ravens
Baltimore has been hit by an injury tsunami, and you have to wonder what that team has in the tank right now. Matt Schaub inspires no one at this stage of his career. The Browns should be able to do some things throwing the ball, and at the end of the day McCown should have serviceable numbers, and he has the potential for a plus performance if things break right. He’s a guy you can probably get, too.
|Wednesday morning NFL free agent/trade roundup: Ryan Fitzpatrick reportedly set to become next Jets QB||03.11.15 at 11:40 am ET|
The NFL new league year got started with a bang on Tuesday with a number of big trades and free agent signings. Things continued on Wednesday morning with more moves being made across the league.
Here’s a quick roundup of the moves made late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning:
— According to Pro Football Talk, it is expected the Texans will sign quarterback Brian Hoyer. Once that happens they are expected to trade Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Jets, making him New York’s next quarterback. Fitzpatrick is in his 11th year in the league, most recently playing for Houston last year, playing in 12 games. He threw 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
[UPDATE, 12:10: ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the trade is a go with the Jets and New York will send a late-round pick back to Houston.]
— Jacksonville signed tight end Julius Thomas. Thomas spent last season in Denver, but signed a five-year, $46 million deal to move to North Florida.
— The Jaguars also announced they have signed Jared Odrick, formally of the Dolphins. Odrick is a quality pass rusher, a former first round pick.
— Running back Frank Gore has officially signed with the Colts, after deciding to back out of an agreement to sign with the Eagles. It is a $12 million deal over three years, according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus.
— San Francisco will cut wide receiver Stevie Johnson, according to The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson.
— According to Fox Sports 1’s Mike Garafalo, former Chargers running back Ryan Matthews is expected to sign with the Eagles.
For more Patriots/NFL free agent news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|3 Patriots-related thoughts as clock ticks down to official start of free agency||03.09.15 at 1:50 pm ET|
The free agent running back market is expected to receive a bit of a jolt with the news that LeSean McCoy and the Bills have set on a five-year deal with $40 million with $26.5 guaranteed. (In addition, any deal free agent running back DeMarco Murray receives should also be in that same range.) Those will undoubtedly impact the Patriots and any plans they may have for Shane Vereen. While Vereen won’t be in that neighborhood, McCoy’s deal could be a sign that the market for third-down backs like Vereen could be better than it has been in recent years.
For the Patriots, the idea of facing Ndamukong Suh twice a year certainly isn’t appealing, especially when he’s paired up with two excellent edge rushers in the likes of Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon. Suh is one of the most complete young defensive tackles in the league, as he’s managed to build a resume not just as a run stopper but as an interior pass rushing presence as well. But at the same time, New England has always found a way to neutralize Suh — in two career regular-season games against the Patriots, he is 0-2 with one sack and seven tackles. Ultimately, in a division that was already full of really good young defensive fronts, this creates an even greater priority for New England when it comes to protecting quarterback Tom Brady. Several mock drafts have already marked the Patriots as needing an interior offensive lineman in the draft, and Miami’s pickup of Suh likely adds to that need.
Tom Brady‘s backups continue to find work, as it was reported Monday that Brian Hoyer appears to be on the move to Houston to join the man who supplanted him in the No. 2 role in New England back in 2011, Ryan Mallett. (Mallett reportedly agreed on Monday to a two-year, $7 million deal to stay in Houston.) Meanwhile, it’s expected that Hoyer’s move will be made official when free agency officially begins on Tuesday, although ESPN reported Monday that Hoyer will get an offer from the Jets. Including Matt Cassel (who signed with the Bills), the Patriots could face former QBs in as many as three games in 2015.
|How have Patriots played it in past when they’ve wrapped up top seed before last week of regular season?||12.23.14 at 1:02 am ET|
With the Patriots’ win over the Jets on Sunday and the Broncos’ loss to the Bengals Monday night, New England clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs for the fifth time under head coach Bill Belichick. Previously, they held the top spot in the conference entering the playoffs in 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2011.
However, this year will mark the first time since 2010 where New England will have wrapped everything up before the last week of the regular-season. How have Belichick and the Patriots utilized their personnel in years’ past when they’ve been locked into the top spot entering the last week? With the understanding that every year is different and playing time will be dictated by a variety of things, history says the starters will likely get the call early, but expect the Patriots to give backups and other youngsters some time as well as the afternoon continues. Here’s a year-by-year look at what has happened.
— In 2011, the Patriots clinched the No. 1 seed in the regular-season finale with a 41-23 win over the Bills.
— In 2010, the Patriots clinched in Week 16 with a 34-3 win over the Bills in Buffalo on Dec. 26. In the regular-season finale the following week against the Dolphins in Foxboro, New England started the regulars, but yanked many after about a half. Quarterback Tom Brady actually left the game briefly in the second quarter for Brian Hoyer, but Brady was re-inserted after a few plays. Ultimately, Brady gave way to Hoyer for good with 10:15 left in the third quarter and the Patriots holding a 31-0 lead. New England ended up winning in a runaway, 38-7, as Brady went 10-for-16 for 199 yards and two touchdowns, while Hoyer ended up 7-for-13 for 122 yards and a touchdown.
One thing that certainly stood out about that game was the fact that the Patriots were really trying to help BenJarvus Green-Ellis to the 1,000-yard rushing mark on the season. Green-Ellis ended up hitting the plateau in the second half (he ended with 1,008 yards), and was removed from the game after reaching the mark. That’s certainly something that could come into play for a variety of starters on Sunday who might be nearing personal records or other meaningful statistical milestones.
— In 2007, New England clinched home field earlier than ever under Belichick with a 20-10 win over the Jets in a cold, wet rain at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 23. However, the Patriots kept their foot on the gas for the duration of the regular-season, as they were chasing a 16-0 record. Accordingly, New England played its regulars for the bulk of the last two regular-season contests, wins over the Dolphins (28-7 at home) and Giants (38-35 in North Jersey).
— In 2003, New England clinched home-field advantage with a 31-0 win over the Bills in the regular-season finale at Gillette Stadium.
|Fantasy Football: Week 13 starts, sits||11.28.14 at 10:14 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 13 starts and sits! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, and I really hope that none of you started Tony Romo. It’s money time for a lot of us, and I have some suggestions below as I always do. Full Week 13 lineup rankings have been posted at Rotobahn. So, if you want my take on players not listed here, check them out.
Don’t forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett. If you have last-minute lineup concerns, you should check out my Sunday chat. It takes place right here at WEEI.com and it runs from 11 a.m. to noon every Sunday.
If you want to keep track of all my fantasy football content, both here and at Rotobahn, follow me on Twitter. I send out links to all fresh content.
This is not a hard call. The Giants may be out of it, but they still are trying to get their new offense perfected, and the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. has breathed some life into things. I expect starting-caliber numbers from Manning in Week 13.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins at Jets
I still have some trust issues with Tannehill, but he has a lot going for him in this game. The Jets defense may not be awful, but you clearly throw to beat them. That will help Tannehill, as will his improved cast of receivers, led by rookie Jarvis Landry, who has given him the go-to option he’s lacked since taking over the job back in 2012. The Jets also will be susceptible to deep threat Mike Wallace, as they have issues on the back end. I see fantasy success for Tannehill on Monday night.
Zach Mettenberger, Titans at Texans
He’s not an option to consider for most of you. Having said that, if you need help in a deep format, Mettenberger has proven worthy of consideration. He’s an interesting case in that his college skill talent was better than his NFL skill talent. The rookie played at LSU and his outside weapons were Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. He also had Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue in his backfield. Not bad, right? The plus in this is that Mettenberger has a natural inclination to trust his receivers, and that’s probably rooted in playing with Beckham and Landry — who both make ridiculous catches with stunning regularity. The point of my long-winded explanation is that Mettenberger has a weapon in Justin Hunter, and the key to unlocking him is trust, because he’s a receiver who is never really covered due to his size advantage and leaping ability. This is a quarterback-receiver relationship that could go either way over the long haul, but if things click, they could click in a major way. This is a connection to watch over the rest of 2014, and Mettenberger is a player to consider in 14-team leagues.
|Tom Brady sends good wishes to former backups Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer via Facebook||11.13.14 at 1:48 pm ET|
|Tom Brady thinks Brian Hoyer against Ryan Mallett is ‘pretty cool’||11.12.14 at 11:20 am ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady can’t wait to see his last two back-ups square off against each other.
Brian Hoyer will lead his 6-3 Cleveland Browns into battle against the 4-5 Houston Texans Sunday in Cleveland. The Texans starting quarterback will be Ryan Mallett, getting his first career NFL start.
Hoyer has his team all alone in first place in the AFC North while head coach Bill O’Brien decided to make a change, giving Mallett the chance after Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled heading into last week’s bye.
“It’s pretty cool,” Brady said. “It speaks to their work ethic and I think what they’ve been able to accomplish. They’ve both overcome quite a bit in their career, so it will be fun to see. We play at 8 o’clock, so I’m sure a lot of guys from our team will be paying attention.”
Of course, Brady will have some extra time to pay attention Sunday afternoon if he’s not napping. The Browns and Texans play at 1 p.m. in Cleveland while the Patriots don’t kick off in Indianapolis until 8:30 p.m.
Brady has already faced another former back-up this season head-to-head, when the Patriots beat Matt Cassel and the Vikings, 30-7, in Week 2.
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