|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.
Michael Vick, Eagles vs. Giants
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.
|Report: NFL fines Logan Ryan $10,000 for grabbing himself||10.24.13 at 11:07 am ET|
FOXBORO — The move by rookie Logan Ryan to grab himself in mid-air as he was falling into the end zone on his first career interception will cost him, according to a report from Pro Football Talk.
The website, quoting a league source, says the rookie will be fined $10,000 for the on-field gesture as he ended his pick-6 of Geno Smith.
Ryan, a third-round pick out of Rutgers, has been seeing more playing time with the hip injury to Aqib Talib. Last week, he played corner in nickel situations and his read of the Smith pass resulted in a 79-yard interception return in the first quarter that gave the Patriots a 14-7 lead.
The move by Ryan is not unique in NFL circles. Marshawn Lynch grabbed himself and fell into the end zone in the 2010 playoffs after he steamrolled Darren Sharper.
Per league source, Pats CB Logan Ryan has been fined $10,000 for his mid-air crotch grab while scoring a touchdown against the Jets.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 24, 2013
|Papa Geno: Jets rookie QB accomplishes rare feat against Bill Belichick defense||10.21.13 at 10:39 am ET|
Geno Smith did something Sunday that no other quarterback has done against the Patriots over the last five seasons.
Rookie quarterbacks are now 4-7 in their last 11 starts against Bill Belichick, but in that span, Smith is the only signal-caller to win his second game against the Patriots in his rookie season. Previously, Belichick had gotten the better of the first-year players, beating the likes of Ryan Tannehill and Mark Sanchez the second time he faced them when they were rookies. (Dating back to 2004, Belichick also managed to best Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlsberger in the AFC title game after the then-rookie beat the Patriots in the regular season.)
“He played well enough to win today,” Belichick said after the game when asked about Smith. “We’ll leave it at that.”
Here’s a look at what the rookies have done against the Patriots in their first season in the league.
2013: EJ Manuel (L): 18-for-27, 150 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Geno Smith (L): 15-for-35, 214 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, sacked four times
Geno Smith (W): 17-for-33, 233 yards, 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD, sacked four times
2012: Russell Wilson (W): 16-for-27, 293 yards, 3 TD, sacked twice
Andrew Luck (L): 27-for-50, 334 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, sacked once
Ryan Tannehill (L): 13-for-29, 186 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, sacked three times
Ryan Tannehill (L): 20-for-35, 235 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, sacked seven times
2010: Colt McCoy (W): 14-for-19, 174 yards, TD
2009: Mark Sanchez (W): 14-for-22, 163 yards, TD
Sanchez (L): 8-for-21, 136 yards, TD, 4 INT, sacked two times
Josh Freeman* (L): 2-for-4, 16 yards, sacked two times
* Freeman replaced ineffective Josh Johnson midway through fourth quarter
Smith followed the blueprint set down by the rookies who beat the Patriots the first time around:
• He wasn’t statistically overwhelming but managed (with one exception) to stay away from turnovers. Smith was a relatively pedestrian 17-for-33 for 233 yards, with one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. The one pick he threw was relatively early and returned for a touchdown, his worst error of the day. But all in all, he did an excellent job managing the game, moving the chains nicely (the Jets were 11-for-21 on third down) and keeping his team in positive-yardage situations. (His pick marked the first time a rookie quarterback threw an interception against Belichick and managed to come out of the game with a win.)
• He was smart enough to put the ball in the hands of his playmakers. Wide receivers Jeremy Kerley (eight catches on 10 targets for 97 yards and a touchdown) and David Nelson (four catches on seven targets for 80 yards) and running back Chris Ivory (a whopping 34 carries for 104 yards) did the bulk of the work for Smith. Ivory’s performance marked the first time all season that an opposing running back topped 100 yards.
• He had the good fortune to be playing at home. No rookie quarterback — in his first or second start in his initial year in the league — has ever beaten Belichick in Foxboro over the last decade. From Smith to Wilson (2012) to McCoy (2010) to Sanchez (2009) to Roethlisberger (2004), all were away from Foxboro when they beat Belichick and the Patriots.
• And while the point total may cause folks to disagree, he did get a very good situational performance out of his defense. The Jets held the Patriots to 1-for-12 on third down, Brady failed to complete at least 50 percent of his passes for the second time in three games, New England was held under 100 yards on the ground, and the Patriots were held without a touchdown for the last 35 minutes of the game.
|Fantasy Football: Week 7 starts, sits||10.18.13 at 10:37 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 7 starts and sits. I’ll be back later today with Jim Hackett for the Fantasy Football Podcast. Check it out in our audio on demand section. For those of you looking for further lineup clarity, feel free to head over to Rotobahn, where we do full weekly positional rankings and update them every Saturday. And, don’t forget to join me here at WEEI on Sunday mornings for our weekly chat for all of your lineup questions.
Jay Cutler, Bears at Redskins
Cutler is becoming a weekly play, and his offense is supporting him well. The pass protection is the key, but so is the play of his receivers. With Alshon Jeffery stepping up and with the excellent play of new tight end Martellus Bennett, the Bears offense has more than just Brandon Marshall. Cutler should do well this weekend in Washington.
Nick Foles, Eagles vs. Cowboys
He may or may not have the starting gig for the remainder of the season, but he is a very strong play at home vs. Dallas. The Cowboys are giving up consistent fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
Eli Manning, Giants vs. Vikings
Yes, I know. The idea of playing Eli Manning right now is unsettling. I get it. The thing is, he should do very well at home vs. a Vikings team that has been a get-well matchup for passers all year, including Cam Newton in Week 6. Manning may not be a QB1 in 12-team leagues this week, but he’s a solid option if you are looking for answers. He’s going to have a lot of open receivers.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins vs. Bills
He’s a playable option in 12-team leagues if you are looking for an option. The Bills should be a bit better vs. the pass this week as they are finally getting healthy on the back end, but Miami throws the ball getting off the team bus, so you’ll have volume on your side. Make Miami’s refusal to run the ball work for you.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Ravens
If you are in need this week, Big Ben makes a serviceable option, even in a tough matchup. Roethlisberger’s teammates have taken their games up a notch and the Steelers have welcomed back both tight end Heath Miller and starting tailback Le’Veon Bell. That has helped out a lot.
Geno Smith, Jets vs. Patriots
Smith has shown to have some moxie and some fantasy upside when the matchup is right. That being said, I don’t think the matchup is good enough to bet on this weekend. The Patriots have injury issues on defense, but it’s going to set up more opportunities on the ground than through the air.
Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Texans
Smith is a system guy and he’s doing a nice job, but he is unlikely to post the kind of fantasy numbers that will help your team, especially against a stingy pass defense like the Texans.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 6: Patriots plummet to No. 9||10.08.13 at 1:04 pm ET|
The Broncos steamroll their way to the No. 1 spot after another dominant performance from Peyton Manning and the offense. John Elway‘s undefeated team has looked unstoppable and is a lock for the top spot again next week as the No. 32 Jaguars travel to Denver in Week 6.
Only three undefeated teams remain. The Saints (2) and Chiefs (8) both missed the playoffs last year but look primed to return after starting 5-0. Meanwhile, the Jaguars (32) and Giants (30) continue to search for a win. The two teams have a combined 31 turnovers.
Upsets were the theme in Week 5. The Seahawks (3), Patriots (9) and Falcons (20) all drop in the rankings after losing games in which they were favored. There could be more shakeup looming with the Packers (7) traveling to Baltimore (11) and the undefeated Saints heading to New England this Sunday.
1. (2) Broncos (5-0) — Not much more can be said about the Broncos offense. It’s not too early to start talking about an undefeated season. Unless you put up at least 40 points, you’re not beating Denver. The 46 points-per-game average is 16 points higher than the second-place Cowboys.
2. (3) Saints (5-0) – Drew Brees threw a career-high 19 interceptions last year. The Saints defense was historically bad. This is a completely different team. New Orleans is winning close games, protecting the football and playing great defense.
3. (1) Seahawks (4-1) — The Seahawks went 2-for-12 on third down Sunday against the Colts. There’s no reason for major panic in Seattle, however, as injured starting tight end Zach Miller should be ready to go next week and Percy Harvin‘s return is on the horizon. That will dramatically help the offense.
4. (4) 49ers (3-2) — Protect the football, dominate defensively and pound the ground game. That’s been the Niners’ formula for success the last couple of years. Not many teams can win a game when the starting quarterback completes just six passes.
|Around the AFC East: Dolphins, Bills pull off narrow victories||09.15.13 at 5:12 pm ET|
With the Patriots having Sunday off, it gave us a chance to check out what’s going on in the rest of the AFC East. Here’s a quick look at what happened in the rest of the division over the weekend:
Dolphins (2-0): Miami won a highly entertaining contest Sunday against the Colts and Andrew Luck, coming away with a 24-20 victory to stay unbeaten on the year. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 23-for-34 for 319 yards and one touchdown to give Indy its first home loss in 12 months. Miami, which is 2-0 for just the second time since 2004, saw Mike Wallace (nine catches, 115 yards) and Charles Clay (five catches, 109 yards) go over 100 yards receiving. The Dolphins needed the firepower, as Luck had the Colts in position to pull off another comeback win — he had the ball at the Miami 23-yard line with 1:45 left, but tossed three incompletes and was sacked on fourth down to finish things.
Next up: Sunday, Sept. 22 vs. Falcons
Jets (1-1): Like the Patriots, New York also had the weekend off, but managed to make its share of headlines with the decision to place quarterback Mark Sanchez on injured reserve with a designation to return. While coach Rex Ryan said he believed Sanchez could contribute later in the season, the move means that Sanchez will be on the shelf for the next eight weeks. (The earliest Sanchez could be back is Nov. 17 at Buffalo, following the Jets’ bye week.) That means that for the foreseeable future, the quarterback job belongs to rookie Geno Smith, who was a bit of a mixed bag in Thursday’s loss to the Patriots. The West Virginia product was 15-for-35 for 214 yards, and was sacked four times and intercepted three times.
Next up: Sunday, Sept. 22 vs. Bills
Bills (1-1): Buffalo got its first win of the season on Sunday with a dramatic 24-23 victory over the Panthers, thanks in large part to rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, who connected with wide receiver Stevie Johnson on a 2-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left to lift the Bills. Manuel engineered a game-winning drive late in the fourth, a nine-play, 80-yard series where he went 6-for-8 for 51 yards. (He ended the game 27-for-39 for 296 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.) Manuel got some help down the stretch when Carolina (and former Boston College) linebacker Luke Kuechly was penalized for pass interference on a third down play with less than a minute to go to help keep Buffalo alive.
Next up: Sunday, Sept. 22 at Jets
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