|Fantasy Football: Week 15 waiver wire||12.10.13 at 10:28 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 15 waiver wire! If you are still reading, then you must have survived the snow last week — and all the injuries. In most leagues, you now are two wins away from glory, and we’re here to help if you have a few holes to fill or if you just want to keep your roster maximized. If you play in a really deep league, check out Rotobahn later today as I will be adding more talent as I continue to work through last week’s game film. I’ll be back later in the week with WEEI’s fantasy football podcast and the starts and sits.
If you need any last-minute lineup help, stop by our Sunday chat, which has been very lively lately. It’s nice to know that so many of our readers are doing well. For those of you in keeper leagues and dynasty formats, you’ll want to check in with us at Rotobahn throughout the offseason, as we will be increasing our offseason content again this year, with scouting reports for the 2014 rookie class and frequent dynasty updates for key veterans. Stop by and check it all out if you’re a fantasy football diehard.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
Tannehill is rolling right now, and with Lamar Miller injured, you have to think he is going to throw the ball a whole lot next week against New England. The Dolphins starter is a good pickup right now in 12-team leagues, and he’s got a good remaining schedule.
- Week 15 – Patriots
- Week 16 – at Bills
Jay Cutler (or Josh McCown), Bears
Cutler has been dropped in a lot of leagues, and he is a decent option if he starts in Week 15. If McCown ends up getting the start, then he is an equally solid play. Rostering both of them is a very sound move in deep leagues.
- Week 15 – at Browns
- Week 16 – at Eagles
Joe Flacco, Ravens
With Dennis Pitta back, the Ravens finally have their intended offensive paradigm in play. They have a diverse backfield and a dependable possession receiver at tight end plus a potent vertical attack. We saw how well that mix can work last year, and, as I said last week, the closing schedule is very playable.
- Week 15 – at Lions
- Week 16 – Patriots
Jason Campbell, Browns
I don’t think I need to explain how good Josh Gordon is to my friends in New England. Campbell throws to Gordon, and the matchups are solid the rest of the way. He can help you in 12-team leagues if you have a problem at quarterback.
- Week 15 – Bears
- Week 16 – at Jets
|Fantasy Football: Week 12 starts, sits||11.22.13 at 10:28 am ET|
Welcome to the starts and sits for Week 12. I’ve done my best to find some options from across the spectrum while avoiding the really obvious stuff. This is the last bye week for the NFL, so things get a lot easier going forward for those whose teams are still in the thick of things. If you require more assistance or clarity, head over to Rotobahn and check out our full lineup rankings. Also, make sure you check out the Fantasy Football Podcast with Jim Hackett sponsored by our friends at Mohegan Sun. And, as always, I’ll be here Sunday morning for our chat to help with your Week 12 lineup decisions.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Browns
He’s gone off in two out of the last three games, and he’s worth a look based on upside alone. He probably will have his best receiver taken away because Cleveland’s Joe Haden is one of the league’s best cornerbacks, but Big Ben has other places he can go with the ball.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals vs. Colts
He’ll have his ups and downs in this weekend’s game because Indy can get a pass rush going sometimes, but he’ll have enough moments throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd to have a solid fantasy outing.
Josh McCown, Bears at Rams
He’s not fun to watch, but like Shaun Hill on the Lions, he gets the job done. Coach Marc Trestman has done his usual magnificent job with his quarterbacks, and you can expect some solid stats in Week 12. The Rams simply cannot match up with the size and athleticism of the Chicago receivers and tight ends. The Rams could get lit up if they fail to rush the passer, which is the strength of their defense. McCown is a solid option in 12-team leagues.
Mike Glennon, Bucs at Lions
This is a deep play. Glennon is a bit risky on the road, but I like the matchup with the Tampa receivers going against the Detroit defensive backs. I also think the Bucs can hold up better than most teams against the Lions’ nasty front four. Glennon can play for you in a 12-team league if you’re in a bind. The same can be said for Scott Tolzien of the Packers and and Case Keenum of the Texans.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins vs. Panthers
He’s got bad protection, broken weapons and a bad Week 1 matchup. He may get some volume stats, but you can do better in most formats. Leave Tannehill on the bench this week if you have other options.
|Fantasy Football: Week 10 starts, sits||11.08.13 at 10:29 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 10 starts and sits. Just to clarify, these are not the top-rated players at their positions this week. Rather, they are players who are on the edge in terms of the weekly value. If you want my top ranked players at every position, go to Rotobahn.com for our full lineup rankings. Jim Hackett and I will back later Friday with our weekly podcast, and please join us for a Sunday morning chat, as I’ll be here at 11 a.m. to answer all of your lineup questions.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Bills
I’m sticking with Big Ben after he came through for me last week. His matchup gets better going from the Patriots at Foxboro to the Bills on his home field. The Steelers also have a full complement of weapons for the first time in a while with the return of WR Markus Wheaton, who we like a lot. Roethlisberger can help in any league this week.
Terrelle Pryor, Raiders at Giants
He’s the fulcrum of the Oakland offense. Nothing happens without him involved. Pryor should be good for a few big plays against the Giants, who have been giving up plays all year. Pryor is a good option, especially in bigger leagues, and he has big-game potential if things break right.
Eli Manning, Giants vs. Raiders
Yes, there’s risk, but if you are hurting for options, he looks like a good start to me this week. The Giants have slowly become functional on offense, and I think the return of tailback Andre Brown will be another boost — giving Manning another way to make plays in passing situations. He can help you in most formats this week.
Jake Locker, Titans vs. Jaguars
He is playing better, and he should perform well in a sweet home matchup this week. His running game has kicked in, and that opens things up downfield. Plus, Locker can get you extra points with his feet. He can help you this week if you need an option in a big league.
|Rob Ninkovich on M&M: Second-half turnaround ‘exactly what we wanted to do’||10.28.13 at 1:18 pm ET|
Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to discuss New England’s 27-17 comeback win over the Dolphins on Sunday.
The Patriots overcame a 17-3 first-half deficit and outscored Miami 24-0 in the second half. New England’s defense perplexed the Ryan Tannehill-led Dolphins attack, as the Patriots recorded six sacks, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal all in the second half.
“The first half was not the type of football we wanted to come out and play. We had a certain game plan that we wanted to go out there and execute, and we didn’t do it,” said Ninkovich, who had one of the sacks and the fumble recovery. “And the second half, it was a little different game, and I think we did a good job of doing exactly what we wanted to do.”
The youth portion of the defense excelled on Sunday. Second-year players Dont’a Hightower (10 tackles, one sack) and Alfonzo Dennard (nine tackles) were first and second on the team in tackles. Another second-year player, Logan Ryan, had a monster day, one week after recording a pick-six. Ryan made five tackles, sacked Tannehill twice and forced a fumble. Rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones made seven stops, with one sack, and a pair of tackles for loss.
Injuries to defensive mainstays Vince Wilfork, Aqib Talib and Jerod Mayo have necessitated elevated play from a number of inexperienced defenders.
“I think the young guys did a great job,” Ninkovich said. “Chris Jones and Joe Vellano, I think they both played very well. … I’m happy how we’re playing, given that there’s been some ups and downs, and guys thrown into some positions that five, six weeks ago they weren’t in.”
|Peter King on M&M: ‘Lot of concern around Miami about their offense’||10.25.13 at 1:30 pm ET|
Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon to talk about the Patriots’ matchup against the Dolphins on Sunday.
After a promising start, the Dolphins have lost three games in a row and head to Gillette Stadium with a 3-3 record.
“They’ve lost three in a row, and it isn’t just the fact they’ve lost, it’s the fact of how they’ve lost,” King said. “Especially because Ryan Tannehill, it’s been a tale of two seasons for him. If he doesn’t straighten out — there’s a lot of thought in Miami that he just isn’t right health-wise. He hasn’t looked like the quarterback in the last couple of weeks that he did early on.
“And they’ve been having some big protection issues. If you saw what Mario Williams did to him late in that game [when the Bills beat the Dolphins this past Sunday]. I think there’s a lot of concern around Miami about their offense.”
King expects the Dolphins to try to establish more of a ground game Sunday in Foxboro.
“They’re going to have to run it this week, because I just don’t see them being able to protect Tannehill,” King said. “You talk about what the Patriots are missing, but still, [the Dolphins] have not shown the ability in this season to block the best pass rushers. I think if you’re Rob Ninkovich, you’re looking at this team right now, if you’re Chandler Jones, you’re looking at this team and say, ‘Boy, people have been able to rush the passer.’ Mario Williams [had] two huge plays in the last seven minutes of the game last week.
“So, to me, I sort of look at them right now and say this is — it’s hard to say ‘must game’ or anything like that — but they’ve got to come out of this offensive funk and play better on offense.”
Looking at league news, King said there’s not much to the report that the Rams expressed interest in Brett Favre, who has been out of the league for two-plus seasons.
“Favre, I can tell you this, since the start of the 2012 season he’s had less than zero interest,” King said. “The biggest reason is he just doesn’t want to get hit anymore. Everybody knows he can still throw it better than a lot of these guys, and I’m sure he could put a game or two together. But I just think it would be a big mistake for anybody to come after him, unless it was an offense he already knew, a quarterback coach he already knew, and they had a chance to contend. But he’s not going to come back anyway. I don’t think it would matter if the 49ers or Seahawks called him.”
|Fantasy Football: Week 8 starts, sits||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.
|Five things you need to know about the Dolphins||10.24.13 at 9:00 am ET|
1. They have a hard time protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill does a good job evading the rush — he’s a former college wide receiver who has pretty good footwork — but he’s still had little luck when it comes to protection. He’s been sacked 26 times through the first six games of the season, and is on pace to absorb 69 sacks over the course of the 2013 season. (To give you some perspective, Tom Brady took a career-high 41 sacks in 2001.) The Dolphins made something of a panic move earlier in the week when they traded for tackle Bryant McKinnie, swinging a deal with the Ravens for the perennial underachiever. The Patriots don’t necessarily have an elite pass rush, but the opportunities should be there for Chandler Jones (a team-leading 6.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hits through the first seven games), as well as fellow defensive end Rob Ninkovich (who leads the team with 20 quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus).
2. As a result of those protection problems, Tannehll has had ball security issues. The quarterback has fumbled the ball away seven times through the first six games of the season, and that, combined with a penchant for some ill-timed interceptions — he has seven, tied for sixth in the league — has led to issues for the Dolphins. The Patriots, who have forced turnovers in 34 consecutive games, will also have opportunities to force takeaways. New England enters the game with a plus-five takeaway ration, good enough to be tied for fourth in the AFC with the Bills.
3. They are below average when it comes to running the ball. New England should be able to breathe relatively easy when it comes to the Miami running game, as the Dolphins do not pose much of a threat when it comes to their ground game. Miami is 25th in the league when it comes to average rushing yards per game with 78.0. (The Dolphins average a relatively respectable 3.9 yards per carry, 16th in the league.) Lamar Miller is perhaps their best back, as he has 59 carries for 254 yards (4.3 ypc) and two touchdowns. A 5-foot-10, 216-pounder, he had a season-high in a Sept. 15 win over the Colts.
4. They have struggled to defend tight ends. The Dolphins have had issues trying to slow down some of the NFL’s best young tight ends at the start of the 2013 season. Jimmy Graham of the Saints lit them up for four catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns in Week 4, while Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron had nine catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 and Indy’s Coby Fleener had four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. In all, they’ve allowed four passing touchdowns to tight ends in six games. That’s bad news when you’re facing someone like Gronkowski, who had eight catches (on 17 targets) for 114 yards in his regular-season debut last week against the Jets.
5. They’re a smart, well-disciplined team when it comes to penalties. The Dolphins have played six games to this point in the season, and they are tied with the Vikings for the league low in penalties assessed with 25, and have been assessed the smallest amount of penalty yardage (212). The Patriots aren’t much worse — they have played one more game than Miami, and are 25th in the league in total penalties (33) and 20th in the league in penalty yardage lost (342).
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