Friday, September 22, 2017
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Fantasy Football Midseason Report

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2014 Midseason Report (Top 4)

Our fantasy league’s regular season is at the halfway point.  There’s been quite the action.  Our reigning champions, the Top Dawgs, are still searching for their first win.  So needless to say, all hopes of a repeat are out the window, down the road, and in the drain.  As for the other nine teams, everyone is still in playoff contention.  Let’s take a look at it all, starting with the top 4.

The remaining six teams will be published in the coming day.


 

The Misfits  (5-1) 501.72 Points

The new kid on the block is leading the way.  Jim’s Misfits are just edging Sons Of Anarchy for 1st place by just 15 points.  His 501.72 points are on a near record breaking pace.  We have had only one team break the 1000 point threshold through a 12 Week Regular Season (GB Gamblers with 1019.1 in 2006).

While Jimmy Graham hasnt been living up to his first round status yet, Demarco Murray and Jordy Nelson have been the leaders here.  Both are the #1 fantasy players at their position and they’ve been consistent week-in and week-out.  Combine that with Tom Brady starting to light it up and the Misfits are becoming a force to believe and feared.

Notables:
Misfits have learned how to win the close ones.  They topped GB Gamblers in Week 2 by 0.91 points.  Then, in Week 4, they won a tight one in a shootout with the Darque Warriors with a score of 106.28 – 104.51.

 


 

 

Sons Of Anarchy  (5-1) 486.88 Points

Sons of Anarchy are quickly trying to shed last years image (Toilet Bowl Chump).  After a great 4-0 start, they are now sitting pretty with a 5-1 record.

Consistency is clearly the key here.  While they haven’t had an insane 1-week explosion yet, every week they are posting very winnable numbers (87.17 75.87 87.15 71.39 80.92 84.38).  Their boyfriend and second round draft pick, Aaron Rodgers, is the clear leader here.  In games started, he is averaging 23 points per game.  This is a good head start for the supporting cast to fill in the rest.  Also, if by chance Rodgers falls to another injury, SOA also owns a very capable fill-in.  Colin Kaepernick is currently the 9th scoring QB in the league.

Questions:
Can Marshawn Lynch’s back hold up all season?  With Reggie Bush having continual knee issues and Sproles having his own injury to overcome, SOA need Lynch continue to be the workhorse down the stretch if they have any chance of overcoming these other top teams.  If that answer is a yes, then Anarchy will be battling late into the season.

 


 

 GBGamblersGB Gamblers (4-2) 481.37 Points

After a disappointing 0-2 start, the Gamblers are wreaking havok and are the proud owners of a 4 game win streak. If this streak continues, they could be in first place any week.  Also, looking back, GB would almost have been 5-1, but they lost that nailbiter to the Misfits by 0.91 in Week 2.

Cam Newton may have been drafted to be this team’s starter (6th Round), but the Gamblers have been utilizing Jay Cutler (10th Round) while Newton gets back to his old self.  Cutler may not be posting insane fantasy numbers, but they are valuably consistent (16.29 when started).  A real driving force for this team has been the play of Randall Cobb and Steve Smith, as they rank the #3 and #4 WRs in the league.  Sprinkle in Matt Forte, the league’s #4 RB, and the Gamblers have studs throughout this team.

Ifs:  The Gamblers have a few weapons that could really ignite this team.  If Eddie Lacy can regain his form of 2013, their RB duo would be FIERCE.  Then, add the possibilities of Josh Gordon and his Week 11 return and this Gambler team could rise to another level.  Stay tuned.

 


 

Jesters

Jesters (4-2) 432.33 Points

So the Jesters know a few things about injuries.  Starting QB, Robert Griffin out.  Number 1 draft pick, Montee Ball, out.  Their 8th round pick, Knowshon Moreno, done for the year.  Ben Tate and Arian Foster have missed their share of games.  Heck, the Bengals tried their best to take out Greg Olsen last week by twisting the crap out of his ankle after the play!

With all of those setbacks though, the Jesters are at a great spot at midseason.  4-2 is certainly no joke.  Julius Thomas has been a key contributer here.  He ranks as the top TE in the league and his positional advantage is very valuable.  Antonio Brown has proven worth of Miami’s Keeper designation.  He is locked into the the #2 WR spot this far into the season.  Though Arian Foster is a continual injury worry, his past 2 weeks performances have been reminiscent of years past.

Can He?  Can the Jesters prove their worth and remain a playoff contender?  Their first four weeks werent the most impressive scores (66.64 61.46 63.95 63.45), but they’ve stepped it up the last 2 weeks with scores of 83.73 and 93.1.  If they want a chance at the title, they are going to need those injury replacements to step it up.


 

Tie Game = Survivor Loss

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A rare occurance happened this week.  …the dreaded tie.  Survivor is all about picking a winner, and as per the rules, a tie is a loss.

NFL.com Game Recap

 

Three people were eliminated  this week with their Bengals pick (tied Panthers 37-37).  Another 2 received their first incorrect pick by this travesty.  The Seahawks were the only other team to disappoint Survivor Pool players this week as 1 player was eliminated and two others received their first miss.

 
17 Perfect15 with one miss19 Eliminated

Lions disappoint Survivor players

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This far, the Lions are the only team to fail our Survivor players in Week 5.  Four people chose Detroit, and with this loss, two of them are now eliminated.   As for the other two, they need to step it up.

Survivor Pool

Survivor Update

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We’re now 4 weeks into our Survivor Pool.  Out of the 51 players that entered, here are the stats:

23 Perfect15 with one miss13 Eliminated

Nearly half the pool is still perfect, but all it takes is one big upset to completely decimate the pool.  ..and that time is certainly nearing.  Choose wisely, and good luck!

survivor_thru4c

Bengals Nail 33 in Week 3

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We’re off to a fast pace here.  Week 3 delivered our second 33 of the season with the Bengals topping the Titans 33-7.  DickM takes the prize and the pot will reset to $33 next week.

Game Recap

Dolphins hit 33

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The Miami Dolphins hit that magic number of 33 today.  Providing that the Monday night games don’t yield another, Rico will take home our first prize of the year.

[iconbox title=”Game Recap” title_align=”left” content_align=”left” align=”left” type=”vector” icon=”momizat-icon-file3″ icon_align_to=”box” size=”32″ icon_bg=”circle” icon_bg_color=”#000000″ icon_bg_hover=”#666666″ icon_bd_color=”#a36025″ icon_animation=”pulse” title_link=”http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2014090705/2014/REG1/patriots@dolphins#tab=recap&menu=gameinfo”]Patriots at Dolphins Recap[/iconbox]

Let the games begin!

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Here we go.  Week 1 is finally upon us.

All pool signups are now closed and player numbers are being tallied.  Good luck to all those competing.

2014 Draft Report

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Now that the draft is in the books, let’s take a quick look at how it all panned out.  Here’s a quick breakdown for each team.

 

[tabs style=”h1″ ]

[tab title=”Midway Monsters” ]

Overview:

MidwayMonster_orange_editIn a competitive league, almost every team has a weakness. It’s almost impossible to build a team that is strong at all three core positions (quarterback, running back and wide receiver). As you probably suspect, we perceive your weakness to be at the quarterback position. Of all the deficiencies to have though, this is usually the easiest one to mask.

Footballguys owner David Dodds even recommends you go into your draft with the goal of landing the top RBs and WRs while waiting to grab QBs late. Value-Based Drafting principles also suggest that teams constructed in this manner end up being strong. But for this team to reach it’s full potential, you might need to have a quick trigger finger at the QB position and stay on the look out for good quarterback help. Last year Nick Foles could be had very cheap in August, but ended up contributing to a lot of fantasy championships. In 2012 it was Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck; in 2011 it was Cam Newton. Quarterbacks like these can be found every year, and that could be the key to your team’s success.

So although this team isn’t perfect (few are), it’s one that should be in the mix with good inseason management.

Players we particularly like on this team include Mike Evans, Philip Rivers, Doug Martin, and Terrance Williams. We have all these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.

Bottom line:

  • With great inseason management, we think you have about a 70 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 55 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 38 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

QB Summary:

We expect Nick Foles to be a solid starter. According to our projections, he’s the #5 QB, so you should be better off than most teams in the starting quarterback slot.

Philip Rivers, who we have rated as the #13 QB, is a nice backup and could conceivably emerge as either a starter for your team or, if Foles plays as expected, some tempting trade bait for teams with quarterback troubles.

Incidentally, Rivers has what we project as a neutral matchup (KC) during Foles’s bye.

A quick note about the same-team Foles/LeSean McCoy duo you’ve got here. Though the effect is probably negligible, this kind of pairing is likely to make your team more (not less) consistent than a comparable-scoring different-team pair.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some of our staffers have Nick Foles as high as #4, which would make him an above average first quarterback. Jeff Pasquino’s take: “I just do not trust Nick Foles this year. Philadelphia is a run first offense, and the Eagles barely threw 500 times in 2013 (508 attempts as a team). Foles’ numbers do not speak towards a pass-happy fantasy producing quarterback, as he topped 30 passing attempts just three times in 10 starts, with just one game with more than 35 attempts. Throw in his ridiculously good touchdown to interception ratio (27 to 2) and only two of his 10 starts with over 300 passing yards and you can begin to see the reasons for my pessimism. Now with his top receiver gone (DeSean Jackson), Foles is much more likely to post more pedestrian fantasy numbers that could have him as more of a fantasy QB2 than a Top 10 starter. ”

 

RB Summary:

Obviously, LeSean McCoy is a great way to anchor any RB group. We’ve got him ranked #3 at the position, and by our reckoning he gives you about a 0.9 point advantage over an average team in the first RB slot.

Doug Martin should serve as a very solid second running back; he’s a likely flex starter. We also see Ray Rice as an above average RB3. We may not love Alfred Blue at fourth RB, but we like the fact that you can hold the Arian Foster owner hostage.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Ray Rice is ranked #12 by some of our writers, which would make him a great third running back and even a legitimate RB2. Matt Waldman reasons, “Rice was a top-five back before last season. The rationale that most have for dropping him is that he’s reached the workload cliff and already fallen off. The cliff isn’t a myth, but when a player reaches it is unknown. Most people relying heavily on stats hate to embrace that unknown and therefore shy away from a player like Rice that represents some risk. Rice had a hip injury last year that limited his athleticism and the Ravens’ line was horrible. This year, Gary Kubiak brings his system to the Ravens and his offense has led the league in the run and the pass at different times as the Texans’ head coach. Rice is in better shape, the line has been upgraded, and the alignments will feature a lot of two-tight end sets. Rice looks good thus far and Bernard Pierce is not the versatile option to take Rice’s job after two starts. Look for Rice to resume his workload by week 3-4 and have an RB1-caliber season. He may not return to top-five production, but I think he’s a lot closer to doing so than many have him pegged because of their fear of cliffs. ”

 

WR Summary:

We see both your starters at receiver as below average. Alshon Jeffery is our #8 ranked receiver, and we have Andre Johnson at #17.

Your bench looks good and should help offset the unexciting starting unit. We love Pierre Garcon as a third receiver — also probably a frequent flex contributor. Mike Evans will also be among the best WR4s in the league. We love Terrance Williams as a fifth receiver.

Again, the same-team aspect of the Garcon/Jordan Reed duo does not concern us.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Alshon Jeffery is ranked #6 by some of our writers, which would make him a fine first receiver. Andy Hicks reasons, “Alshon Jeffrey exploded onto the NFL in 2013 with 2 200 yard games and 3 100 yard games. He is still not the finished product, but should be a strong option for those who miss out on the top tier receivers. Brandon Marshall is the more reliable red zone option, but when Jeffrey is on song he will almost single handedly win your weekly matchups. ”

Andre Johnson is ranked #9 by some of our writers, which would make him a great second receiver and even a legitimate WR1. Mark Wimer reasons, ” Ryan Fitzpatrick has the skills to go off for well in excess of 300 yards passing and multiple passing TDs when he’s in a groove, and Johnson will score big for your fantasy teams during the weeks when Fitzpatrick is hot. Even weeks when Fitzpatrick isn’t so great, Johnson is the clear #1 wideout in Houston and should see sufficient passes to be a quality fantasy receiver on a consistent basis. Even though he was slowed by the hamstring injury during training camp, I think Johnson will make big plays once the games start to count. ”

 

TE Summary:

Jordan Reed is our #6 TE, so he’ll do, but this position may be a sore spot for you this season.

We might suggest adding a bit more depth here.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have Jordan Reed ranked as high as fourth, which would make him an above average first tight end. Heath Cummings defends his high ranking as follows: “The only real question we have about Reed is whether he can avoid another concussion. His athleticism in this offense with the weapons Washington has outside gives him top three potential. That makes him well worth his ADP as long as you grab a solid TE2 late in the draft.”

 

Kicker Summary:

Robbie Gould, our 11th ranked kicker, is below average but probably adequate.

 

Defense Summary:

The Cardinals are probably not a difference-maker at defense, but they should be OK.

[/tab]
[tab title=”Darque Warriors” ]

Overview:

DarqueWarriorsWe think you’re looking good at quarterback and running back, and tight end is a plus for this team as well. Your squad is therefore easy for us to like despite a bit of weakness at the receiver position. But as weaknesses go, this is one is survivable. It’s usually relatively easy to find fill-in guys on a weekly basis until a better player emerges during the season. As long as you stay on top of things inseason, you should be the league favorite or very close to it.

Players we particularly like on this team include Rob Gronkowski, Adrian Peterson, Jeremy Hill, Lamar Miller, Russell Wilson, and Maurice Jones-Drew. We have all these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.

Bottom line:

  • With great inseason management, we think you have about a 90 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 80 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 72 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

In any event, we wish you the best of luck. Here’s hoping all your weeks are like week 13 of 2013:

Eric Decker vs. KC: 174 receiving yards, 4 TD
C.J. Spiller vs. ATL: 157 combined yards, 1 TD
Russell Wilson vs. NO: 310 passing yards, 3 TD
Adrian Peterson vs. CHI: 211 combined yards
LeVeon Bell vs. BAL: 136 combined yards, 1 TD
Rob Gronkowski vs. HOU: 127 receiving yards, 1 TD

 

QB Summary:

We expect Andrew Luck to be a solid starter. According to our projections, he’s the #4 QB, so you should be better off than most teams in the starting quarterback slot.

Russell Wilson, who we have rated as the #11 QB, is a nice backup and could conceivably emerge as either a starter for your team or, if Luck plays as expected, some tempting trade bait for teams with quarterback troubles.

Incidentally, Wilson has what we project as a bad matchup (NYG) during Luck’s bye.

 

RB Summary:

Obviously, Adrian Peterson is a great way to anchor any RB group. We’ve got him ranked #2 at the position, and by our reckoning he gives you about a 1.0 point advantage over an average team in the first RB slot.

LeVeon Bell should serve as a very solid second running back; he’s a likely flex starter. C.J. Spiller is also a very nice RB3 — also probably a frequent flex contributor. Tough to do better than Lamar Miller at RB4. Maurice Jones-Drew is also a very nice RB5. Not only do we like Jeremy Hill as a sixth running back, we love that you stole him from the Giovani Bernard owner.

 

WR Summary:

We see both your starters at receiver as below average. Michael Floyd is our #15 ranked receiver, and we have Mike Wallace at #24.

We see Eric Decker as an average third receiver. DeAndre Hopkins is also a fair-to-middlin’ fourth receiver.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some of our staffers have Michael Floyd as high as #10, which would make him a fine first receiver. Phil Alexander’s take: “WR10 is probably a little high for Floyd, but I didn’t want to understate how convinced I am he will breakout this season. Floyd has the pedigree (number 13 overall pick in 2012), the size/speed combo (6’2”, 220 lbs, 4.4 forty), and big play ability (16.0 YPR, caught all nine of his catchable targets of 20 yards or more last year)to join the ranks of the elite fantasy receivers as soon as this year. Last season, in only his second year in the league, Floyd finished as the WR23. He only needs to stay on his current career trajectory to finish in the neighborhood of 1,200 yards and 10 TDs in 2014. Don’t be afraid to reach.”

Some of our staffers have Mike Wallace as high as #14, which would make him an above average second receiver. Austin Lee’s take: “Wallace was the 25th-best fantasy wide receiver last year. During Wallace’s first season in Miami, he and Ryan Tannehill failed to connect on several big-play opportunities. That connection will be more efficient in 2014 after another year together. With so much viable receiving talent across the league, a couple of big plays can be the difference between a low-end WR3 and a high-end WR2. Wallace will make that leap this season.”

Some of our staffers have Eric Decker as high as #16, which would make him a great third receiver and even a legitimate WR2. Mark Wimer’s take: “The only legitimate target at wide receiver for the Jets will have an astounding number of passes aimed his way during 2014. This is simply a matter of abundant opportunity that will lead to Decker scoring well for his fantasy owners, whoever is under center – it looks like Geno Smith is locked in as the starter at QB, and he’ll look to his top wide receiver early and often this year.”

Some of our staffers have DeAndre Hopkins as high as #32, which would make him an above average fourth receiver. Andy Hicks’s take: “DeAndre Hopkins started the 2013 season just like the Texans, well. After the first 2 games though, just like the Texans, he struggled. New coaches bring new hope and Hopkins has the opportunity for a 2nd season break through. With the underwhelming Ryan Fitzpatrick likely to start and Andre Johnson miffed at the teams direction, Hopkins may struggle again or it could be the making of him. Watch for news regarding his development as 2nd year breakout receivers need opportunity and Hopkins will have plenty of that. ”

 

TE Summary:

As you are well aware, Rob Gronkowski is an elite tight end. We have him ranked second overall at the position. He’s about 2.0 points per game better than an average starting TE in this league.

We might suggest adding a bit more depth here.

 

Kicker Summary:

Blair Walsh, our ninth ranked kicker, is below average but probably adequate.

 

Defense Summary:

The Patriots are probably not a difference-maker at defense, but they should be OK.

[/tab]
[tab title=”GB Gamblers” ]

Overview:

GBGamblersYour receivers are the strongest part of this team. While no team can be expected to be above average at all three core positions (QB/RB/WR), you are in the precarious position of being a bit weak at two of them.

Although you should not be counted out yet, you may need to be active on both the waiver wire and in trades to turn this team into a legitimate contender. The best way to achieve that might be to sacrifice some of your wide receiver strength to gain multiple players than can help your roster now. It’s generally easier finding quarterbacks and wide receivers on the waiver wire than quality running backs.

Keep an eye out for quarterbacks like Nick Foles from last year, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck from 2012, or Cam Newton in 2011. All were available cheap in August, and all contributed to fantasy championship teams. Likewise, running backs like Knowshon Moreno and Zac Stacy could be had dirt cheap at the draft or shortly after. You are likely going to need to land some of this year’s top waiver plays, so pay close attention to increased workloads, targets, injuries, etc.

Players we particularly like on this team include Heath Miller, Mark Ingram, and Justin Tucker. We have all these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.

Bottom line:

  • With great inseason management, we think you have about a 60 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 45 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 24 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

In any event, we wish you the best of luck. Here’s hoping all your weeks are like week 16 of 2008:

DeAngelo Williams vs. NYG: 108 combined yards, 4 TD
Jay Cutler vs. BUF: 359 passing yards, 2 TD
Larry Fitzgerald vs. NE: 101 receiving yards, 1 TD
Matt Forte vs. GB: 101 combined yards, 1 TD

 

QB Summary:

We have Cam Newton rated #12 among quarterbacks, so we’re not even sold on him as a fantasy starter in your league. But #15-rated QB Jay Cutler provides you with another viable option. So while the position doesn’t figure to be a strength, with shrewd management and a little luck you might end up with decent production at QB

Incidentally, these two have a terrific combined schedule and a decent playoff schedule too. If you simply played the one with the better matchup each week, this is the schedule you’d face:

TB | DET | NYJ | GB | CHI | ATL | GB | NE | NO | PHI | MIN | TB | MIN | DAL | TB | CLE

 

RB Summary:

Matt Forte is a solid choice as a top running back. He’s our #5 RB, so you’re ahead of most teams there, which is good considering that, overall, running back is probably not going to be your strongest position.

We don’t particularly like Stevan Ridley as a second running back; he’s a likely flex starter. DeAngelo Williams also figures to be a bit iffy as a third RB. Danny Woodhead should be a good fourth running back. Mark Ingram is also a very nice RB5.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have Matt Forte ranked as high as second, which would make him an above average first running back. Steve Buzzard defends his high ranking as follows: “I expect the Bears offense to be one of the better ones in the league. The biggest knock on Forte is his goal line usage but last year he was given 54% of the goal line carries and was successful on 61% scoring 6 touch downs. Behind the same line Michael Bush was only successful 20% of the time. Carey will cut into his usage but I see Forte as an elite difference maker RB and should be near the top of the big 4 not the bottom.”

Stevan Ridley is ranked #22 by some of our writers. Jeff Pasquino reasons, “New England has been a running team for a while now, and not many people have realized it. Ridley, Vereen and even LeGarrette Blount last season moved the chains, not Tom Brady. Ridley is the favorite to lead the backfield, especially near the goal line, entering this season. I like his prospects for this year and, since this is a contract year (free agent in 2015), I like him to perform even better in seeking out a big deal.”

Some of our staffers have DeAngelo Williams as high as #24, which would make him an above average third running back. Mark Wimer’s take: “When a rookie wide receiver (Kelvin Benjamin) is your team’s best hope of fielding a legitimate #1 wide receiver, your team’s best bet is to lean heavily on the running game and the defense in order to win your games. The Panthers have three solid ball carriers in Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton – However, with Newton limited by his ankle rehabilitation and now a fractured rib, the Panthers may lean on Williams and Stewart more than has been usual, especially in the first half of the season while Benjamin gets acclimated to the NFL and Newton’s injuries hopefully heal. ”

Some of our staffers have Danny Woodhead as high as #23, which would make him a great fourth running back and even a legitimate RB3. Andy Hicks’s take: “Danny Woodhead finished as the 19th ranked fantasy back last year with the Chargers using him brilliantly out of the backfield. The addition of Donald Brown is more or less Ryan Mathews insurance and I expect more of the same this year as Woodhead approaches 100 carries and 70 receptions. ”

 

WR Summary:

Your starting receiver group is a strength, particularly Randall Cobb as a second receiver. Julio Jones is our #6 ranked receiver, and we have Cobb at #10.

Your bench also looks good. Tough to do better than Larry Fitzgerald at WR3 — also probably a frequent flex contributor. But Steve Smith is out of his league as a fourth WR.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Julio Jones is ranked #3 by some of our writers, which would make him an above average first receiver. Kyle Wachtel reasons, “Is Jones’ foot a concern? Sure, but it should not be a surprise to anyone if he finishes the year as the leading fantasy receiver. He was on pace for a whopping 131 receptions before his was injured last season and while the injury to Roddy White may have attributed to that, Tony Gonzalez’ retirement freed up extra targets.”

 

TE Summary:

Jordan Cameron should be above average as a starting tight end. We have him ranked fourth overall at the position. Heath Miller is a nice backup.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Jordan Cameron is ranked #3 by some of our writers, which would make him an above average first tight end. Bob Henry reasons, “With Josh Gordon (likely) suspended for the season, Cameron becomes a shoe-in for TE5 or better. While not necessarily a value pick at his ADP, Cameron’s high floor and high ceiling make him an appealing selection with top 3 potential.”

 

Kicker Summary:

With Justin Tucker, you should be above average at the position.

[/tab]
[tab title=”Top Dawgs” ]

Overview:

Old school!

Make no mistake about it: this team is about strength at the running back position. And we think it will be a legitimate contender. Somewhere Marshall Faulk is smiling.

Nonetheless, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention the relative lack of strength at quarterback and receiver. These are usually survivable weaknesses, but we’d feel better if we knew you were committed to zealously scouring the waiver wire for this year’s emergent players at QB and WR. Getting a breakout player at one or both of those positions would take your already-good team to the next level.

Players we particularly like on this team include Toby Gerhart, Andre Williams, and Steve Hauschka. We have all these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.

Bottom line:

  • With great inseason management, we think you have about a 75 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 60 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 46 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

QB Summary:

We have Tony Romo rated #10 among quarterbacks, which makes him a viable starter if not an exciting one. We strongly recommend that you add a backup QB.

A quick note about the Romo/Dez Bryant hookup you’ve got here: while we think the effect of the quarterback/receiver hookup has largely been exaggerated in fantasy football circles, it does have a tendency to make your team somewhat more inconsistent than comparable scoring duos from different NFL teams. But if you like the players at both ends of the connection, we do not see any need to make a change because of it.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some of our staffers have Tony Romo as high as #5, which would make him an above average first quarterback. Anthony Borbely’s take: “Witn the exception of 2010 when he only played 6 games, Romo has been a QB1 every year and a top 8 QB in 4 of his last 6 full seasons. Dez Bryant is arguably the best WR in the league not named Calvin Johnson and new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan runs an offense that is very QB friendly. It also helps that the Cowboys have a bad defense and will likely be in a lot of shootouts this year. Add in Jason Witten, impressive second-year WR Terrence Williams, and a solid receiving running back in DeMarco Murray and you have a QB that could flirt with the top-5 in fantasy scoring. I consider Romo one of the most undervalued players at any position this year.”

 

RB Summary:

Obviously, Jamaal Charles is a great way to anchor any RB group. We’ve got him ranked #1 at the position, and by our reckoning he gives you about a 1.7 point advantage over an average team in the first RB slot.

Eddie Lacy looks great as a second running back; he’s a likely flex starter. Toby Gerhart is also a very nice RB3 — also probably a frequent flex contributor. We see Pierre Thomas as an average fourth running back. Andre Williams is an excellent RB5. We love Carlos Hyde as a sixth running back.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Pierre Thomas is ranked #22 by some of our writers, which would make him a great fourth running back and even a legitimate RB3. Steve Holloway reasons, “Pierre Thomas, originally an undrafted free agent for the Saints in 2007 will be back with the team for his seventh season as he signed a three-year $6.9 Million contract. Thomas has been a key player in the Saints RBBC and has a career average 4.6 ypc. He is even more productive as a receiver. He has averaged 55 catches per year for the last three seasons, including his career high 77 receptions last season. With Darren Sproles gone, Thomas should remain the Saints’ top receiver out of the backfield and will also be part of the RBBC rushing attack. ”

 

WR Summary:

Your starting receivers should, as a unit, be adequate but not great. In particular we like Dez Bryant as a top WR. Bryant is our third ranked WR, and we have Michael Crabtree at #26.

Sammy Watkins is a little below average as a third receiver. Golden Tate is also a fair-to-middlin’ fourth receiver. Justin Hunter should be a good fifth receiver.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Michael Crabtree is ranked #9 by some of our writers, which would make him a great second receiver and even a legitimate WR1. Mark Wimer reasons, “Colin Kaepernick is developing into a top-flight NFL quarterback, and Crabtree is his go-to guy at wide receiver. If Crabtree plays 16 games this year, he’ll be one of the top-ten wide receivers in the land, and may threaten for a top-five finish. I’m angling for Crabtree on my fantasy rosters this year, despite the recent soft-tissue/hamstring injury. Crabtree should be back in the swing of things by the start of regular season.”

Sammy Watkins is ranked #21 by some of our writers, which would make him an above average third receiver. Mark Wimer reasons, “Watkins has IT, and he’ll make E.J. Manuel look good this year. Reported early struggles in OTAs don’t worry me – once training camp began and Watkins was properly focused, the reports have been glowing. Watkins should have a big impact in Buffalo, even as a rookie receiver. His ribs injury is a minor concern, but there is enough time left before regular season for a young player like Watkins to get healed up. ”

Some members of our staff have Golden Tate ranked as high as 22nd, which would make him a great fourth receiver and even a legitimate WR3. Mark Wimer defends his high ranking as follows: “Tate has developed into a reliable pro receiver – in his new environment there will be WAY more passes in the air than Seattle ever attempted. Tate will benefit from single coverage across the field from Calvin Johnson. Tate is in a perfect position to go over 1,000 yards with mid-single-digit TDs as the ‘other’ wide receiver for the Lions. ”

Some of our staffers have Justin Hunter as high as #24, which would make him a great fifth receiver and even a legitimate WR3. Andy Hicks’s take: “Justin Hunter didn’t do a lot for most of the 2013 season, but when he did it was a vision into his future. His games against Oakland and Denver were 100 yarders with a touchdown in each. He may not be ready for a quality fantasy season this year, but if he clicks with the offense then he is WR1 material. At his current price that is well worth the risk of a flameout. ”

 

TE Summary:

Dennis Pitta is our #8 TE, so he’ll do, but this position may be a sore spot for you this season.

We might suggest adding a bit more depth here.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Dennis Pitta is ranked #5 by some of our writers, which would make him an above average first tight end. Jeff Pasquino reasons, “First, let’s get the downside out of the way. Dennis Pitta lost all of last year due to a bad injury in the preseason, but that is behind him now. Baltimore is going to be a very tight end friendly passing attack this season with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak now on the staff. Joe Flacco is already best friends with Pitta and loves to target him whenever he can, so I see a tight end with Top 5 upside that can be had for much cheaper in drafts this year.”

 

Kicker Summary:

With Steve Hauschka, you should be above average at the position.

 

Defense Summary:

We think the Seahawks are the #1 defense in the league, at about 1.8 points per game above average.

[/tab]

[tab title=”Sons Of Anarchy” ]

Overview:

Sons Of AnarchyThis team is built around strong quarterback play. But it has some serious issues post-draft. Your only real core strength is at quarterback, yet that’s often the easiest position to fill during the season. Your weaknesses at both running back and receiver put you in a hole before any games have played. To end up with a team constructed like this, you probably did not get value on some of your selections. The players themselves are not necessarily bad — you just might have paid more than what they were worth.

To make this team into a serious contender, you are going to need to be extremely active in trades and on the waiver wire. You esentially need to turn over significant parts of this roster. Last year running backs like Knowshon Moreno and Zac Stacy could be had dirt cheap at the draft. Additionally, wide receivers like Julian Edelman and Keenan Allen were available after a lot of the drafts. You are likely going to need to land some of this year’s top waiver plays, so pay close attention to increased workloads, targets, injuries, etc.

Bottom line:

  • With great inseason management, we think you have about a 55 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 40 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 19 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

In any event, we wish you the best of luck. Here’s hoping all your weeks are like week 4 of 2012:

Roddy White vs. CAR: 169 receiving yards, 2 TD
Marshawn Lynch vs. STL: 155 combined yards, 1 TD
Aaron Rodgers vs. NO: 319 passing yards, 4 TD
James Jones vs. NO: 56 receiving yards, 2 TD
Jason Witten vs. CHI: 112 receiving yards, 1 TD
Dwayne Bowe vs. SD: 108 receiving yards, 1 TD
Trent Richardson vs. BAL: 104 combined yards, 1 TD

 

QB Summary:

You don’t need us to tell you this, but we’ll tell you anyway: Aaron Rodgers should ensure that your production at the quarterback position is among the best in the league. We have him as the #3 QB according to your scoring rules, and we figure he gives you about a 1.8 point-per-game advantage over an average starting QB.

We also love Colin Kaepernick as a backup. In fact, we think he’s good enough to be someone’s starting quarterback in this league. With Rodgers in place as your starter, he’s something of a luxury for you. If he plays like we expect, you should be able to get good value for him in a trade after quarterback injuries hit some of your opponents.

Incidentally, Kaepernick has what we project as a neutral matchup (STL) during Rodgers’s bye.

Johnny Manziel is a solid depth pick.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Johnny Manziel is ranked #18 by some of our writers, which would make him a great third quarterback and even a legitimate QB2. Sigmund Bloom reasons, “Manziel might not even start the season in the lineup, but he should get on the field at some point this year, and when he does he’ll be potent in fantasy leagues. Like Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III before him, Manziel relies on his legs enough to be a low-end QB1 even if his passing output is modest because of the Browns weak receiving corps.”

 

RB Summary:

We have Marshawn Lynch ranked #6 at the position. So while he’s passable as a first running back, he doesn’t look particularly thrilling. And we also have some doubts about whether your depth at RB is going to make up for it, so this could be an area of some concern.

We see Reggie Bush as an average second running back; he’s a likely flex starter. Trent Richardson is also a fair-to-middlin’ third running back — also probably a frequent flex contributor. We may not love Darren Sproles at fourth RB, but we like the fact that you can hold the LeSean McCoy owner hostage.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have Marshawn Lynch ranked as high as fifth, which would make him an above average first running back. Jeff Pasquino defends his high ranking as follows: “I have some concerns with Marshawn Lynch as a top running back this year. Seattle loves to feature the ground game, but both the coaching staff and Lynch himself are sending out some red flags. First, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell hinted at a committee run game for this year, while Lynch has threatened to hold out (or even retire) because of his contract. The truth is usually between these extremes, and I think Seattle is going to check out both Robert Turbin and Christine Michael whenever they can this year to see if they can cut Lynch loose after this season. That means fewer chances for Lynch, and I don’t want that kind of threat behind my first round running back selection. ”

Some of our staffers have Reggie Bush as high as #9, which would make him a great second running back and even a legitimate RB1. Mark Wimer’s take: “Bush had over 1,500 yards combined last year, and the Lions further upgraded their offense during free agency and the NFL draft. With Joique Bell out of the picture while Bush builds on his chemistry with Matthew Stafford and company during summer sessions, I think Bush could have an even bigger season in his second campaign with the Lions – he is already very familiar with OC Joe Lombardi’s offense dating to his days in New Orleans, and has had a full year to get comfortable with Stafford and the other personnel in Detroit. I think he’s got a lot of upside potential this year. ”

Some of our staffers have Trent Richardson as high as #14, which would make him a great third running back and even a legitimate RB2. Heath Cummings’s take: “The best argument I have for Richardson is that he won’t be near as bad as he was last year. There is a reason that midseason trades don’t often happen and it’s quite possible that Richardson’s performance last year points to one of them. He’ll have an entire offseason to learn the scheme and should be a more confident runner in 2014. His upside is still really high, even if he has a lower floor than anyone in this range.”

 

WR Summary:

We see both your starters at receiver as below average. Roddy White is our #19 ranked receiver, and we have DeSean Jackson at #21.

Anquan Boldin is a very weak third receiver. Dwayne Bowe also looks somewhat weak as a fourth WR. We don’t particularly like James Jones as a fifth receiver.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have Roddy White ranked as high as sixth, which would make him a fine first receiver. Jeff Tefertiller defends his high ranking as follows: “White played very well when healthy at the end of last season. Will be a steal in drafts this season.”

Some of our staffers have DeSean Jackson as high as #13, which would make him an above average second receiver. Heath Cummings’s take: “DeSean Jackson is too risky to be considered as a WR1 but he has too much upside to drop much further. With Robert Griffin III’s ability to throw the deep ball and Pierre Garcon taking attention away, Jackson should put up a really strong WR2 season.”

Some members of our staff have James Jones ranked as high as 30th, which would make him a great fifth receiver and even a legitimate WR3. Matt Waldman defends his high ranking as follows: “As long as Matt Schaub remains the quarterback in Oakland, I’m bullish on Jones as a fantasy starter in three-receiver leagues. If and when Derek Carr takes the helm, all bets are off, but thus far the Raiders have made it clear that they hpe Carr does not play this season. Bully for Jones. ”

 

TE Summary:

Jason Witten is our #10 TE, so he’ll do, but this position may be a sore spot for you this season.

We might suggest adding a bit more depth here.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Jason Witten is ranked #2 by some of our writers, which would make him an above average first tight end. Mark Wimer reasons, “Witten is simpatico with Tony Romo, and with Johnny Manziel in Cleveland the Cowboys are wedded to Romo’s preferred targets for the foreseeable future – Witten has seen over 110 targets per season for seven straight years, and has finished in the top five among tight ends in four of those campaigns and finished sixth twice, including last year. He’s a legitimate threat to finish over 1,000 yards receiving with high-single-digit TDs during 2014. ”

 

Kicker Summary:

Matt Bryant, our seventh ranked kicker, won’t win the league for you, but he’ll do.

 

Defense Summary:

The Broncos are probably not a difference-maker at defense, but they should be OK.

[/tab]
[tab title=”The Pimps” ]

Overview:

PIMPSWe’ll start by complimenting you on your strength at quarterback and receiver. As you know, it’s very difficult in a competitive league to assemble a team that is strong at QB, RB, and WR, so just about every team will have a weakness. As you probably suspect, we perceive yours to be at running back.

In 2014, that’s not an instant fantasy team killer like it might have been five years ago. And in this particular case, we absolutely think you’re strong enough elsewhere to overcome it. You’ve definitely got a good team here, but we’d feel better if we knew you were committed to keeping an eye out for the 2014 version of last season’s Knowshon Moreno or Zac Stacy, or 2012’s Alfred Morris.

Players we particularly like on this team include Victor Cruz, Emmanuel Sanders, Torrey Smith, Stephen Gostkowski, Adam Vinatieri, the Ravens defense, and the Bengals defense. We have all these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.

Bottom line:

  • With great inseason management, we think you have about a 80 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 65 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 52 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

In any event, we wish you the best of luck. Here’s hoping all your weeks are like week 14 of 2013:

Shane Vereen vs. CLE: 162 combined yards, 1 TD
Peyton Manning vs. TEN: 397 passing yards, 4 TD
Charles Clay vs. PIT: 97 receiving yards, 2 TD
Ben Roethlisberger vs. MIA: 349 passing yards, 3 TD

 

QB Summary:

You don’t need us to tell you this, but we’ll tell you anyway: Peyton Manning should ensure that your production at the quarterback position is among the best in the league. We have him as the #1 QB according to your scoring rules, and we figure he gives you about a 3.2 point-per-game advantage over an average starting QB.

Our projections don’t show Ben Roethlisberger as being a top-notch backup, but the issue will be moot as long as Manning stays healthy.

Incidentally, Roethlisberger has what we project as a good matchup (TB) during Manning’s bye.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have Ben Roethlisberger ranked as high as seventh, which would make him a great second quarterback and even a legitimate QB1. Austin Lee defends his high ranking as follows: “Roethlisberger was fantasy’s eighth-best quarterback last year, and most of that success came in the second half of the season once the Steelers embraced the no-huddle offense. With Pittsburgh using the hurry-up even more in 2014, it’s easy to envision Big Ben finishing inside the top 10 at his position.”

 

RB Summary:

We have Alfred Morris ranked #14 at the position, so we don’t even necessarily see him as being RB1 worthy in this league. And we also have some doubts about whether your depth at running back is going to make up for it, so we feel this is an area of concern.

Rashad Jennings should be a good second running back. Shane Vereen should be adequate at RB3.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Alfred Morris is ranked #7 by some of our writers, which would make him a fine first running back. Heath Cummings reasons, “Morris is a 26 year-old running back that had a “down” year last year and still ran for 1275 yards and scored 7 touchdowns. Only Adrian Peterson has more rushing yards than Morris since he entered the league. Gruden made BenJarvus Green-Ellis look serviceable in Cincinnati, I’m pretty sure he’ll get all he can out of Morris.”

Some of our staffers have Rashad Jennings as high as #11, which would make him an above average second running back. Matt Waldman’s take: “My buddy Jason Wood will tell you over and over: Jennings is old and unproven over the course of a full season. I’ll tell you over and over: Jennings is talented with little tread after injuries and discord behind the scenes in Jacksonville. I’ll wait to adjust for Andre Williams until I see evidence that his athleticism translates better to the field than what I witnesses at Boston College. Da’Rell Scott is just happy to be on the roster. I like Jennings for 270 carries, 55 catches, 10 total touchdowns, and a draft day value at the end of the fifth round, according the ADP from his player page. ”

Some members of our staff have Shane Vereen ranked as high as 16th, which would make him a great third running back and even a legitimate RB2. Jeff Haseley defends his high ranking as follows: “In my opinion, Shane Vereen is too good of a running back to not see an increase in carries. He is not just a great pass catcher, he is also a very good rusher. If Stevan Ridley continues to have ball security issues, look for New England to give Vereen more touches in the offense, which would cause his fantasy value to soar. ”

 

WR Summary:

Your starting receivers should, as a unit, be adequate but not great. In particular we like Victor Cruz as a second WR. Brandon Marshall is our seventh ranked WR, and we have Cruz at #13.

Your bench looks good and should help offset the unexciting starting unit. Emmanuel Sanders should serve as a very solid third receiver. Torrey Smith is also a very nice WR4.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some of our staffers have Brandon Marshall as high as #4, which would make him an above average first receiver. Jeff Haseley’s take: “You could say Brandon Marshall needs Jay Cutler and vice versa. Marshall has never finished with less than 100 receptions in a season when Cutler was the starting quarterback. He’ll be undervalued this year due to his age (30) and emergence of Alshon Jeffery, but he’s still one of the league’s best wide receivers. ”

 

TE Summary:

Kyle Rudolph is viable but below average as a starting tight end (we have him ranked #9). We’re also not too fired up about Charles Clay as a backup.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have Kyle Rudolph ranked as high as fourth, which would make him an above average first tight end. Alessandro Miglio defends his high ranking as follows: “Kyle Rudolph should be a big beneficiary of offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s arrival. It was Turner who turned Jordan Cameron into a fantasy monster last season in Cleveland, and Rudolph has the potential to explode in his fourth season. He was already a big red zone threat, and he should see more action all around in this offense. ”

 

Kicker Summary:

With Stephen Gostkowski and Adam Vinatieri, you should be above average at the position.

 

Defense Summary:

Between the Bengals and the Ravens, you should get above average production here.

[/tab]
[tab title=”Irish Pride” ]

Overview:

IrishPrideWe’ll start by complimenting you on your strength at quarterback and receiver. As you know, it’s very difficult in a competitive league to assemble a team that is strong at QB, RB, and WR, so just about every team will have a weakness. As you probably suspect, we perceive yours to be at running back.

In 2014, that’s not an instant fantasy team killer like it might have been five years ago. And in this particular case, we absolutely think you’re strong enough elsewhere to overcome it. You’ve definitely got a good team here, but we’d feel better if we knew you were committed to keeping an eye out for the 2014 version of last season’s Knowshon Moreno or Zac Stacy, or 2012’s Alfred Morris.

Players we particularly like on this team include Cordarrelle Patterson, Zac Stacy, and the Panthers defense. We have all these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.

Bottom line:

  • With great inseason management, we think you have about a 80 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 65 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 53 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

QB Summary:

You don’t need us to tell you this, but we’ll tell you anyway: Drew Brees should ensure that your production at the quarterback position is among the best in the league. We have him as the #2 QB according to your scoring rules, and we figure he gives you about a 2.2 point-per-game advantage over an average starting QB.

We also love Matt Ryan as a backup. In fact, we think he’s good enough to be someone’s starting quarterback in this league. With Brees in place as your starter, he’s something of a luxury for you. If he plays like we expect, you should be able to get good value for him in a trade after quarterback injuries hit some of your opponents.

Incidentally, Ryan has what we project as a neutral matchup (CHI) during Brees’s bye.

 

RB Summary:

We have Giovani Bernard ranked #10 at the position. So while he’s passable as a first running back, he doesn’t look particularly thrilling. And we also have some doubts about whether your depth at RB is going to make up for it, so this could be an area of some concern.

Zac Stacy should serve as a very solid second running back; he’s a likely flex starter. Steven Jackson, on the other hand, is an average-at-best third RB. LeGarrette Blount is a very weak fourth running back.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Giovani Bernard is ranked #6 by some of our writers, which would make him a fine first running back. Maurile Tremblay reasons, “With BenJarvis Green-Ellis gone, Bernard should get an even bigger piece of the pie.”

Some of our staffers have Steven Jackson as high as #11, which would make him a great third running back and even a legitimate RB2. Jeff Tefertiller’s take: “I am high on Jackson’s chances for a big season. The Falcons offense should be back on track and healthy, opening the running lanes. He is a steal in early drafts.”

Some members of our staff have LeGarrette Blount ranked as high as 35th, which would make him an above average fourth running back. Andy Hicks defends his high ranking as follows: “LeGarrette Blount moves to another team and the Pittsburgh Steelers should suit his style of running down to the ground. He demonstrated top drawer potential for fantasy success in 2 consecutive games for the Patriots last year accruing 24-189-2 and 24-166-4 and while he is the clear backup for LeVeon Bell this year, he will be a great fantasy handcuff or roster stash should Bell not work out. ”

 

WR Summary:

Nice work here. We like both your starting receivers, as our projections indicate that they give you a combined 1.4 point-per-game advantage over an average opponent in this league. Demaryius Thomas is our #2 ranked receiver, and we have Vincent Jackson at #11.

Your bench also looks good. Tough to do better than Cordarrelle Patterson at WR3 — also probably a frequent flex contributor. We also see Julian Edelman as an above average WR4. Kelvin Benjamin should serve as a very solid fifth receiver. But Wes Welker is out of his league as a sixth WR.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have Wes Welker ranked as high as 26th, which would make him a great sixth receiver and even a legitimate WR3. James Brimacombe defends his high ranking as follows: “Welker looked tired at the end of last season and the fact that the Broncos brought in Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer tells me they are looking for that burst and to stay fresh down their stretch playoff run. Denver also has a running game that is looking to get going with Montee Ball coming into year 2, and with both Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas demanding targets it is going to be hard for Welker to continue his success in the PPR world. I am anticipating a major drop in production for Welker this year and will not overspend to have him on any of my teams.”

 

TE Summary:

With only Dwayne Allen, who we don’t think is starter-quality in this league, this position is likely to be a trouble spot for you all season.

We might suggest adding a bit more depth here.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Dwayne Allen is ranked #9 by some of our writers, which would make him a fine first tight end. Steve Holloway reasons, “Dwayne Allen was drafted by the Colts in 2012 in the 3rd round, a full round after Coby Fleener. However, Allen clearly outplayed Fleener in their rookie season, making 45 catches for 521 yards (11.6 ypc) and 3 TDs. Allen missed the entire season last year as he was injured in the Colts’ first game after he caught a 20-yard TD pass. He returns healthy in 2014. The Colts receivers are much improved which should allow more openings for the tight end to operate. Allen is an effective in-line player, who is still able to create space and get open. His targets may not be much greater than his rookie season, but he will likely be able to do more with them.”

 

Kicker Summary:

Nick Novak, our eighth ranked kicker, won’t win the league for you, but he’ll do.

 

Defense Summary:

The Panthers are our #2 ranked defense, so you’re in good shape here.

[/tab]
[tab title=”IcEbAy bAsHeRs” ]

Overview:

Your receivers are the strongest part of this team. While no team can be expected to be above average at all three core positions (QB/RB/WR), you are in the precarious position of being a bit weak at two of them.

Although you should not be counted out yet, you may need to be active on both the waiver wire and in trades to turn this team into a legitimate contender. The best way to achieve that might be to sacrifice some of your wide receiver strength to gain multiple players than can help your roster now. It’s generally easier finding quarterbacks and wide receivers on the waiver wire than quality running backs.

Keep an eye out for quarterbacks like Nick Foles from last year, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck from 2012, or Cam Newton in 2011. All were available cheap in August, and all contributed to fantasy championship teams. Likewise, running backs like Knowshon Moreno and Zac Stacy could be had dirt cheap at the draft or shortly after. You are likely going to need to land some of this year’s top waiver plays, so pay close attention to increased workloads, targets, injuries, etc.

Bottom line:

  • With great inseason management, we think you have about a 65 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 45 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 28 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

In any event, we wish you the best of luck. Here’s hoping all your weeks are like week 7 of 2013:

Calvin Johnson vs. CIN: 155 receiving yards, 2 TD
Frank Gore vs. TEN: 104 combined yards, 2 TD
A.J. Green vs. DET: 155 receiving yards, 1 TD
Matthew Stafford vs. CIN: 357 passing yards, 3 TD
Ryan Mathews vs. JAX: 110 combined yards, 1 TD

 

QB Summary:

We have Matthew Stafford rated #7 among quarterbacks, which makes him a viable starter if not an exciting one. We strongly recommend that you add a backup QB.

A quick note about the Stafford/Calvin Johnson hookup you’ve got here: while we think the effect of the quarterback/receiver hookup has largely been exaggerated in fantasy football circles, it does have a tendency to make your team somewhat more inconsistent than comparable scoring duos from different NFL teams. But if you like the players at both ends of the connection, we do not see any need to make a change because of it.

With the Stafford/Joique Bell pair, the story is different. Though the effect is probably negligible, this kind of pairing is likely to make your team more consistent if anything.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have Matthew Stafford ranked as high as second, which would make him an above average first quarterback. Heath Cummings defends his high ranking as follows: “Stafford has been top five in two of the last three years and he enters 2014 with the best corps of weapons he’s ever had. Golden Tate should take at least some of the focus off of Calvin Johnson and Eric Ebron has a chance to give Stafford a more reliable option in the middle of the field. The tandem of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell in the backfield make Stafford’s job a lot easier.”

 

RB Summary:

We have Joique Bell ranked #15 at the position, so we don’t even necessarily see him as being RB1 worthy in this league.

We see Ryan Mathews as an average second running back; he’s a likely flex starter. Frank Gore is an excellent RB3 — also probably a frequent flex contributor. Devonta Freeman is a little below average as a fourth running back. But Khiry Robinson should be a fairly good RB5. We love Chris Ivory as a sixth running back.

Again, the same-team aspect of the Bell/Calvin Johnson and Gore/Vernon Davis duos does not concern us.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Joique Bell is ranked #14 by some of our writers. Phil Alexander reasons, “Bell finished last season as the RB17. Now he has a bigger contract and likely a bigger role. Search the FBG archives for Adam Harstad’s Detroit RB spotlight to find out why this year’s Lions backfield might be the most prolific we’ve ever seen from a receiving standpoint.”

Some members of our staff have Ryan Mathews ranked as high as 11th, which would make him an above average second running back. Mark Wimer defends his high ranking as follows: “Mathews finally played a full slate of 16 games last year, the Chargers intend to run the ball a lot, and as a bonus he is playing for his next contract this season. I like him for 2014 redraft leagues in both non-PPR and PPR scoring paradigms.”

Some of our staffers have Devonta Freeman as high as #35, which would make him an above average fourth running back. Jeff Pasquino’s take: “Atlanta needs balance on offense, and they can get that if they can find a more viable backfield option than the rapidly aging Steven Jackson. Fourth round pick Devonta Freeman is just the right candidate, as he has three-down talent and I expect him to steal touches from Jackson early in the year. He could easily take over as the top tailback for Atlanta by November, which makes him a great value pick with that tremendous upside for the second half of the season. Get him on your team before the Hard Knocks hype really hits.”

Khiry Robinson is ranked #26 by some of our writers, which would make him a great fifth running back and even a legitimate RB3. Mark Wimer reasons, “Bill Parcells told Sean Payton just prior to the 2013 playoffs that he was holding the next Curtis Martin off the field – Parcells was speaking of Khiry Robinson. Robinson went on to post 8/45/0 rushing at Philadelphia during the Wild Card round, and then led the team in rushing at Seattle with 13/57/1 rushing (and 1/13/0 receiving) against the Seahawks’ Uber-D. With the Parcells endorsement and the playoff performance in mind (and the departure of Darren Sproles a fact) I think Robinson moves up the depth chart to become the top back in this committee sometime during the upcoming season. Don’t get too optimistic about Saints’ backs, though – they remain a many-headed monster down in the Big Easy. ”

 

WR Summary:

Nice work here. We like both your starting receivers, as our projections indicate that they give you a combined 3.5 point-per-game advantage over an average opponent in this league. Calvin Johnson is our #1 ranked receiver, and we have A.J. Green at #4.

Your bench also looks good. T.Y. Hilton should serve as a very solid third receiver. Brandin Cooks should also be solidly above average at WR4. Riley Cooper should serve as a very solid fifth receiver.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Riley Cooper is ranked #32 by some of our writers, which would make him a great fifth receiver and even a legitimate WR4. Austin Lee reasons, “The Eagles produced two top-24 receivers last year, including Cooper. You could argue that adding Jordan Matthews and Darren Sproles will eat into Cooper’s targets from last year, but that should almost be completely offset by Jeremy Maclin being a big downgrade from DeSean Jackson. The upside of this high-play-count offense makes it easy for me to envision Cooper flirting with the top 30 at his position in 2014.”

 

TE Summary:

Vernon Davis should be above average as a starting tight end. We have him ranked fifth overall at the position.

We might suggest adding a bit more depth here.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have Vernon Davis ranked as high as third, which would make him an above average first tight end. Matt Waldman defends his high ranking as follows: “Davis’ totals have often been inconsistent due to his youth, changing offenses, and new quarterbacks. I expect him to settle in and post another top-five effort at his position despite the fact that the team won’t have to lean on him as much if Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Johnson stay healthy. Davis is still the best matchup nightmare the team has and I think the production will show it. ”

 

Kicker Summary:

Dan Bailey, our fifth ranked kicker, won’t win the league for you, but he’ll do.

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[tab title=”Misfits” ]

Overview:

MisfitsYou’ve put together a very interesting team here. Our numbers show it as being below average at all three core positions (QB, RB, and WR). And yet, somehow, we don’t hate it. With proper care and feeding throughout the season, this team should be among the top teams in the league.

But your margin for error is probably slimmer than that of your fellow contenders. You’re going to have to be diligent in your search for help through trades and the waiver wire.

Players we particularly like on this team include Zach Ertz, Jordy Nelson, Andy Dalton, and Chris Johnson. We have all these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.

Bottom line:

  • With great inseason management, we think you have about a 80 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 65 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 53 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

In any event, we wish you the best of luck. Here’s hoping all your weeks are like week 9 of 2013:

Chris Johnson vs. STL: 170 combined yards, 2 TD
Jimmy Graham vs. NYJ: 116 receiving yards, 2 TD
Tom Brady vs. PIT: 432 passing yards, 4 TD
Keenan Allen vs. WAS: 128 receiving yards, 1 TD

 

QB Summary:

We have Tom Brady rated #6 among quarterbacks, which makes him a viable starter if not an exciting one. Andy Dalton, our #14 quarterback, should be solid as a backup, but we’re not sure if he can hold down the fort as a starter if circumstances force him to be one.

Incidentally, these two have a terrific combined schedule and a decent playoff schedule too. If you simply played the one with the better matchup each week, this is the schedule you’d face:

BAL | MIN | OAK | KC | NE | BUF | IND | CHI | JAX | CLE | IND | HOU | TB | PIT | CLE | DEN

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some of our staffers have Tom Brady as high as #5, which would make him an above average first quarterback. Jason Wood’s take: “Tom Brady frustrated fantasy owners last year, but it’s silly to discount his outlook much for what happened in 2013. How many quarterbacks could lose 80% (yes, 80%!) of their receiving yards and receptions from the prior season and still produce? That’s what Brady dealt with in 2013. As long as his supporting cast stays somewhat healthy this year, Brady will bounce back into QB1 territory.”

 

RB Summary:

We have DeMarco Murray ranked #9 at the position. So while he’s passable as a first running back, he doesn’t look particularly thrilling. And we also have some doubts about whether your depth at RB is going to make up for it, so this could be an area of some concern.

Andre Ellington is a little below average as a second running back; he’s a likely flex starter. But Chris Johnson should be a very good third running back — also probably a frequent flex contributor. Bishop Sankey should serve as a very solid fourth running back. Terrance West, on the other hand, is an average-at-best fifth RB.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have DeMarco Murray ranked as high as sixth, which would make him a fine first running back. Andy Hicks defends his high ranking as follows: “At the end of the first round fantasy owners will be faced with the dilemma of whether to draft DeMarco Murray or not. Murray clearly has franchise back ability, but is practically made invisible at the goal line as Dallas continually rides the arm of Tony Romo. Murray did get 7 goal line touchdowns last year to sort of contradict that, but anyone watching Dallas will realise this should have been at least double. Whether Dallas use Murray more is a pain Murray owners will have to endure unfortunately, but those that draft him will get quality as well.”

Some of our staffers have Andre Ellington as high as #10, which would make him a great second running back and even a legitimate RB1. Phil Alexander’s take: “This one’s simple. Ellington is extremely talented and has less competition for carries than a lot of backs being drafted before him. He’s one of my favorite RB2 targets this year.”

Some of our staffers have Bishop Sankey as high as #12, which would make him a great fourth running back and even a legitimate RB2. Andy Hicks’s take: “Rarely do rookie running backs walk into dream jobs. Bishop Sankey does this year. Chris Johnson has departed Tennessee and the average and aging Shonn Greene is the only other back on the roster to realistically present a challenge to Sankey being a 3 down back. Sankey won’t be given the job on a silver platter, but if he can learn his pass protection schemes and give a good account of himself in preseason he should easily see the most carries of any rookie back this year. Given the dearth of reliable middle tier running backs this year, he should easily outperform any ADP numbers coming out as of now.”

Some members of our staff have Terrance West ranked as high as 33rd, which would make him a great fifth running back and even a legitimate RB4. Dan Hindery defends his high ranking as follows: “Terrance West is one of the most polarizing rookie prospects in the 2014 class. Many talent evaluators simply do not like his skill set based upon film watching. Others see a player with a skill set that is nearly perfect for the Kyle Shanahan zone running system. In addition, West profiles similarly to Joique Bell as a guy who is simply not going to be outworked as he has overcome tremendously long odds to earn this opportunity in the NFL. ”

 

WR Summary:

While your lack of depth at the position concerns us, we do like both your starting receivers. Jordy Nelson is our fifth ranked WR, and we have Keenan Allen at #12.

Reggie Wayne is a little below average as a third receiver. Jeremy Maclin is also a liability at fourth receiver.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Reggie Wayne is ranked #21 by some of our writers, which would make him an above average third receiver. Jeff Tefertiller reasons, “Like Wayne’s prospects for being healthy and having a good season as Andre Luck matures. ”

 

TE Summary:

As you are well aware, Jimmy Graham is an elite tight end. We have him ranked first overall at the position. He’s about 3.0 points per game better than an average starting TE in this league. We also think Zach Ertz is a starting quality tight end in this league. He’s a luxury.

 

Kicker Summary:

Phil Dawson, our fourth ranked kicker, won’t win the league for you, but he’ll do.

 

Defense Summary:

The 49ers are probably not a difference-maker at defense, but they should be OK.

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[tab title=”Jesters” ]

Overview:

JestersOld school!

We like your overall strength at the traditionally less important positions, but make no mistake about it: this team is about strength at the running back position. And we think it will be a legitimate contender. Somewhere Terrell Davis is smiling.

Nonetheless, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention the relative lack of strength at quarterback and receiver. These are usually survivable weaknesses, but we’d feel better if we knew you were committed to zealously scouring the waiver wire for this year’s emergent players at QB and WR. Getting a breakout player at one or both of those positions would take your already-good team to the next level.

Players we particularly like on this team include Montee Ball, Arian Foster, and Fred Jackson. We have all these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.

Bottom line:

  • With great inseason management, we think you have about a 75 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 60 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 41 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

In any event, we wish you the best of luck. Here’s hoping all your weeks are like week 11 of 2010:

Arian Foster vs. NYJ: 143 combined yards, 2 TD
Fred Jackson vs. CIN: 129 combined yards, 2 TD
Marques Colston vs. SEA: 113 receiving yards, 2 TD
Knowshon Moreno vs. SD: 120 combined yards, 1 TD

 

QB Summary:

We have Robert Griffin III rated #16 among quarterbacks, so we’re not even sold on him as a fantasy starter in your league. And we’re not sure that Ryan Tannehill (our #19-rated QB) is likely to provide much help.

Incidentally, these two have a terrific combined schedule and a nice playoff schedule too. If you simply played the one with the better matchup each week, this is the schedule you’d face:

NE | JAX | PHI | OAK | SEA | ARI | CHI | DAL | MIN | DET | TB | DEN | IND | STL | NE | MIN

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Robert Griffin III is ranked #6 by some of our writers, which would make him a fine first quarterback. Sigmund Bloom reasons, “Griffin has to be healthier this year, and he has gained one of the best deep threats in the league and a very QB-friendly head coach during this offseason. He has been a top 5 fantasy QB in the past, and as long as he stays healthy, Griffin has the best chance to return to the group of the QBs going outside of the top 5 in drafts.”

Some members of our staff have Ryan Tannehill ranked as high as 15th, which would make him an above average second quarterback. Heath Cummings defends his high ranking as follows: “Tannehill has had his growing pains, but I’ve been encouraged by his overall improvement. Tannehill threw for 300+ yards in 3 of his final 6 games last year after finally clicking with Mike Wallace. The duo should start 2014 on the same page and I expect another small step forward for the third year QB.”

 

RB Summary:

Montee Ball is a solid choice as a top running back. He’s our #4 RB, so you’re ahead of most teams there.

Arian Foster looks great as a second running back; he’s a likely flex starter. Ben Tate should also be solidly above average at RB3 — also probably a frequent flex contributor. Fred Jackson should serve as a very solid fourth running back. Likewise, Knowshon Moreno should be excellent at RB5.

A quick note about the same-team Ball/Julius Thomas duo you’ve got here. Though the effect is probably negligible, this kind of pairing is likely to make your team more (not less) consistent than a comparable-scoring different-team pair.

 

WR Summary:

We see both your starters at receiver as below average. Antonio Brown is our ninth ranked WR, and we have Percy Harvin at #18.

Your bench looks good and should help offset the unexciting starting unit. We see Rueben Randle as an average third receiver. Marques Colston is an excellent WR4.

Note that the above “thoughts” were generated by David Dodds’s projections. Others have different takes:

Antonio Brown is ranked #7 by some of our writers, which would make him a fine first receiver. Steve Holloway reasons, “Antonio Brown was the unquestioned leading wide receiver for the Steelers a year ago as he topped his previous career high in receptions by 41, catching 110 passes for 1,499 yards, for an average 13.6 ypc and scoring 8 TDs. Cotchery and Sanders have left and the Steelers added Lance Moore and rookie Matavius Bryant. There will be several vying for #2, but Brown will remain Ben Roethlisberger’s preferred option. Look for Brown to again be among the league leaders in targets and receptions. ”

Some members of our staff have Percy Harvin ranked as high as 12th, which would make him an above average second receiver. Chad Parsons defends his high ranking as follows: “Harvin is impactful on a per game basis. Any string of health in 2014 results in a strong stretch of top15 production.”

Rueben Randle is ranked #26 by some of our writers, which would make him a fine third receiver. Chad Parsons reasons, “The drafting of Odell Beckham Jr. was a negative to the long term stock of Rueben Randle, but the third-year receiver will get first crack to start alongside Victor Cruz in 2014.”

 

TE Summary:

As you are well aware, Julius Thomas is an elite tight end. We have him ranked third overall at the position. He’s about 1.0 points per game better than an average starting TE in this league. Greg Olsen is a nice backup.

 

Kicker Summary:

Mason Crosby, our sixth ranked kicker, won’t win the league for you, but he’ll do.

 

Defense Summary:

The Rams are probably not a difference-maker at defense, but they should be OK.

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Misfits Enter League

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The DRailers have folded and the Misfits quickly fill the void.   JimM takes ownership of the new franchise with high hopes.   However, the rest of the league looks to give the rookie a welcome of tough losses and miserable failures.   Good luck Misfits!

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