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Breathe a sigh of relief. Go out and enjoy some of the incoming spring weather for a second. The biggest wave of free agency has likely passed us. With most of the big time players like Ndamukong Suh, DeMarco Murray and Brandon Marshall now signed with new teams, it's time to let the dust clear and really look at how some of the players might be used and what their fantasy value could be in 2015. For this article, we will focus on the newest running back tandem in the league, Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray in Philadelphia.

How they got there

The Eagles first hinted they were looking for a new running back when they traded away LeSean McCoy last week to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso. The move shaved $11 million off the salary cap for Philly, but left some wondering what the Eagles were thinking. After all, McCoy won the rushing title just two seasons ago in 2013, plus there wasn't exactly a huge free agency market for running backs. The immediate thought was the Eagles planned to grab a running back through the draft which features a talented crop of RBs this season.

But of course, that wasn't the case. They signed DeMarco Murray to a five-year, $42 million with $12 million guaranteed just a week later. At the same time Murray entered the picture, the Eagles were also in the midst of signing former Chargers running back Ryan Mathews, who they eventually inked for three years and $11 million. Financially, it makes sense. McCoy was due more than $9 million in 2015 and would've saddled the Eagles with a $10 million cap hit roughly. Now, the Eagles have both Murray and Mathews for just a $7.5 million cap hit. Overall, it's two running backs, Alonso and cornerback Walter Thurmond for the price of what McCoy would've cost. Not a bad tradeoff. Another nice thing about the trade — both running backs are in the prime of their careers and have rushed for over 1,000 yards in multiple seasons. On paper, it's a worthwhile endeavor, but who knows if it'll translate to more wins on the field.

The Mathews deal looked more like Chip simply getting a potentially good running back at a bargain price, while the Murray deal cemented the former Cowboy as the newest franchise running back of the Philadelphia Eagles. But how will it all translate from a fantasy perspective.

The carry breakdown

The Eagles have become a more run-oriented team since Chip arrived in 2013. In the past two seasons, the Eagles ranked in the top 5 in total rushing attempts and have seen one of their guys win a rushing title (LeSean McCoy in 2013.) While McCoy was a true feature back, seeing the majority of carries compared to then-backups Bryce Brown and Chris Polk, it's looking like there could be more of a committee style attack in 2015 with Murray still assuming the majority of the carries.

Last season, there were 415 rushing attempts by running backs in the Philadelphia offense. Murray ran the ball a league-leading 392 times in 2013, a workload that dwarfed any other running back by 100 carries. Even though Murray ended up winning the rushing title with more than 1,800 yards, it's safe to say Philadelphia likely won't run him as hard as Dallas did. Murray slowed down as the season went along, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry in two of the Cowboys' last four games.

Assuming both Murray and Mathews are healthy, Murray is the obvious choice for the majority of the carries. While some may be wondering whether or not Mathews will still have fantasy appeal, the answer is a little cloudy but still important to know in case you plan on drafting him in redraft leagues. Mathews will have RB2/flex appeal in 2015. He might have hot and cold weeks, but some weeks he'll rush for 60 yards and a touchdown and that's still worth 12 fantasy points in most leagues. Other weeks, Murray will take over. But the track record for running backs coming off a season where they carried the ball as much as Murray did hasn't favored the running back. Going back to guys like Larry Johnson, who carried the ball over 400 times in one season, it's safe to say you're not going to get the same kind of fantasy production from Murray that you did last season.

One thing you have to remember with running backs is matchups also play a huge role. Take last year for example. Darren Sproles got off to a hot start in 2014. He rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against a lowly Jacksonville team. LeSean McCoy, on the other hand, ran for 74 yards on 21 carries. McCoy had more carries, but Sproles ended up having a slightly better fantasy day. This gave him confidence to slay the Colts in Week 2 on Monday Night. In that game, Sproles caught seven passes for 152 yards, giving those who started him in fantasy plenty of production.

You will want to keep an eye on who the Eagles play in Week 1. If they play a run defense that looks like it could be below average, Mathews is an obvious flex start in the offense. Now, he could fall flat on his face in Week 1 and not produce at all, at least then you'll know what kind of player you're dealing with this season, and can remain hesitant to start him in the coming weeks.

But overall, Mathews is a player that has to be drafted in 12-to-14 team leagues this season. He's still a talented running back in a run oriented offense. Plus, Murray always comes with a 'handle with care' sticker and could find himself on the injured reserve list at some point during the season. But even if Murray stays healthy, Mathews will likely see touches on the field and if he has the hot hand, then he'll be the one getting you 10-12 fantasy points that particular week.

Published in Fantasy Coverage
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 00:00

Episode 33: We give thanks

On a special Thanksgiving edition of Diagnosis, the Helpers break down each game on the Thanksgiving slate including the Eagles/Cowboys, 49ers/Seahawks and Bears/Lions. They talk about every relevant fantasy player in those matchups and finish the podcast by sending out love letters of thanks to the players who have helped them throughout the fantasy season on their own fantasy teams. Also, check out our weekly rankings here.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Quarterbacks

Mark Sanchez — Sanchez has been playing adequately in replacement of Nick Foles, and is a solid QB1 option against a bad Dallas secondary. While Sanchez is prone to turnovers (he's averaging about two interceptions per game) the high octane offense of the Philadelphia Eagles combined with the good matchup should keep him in the 15-20 point range. 

Tony Romo — Romo is in line for a big week. The Eagles have one of the worst defenses against the quarterback, surrendering 19.5 points per game. Only the New York Jets allow more. He's a must-start for Week 12.

Running backs

DeMarco Murray — Obviously a must start, Eagles are better against the run than the pass, but the offensive line of Dallas is far and away the best in the league right now. Expect another 100 yard rushing day.

LeSean McCoy — McCoy is finally starting to recapture the elusiveness that helped him claim the rushing title last season. When he makes guys miss in the open field, he rattles off big gains. McCoy found the end zone last week and recorded his first game of 100-plus rushing and a score. He's a must start this week.

Wide receivers

Jeremy Maclin — A must-start WR1 as always. With 980 receiving yards on the season, Maclin is ready to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the first time in his career. He remains one of the best ADP draft bargains of 2014.

Jordan Matthews — Continues to thrive as the No. 2 receiver with Sanchez under center. It's impossible for Matthews not to be productive based on Sanchez's strengths in the intermediate game.

Dez Bryant — Clear cut WR1 in a great matchup. Bryant should near 100 yards and find the end zone at least once this week.

Terrance Williams — Not startable due to a low volume of targets, but the Eagles do give up quite a few points to receivers. If you're very desperate, there's some upside to this matchup.

Tight ends

Zach Ertz (sleeper*) — The Cowboys are one of the worst teams in the league at defending the tight end, giving up 10.1 fantasy points per week to tight ends on average. They've also given up a league-worst 72 receptions to tight ends on the year. Vernon Davis, Larry Donnell and Jimmy Graham have all carved them up. 

Jason Witten — Remains a very solid TE2 against a defense that hasn't fared well against tight ends with DeMeco Ryans out.

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

Quarterbacks

Matthew Stafford — We know he's played bad recently, but Stafford has a great matchup at home against a bad defense. He's a great option this week.

Jay Cutler — Rated our No.17 QB in our weekly rankings, Cutler continues to struggle with turnovers and overall poor production. The only upside is the Bears will likely be down in this game early which could mean plenty of garbage time yards. He's a QB2.

Running backs

Reggie Bush — He's expected to start today, and is a desperate play even with a good matchup. Still, the Lions could use some help at running back as they're one of the worst rushing teams in the league. There's some element of home run potential here.

Joique Bell — Still a great flex play in PPR leagues.

Matt Forte — Don't be scared off by the tough matchup even for a second, Forte's one of the best receivers out of the backfield in the league right now. Any rushing yards negated by a tough Lions run defense should be made up for in the passing game.

Wide Receivers

Brandon Marshall — Played much better lately, he's got 8 touchdowns on the year but three of those came in one game against San Francisco. He's still a must start in 12-team leagues.

Alshon Jeffery — Wide receiver who is always a must start. He's scored three touchdowns in the last four games.

Calvin Johnson — Megatron could be in line for his best game of the season. The Bears will be without their top defensive back in Kyle Fuller and Johnson has seen target numbers of 15,12, and 10 in his last three games.

Golden Tate — Tate is a solid WR2 in a plus matchup. His 97 receiving yards were a lone bright spot against New England last week, and he's already eclipsed the 1,000 yard receiving mark for the first time in his career.

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett — A guy who doesn't get enough credit. Bennett struggled last week but also strung together a 134-yard effort against the Green Bay Packers. The Lions one weak spot comes in defending tight ends, so Bennett has upside in this matchup.

Eric Ebron (sleeper*) — Injuries have slowed what was expected to be a good rookie season for one of the top tight ends of the 2014 draft. Ebron has a great matchup against the Bears, who rank dead last against the tight end (10.9 fantasy points per game). Expect Stafford to look for him in the red zone.

 

 

 

Published in Podcasts
Saturday, 18 October 2014 00:00

Week 7 bullet points for RBs

Start of the week

DeMarco Murray vs. New York Giants — #1 in weekly rankings

It's impossible to rank Murray behind anyone else at this point. If his owners aren't already fist pumping for all his production so far this season, his matchup for Week 7 is also decent. The Giants defense allowed 203 rushing yards last week from the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that has struggled in the run game due to a battered offensive line.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, have one of the best offensive lines in the league and Murray has yet to run for less than 100 yards in a game this season. Dallas also has the added benefit of playing at home, where a rocking crowd that finally has a reason to cheer a winning team will no doubt add another advantage.

It's not to say the Giants can't surprise and keep Murray in check. They're one of the most resilient teams in football as evidenced by their three straight wins following an 0-2 start. Still, they haven't fared too well against the run this season. They've allowed 116 rushing yards per game on average (17th in the NFL) and surrendered seven rushing touchdowns which is tied for third worst in the league.

If Murray somehow doesn't have a good game, it will be more because they opt to use their backups in a blowout or they simply scale his carries back and rely on Romo a bit more. That's unlikely to happen though based on how well the formula has worked so far for Dallas. Also, the Cowboys (5-1) will want to keep the pedal to the medal to gain some distance from another 5-1 team in Philadelphia while the Eagles rest on their bye week. Murray is as much of a lock as any RB in the league this week.

Start him

Andre Ellington @ Oakland — #12 in weekly rankings

Ellington has yet to the cross the 100-yard plateau this season, with the closest coming in Week 2 against the New York Giants where he rushed for 91 yards. But this week is his best chance to do just that. The Raiders are coming off a game where they allowed more than 100 yards to Chargers RB Branden Oliver.

Oakland has been dismal against the run. They'r allowing 149 rushing yards per game this season, which is second worst only to Green Bay. Carson Palmer is expected to play, which should help Ellington's numbers in the receiving game as he recorded a season-high six catches last week against Washington. Ellington is one of the more versatile running backs in fantasy and should give owners a decent outing in Week 7.

Fred Jackson vs. Minnesota — #18 in weekly rankings

Old Mr. reliable. Running backs in the NFL often age like milk, but Jackson is aging like wine. He always finds a way to make fantasy owners who start him happy. If he doesn't rush for a lot of yards, he scores a touchdown. If he doesn't score a touchdown, he gets you some good PPR numbers and 30-40 rushing yards. He never explodes for big games, but he always hovers around the 5-8 fantasy point mark, which is all you need out of a flex guy. Jackson's 30 total targets is second most in the NFL among running backs, trailing only Matt Forte.

While Jackson has more upside than Spiller, there's some still points of concern. The Bills offensive line is just not good, as evidenced by their recent struggles in the run game against both Detroit and New England. If you watched those games, you noticed running backs like C.J. Spiller getting surrounded by defenders before they even have a chance to get up the field. The difference is, Spiller runs east and west while Jackson bursts through for all the yards he can get. Spiller could have more upside if the line was better since he's more a straight line speed guy.

But that's why Jackson is the better fantasy option — he's more versatile. The Bills like to split him out wide from time to time and use him in the screen game, which gives him added value in the receiving game. Laterally, he can make guys miss in a way similar to Ahmad Bradshaw in Indianapolis (who also suffers from a bad offensive line). He's better in pass protection as well. Overall, Jackson's just a better player than Spiller for this scheme.

Jackson's best chance for a big week may very well be against Minnesota. The Vikings' defense ranks 17th against the run, having allowed 117 yards per game through six weeks. They've also allowed six rushing touchdowns which is tied for 24th in the league. Quarterback Kyle Orton, while not playing his best football as of now, still has more upside than E.J. Manuel and should target Jackson plenty in the backfield. Expect Jackson to rush for anywhere between 60-70 yards and add 6-10 catches for 50-70 yards. A goal line touchdown is not out of the question either and would be icing on the cake.

Owners beware

Marshawn Lynch vs. St. Louis — #2 in weekly rankings

I know we have Lynch ranked high this week and you should definitely still start him, but beast mode hasn't been activated in a while which is cause for concern. Lynch only carried the ball 10 times last week against Dallas in a 23-30 loss. Those 10 carries were his second lowest output since Week 2 against San Diego. In that game, he ran just six times in a 21-30 loss. It would seem the Seahawks might be starting to realize their success hinges on Lynch being used more in the run game. It's also worth noting Lynch hasn't run for more than 100 yards since Week 1 against Green Bay.

The Seahawks play the Rams at home, a division rival with a history of giving Seattle trouble no matter what the records are. The Rams defense are also playing better as of recently. They kept Frank Gore in check last Monday night, allowing him just 2.8 yards per carry on 16 rushing attempts. They held LeSean McCoy to under 100 yards a week earlier as well.

Another interesting twist is the Percy Harvin trade, a move which reportedly made Lynch and a few other players irate.

With Harvin gone, the Seahawks might need to rely on Lynch even more so if the Seahawks receiving core doesn't pick up the slack. The Rams could easily stack the box and force more throws from Russell Wilson, something that would keep Lynch from getting more carries. He's still startable, but there's some uncertainty this week.

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Published in Fantasy Coverage
Saturday, 20 September 2014 00:00

Best and worst fantasy plays for Week 3

Running back is the one position that’s usually a safe bet. But so far, many first-round fantasy running backs have been complete busts. From Adrian Peterson’s off-field trouble to the presence of Darren Sproles hurting LeSean McCoy to Jamaal Charles’ inability to stay healthy, the top three running backs have all been disappointments compared to their pre-draft hype. 

Let’s start with the obvious: AP. We all can agree that his domestic abuse allegations against his child are heinous. In many circles, unforgivable. I’ll keep my own opinions out of it and stick strictly to the football side of the equation.

Peterson’s absence—which could very well be for the entire season—is an obvious blow to fantasy owners who banked on All Day with their top pick. It just so happens I took AP with the first overall pick in my ESPN league, so I’m right there with you. Even before the controversial news broke, Peterson wasn’t exactly dominant. Sure, it was only one week, but he managed just 75 yards on 21 carries against the Rams.

Combine his massive $15.4 million cap hit in 2015 and it’s very likely we’ve seen the last of AP in a Vikings uniform. What a sad turn of events for both NFL fans, fantasy owners and the nation. To see the best running back of this generation fall from grace in such a short span simply shows that no one is invincible.

The other common No. 1 overall pick, LeSean McCoy, hasn’t exactly lit things up like he did in 2013, either. McCoy’s 26 points through two games is solid, but by no means a No. 1 overall pick type of performance.

Is this necessarily a reflection of McCoy's talent dissipating? I think not. 

The Eagles offensive line has been hit by injuries, and the unit is still playing without 2013 first-round pick Lane Johnson, who is serving a four-game suspension. Philly is starting Dennis Kelly at left guard and Andrew Gardner at right tackle. That’s a massive downgrade from Evan Mathis and Johnson. 

Secondly, the presence of Sproles—the No. 1 RB in most fantasy leagues—certainly hasn’t worked in McCoy’s favor. From a real-life standpoint, having a capable back to spell him should keep Shady healthy. But for fantasy owners, Sproles is eating into McCoy’s touches, and his continued success should only provide for more opportunities.

At the end of the day, McCoy is still a phenomenal talent and he should get back on track. But for now, he hasn’t lived up to his pre-draft billing as a No. 1 overall pick.

Finally, we travel to Kansas City, where the Chiefs are off to a rough 0-2 start. We all knew the Chiefs lacked weapons, but K.C. is tied with Jacksonville for the second-fewest points scored in the NFL. Not good at all.

Again, the offensive line is a major issue, as the Chiefs lost Branden Albert and Jon Asamoah from the left side. With Eric Fisher still struggling, Charles simply hasn’t had the same holes in front of him as he did in years prior.

Facing a new-look Titans 3-4 defense, Charles carried the ball just seven times for 19 yards in Week 1 and failed to find the end zone. He received two carries last week before going down with a high ankle sprain. 

Projecting a player’s health is always a slippery slope, but even before the injury, Charles wasn’t lighting it up. And with the Chiefs offense lacking firepower, it just doesn’t feel like a special year for a guy with special speed. And as every good fantasy owner knows, sometimes it’s just good to go with your gut.

Luckily, there has been some solid value at the running back position with guys like DeMarco Murray, Le’Veon Bell and Gio Bernard racking up points early. But for those who spent high picks on the likes of AP, McCoy and Charles, the early results have not been promising.

That said, let’s take a look at a few of the best and worst plays for Week 3.

Players I’m Banking On

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: Did you see what Aaron Rodgers just did to New York a week ago? Even with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery at less than 100 percent, that duo dominated against San Francisco. Cutler had 25 points despite throwing for just 176 yards against the 49ers. Expect closer to 300 against a horrible Jets secondary. 

DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: Scott Linehan has done a complete 180 and become a run-first playcaller. That’s good news for Murray owners. He’s already carried the ball 51 times in two games, turning that into 285 yards and two touchdowns. Facing a Rams defense that just got shredded for 144 yards by Bobby Rainey, the arrow is only pointing up on Murray.

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Vikings: The absence of AP could hurt Patterson in some people’s eyes, but it only increases his importance in mine. The dynamic playmaker hasn’t gotten enough touches. You and I know both know that. At this point, Norv Turner has to know that. I see Patterson getting at least 8-10 targets and a few touches out of the backfield. That’s promising considering he’s going up against a Saints defense that’s allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Players to Be Cautious With

Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys: Annually a very solid fantasy QB, Romo simply hasn’t looked right coming off his back surgeries. Perhaps he needs to shake off some rust. Or maybe he just isn’t that good anymore. Either way, Linehan has taken the ball out of Romo’s hands and is placing the responsibility on his strong running game. Facing a Rams defense without Chris Long, I expect Dallas to continue to run the football and minimize Romo’s chances of making mistakes.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars: It’s almost fun for me to make fun of the Jags. Many of my friends are Jags fans. And many of them were excited about the prospect of the great Gerhart in the backfield. Let’s be serious. This guy is nothing more than a plodding No. 2 back. Fantasy owners who spent a mid-round pick on the guy have to be kicking themselves after the goose egg he laid last week. I fully expect Andrew Luck to shred this defense, putting the Jags in the unenviable position of having to abandon the “running game.” 

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: Even after his dad called out the Cardinals for not feeding Larry the ball, the results weren’t much better in Week 2. Fitzgerald recorded just five points, failing to find the end zone again. With Carson Palmer likely out and the 49ers defense motivated to get back on track, I’m not going to put my money on Fitzgerald suddenly breaking out of his early-season slump.

Published in Fantasy Coverage
Friday, 05 September 2014 00:00

Best and worst fantasy plays for Week 1

Nothing quite puts a strain on friendships, families and finances like fantasy football. The time has come where you once again open that hidden tab at work to set your lineup, or you take a few extra seconds to get your chores done while you sneak away looking at the waiver wire for the perfect flex option for the week.

Here at Fantasy Football Helpers, I’m here to help put you on the path to championship status. Looking for the extra edge to win your matchup this week? I’ve got the magic. Wondering who to target in trades to shore up a weak spot on your team? I’m your guy. 

Every week, this is the place to come to mine for fantasy nuggets of gold. While I’m no Matthew Berry, I still consider myself a football expert first and foremost, and after all, knowledge of the game has to be one of the biggest factors to a successful fantasy season. Well, that and a bit of luck.

Year in and year out, we see guys like Josh Gordon and T.Y. Hilton come out of nowhere and become fantasy superstars. Now, it’s not always clear before the season that these guys need to be picked up, but some keen scouting and knowledge of a team’s depth chart can help put you in the right position to get those hidden gems before the rest of your league scrambles to put in a waiver claim.

Week 1 is always the toughest to figure out. Sure, we’ve seen some preseason action, but how much stock can we really put in those games? Hell, the Giants went 5-0 and look like a team that should have gone 0-5. Is anyone really confident that interception machine/Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning is ready to handle Ben McAdoo’s new offense? It doesn’t help that the team’s first-round pick, Odell Beckham Jr., has been invisible the entire offseason with a hamstring injury.

As such, our Week 1 rankings have to be taken with a grain of salt, as we’re sometimes just going with reputation and matchup more than anything. That said, there are still plenty of reasons to start Jay Cutler over Nick Foles this week, or why we have DeMarco Murray as our No. 8 RB even against the 49ers.

Players I’m Banking On

Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers

My No. 3 QB signed a huge contract this offseason. While the reported numbers aren’t entirely true, it still signifies that San Fran is ready to put more on Kaepernick’s plate. San Francisco’s passing game suddenly features much better depth, including a hopefully healthy Michael Crabtree. Now in his second full season as a starter, the highly gifted dual-threat star is poised to become a consistent fantasy player. All of those factors really take a back seat to the fact he’s playing the Cowboys, who might just have the worst defense in the history of football. Seriously, can you name three starters on that putrid unit?

DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys

You don’t have to stray far to find a running back who I expect to put up great numbers this season. Murray, for all his faults, has been highly productive when on the field. Of course, staying healthy has been his biggest issue dating back to his days at Oklahoma. Dallas fans are intimately familiar with DeMarco’s big-play ability, as he posted four games with at least 20 points in 2013. At first glance, you may be wondering if I’ve gone crazy for ranking him so high against the vaunted 49ers defense. Hold on, folks. This isn’t your same run-stuffing, swarming unit that annually ranked as a top-five fantasy defense. San Fran is already down NaVorro Bowman (ACL recovery) and Aldon Smith (suspension), plus Glenn Dorsey (injury). Oh, they also lost Donte Whitner, Tarrell Brown and Carlos Rogers in free agency. Suddenly, this looks like a very vulnerable team for Murray to rack up some big numbers against. 

Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

A rookie revelation, Allen enters the year as a rock-solid WR1. Still, it seems he’s undervalued in a league chock-full of superstar pass catchers. Even guys like Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson are still going ahead of him in some drafts, which is a travesty considering both stars are on the wrong side of 30 and aren’t exactly in their primes anymore. Allen, on the other hand, looked like a 10-year vet in his first year in the league. And while this week he’ll probably see plenty of Patrick Peterson, that doesn’t mean he can’t produce. Arizona’s defense has also taken a ton of hits this offseason, particularly right at its core. Daryl Washington is suspended for the season, and Karlos Dansby signed his last big contract and left the desert. Darnell Dockett tore his ACL and is out for the season. Playmaking safety Tyrann Mathieu is still working his way back from a devastating knee injury of his own. Without a reliable pass rush and a questionable middle of the defense, Allen should have more time and room to operate. Even Peterson can’t cover someone for 10 seconds.

Players To Be Cautious With

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: Ankle surgery. Fractured ribs. New left tackle. Rookie No. 1 receiver. All of those elements make for a very shaky situation for one of the consistent fantasy stars at the quarterback position. Newton showed strides as a leader in 2013, carrying his team to the playoffs. However, with so much turnover along the offensive line and at receiver (two of the team’s top options are Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant for god’s sake), Newton is a guy I’m wary of. Throw in the fact he’s facing Tampa Bay’s suddenly formidable defense that’ll be coached by Lovie Smith, and I’m worried Newton barely cracks 10 points in the season opener. 

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Oakland Raiders: For one, you shouldn’t start any Raiders player. Ever. Secondly, the Raiders are starting a rookie quarterback, which means teams are going to challenge Oakland to throw the ball. Third, MJD looks like he’s running with a bowling ball tied to each leg. Did I mention he’ll be going up against a Jets defense that allowed the third-fewest rushing yards in the league in 2013? Keep MJD on the bench.

Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Great to see the 36-year-old coming back from a torn ACL, but I’m treading lightly in Week 1. It’s one thing to get back to action in training camp and the preseason, but the regular season is a whole other ballgame. Throw in the fact that the Colts are facing a highly motivated Broncos team that got huge upgrades on defense, and it’s not looking pretty for Indy. Somehow Andrew Luck is going to have to figure out a way to slice and dice against Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward. Tell me how Luck’s going to do that playing behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines with no running game to speak of. Sorry, Reggie. This isn’t going to be fun.

 

Published in Fantasy Coverage

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