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Ahmad Bradshaw's Long Term Fantasy Value and Outlook

Ahmad Bradshaw's Long Term Fantasy Value and Outlook

I'm still holding onto a slight glimmer of hope that Trent Richardson can turn things around, but it's not looking good at all.

The fact that he's already splitting carries with Ahmad Bradshaw (and we're only through week two) speaks volumes about his decline. But what's even more interesting from a fantasy perspective is Bradshaw's performance in and of itself.

Not only is he distinctly outplaying Richardson, but he's been a solid fantasy option now two weeks in a row.

Those who were gutsy enough to start Bradshaw were rewarded with two receiving touchdowns to go along with 70 yards rushing.

So this is all well and good, but is there reason to trust him beyond the Monday Night performance?

Yes and no.

He has some lasting appeal, but proceed with caution.

Andrew Luck is passing to him.

It's obvious that Andrew Luck trusts Bradshaw to catch the football and make plays. That means it's feasible for Bradshaw to put up points even if the Indianapolis Colts aren't always in a position to run the ball (which they haven't been over the past two weeks).

Through two games, Bradshaw has been targeted 11 times to Richardson's five, having been on the field for roughly an equal amount of time.

Bradshaw has also had the two touchdowns.

So we can see that he's becoming part of Luck's comfort zone.

Don't forget that Luck is still a young quarterback; thus the reliability of a veteran like Bradshaw could be more appealing to him than the uncertainty of Richardson's play.

He's Healthy

One of the reasons that Bradshaw has been written off in recent years is because he hasn't been able to stay on the field. But this year he's healthy and running well, which isn't to say that he might not get hurt down the road, but at the moment that's not a concern.

If he continues to stay healthy he's going to get work in the Colts backfield because of Richardson's marginal running.

So as strange as it might sound, Bradshaw is a good long-term option.

That's not to say he won't get hurt, but if he continues to split carries with Richardson, that might be a good recipe for him getting enough time to stay relevant, but also enough rest to avoid getting hurt.

A High-End Richardson Handcuff

Yet the recipe for Bradshaw's success remains narrow.

We need to assume that Richardson continues to play poorly (he had 95 yards from scrimmage in Monday Night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles) and that Bradshaw avoids injury, taking into account the possibility of more carries in the weeks to come.

So don't think of Bradshaw as an every-down back at this point.

Think of him as a high-end Richardson handcuff and better-than-average start in your FLEX spot, especially in week three against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After that, you might want to reevaluate.

He's good, but he's not an every week guy...yet.

Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of The Armstrongs


Week Two 2014: Start Michael Floyd or Percy Harvin?

Fantasy Football 2014: Start Michael Floyd or Percy Harvin?

You've got one spot left for either of these two players; maybe a flex or a WR2 slot.

The question is simple: Which one?

A clear argument could be made for both receivers as there's little to dislike about them in week two of the 2014 NFL season. But one of them must have at least a little bit of an edge, right?

You can go with your gut, dig deeper into the statistics or just trust my opinion.

Know that if you've got both players and need to start just one, you can't make a bad decision this week. In other words, it's a good problem to have.

The Argument for Floyd

With only five receptions Michael Floyd racked up 119 yards against the San Diego Chargers on Monday night football, largely due to a 63-yard reception early in the first quarter.

Floyd had a fantastic campaign in 2013 with over 1000 yards receiving and five touchdowns.

What's more telling is that Larry Fitzgerald was all but invisible on Monday night, catching only one pass on four targets. That pass, which converted for 22 yards, didn't come until near the end of the fourth quarter.

Michael Floyd 2013 Stats


While you don't expect Fitzgerald to continue putting up such abysmal numbers in one of the NFL's most enthusiastic vertical offenses, week one bodes well for Floyd, who seems poised for fantasy stardom in 2014.

One advantage he has over Harvin is that you don't have to count on sweep plays to pickup big points. Floyd looks to be a reliable receiving yards guy.

He also gets to play the New York Giants this weekend.

The Argument for Harvin

After being sidelined for almost the entire 2013 season (though he did come away with one fantasy point), Harvin's performances in both the Super Bowl and the Thursday night season-opener were compelling to say the least.

Harvin seems to be healthy and as dynamic as he's ever been, having burned the Green Bay Packers both on the ground and through the air.

He put up 41 rushing yards on four attempts and added another 59 yards receiving.

What's more intriguing is the unique way that Harvin is worked into the Seattle Seahawks offensive gameplan. He's becoming a centerpiece of their attack, with the potential to be involved in an increasing number of snaps and a variety of different situations.

Let's be honest; Harvin is the more interesting, if not the riskier pick.

The Verdict

You'd probably feel better if you were to give Floyd a couple more games to see what he's really capable of this year.

Start Harvin and wait to see if Fitzgerald gets back to being himself, or if Floyd continues to look like a looming success story.

Besides, the matchup against San Diego isn't bad for Harvin. Nobody is scared of their passing defense.

What do you think?

Would you go with Harvin or Floyd?

Let us know over at Twitter and Google Plus.

Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of ifindkarma


Waiver Pickup of the Week: Bernard Pierce

Waiver Pickup of the Week: Bernard Pierce

Let's get the obvious out of the way.

Ray Rice's career could be over, and his fantasy relevancy is completely out the window at this point. Given that he had already turned out a brutal 2013 for fantasy owners who drafted him in the first round, his release from the Baltimore Ravens is more of relief than anything else.

The tier of running backs on Baltimore's depth chart will now shift, with Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett slated to get more playing time.

And despite the fact that head coach John Harbaugh has declined to name a starter for this coming week, stating, "Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett -- they’ll both play a lot. Lorenzo Taliaferro will be a big part of it, too."  Pierce gets the waiver nod because of the assumption that the Ravens will continue to lean on power running.

In that scenario, it's more likely that you'll see pierce get the bigger workload (and goal line carries) while Forsett serves as a third and passing downs back.

A closer look at Baltimore's team gives you a few more reasons to like Pierce.

Joe Flacco and the Ravens Gameplan

Does anybody expect Joe Flacco to throw the ball 62 times again?

Doubtful. What's more, he just had an overall bad game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

It's hard to imagine that Baltimore will deviate that heavily from their typical offensive scheme, which features plenty of running and power football.

That gives value to both Pierce and Forsett, but out of the two backs, Pierce's body type is going to be more aptly suited to a heavier (Rice-style) workload and goal line carries.

So you can bet that Flacco will still hand the ball off quite a bit.

Waiver Pickup of the Week: Bernard Pierce

Don't let the Week One Performance Discourage

It's easy to write Pierce off after fumbling and getting benched while Harbaugh gave us his best Bill Belichick-benching impression.

Don't assume that Harbaugh is going to continue to keep Pierce sidelined. He simply can't afford it.

If he doesn't, assume that the production Forsett was able to glean from week one will now go to Pierce. Because chances are that Harbaugh's putting this forth as a timeshare to try and justify benching the only halfway proven runner on his roster, then proceeding to have his quarterback throw the ball 62 times.

If you can stay patient and get through one or two more Forsett games, Pierce should be a better play in the long term.

The Long Term Solution

And that's just it. Pierce is the better long term solution for your team this year.

Forsett might be a good temporary patch, but he's little more than fantasy fool's gold. Piece is now going to be both himself and Rice, which will make for decent numbers.

Or possibly better numbers, if you believe at all in Baltimore's offensive line this year.

Want to get in touch?

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Flickr Commons Images Courtesy of paulmgardner


Fantasy Football 2014: Week One Start 'em Sit 'em

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons

Week one of the NFL season can be a bit of a shot in the dark for fantasy owners.

Predictions and speculation tend to get tossed out the window pretty fast, but we've still got to make some educated decisions about who to start.

So we'll hit the highlights.

Based on matchups, projections and some reasonably accurate "gut-feelings" from yours truly, here's your week one Start 'em Sit 'em.

Start 'em

1. Matt Ryan

Here's a fun fact (thanks ESPN): Matt Ryan ranks second in passing attempts since 2010 and the Falcons passed 67 percent of the time in 2013 (a league high).

He's also got Julio Jones back and Roddy White with a solid preseason performance in behind him.

Ryan, despite being relegated to a QB2 role in most 10-team leagues is worth a start this week.

2. Tom Brady

In his last 12 meetings against the Miami Dolphins, Tom Brady has won 12 games and thrown at least one touchdown pass in every one of those 12 games. Also keep an eye on Rob Gronkowski's status (though he expects to play).

Even if Gronkowski is out, start Brady as he's going against a team that he's extremely familiar with, having thrown 16 touchdown passes in six trips to their building

3. Emmanuel Sanders

Not only could you think of Emmanuel Sanders as the Denver Broncos' replacement for Eric Decker, but now you can think of him as their replacement for Wes Welker also.

With Welker's suspension keeping him off the field until week six, Sanders will be the primary beneficiary of Welker's absence in front of Andre Caldwell and Cody Latimer. Expect Julius and Demaryius Thomas to continue being the star attractions, but Sanders still has a lot of opportunity to put up yardage this week.

4. Frank Gore

Frank Gore's age has become a concern as he turned 31 this past May, but he's still the clear No. 1 runner in front of Carlos Hyde and the likely focal point of the San Francisco 49ers offense if Michael Crabtree's calf injury keeps him off the field.

Starting Gore becomes even more appealing when he's going up against an absolutely abysmal Dallas Cowboys defense that allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs last year.

5. Vernon Davis

You could make an argument for most offensive starters on the 49ers roster, simply due to the fact that they're playing the Cowboys.

Vernon Davis gets a bump because of Crabtree's injury. Expect Colin Kaepernick to rely heavily both Davis and Gore in the red zone.

6. Knowshon Moreno

Despite the fact that he's listed as the second running back behind Lamar Miller on the Dolphins' depth chart, Knowshon Moreno has more upside for fantasy owners, especially in a week where Miami could be playing from behind and getting Moreno involved in the passing game.

He's a good FLEX start this week, especially if you consider that he was third on Denver's depth chart before the 2013 season began.

Sit 'em

1. Cam Newton

You'd hate to sit a player like Cam Newton who was so good last year and has such a dynamic skill set.

But with his status uncertain for Sunday and a new group of wide receivers to get acquainted with, it might behoove Newton owners to wait a week or two to see how he handles the new system and cracked ribs.

2. Shane Vereen

With  Stevan Ridley heading up the Patriots' depth chart, Shane Vereen is likely to see a lot less of the field. He also has a poor history against Miami, tallying only 65 yards in three career games. He's a good sit this week if you have someone else to plug into your FLEX, or heaven forbid your RB2 slot.

3. Toby Gerhart

Toby Gerhart is still a major question mark, even as the No. 1 back with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The first problem is that the Philadelphia Eagles run defense was good last year, allowing only 3.77 yards per carry. The second problem is that you've got to assume that the Jaguars will be playing from behind, minimizing Gerhart's opportunities to make plays.

You could probably pencil him in for six or seven points, but that's likely as good as it will get this week.

4. Reggie Wayne

It's good to see him healthy again, but Reggie Wayne isn't a good start this week against the Denver defense where he'll likely be matched up with Aqib Talib.

You should also consider that Andrew Luck has T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks now to throw to as well. Wayne could still be successful, but he's a light that has been fading in Indianapolis as brighter stars begin to crop up.

5. Martellus Bennett 

The Chicago Bears tight end is going up against a Buffalo Bills defense that posted top ten numbers against tight ends in 2013. He's also got to compete with Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery for touches.

If you don't have any other options in week one, you might have to start him, but expect his usual five or less fantasy points.

Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of Football Schedule


Fantasy Football 2014: Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers Start 'em Sit 'em

There's some chatter - some "discussion" if you will - about the viability of the Green Bay Packers offensive starters against the Seattle Seahawks defense. I get it. The Seahawks are a great defense, but are you really prepared to sit Aaron Rodgers or Eddie Lacy?

You didn't draft those guys to sit them, and even against a defense as good as the Seahawks, they're good plays this week.

We'll cover a player-by-player start 'em site 'em for tonight's NFL season opener.

Green Bay Packers Start 'em

1. Aaron Rodgers

The problem with Rodgers is that you probably drafted him in the second round, which means you've invested a lot in your quarterback. Thus sitting him during the first game of the season wouldn't be smart, especially when you consider the vulnerability of a team coming off a Super Bowl win.

The Seahawks defenders are good, but they're not invincible. Also, I'd expect Rodgers to have enough sense not to throw to Richard Sherman.

2. Eddie Lacy

The argument for Lacy is similar to that of Rodgers.

Even with such a stingy run defense (the best in 2013), you're talking about a top-five running back in terms of ADP, which doesn't mean you can't sit him, but it likely means you don't have a better option.

Give Lacy a chance to prove himself in prime time after having only 13 touches in the preseason. The yardage might not be there, but he has a good chance to score if the Packers get in the red zone, which everyone expects them to.

Underestimating the ability of a Lacy-Rodgers tandem (which was a rarity last season considering the injuries between the two players) would be a mistake.

3. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb

The consensus seems to be that Sherman will focus on Jordy Nelson as opposed to Randall Cobb, making Nelson a far less appealing start than he would have been otherwise.

Though it's certainly possible that he could score if the Packers move him around, or if Sherman gets some other assignments. And there seems to be some uncertainty as to whether Sherman will mirror Nelson or simply play on the outside, regardless of who Green Bay puts there.

So again, that's just not enough to bench Nelson or Cobb.

Yes, Sherman is good and yes, he'll probably cover either or both at certain points in the game. But that doesn't negate the skill of Green Bay's top-two receivers and the possibility that they could outplay Sherman as they did to a lot of No.1 cornerbacks in 2013.

4. Mason Crosby

The thought process here is pretty simple.

If you drafted Mason Crosby to be your kicker, you're starting him anyway. But feel better about it because it's highly probable the Packers will move the ball and then stall on their drives at or in the Seahawks' red zone.

That's going to give Crosby some opportunities. He's an easy start this week, so don't get cute with kickers on the waiver wire.

Green Bay Packers Sit 'em

1. James Starks and DuJuan Harris

Besides the fact that we're already assuming a reduced number of opportunities for the Packers offense, James Starks and DuJuan Harris are at best, change-of-pace guys behind Lacy.

If you've even got them on your roster, there's no smart reason to start them this week, or any other, unless Lacy gets hurt.

2. Jarrett Boykin and all Tight Ends

Once again, a stingy defense means that yes, you start your stud guys and trust them, but you also avoid getting cute with depth players. Jarrett Boykin did good things last year, but he, like the Green Bay tight ends, aren't going to get many opportunities this week.

Seattle Seahawks Start 'em

1. Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson has looked good in the preseason and gives us no reason to dislike him against the 24th ranked passing defense of 2013.

Wilson threw for six touchdowns this preseason with a 78.6 percent completion rate.

Those numbers are enough to turn heads even in the preseason. At this point, it's worth riding the wave to see if he can sustain solid numbers in the regular season, even in a passing offense considered to be low-volume.

2. Marshawn Lynch

It's possible that the carries might finally be catching up to Lynch, but that doesn't make him a bad start against the Packers, who were 25th stopping the run in 2013. So once again, there's nothing about Green Bay that scares us when it comes to the Seahawks offense.

If Lynch is good enough for Pete Carroll, he should be good enough for you.

You probably drafted him too high to sit him anyways.

3. The DST

This one should be obvious.

And if you're worried about the Packers offense taking a chunk out of Seattle, that concern should flow in the opposite direction.

If anybody is going to spoil fantasy production, it's going to be the Seahawks DST.

Sure, Green Bay could put up points, but that's a risk you should be willing to take for the most valuable playing piece in this match-up.

4. Percy Harvin

He looked good in the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos and is primed to fill a WR1 role despite being second to Doug Baldwin on the Seahawks depth chart.

Against Green Bay's secondary he's worth a start as a FLEX or a WR3. WR2 might be pushing it a little.

But again, if you like Wilson at QB, you've got to give Harvin a shot.

Seattle Seahawks Sit 'em

1. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse

If we assume that the Seahawks are going to shut down (or almost shut down) the Packers offense, there's not going to be a need for Wilson to chuck the ball around. Thus any receivers aside from Harvin aren't worth starting.

2. Zach Miller

Zach Miller could have some value as a deeper league TE or sleeper, but the same reasoning that we apply to Baldwin and Kearse could apply to him. He's extremely touchdown dependent, which is a bad bet with a healthy Harvin and Lynch hanging around.

If he's your only TE, drop him and grab Jared Cook.

Enjoy getting back to football folks. This is a good time of the year.

Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of Kyle Engman


Waiver Pickup of the Week: Knile Davis

Do you think that Jamaal Charles' workload is sustainable?

It might be, but this guy has seen the field a lot over the past two seasons. And if history has anything to say about the bodies of overworked running backs, we should be keeping an eye on his backup.

Jamaal Charles Workload

Courtesy of ESPN.

The 300 attempt mark is scary for a running back, and Charles has been close to it the last  couple of seasons.

In comes Knile Davis - the De Facto Charles handcuff, owned in about 50 percent of leagues and a great stash for your bench, regardless of whether you're a Charles owner or not.

But where's his value if you're not drafting him as a handcuff?

His 2013 performance sheds a little bit of light.

Davis in 2013

Davis was a solid fantasy option last season in relief of Charles during the Kansas City Chiefs' final  game of the season.

Against the San Diego Chargers first-team defense, he ran the ball 27 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Consider also that Davis had more than six carries only three times during the 2013 season and in each instance he managed to reach the end-zone.

So it's not to say that he's competitive with Charles for the Chiefs top runner.

He's not.

But in a small sample size, he's shown that he can put up numbers and play within the same offensive style that makes Charles so successful.

The Value of Davis in 2014

So if Charles gets hurt, we can reasonably assume that Davis is capable of filling in and carrying out the same gameplan that Head Coach Andy Reid consistently centers around Charles. Essentially, Davis is a potential featured running back that could be free for the taking in your league.

If you pick Davis up, keep an eye on the injury report for Kansas City and pay particularly close attention if you get to the end of the season and the Chiefs have secured a playoff spot.

They would rest Charles again, which means Davis could be looking at a few games with 15 or more carries.

Another consideration would be that Davis has been touted as a bright spot of Kansas City's return game, which wouldn't be enough to start him with Charles healthy, but would put added value on him in the event of a Charles absence.

Your Charles-Davis Strategy

How do you feel about picking up Davis without owning Charles? Is he more than just an insurance policy?

Let us know over at Twitter and Google Plus.

That's where this sort of thing gets talked about these days.

Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of Barry.Lenard


Fantasy Football 2014 Stock Watch: Smart response to Jay Cutler's value?

Fantasy Football 2014 Stock Watch: Smart response to Jay Cutler's value?

The Chicago Bears have quietly built one of the most compelling offensive lineups in recent memory and Jay Cutler is in charge of it. That's good news for him right? It should at least mean that he'd be dealt a more respectable ADP.

He's got a fantastic running game (thanks Matt Forte) and possibly the most dangerous receiving tandem in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.

So why isn't Cutler viewed as a more viable fantasy quarterback?

The Consensus on Cutler

Let's first look at the facts.

People aren't exactly down on Cutler as this point. While he might not be considered a default QB1, he's still one of the most desirable backups, as evidenced by his owned percentage in ESPN leagues.

Courtesy of ESPN

He's almost universally owned. Yet only 34.5 percent of those who own him are actually starting him, which is odd considered there's hardly a league out there that hasn't at least drafted him.

That means there could be some anticipation of Cutler's worth, but little willingness to trust him yet.

What should you do? What's the right way to handle Cutler's potential? Let's look at a couple factors.

Be honest about Cutler's value as your QB1.

You've got to keep some perspective on a player like Cutler. Because despite his talent, he's been an inconsistent QB dating back to his time with the Denver Broncos.

Part of  the problem has been a propensity to turn the ball over.

In 2009 (his first year in Chicago) he tossed a devastating 26 interceptions.

Fantasy Football 2014 Stock Watch: Smart response to Jay Cutler's value?


Also he's only threw for over 3500 yards once in his now eight-year career and has never made it to 30 touchdowns in one season.

That makes it hard to give him QB1 status, even if he does have good arm strength and a great offense around him. That's not to negate the effectiveness of Forte, Marshall and Jeffery, but they're not enough reason to buy into Cutler himself.

At least not yet.

Wait a few weeks...

For Cutler to really vault himself into a top-ten QB and become a default QB1 in fantasy, he would first and foremost need to cut down on the mistakes. We would need to see less interceptions, fumbles and bad throws, which we can't gauge until the first few weeks of the season are in the books.

Thus it's too early to buy into the Cutler-Fantasy-Craze.

USA Today would agree with that statement.

Yet having him on your team as a backup is smart. And that's where he'll have to stay until he serves up a lower volume of mistakes, bigger yardage and some comfort with his revamped offensive line.

So it could happen, but I'd advise waiting to see if this is in fact, Cutler's year.

As of right now, I'd expect more of the same.

Your Thoughts

What is it that makes Cutler "different" this year? Is he over-hyped or worth a shot?

Let us know over at Twitter and Google Plus.

Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of  Mike Morbeck


Jeremy Maclin: Why You Should Start Him in Week One

Jeremy Maclin: Why You Should Start Him in Week One

You might have picked up Jeremy Maclin in the mid rounds of your fantasy draft (or you're planning on it).

Good move.

If his recovery goes as planned, he could bring your team some solid value and be a great start in week one of the NFL season.

Here's why.

Maclin finds himself at the top of the Philadelphia Eagles depth chart, and one of the only recognizable names at wide receiver aside from Riley Cooper.

If his knee continues to work the way it's supposed to, Maclin will be one of the primary beneficiaries of Head Coach Chip Kelly's offense and a full season of catching passes from Nick Foles.

Additionally, he's had flashes of brilliance already in the preseason.

That's a good situation for any wide receiver to be in.

Thus, I would argue that he's been underrated and under-drafted.

I would also submit that not starting him in week one is a mistake, for a few more specific reasons.

DeSean Jackson is gone.

First and foremost, DeSean Jackson is now getting paid to reduce Pierre Garcon's fantasy value, leaving Maclin as the lone star in an otherwise unimpressive group of WRs.

Without Jackson, Maclin should get the lion's share of vertical receptions, those of which he caught 22 of in 2012, even with Jackson on the roster.

It also makes him the undisputed No. 1 WR in Philadelphia.

That alone makes his low ADP a little curious.

But I digress. Let's move on to the second vote of confidence for Maclin's week one value.

They're playing the Jaguars in week one.

The Jacksonville Jaguars ranked 20th in fantasy points given up to opposing team's WRs, and 21st overall in yards given up to opposing receivers during the 2013 regular season.

Jacksonville Jaguars Defense against opposing receivers in 2013

REC Yards Yards/Game Rank vs. opposing WRs
354 4187 261.7 21
Stats courtesy of ESPN

That looks pretty good for Maclin on paper, especially when you consider how the Eagles were ninth in the league in passing yardage last year.

Expect to see Kelly look to get his team off to a quick start and take advantage of a weak opponent early in the season. And while that's not a guarantee to immediately benefit Maclin, he's a play you would expect Foles to want to develop chemistry with early in the year.

Whether or not that transpires on the field in the regular season is a risk that I would personally be willing to take.

If you feel differently, the makeup of your roster is probably dictating a safer WR2 or FLEX than Maclin, which is where he's at right now.

But if you're looking for a good start at WR, or you're not sure who to start, Maclin is worth a shot.

At least give him week one to see how everything pans out.

Maclin or no?

What do you think? Is Maclin worth starting as your WR2 or FLEX?

Let us know over at Twitter and Google Plus.

Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of zennie62