Tag:Fantasy Football
Posted on: October 28, 2010 4:44 pm

Week 8 extended sleepers

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.


Matthew Stafford (vs. WAS): Stafford hasn’t played since Week 1 with his injured shoulder, but Shaun Hill lit up the scoreboard in his absence with three games with at least 24 Fantasy points in his first four starts. The hope is Stafford can post similar stats, and he has a great matchup at home against the Redskins coming off a bye week.  Five quarterbacks have passed for at least 280 yards against Washington this year, with Matt Schaub and Peyton Manning throwing for multiple touchdown passes. My one concern with Stafford is there could be plenty of rust based on all the missed time.

Josh Freeman (at ARI): Freeman continues to be an underrated Fantasy quarterback this year, but he’s playing well. In six games, he has just two with less than 17 Fantasy points. He’s making plays throwing and running the ball heading into his matchup at Arizona, and the Cardinals have allowed three quarterbacks to pass for multiple touchdown passes in six games.


Jonathan Stewart (at STL): DeAngelo Williams (foot) could miss the game, which would make Stewart the starting option. We all remember how that went last year when Stewart had four games with double digits in Fantasy points in his final five outings. The Rams are dealing with injuries at defensive tackle and linebacker, which could allow Stewart to finally have a breakout performance after struggling most of the season. The key, however, is Williams being out.

Darren Sproles (vs. TEN): Sproles got back to doing what he does best last week against New England with nine catches for 70 yards. That’s something that should continue in Week 8 against Tennessee, and it also helps that Ryan Mathews continues to struggle. In leagues where receptions count, Sproles is a must-start running back. The Titans have been great at stopping the run, but Darren McFadden and LeSean McCoy have each had 50 yards receiving against Tennessee this year. And four running backs have caught at least five passes against the Titans.

Marion Barber (vs. JAC): The Jaguars are second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns allowed with 10 behind Denver (12), which should allow Barber the chance to score his second touchdown of the season. Felix Jones has more upside than Barber based on their recent play, but Barber could be on the field to close out the game if Dallas builds an early lead as expected.


Nate Burleson (vs. WAS): The Redskins lead the NFL in catches (120) and yards (1,454) allowed to opposing wide receivers, and they have also given up seven touchdowns. Burleson is playing well with 10 catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games, and he should benefit with Stafford back under center. Calvin Johnson should have a tremendous game against the Redskins, but Burleson also has plenty of upside in this matchup.

Anthony Gonzalez (vs. HOU): With Austin Collie (thumb) and Dallas Clark (wrist) out, Gonzalez should see a huge boost in value.  Be careful with his status heading into Monday night against the Texans because of his ankle injury, but it’s a favorable matchup for him if he’s able to play as expected. The Texans have allowed nine touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and Collie had a big day in Week 1 with 11 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown. In leagues where receptions count, Gonzalez is worth starting as a No. 3 Fantasy option.

James Jones (at NYJ):  With Donald Driver (quad) at less than 100 percent, Jones has the chance to be a significant contributor for the Packers. He had four catches for 107 yards last week against Minnesota, and he should see a hefty amount of targets again this week with Driver limited. It’s a tougher matchup for him against the Jets, but Aaron Rodgers could need Jones based on Driver trying to play hurt. He’s worth using as a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver in deeper leagues.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:05 pm

Week 7 extended sleepers

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.


Matt Hasselbeck (vs. ARI): Hasselbeck has at least 15 Fantasy points in three of five games this season, and he has a good matchup this week against the Cardinals, who have allowed nine passing touchdowns in five games. Hasselbeck is coming off a solid performance in Week 6 at Chicago with 242 passing yards and a touchdown, and he should be able to make plays in this game. If you need a bye-week replacement in deeper formats then consider Hasselbeck a potential option.

Josh Freeman (vs. STL): The Rams are dealing with several injuries on defense, especially in the secondary, which should allow Freeman to play well this week. He has three games with at least 17 Fantasy points in five outings, and he should be able to get the ball to Mike Williams and Kellen Winslow in this matchup. The Bucs have struggled to run the ball so look for Tampa Bay to rely on Freeman in this game. That bodes well for him as a quality bye-week replacement.


Brandon Jacobs (at DAL): It’s hard to ignore the production since Jacobs has four touchdowns in his past three games against Chicago, Houston and Detroit, but this is a tougher matchup for him. Still, if the Giants get near the goal line, it will be Jacobs punching it in and not Ahmad Bradshaw. The Cowboys have only allowed three rushing touchdowns on the season, so use caution with putting Jacobs in your lineup. That said, he has scored in two of the past three meetings with Dallas.

Ladell Betts (vs. CLE): While Chris Ivory had the big game for the Saints last week at Tampa Bay, it was Betts who scored the touchdown. That could happen again in this matchup with the Browns. We still consider Ivory the better Fantasy option, but Betts has averaged six Fantasy points in his past three games against Carolina, Arizona and the Bucs. In deeper leagues, Betts could be a viable flex option.

Willis McGahee (vs. BUF): Ray Rice will get the majority of carries this week, but McGahee could also get some playing time as opposed to last week when he didn’t see the field against New England. McGahee does have three touchdowns on the season, and the Bills have given up plenty of big plays on the ground. McGahee also spent the first four years of his career in Buffalo and would love to score a touchdown against them.


Derrick Mason (vs. BUF): Mason is coming off his best game of the season in Week 6 at New England with eight catches for 100 yards, and he could see a few extra targets if Todd Heap (concussion) is out. Mason only has one touchdown on the season, but in two of his past three games he has reached at least 80 receiving yards. Again, the Bills defense isn’t very good, and Mason could help Joe Flacco have a big game in this matchup.

Jabar Gaffney (vs. OAK): Gaffney has at least 80 receiving yards in three of his past four games and could see a boost in production if Eddie Royal (groin) is out. The Raiders have allowed 12 passing touchdowns on the season, and the chance is there for Gaffney to be considered a solid Fantasy option. If Royal is ruled out then consider Gaffney a starter in all formats.

Jason Avant (at TEN): DeSean Jackson (concussion) is out for this game, so Avant will get the chance to start opposite Jeremy Maclin. That makes him an attractive Fantasy option in deeper formats since Kevin Kolb will be looking in his direction quite a bit. It’s not a great matchup for Kolb, but the need is there for Avant, which gives him increased value this week. Last year, Avant played well when Maclin was out, and he could do the same this season with Jackson unavailable.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 14, 2010 4:19 pm

Week 6 extended sleepers

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.


Mark Sanchez (at DEN):
Sanchez has a good matchup this week with the Broncos missing three players in their secondary due to injury. He has yet to throw an interception, and he should connect well with Santonio Holmes this week. The Broncos have already allowed David Garrard and Peyton Manning to pass for multiple touchdowns against them, and Sanchez could be next on that list.

Chad Henne (at GB): Henne has lost his past two games against the Jets and New England, but he has at least 305 passing yards in each game with four touchdowns and four interceptions over that span. This week, he faces a Green Bay defense that’s decimated by injuries. If you’re looking for a quarterback with a good matchup in Week 6 consider Henne since Donovan McNabb just passed for 357 yards against the Packers.

Matt Cassel (at HOU): Cassel has just one good game this season in Week 3 against the 49ers, but he has a great matchup in Week 6 at Houston if you’re willing to trust him. The Texans have allowed two 425-yard passing games and four games with multiple touchdown passes, and that includes matchups with No. 2 quarterbacks like McNabb, Bruce Gradkowski and Eli Manning.

David Garrard (vs. TEN): Garrard was on the verge of losing his job, but he has played well the past two games against the Colts and Bills with at least 21 Fantasy points in each outing. He has a favorable matchup this week against the Titans, who have struggled the past three weeks in pass defense, allowing three consecutive 340 yard passing games. Last year against the Titans at home, Garrard passed for 323 yards and three touchdowns with 38 rushing yards and a fumble.


Chris Ivory: (at TB):
It looks like Pierre Thomas (ankle) will be out again, which means Ivory, Ladell Betts and Julius Jones will be sharing carries. None of these running backs are great options, but Ivory is still the best of the bunch. And Tampa Bay has allowed three running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points in four games, which makes Ivory intriguing in deeper formats.

Mike Hart: (at WAS): Joseph Addai (shoulder) looks like he might be able to play this week, but Donald Brown (hamstring) is probably out against Washington, which would allow Hart to see additional playing time. And if Addai is out, Hart could become a No. 2 Fantasy running back. The Redskins have allowed five running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points this year.

Jason Snelling (at PHI): The Eagles will likely be without defensive lineman Brodrick Bunkley (elbow), which could allow Michael Turner and Snelling to play well since Philadelphia’s run defense already has been struggling. Three running backs have reached double digits in Fantasy points against the Eagles, and Snelling can be a good flex option in deeper leagues.


Michael Crabtree (vs. OAK):
Crabtree is coming off the best game of his career with nine catches for 105 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles, and he could play well again this week if the Raiders do what they did in Week 5 with Nnamdi Asomugha seeing time on Vernon Davis like he did with Antonio Gates. Crabtree won’t have a Malcom Floyd-like performance, but he is worth starting since he could play well.

Mike Thomas (vs. TEN): Thomas has yet to score a touchdown this season, but he does have at least four catches in four of five games and has been more active in the passing game than Mike Sims-Walker. He has a favorable matchup this week against the Titans, who have allowed some big games to No. 2 wide receivers in Steve Smith of the Giants, Eddie Royal and Roy E. Williams in the past three games.

Dwayne Bowe (at HOU): The Texans have allowed five opposing wide receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points this year, and seven have reached at least eight Fantasy points. Bowe has not played well this year, and there could be some trust issues with Cassel. But based on the matchup, he’s worth using as a No. 3 Fantasy option. And don’t be surprised if Chris Chambers or Dexter McCluster also play well this week.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 7, 2010 7:02 pm

Week 5 extended sleepers

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.


Sam Bradford (at DET):  Bradford has been a pleasant surprise and is the frontrunner for rookie of the year with the Rams at 2-2. And in his past three games he has played well with five touchdowns and three interceptions over that span. He's coming off his best game against Seattle with 289 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and he has a favorable matchup at Detroit. The Lions are among the worst teams against opposing quarterbacks, and Bradford should continue his recent success.

David Garrard (at BUF): Garrard has struggled on the road going back to last year, but he has a favorable matchup this week with the Bills, who have allowed eight passing touchdowns with no interceptions. Garrard is also coming off a strong performance against the Colts in Week 4, and his two best games have come with Mike Sims-Walker doing nothing. Imagine how good Garrard could be if he gets Sims-Walker involved. You’re not going to start Garrard in the majority of leagues, but with Tom Brady on a bye and Michael Vick (ribs) and Jay Cutler (concussion) out, he could be a decent replacement option.


Chris Ivory: (ARI): We’ll include Ladell Betts in this category as well since there’s a strong chance Pierre Thomas (ankle) is out against the Cardinals. Arizona was run over by San Diego last week with Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert each scoring rushing touchdowns. The Cardinals have allowed 155 yards per game on the ground with five rushing touchdowns, and Ivory and Betts could work well in tandem if Thomas is out again. If Thomas starts he would be considered a must-start option, but Ivory and Betts are quality replacements.

Michael Bush (vs. SD): It appears like Darren McFadden (hamstring) is going to miss this game, so Bush is expected to start and get the majority of carries. It’s not a great matchup for Bush, but based on the amount of touches he will get he should be considered a solid flex option in standard leagues and a starter in deep formats. The Chargers have allowed only one rushing touchdown on the season, so keep your expectations for Bush in check if you decide to start him this week.

Tim Hightower (vs. NO): We expect Beanie Wells to carry the running game for the Cardinals this week based on his comments about wanting more touches, but Hightower will still remain part of the action. The Saints have struggled in run defense this year, allowing 138 rushing yards per game with four touchdowns. Even if Wells does well, Hightower can still be productive. Remember, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart both scored against the Saints last week.

Felix Jones (vs. TEN): If you’re in dire need of a running back this week then give Jones a chance with the hope the Cowboys stick to their word and give him more touches. Marion Barber has struggled as the starter, and Jones could provide a spark. He hasn’t run well this year, but no one has for the Cowboys. It’s not a great matchup against the Titans, but Jones could always break a long run based on his speed. Again, in a desperate situation, Jones could help you get the job done as a No. 3 option.


Dexter McCluster (at IND): The Colts secondary is banged up, and the Chiefs are rested coming off a bye. McCluster also scored in his previous game in Week 3 against the 49ers, and hopefully his production will start to increase. Dwayne Bowe could also play well in this game since the Colts have allowed six passing touchdowns with only three interceptions on the season. And don’t be surprised if tight end Tony Moeaki finds the end zone again.

Mario Manningham (at HOU): With Eli Manning as the Start of the Week, all of his targets become viable options in this matchup, including Manningham. He started off the year strong before cooling off last week against the Bears, but he could get double digits in Fantasy points this week based on the matchup. The Texans are last in the NFL in pass defense and have allowed eight passing touchdowns on the season. Manningham could do well along with Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith.

Mike Thomas (at BUF): Thomas is playing well for the Jaguars, but their passing game is too inconsistent to consider him a quality Fantasy option. And we're still not sure what's happened to Sims-Walker outside of last year just being a one-year wonder. Someone has to catch the ball in Jacksonville, and Thomas appears to have the most upside of the receivers. He has a favorable matchup this week with the Bills and their banged up secondary.

Steve Johnson (vs. JAC): Johnson is playing well with two touchdowns in his past two games, and this is a great matchup for him in Week 5 against the Jaguars. Lee Evans has struggled this year, so Johnson has picked up the slack, and it's clear Fitzpatrick has faith in him. For a one-week replacement in deeper leagues, Johnson could provide dividends based on the matchup.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 1, 2010 2:11 pm

Inside the New York Jets

MIAMI GARDENS -- Things couldn't be going any better for the Jets heading into Week 4. They're 2-1 with back-to-back wins against the Patriots and Dolphins, and most of their offensive stars are playing well.

They're even talking about their Fantasy value.

Coach Rex Ryan raved about tight end Dustin Keller after the win at Miami. Keller scored two touchdowns with six catches for 98 yards, and Ryan had a message for Fantasy owners.

"We laughed about it when we said to the Fantasy leaguers that they should take Dustin Keller in training camp," Ryan said. "He really is a nightmare to cover. He is such a weapon."

Maybe we should have listened to Ryan. He boasted about the Jets offense being more explosive and Mark Sanchez taking the next step as a quarterback, but most of us expected to still see plenty of ground and pound. We couldn't have been more wrong, especially the past two weeks.

Sanchez has six touchdowns and no interceptions against the Patriots and Dolphins, and he's turning Keller into a Fantasy star. Braylon Edwards has two touchdowns over that span, and LaDainian Tomlinson looks like a rookie all over again. The only one struggling is Shonn Greene, but that could easily change in Week 4 against the Bills, who have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL.

It's a fun time for the Jets, and Fantasy owners are jumping on board.

"There's no stopping us now," Sanchez said. "We're not going to plateau. We're going to keep building."

Sanchez has seen his ownership rise on CBSSports.com to 83 percent heading into Week 4, and he's passed for 476 yards the past two weeks. He's showing confidence in his receivers, and he looks like a future star. We don't expect him to post overwhelming stats against the Bills because this is a good game for the running backs to shine, but he can easily be a bye-week replacement if you need a starter.

Ryan has been impressed with Sanchez, who is only in his second year. He struggled as a rookie with 2,444 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, but he's easily going to surpass those stats.

"We kept telling everybody that would listen that this kid has learned, and his offseason was as impressive as it gets," Ryan said. "I think you are seeing the dividends of that hard work right now."

The best connection for the Jets has been Sanchez to Keller, who has 13 catches for 213 yards and three touchdowns in his past three games. He has emerged as a No. 1 Fantasy tight end after a disappointing game in Week 1 against Baltimore with two catches for 13 yards.

Keller wasn't aware of Ryan's statement on his value, but he obviously keeps an eye on his status in the Fantasy world.

"I probably got dropped by a lot of teams that first game," Keller said. "Bad move by them."

His ownership is now up to 93 percent, and it likely won't dip below that if he keeps playing at this level. After the Dolphins game, Sanchez gave Keller a "gold star" for his performance.

"Him and I are really growing up together," Sanchez said. "I'm starting to feel his routes and know exactly where he's going to be. He's fun to throw to, and he's tough for guys to defend."

Edwards has also re-emerged as a viable Fantasy wide receiver. He wasn't drafted in 12 percent of leagues, but his ownership is now up to 85 percent. In his past two games he has seven catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and the Jets were impressed with his demeanor following the off-field mistake with the DWI prior to the Dolphins game.

He expressed remorse, was benched and then he played well in a key AFC East matchup.

"He's just a big play guy," Tomlinson said. "He always seems to make a big play for us."

We consider Edwards a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver going forward. Jerricho Cotchery has been nonexistent for the most part, and Santonio Holmes (suspension) will return in Week 5. That will cut into the production for all the receivers, including Keller, but we'll see how they adjust.

We're also waiting to see how Tomlinson and Greene adjust as the year goes on. Greene has struggled to start the season, but Tomlinson is playing like a star with 37 carries for 208 yards and a touchdown and nine catches for 60 yards. He's our Start of the Week heading into Week 4 at Buffalo, and he's all business right now.

Here's our exchange after the Dolphins game:

Me: How would you describe your play so far this year?

L.T.: Solid. Pretty solid.

Me: Are you surprised at all with the way you're playing?

L.T.: Nope.

Me: Is there room for you to improve?

L.T.: Absolutely.

Tomlinson at some point will slow down. He has a lot of mileage on his body, and he's 31 years old. You should use him as a starter in all leagues when he's going well, but eventually Greene will return as the No. 1 option. He's too talented.

So far, Greene has just 30 carries for 106 yards and two catches for 17 yards, but he said the best is yet to come. And he could have a breakout game this week against the Bills.

"I don't think I'm playing bad or anything," Greene said. "You just have to keep chipping away at it. It will be all right."

We still have faith in Greene, and he will become a starting Fantasy running back again. But even with Greene struggling, it's hard to find fault with the Jets right now.

They are flying high and having fun. And Fantasy owners are catching on that the Jets, at the moment, have some fantastic options.

Posted on: September 30, 2010 7:26 pm

Week 4 extended sleepers

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.


Kyle Orton (at TEN): Orton only has four touchdowns on the season, but he's throwing the ball so much you have to take your chances with him most weeks. He's averaging 359 passing yards per game, and even though he faces a tough secondary in Tennessee, he's still worth using as a low-end No. 1 Fantasy option. But the Titans pass defense stats are slightly inflated since they've faced Oakland (with Jason Campbell) and Pittsburgh (with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch) before Eli Manning threw for 386 yards against them last week. If he didn't try to throw a touchdown left-handed, he might have had better stats. Orton will stick to his normal throwing hand in this matchup, and he's still a quality starting option.

Matt Hasselbeck (at STL): Hasselbeck hasn't been great so far this season, but he has posted at least 17 Fantasy points in two of his three starts. That's something to consider when he faces the Rams this week. St. Louis has played better than expected on defense, but O.J. Atogwe (thigh) is banged up, which could hurt the secondary. Hasselbeck has six touchdowns and two interceptions in his past five games at St. Louis, and he could be a bye-week replacement this week if you're without Tony Romo, Josh Freeman, Brett Favre or Matt Cassel in leagues where you start two quarterbacks.

Sam Bradford (vs. SEA): The Seahawks have struggled in pass defense the past two games with Orton and Philip Rivers each accounting for more than 20 Fantasy points. Granted, Orton and Rivers are miles ahead of Bradford in terms of experience, but Bradford does have three touchdowns and two interceptions in his past two games, including his first NFL win against the Redskins. He also has a favorable matchup this week, and we expect Mark Clayton to shine as a must-start wide receiver. Bradford, like Hasselbeck, can be a useful bye-week replacement in two-quarterback leagues. The Rams might be throwing more than usual if Steven Jackson (groin) is out.


Kenneth Darby (vs. SEA): I'm not expecting Jackson to play this week, which should open the door for Darby to get the starting nod. He'd be going against a Seattle defense that has allowed at least six Fantasy points to four running backs (Frank Gore, Knowshon Moreno, Correll Buckhalter and Mike Tolbert). If you're stuck with Jackson out, Darby could sneak in there as a No. 2 running back in deeper leagues or as a flex option. Of the potential injury replacements this week, Darby might be the best of the bunch based on his matchup.

Laurence Maroney (at TEN): The Titans run defense is better than it has shown so far this year with Darren McFadden and Ahmad Bradshaw each posting double digits in Fantasy points in two of three games, but Maroney has the chance to play well if Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) is out again as expected. Maroney will likely get around 15 carries, and I could see him gaining around 60 total yards and a touchdown. Remember, he faced the Titans last year with the Patriots and had 123 rushing yards and a touchdown and three catches for 10 yards. He won't be that good, but as a low-end No. 2 running back or flex option, he could be useful with Moreno hurt.

Chris Ivory: (vs. CAR): There's a chance Pierre Thomas (ankle) could be out since he's a game-time decision, and Ivory is worth adding in all leagues. The Panthers have allowed double digits in Fantasy points to Bradshaw and Cedric Benson, and we would consider Thomas a must-start Fantasy running back if he's 100 percent. But if he's out, the majority of his touches would go to Ivory, and he could be considered a low-end No. 2 running back or flex option. Keep an eye on Thomas' status Sunday, but grab Ivory now in case he misses the game.

Jonathan Stewart (at NO): Stewart found the end zone in Week 3 against the Bengals, and hopefully it's a sign of things to come. He's facing a Saints defense that is No. 30 against the run, and Stewart has a touchdown in three of four meetings with New Orleans. DeAngelo Williams should get going this week also as Carolina will lean on the run game to take pressure off rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen, and Stewart is worth using as starter in deeper leagues and a flex option in standard formats. Hopefully his injured Achilles' tendon is close to 100 percent because Stewart has the potential to be a weekly starter when he's getting enough carries.


Davone Bess (vs. NE): If you're looking for a sleeper in deep point per reception leagues then Bess is your guy. He already has 13 catches for 149 yards, and he has a solid history against the Patriots. In his past three games against New England, Bess has 21 catches for 260 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots secondary is a mess, and Brandon Marshall will draw a lot of attention from the defense, opening up holes over the middle for Bess in the slot. If he scored more then he'd be a solid option in all leagues, but consider Bess in larger formats that reward a point per catch.

Blair White (at JAC): Anthony Gonzalez (ankle) is already ruled out, and Pierre Garcon (hamstring) could miss his second game in a row. That would open the door for White to see increased action, and he played well in relief for Garcon last week against the Broncos with three catches for 27 yards and a touchdown. Keep in mind, anyone catching passes from Peyton Manning is a useful Fantasy option, and this is a great matchup since the Jaguars are No. 29 in pass defense. In one of my 14-team leagues, I'm starting White ahead of Michael Crabtree if Garcon is out.

Johnny Knox (at NYG): Knox has yet to score a touchdown, but his production continues to increase each week. He had five Fantasy points in Week 1 against Detroit, eight in Week 2 at Dallas and nine in Week 3 against Green Bay. The Giants have allowed five passing touchdowns, and you know the Bears will be throwing all day. He's not a clear-cut starting option in the majority of leagues, but in leagues where receptions count he can be a No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver. He's a favorite of Mike Martz and Jay Cutler, and that's going to lead to plenty of production each week.

Lance Moore (vs. CAR): No Reggie Bush means lots of Moore, who had seven targets and did well playing in the slot last week against the Falcons with six catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns. With Bush out for at least six weeks, Moore can be a useful Fantasy receiver. He's not going to play like that every week, but he did have 79 catches for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns when Bush and Marques Colston were dealing with injuries in 2008. It's clear that Drew Brees has faith in Moore, and you should also. In two games against the Panthers in 2008, Moore had 11 catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He's a good No. 3 Fantasy option this week.

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 25, 2010 1:14 am

A look at quarterbacks with an expert

Some of you know Steve Beuerlein as an analyst for NFL games on CBS. Others remember Beuerlein from his playing days as a quarterback for the Raiders, Cowboys, Cardinals, Jaguars, Panthers and Broncos from 1988-2003. He also was a quarterback for Notre Dame.

But aside from all of that, Beuerlein is a Fantasy fanatic just like you and me. And he knows how to draft a team and pick a winner. His roster this year includes Drew Brees, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Calvin Johnson and the Steelers DST. As you can imagine, he's off to a good start this year.

And when we spoke this week, he was eyeing a key free agent -- Mike Tolbert of the Chargers, who is expected to start Sunday at Seattle for the injured Ryan Mathews (ankle).

"When he had those two runs against the Chiefs in Week 1, that sold me," Beuerlein said. "He's built to last. I'm trying to get him in my league. He could be a factor for the rest of the season."

We agree with Beuerlein on Tolbert. We also know he has an eye for good (and bad) quarterback play. With that in mind, we wanted to pick his brain for some analysis on the quarterbacks who are questionable starters each week.

Here's what Beuerlein had to say on Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Kyle Orton and Josh Freeman. We would have asked him about more quarterbacks, but he was in a rush to get to the waiver wire to add Tolbert.

On Ryan: "I do like Matt Ryan. He's a solid second-tier starter. He'll have good days and not so good days. He's not in the Top 8-10 quarterbacks, but he's in that 10-15 range. He's a guy that I like. As long as Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez are on the field, he'll be consistent with his numbers."

On Manning: "Eli has always been kind of an enigma. I always thought physically he was better than Peyton. But he's light years behind Peyton in terms of his mental approach and knowledge of the game. He has good weapons in Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith. He's one of the guys that you can put in there for big numbers, but you never know what you're going to get week in and week out. He's just not going to be a consistent performer. But the upside is there."

On McNabb: "I think he looks great. The more the coaching staff there knows him and knows his strengths, the better he'll be. He didn't pick up the offense in training camp as much as they'd like, but they put packages in place to make him successful. He only has Chris Cooley and Santana Moss, but he's put up numbers with no receivers in Philadelphia. He's a solid player. I know Mike Shanahan will give him a chance to make plays. And he'll make those guys around him better."

On Favre: "As soon as Sidney Rice went down I didn't expect him to come close to his numbers from last year. It's hard to live that magical life that they lived last year. He's just not going to come close to that level again."

On Flacco: "I love that kid. He's the kind of guy that's going to come out smoking. I believe he'll come out hyper-motivated this week. He has great weapons, and they're still learning each other. He played poorly last week, but he probably needed a wake-up call. He's going to be a very good quarterback this year. I love his demeanor."

On Palmer: "The last couple of years he hasn't produced. But this year he has the weapons, and I expect him to get that passing game going. You'll see him start to get going. He'll turn things around."

On Orton: "I've been impressed. And I'm not a Kyle Orton fan as a stat-producing quarterback. I've always looked at him as a game manager. But he's had good numbers for two games in a row, and we'll see if he can keep this up."

On Smith: "That game (against New Orleans) helped him. I was impressed with him last year. I don't worry about the first game at Seattle. The first game is always the toughest of the year, and the 49ers just got caught off guard by Seattle. I expect Alex Smith to produce throughout the year. They're going to have a good passing offense."

On Freeman: "He's shown me he's a competitive dude. He's going to find a way to beat you. His confidence is soaring right now. He's a big guy who can move. He's the type of quarterback we're going to be talking about down the road who can carry a team. He gets the job done. I've been impressed. He's been solid."

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 23, 2010 11:04 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 1:28 am

Week 3 extended sleeper list

Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.


Sam Bradford (vs. WAS): You're not going to start Bradford in the majority of standard leagues, but he is a good option in formats where you start two quarterbacks. The Redskins have been abused through the air to start the season with 779 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception against Tony Romo and Matt Schaub. Granted, those are two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but Bradford could finish as a Top 20 Fantasy quarterback this week. So far this season, Bradford has 420 passing yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions against Arizona and Oakland, and this is another game where he can continue to improve in his rookie year.

Kyle Orton (vs. IND): I don't view Orton as a Top 12 Fantasy quarterback this week, but he should be considered a Top 15 option since he could be throwing a lot against the Colts. Through two games, Orton has passed for 602 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, and his receiving corps has been a pleasant surprise with Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas, Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd. The Colts secondary hasn't been tested yet, and that could happen in this matchup. Orton passed for 277 yards, two touchdowns and one interception last year, and we'll find out this week if he can do it again.


Willis McGahee (vs. CLE): McGahee, like most of his teammates, have struggled so far on offense this year, but they faced difficult opponents with the Jets and Bengals. This week, things get a lot easier with the Browns, and McGahee can be used in garbage time or near the goal line. He only has 2 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown against the Jets in Week 1, but he has a solid history against the Browns. He has four touchdowns in his past five games with the Browns and at least 64 rushing yards over that span. Ray Rice remains the starter in Baltimore, but McGahee can be considered a flex option in Week 3.

Donald Brown (at DEN): Joseph Addai showed up on the injury report with a knee injury, although he's expected to play. But he might not be 100 percent, which could open the door for Brown to see an increase in touches. He played well in Week 2 against the Giants with 88 total yards and a touchdown, and the Colts appear willing to share carries with Addai and Brown. Even if Addai is at full strength you can still consider Brown a flex option with this matchup.

Darren Sproles (at SEA): It looks like Ryan Mathews (ankle) is out for this game, which means Mike Tolbert and Sproles will see an increase in touches. Tolbert is the running back to target in standard leagues, but Sproles will be a quality running back in leagues where receptions count. He played well in Week 2 against Jacksonville with five carries for 37 yards and four catches for 63 yards. He's capable of that type of performance most weeks as long as Mathews is out, and this ankle injury could linger.

Correll Buckhalter (vs. IND): With Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) out, this opens the door for Buckhalter to start, and he has a favorable matchup against the Colts. The Colts have struggled in run defense with Arian Foster's big game in Week 1 (231 rushing yards and three touchdowns), and Ahmad Bradshaw ran well against them last week with 17 carries for 89 yards. Buckhalter, who scored a touchdown against Seattle last week, is expected to share carries with Laurence Maroney, but Buckhalter is the running back to target if you're adding one off the waiver wire. He has the potential to be a No. 2 Fantasy running back this week in deeper leagues and a flex option in standard formats, especially if you're without Moreno.


Dez Bryant (at HOU): As we said in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em, we're fond of Bryant this week as long as his ribs are OK since he has a great matchup. The Texans have allowed four wide receivers in two games to gain at least 88 yards receiving with Austin Collie, Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss and Joey Galloway. The Cowboys are struggling to run the ball so look for Tony Romo to come out throwing to Miles Austin, Jason Witten and Bryant. We would use him as a No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver in deep leagues, and he's a definite starter in leagues where you start three receivers.

Louis Murphy (at ARI): Murphy had a great game in Week 2 against the Rams with six catches for 91 yards and a touchdown, but the best thing was he was targeted 10 times. He should play well with Bruce Gradkowski as the starter, and Gradkowski is even a sleeper in deeper formats. The Cardinals have already allowed three touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and three receivers -- Mark Clayton, Roddy White and Brian Finneran -- have reached at least nine Fantasy points. Murphy is a good No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver or flex option this week.

Johnny Knox (vs. GB): Knox is a solid No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver this week, and he played well against the Packers last year. In two games, Knox had seven catches for 165 yards and a touchdown, and he's started off playing well this season with seven catches for 138 yards. The Bears passing offense is clicking right now, and Knox is the most consistent wide receiver. Look for him to play well since Charles Woodson will likely line up against Devin Hester. That should take pressure off Knox, and Jay Cutler will probably feed him plenty of targets.

Category: NFL
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