Expect Rainey to shine in Week 9. (USAT)With six teams on bye, it's obviously hard, as a fantasy owner, to be overly picky about who you plan to roll out in your Week 9 lineup - realistically, we're just looking for a warm body in every spot. But, for some lucky owners, there's still plenty of viable candidates to choose from. And for those that still have more serviceable options than available starting spots, here's the lowdown on some players that look better or worse than usual this week:

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QB – Ben Roethlisberger, Pit vs. Bal – After his monstrous 500-yard, 6-TD pass performance in Week 8, Big Ben might seem like an obvious start this week. Yet he's currently only being started in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues, and three of the five Yahoo fantasy pundits have him ranked No. 12 or worse this week against Baltimore. Frankly, I don't get it. Yes, Roethlisberger posted his worst fantasy mark in nearly two years at Baltimore in Week 2. But he's been much better at home (125 QB Rating vs. an 84 mark on the road). And 6-foot-4 rookie Martavis Bryant (3 TDs in first two NFL games) gives the passing game another dangerous option (especially in the red zone), making it tougher for defenses to focus solely on WR Antonio Brown. And the Ravens, who have a allowed a healthy 274.5 passing yards to opposing QBs, will be without top coverman Jimmy Smith. I definitely see top 10 returns from Big Ben this Sunday night.

RB – Bobby Rainey, TB at Cle – It seems like everyone around Tampa Bay's camp wants to talk about rookie running back Charles Sims. But he's looking questionable (ankle) to make his NFL debut on Sunday, and even if he did, it's doubtful he'd see more than a handful of touches his first time out. Doug Martin also looks unlikely to play, also because of an ankle injury. Which means that Rainey is the best bet to see double digit touches out of the Tampa backfield. And if you look at Rainey's short career, in the dozen games that he's received at least nine touches, he's averaged 11.4 fantasy points. Averaging 4.6 YPC and 8.2 yards per catch this season, Rainey should deliver a double digit fantasy return against a Cleveland defense allowing the seventh-most fantasy PPG to the RB position.

RB – Jeremy Hill, Cin vs. Jac –  Will Gio Bernard (hip) play, or won't he? That is one of the big injury questions of Week 9. For Hill owners, though, it shouldn't matter. Facing a Jacksonville squad that is 0-4 on the road, with a 17.3-point average margin of defeat, Hill should play a milkman role, helping to burn the clock in the second half of this contest - regardless of whether Bernard plays or not. It certainly stands to reason that, even if Gio does play, his role will be more limited than usual, and he's likely to be on the sideline for good once the game is no longer in question. The setup points to a workload of 15-plus touches for Hill, with the upside of a TD (or two) and 75-100 total yards.

WR – Andrew Hawkins, Cle vs TB – It's hard to believe that, after combining for 12 catches, 200 yards and and a TD over his past two games, Hawkins still isn't owned in half of Yahoo leagues (48%). Hawkins was listed here last week against Oakland, and he delivered a 7/88/1 line. With his availability still so wide open, and his opponent yet another in a line of softies (Tampa Bay allows the second-most passing yards per game), there's no reason to remove him from the "Start" list. And with Browns tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) not expected to play, Hawkins is likely to see at least 10-12 targets. I'd be shocked if he delivered less than a 6/75 line - I predict he'll do much better than that.

WR – Anquan Boldin, SF vs. StL – I am definitely the ambassador of 'Quan this week, as Boldin hosts a Rams defense that allows 8.0 YPA and a QB Rating of 105.9. In Week 6, at St. Louis, Boldin went for seven catches, 97 yards and a TD. That was par for the course for this matchup, as Boldin has averaged almost 91 yards in 16 career meetings with the Rams - he's scored at least 9.8 fantasy points in 11 of the past 15 contests.

TE - Clay Harbor, Jac at Cin – As alluded to in the Hill write up (above) Jacksonville has seen plenty of garbage time on the road this season. And the forecast this week looks like more of the same as the team opened as a 13-point underdog to the Bengals. With high-volume passing expectations for Jacksonville, it's hard not to like Harbor's potential against a defense that has allowed an average of 90.3 yards per game to the TE position. Harbor has been a disappointment the past two games, but he's averaged 80 yards in two road contests this season, and it's not hard to envision how he could post another solid effort away from home this week.


QB – Philip Rivers, SDG at Mia –  I have Rivers outside my top 12 quarterbacks this week as I'm paying the Miami defense the respect it deserves. The Dolphins haven't allowed a QB to throw for more than 264 yards this season, and six of the past seven QBs to oppose Miami have finished with 221 yards or less. In fact, no team allows fewer yards per pass attempt (6.1) than the Dolphins. When you also factor in that Miami is a long way from home for Rivers (early East Coast starts are always tough for the West Coast teams), I think the situation is ripe for the Chargers passing game to deliver a dud this weekend.

RB – Ben Tate, Cle vs. TB – I think it's fair to question how much the loss of C Alex Mack (broken leg) has hurt the Cleveland run game as Tate has delivered a 2.0 YPC over his past two games against Oakland and Jacksonville. With daylight tough to come by, there's a good chance he'll struggle again against a Tampa Bay defense that, with a 4.1 YPC allowed mark, might not be as easy a matchup as it appears. And you need only look at Tate's 15/26 rushing line against the Raiders to understand that even the most cupcake of matchups is no guarantee for Tate right now. In a week in which six teams are on bye, it's understandable to roll the dice on any RB expected to receive the kind of workload Tate gets, but just understand that he's far from a slam dunk to finish as a RB2 this week.

RB – Andre Williams, NYG vs. Ind – Indianapolis has been just a middle of the pack fantasy run defense, but it has yielded just 85.5 rushing yards per game to the RB position, which ranks as the ninth-lowest mark in the league - all the more impressive when you consider the team has faced Le'Veon Bell, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and Gio Bernard, among others. Where the Colts really struggle with running backs is in the passing game, as they've allowed the second-most receiving yards to the position. But in the case of the matchup with Williams this week, that's not much of a concern as Williams has just four catches on the season. Williams also hasn't been much of a ground threat, averaging just 60 rushing yards and a 3.5 YPC mark as Rashad Jennings' fill-in over the past four games. You might get lucky with a TD from Williams this week, but considering the yards from scrimmage downside, you might not want to roll those dice.

WR – Pierre Garcon, Was at Min – Garcon burned me as a "Sit" pick in Week 7 against Tennessee, as he took a short pass from Colt McCoy and turned it into a TD of more than 80 yards thanks to some bad defense by the Titans. Without that one fluke play, we'd be talking about a receiver with some seriously ugly numbers in his past five games - he's averaged 32.3 yards per game in those other four contests outside of the Tennessee game. Whether it's a rusty RGIII or McCoy at the helm of the Redskins offense, I'd prefer not to roll with Garcon this week against a Minnesota secondary that has allowed the sixth-fewest receiving yards to the WR position.

WR – Andre Holmes, Oak at Sea –  His four TDs in the past four games and the expectations for garbage time production could have owners thinking about Holmes this week at Seattle. But that would be a mistake. The Seahawks have allowed just three scores to opposing wideouts and those three WRs (Randall Cobb, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts) were of the small, quick variety of wideout. When you consider that Seattle has held go-to towers of power like Jordy Nelson, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant and Kelvin Benjamin all to less than 10 fantasy points and zero touchdowns, you have to feel less excited about the prospects of Holmes' size winning out this week. Seattle has proven more than capable of handling the big boys.

TE -  Zach Ertz, Phi at Hou – Since Week 3, Ertz ranks No. 24 among tight ends in fantasy points, scoring just one TD and averaging just 38.2 yards in that five-game span. Also concerning is that he's caught just 61.5 percent of his targets, which is a pretty bad number for a tight end (outside the top 40 among all tight ends that have played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps). When you factor in that Houston hasn't allowed a double digit point fantasy effort by the TE position this season, it becomes especially tough to get excited about Ertz this week.

Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: October 31, 2014, 6:26 pm

On the eve of their sixteenth meeting, let's have some fun with the longtime rivalry between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Picking through the numbers: 

-- Brady has a 10-5 edge in the earlier meetings (though it's 2-2 in the playoffs). The Patriots are 8-4 against the Manning-led Colts, and 2-1 against the Manning-piloted Broncos.

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-- The over is 10-5 in the 15 meetings to this point. It's 2-1 since Manning moved to Denver.

-- On four separate occasions, a team has scored over 30 points in this series and lost anyway.

-- Brady has thrown for three touchdowns in a game seven times in the series. Overall, he has 27 touchdowns passes, 12 picks, and a 96.4 rating in the series.

-- Manning posted three different four-touchdown games against New England during his Indianapolis days. He's also had a pair of three-touchdown games in this series. Add it all up: 31 touchdowns, 20 picks, 88.0 rating.

-- The home team has won all three meetings since Manning switched teams. Overall, the home team is 10-5 in the series.

-- This week marks the fifth time the home team has been the underdog in the game. The Broncos were also favored at New England last year, a game the Patriots won in overtime, 34-31.

Demaryius Thomas was uncoverable last January (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
The six biggest non-Manning fantasy performances for the Broncos and Colts in the series:

-- Knowshon Moreno: 224 rushing yards (on a whopping 37 carries), one touchdown in November 2013. It was the highest rushing total of last season. 

-- Joseph Addai: 226 total yards, one touchdown in November 2007.

-- Marvin Harrison: eight catches, 145 yards, two touchdowns in November 2006.

-- Reggie Wayne: ten catches, 126 yards, two touchdowns in November 2009.

-- Harrison: eight catches, 157 yards, one touchdown in October 2001.

-- Demaryius Thomas: seven catches, 134 yards, one touchdown in last season's AFC Championship Game (he also has a 9-180-0 game in the series).

The five biggest non-Brady fantasy performances for the Patriots in the series:

-- David Patten: four overall touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing, one passing) back in October 2001, the second game in the rivalry's history.

-- Randy Moss: nine catches, 179 yards, two scores in November 2009.

-- Antowain Smith:152 total yards and two scores in the first meeting, September 2001.

-- Rob Gronkowski: three total touchdowns (one rushing) in December 2011.

-- Julian Edelman: nine catches, 110 yards, two touchdowns in November 2013

The Five Best Games In The Series

1. Jan. 21, 2007: Colts 38, Patriots 34

The funny thing about Manning's lone championship - it certainly didn't come with the best of the Colts teams (look at the franchise point differentials, and consider where the 2006 team ranked). But Manning's second-half comeback highlighted the best Brady-Manning game of them all. It also encouraged the Patriots to move on from the Reche Caldwells of the world; before the 2007 season started, Randy Moss was in town. 

2. Nov. 4, 2007: Patriots 24, Colts 20

Both teams were undefeated at the time, New England en route to 16-0. (Damn you, David Tyree.) Two late New England touchdowns in the final 8:04 flipped the result. 

3. Nov. 30, 2003: Patriots 38, Colts 34

Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest clinched the victory at the gun, stuffing Edgerrin James on a predictable off-tackle carry. The 2003 Patriots started off 2-2, then never lost again, though many of their victories were of this ilk, one-score games where they made a late play (or an opponent made a late mistake). 

4. Nov. 15, 2009: Colts 35, Patriots 34

It's one thing to go for it on 4th-and-2 in plus territory, it's another thing to go for it in your own territory, late in the fourth quarter, while nursing a lead. Bill Belichick's gambit didn't work, and the Internet had plenty to talk about for weeks on end. 

5. Sept. 9, 2004: Patriots 27, Colts 24

Opening night, ultimately decided on a Mike Vanderjagt shank at the gun, Manning took a critical sack on the penultimate play. 

Special thanks to Pro-Football Reference for their invaluable search tools. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 31, 2014, 5:05 pm

So it might not be the worst idea to wrap Serge Ibaka in bubble, then shuttle him to a secure location. Things are getting dangerous in OKC.

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A ridiculous plague of injuries has hit Oklahoma City's roster, with Russell Westbrook the latest to fall...

Thunder coach Scott Brooks says Russell Westbrook has a small fracture in his right hand.

— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) October 31, 2014

Just brutal. The break is reportedly to the second metacarpal of Westbrook's shooting hand. It happened during a perfectly ordinary rebound battle — just horrible luck, really. While Westbrook's recovery timeline isn't perfectly clear, you have to assume a minimum of four weeks. Perhaps six or eight. Again: brutal.

The Thunder were already running without reigning MVP Kevin Durant (foot fracture), Reggie Jackson (ankle), Jeremy Lamb (back) and Anthony Morrow (MCL). Not good. Welcome to the battle for the 6-8 seeds in the West, OKC.

Jackson will presumably return well ahead of Durant and Westbrook, and unlimited shots should be available to him. He's currently unowned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues, so a few of you can still add-and-stash. The rest of us are left scrambling for this guy...

SF/PF Perry Jones, OKC (27 percent owned) — In deeper leagues, Jones was almost certainly on someone's roster prior to the Westbrook injury. He's been starting at small forward for OKC with Durant sidelined. And in competitive smallish leagues, Jones was no doubt snagged before halftime on Thursday night, while we all waited for the bad news on Russell.

Still, Jones is still unattached in three-quarters of the Yahoo universe as of this writing, and he's pretty clearly your priority add today. He scored 32 points on 17 shots against the Clippers on Thursday, playing 42 minutes. Jones hit 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 9-of-11 from the free-throw line, plus he collected seven boards. For his career, Jones is a 34.7 percent shooter from distance and he's nothin' special from the stripe (68.6 percent), so you can't expect him to be the most efficient scorer moving forward. You'll note that he went 1-for-9 from the field in the opener. But the Thunder desperately needs scoring from any willing shooter, which means the opportunity ahead for Jones is significant. He'll offer points, plus 6-8 rebounds per night and the occasional defensive treat. Jones is flying off shelves right now, so act fast if you're interested.

If instead you're looking for PG assistance, this is your play...

Norris Cole (30), suddenly fantasy relevant. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)PG Norris Cole, Mia (32 percent owned) – Cole was terrific in the season-opener for the Heat, scoring a career-high 23 on 15 shots against the Wizards, with three 3s included. Miami is going PG-by-committee in the post-LeBron era, with Cole starting. He played 28 minutes in the opener, while Mario Chalmers played 26 (eight points, five fouls) and Shabazz Napier went 15 (two points, two assists). Realistically, we won't get 20-something points from Cole consistently, but he'll give us steals (1.3-ish), assists (4.3-ish) and 3s. His teammates are clearly impressed:

"It was fantastic, especially Norris," Bosh said of the overall point guard play. "He was very aggressive. He took some great shots. He really pushed the tempo a lot. We're going to need him to be who he is. … We feel that if he does that, gets us off to good starts, making sure the ball is going side-to-side, we stand a good chance of winning."

I've picked up more shares of Cole than any other player over the past two days, for what it's worth. The Heat have back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday (at Phi, Tor), then a four-game slate next week.

PF/C Ed Davis, LAL (27 percent owned) – I feel compelled to mention Davis here, because he filled the stat sheet for L.A. on Wednesday at Phoenix: 14 points, nine rebounds, two steals, two blocks, 33 minutes. He's not startable next week, however, with only two games on the schedule (Pho, Cha). Davis will presumably see 25-plus minutes per night going forward, and he'll offer low-level double-double potential with a block per game, plus he shoots a useful percentage from the floor.

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SF Doug McDermott, Chi (24 percent owned) – It seems clear at this stage that McDermott will be an early-rotation player for Chicago, and, if you hadn't heard, he can shoot a little. Even his misses look better than Tony Snell's makes. He won't often see 24 minutes of floor time as he did in the blowout win over the Knicks, but 16-20 seems reasonable. McDermott clearly isn't bashful with the ball in his hands, and he's a decisive offensive player. Defensively ... well, he tries hard. But he's flawed. (His biggest flaw as a human, without question, is the Taylor Swift thing.) If you're adding him, you're obviously viewing him as a category specialist, a reliable source for 3s. The Bulls have a four-game week ahead, which puts McDermott on the fantasy radar.

C Steven Adams, OKC (24 percent) – Adams pulled down 10 rebounds against the Clippers, delivering six points while endlessly irritating Blake Griffin. He's starting for OKC, playing 28 minutes per game, and we know he'll offer blocks and boards. Adams is a liability in free-throw percentage, but it's not as if he lives at the line. The Thunder have three straight four-game weeks upcoming, so he'll continue to pile up rebounds, scoring off clean-up opportunities.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 31, 2014, 1:29 pm

Welcome to bye-week hell, where thoughts of starting an unknown rookie running back (Charles Sims) with zero experience against the Cleveland Browns is completely acceptable. 

On this week's deep-digging show, Melanie Collins is our resident Sacagawea navigating our fantasy explorers (Brandon Funston, Brad Evans, Andy Behrens and Shaun King) through a treacherous six-team bye. We'll keep everyone abreast of the latest windy weather expected in Foxboro for Denver/New England, discuss the virtues of rookie upstarts Donte Moncrief and Martavis Bryant, decide if Frank Gore is must-start material against the Rams and, naturally, answer your pressing questions. Here's how YOU can join the circus: 

Phone: 800.FFL.GURU

Twitter: @YahooFantasy

As always, our warmup act, the Big Noise and Boss Man, will get down to the brass tacks on every remaining Week 9 matchup, express their feelings about RGIII's return and tell you what players you should target via trade for the stretch run. Questions? Contact us one of two ways below: 

Phone: 800.777.2907

Twitter: @YSRFFL


Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 31, 2014, 12:42 am

Traveling Matt (Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports)The Shuffle Up series is all about value to come. What's happened to this point is merely an audition. How would you rank the players if you were starting from fresh today? (These are not Week 9 ranks; if you need those, please click here.)

The dollar values are merely comparison tools; they're not assembled in any scientific way. Players at the same position are considered even. We're aiming to illustrate tiers, show where the pockets of value are.

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You'll disagree with some things (perhaps many things) because that's why we have a game in the first place. Share your respectful disagreement in the comments. (Running backs and tight ends are shuffled in the even weeks.)

$31 Peyton Manning
$30 Andrew Luck
$29 Aaron Rodgers
$27 Drew Brees
$24 Tom Brady
$23 Russell Wilson
$22 Philip Rivers
$21 Cam Newton
$21 Matthew Stafford
$21 Jay Cutler
$21 Colin Kaepernick
$20 Nick Foles

Stafford is expected to get the Megatron bump after the buy, but are we sure Johnson will return to full throttle? And how much scoring will Detroit routinely need now that it's sitting on an elite defense? I don't own Stafford anywhere, and I'm not looking to get on board now. Inconsistent mechanics, no rushing bump . . . Wilson's had his share of inconsistency: four showings 15th or lower, offset by a 1, 2 and 7. But two of the mediocre showings came in the first two weeks, and he's getting more leash on the offense of late. It's his offense now, not Marshawn Lynch's, and the passing game is better with Doug Baldwin in the slot and Percy Harvin out of town. 

I recognize Newton has become a trendy buy-low, what with the friendly schedule to come, but he's someone I find very difficult to trust. Here's my friend Rich Hribar with an interesting way of framing it:

In his past 23 starts coming into last night, Newton had 8 top 7 QB weeks/11 bottom half weeks. Really no mid ground at replaceable position

— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) October 31, 2014

When Newton is on his game, I don't think poor matchups really faze him. But when he's airmailing throws or seeing a fuzzy picture (did you catch his lollipop throw to Jerricho Cotchery last night? should have been a touchdown), a cushy draw won't boost him. He's a knuckleballer, and a frustrating commodity to own. Scam Newton, indeed.

$18 Carson Palmer
$18 Matt Ryan
$17 Ben Roethlisberger
$14 Ryan Tannehill
$14 Tony Romo
$13 Andy Dalton
$12 Joe Flacco
$12 Robert Griffin III
$12 Eli Manning
$10 Alex Smith
$9 Kyle Orton

Tip of the cap to Washington head coach Jay Gruden: somehow the Redskins have the best team YPA in the league, an amazing stat given that three quarterbacks have played. Sure, DeSean Jackson is a huge part of that, but it also speaks to how well Gruden is scripting big plays. That said, I wonder why they're rushing Griffin back for Week 9 - why not give him another week, plus the bye, then attack things in Week 11? It's not like they're going anywhere this season anyway. 

$7 Blake Bortles
$7 Mike Glennon
$6 Ryan Fitzpatrick
$6 Austin Davis
$6 Teddy Bridgewater
$5 Derek Carr
$4 Michael Vick
$4 Zach Mettenberger
$3 Brian Hoyer
$2 Johnny Manziel
$1 Jake Locker
$1 Josh McCown
$1 Geno Smith
$1 Jimmy Clausen
$1 Mark Sanchez

Just how messy is the Week 9 bye week? Consider these nuggets collected by our friends at Automated Insights

-- Of the seven QBs to have averaged at least 16 pts/gm before their Bye, five are off in Week 9 

-- Of the six WRs to have averaged at least 11 pts/gm before their Bye, four are off in Week 9

-- Of the three TEs to have averaged at least 8 pts/gm before their Bye, two are off in Week 9

And of course it's no picnic at running back, with Forte and Lacy on the sidelines (and Gio Bernard in limbo).  

And here are your wideouts:

$32 Demaryius Thomas
$32 Antonio Brown
$30 Jordy Nelson
$28 Randall Cobb
$28 Dez Bryant
$27 Calvin Johnson
$27 T.Y. Hilton
$25 Emmanuel Sanders
$25 Julio Jones
$24 Jeremy Maclin
$23 Kelvin Benjamin
$23 DeSean Jackson
$22 Golden Tate
$22 Sammy Watkins
$22 A.J. Green
$22 Alshon Jeffery
$22 Brandon Marshall

Smaller receivers get bashed in a lot of arenas, but if they're used as goal-line and red-zone weapons, successfully at that, what do we care? Just take the points. Brown is third in red-zone targets among wideouts, while Cobb is fifth and Smith is ninth. If you want to push things inside the 10, Brown is first, Cobb tied for third, Smith tied for 12th. 

Watkins in the EJ Manuel starts 17 catches on 32 targets, 197 yards, 11.6 YPC, 3.8, two touchdowns. Watkins in the Kyle Orton starts: 21 catches on 35 targets, 393 yards, 18.7 YPC, 7.5 YAC, three touchdowns. He was the No. 5 fantasy wideout in October. 

$18 Steve Smith
$18 Mike Wallace
$15 Brandon LaFell
$15 Keenan Allen
$15 Andre Johnson
$14 Michael Floyd
$14 Larry Fitzgerald
$14 DeAndre Hopkins
$14 Roddy White
$14 Pierre Garcon
$13 Terrance Williams
$12 Mike Evans
$12 Vincent Jackson
$12 Doug Baldwin
$11 Andre Holmes
$11 Odell Beckham Jr.
$11 Eric Decker
$10 Rueben Randle
$10 Mohamed Sanu
$10 Josh Gordon$10 Michael Crabtree
$10 Cordarrelle Patterson

Gordon's value is whatever you want it to be. Obviously he won't be playing until Week 12, and who's to say how valuable he'll be right out of the box. Timing matters. Do you like how the Browns utilized Jordan Cameron over the first two months? If I were starting from scratch right now - that's what this exercise is supposed to be - I'd take the Play For Today approach and want someone who could help me win in every week (or every week minus one, for a bye). I see the pro-Gordon angles, like most of us do, but generally I think it's a mistake to get that occupied with a slow-developing stock. I'm not going to assume miracles right away. 

Johnson owners have to deal with a mediocre QB and a lack of touchdowns, but they can't argue about the opportunity. The Texans don't use a third receiver or tight end much, and with that, Johnson has a 33.5 target percentage, tops at the position. Some other interesting market-share cases: Andrew Hawkins, 28.6 percent (he's sixth among wideouts); Vincent Jackson, 27.8 percent (seventh); Doug Baldwin, 24.9 percent (T-15, and likely going up). 

$9 Brandin Cooks
$9 Allen Robinson
$9 Julian Edelman
$8 James Jones
$8 Percy Harvin
$7 Anquan Boldin
$7 John Brown
$7 Davante Adams
$7 Marques Colston
$6 Malcom Floyd
$6 Andrew Hawkins
$6 Torrey Smith
$6 Dwayne Bowe
$6 Justin Hunter
$5 Martavis Bryant
$5 Jordan Matthews
$5 Jermaine Kearse
$4 Reggie Wayne
$4 Robert Woods
$4 Wes Welker
$4 Kendall Wright
$4 Cecil Shorts
$4 Kenny Britt
$4 Donte Moncrief

If I knew Matthews would out-snap Cooper the rest of the way, I'd chase him into double digits. Same case with Moncrief and Nicks . . . Welker and Wayne are waiver-wire fodder in a lot of medium and shallow leagues, chain-moving guys who rarely do anything downfield or around the goal . . . Adams is a viable flex option many weeks because the Packers basically run three-wide as their offensive staple. And, of course, the presence of Rodgers is a major boost . . . I've been guilty of making excuses for Hunter, but maybe the QB switch will amount to something exciting after the bye. That said, Ken Whisenhunt has done a horrendous job of judging and utilizing his talent thus far in 2014. 

$3 Kenny Stills
$3 Jerricho Cotchery
$3 Greg Jennings
$3 Jarius Wright
$3 Brandon Lloyd
$3 Stedman Bailey
$2 Eddie Royal
$2 Jarvis Landry
$2 Riley Cooper
$2 Tavon Austin
$2 Stevie Johnson
$2 Miles Austin
$2 Louis Murphy
$1 Brian Hartline
$1 Harry Douglas
$1 Chris Hogan
$1 Preston Parker
$1 Allen Hurns
$1 Paul Richardson
$1 Nate Washington
$0 Andre Roberts
$0 Donnie Avery

Yes, I know Denard Robinson has dual eligibility, but I'm going to rank him as a running back, for two reasons. One, he has more value there in most leagues, and two, I don't want to give a reactive "new week, new rank" price him - I want two weeks to marniate over his new price, like everyone else gets. So if you want a Robinson price, you'll have to wait until next week. If you want to know his Week 9 value at either position, that we have for you in our standard ranking area. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 30, 2014, 6:02 pm

Before we dive into Thursday's desperation plays, let's have a quick word about the quarterback who is, at the moment, the best buy-low in fantasy. Cam Newton owners are an angry, unsatisfied bunch right now — or at least they seem to be, based on various complaint-tweets.

They don't seem to care that Cam is running again — 12 rush attempts last week, 36 over his past three games — and they certainly don't care that Newton has never ranked outside the top-5 at his position in any season.

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Nope, Cam's owners are seeing those nine combined TDs in seven games, and they're displeased. Understandably so. But let's take a quick look at the series of favorable matchups in Carolina's second-half schedule, because it's kind of ridiculous:

Week 9 – vs. New Orleans
Week 10 – at Philadelphia
Week 11 – vs. Atlanta
Week 12 – bye
Week 13 – at Minnesota
Week 14 – at New Orleans
Week 15 – vs. Tampa Bay
Week 16 – vs. Cleveland
Week 17 – at Atlanta

New Orleans has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season, Philly the third-most and Tampa Bay the fifth. Cam will see those defenses four times in his next six games. Seven of the eight matchups remaining on his schedule are against teams that currently rank 26th or worse in total yards-allowed.

So, again, if your league's Cam owner is motivated to sell, then you should get a price-check. Newton has a clear path to another stellar end-of-season fantasy rank.

And now for your fliers...

RB DeAngelo Williams, Carolina (22 percent owned, 8 percent started)

Williams has been sidelined for four games with an ankle malfunction (high ankle sprain), but he'll return for the home matchup with the Saints. His head coach seems bullish...

Panthers coach Ron Rivera says RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) looked good in practice -- and he will start Thursday against the Saints.

— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) October 28, 2014

...so I'm buying. It seems clear enough that DeAngelo will split the backfield touches with Jonathan Stewart, who was quietly effective in Week 8 vs.Seattle. The Saints defense has allowed seven rushing touchdowns on the season and 4.0 YPC, so we're not talking about an impenetrable front. In a week where six teams are on bye and plenty of other backs have injury concerns, Williams is clearly in play for the deep league crowd.

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Kenny Stills, dangerous deep threat (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

WR Kenny Stills, New Orleans (12 percent owned, 4 percent started)

OK, this is a flier. But in a brutal bye-week at the receiver position, I'm gonna guess that many of you are eying some sketchy replacement wideouts — dudes who don't offer a fraction of Stills' upside. There's no question he's a feast-or-famine receiver, but the feasts can be rich. Stills has hauled in all nine of his targets over the past two weeks, accounting for 160 yards and one touchdown (pictured above). He's had receptions of 40-plus yards in three of his last four games. Here's a 45-yarder against Green Bay, and here's the 46-yard TD against Detroit. Stills has 4.38-speed, he's tied to an all-time quarterback, and Carolina's secondary isn't a unit you need to fear. If you're looking for a Week 9 lottery ticket, this is your guy.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 30, 2014, 2:52 pm

Straight cash homie! In his never-ending quest to pay off his kids' college education early, Brad Evans unveils his FanDuel picks for the upcoming week and explains his reasoning behind them. Make that money, #TeamHuevos.

[Join Brad and play in FanDuel's $3m Week 9 fantasy football league. It's just $25 to enter. First place wins $500,000 and the top 26,405 teams get paid.]


FAKE BUDGET: $60,000

Tom Brady, NE, QB (FanDuel Price: $9,000) – Tom Tepid's early season cameo seems like a millennium ago. Tripping out of the gate to start the season, the QB has rediscovered his "Terrific" side. Since Week 5, no passer has delivered more treats than Brady. During that stretch, he's completed nearly 70 percent of his attempts, compiled 317 yards per game and posted an impeccable 14:0 TD:INT split. Denver's secondary has executed a high level this year, but in a game Vegas believes will be chock full of fantasy goodness (55 over/under), Mr. Bundchen exceeds the 300-yard mark with three-plus scores yet again. 

Ronnie Hillman, Den, RB ($7,200) – Filling the void left by groin-pulled Montee Ball, the new Knowshon has played brilliantly. Over his past three contests, he's tallied 4.89 yards per carry, 119 total yards per game and scored a pair of touchdowns, an output good enough for the fifth-best line among RBs. Due to a sore shoulder, he was limited in practice Wednesday, but he is expected to log another 18-22 touches. Against a New England D that's surrendered four 100-total yard rushers in their past five, he should extend his century mark streak to four. 

Bobby Rainey, TB, RB ($6,200) – If you pay attention to the chirping on Twitter, Charles Sims is  overhyped. Numerous fantasy pundits are convinced the rookie will seize control of the Tampa backfield in short order. However, Rainey may not allow it. With Doug Martin a likely Week 9 casualty and with Sims fresh off the IR, the veteran should net the start in Cleveland. The Browns, one of the league's worst run defenses, have conceded 4.71 yards per carry to RBs. On approximately 14-18 touches, Rainey racks 75-85 total yards and a score. 

Antonio Brown, Pit, WR ($9,000) – From drop-kicking innocent kickers to making acrobatic catches, Brown has gotten DOWN this season. His 20.4 points per game ranks No. 1 among all wideouts in FanDuel. Matched against a Ravens secondary sans its best cover corner in Jimmy Smith, the king won't relinquish his throne. Even with Smith on the field, Baltimore had allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs this year. Brown logged a modest 7-90-0 line in the first matchup. In the encore, he tops that output with ease. 

Odell Beckham Jr., NYG, WR ($6,600) – A TD magnet in his first three games, the rookie splashed six three times. His resulting yardage total didn't move the meter (35.3 ypg), but because of his knack for finding the end zone he ranked No. 22 among WRs in per game output from Weeks 5-7. He should improve that standing this week against Indy. Potentially without elite corner Vontae Davis (knee), the Colts, off allowing 522 yards and six TDs to Big Ben last week, are highly susceptible. Roughly 60-70 yards with another score are in my fearless forecast. 

Andrew Hawkins, Cle, WR ($6,400) – Very dependable in a PPR format, the Baby Hawk, for the most part, has delivered consistent results. He's reached double-digit FanDuel points in five of seven games this year. Make it six of eight. The always generous Buccaneers visit Cleveland this week. Tampa corners Alterraun Verner and Jonathan Banks have given up a mouthwatering 72.2 catch percentage. It's hard to bank on a TD, but at his discounted price and given his 11-13 fantasy point appeal, Hawkins is a useful option for the budget conscious. 

Travis Kelce, KC, TE ($5,400) – A seesaw the past several weeks, Kelce continues to be underutilized. After a fiery stretch from Weeks 3-5, he's managed just eight passes for 78 yards and no touchdowns since. But there's no better remedy for one's fantasy ills than the Jets. Over the past six weeks, no defense has surrendered more touchdowns to tight ends (9). On four catches, Kelce tallies 57 yards and a touchdown. 

Randy Bullock, Hou, K ($4,800) – Believe it or not, Bullock is the sixth-best kicker currently in Fantasyland. In a game with significant red-zone potential for the Texans, he boots his buyers to the bucks. 

Kansas City D/ST ($5,300) Michael Vick, who committed three turnovers in roughly three quarters of action last week in Buffalo, is back under center? Well, strap a bib around the necks of Chief defenders. They're about to feast. 

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 30, 2014, 2:18 pm

Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names who he believes are destined to implode leave egg on his face. To qualify, each player must be started in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 9 Lames in the comments section below.

See Also: Week 9 Flames

Philip Rivers, SD, QB (64 percent started)
Matchup: at Mia
Evident in his steady production the past two seasons, gum-flapping isn't the only area The Bolo Tie excels in. Terribly undervalued on draft day, Rivers has again raged this year. His 21.3 fantasy points per game mark in standard Yahoo leagues ranks No. 5 at the position. He's also on pace for a career-best 40 touchdown passes. From a secondary perspective, the veteran has been every bit as good as his superficial numbers suggest. He ranks top-10 in accuracy percentage and deep-ball passing. Cool under pressure, he's spread the ball around masterfully, rekindling the magic with Antonio Gates while jump-starting Branden Oliver's career. No doubt he's been marvelous, but this week's cross-country trip to Miami poses a problem. The Dolphins secondary is terribly underrated. Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan, who both rank inside the top-30 in pass coverage according to Pro Football Focus, have given up a combined 10.5 yards per catch. Collectively, the 'Fins D has conceded 6.08 yards per attempt and only a pair of multi-TD passers. This week, Rivers suffers on South Beach. 

Fearless Forecast: 20-31, 247 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 1 interception, 7 rushing yards, 16.1 fantasy points

[Join FanDuel.com's $3M Week 9 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid]

Jerick McKinnon, Min, RB (60 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Wash
In an otherwise tumultuous year for Minnesota, the organization has found a real diamond-in-the-rough in McKinnon. The former Georgia Southern quarterback is a star in the making. His unreal athleticism, slashing style, developing versatility, power and explosiveness are Pro Bowl-caliber attributes. On 76 totes, he's blasted his way to 5.16 yards per carry, gaining 56.6 percent of his yards after contact. Matt Asiata, a superior pass-blocker, will continue to wrest away roughly 20-25 snaps per game, but, make no mistake, McKinnon is the club's running back of the future. His long-term upside is blindingly bright, but after disappointing somewhat last week against a soft Tampa D (82 total yards, zero touchdowns), he isn't the strongest play vs. a much stiffer Washington unit. DeMarco Murray went nuts against the 'Skins Monday night, but he was only the second 70-plus yard rusher they had allowed this season. Including the dynamite showing, rushers have managed just 3.93 yards per carry against Jim Haslett's bunch. The 'Skins, riding high after last week's stunning win in Dallas, will feel all warm and fuzzy inside in chilly Minnesota. 

Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 69 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.3 fantasy points 

Justin Forsett, Bal, RB (61 percent started)
Matchup: at Pit
The first highly sought after waiver wire acquisition this year has left his investors in the black. In eight games, he's logged the 14th-best line among fantasy running backs, outpacing the likes of early-round selections Eddie Lacy, LeSean McCoy and Alfred Morris. At 5-foot-8, 187-pounds, Forsett is like Scrappy Doo, diminutive yet fearless. He's averaged a ghastly 2.3 yards per carry on runs up the gut, but his 6.5 ypc on off-tackle bursts proves his explosiveness on the edge. An equally dynamic receiver, he's truly been a blessing in disguise in light of the Ray Rice fallout. Still, because of his ineffectiveness in short-yardage, his overall fantasy impact is somewhat stunted. Lorenzo Taliaferro, who punched in a pair of scores inside the 10 last week, should continue to play the role of goal-line gremlin. The last time Forsett faced the Steelers, back in Week 2, he tallied a useful 72 combined yards. Since then, however, Pittsburgh has tightened up its run D. Mike Tomlin's group has yielded a modest 4.03 yards per carry to RBs in their past six games. During that span only Arian Foster and Ahmad Bradshaw exceeded 80 total yards against them. In what will likely be another scratch-and-claw affair in this storied rivalry, Forsett, who isn't close to 100 percent due to an ankle injury, compiles just average numbers. 

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 61 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 14 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.7 fantasy points 

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Julian Edelman, NE, WR (75 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Den
Trapped on planet Suckitune over the past several weeks, Edelman has contributed little to the virtual game. His 33-291-0 output over New England's past six contests ranks No. 69 among fantasy wideouts, behind such world beaters as Kenny Britt, Taylor Gabriel and Jarvis Landry. The lack of production is especially jarring considering the torrid tour Tom Brady has been on. With the exception of Week 8, Edelman has consistently attracted 8-10 targets per game. However, because of his short-gain nature, Rob Gronkowski's presence and Brandon LaFell's expanded workload, he's essentially become a bit player in a burgeoning offense. His six dropped passes, the second-most in the league, also haven't helped. Though points should be plentiful with Denver coming to town, Edelman is untrustworthy. Broncos Chris Harris and Aqib Talib have bucked assignments regularly this year. Only three wide receivers have exceeded 60 yards against them. Collectively, Denver has given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the position. In a brutal bye week, he's still employable as a WR3 in PPR settings, but debating alternatives in standard leagues is recommended. 

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 48 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.3 fantasy points 

Michael Floyd, Ari, WR (69 percent started)
Matchup: at Dal
A fantasy vampire in Week 8, Floyd drained the life out of his owners in what was an incredibly favorable matchup vs. Philly. He was targeted deep four times in that contest, but botched a pair of opportunities on catchable balls. His resulting triple-bagel (0-0-0) left owners greatly perturbed. Overall, Floyd has been a monumental disappointment. Tabbed as a strong breakout candidate by several pundits, he's been a king of inconsistency. On pace for a mere 43 catches, 805 yards and four touchdowns, he's really nothing more than a WR5 in 12-team leagues. Dallas made Colt McCoy look like Mark Rypien circa '91 last Monday as the ex-Longhorn connected with DeSean Jackson on numerous explosive pass plays. Still, the strength of the Cowboys defense is its secondary. Orlando Scandrick and friends have surrendered the fourth-fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards. Because Floyd typically earns his paycheck hauling in long throws, he could again confound his supporters. Without a 50-yard game to his name since Week 3, the Cardinal "pulls a Canseco" in Big D. 

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 49 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 7.9 fantasy points 


Each week one fortunate guest prognosticator will have a chance to silence the Noise. Following the rules stated above, participants are asked to submit their "Flames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?

@YahooNoise Week 9 LAMES: Rivers, Lynch, L.Bell, D. Thomas, V. Jackson, J. Witten, Patriots #TeamHuevos

— Ben MacLeod (@AngryMoose1) October 29, 2014

Reader Record: 32-24, 57.1%

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 30, 2014, 1:30 pm

Ingram has been a shining light in the Saints backfield. (USAT)The Big Board takes into consideration past returns, current performance and expected future gains in determining who should be included among the top 50 fantasy football players. Essentially, the Big Board is a cheat sheet designed for an owner who is planning to participate in a draft today. Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football default scoring settings are used as the baseline for the Big Board, which is updated on a regular basis during the season.

[Join FanDuel.com's $3M Week 9 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid]

Big Board 50: Football
1. DeMarco Murray (DAL) RB 0 Has reached 100 rushing yards (and 19+ fantasy points) in all 8 games, and the matchup degree of difficulty has meant little to his success - continued health will likely result in 2k+ rush yards
2. Matt Forte (CHI) RB 0 On a record-setting RB receptions pace (116) and has 22+ fantasy points in 4 straight - following W9 bye, ROS schedule far from daunting from RB standpoint
3. Arian Foster (HOU) RB +4 As good as DeMarco has been, Foster has been pretty much his fantasy equal (top RB since W2) - ROS schedule sets up well for continued success (health willing)
4. Jamaal Charles (KAN) RB -1 Sluggish start ancient history as he's averaged 104 YFS and has scored 6 TDs in past 4 games
5. Le'Veon Bell (PIT) RB -1 He's the AFC's version of Matt Forte given his dynamic dual-threat ability (100+ YFS in every game; 2nd only to Murray with 1086 YFS)
6. Demaryius Thomas (DEN) WR -1 Didn't find the end zone in W8, but his 4th straight 100+ yard game gives him 51 more yards than any other WR over the past month (626 for DT, 575 for TY Hilton)
7. Antonio Brown (PIT) WR +3 Mr. Consistency, the No. 1 fantasy WR thru W8, has 5+ catches in 24 consecutive games, and has 5 multi-TD games, and 18 games of 80+ yards in that span
8. Marshawn Lynch (SEA) RB -2 SEA struggling to get him volume workload, and seemingly every big play he does reel off is called back for penalty - matchup w/ OAK (2nd-most FAN PPG to RBs) in W9 likely to get him back on right track
9. LeSean McCoy (PHI) RB 0 Struggling to find VIP access to the end zone (1 TD), but the yards are rolling in once again (86 YFS in each of past 3, and in 5 of 7 total games)
10. Dez Bryant (DAL) WR +2 Has 9+ FAN PTS in 6 of past 7 games - ROS schedule very friendly, especially next 2 weeks (ARI, JAC)
11. Calvin Johnson (DET) WR +6 Light at the end of the tunnel for Megatron owners as his injury hiatus is expected to come to an end after his W9 bye
12. Julio Jones (ATL) WR -4 Hard to believe he hasn't found end zone in past 5 games, and is just 30th among WR in FAN PTS in that span - with soft ROS schedule after bye, good time to see if you can buy low
13. Peyton Manning (DEN) QB 0 The new all-time NFL leader in pass TDs has delivered 3 TD passes or more in 26 of his past 36 regular-season games, including in 6 of 7 this season
14. Rob Gronkowski (NWE) TE +7 Gronk's got his groove back (102.8 YPG and 4 TDs in past 4 games)
15. Aaron Rodgers (GNB) QB 0 W8 2-pick effort @ NO wasn't great for reality purposes, but fantasy owners will take an "off day" that includes 418 passing yards, a TD pass and a TD run
16. Andrew Luck (IND) QB 0 No. 1 fantasy QB has finished thrown for at 300 yards in 7 of 8 games and has accounted for 2+ TDs in all 8 contests
17. Jordy Nelson (GNB) WR -6 Needs to get in QB Rodgers' ear: Has 4 games w/ 12+ targets, but just 5 targets or less in 3 of the past 4 games - plenty of soft matchups ahead to get back on track after W9 bye
18. A.J. Green (CIN) WR +1 Back @ practice (toe) this week, meaning he has a very good chance to face a JAX D in W9 that has allowed 185 YPG to WRs - Toe pain expected ROS, so we'll have to see how he manages it
19. Randall Cobb (GNB) WR +3 Size (5-foot-10) makes him unlikely TD dynamo, yet he's scored in 7 of 8 games and has 11 TDs in past 9 reg-season games going back to W17 of '13 (hard to call it an anomaly at this point)
20. Jimmy Graham (NOR) TE 0 Still dealing w/ sore shoulder but managed solid 5/59/1 line in W8 as snap count jumped to 43 from 30 the previous week
21. Giovani Bernard (CIN) RB -7 Has averaged just 30.5 YFS in his past 2 games, but TD vs. BAL in W8 bailed out his fantasy line - suffered hip injury in W8 that could hinder his near-term upside
22. Andre Ellington (ARI) RB +4 Has reached at least 75 YFS in every contest, and his role (and TD potential) is boosted by the loss of backup RB Stepfan Taylor out 2-4 weeks w/ calf injury
23. Lamar Miller (MIA) RB 0 Shut out of end zone in W8 after scoring in each of the 3 previous games, but still finished with a solid 99 YFS, which actually stands as his 2nd worst fantasy line of the season
24. Eddie Lacy (GNB) RB +1 Served notice that he's a more than capable receiver w/ 8 catches, 123 receiving yards in W8 @ NOLA - hard to imagine Lacy not getting clear workload majority in GB backfield going forward
25. Julius Thomas (DEN) TE -7 Has been held out of the end zone the past 2, but like Emmanuel Sanders, he's capable of putting up a TD hat trick as soon as you discount him
26. Drew Brees (NOR) QB +1 Finally showed his vintage Brees stuff in W8 win vs. GB (311/3/0) - has averaged 341 pass yards and has thrown 2+ TD passes in 4 straight
27. Ahmad Bradshaw (IND) RB +2 No. 5 fantasy RB no worse than 8.5 FAN PTS in each of his 7 games despite avg. less than 10 carries per game - leads RBs w/ 12 RZ targets and 6 RZ TD grabs
28. Jeremy Maclin (PHI) WR +4 Was Mac-Daddy in W8 (12/187/2), moving him back into the fantasy WR top 5 - leads NFL w/ 24 pass targets of 20+ yards
29. Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) WR +5 Carolina's Big Ben has produced 90+ yards and/or a TD in 6 of 8 contests, and his ROS schedule is the easiest among WRs
30. Tom Brady (NWE) QB +11 Gronk is near 100% healthy and NE offense finally hitting on all cylinders - Brady is No. 1 fantasy QB over the past month
31. TY Hilton (IND) WR +5 No. 4 fantasy WR since W4, averaging 136 yards and scoring 2 TDs in that 5-game span
32. Brandon Marshall (CHI) WR -8 Bye week comes @ perfect time as B-Marsh in major slump (outside top 60 fantasy WRs in FAN PPG since W3), and his frustration starting to show up on the field as well as off
33. Alshon Jeffery (CHI) WR -3 CHI passing game issues haven't hit him as bad as B-Marsh, as Jeffrey still a top 20 WR in FAN PPG since W3
34. Philip Rivers (SDG) QB -6 Has at least 2 TD passes in 7 straight games and is 3rd w/ a QB Rating of 109.9 - Owners may want to note that he has a daunting fantasy playoff schedule (NE, DEN, SF)
35. Russell Wilson (SEA) QB 0 Currently sitting inside the top 5 among QBs in FAN PPG thanks to an average of 7.7 FAN PPG generated on the ground (362 rush yards, 3 rush TDs in 7 games)
36. Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) WR +12 Concerns about his mini-slump in W 6-7 were unnecessary as 9/120/3 line in W8 answered any questions about his place in the DEN passing attack
37. Cam Newton (CAR) QB -4 Coming off 1 of the worst fantasy performances of his career in W8 vs. a SEA team that has owned him - mercifully, ROS schedule is a cakewalk
38. Sammy Watkins (BUF) WR -- Premature celebration in W8 cost him a long TD, but he's been huge w/ Orton at QB, and he ranks as the No. 8 WR in FAN PTS since W2
39. Mike Wallace (MIA) WR -8 Just 2/59/0 line in W8, his worst fantasy effort of season - has found the end zone in 9 of past 13 regular-season games (faces a SDG defense in W9 that has allowed 8 TD passes in past 3)
40. DeSean Jackson (WAS) WR +9 Have to be impressed w/ 4 100-yard games and top 15 spot among fantasy WRs considering WAS has already shuffled thru 3 QBs
41. Mark Ingram (NOR) RB -- Time to give him respect as he has been a top 10 fantasy RB in 3 of his 4 games, w/ 2 of them landing in the top 5, and his ROS schedule among top 10 easiest at RB position
42. Alfred Morris (WAS) RB -4 Showed a heartbeat w/ strong running in W8 upset at DAL (85 YFS, TD), but 3.9 YPC season rate is well below past 2 seasons (4.8 in '12, 4.6 in '13)
43. Ronnie Hillman (DEN) RB 0 Very good chance he Wally Pipps the injured Montee Ball (groin) given that he's been a top 10 RB in FAN PPG the past month despite 2nd toughest RB schedule (ARI, NYJ, SF, SDG)
44. Justin Forsett (BAL) RB 0 Improbable rise to Big Board, but you can't argue the production - top 10 at RB in touches and FAN PTS, and has been consistency king (65+ YFS in all 8 contests)
45. Antonio Gates (SDG) TE -- Has 6 TDs in past 4 games and tied for NFL lead w/ 9 for the season - 13 RZ targets is 2nd to only M. Bennett at the TE position
46. Steve Smith (BAL) WR -7 35-year-old slowing down a bit after torrid start (6.7 FAN PTS or less in 3 of past 4), though a questionable offensive PI call in W8 cost him a big gainer
47. Golden Tate (DET) WR -5 Big Board spot becomes tenuous w/ Megatron returning after W9 bye (Tate's top 4 fantasy games have come after Johnson hurt his ankle)
48. Rashad Jennings (NYG) RB -8 Return from MCL sprain in W9 now looks closer to doubtful, and his ROS schedule from W10-16 is among toughest at the RB position
49. Matthew Stafford (DET) QB -- Have to like his aerial prospects coming off W9 bye w/ Megatron and (presumably) RB Bush back to full health and facing the 7th-easiest ROS schedule among fantasy QBs
50. Matt Ryan (ATL) QB -4 Definitely not Mr October: No. 24 among QBs in FAN PPG over the past month (min. 3 starts) - 1 of the easiest ROS schedules coming after the bye week should help him break the slump

Note: "vs. ECR" compares my rank to the Expert Consensus Rank (ECR) as compiled by FantasyPros.

DROPPED OUT: Ben Tate, Cle, RB; Michael Floyd, Ari, WR; Greg Olsen, Car, TE; Tony Romo, Dal, QB

(QBs) Tony Romo, Dal; Jay Cutler, Chi; Nick Foles, Phi; Ben Roethlisberger, Pit; Colin Kaepernick, SF
(RBs) Ben Tate, Cle; Joique Bell, Det; Frank Gore, SF; Jerick McKinnon, Min; Branden Oliver, SDG; Shane Vereen, NE; Trent Richardson, Ind; Fred Jackson, Buf (groin); Ryan Mathews, SD (knee);
(WRs) DeAndre Hopkins, Hou; Vincent Jackson, TB; Roddy White, Atl; Andre Johnson, Hou;
Pierre Garcon, Was; Terrance Williams, Dal; Larry Fitzgerald, Ari; Michael Floyd, Ari; Eric Decker, NYJ; Brandin Cooks, NO; Brandon Lafell, NE; Josh Gordon, Cle (suspended)
(TEs) Martellus Bennett, Chi; Greg Olsen, Car; Travis Kelce, KC;  Jordan Reed, Was; Dwayne Allen, Ind; Vernon Davis, SF; Delanie Walker, Ten

Note: To see where the fantasy expert community ranks players on the Big Board for the rest of the season, check out the Rest-Of-Season Rankings at FantasyPros.

Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: October 29, 2014, 9:07 pm

Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders for Week 9.

Keenan Allen, back in the saddle after scoring his first TD of the season, fantasy points scored against an underrated Miami secondary 9.9. 

Dalton – UNDER. He has double-digit targets in three of the past five games but hadn’t scored all season until last week. Allen has also reached 75 receiving yards just once all year and will be facing a Miami secondary that has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. 

[Join FanDuel.com's $3M Week 9 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid]

Scott – UNDER, because Allen probably needs a touchdown to get past that number. The Chargers still take what you give them, they don't force the ball to anyone. This week to the side, Allen nonetheless looks like a WR2 for the second half of the year. 

Brad – OVER. Allen has enticed 25 targets over the past two weeks. By far and away, he's the primary option for Rivers at wide receiver. Cortland Finnegan and Brent Grimes have been outstanding this season, but on another double-digit targets dose, Allen should amass a 6-70-1 line. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Combined yards for Michael Vick in Kansas City 239.5.  

Andy – Oh, gross. UNDER. You might collect 50-plus rushing yards from Vick, which I suppose could lead to a respectable fantasy line. But I'd much rather play the QB on the other side of this matchup, Alex Smith.

Brandon – UNDER. At KC is a tough place for Vick to go over this number. Not only does KC allow the fewest passing yards per game to opposing QBs (215.4), but the defense has also yielded just 41 rushing yards to QBs this season, and that includes limiting dual threats like Colin Kaepernick, Jake Locker and Ryan Tannehill.

Dalton – UNDER. Vick got 4.3 YPA while taking over QB duties last week, taking four sacks while fumbling four times as well. He committed three turnovers with a 49.9 QB Rating. Vick will be more prepared as the named starter this week, but he’ll also be on the road facing a Chiefs defense that has yielded the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. K.C. has allowed just 41 rushing yards to enemy signal callers this year. 

Scott – So let me get this straight: the Jets have a backup QB who's lefthanded; inaccurate; needs simple reads; runs well; has trouble managing the pocket; makes a few splashy plays now and then. How lovely. They learned nothing from their Tebow mistake. Even with a bunch of rushing yards on the way, give me UNDER on everything Vick. 

Same game, different name. What pass-catching twin finally gets off the schneid in Week 9: Wes Welker (at NE) or Julian Edelman (vs. Den)? 

Brandon –  WELKER. Peyton Manning has a knack for not letting his offensive weapons become wallflowers. We saw that with Emmanuel Sanders in Week 8 (9/120/3), who was coming off two consecutive disappointing games prior to that contest. And I also think that Welker is going to do anything and everything he can to stick it to his former team. I'm predicting 60 yards and a TD from him this week.

Dalton – WELKER. Edelman sure seems safer, as he’s averaged 8.6 targets per game this season while Welker has totaled just six looks over his past three games. But I’ll go against the grain here. Welker scored 10 times last year and has matched Edelman’s TD production this season despite seeing 45 fewer targets. I’m banking on Welker more likely to score. 

Brad – WELKER. Yes, he's totaled just six catches (on six targets) for 63 yards and a TD over his past three games, but revenge should be a motivational factor. 

Heath Miller, off a ridiculous 7-112-1 outburst against Indy, receiving yards in the follow-up against the Ravens 49.5. 

Dalton – UNDER. He’s averaged right around this mark this season (48.4 ypg) and faces a Baltimore defense that has yielded the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Before last week’s breakout, Miller had totaled 78 yards over his previous three games combined. 

Andy – UNDER. He's failed to reach this number in five of his eight games, and he's been limited to 35 yards or less four times. Miller is basically never a great bet for a huge yardage total.

Scott – UNDER. No one pitched Miller more than I did in August, but I've given up the ghost. He's had too many poor games, too many no-shows, and we know he's not a speed target or someone who can beat you laterally. He'll also be needed to block plenty against the Ravens. 

Bobby Rainey, the subject of much discussion in the Arcade this week, total touches against the woeful Browns 14.5.  

Andy – OVER. Yes, Charles Sims is worth a flier, particularly in PPR formats. But Rainey has averaged 4.6 yards per carry for the season, and has generally looked like a much better back than Doug Martin (except when he's fumbling). I'm assuming the Bucs won't over-feed Sims in his debut. Rainey should be a strong play against a friendly Cleveland defense.

Scott – OVER. I'll believe the Sims story when I see it. Rainey has some ball security issues now and then, but he also makes positive plays when he's given the chance. 

Dalton – OVER. Doug Martin seems unlikely to play, and the other competition is a rookie (Charles Sims) who has yet to take a snap in the NFL while coming off an injury. Rainey has had fumbling problems this year but has also averaged 4.6 YPC while impressing as a receiver. He’s clearly been the team’s best RB when on the field. Rainey could easily finish as a top-15 fantasy back in Week 9 against a shaky Browns run D. 

Ben Roethlisberger, who crushed franchise records and fantasy opponent souls last week versus Indy, touchdowns tossed against the Jimmy Smith-less Ravens 2.5. 

Brad – UNDER. Down Smith, the Ravens are definitely vulnerable, but they've yet to allow a passer to throw for three TDs in a game against them. In fact, Mike Glennon is the only QB to log a multi-TD game versus Baltimore this year. Big Ben has thrived in Todd Haley's no-huddle offense, but in a rivalry game, he crashes back down to earth. 

Andy – I don't like to bank on big numbers from a Steelers-Ravens game. Ben should be an excellent play all year, but I've gotta take the UNDER here. Put me down for 277 yards, two TDs, one pick and five sacks.

Brandon – OVER. Baltimore will be without top corner Jimmy Smith, and the Ravens have had issues in pass defense even with Smith active. They allow nearly 275 passing yards per game and four pass plays of 20-plus yards. And Big Ben has been a rockstar at home, with a QB Rating of more than 125 (compared to 84 on the road).

Denard Robinson, off consecutive 100-yard performances, rushing yards against an underachieving Cincinnati defense 99.5. 

Brandon  – UNDER. Sorry, but three straight 100-yard rushing games is a tough feat for any RB (outside of Demarco Murray), let alone one that plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bengals haven't allowed a RB to reach 70 rushing yards at home this season, and I don't expect the Jags' to be able to hang close long enough in this contest for Robinson to get the volume needed to top the century mark.

Dalton – UNDER. The Bengals have given up an NFL-high 4.8 YPC this season, but they are also favored by 11 points in this game, so the Jaguars might be forced to throw the ball plenty. Robinson has impressed, but it’s tough to bank on any running back reaching 100 rushing yards three games in a row, let alone one whose 40 carries over the past two weeks nearly matched his total over his past 22 games combined. 

Brad – UNDER. The Bengals have struggled mightily recently defending the run yielding 4.69 yards per carry to RBs. Still, Stevan Ridley is the only rusher to exceed the proposed number against them. Robinson has played splendidly over the past two weeks, but he falls just shy of triple-digits on the ground.  

Rookie showdown. Who has the better PPR fantasy day: Donte Moncrief (at NYG), Martavis Bryant (vs. Bal) or Allen Robinson (at Cin)?

Dalton – ROBINSON. He’s up against a Cincy defense that has ceded the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, but Robinson has scored in two straight games and has averaged 9.0 targets over the past six games, so he’s the safest bet. 

Brad – MONCRIEF. With or without Reggie Wayne, the Ole Miss product will play a substantial role Monday night in New York. Prince Amukamua and DRC are a tough draw, but the rookie's terrific measurables, 4.40 40-yard wheels and ability to break through press coverage are standout qualities. He builds off a breakthrough week and finishes in range of 5-6 receptions, 65-75 yards with a touchdown.  

Scott – ROBINSON, because he has the biggest role carved out. I'd like to believe in Moncrief getting a heavy share of work going forward, but the Colts are notorious for their slow pace on personnel swaps (they're the last to see the light on Richardson, Nicks and Fleener). 

BOLD PREDICTION. The one wide receiver under 50-percent started in Yahoo leagues that has the best chance to finish with 15-plus PPR points in Week 8 is ____________.

Brad – STEVIE JOHNSON. Colin Kaepernick operated uninhibitedly in the first matchup, exerting his will via air and ground. In that game, Johnson went for five catches and 53 yards. He'll be even better in the rematch. Bank on 60 yards and a touch. 

Scott –  Someone has to soak up the extra St. Louis targets now that Brian Quick is done for the year; maybe KENNY BRITT is up to the task. He's been used regularly over his last five games (27 targets), and he returned a passable fantasy showing in two of those instances. They'll be throwing a bunch at San Francisco, probably in catch-up mode. 

Brandon – ANDREW HAWKINS. There's a lot to love about Hawkins this week. He's facing one of the most generous pass defenses in the league in the Buccaneers. He's coming off a combined 12 catches, 200 yards and a TD in his past two contests. And Cleveland won't have Jordan Cameron available this week, so Hawkins should easily see double-digit targets. Banking on a seven-catch, 80-yard performance from Hawkins is probably being conservative.

Top-Five Buys. Your best bets (versus the spread or over/unders) for Week 8.

Brandon – 1) MIA (-1.5) vs. SDG, 2) NE (+3.5) vs. Den, 3) Cin (-11) vs. Jax, 4) OVER 50.5, NYG-Ind, 5) UNDER 44, SF-Stl

Dalton – 1) Pit (+1) vs. Bal, 2) T.B. (+6.5) at Cle, 3) Cin (-11) vs. Jax, 4) SD (+1.5) at Mia, 5) SF (-10) vs. Stl

Scott –  1) Ravens -1, 2) Jags +11, 3) Chargers +1.5, 4) Pats/Broncos under 55, 5) Browns-Bucs over 43.5.

Brad – 1) Pit (+2) vs. Bal, 2) Mia (-1.5) vs. SD, 3) OVER 55 Den/NE, 4) NYG (+3) vs. Ind, 5) Jax (+11) at Cin

Andy – 1) Bal -2 at Pit, 2) SD +1.5 at Mia, 3) Under 55, Den-NE, 4) Ind -3 at NYG, 5) Cin -11 vs. Jac.

(Note: All I'm doing here is fading Brad, which is generally a prudent strategy. I put no thought into these selections; I am a terrible gambling resource. -AB)

(Evans note: For the record, I went 5-0 last week. Suck it, Behrens -BE)

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 29, 2014, 5:13 pm

Each week the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, un-obvious names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. To qualify, each player must be started in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 9 Flames in the comments section below.

Eli Manning, NYG, QB (12 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Ind
The last time Younger Manning was advertised in this space, those who bought in probably chucked chicken wings at their television screens in disgust. I hexed the poor dude. Gifted a marvelous matchup against Philly and sporting a hot hand he underperformed, miserably stumbling his way to 151 yards without a touchdown. That, Team Huevos, is why the NFL stands for No Friggin' Logic. Strangely confident he'll right the previous wrong, I'm going back to the Eli well. Fresh off the bye, he should toe the QB1 line. Prior to Ben Roethlisberger's record-setting afternoon, Indy was one of the most feared defenses in Fantasyland. Up until they allowed 522 yards and six touchdowns to Big Ben, the Colts had given up a mere 191.8 passing yards and two touchdowns to QBs in their previous four contests. Vontae Davis' early exit, though, changed the complexity of Greg Manusky's scheme, leaving its participants dazed and thoroughly confused. Davis' MRI came back negative, but he still could miss time. If the corner is unavailable Sunday, a rejuvenated Eli airs it out. 

Fearless Forecast: 22-35, 273 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 21.6 fantasy points 

[Join FanDuel.com's $3M Week 9 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid]

Denard Robinson, Jax, RB/WR (39 percent started)
Matchup: at Cin
If Shoelace continues to pound the pigskin, he might just earn himself a lucrative sneaker deal. Bulkier, but still lightning quick, the former Michigan QB is developing into a reliable RB2. Earning the start last week over snails Toby Gerhart and Storm Johnson, Robinson bolted his way to 118 combined yards on 19 touches vs. Miami, his second-consecutive 100-yard effort. Fleet-footed, decisive and elusive, he certainly has the look of a near every-down asset moving forward. Under the microscope, advanced metrics convey a slightly different message. His 4.84 yards per carry is stellar, but only 42.8 percent of yards gained have come after contact and he's forced just four missed tackles on 80 touches. Still, the volume remains very attractive. So does his Week 9 matchup. Since Week 3, only the bumbling Bucs have surrendered more fantasy points to rushers than Cincinnati. During that span, the Bengals have allowed a staggering 4.66 yards per carry, 170.4 total yards and seven touchdowns to the position. Geno Atkins still checks out as one of the league's best run defenders, but injuries and inconsistencies at linebacker explain the Bengals' vulnerability to RBs. Game flow is critical for Robinson, but if the rapidly improving Jags D can continue its upward climb, another triple-digit output is likely. 

Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 94 rushing yards, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.8 fantasy points 

Jonas Gray, NE, RB (2 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Den
It never ceases to amaze where fantasy value crops up from. Less than three weeks ago, Gray was a nobody on the practice squad, a buried rusher worth about as much as a JaMarcus Russell autograph. However, one devastating Stevan Ridley knee injury later and the former Golden Domer is Bill Belichick's latest "big back," a role that suits his skill set perfectly. Gray isn't a flashy runner by any means, but his stout 5-foot-10, 225-pound frame and one-cut ability work beautifully in Josh McDaniels' offense. He sees the hole and attacks it aggressively by getting downhill. Owners didn't exactly retire off his 17-86-0 (5.06 ypc) performance last week vs. Chicago, but, for those who play in challenging leagues where Tom Brady wasn't considered a preseason "sleeper," it was useful nonetheless. Undoubtedly, Denver is an extremely difficult opponent. The Broncos are tenacious, quick to the ball and generally unyielding. RBs have totaled a mere 2.65 yards per carry and 46.5 rushing yards per game against them. Many would rather hang with Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe than trust a little known RB against a stingy Denver run D, but this promises to be a high-scoring contest. With Brady out of his mind right now, I'm banking on a goal-to-go opportunity or three for Gray. Debate his services in the FLEX in 12-team leagues.  

Fearless Forecast: 16 carries, 70 rushing yards, 0 receptions, 1 touchdown, 13.0 fantasy points 

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Donte Moncrief, Ind, WR (2 percent started)
Matchup: at NYG
Drawing his first start of what could be a spectacular NFL career, Donte resembled another Moncrief, former NBA great Sidney. Save for a couple of drops, the rookie was flat out smooth. Against the Steelers he grabbed seven passes (on 12 targets) for 113 yards and a touchdown, routinely using his sinewy 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame and physical off-the-line nature to gain separation. According to Indy Star contributor Stephen Holder, the Colts are optimistic Reggie Wayne will return to action this week after sitting Week 8 with an elbow injury. Even if he returns, Moncrief should play a substantial role. The youngster is simply too good to be utilized in a limited capacity. Another 35-plus snaps are completely realistic. Spearheaded by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamura, the Giants secondary has performed admirably this year. Combined they've conceded a 53.8 catch rate and 65.7 QB rating. Overall, only five wide receivers have reached the 60-yard mark against New York. Though the paper matchup is unappealing, Moncrief's imposing stature and veteran-like approach should win the day. In a brutal bye week, he's a highly employable WR3. 

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 69 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.6 fantasy points 

Travis Kelce, KC, TE (41 percent started)
Matchup: vs. NYJ
Kelce is a swinging pendulum personified. Thanks to Andy Reid's insistence on limiting him to 50-60 percent of team snaps, the tight end has been wildly inconsistent. On fire from Weeks 3-5, he racked the fifth-best line at the position, catching 13 passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Since then, however, he's grabbed just eight balls for 78 yards and no scores. But this week presents a unique opportunity. The one-win Jets are lousy in all facets of the game, particularly containing plus-sized targets. Linebackers DeMario Davis and David Harris have allowed 40 receptions on 51 targets (78.4 catch percentage). And no defense has surrendered more TDs (9) to the position over the past six weeks. Alex Smith is sure to play it conservative, but of his roughly 25-30 pass attempts, 7-8 will be thrown No. 87's way. This is the week Special K once again cracks the TE top-10. 

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 57 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.7 fantasy points 

SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10 percent started)

Bobby Rainey, TB, RB (9 percent started)
Matchup: at Cle
If Doug Martin were a Halloween candy, he would definitely be a butterscotch-flavored Dum-Dums pop. The man doesn't exactly stimulate the taste buds. Rumored to be on the trade block and now dealing with an ankle injury, the "Muscle Hamster" may soon be snake food. Advantage Rainey. Over the past week, much has been said about Charles Sims' imminent return and possible rest-of-season impact. An ESPN report suggested Sims could earn "serious carries" down the homestretch, but the fact of the matter is the rookie back hasn't logged a single snap this season. It's entirely plausible he's eased into a 12-14 touch workload over the next couple weeks, making Rainey the presumed starter. It's difficult for fanatics to erase his two-fumble catastrophe in Atlanta a few weeks back. That's understandable. Still, when given opportunities, Rainey has been the Bucs' most effective back. He's averaged 4.6 yards per carry and tallied the second-highest elusive rating of any NFL rusher. His outstanding versatility, shiftiness and surprising brawn cannot be overstated. Blessed with a fabulous matchup against a Browns defense that's allowed 4.69 yards per carry and the seventh-most fantasy points to RBs, the veteran, and not Sims, is the Tampa back to trust. 

Fearless Forecast: 17 carries, 82 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 20 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.4 fantasy points 


Each week one fortunate guest prognosticator will have a chance to silence the Noise. Following the rules stated above, participants are asked to submit their "Flames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?

@YahooNoise Kaepernick, Andre Williams, Doug Martin, Percy Harvin, Odell Beckham, Travis Kelce, Cincinnati D/ST #teamhuevos

— Kevin Jackman (@Kevin_Jackman16) October 28, 2014

Reader Record: 19-35, 35.1%

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 29, 2014, 2:14 pm

Given the image and headline above, you can probably figure out what this pattern is. But let's present it without an identification, just for fun: 9, 31, 20, 8, 24, 22, 13, 1.

Those are the final QB scoring ranks for Ben Roethlisberger this season. Even after a 522-yard, six-touchdown performance for the ages (the eighth-best fantasy QB showing since 1960), it's still rather pedestrian, don't you think?

And keep in mind those weekly grades have come despite an elite receiving option on the outside (Antonio Brown) and without a touchdown-gobbling running back (though Le'Veon Bell is a terrific ballplayer - and someone I'd buy in a second). Pittsburgh's defense hasn't been anything special, either - it hasn't been artificially draining Big Ben's fantasy grab. 

[Join FanDuel.com's $3M Week 9 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid]

It was hard to construct a case for Roethlisberger into Week 8. He hadn't been a needle-mover for fantasy in the first seven games, and he was facing the Colts, the second-stingiest defense with respect to QB points allowed. Just two NFL teams were on bye, so we had 30 quarterbacks to choose from. Of the 135 pundits who populate Fantasy Pros, only four ranked Roethlisberger as a QB1 this week - an option in the Top 12 at the position.

Yahoo owners didn't do much better. While Big Ben was rostered in the majority of Yahoo leagues, only 16 percent pulled the trigger and started him. And surely that number is bumped up by a few jumbo-flex formats, where he of course was a viable starter.

If you saw the Martavis Bryant emergence coming ahead of time, good for you. The guy had two career catches entering Week 8, before exploding for his 6-83-2 line. If you imagined Heath Miller would go bonkers in Week 8 (7-112-1) after six ordinary games and one strong one, good for you. I've long-considered myself one of the all-time Miller apologists, and even I threw in the Terrible Towel before the Colts game.

While surprising fantasy results are a staple of every NFL Sunday, I think it's important to keep our feet on the ground with how we dissect them after the fact. While so much of what we do feels like guesswork on some level, it's still important to take our best informed guess with all of our roster decisions. You're trying to give yourself the best chance to win.

The presence of unusual results does not invalidate a logical process. Just because someone once hit a two on a hard 19 doesn't mean you want to chase that card next time. Make good decisions, gamers.

The Pittsburgh schedule is a mixed bag going forward. Baltimore is a tricky draw in Week 9. The Jets in Week 10? Giveaway, yes please. Tennessee in Week 11 is favorable. A Week 12 bye follows, then a home game with New Orleans.  

The latter stages include two Cincinnati games, the Falcons, the Chiefs. I try to be careful with look-aheads that are months in advance. Cincinnati's defense looked strong for a month, then awful for a month. Who knows what it will be in December?

[Pickups of the Week: Rookie WRs could save the day]

-- The jumbo-sized bye weeks are frustrating to many fake footballers, but I like them. Let's dig deeper. Let's see if we can use some of the temporary leverage to our advantage.  

The Falcons, Bills, Bears, Lions, Packers and Titans don't play in Week 9. In Week 10, these teams are on holiday: Colts, Vikings, Patriots, Chargers, Redskins, Texans. 

Trading can be difficult in August or September, when no one has a major deficit or a reason to worry. But with Halloween approaching, the league has personality now, shape, favorites and underdogs. If you're one of the league leaders, it's time to see if you can pluck a bye-week star from one of the struggling teams. And if you're sitting with a losing record, it might make sense to liquidate your biggest name (especially if he sits Week 9 or Week 10) because you have to take on a win-now mentality. 

No one had extra incentive to trade in the early weeks, but it's a much different landscape now. Make sure you do an extensive league and roster audit this week, put some feelers out there. 

-- Looking at the Tampa situation, I agree with esteemed colleague Bradley Evans: in the rush to anoint Charles Sims, I think too many people are overlooking Bobby Rainey. If I had just one spin in a Bucs running back, Rainey would be my first call. I also think Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are going to have significant spikes in the second half. 

- Two's company, three's a crowd. That's the rule of thumb with so many fantasy backfields. 

I can consider a non-starting specialist so long as he's the second man in a two-man show, like Lorenzo Taliaferro was in Week 8. Take Bernard Pierce off the field, Taliaferro becomes a lot more interesting. Put three heads on the monster, it's hard to trust a non-featured back. Hopefully Pierce stays out of the way for the balance of the season. 

The Rams basically turned their backfield into nuclear waste when they put all three runners into play. And they also waste touches on Tavon Austin, for some silly reason. Throw in a messy schedule and expected game flows and I don't see a Top 30 back here. Sure, some big games will pop up here and there, but I can't see how we can project and predict them ahead of time. If the backs aren't playable, why would you want them? This is a situation I'll avoid, even in deeper pools.

Players to add for Week 9 of the fantasy season

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 28, 2014, 12:39 am

Mid-way through the third quarter at Heinz Field on Sunday, Martavis Bryant broke open on a quick slant, shedding Colts corner Josh Gordy with ease. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw an absolute dart that hit Bryant in stride, on the hands ... and the rookie bobble the ball, then dropped it.

[Join FanDuel.com's $3M Week 9 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid]

Immediately, Bryant hung his head in disbelief. Only a single safety stood between Bryant and a 77-yard touchdown, which would have been his third spike of the afternoon.

"I should have kept my eyes on the ball and focused," Bryant would later say. "I'm going to get a lot more work this week on the JUGS machine and get back to work."

Had Martavis snagged the ball, he might still be running. It was the right throw against beaten coverage. And if Bryant would have grabbed it, then Roethlisberger might now own the all-time NFL single-game rec...

Well, let's not get mired in hypotheticals. Big Ben's fantasy owners should not be complaining about his absurd 522-yard, six-touchdown performance. Bryant investors have no reason to gripe, either. The rookie wideout finished among the scoring leaders at his position, one of nine receivers to top 20 standard fantasy points in Week 8.

We're now two games into Bryant's pro career, and he's caught seven of 12 targets, gaining 123 yards and breaking the plane three times. Not bad for a guy who entered the league as a developmental prospect out of Clemson, a kid in need of serious seasoning.

[Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today!]

Drops were definitely part of Bryant's scouting profile back in May, but so was upper-tier athleticism. He really has ideal size (6-foot-4), plus he offers terrific speed (4.42), leaping ability (39-inch vertical) and wingspan (6-foot-7). At this point, his big-play ability is well-established. Bryant played 33 snaps on Sunday, just one less than Markus Wheaton, so his role in the offense is clearly growing. If you have a need at receiver — or you're simply looking for a high-ceiling flier — Martavis should be a priority waiver add. He's unowned in 93 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment, available to most of you.

More fantasy analysis from Yahoo Sports

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 27, 2014, 3:10 pm

Tom Brady had as many incompletions (five) as he did touchdown passes. After failing to throw multiple TDs in each of his first four games, he’s posted a 14:0 TD:INT ratio over his past four contests, getting 8.8 YPA. He sure looks to be “back,” as does Rob Gronkowski, who secured all nine of his targets for 149 yards and three scores. The tight end is now on pace to score 14 TDs...Gronk, Brandon LaFell and Tim Wright somehow hauled in all 27 of their targets, which went for a combined 334 yards and five touchdowns. LaFell should be considered a top-20 fantasy WR moving forward...Matt Forte has scored six touchdowns over the past four games and is quietly on pace to finish with 116 catches and 980 receiving yards...The Patriots had the ball five times in the first half, which resulted in four touchdowns and a field goal (to go along with a defensive score), including three TDs over the span of 57 seconds late in the second quarter. New England would also score a touchdown during its first drive of the second half...Jonas Gray should be owned in all leagues at this point...Here’s Lamarr Houston hurting himself while celebrating a sack against a backup QB when his team was down 25 points late in the fourth quarter. 

[Join FanDuel.com's $3M Week 9 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid]

This lack of an attempted tackle by Julio Jones was bad, but in fairness, maybe he was sure the penalty was on the Lions, and he also made a nice tackle later in the game after a horrific interception thrown across the field by Matt Ryan...Ryan was great in the first half and finished completing 74.1 percent of his passes while getting 8.4 YPA and posting a 108.3 QB Rating against a Detroit defense that entered having allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. But Atlanta now has an NFL-worst -60 point differential in the fourth quarter this season...Golden Tate is a top-10 fantasy WR as long as Calvin Johnson is out, but Theo Riddick really cuts into Joique Bell’s value even with Reggie Bush sidelined. What a huge grab by Riddick here...After averaging 121.7 yards while scoring three touchdowns over the first three games of the year, Julio Jones has averaged 73.8 yards with zero scores over five contests since...Crazy that Detroit won thanks to a delay of game penalty committed by them.

The Vikings/Bucs barnburner was 3-0 at halftime thanks to a field goal that ended the second quarter, although the game was decided by a defensive score in overtime...Lavonte David is on pace to finish with 183 tackles. He remains an IDP monster. NFL DPOY Luke Kuechly totaled 156 tackles last season...Over the last three games, Matt Asiata has 12 carries for 20 yards...Cordarrelle Patterson’s 12 targets were four more than his previous season high...Put a fork in Doug Martin, he’s done. Even if his ankle injury proves minor, fantasy owners can ignore him moving forward. Four backs entered Sunday having averaged as many or more YPC AFTER CONTACT as Martin has averaged this year in general.

This race by two bicyclists is flat-out insane

Despite Cin/Bal totaling 51 points, Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco combined for a 0:3 TD:INT ratio. Although Dalton added two TD runs, including a score with less than a minute left on fourth down in the fourth quarter...The Bengals have defended wide receivers well all season, but it’s still surprising Steve Smith and Torrey Smith combined to haul in just 3-of-11 targets for 35 yards...This Mohamed Sanu catch was legit. He’ll continue to be a top-15 fantasy WR as long as A.J. Green is sidelined.

Here are serious food critics at a culinary convention loving McDonald’s as an organic alternative

Geno Smith completed more passes to the Bills than he did to his teammates, as he was picked off three times in the first nine minutes. Michael Vick wasn’t much better, committing three turnovers while taking four sacks and getting 4.3 YPA. I’m going to guess the Jets address the QB position at next year’s draft...Kyle Orton, meanwhile, posted a 4:0 TD:INT ratio while getting 14.0 YPA, as 40% of his completions found the end zone. New York’s secondary has now allowed 22 touchdown passes while recording one interception...Since everyone was trying to figure out whom to start between Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown, it’s only fitting Frank Summers was the only Buffalo back to score...Sammy Watkins had a monster game, turning three catches into 157 yards and a TD, although it would’ve been even bigger had he not started celebrating early

J.J. Watt had two sacks with a batted pass. In other words, just an average game for him. It will be scary to see what Houston’s defensive line can do if Jadeveon Clowney is even half the prospect many think he is...Zach Mettenberger actually looked competent during his first start, but it’s tough to rely on any Titans player right now...Arian Foster is 28 years old, is approaching 1,500 career carries and has played behind some of the best offensive lines/schemes in the NFL in the past, yet his current 5.2 YPC is easily the best of his career. He’s on pace to total 1,864 yards and score 18 touchdowns despite missing one game and being limited to eight carries by the injury in another. Midway through the season, here would be my hypothetical top-10 in a draft held today: 1) DeMarco Murray 2) Matt Forte 3) Demaryius Thomas 4) Arian Foster 5) Jamaal Charles 6) Le’Veon Bell 7) LeSean McCoy 8) Rob Gronkowski 9) Jordy Nelson 10) Dez Bryant

The Rams led the Chiefs 7-0 after the first quarter, only to end up losing 34-7. Kansas City scored 34 points despite Alex Smith producing zero scores, as the Chiefs still remain without a single TD catch by a wide receiver this season...Jamaal Charles totaled 117 yards and a score on just 17 touches, while St. Louis’ backfield looks like a true committee...Brian Quick has totaled 53 yards over the past three games and left Sunday’s game on a cart with an arm injury.

Headlines of the Week: Lovesick Chinese Woman Dumped By Boyfriend Spends Entire Week In KFC...Someone’s Selling Their Imaginary Friend...Woman Rescued From Chimney Belonging To Man She Met Online...Family’s Terror As They Find World’s Deadliest Spider Trapped In Home Delivery, And It Gnaws Its Own Leg Off To Escape...Lawsuit: Man Awoke From Surgery In Pink Panties...Man Lights Up Bong After High-Speed Chase...Woman Sets Her Roommate On Fire Over A Thrown-Out Plate Of Spaghetti...Luis Suarez Admits He Is Getting Help To Stop Biting Opponents...Ebola.com Domain Sold For $200,000 To Russian Marijuana Company... Department Of Homeland Security Executes Panty Raid In Kansas City...Man Fakes Being In A Coma For Two Years.

Denard Robinson took the second carry of the game for 41 yards and finished with 108 on 18 rushing attempts against a Miami front seven that has defended the run well this season. He’s emerged as Jacksonville’s clear lead back...Over the previous three games, Ryan Tannehill had completed 72.3 percent of his passes while throwing six touchdowns and getting 8.5 YPA. So naturally, against the Jaguars he finished with a 55.2 completion percentage with a 1:1 TD:INT ratio while getting 6.8 YPA.

Larry Fitzgerald’s 80-yard TD catch was the longest of his career. Meanwhile, facing an Eagles secondary that entered having ceded the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing WRs, Michael Floyd failed to secure any of his four targets...No other player on Arizona saw a single carry Sunday, so it’s hard to complain about Andre Ellington, but after averaging 5.5 YPC last season, here are his marks over the past five games, respectively: 3.4, 2.0, 3.5, 3.7 and 3.1. He’s seen 35 targets over that span and is even getting goal-line carries, so fantasy owners should be plenty happy, but his decline in efficiency is worth noting (his foot injury is likely at least partially to blame)...The Eagles have produced a takeaway in an NFL-best 19 straight games...Jeremy Maclin had a monstrous performance (12 catches, 187 yards, two TDs) that was especially impressive considering he shook off a huge hit early on that required a trip to the locker room and resulted in bleeding from his ear.

Here’s another edition of “Between Two Ferns,” this one featuring Brad Pitt

The Colts entered having allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and yet Ben Roethlisberger had 394 yards (11.6 YPA) with a 5:0 TD:INT ratio with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. Big Ben would finish with six TD passes and no picks while becoming the only player to ever throw for 500 yards in two games during his career (his 522 yards Sunday tied for the third-most in the modern era)...Le’Veon Bell owners had to be disappointed considering he didn’t hit pay dirt in a game in which Pittsburgh scored 51 points...Sunday marked the first time Indy allowed a first quarter touchdown this season...With Reggie Wayne out, Hakeem Nicks managed just one catch for 27 yards on five targets. Donte Moncrief is the favorite to be the Colts’ second leading receiver from here on out...Andrew Luck has now thrown for 300+ yards in six straight games, something Peyton Manning has never done. Luck also contributed to the first week in NFL history in which four quarterbacks threw for 400 yards.

Here are two classic Ali G roundtables: the first dealing with pornography, while the other is dealing with the topic of medical ethics

The Panthers allowed an 80-yard touchdown drive with fewer than five minutes left in the game, culminating in a Russell Wilson 23-yard TD strike with 47 seconds left, but Carolina truly lost this game in the first half, when at one point they had 12 first downs compared to just one by Seattle that resulted in just a three-point lead...Cam Newton didn’t have a great game and failed to score but another 12 rushing attempts suggests his ankle is getting closer to 100%...Marshawn Lynch hasn’t reached 90 rushing yards in any of his past six games, averaging just 62.0 over that span...The Seahawks have allowed eight of their 12 passing touchdowns to tight ends this season. Greg Olsen had one catch for 16 yards Sunday...What a catch by Kelvin Benjamin (with Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas sandwiching him).

Police Blotter: Super Drunk Woman Arrested, Mistook Jail For Bar... Deputy Finds Wanted Man Hiding In A Dark Closet, Eating Salad... Man Accidentally Texts Probation Officer In Pot Deal... Handsome Serial Killer Says Murder Spree Helped Get ‘Great Anger’ Out Of His System... Clowns With Sex Toys Attacked Family...Alabama Man Gets $1,000 In Police Settlement, His Lawyers Get $459,000...Man Gives ‘Wet Willy’ To Police Officer, Gets Jail Time....Drunken Trombone-Playing Clown Fires Gun From Garage, Police Say....CHP Officer Says Stealing Nude Photos From Arrestees ‘Game’ For Cops...Dominican Agents Detain Woman With $70K In Stomach...Deputies Use Dogs, Choppers, Before Arresting Man Charged With Stealing $4 Pack Of Cigarettes.

The Raiders entered yielding the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, so it’s a bit disconcerting Ben Tate managed just 26 yards on 15 carries, although Terrance West wasn’t any better (seven rushing attempts for 11 yards), and Isaiah Crowell got just one carry. The Browns got 1.6 YPC on 25 rushing attempts at home against Oakland...Matt Schaub is now 0-for-1 with an interception this season...Before leaving with yet another injury, Jordan Cameron suffered a horrific drop. He entered Sunday having broken one tackle all season. What a bust.

Longread of the Week: “Who Is Su?” 

Mark Ingram ran for 172 yards Sunday night, reaching the century mark for just the second time in his career. He has four touchdowns during the four games in which he’s played this season but had scored once over his previous 12 regular season games. Ingram’s fantasy value is dependent upon Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson’s health moving forward...This was just the third time in NFL history where there were no punts in a game, while the Saints won for the 14th straight time at home in prime time...Eddie Lacy caught 8-of-9 targets for 123 yards. He hadn’t seen more than three targets previously this season and those 123 yards were more than he’s rushed for in any game this year (and more receiving than any game by Brandon Marshall).

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: October 27, 2014, 8:02 am

It's too easy to score. It's too hard to score. 

Let's watch the football and baseball games together, and talk about some fake sports. And if you want to go off the board to life subjects, I won't fight you. 

Bring a drink, vote in a poll, tell a joke, root on your guys. See you in a few.

First pitch around 10:15 pm ET.

Live Blog Sunday Night Fantasy Chat
Live Blog Sunday Night Fantasy Chat

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 27, 2014, 2:02 am

It isn't every day that fantasy owners are disgusted by an 84-yard reception, but Sammy Watkins is in the business of making the impossible happen. Early in the second quarter of Buffalo's decisive win over the Jets on Sunday, Watkins hauled in a deep dart from Kyle Orton, raced for the end-zone, and ... well, he did not quite arrive at his intended destination.

Watkins decelerated, gave us a premature sky-point celebration, and was caught from behind by Saalim Hakim just short of the goal line. Brutal play by an otherwise brilliant rookie — and Sammy even took a peek over his shoulder after the catch, so it's not like he was unaware of the pursuit.

[Join FanDuel.com's $3M Week 9 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid]

Despite the unfortunate non-touchdown, Watkins still delivered his usual excellent fantasy line. He finished with 157 yards on three catches with a late 61-yard score included. Buffalo quarterback Kyle Orton passed for 238 yards and four TDs on only 17 attempts, which is absurd. The Bills head into their bye week at 5-3, with a competent quarterback and a top-ten defense, looking suspiciously like a postseason contender.

But we're not here to hype Buffalo. Instead, let's take a moment to consider the defense that Orton and Watkins set ablaze, then tossed in a dumpster.

At the halfway point in a lost season, New York has already allowed a league-worst 22 touchdown passes (no other team is close) while snagging just one interception (also league-worst). It's a combination of injuries, inadequacy and incompetence, with each week more discouraging than the last. For fantasy purposes, the advice here is simple: pick on this secondary whenever possible.

If you find yourself in need of quarterback assistance, New York's schedule is loaded with streaming opportunities:

Week 9 – at KC (Alex Smith is 42 percent owned)
Week 10 – Pit (Ben Roethlisberger, 73 percent)
Week 11 – bye
Week 12 – at Buf (Kyle Orton, 8 percent)
Week 13 – Mia (Ryan Tannehill, 51 percent)
Week 14 – at Min (Teddy Bridgewater, 10 percent)
Week 15 – at Ten (Zach Mettenberger, 2 percent)
Week 16 – NE (Tom Brady, owned everywhere. He will pick clean the bones of this team.)

I'll probably rank "bye" as a top-15 quarterback in Week 11. New York has been that bad.

Ben Roethlisberger, dressed to thrill (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) Entering the week, the Colts D was allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and the second-fewest to quarterbacks. It appears those ranks are not gonna hold. Ben Roethlisberger shredded Indy's defense for a ridiculous 522 yards and six touchdowns in Week 8, with five of the scores caught by wideouts. (Heath Miller corralled the sixth, on a gutsy fourth-and-inches call.) Antonio Brown had his usual two TDs, and rookie burner Martavis Bryant hauled in a pair as well, finishing with 83 yards on five catches. That's back-to-back useful games for Bryant, a kid who probably belongs in your waiver plans. You can't argue with his physical tools — speedy, 6-foot-4, 39-inch vert — and the recent production is obscene.

Big Ben essentially delivered a four-hour quarterback camp, challenging the NFL single-game yardage record while completing 40 of 49 throws. In a week loaded with stellar individual performances, Roethlisberger's afternoon was the best by a wide margin, an all-timer. He was so ludicrously good that he turned a 400-yard passing performance by Andrew Luck into an afterthought. (Fantasy owners, please note that rookie receiver Donte Moncrief saw a team-high 12 targets, finishing with seven receptions for 113 yards and one score.)

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No need to thank us for another gem of a game, London. It's our pleasure. Atlanta coughed up a 21-0 lead to the Lions at Wembley, in a game that neither team deserved to win. Golden Tate feasted again (7-151-1), as pretty much everyone predicted, and running back Theo Riddick had an excellent PPR day, hauling in eight balls for 74 yards and one score on 12 targets. Detroit tried to bungle the end-game, but Matt Prater managed to kick a 48-yard game-winner (shortly after missing from 43).

Mike Vick replaced Geno Smith at quarterback for the Jets on Sunday, but did so with Geno-like effectiveness. Vick lost a pair of fumbles, tossed an interception and averaged just 4.3 yards per pass attempt. Unsurprisingly, Rex Ryan isn't prepared to choose a starting quarterback for Week 9 just yet. He's got nothin' on his roster but bad ideas, so it's tough to blame him for waffling.

So Jeff Fisher and Brian Schottenheimer followed through on their threat to use both of St. Louis' uninteresting backfield options (Stacy, Cunningham), along with the one exciting back on the roster (Tre Mason). The trio split touches for the Rams, just one week after Mason carried 18 times for 85 yards and a score against Seattle. I'd assumed we were getting only misdirection from the coaching, but no. Mason is the guy I'd want going forward, but it's clearly a fantasy quagmire. If you'd prefer to stay away, I get it. This team is not where I'll make a stand.

Have a day, Arian Foster (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Without actually crunching the numbers, I'm gonna estimate that Arian Foster has accounted for something like 79 percent of the Texans total net yards this year and 94 percent of the scoring. (Too low? Yeah, maybe.) Foster found the end-zone three times against the Titans on Sunday, gaining another 173 yards from scrimmage. He's seen 20-plus carries and gained over 100 yards in six of his seven games so far this season, generally running like the 2010 version of himself. The skeptic in me wants to tell you to flip Foster soon, that he still feels like an injury-risk time bomb. But I own the guy in two leagues and he's not on the block. He's the centerpiece of his team's offense, and Houston's second-half schedule includes matchups with the Browns, Titans and Jags.

Doug Martin was having another meh day for Tampa Bay (10 touches, 26 yards) before exiting with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, Bobby Rainey accounted for 66 yards on 14 touches in a messy overtime loss. With Martin re-tweaked, Rainey running well and rookie Charles Sims set to return ... well, the short-term outlook isn't great for Doug. He's clearly droppable in leagues of standard size.

Russell Wilson had a mostly ugly afternoon at Carolina, punctuated by a game-winning drive. His team edged the Panthers 13-9, but it was hardly a clinic. Marshawn Lynch had another quiet day (14-62-0), plus he allowed a well-thrown ball to sail through his hands near the goal-line, resulting in a pick. Not great. Presumably the offense will get right next week, when Seattle hosts the Raiders.

Andre Holmes and Derek Carr gave us a garbage-time gift on Sunday, connecting for a 10-yard TD for Oakland in the closing seconds of a lost game. If that play cost you a fantasy win, you may proceed directly to comments to file a complaint. We've all been there; it never gets easy.

Foles and Maclin, mid-feast (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Philly and Arizona gave us an enormously entertaining game on Sunday, satisfying to every corner of the fantasy community, except the friends of Michael Floyd (zero catches, four targets). Jeremy Maclin was a monster (12-187-2), Nick Foles and Carson Palmer combined for 740 yards, and Larry Fitzgerald delivered a vintage stat line (7-160-1). Fitz also demonstrated the ability to outrun defensive backs, in case you thought he'd lost it. Palmer and rookie John Brown connected on a gorgeous 75-yard completion that provided the winning margin, and Arizona's defense repelled a final assault (barely). All things considered, an excellent game for those of us who had no rooting interest, outside of our fantasy needs. If these teams meet in January, that's cool with me.

Blake Bortles was pick-six'd twice by Miami on Sunday, which is everything we hoped for when we streamed the Dolphins D. The Jaguars have Cincinnati on deck, with Dallas, Indy, the Giants and Houston to follow. That team is a fantasy gift, in various ways.

We should note that Denard Robinson doubled-down, giving us a second straight 100-plus yard rushing performance. With his unusual-yet-awesome dual position eligibility (RB/WR), Robinson will remain a solid fantasy asset while healthy. He took 18 carries on Sunday, leaving just four for Toby Gerhart and two for Jordan Todman.

I, for one, am shocked that Ryan Mundy, Chris Conte and Shea McClellin were all unable to adequately cover Rob Gronkowski on Sunday. SHOCKED.

(No, actually. Not shocked at all, not even a little.)

The Bears were beaten so thoroughly by New England, in all phases, that it feels as if Chicago should be facing relegation. The Bears defense was remarkably inept and ineffective. Tom Brady performed surgery, while Jay Cutler engaged in some sort of 19th Century battlefield medicine. It wasn't pretty. I can't tell you why Marc Trestman left his varsity offense on the field throughout he fourth quarter, trailing by a zillion points, but I'm glad he did it for fantasy reasons. The global community of Cutler owners approves of the decision.


QB Alex Smith, KC (vs. NYJ)
QB Robert Griffin III, Was (at Min)
QB Teddy Bridgewater, Min (vs. Was)
RB Jeremy Hill, Cin (vs. Jac)
RB Bobby Rainey, TB (at Cle)
RB Charles Sims, TB (at Cle)
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, Bal (at Pit)
RB Theo Riddick, Det (bye)
RB Jonas Gray, NE (vs. Den)
RB Juwan Thompson, Den (at NE)
WR Martavis Bryant, Pit (vs. Bal)
WR Donte Moncrief, Ind (at NYG)
WR Kenny Britt, STL (at SF)
WR Allen Robinson, Jac (at Cin)
WR Justin Hunter, Ten (bye)
DEF Cincinnati (vs. Jac)
DEF Minnesota (vs. Was)

More fantasy analysis from Yahoo Sports

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 27, 2014, 1:54 am

At the end of September, the 2-2 New England Patriots didn't look like much of a football team. The wins weren't so impressive: one gift job from Matt Cassel, one white-knuckle ride against Oakland. The losses were emasculating: a blowout in Miami, and a 27-point demolition, in front of a national audience, at Kansas City.

Some knee-jerk scribes (I'm raising my hand) wondered if the Bill Belichick Reign was just about over. And some knee-jerk roto writers (I'm raising my hand) wrote the sell ticket on Tom Brady.

What a difference a month can make.

[Join FanDuel.com's $3M Week 9 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid]

The Patriots haven't missed a step through four breezy October victories, piling up 156 points and a truckload of yards. The latest romp came Sunday against Chicago, a 51-23 beatdown that wasn't as close as the final score suggests. Brady spun as perfect of a game as possible: 30-for-35 passing, 354 yards, five touchdowns, no sacks or interceptions. Two of his incomplete passes came on drops.

Of course, the passing game looks pretty easy when the opposing defense can't cover, tackle or rush the passer, and when all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski is at full throttle. Gronk busted off a monster nine-catch, 149-yard, three-touchdown afternoon (here's the eye-popping video), catching every target in his direction. He bounced off wound-be tacklers and piled up yards after the catch, basically doing whatever he wanted. Anyone who took the plunge on Gronkowski in August (and no, I'm not raising my hand) is feeling awfully justified today.

There were other winners in the New England box score. Underrated Brandon LaFell (11-124-1) is the best-kept secret at his position. Tim Wright snagged seven passes, scored a touchdown. Jonas Gray carried 17 times for 86 yards. The Patriots' defense had two turnovers and a score, though it also allowed some garbage-time points to the Chicago offense (Matt Forte isn't going to be stopped, and hey, Martellus Bennett made a dynamite touchdown catch).

November's schedule spawns an immediate monster: New England hosts the surging Denver Broncos next week, 4:25 pm ET. Get your popcorn ready.

Other statsheet heroes from Sunday:

-- Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills: The Jets secondary is the gift that keeps on giving, and Watkins didn't have any trouble toasting it. An 84-yard catch-and-run started the fun (it would have been a touchdown had Watkins not celebrated a little early), and he added a 61-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Watkins was on the fringe of WR3 value back in the EJ Manuel days, but he might be a low-end WR1 now that Kyle Orton has solidified things. Orton's up to nine touchdowns on the year (four Sunday) against just three picks; he's also 3-1 as a starter.

-- Arian Foster, RB, Texans: It's becoming routine stuff, Foster running through and around a helpless opponent. He went for 173 total yards and three scores at Tennessee, a big day on a modest 22 touches. Garbage time started so early in this game, the Texans were able to farm 15 touches to Alfred Blue (64 total yards). Foster gets to gouge this defense again at the end of November.

-- Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Ravens: Okay, maybe "boom" is the wrong word for him, but he was in the lineup and Bernard Pierce was not - that's a nice start. Taliaferro scored two short touchdowns for the Ravens and added a handy 42 receiving yards. He might be ready to assume a solid flex role for the second half of the season.

Other Boomers: Golden Tate, Matt Ryan (108.3 rating against Detroit is worth a hat tip), Cordarrelle Patterson (it's a start), Denard Robinson, Bills defense (thanks, Gang Green), Dolphins defense (thanks, Blake Bortles), Ben Roethlisberger and Co., Jeremy Maclin, Larry Fitzgerald.

Sunday Busts

-- Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: The Seattle secondary was supposed to be an easy mark this year (at least the non-Sherman side), but Newton apparently missed the memo. He struggled through a 12-for-22 afternoon (178 yards, one pick, no TDs), and his pocket awareness was missing in the closing moments. Newton's 107 rushing yards in Week 6 got the fantasy public excited, but he's collected just 63 ground yards in the two games since. (And please don't tell me about missing weapons. Kelvin Benjamin is a plus target, and last year's wideouts – Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell  are surging elsewhere.)

-- Jets Passing Game: Just when Geno Smith seems to take a step forward  he played well in Week 7's near miss at New England  he takes several steps back. Sunday's effort against Buffalo was horrendous: three first-quarter interceptions, followed by a swift kick to the bench. Retread Michael Vick wasn't any better: a skimpy 4.3 YPA on 36 passes, four sacks, three turnovers.

-- Bills Rushing Game: A favorable game script at the Meadowlands didn't help Buffalo's primary backs at all. Anthony Dixon managed a paltry 44 yards on 22 carries, while Bryce Brown had a forgettable 15 yards on seven attempts. Neither player caught a pass, while unheralded Frank Summers stole the lone rushing touchdown (on his only carry of the day).

-- Rams Backfield Bingo: The coaching staff was whispering about a committee all week, and that's how it went down on Sunday at Kansas City (Tre Mason had seven carries, Benny Cunningham saw four, Zac Stacy collected five, and of course they wasted two touches on wideout Tavon Austin). Good luck with any of these backs going forward.

-- Joique Bell, RB, Lions: A London date against the Falcons front seven looked like easy pickings (especially with Reggie Bush out of the mix), but Bell stumbled to a 14-39-0 line on the ground. Two catches for 22 yards helped ease the pain a little bit, but Bell fell far short of anyone's reasonable expectations. The Lions preferred Theo Riddick in the passing game (9-74-1, on 12 targets).

-- Julian Edelman, WR, New England: He's on pace for an 88-catch season, but even in PPR formats he hasn't been particularly valuable. A modest 453 yards, ho-hum. Just one touchdown, not much to see here. And with Gronkowski on top of his game and LaFell surging, Edelman's second-half upside has a modest ceiling.

Other Busters: Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin, Greg Olsen, Maurice Jones-Drew, Russell Wilson (though he played well when it counted), Marshawn Lynch, Michael Floyd.

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 26, 2014, 9:24 pm

Five picks against the Yahoo Pro Football PickEm spread, that's how we roll here. Share your five best in the comments.

Chiefs -7 vs. Rams: St. Louis ran all sorts of tricks and gimmicks in the upset win over Seattle - and almost lost anyway. This week, order is restored.

Bears +6 at Patriots: Chicago's become a team you fade at home and trust on the road. Pats will be without Chandler Jones, giving Jay Cutler time to make his downfield connections. Chicago should go for 20-plus, hang around, with an upset possible.

[Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 8 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,905 teams paid]

Jags +6 vs. Dolphins: Could be a sandwich game for Miami (mmm, sandwich game), coming off Green Bay and Chicago and looking ahead to San Diego and Detroit. Jacksonville's been a competitive lot for three straight weeks, especially on defense (just 39 points allowed).

Packers +1.5 at Saints: I know the Saints need the game and play better at home, but I can't imagine how that awful defense will stop Aaron Rodgers and his merry pranksters. New Orleans is also dealing with skill-position issues: Graham is nicked, Colston slowing down, Thomas out, Cooks a disappointment to this point. I know it's the square side, but we'll run with the Pack.

Jets -3 vs. Bills: When Eric Decker is healthy, the Jets offense isn't that bad. And it's encouraging to see Chris Ivory pushing Chris Johnson out of the way.

Last week: 3-2

Season: 17-17-1

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 26, 2014, 3:45 pm

Hard to believe the fantasy regular season is already more than halfway done in many leagues. Get the clipboards and copays, let's figure out the injury landscape. We'll start with the wideouts and tight ends, then hit the other main positions. 

-- Calvin Johnson (ankle) had a limited practice week and is listed as questionable for the London game against Atlanta. One positive to Megatron's status: we'll know it super early. Keep in mind the Lions and Falcons are playing at 9:30 AM ET (6:30 am PST). Both teams get a bye in Week 9 after the overseas matchup; I wouldn't be surprised if the Lions decided to wait two more weeks on Johnson, then regroup for Week 10. We'll know in less than 24 hours. (Sunday AM update: Johnson is out, Reggie Bush is out, and every good Detroit tight end is out.)

-- Jimmy Graham (shoulder) is expected to play Sunday night against Green Bay. He was limited during each day of the practice week. It's tricky to know the call here - Graham obviously was little more than a decoy last week at Detroit (and didn't have any catches), but he's obviously an immense talent, and this week's matchup is considerably better. Do you feel lucky?

[Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 8 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,905 teams paid]

-- Reggie Wayne (elbow) won't play against Pittsburgh. Figure on T.Y. Hilton seeing an extra look or two, and perhaps Hakeem Nicks or Donte Moncrief will collect some extra opportunities. I have no problem cutting Wayne in a standard format; he's been ordinary all season, despite Andrew Luck's stellar play.

-- All signs point to A.J. Green (toe) missing another game. He didn't do any work this week. The Ravens defense is a nasty matchup for the rest of the Cincinnati passing game; the Ravens are allowing one touchdown pass on average per week.

-- Owen Daniels had a knee scope Friday and is expected to miss multiple games. We know for sure he won't play against Cincinnati (a shame, it's a cushy matchup). Crockett Gillmore (three career catches) steps in as the new starter.

-- Harry Douglas (foot) might be able to go at London, which could help Matt Ryan a little bit. You don't need Douglas in any standard format. Julio Jones (ankle) is listed as probable.

-- Kyle Rudolph (hernia surgery) is working out again, but hasn't resumed practicing. His target for a return looks like Week 11, immediately after Minnesota's bye.

-- The Bucs are taking it easy with Vincent Jackson (ribs), but it doesn't sound like he'll miss the home game against Minnesota. He is listed as questionable, but at least it's a 1 pm ET start.

-- Donnie Avery (groin) won't play against the Rams. Amazingly, Kansas City doesn't have a single touchdown catch from a wide receiver in 2014.

Running Back

-- Shane Vereen (illness) missed all of Friday's practice and is listed as questionable. At least we get a break with the game time, as New England hosts Chicago in the 1 pm ET wave.

-- Reggie Bush (ankle) missed the final two days of work and is unlikely to play against the Falcons. Saddle up, Joique Bell.

-- Toby Gerhart (ankle) had two good days of work and is expected to get some run against Miami, messing up the Denard Robinson story somewhat. You also have to wonder how much of Robinson's big game was the residual of Cleveland's leaky defense.

-- Trent Richardson (hamstring) looks like a game-time decision for Sunday after an empty practice week. The Colts and Steelers play a second-wave game, making it extra-dicey for fantasy owners. Ahmad Bradshaw could see some extra work, not that the Colts want to run him into the ground. Dan Herron is the next running back on the depth chart.

-- Jonathan Stewart looks like the last back standing in Carolina, as DeAngelo Williams (ankle), Fozzy Whittaker (thigh), and Chris Ogbonnaya (groin) are all out for Week 8. But don't misunderstand the Seattle matchup; while the Seahawks are struggling with their pass rush and secondary play, the run defense has actually been strong.

-- Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) won't go Sunday night, leaving Mark Ingram and Travaris Cadet as the main New Orleans backs. Ingram should get double-digit carries, easy, and I suspect Cadet will get another handful of catches, continuing his fine play of the past three games.

-- Darren Sproles (knee) has a chance to play after a full Friday practice. He was limited the two prior days. Philadelphia plays at Arizona in one of the most intriguing games of the week.

-- Shonn Greene (hamstring) is listed as probable. Bishop Sankey hasn't taken advantage of Greene's absence the last two weeks. (But wait, there's more: Greene was arrested Friday, and released, in an odd parking incident. It's not clear if he'll play Sunday.)

-- Gio Bernard (ribs) had a full practice Friday and is listed as probable.

-- With Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both out indefinitely, the Bills will use Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown as their primary backs, in some combination.

-- Andre Ellington (foot) is listed as probable, so plug and play as you normally would.

-- Charles Sims (ankle) has returned to practice and might be less than a week away from playing. Given how the other Tampa Bay runners are struggling, this is something to keep an eye on.


-- Zach Mettenberger steps in as the new Titans quarterback. Jake Locker is expected to back him up against Houston. You get worried about the prospect of the inexperienced Mettenberger negotiating the pocket against J.J. Watt and company, but it's not like the other Tennessee QBs were doing anything great. If you need Justin Hunter in a deeper league, I see the QB change as a welcome development (even if nothing happens in Week 8).

-- Josh McCown (thumb) did some work in the practice week, but all signs point to Mike Glennon starting against Minnesota. If the Bucs go back to McCown at any point this year, they're colossal morons. Then again, they're the guys who signed him in the first place.

-- Robert Griffin (ankle) has returned to practice and figures to get his job back fairly soon, though it's not expected to be Monday night at Dallas. Colt McCoy looks like the Week 8 starter, fresh off his relief victory over Tennessee.

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 25, 2014, 1:44 pm

Miami nice: Tannehill has the 'Fins rolling on offense of late. (Getty)In terms of bye weeks, Week 8 is the final bit of calm before the storm  (16 teams on bye over the next three weeks). With a relatively full slate of games (just the Giants and 49ers are resting) on tap for the weekend, here's the lowdown on some players that look better or worse than usual this week:

[Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 8 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,905 teams paid]


QB – Ryan Tannehill, Mia at Jac – Tannehill has been the sixth-most productive fantasy QB on a per game basis over the past month with averages of 266.3 passing yards, 2.0 TD passes and, not to be overlooked, a robust 44.0 rushing yards. And you have to love the matchup this week against a Jacksonville secondary that is giving up right at 300 passing yards per game to opposing QBs in addition to an even 100.0 QB Rating. Consider Tannehill as a top replacement option for the bye-bound Eli Manning and Colin Kaepernick.

RB – Darren McFadden, Oak vs. Cle – The Cleveland Browns are so bad at defending the run that they couldn't even contain a Jaguars backfield that had accrued the fewest rushing yards per game from the RB position before Denard Robinson posted a 22/127/1 line vs. the Browns in Week 7. Now Run-DMC gets a crack at the Pounded Puppies, and McFadden comes in as a RB2-level commodity since Week 2, ranking No. 21 in fantasy PPG at RB in that span (min. 3 games). Could McFadden reach the century mark rushing on Sunday for the first time since Week 2 of last season? I certainly wouldn't be surprised. At the very least, I think he reaches 100 total yards and gets an opportunity (or two) to hit pay dirt.

RB – Travaris Cadet, NO vs. GB – With Pierre Thomas expected to sit this week (shoulder), Cadet is poised for yet another 6-plus catch, 50-plus receiving yard effort, something he's managed in two of the past three games (he also picked up a TD grab in the other game). As the clear lead backfield receiving option for a team that completes more passes per game to the RB position than any other team, Cadet should be PPR gold this week. And if Khiry Robinson also sits with his forearm injury, Cadet could also see a few carries to help give Mark Ingram (another strong play) a breather.

WR – Andrew Hawkins, Cle vs Oak – Speaking of PPR gold, Hawkins also belongs on the list of likely high volume targets in Week 8. He's coming off a stellar 5/112 effort against Jacksonville last week, his highest yardage effort of the season, though he's been 70 yards or better in four of six contests. He's also been targeted at least nine times in every game save one. This week, he goes against an Oakland defense allowing a QB Rating of 106.9, third-highest in the NFL. Assume that 6-7 catches and 75-85 yards is close to Hawkins' floor on Sunday.

WR – Donte Moncrief, Ind at Pit – With Reggie Wayne (and his nearly nine targets per game) ruled out for Sunday, look for the Colts' rookie wideout to have a breakout game. If you're expecting Hakeem Nicks to be the beneficiary of Wayne's absence, you're taking a mighty leap of faith in a guy that has eclipsed 52 receiving yards just once in his past 16 games. I'd rather bet on the ample size/speed talents of Moncrief, who got a vote of confidence this week from Colts OC Pep Hamilton, basically saying that the team has a high level of comfort in his ability to step in and contribute now. Don't be shocked if/when that contribution in Week 8 is something close to 70 yards and a TD.

TE - Zach Ertz, Phi at Ari – You'd like to see a few more targets for Ertz, who ranks 13th among tight ends in fantasy points despite landing at No. 19 at the position in total targets. This week, Ertz owners could get their wish for more as Arizona, historically bad against the TE position in '13, is struggling to contain tight ends once again. The Cardinals have already allowed three tight ends to top 80 receiving yards (Antonio Gates, Larry Donnell and Jordan Reed), and that doesn't include Julius Thomas' 66/2 line he hung on them in Week 5. Coming off a 3/47/1 line against the Giants before going on bye last week, don't be surprised if Ertz tallies another double-digit fantasy point effort against the Cards.


QB – Matt Ryan, Atl vs. Det – While this week's London tilt between Detroit and Atlanta is technically considered a home game for the Falcons, obviously this matchup will be far from the comforts of the Georgia Dome. And that's a problem for Ryan, who has an unsightly INT rate away from home since the start of last season (12 road games, 20 INTs). To make matters worse, Ryan will face a Lions defense that ranks as the stingiest in fantasy to opposing signal callers. Ryan owners might want to look on the waiver wire for a replacement Ryan (Tannehill) this week.

RB – Denard Robinson, Jac vs. Mia – As stated above in my support of Run-DMC, I'm giving most of the credit to a bad Browns run defense for Robinson's breakout performance in Week 7. Against an underrated Miami defense that is allowing just 4.7 Yards Per Play (lowest in the NFL) and 3.7 YPC to opposing RBs, I suspect the Jags' running game to revert back to the unit that wasn't even able to manage 50 rushing yards per game before last week.

RB – Alfred Morris, Was at Dal – With Colt McCoy at QB, you have to ask yourself what the offensive upside is for the Redskins this week on the road in Dallas on Monday night against a Cowboys defense that has yielded the ninth-fewest points per game (21). Considering that the vertical passing game becomes something of a non-entity under the direction of the feeble-armed McCoy, the Cowboys should be able to comfortably load up the box on defense. and that spells trouble for Morris, who enters the week in a three-game tailspin in which he's averaged a mere 41.3 rushing yards (2.8 YPC) and has failed to find the end zone.

WR – Brandin Cooks, NO vs. GB – I'm officially hopping off the Cooks bandwagon. I feel like I've went to bat for him every week, and I'm getting tired of striking out - his tantilizing talents have delivered very little since his teasing NFL debut in Week 1. Cooks ranks No. 102 in Yards per Catch (8.2) among all receivers that have played at least 25% of their team's offensive snaps. And since Week 1, none of his 27 catches have gained 20 yards. And the matchup this week isn't ideal for Saints receivers as Green Bay has yielded the lowest QB Rating in the NFL (74.0) and the third-fewest yards per game to the WR position (127.4).

WR – DeSean Jackson, Was at Dal – Like Morris (above), expect Jackson to also be burdened by McCoy being behind center this week. McCoy's lack of arm strength runs counter to Jackson's excellent vertical talents, and then you have to consider that the Dallas secondary is allowing the fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards per game (2.8). It's understood if you feel like you still need to roll the dice with Jackson this week, just don't value him as anything more than a WR3.

TE -  Jason Witten, Dal vs. Was – Time to cut the cord on Witten, who is still being started in almost two-thirds of Yahoo leagues (65%) despite the fact that he is averaging just 38 yards per game and has scored just one TD this season. Not only that, Witten is on pace for just 80 targets (despite playing every offensive snap this season) - to put that in context, he's finished with at least 117 targets in each of his past seven seasons. In the last couple weeks, we've seen backup tight end Gavin Escobar emerge with three touchdown grabs. And, considering that Witten rates (according to ProFootballFocus) as the No. 1 blocking tight end in the league this season, it makes sense that Dallas would continue to favor him in that aspect of the offense as it's helping to do wonders for DeMarco Murray and the rushing game.

Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: October 24, 2014, 7:37 pm

The Shuffle Up series is all about value to come. What's happened to this point is merely an audition. How would you rank the players if you were starting from fresh today? (These are not Week 8 ranks.)

The dollar values are merely comparison tools; they're not assembled in any scientific way. Players at the same position are considered even. We're aiming to illustrate tiers, show where the pockets of value are.

[Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 8 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,905 teams paid]

You'll disagree with some things (perhaps many things) because that's why we have a game in the first place. Share your respectful disagreement in the comments. (Quarterbacks and wideouts are shuffled in the odd weeks.)

And remember the golden rule, a player doesn't gain (or lose) 15-20 percent of bonus value simply because you roster him.

$33 DeMarco Murray
$32 Matt Forte
$30 Marshawn Lynch
$30 LeVeon Bell
$29 Jamaal Charles
$27 Arian Foster
$25 LeSean McCoy
$23 Giovani Bernard
$23 Lamar Miller
$22 Andre Ellington

The big point of Murray's season is the high floor. Weekly Yahoo rank: 4, 5, 8, 3, 9, 4, 5. Consistency is lovely . . . Forte had a dreadful first three games, in part because of a schedule from hell (Buffalo, San Francisco, NY Jets). He's been a monster since then, largely because of his chops in the passing game. He's on pace for 119 catches (a record for a running back) and 997 receiving yards . . . If you scored backs only on their receiving stats (non-PPR), here are your top 10 players: Bradshaw, Forte, Bell, Smith (you're killing us, Falcons), Lynch, Jackson, Ellington, Vereen, Thomas, Helu. Travaris Cadet is 16th. Murray slides to 27th, in part because he doesn't have any receiving touchdowns. Of course with the rushing volume he's handling, no one cares . . . Forte's overall winning percentage in all Yahoo leagues is 61.3 percent, per our friends at Automated Insights. That's not far behind Murray's 62.9 percent. Foster (59.1 percent) and Bell (56.0 percent) have also been major profit players. 

$18 Ahmad Bradshaw
$18 Eddie Lacy
$17 Ben Tate
$17 Shane Vereen
$14 Ronnie Hillman
$15 Justin Forsett
$15 Jerick McKinnon
$15 Rashad Jennings
$14 Chris Ivory
$13 Mark Ingram
$12 Ryan Mathews
$12 Darren McFadden
$12 Tre Mason
$12 Joique Bell
$11 Alfred Morris
$11 Frank Gore
$11 Reggie Bush
$10 Trent Richardson
$10 Branden Oliver
$8 Darren Sproles

Two plusses for Ivory: the Jets schedule gets much easier in the second half of the year, and the club has finally accepted that Johnson isn't very good. Ivory also runs like he doesn't care if the carry is his last, but maybe that's not a bad thing. It hasn't held Marshawn Lynch back at all . . . Richardson is an embarrassing player from an efficiency standpoint, but the value of his touches can't be ignored. He's tied for seventh in that category, and it's coming with an offense that moves into scoring position easily and often. The Colts are also the runaway leader in scrimmage plays per game (76.9); no other team is over 70 . . . I know Oliver went nowhere against Denver, but I think that was more about what the Broncos did right than what Oliver did wrong. I expect him to retain a sizable role in the offense even after Mathews returns - and we know from past experience, you can't make any hard assumptions about Mathews's future durability (though he did hold up in 2013). 

$8 Jeremy Hill
$7 Bryce Brown
$7 Doug Martin
$7 Bishop Sankey
$7 Fred Jackson
$6 Isaiah Crowell
$6 Denard Robinson
$6 Anthony Dixon
$5 Jonathan Stewart
$5 Bobby Rainey
$5 James Starks
$5 Carlos Hyde
$5 LeGarrette Blount
$4 Steven Jackson
$4 Chris Johnson
$4 Knile Davis
$4 Joseph Randle
$4 Lance Dunbar
$4 Alfred Blue
$4 Juwan Thompson
$4 Zac Stacy
$4 Charles Sims
$3 Khiry Robinson
$3 Stepfan Taylor
$3 Bernard Pierce
$3 Travaris Cadet
$3 Robert Turbin
$3 KaDeem Carey
$3 Lorenzo Taliaferro
$3 Montee Ball
$3 Toby Gerhart

I hope you already moved Ball for something, because you surely won't get much now. Hillman is better between the 20s, and Thompson looks fine as the sledgehammer short-yardage back. Ball wasn't doing anything well before he got hurt. Why should the Broncos go back to him? They know they don't need him. Even if Ball were a free agent in my primary leagues, I wouldn't bother adding him . . . I'm still something of a Rainey sympathizer - and I have no faith in Martin at all - but maybe Sims will be healthy enough to make a second-half impact . . . Starks is worth a little more than most handcuffs because he's actually playable in some of his change-of-pace weeks. 

$2 Pierre Thomas
$2 Benny Cunningham
$2 Roy Helu Jr.
$2 Jonas Gray
$2 Andre Williams
$2 DeAngelo Williams
$2 Matt Asiata
$1 Antone Smith
$1 Daniel Thomas
$1 Devonta Freeman
$1 Shonn Greene
$1 Terrance West
$1 DeAnthony Thomas
$1 Maurice Jones-Drew
$1 Dexter McCluster
$1 Brandon Bolden
$1 Christine Michael
$0 Mike Tolbert
$0 Dri Archer

Prolific Panther (AP)
And here are your tight ends. 

$25 Rob Gronkowski
$23 Greg Olsen
$23 Jimmy Graham
$22 Julius Thomas
$22 Antonio Gates
$16 Martellus Bennett
$15 Dwayne Allen
$13 Delanie Walker
$13 Travis Kelce
$13 Vernon Davis
$12 Jordan Reed
$12 Zach Ertz
$12 Jordan Cameron

The "just use him already" angle is constantly playing for Kelce, but Allen deserves it, too. Other than T.Y. Hilton, the primary Indianapolis wideouts have not done much. Allen is seventh in fantasy scoring at tight end despite a paltry 33 targets (and a mere 11 percent target share on his own club). You hate to keep counting on Allen's heavy TD/catch ratio, but you also wonder if, at some point, the Colts will start steering more snaps and targets for a dynamic player like this. Then again, we had to sit through Richardson 2013, didn't we? . . . You expect pass catchers to have a large degree of variance, but that hasn't been an issue with Olsen. His weekly Yahoo final rank among tight ends: 3, 13, 2, 26, 1, 5, 8 . . . I don't feel like this is an overly-optimistic Cameron price, and yet I was tempted to go lower. He's scored just once, and he's only topped 50 yards in that one game. And it's not like the Browns are going out of their way to feature him. Look at the weekly target count: 5-3-7-5-6. Cameron's been overrated for a solid 12 months now. 

$10 Larry Donnell
$8 Charles Clay
$7 Jason Witten
$6 Jermaine Gresham
$5 Heath Miller
$5 Jared Cook
$5 Coby Fleener
$4 Austin Seferian-Jenkins
$4 Clay Harbor
$4 Jace Amaro
$4 Kyle Rudolph
$4 Tyler Eifert

With Le'Veon Bell on pace to smash his rookie receiving numbers, Miller isn't getting many of the cheap dump-offs that we're used to. He's also needed for regular blocking, of course. I had dreams of a sneaky comeback season two months ago; I've long since given up that mirage . . . Harbor is tied for ninth in PPR scoring over the last month, showing a nifty rapport with rookie quarterback Blake Bortles . . . I had Owen Daniels as a $9 player before the knee-scope news came out. He's certainly not good enough to wait on in a standard league; dump city . . . Amaro seems to make a soul-crushing drop every week, but at least he's shown an ability to get open consistently on intermediate routes. I still think the Jets passing game might surprise some people in the second half. When Eric Decker has been on the field and healthy, Geno Smith has been competent.

$3 Scott Chandler
$3 Tim Wright
$2 Andrew Quarless
$2 Gavin Escobar
$1 Owen Daniels
$1 Eric Ebron
$1 Lance Kendricks
$1 Garrett Graham
$1 John Carlson
$1 Ladarius Green
$1 Jeff Cumberland
$1 Niles Paul
$0 Mychal Rivera

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 24, 2014, 4:55 pm

Crumpets, tea, overt politeness – the NFL returns to Wembley Stadium for its second across-the-pond tilt of the season. Different from previous British battles, this week's brutally early (6:30 AM PT) Lions/Falcons matchup is full of intrique. Even if Calvin Johnson suits up, will he be effective? Can Matt Ryan actually perform like a QB1 outdoors? What lame excuses will Mike Smith make up this time? 

Questions abound. 

[Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 8 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,905 teams paid]

On this week's energetic program, Melanie Collins will guide our knights of the round table (Brandon Funston, Brad Evans, Andy Behrens and Shaun King) through the Week 8 muck. On the agenda: LeSean McCoy's prospects in the desert, rookie wide receivers not named Kelvin Benjamin and Sammy Watkins with shocker special potential, Percy predictions and, of course, your pressing questions. Here's how you can join the circus: 

Phone: 800.FFL.GURU

Twitter: @YahooFantasy

As always, the Big Noise and Boss Man will prime the pump on our two-hour FFL radio simulcast. We'll provide the very latest updates on Megatron's availability, give you LIVE updates of the Lions/Falcons game, break down every remaining Week 8 matchup and, naturally, tend to your every fantasy need. Reach out:

Phone: 800.777.2907

Twitter: @YSRFFL


Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 23, 2014, 4:39 pm

Straight cash homie! In his never-ending quest to pay off his kids' college education early, Brad Evans unveils his FanDuel picks for the upcoming week and explains his reasoning behind them. Make that money, #TeamHuevos.

[Join Brad and play in FanDuel's $2.5m Week 8 fantasy football league. It's just $25 to enter. First place wins $500,000 and the top 21,905 teams get paid.]


FAKE BUDGET: $60,000

Carson Palmer, Ari, QB (FanDuel Price: $7,400) – When in uniform this season, the crafty veteran has impressed. He's thrown two touchdowns in each of his first three starts amassing a top-10 per game average at the QB position. He should again live among QB1s this week vs. Philly. Because of the Eagles' fast-paced nature, high-volume situations are inevitable for opposing passers. With Eli Manning the lone exception, every signal-caller has tossed at least two TDs against the Eagles this year. Palmer adds to that list en route to a 300-yard, 2-3 TD day. 

Jerick McKinnon, Min, RB ($5,800) – The list price for McKinnon is like scoring an authentic T206 Honus Wagner at a garage sale -- money in the bank. Seven running backs have sailed past the 10-point threshold against the bumbling Bucs. Overall, Tampa has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. Though Matt Asiata, who played 27 snaps last week, remains a hindrance, McKinnon has excelled when given opportunities. He's tallied 5.2 yards per carry and gained 56.6 percent of his yards after contact. Chances are strong he records his third 100-yard game of the year. 

Darren McFadden, Oak, RB ($6,100) – Run DMC, shockingly, hasn't been a complete disaster this year. He's healthy and is performing at a laudable level. The Raider has averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, but since Week 2, he's compiled a top-30 line among RBs. The Cleveland Chihuahuas are laughable against the run. They've conceded 4.85 yards per carry, 164.8 total yards per game and eight touchdowns to rushers in six games. If Derek Carr can find a smidge of success vertically, McFadden is a viable candidate for 80 total yards and a touchdown. 

Jordy Nelson, GB, WR ($8,800) – The over/under on the Saints/Packers game sits at an obscene 55.5. Points should be plentiful on the Bayou, which is great news for all parties involved. Nelson has been virtually uncoverable this year. Since Week 4, he's splashed six a whopping five times and averaged 90.3 receiving yards per game. The Saints, who've allowed the second-most fantasy points to WRs this year, have provided little resistance. Starting corners Keenan Lewis and Corey White have given up a 68 percent catch rate. Jordy flashes his mitts on Bourbon Street and goes for 7-100-1. 

Dez Bryant, Dal, WR ($8,800) – Of late, Bryant has drop-kicked the competition. In five of his past six games, he's scored at least 13 fantasy points. He's yet to log a "silly" game, but that could be on the horizon this week against the rival Redskins. David Amerson is Washington's best DB statistically, checking in at No. 73 in pass coverage according to Pro Football Focus. In other words, the 'Skins secondary is a highly exploitable unit. Averaging just over 74 yards per game in his career vs. Washington, Bryant greatly inflates that number Monday night. 

Mike Wallace, Mia, WR ($7,500) – After living under a rock for much of 2013, Wallace has crawled out and resembled the WR1 he was with the Steelers. He's on pace for a modest 957 yards, but he's already matched last year's TD output (5) in just six games. A consistency king, he's scored at least 10 FanDuel points in every contest this season. The Jags, likely down their best cover corner, Alan Ball, will lean on Demetrius McCray and Dwayne Gratz to ground the Miami passing attack. Good luck. Another 70-plus yards and a score are quite attainable. 

Owen Daniels, Bal, TE ($5,500) – The Raven has excelled in the FanDuel format in two of his past three games. He's really developed a Pitta-like rapport with Joe Flacco during that span. Cincy, the most giving fantasy D to TEs, has yielded 101.5 yards per game to the position. Against the Bengals' soft zone coverage, Daniels is very capable of amassing a 5-70-1 line. 

Shaun Suisham, Pit, K ($4,700) – The Steelers' red-zone execution improved against Houston, but they've been inconsistent in that part of the game for weeks. Again, Suisham is terribly undervalued. He's a top-12 kicker at a rock bottom price. 

Kansas City D/ST ($4,800) St. Louis has surrendered 16 QB sacks and committed 10 turnovers. In the loudest stadium in North America, Austin Davis and friends get rocked. Odds are strong a Chief defender finds the end zone. 

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 23, 2014, 2:34 pm

Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names who he believes are destined to implode leave egg on his face. To qualify, each player must be started in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 8 Lames in the comments section below.

See Also: Week 8 Flames

Jay Cutler, Chi, QB (63 percent started)
Matchup: at NE
What version of Cutler will make an appearance this week? The fantasy handsome Dr. Jekyll or his sinister alter-ego Mr. Hyde? With Halloween just around the corner and based on the passer's recent schlock play, it only seems appropriate the latter manifests in Foxborough. Cutler, called out by Brandon Marshall for his shoddy execution last week vs. Miami, is not exactly a well-liked individual currently in the Bears locker room. As he's done too often in his career, he's forced the issue, making poor decisions and awful back-foot throws that have disastrous results. His 74.2 QB rating, 5.59 yards per attempt and dreadful effort (0-for-4) on deep-ball attempts against the Dolphins was unsightly. With only two TDs to his name over the past two weeks, his QB1 image is far from impeccable. Looking at his Week 8 matchup, it's likely he'll only smudge it more. Darrelle Revis, who ranks No. 54 in pass coverage according to Pro Football Focus, hasn't exactly isolated targets on an island. Allowing a 61.3 catch rate and 14.1 yards per catch, he's played average at best. Still, many in the Patriots defensive backfield have picked up the slack. Brandon Browner was decent in his return last week. Others, like Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington, have also stepped up. Overall, only Alex Smith has reached the 20-fantasy-point mark in standard Yahoo formats against them. They've also surrendered just 6.88 yards per attempts and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to QBs. Jay won't pay this Sunday. 

Fearless Forecast: 24-37, 257 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions, 9 rushing yards, 15.7 fantasy points 

[Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 8 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,905 teams paid]

Branden Oliver, SD, RB (73 percent started)
Matchup: at Den
Over the past three weeks, Oliver has written a Cinderella story. An undrafted rookie from Buffalo, he made some noise in the preseason but started the year fourth on the San Diego depth chart. Three major injuries to Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown later, and the sparkplug has ignited a previously stagnate Chargers ground game. Since Week 5, he's totaled 128 combined yards per game and three touchdowns, gaining an impressive 62 percent of his yards after initial contact. Sadly, though, the clock strikes midnight for the kid this week. When it comes to defending the run, Denver rarely relents. Thanks to the stellar play of Von Miller and the other Brandon Marshall, running backs have found few holes. On the year, RBs have netted a ghastly 2.89 yards per carry against the Broncos. San Diego's patchwork offensive line will certainly have its hands full. Evidenced in the efforts of Ahmad Bradshaw, Marshawn Lynch and Andre Ellington, versatile rushers have inflicted damage in the pass game. With that in mind, Oliver, who's caught 14 passes in his past four contests, is still a useful PPR option. However, expect vanilla production on the ground, especially if Peyton Manning, facing a San Diego secondary sans Brandon Flowers, blows the doors off the building early. 

Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 48 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 22 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 10.0 fantasy points

LeSean McCoy, Phi, RB (61 percent started)
Matchup: at Ari
For those that invested a No. 1 pick in McCoy, liver expansion has occurred at an alarming rate. His bland efforts over the first several weeks left a bitter taste. However, his 154-total yard bounce-back against the Giants prior to the bye has his fans excited about the second half of the fantasy season. With the Philly offensive line getting healthy, things are looking up for Shady, but his Week 8 trip to Arizona could temporarily halt the comeback. Stretching back to last year, visiting RBs have averaged a disgusting 3.09 yards per carry inside the UPS. In fact, among that group, Marshawn Lynch is the only rusher to eclipse the 60-yard mark on the ground in the desert. And just four have found the end zone. It's a rather extraordinary accomplishment considering the loses of Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell. Credit DC Todd Bowles' base 3-4 scheme. In a game with enormous playoff seeding implications, the Cards erect brick walls in the trenches. 

Fearless Forecast: 20 carries, 75 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.8 fantasy points

[Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today!]

DeSean Jackson, Was, WR (72 percent started)
Matchup: at Dal
After tripping out of the gate, D-Jax has come on like gangbusters over the past few weeks. Clicking with Kirk Cousins, he compiled the seventh-best stat line among wide receivers from Weeks 3-7, amassing 17 receptions for 443 yards and three touchdowns. But with Captain Kirk now battling Klingons on Kronos, questions loom regarding the receiver's Week 8 value. Colt McCoy was magical in relief of Cousins last week going 11-for-12 for 128 yards and a TD. However, the elevated backup seemed to favor Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed. More damning, McCoy's arm pairs nicely with chicken broth, it's a noodle. RG3, who practiced with the first-team Wednesday, could also return, greatly complicating matters. If No. 10 did start, how rusty would he be? Then there's the unsavory matchup. The shockingly good Cowboys defense has surrendered the second-fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards. Most impressively, top corner Orlando Scandrick has given up a mere 9.9 yards per catch. Given the difficult road environment, staunch opponent and QB uncertainties, Jackson could be in for a quiet night. 

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.4 fantasy points 

Larry Fitzgerald, Ari, WR (62 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Phi
Eight Pro Bowls. Six 1,000-yard seasons. 88 career touchdowns. There are few players in the NFL's 92-year history who have made a bigger splash at the wide receiver position than Fitzgerald. Unstoppable during the Kurt Warner years and a consummate pro when Kevin Kolb tanked the franchise, he's produced sound, consistent numbers for nearly a decade. Unfortunately, the 31-year-old isn't the same stallion he used to be. Currently the No. 64 wideout in Fantasyland on a per game basis, he's monumentally underachieved. He's hit pay-dirt only once and averaged an uncharacteristic 47.1 yards per game. He's still a physically imposing weapon, but the slot man isn't gaining separation from defenders, forcing Carson Palmer to look elsewhere. He's on pace for just 96 targets, which would be the lowest of his career. Philly presents a ripe opportunity to regain owner confidence. Cary Williams and friends have yielded the sixth-most fantasy points to WRs. However, linebackers Trent Cole and Connor Barwin have done an excellent job assisting DBs in the short-field, an area where Fitz typically operates. Because the Eagles are most exploitable on the outside, Michael Floyd and John Brown could be in for profitable days, leaving Fitzgerald fans vexed once again. 

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 53 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 9.1 fantasy points 


Each week one fortunate guest prognosticator will have a chance to silence the Noise. Following the rules stated above, participants are asked to submit their "Flames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?

@YahooNoise Cutler, DThomas, Benjamin, Hillman, Lynch, Graham, Bills D/ST

— Swaggy G. (@gageebowles5) October 23, 2014

Reader Record: 31-19, 62.0%

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 23, 2014, 1:37 pm

This week, the Thursday game is a feast for the fantasy community. We've conditioned ourselves to be wary of mid-week football, sure, but tonight we get a pair of dominant offenses. Denver again ranks first in the NFL in scoring (31.5 PPG), and San Diego isn't far behind (26.3); these teams have combined to average 754.0 total yards per game.

[ Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 8 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,905 teams paid ]

In fact, the Broncos and Chargers have been so ridiculously productive this season that neither team offers a starting skill player who perfectly fits the definition of a flier for our purposes here (35 percent owned or less). So instead of building a case for, say, Ladarius Green — a guy who played only eight snaps last week and saw no targets — let's instead break protocol and consider a widely owned fantasy asset who has, to date, disappointed everyone.

Keenan Allen, come on down.

Allen has been one of the most vexing non-injury fantasy duds of 2014. We've arrived at the halfway point of the season, and somehow we're still waiting for Keenan's first touchdown. After his eight-TD rookie season, we all expected more — and some of us expected a lot more.

Keenan Allen just misses an end-zone look (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)But as often happens in the NFL, when you give coaches and coordinators a full offseason to adjust to a player or scheme, they come up with solutions. Allen has drawn considerably more attention this year than he did as a rookie — more press coverage, more safety and linebacker help — which has of course created opportunities for other Chargers receivers. Good for the team, not ideal for Allen's fantasy owners.

Here's Allen's position coach, via U-T San Diego, discussing the increased focus on the second-year receiver:

"People, they aren't stupid," wide receivers coach Fred Graves said. "They're not just going to let him run free. They're going to take some things away."
"I think Keenan's doing a fine job," Graves said. "He's matured in a lot of ways. When I say matured, he's understanding defenses and what they're trying to take away, what our concepts are and what we're trying to do. If you want to put a bunch of stats into it, maybe he's not doing what people think. But I think he's doing enough to win games for us."

Allen actually leads his team in both targets (52) and receptions (34), so it's not as if he's simply been an afterthought. Big plays have been scarce for Allen, as only two of his receptions have gained 20-plus yards. He's had little room to operate after the catch.

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Still, it's ridiculous (and fluky) that Allen doesn't have an end-zone spike this year. He currently has the most receptions and most targets of any player in the NFL who has not yet caught a touchdown pass.

Denver's corners are excellent, so it's hardly a layup that Keenan will make a house call in Week 8. But we should note that he roasted the Broncos twice last season; he caught a pair of scores in a mid-December win at Denver, then later delivered the best stat line of his pro career in the playoff loss (6-142-2). Don't be shocked if he finally breaks the plane this week.

An argument can easily be made that Allen is the best buy-low in our game right now. He's certainly on the approved list for Thursday night, just like pretty much every other player on the field.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 23, 2014, 1:29 pm

Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders for Week 8.

LeSean McCoy, fresh off the bye and his first 100-yard game of the season, combined yards against a stingy Arizona D 84.5.

Dalton – OVER. McCoy is off to a horrible start to the year by his standards, as he’s averaged 3.6 YPC (0.5 worse than his next lowest mark that he set during his rookie campaign) to go along with a career-low 4.6 yards-per-catch. Despite that, he’s still averaged 82.7 yards from scrimmage. Arizona is tough against the run, but Philly is coming off a bye, and McCoy is bound to improve moving forward. 

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Scott – OVER. A bye week doesn't cure everyone's ailments, but I like that McCoy and the Philly offensive line come into this matchup refreshed, and I have faith in Chip Kelly's scheming and preparation. I'm not ready to give up the ghost with McCoy. 

Brad – UNDER. Over Arizona's last 11 home games, rushers have tallied a hideous 3.09 yards per carry. And only four have found the end zone. McCoy looked classically spry against the Giants prior to the Eagles bye, but I'm expecting a very mundane effort this week in hostile territory. Think 70-80 total yards and no touchdowns. 

Same game, same name. Pick a Matt: Stafford (vs. Atl) or Ryan (vs. Det)?  

Andy – STAFFORD. This isn't even close. Ryan is facing a defense that allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs, and Stafford is facing ... well, the Falcons. They can't really stop anything.

Brandon – STAFFORD. The schedule says it's a home game for Atlanta, but that's meaningless since the game is more than 4,000 miles away from the city of Atlanta. And, road games (especially against a defense as stout as Detroit) haven't exactly worked out well in recent seasons for Matt Ryan (20 INTs in his past 12 road games). Even without Megatron, Stafford should be able to outperform Ryan facing an Atlanta defense allowing a league-high 8.5 Yards per Pass Attempt (YPA).

Dalton – STAFFORD. Both quarterbacks have typically played worse on the road, but this is a neutral site in London. Stafford could very well be without Calvin Johnson yet again, but his defense has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs this season, whereas, Atlanta has yielded an NFL-high 8.8 YPA (the next highest is Tampa Bay at 8.4). 

What rookie WR outside Kelvin Benjamin and Sammy Watkins has the BEST Week 8: Mike Evans (vs. Min), Brandin Cooks (vs. GB), Allen Robinson (vs. Mia), Donte Moncrief (at Pit) or Martavis Bryant (vs. Ind)? 

Brandon –  COOKS. I'll take the guy in the game with the highest O/U line of Week 8 (55). That said, if  Reggie Wayne (elbow) does end up sitting this week out, I have a strong feeling we'll see a breakout game from MONCRIEF, who has subtly slid past the zombified Hakeem Nicks on the depth chart.

Dalton – EVANS. He’s seen 22 targets over the past three weeks and scored in each of his past two games. He faces a Minnesota secondary this week that has allowed nine touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season, which is tied for the fifth-most in football. Evans was also selected higher than any of these other options in the NFL Draft, probably for a good reason. 

Brad – EVANS. It may be a surprise to some, but, no, the Tampa wide receiver and yours truly are not related, a rather remarkable admission considering the uncanny similarities. In all seriousness, Big Mike has a great shot at a standout week. Minnesota's secondary is mediocre at best. It's allowed seven WR touchdowns since Week 4. Anticipate a modest yardage total for Evans, but 10-plus fantasy points are in my fearless forecast. 

Scott  – It has to be EVANS, but I'd like to use my space wondering why COOKS is so beloved throughout the fantasy industry. He's 48th in Yahoo scoring, hasn't spiked since Week 1, and averages a mediocre 8.2 yards a grab and 46 receiving yards a game. At some point, August love letters need to be thrown into the trash can.   

Andy –  Welp, I'll accept Scott's ridicule here and stick with COOKS, thanks. I'm really supposed to trash-can a Saints receiver who's averaging 7.5 targets per game? OK. I'll gladly buy low on Cooks, if anyone is selling. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that last week's results represent the full worth of a player.

Owen Daniels, matched against an overly generous Bengals D that's struggled versus TEs, standard league fantasy points in Cincy 8.9.  

Dalton – OVER. Daniels turned nine targets into just 58 yards last week, but he did reach the end zone. And nearly double-digit looks is encouraging. Moreover, the Bengals have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends in the NFL. In fact, Cincy has yielded 609 yards to the position this season; the next two worst teams have given up 541 and 455, and each of those have played one more game. 

Andy –  UNDER. I can appreciate the matchup, but we're still talking about the third/fourth option in Baltimore's passing game. I'm not going to bank on a touchdown or 90 receiving yards here.

Scott – UNDER. This is basically a score-or-no-score question, and Daniels no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt (even with a juicy matchup on the docket). He's rarely the primary target in this offense. 

(Ed. Note: And now we have a mid-Friday answer; Daniels had his knee scoped and is out indefinitely. And so it goes.)

Mark Ingram, expected to take on a larger role with Pierre Thomas sidelined, fantasy points scored Sunday night against the Packers 11.9.  

Andy – OVER. Let's not forget that Ingram was the No. 5 running back in our game when he suffered the early-season injury. He's facing a user-friendly Green Bay run defense this week, playing in the dome.

Scott – I'm going to say OVER because I expect Ingram to get a handful of goal-line chances. But I'd also like to sing the praises of Travaris Cadet as a sneaky PPR flier. He isn't used much in the rushing game, but he's posted a handy 15-129-1 line (on 20 targets) through the last three weeks. I've rostered him in a few deeper pools. 

Dalton – OVER. Pierre Thomas is out, and Khiry Robinson might very well be as well. Green Bay has been a middling run defense, and this game’s over/under of 56 points is one of the highest you’ll ever see. 

Percy Prediction (Snaps, touches, total yards, tds). Fearlessly forecast the new Jets (vs. Buf) line in his New York debut.

Brad – 18 snaps, 3 touches, 19 total yards, 0 tds

Andy – 24 snaps, four offensive touches, 42 yards, no spikes. Mid-season trades rarely boost fantasy value. Keep Harvin benched for this one.

Brandon – 23 snaps, 5 touches, 55 yards, 0 TDs

Scott – I was the Harvin apologist in this week's Dissenting Opinions, so I'm busting into this question. I'm only giving Harvin 30 snaps, but I think they'll manufacture touches for him. Call it 2-21 on the ground, 3-50 in the air, and a 40 percent chance at a touchdown (if I have to be binary about it, make it a zero in the final column). 

What newly anointed starting RB delivers the bigger punch in Week 8: Denard Robinson (vs. Mia) or Tre Mason (at KC). 

Brandon  – MASON. Robinson's big effort last week was more of an indictment of the Browns defense, which is just awful vs. the run. Miami is an entirely different beast (3.7 YPC allowed) and I expect the Jags' running game to curl back up into the fetal position once again. I don't expect Mason to go wild in KC, but he's a decisive, physical runner and he should have at least a modicum of success against a Chiefs defense allowing 5.3 YPC to opposing backs.

Dalton – ROBINSON. For one thing, he’s available as a WR for those in a bye crunch. Neither have great matchups, but Miami has allowed four touchdown runs to opposing backs while Kansas City has ceded zero (one of only two teams in the NFL yet to do so), and Robinson is at home.

Brad – MASON. Don't pay any attention to Jeff Fisher's "week-to-week" nonsense. Mason will continue to be his lead horse until he either fumbles away the gig or continuously blows blocking assignments. The War Eagle is a billion times more explosive than Zac Stacy and possesses more juke compared to Benny Cunningham. Against a KC front yielding 5.28 yards per carry to RBs, he's a good bet for 80 and a touch. 

Bryce Brown, the subject of much debate this week, total touches against the Jets 12.5.

Dalton – UNDER. I like Brown (aside from his past fumbling issues), and Anthony Dixon was almost certainly ahead of him on the depth chart simply because he’s a better special teams player. However, Brown doesn’t have a single touch this year, so it’s a bit of a stretch to expect him to be given 13 right out of the gate while facing a tough Jets run defense. 

Brad – OVER. 'Boobie' Dixon will get first crack to spearhead the two-man committee, but by the second half, I fully expect Brown to establish his superiority. Fumbling problems have plagued him in the past, but he's far more talented than Dixon. Roughly 15 touches, 70-90 total yards and a score are quite possible for the ex-Eagle this week versus a struggling Jets run D. 

Scott – That's a good number, as I was thinking something in the 13 range. I'll give Brown the OVER nod, as I think he's the better receiver here, and also the more explosive player. 

BOLD PREDICTION. The one quarterback under 50-percent started in Yahoo leagues that has the best chance to finish with 20-plus standard fantasy points in Week 8 is ____________.

Brad – ALEX SMITH. St. Louis is sorrowful against the pass, giving up a multi-TD tosser in every game this season. Smith, who leads the league in accuracy percentage, isn't one to chuck it 40-plus times, but on roughly 28-32 attempts, he's a strong candidate for 250 combined yards and 2-3 touchdowns. 

Scott – RYAN TANNEHILL isn't even owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues; let's get that number fixed. He's thrown for multiple scores in four of six starts (and hasn't posted a bagel yet) and he's scrambled for 132 yards over his last three games. It's amazing what a player can do with an improved scheme and offensive line. 

Brandon – RYAN TANNEHILL. He's on a roll right now, averaging 266.3 passing yards and 2.0 TD passes in his past three games. And his average of 44 rushing yards in that span is the fantasy equivalent of an extra TD pass. And this week, he gets a Jacksonville defense that is allowing 299.7 passing yards to opposing QBs, and that's even after Charlie Whitehurst and Brian Hoyer have helped to bring that number down over the past two games.

Top-Five Buys. Your best bets (versus the spread or over/unders) for Week 8.

Andy – 1) CHI +6 at NE, 2) CAR +5 vs. SEA, 3) HOU -3 at TEN, 4) DET-ATL under 46.5, 5) ARI -2.5 vs. PHI

Brandon – 1) PHI (+2.5) vs. Ari 2) UNDER 55 GB/NO 3) HOU (-3) at Ten 4) CIN (+1) vs. Bal 5) KC (-7) vs. StL

Dalton – 1) ARI (-2.5) vs. Phi 2) CAR (+5) vs. Sea 3) HOU (-3) at Ten 4) CHI (+6) at N.E. 5) CIN (+1) vs. Bal

Scott –  1) Raiders +7, 2) Bears +6, 3) Jets-Bills under 40, 4) Lions-Falcons under 46.5, 5) Redskins-Cowboys under 50. 

Brad – 1) Ari (-2.5) vs. Phi), 2) Cin (+1) vs. Bal, 3) UNDER 50 Wash/Dal, 4) Pit (+3) vs. Ind), 5) OVER 43.5 Cle/Oak

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Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 22, 2014, 7:22 pm

Each week the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, un-obvious names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. To qualify, each player must be started in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 8 Flames in the comments section below.

Alex Smith, KC, QB (10 percent started)
Matchup: vs. StL
Watching Ben Stein recite a lengthy dissertation on the economic policies of Tajikistan. That essentially sums up fantasy owners' feelings about Smith. Due to his ultra-conservative, game-manager style most believe the veteran QB isn't worth 76 million Vietnamese Dong let alone U.S. Dollars. However, he's an efficient quarterback who rarely makes mistakes, the anti-Geno Smith. His 81.2 accuracy percentage ranks No. 1 in the league according to Pro Football Focus. At first glance, he may seem unappealing, but Smith is an underrated statistical asset. His yardage totals haven't exactly incited excitement (6.82 ypa, 211.7 pass yards per game), but he's accounted for three multi-TD performances in his past four contests, besting notable names Matt Ryan, Nick Foles and Matthew Stafford in per game output during that span. St. Louis, which shockingly ranked No. 1 in pass D just two weeks ago, has fallen on hard times. Embarrassed by multidimensional weapons Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson in consecutive weeks, the once prideful Rams now resemble cuddly Lambs. On the year, they've surrendered the second-most fantasy points per game to QBs. In fact, EVERY signal-caller has logged at least two TDs against them. And that includes future Canton inductees Matt Cassel and Josh McCown. Smith may have limited weapons, but his odds of piling up fruitful numbers against Janoris Jenkins (126.0 QB rating allowed) and company are rather significant. 

Fearless Forecast: 20-29, 230 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 27 rushing yards, 22.2 fantasy points

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Bryce Brown, Buf, RB (4 percent started)
Matchup: at NYJ
Remember this guy? When LeSean McCoy was felled by injury two years ago, the little-known product from Kansas State burst onto the fantasy scene. In four starts with the Eagles, he electrified the masses, totaling 5.4 yards per carry nearly 90 combined yards per game while scoring three times. Overall that season, he gained an impressive 67.7 percent of his yards after contact. Due to his occasional cases of fumblitis, he isn't someone you should trust holding grandma's fine china, but his explosion, aggressiveness, plus vision and versatility are highly attractive. As Fred Jackson noted Monday, Brown is "an every-down back." Anthony Dixon will remain involved, but there's a reason why the Bills gave up a conditional 2015 fourth-round draft pick for his services. He will be heavily deployed. The once formidable Jets have softened considerably in recent weeks. In their past three games, they've yielded 4.14 yards per carry, 163.7 total yards per game and four touchdowns to running backs. Given the matchup and heightened workload, Brown is worth getting down with in deeper formats. 

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 62 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.0 fantasy points

Ronnie Hillman, Den, RB (40 percent started)
Matchup: vs. SD
Mea culpa. I was horribly, terribly, woefully wrong about Montee Ball. Please take away my privileges for dispensing shoddy free advice. Sidelined by a nasty groin pull, Ball, who averaged a forgettable 3.13 yards per carry on 55 attempts, likely won't regain his starting gig once available. Hillman, a former bust in his own right, has blossomed into a very useful every-down running back. The former San Diego St. standout, who broke several of Marshall Faulk's records in college, is no longer the weak, fumble-prone rusher from a couple seasons ago. He's mentally and physically stronger, darting through holes, catching passes and, most surprisingly, adequately protecting Peyton Manning. Against a string of normally stout defenses, the Cards, Jets and Niners, he compiled 4.71 yards per touch. He's only gained 40.8 percent of his yards after contact, but plowing over would-be tacklers isn't Hillman's game, nor does it need to be. Because of the nurturing offensive environment, he'll continue to see plenty of wide lanes, including this week. San Diego has been relatively stiff between the tackles, allowing just over 4.0 yards per carry to RBs. However, the Chargers have struggled defending the flat as rushers have tallied 6.8 receptions and 52.1 receiving yards per game. Thursday nights are always an adventure, but Denver's hot hand is highly employable in 12-team leagues. 

Fearless Forecast: 19 carries, 84 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 24 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 19.8 fantasy points

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Cordarrelle Patterson, Min, WR (33 percent started)
Matchup: at TB
Norv Turner is obviously not dealing with a full deck. How many excuses can one man make? Allegedly the centerpiece of defensive game-plans, Patterson hasn't even made a squeak over the past three weeks. During that stretch, he's TOTALED six receptions and 32 yards. He did, stunningly, find the end zone last week, but the non-factor has done nothing but mystify the fantasy community. Blame Norm. Two weeks ago, the offensive brain surgeon was reportedly "anxious" to get his deadliest weapon more involved. Because of his lack of vision and creativity that has still yet to happen, prompting many to wonder if Turner failed finger-painting as a kid. Despite Patterson's uneventful production, he's someone worth rolling the dice on in Week 8. No defense has given up more fantasy points to WRs than Tampa. Eight receivers have crossed the 10-point threshold against it in PPR settings. Targeted 63 times, Bucs DBs Alterraun Verner and Jonathan Banks have surrendered 47 receptions (74.6 catch percentage). His toxicity is high, but this has to be the week Patterson burns the competition and not his fantasy owners. Pull head from keyster, Norval. 

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 60 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 8 rushing yards, 15.8 fantasy points 

Terrance Williams, Dal, WR (54 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Was
The sophomore receiver is quickly becoming a modern day Cris Carter. Why? All the dude does is score touchdowns. More than just a deep threat, he's developed into one of the finer red zone receivers in the league. Lined in the crosshairs nine times inside the 20, he's hauled in five receptions, four of those for scores. In total, he's splashed pay-dirt six times. Though he's caught just 19 passes, the end zone dances have placed him No. 18 in per game average among wideouts. That ranking could rise this week against rival Washington. Sans DeAngelo Hall, the 'Skins secondary has floundered. Since Week 3, it's given up eight receiving touchdowns and the ninth-most fantasy points to WRs. Overall, David Amerson is the only Washington CB to rank inside the top-100 in pass coverage. Abominable. With Dallas seemingly unstoppable right now, Williams, who's averaging 17.8 yards per catch, again delivers a standout WR2 line. 

Fearless Forecast: 3 receptions, 70 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.3 fantasy points 

SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)

Mark Ingram, NO, RB (10 percent started)
Matchup: vs. GB
Prior to his hand injury, Ingram was a firm RB2 in 12-team leagues. Returning to action last Sunday for the first time in five weeks, he played 26 snaps totaling just 29 yards on 12 touches. Sean Peyton rarely strays from a revolving backfield and will continue to feed Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet occasionally, rendering Ingram a 11-15 touch rusher moving forward. But with Pierre Thomas shelved the next 2-3 weeks (shoulder), the ex-'Bama back should wind up on the high side of that range.  With that in mind, he's worth acknowledging in Week 8. Largely due to a couple friendly matchups (Minnesota and Carolina), Green Bay has improved on its once atrocious record against the run. Still, the Packers remain vulnerable in the trenches. On the year, they've conceded 146.5 combined yards and six touchdowns to RBs. In desperation mode, the Saints will turn to their power back, who's tallied 4.67 yards per carry, inside the red zone. 

Fearless Forecast: 12 carries, 58 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 11 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.4 fantasy points


Each week one fortunate guest prognosticator will have a chance to silence the Noise. Following the rules stated above, participants are asked to submit their "Flames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?

@YahooNoise Russell Wilson. Ronnie Hillman. Reggie Bush Keenan Allen. Sammy Watkins. Zach Ertz Miami D

— Jason (@jasoncummings_) October 21, 2014

Reader Record: 15-33, 31.2%

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 22, 2014, 1:43 pm

OK, let's begin by acknowledging the fact that Bryce Brown has legit talent. In fact, for two extraordinary weeks in 2012, Brown ruled the fantasy world. He piled up 347 rushing yards and four TDs for Philadelphia over just two games, playing in relief of the injured LeSean McCoy.

Brown was fumbly, you'll recall, but he was also electric. Good size, good speed, good player. The good times soon ended, however, as Brown put up a pair of dud performances (28 carries, 40 yards) before slipping back into a supporting role. But he definitely demonstrated the ability to produce big plays and big fantasy lines, no question.

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If you owned him back then, you're probably pretty excited about the opportunity ahead of him now in Buffalo. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are both sidelined by injury, leaving Anthony Dixon and Brown to carry the mail. Brad is bidding $48 on Bryce — and that may not actually be enough to land him in experts leagues, where enthusiasm is particularly high. 

I enjoy issuing buy orders on buzzy pickups as much as the next guru, but I haven't quite been able to talk myself into breaking the imaginary bank for Brown. Here are my main worries, listed in order of importance:

Over the next five weeks, Brown's schedule isn't the best. He gets the Jets in Week 8, then a bye, then the Chiefs, Dolphins and, again, New York. So that's three matchups against top-10 run defenses, plus an off-week. Not great if you need an immediate plug-and-play.

Jackson is clearly coming back, perhaps by Week 11 or 12...

Bills RB Fred Jackson says on weekly @WGR550 appearance this morning that his groin injury is typically a 4-week injury. No surgery.

— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) October 20, 2014

...and it's tough to imagine him returning to a substantially lesser role. Jackson certainly hasn't been a problem. He's averaged 4.3 YPC and he was on pace for 70-plus receptions prior to the injury.

Dixon sounds like a man who expects a lot of work in the weeks ahead. "This is an opportunity I've been waiting for, to get back in that workhorse role and show people what I can do," Dixon said to reporters Sunday. Remember, he's the guy who's been active on gamedays.

Brown, by his own admission, needs to get comfortable with the Bills' protection schemes. He's been running with the scout team. "I haven't got to rep it as much, obviously, with not playing."

When I listen to Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone, I don't hear a man who thinks he has a star-in-waiting on the depth chart. Give it a listen, try to get a read on the coach. Maybe he can't wait to unleash Brown, and he's just afraid to tip his hand. Or maybe he's planning to roll with Dixon as his primary back, leaving Brown with a Spiller-ish supporting role.

Again, with the Jets on deck and a bye looming, I really can't build a strong case for anyone to go all-in on Bryce. Realistically, he's a guy you won't play until Week 10.

Tre Mason, on the other hand, is currently unowned in 82 percent of Yahoo leagues, he's already beyond his bye, and he's coming off an 18-carry, 85-yard game. Mason would be my priority add this week, with Denard Robinson behind him. (You'll find hype on those two here and here.)

Brown is more of a long-range play — a guy with clear talent and opportunity, but with plenty still to prove in Buffalo. If you're adding, you have to simply hope that Brown will have carved out a decent role for himself by Weeks 13-16, when the Bills' schedule is less messy (CLE, DEN, GB, OAK). Would I bid? Yes, but not to my limit.

As always, this is a conversation, not a lecture series.Tell us your waiver plans in comments, if you care to share. And if you're particularly bullish on Bryce, your opinion is welcome. Dissent is encouraged...

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 21, 2014, 7:16 pm

Seattle's best receiver, in theory anyway, was traded last week. Seattle's passing defense has fallen on hard times. And the defending champs are just another .500 club right now; they'd be out of the playoffs if they started today.

And as a Russell Wilson fan (and fantasy owner), I say "good" to all those things. I want to see what the Seahawks offense can do if Wilson finally gets the keys to the show, and it looks like we might find out.

Peyton Manning's record-shattering day was the biggest NFL story from Week 7, but Wilson's tape was the one I couldn't wait to fully break down Monday morning. As you probably know by now, Wilson became the first player to post a 300-yard passing day and an 100-yard rushing day in the same game, stuffing the stat sheet in the 28-26 loss at St. Louis. He was already a member of the exclusive 200-100 club.

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Wilson's monstrous Week 7 box score (313 passing yards, 106 rushing yards, three total touchdowns) was largely born out of desperation. The Seahawks fell behind 21-6 at halftime and were playing catch-up for the entire second half. It's a shame Seattle couldn't get the ball back for one final drive, because Wilson and Company were letter perfect on their final three possessions (all lengthy touchdown drives, covering 253 yards of offense). And the video looked as good as the numbers; when Wilson is on his game, plays take on an organic, meandering beauty.

Wilson's ability to make dynamic ad-lib plays out of structure is both a gift and a curse. It's wonderful that he can salvage a broken play (or what looks like a sure negative play), but it also means he'll be on the run for a heavy amount of snaps. While he's proven to be wise with his running decisions as a pro, you worry about being exposed for more hits than the average quarterback. I suppose it would be nice to see the Seahawks offense get more splashy plays from a structured offense.

But maybe it's silly to worry about potential injury here. Wilson hasn't missed a game as a pro. He's smart with his decisions – the majority of his rushing attempts end with a scamper out of bounds or a safe slide to the turf. And you know how the NFL views the glamour position – it's all but legislated QB hits out of the game.

Wilson averaged about 35 pass attempts in each of his first two years. He's at 29 for 2014, and he's chucked the ball 64 times over the last two weeks (both losses). Wilson averaged 30.6 rushing yards in 2012 and 33.7 rushing yards last year. He's at 54.5 for this season. The Seahawks still run a few read-option snaps every week, and then there are the improvisational scrambles when things break down.

Seattle's struggling pass defense is a big part of Wilson's theoretical value. The Seahawks allowed a skimpy 63.4 QB rating last season, and that number was in the low 70s in 2011 and 2012. This year, opposing QBs are gouging the Legion of Boom, putting up a 103.7 rating. That's the fifth-worst number in the NFL.

A difficult schedule has played into some of the defensive struggles: Seattle has already met up with Manning, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo. Then again, Kirk Cousins (no longer a starter) and Austin Davis also cut up the Seahawks. Even if Seattle fixes its coverage problems somewhat, I'm not going to expect the dominance to return. At some point, you are what you are.

So who is Wilson going forward from a fantasy perspective? I'm not going to put him in the top QB tier (where Manning, Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers reside), but he's probably right there with anyone else. Drew Brees or Wilson? That's a conversation. Rivers or Wilson? I could go either way on that. And if I would not move Wilson for Jay Cutler, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan or Cam Newton – not today. (Also keep in mind Seattle's already had its bye week.)

I probably underestimated Doug Baldwin's potential now that Percy Harvin is out of town. While Baldwin's monster Week 7 showing (7-123-1 on 11 targets) is an obvious outlier, he'll be in the WR3 area on my next batch of weekly ranks. He's the target Wilson trusts the most, be it from a primary read or when the ad-lib game starts. I'm surprised Baldwin was hardly used in Seattle's first five games (just 24 targets), but that's a moot point going forward.

Oliver's Army (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

-- I can't imagine Branden Oliver wasting away on the San Diego bench when Ryan Mathews returns. Oliver is too versatile, too talented. And let's accept that Darren Sproles was never the proper comparison for Oliver – he's more like the young Maurice Jones-Drew, a powerful collision man with a low center of gravity. The Chargers found plenty of touches for both Mathews and Danny Woodhead last year. They'll probably keep Oliver relevant. 

-- The Falcons obviously have all sorts of problems right now, on both sides of the ball. The offense in particular needs answers on the offensive line, and the running game is a joke. And things probably won't get much better against the Lions in Week 8 (an early start in London; set those alarm clocks, bloke).

But if you can ride out the storm with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, better days are ahead. The Falcons enjoy three home games in Weeks 12-16, and I can envision high-scoring matches when they play at Green Bay and New Orleans. I'd look into a Ryan trade before October ends; how you time it is up to you. Maybe he'll be discounted nicely during his Week 9 bye. 

-- I don't want to get googly-eyed for Colt McCoy – basically I don't want to make the mistakes I made during the Kirk Cousins era. But let's also note Cousins provided a bunch downfield connections – an 8.4 YPA is terrific, and most of his stat indicators are league-average or better. 

Ultimately, Cousins lost his role because of a recurring interception problem, and I don't blame the Redskins for reacting strongly to that. But here's the bottom line: Washington has a boatload of dangerous offensive pieces, and someone has a chance to be a zesty fantasy factor in the QB chair. Maybe that's McCoy, maybe that's Griffin, maybe that's Cousins again, I don't know. Is Joe Theismann still in game shape? Washington's shaky defense also provides some backboard for the quarterbacks. 

-- The Jacksonville offensive line has taken a lot of heat this year, and it's justified criticism. These guys aren't playing well. But sometimes an offensive line gets sold down the river by the poor choices of the skill players it's blocking for. That was probably the case here: the blocking looks worse when it's the genesis of a Toby Gerhart carry or a Chad Henne wait-for-the-sack moment. At least we're spared of both of those things now: Denard Robinson and Blake Bortles at least give this offense a chance to move the ball, stay somewhat competitive. 

-- I understand Rueben Randle is physically gifted and he's still just 23, but it's frustrating to watch him doing so little with the heavy volume the Giants send his way. Queue the recurring Randle Rant.

Randle is second among wideouts in red-zone targets, but he has just two touchdowns. Randle is 15th at his position in overall targets, but he's managed just 321 yards. And 5.5 yards per target, are you kidding me? 

The best receivers are both explosive and reliable; the lesser receivers need to be one or the other. If you make a lot of chunk plays, I'll excuse a low catch rate. If you catch a high percentage of your targets, I can live with a lower YPC. Randle's 63-percent catch rate would be fine if he wasn't averaging just 9.4 yards per catch. 

Even with Victor Cruz lost for the season, the Giants don't need Randle to be the focal point of the offense. Odell Beckham is making plays right out of the box. Larry Donnell, fumbles aside, is coming off a 90-yard game (and he's still the No. 8 overall tight end). Rashad Jennings is closing in on a return. At some point, the Giants need to ask themselves why Randle is getting such a heavy share of the offense's usage. 

Find the Randle sympathizer in your league. They're out there. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 20, 2014, 9:50 pm

No matter what you expected from the Jacksonville Jaguars running game entering the season, the team has no doubt disappointed you.

After six weeks, the biggest single-game rushing total delivered by any Jaguars back had been Toby Gerhart's 42-yard performance in the opener — and he'd needed 18 carries to get there.

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On Sunday, Denard Robinson set the bar a bit higher. By the end of the first quarter against Cleveland, Robinson had already rushed for 62 yards on seven carries. He would eventually finish with 127 yards on 22 attempts, with a nifty 8-yard touchdown run included. You can catch the highlights right here, if for some reason you weren't glued to the CLE-JAC clash as the drama was unfolding.

On many of Robinson's more significant gains, we should note, the Jaguars' O-line simply dominated Cleveland's defensive front, opening wide rushing lanes. For example, this was the setup on Denard's first carry...

Denard gets a wide lane, doesn't miss

...and it resulted in a 14-yard pickup. Too easy. I'm pretty sure Brad Evans could have picked up four or five yards right there, while carrying Funston on his shoulders, pulling Pianowski and me on a sled.

Robinson took full advantage of his opportunities on Sunday, nearly doubling his career NFL rushing output. He ran with power and patience, generally looking like a classically trained running back. Denard entered the league as a man without a well-defined position, likely a gimmick player — a guy who'd spent his collegiate career as a run-first shotgun QB. But in Week 7, against a user-friendly Browns defense, he was simply a high-quality feature back.

"Yeah, that was good to do it against an Ohio team," said Robinson in his postgame comments, because he's as Michigan as it gets.

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Moving forward, we obviously have to view Denard as a priority fantasy add now that he's atop the backfield hierarchy for the Jags. Robinson is owned in just 8 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment. His team context isn't ideal, of course, but the schedule ahead isn't too intimidating. He also offers rare positional flexibility, as he's eligible at both RB and WR. (Nope, not a glitch. His team officially listed him as a wide receiver entering the year.)

Tre Mason is my Plan A on the wire this week, but Robinson is a solid Plan B.

Toby, you're dismissed.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 20, 2014, 11:53 am

Russell Wilson had a monster performance Sunday, becoming the first player ever to post 300+ passing yards and 100+ rushing yards in the same game and sure doesn’t look like he’ll miss Percy Harvin. Wilson is on pace to finish with 872 rushing yards, and after running for one score over his previous 19 games, he’s scored on the ground in three straight. Wilson became the first QB to eclipse 40 fantasy points this season, and if Seattle’s recent struggles carryover, it would actually be a good thing for his owners…Tre Mason is officially the back to own in St. Louis. He’d be my No. 1 waiver wire priority in Week 8. Zac Stacy, meanwhile, saw one snap and can be dropped in all leagues…The surprising Harvin trade means Doug Baldwin gets a huge upgrade. He won’t be a top-20 fantasy WR in this system but should be plenty useful in deeper formats…The Rams entered with one sack on the season yet recorded three over the span of five snaps Sunday…I’m not sure which St. Louis special teams play was more impressive, this one or this one.

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Andy Dalton had 23 passing yards on 19 attempts at halftime. Dalton got 3.3 YPA and took more sacks Sunday (three) than he had previously this season combined. It’s almost as if he’s worse off when A.J. Green is sidelined…Andrew Luck is on pace to finish with 5,328 passing yards, which would be the third-most in NFL history. He’s also projected to add 254 rushing yards with five touchdowns on the ground. In other words, he’s currently in the midst of a historic fantasy season.

This onside kick was legit

Denard Robinson immediately becomes one of the top pickups this week after rushing for 127 yards and a score. Even after being named the starter before the game Sunday, I didn’t expect him to see more than 15 carries, but he’s emerged as Jacksonville’s lead back…Cecil Shorts somehow managed just 12 yards on nine targets. Blake Bortles struggled badly, but Shorts can’t be forgotten, as he’s now seen 25 targets over the past two games…Jordan Cameron, meanwhile, managed five yards on six targets. He’s been a huge bust…Things will get better for Ben Tate, who has a home matchup against the Raiders in Week 8.

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A relatively easy schedule has helped, but suddenly the Ravens look like one of the best teams in the NFL…Torrey Smith has as many touchdowns (four) over his past four games as he had over his previous 21…Facing a Falcons defense that entered having allowed the most fantasy points to opposing RBs, Justin Forsett’s performance almost felt like a letdown, but he’s clearly emerged as the team’s lead back…Matt Ryan has a 9.7 YPA with a 7:1 TD:INT ratio at home this season compared to a 6.2 YPA mark with a 6:6 TD:INT ratio on the road. It’s hard to believe this 2-5 Atlanta team once held a 56-0 lead in the fourth quarter of a game this year.

Here’s possibly the worst interview ever given during Jeopardy

What Aaron Rodgers did Sunday was almost unfair. Since Week 1, he has a respectable 14:0 TD:INT ratio over six games…Eddie Lacy has four touchdowns over the past four games and has gotten 5.3 YPC over the past three contests, when he’s also secured all six of his targets. Still, he’s seen 15 carries in just one game this season (with a high of 17), which has really hurt his fantasy value…Cam Newton had seven rushing attempts for 41 yards, so despite the lackluster passing day, his value moving forward remains encouraging…The Panthers didn’t allow more than 31 points in any game last season. They’ve already ceded 37 or more in four games this year…Randall Cobb is on pace to catch 21 touchdowns, which would be the third-most in NFL history. He’s 5-10 and doesn’t have more than seven receptions in any game.

With Jimmy Graham active, I moved him just inside my top-10 in the tight end ranks Sunday morning. What a mistake. He’s clearly hobbled and saw just two targets all game…Golden Tate has averaged 11.0 targets over the past four games. He averaged 6.1 with Seattle last season…Brandin Cooks hasn’t scored since Week 1 and is on pace to finish with 741.3 receiving yards…The Saints have lost seven consecutive regular season road games…This Lions defense continues to look legit. They’ve allowed just 3.3 YPC (only three teams have been better) and entered Week 7 having given up the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Headlines of the Week: Killer Whales Learn How To Speak DolphinTeenage Girl Cuts Off Her Playmate’s Fingers With An Axe For Sacrifice To SatanAfter Dark Clown-Sightings Trouble California CityCity Spends Months Debating Smoking Ban In Public Parks, Discovers Smoking Was Already Banned In Public Parks...Doctors In California Are Treating A Man Who Is Addicted To Google Glass...Talking Parrot Missing For 4 Years Found, Now Speaks SpanishRussian Lawmakers Will Debate Legislation Against Back Tattoos For WomenA Poop Bank In Massachusetts Will Pay You $40 Every Day... Sorry I Ran You Over. Now Please Pay Me $2,000.

The Bears are now 0-3 at home and reportedly dealt with some locker room issues. They’ve definitely been a tough team to figure out…Alshon Jeffery somehow got just nine yards on seven targets, while Brandon Marshall gained 48 yards on 10 looks. That’s not ideal…Lamar Miller has four touchdowns over his past three games, and his 18 carries were the second-most he’s ever seen in his career. Just maybe he’ll now start living up to his potential with Knowshon Moreno out for the year.

Not long after Fred Jackson left with a groin injury that has already ruled him out for Week 8, C.J. Spiller was carted off with a season-ending broken collarbone. I’ve always liked Boobie Dixon, but Bryce Brown is suddenly on the fantasy radar a few days after reports suggested he’d never see the field in Buffalo. Too bad for Spiller, who had one carry for 53 yards before departing on a cart with a towel over his head in agony…The Bills entered having allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and yet Jerick McKinnon got 103 rushing yards on 19 carries. He’s impressive…Cordarrelle Patterson can continue to be ignored despite the TD...Sammy Watkins had a breakout game, including this game-winning catch.

After replacing an ineffective Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy’s first pass went for a 70-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon. McCoy completed 10 of his next 11 throws, but those went for a paltry 5.3 YPA. It’s safe to say Robert Griffin has the starting job waiting for him when he’s able to return…Alfred Morris hasn’t reached 100 rushing yards since Week 10 of last season. He’s averaged 3.45 YPC since Week 1 this year…Kendall Wright has more touchdowns (three) on his last 18 targets than he had all of last season, when he saw 139 looks.

Alex Smith continues to play at a high level, as he dealt with some really bad drops by Dwayne Bowe and another that would have maybe gone for a long touchdown by Junior Hemingway. Smith still completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 7.9 YPA and has posted an 8:1 TD:INT ratio over the past four games. A.J. Jenkins inexplicably ran out of bounds on a sure 72-yard touchdown catch. The mishap means the Chiefs remain without a TD catch by a wide receiver this season…This Antonio Gates catch was niceAnd this sick Jamaal Charles TD run actually resulted in Brandon Flowers leaving the game with a concussion…You have to like the 10 targets, but Keenan Allen has reached 60 yards in one of seven games this season. He’s scored in none…Philip Rivers’ NFL record of recording a QB Rating of 120.0 or more in five straight games came to an end.

Police Blotter: Nurse Accused Of Killing 38 Patients She Found Annoying10-Year-Old Boy Charged With Homicide In Killing Of 90-Year-Old LadyMinors Arrested After Showing Up Drunk To Bail Out Friend In JailConnecticut Man Accused Of ‘Mopping Aggressively’Drunken Zombie Santa Wakes In Strangers’ St. Paul Home, Police SayTeen Charged After Leaving Waitress Tip Covered In Fecal MatterMan Joins Chicago Marathon While Trying To Run From Police.

Andre Ellington’s YPC has dropped from 5.5 last season to 3.7 this year, although he has seen 25 targets over the past three games. He totaled 160 yards Sunday, but Stepfan Taylor scored two touchdowns to his none…At home and facing an Arizona secondary that entered having allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, James Jones and Andre Holmes (who had totaled 334 yards and four TDs over previous two games) managed a combined 69 yards and no scores on 13 targets…Oakland has now lost 12 straight games…In the three games in which Michael Floyd has played with Carson Palmer this year, he’s averaged 70.3 yards with two touchdowns. In the other three contests, he’s averaged 46.7 yards with zero scores.

Songs of the Week: Foo Fighters – “Something From Nothing” and Cold War Kids – “First” 

DeMarco Murray became the first back in NFL history to start a season with seven straight 100-yard rushing games. He left briefly to get his ankle taped, but even with his injury history, it’s hard not to treat him as the No. 1 fantasy player right now…Dallas entered the week as the league’s best team when it comes to converting third-down conversions before going 9-of-14 on Sunday…Larry Donnell caught all seven of his targets for 90 yards, but his two lost fumbles negated all of that…Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. are both must starts with Victor Cruz out for the year…Gavin Escobar has more touchdowns (three) over the past two weeks than Jason Witten has had over his previous 10 games.

Longread of the Week: “Finding A Video Poker Bug Made These Guys Rich – Then Vegas Made Them Pay.” 

The 49ers were traveling after playing on the road on Monday night against a tough Denver team in primetime with a litany of important players on the inactive list with an upcoming bye, so this outcome wasn’t exactly shocking…Congrats to Peyton Manning for breaking the TD record. He carved up an S.F. defense that entered having allowed an NFL low 5.9 YPA, completing 84.6 percent of his passes while getting 12.2 YPA with a 4:0 TD:INT ratio and a 157.2 QB Rating before sitting out the fourth…Both Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders’ touchdowns were their first of the season. Meanwhile, Demaryius Thomas has totaled 26 receptions for 521 yards and five scores over the past three games.

More from Yahoo's fantasy experts on Week 7's developments

 Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter

Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: October 20, 2014, 6:29 am

Entering play on Sunday, Seattle's defense had allowed only two rushing touchdowns all season, and they'd held opposing ball-carriers to just just 3.1 yards per carry. The only back to top the 60-yard mark against the Seahawks had been DeMarco Murray, the NFL's leading rusher. Whatever else went wrong for the defending Super Bowl champs, the team's D was still stuffing the run.

But not this week.

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St. Louis rookie Tre Mason carried the ball 18 times against Seattle on Sunday, gaining a team-high 85 yards. His afternoon included a 6-yard touchdown run, the first score of his pro career, and he broke off his second 20-plus yard gain in as many weeks. Benny Cunningham got the start for the Rams, but Mason carried the mail. (He also dropped a piece of mail, but his team kinda/sorta recovered.)

Mason was barely a rumor in September, but he's been a revelation in October. He's received 24 touches over the past two weeks — in degree-of-difficulty matchups — and he's converted them into 137 scrimmage yards. This week, Mason out-carried Cunningham 18-to-2.

Zac Stacy? He played just one snap in Week 7, and he didn't touch the football. Stacy an easy drop in fantasy, except in the deepest leagues.

Mason, clearly, is the guy you want in the Rams backfield. He should be well-known to anyone who was even vaguely aware of college football last season, as he piled up 1,816 rushing yards and 24 TDs at Auburn. He's a recommended fantasy play moving forward, despite the less-than-ideal NFC West schedule. Mason has had his issues in pass-pro, but there's no denying his ability as a runner. The kid has already demonstrated that he can overcome a challenging matchup, too.

Add and enjoy.

Another week, another heroic game-winning drive for Kyle Orton. This is exactly how you expected Buffalo's season to play out, right? Of course it is. Orton fed Sammy Watkins early and late on Sunday, as the rookie wideout finished with nine catches, 122 yards and two scores on 14 targets against Minnesota, once again demonstrating his WR1-level talent. He caught the game-winner, naturally. Now that Watkins has a competent QB, you really need to think of him as an every-week, no-doubt fantasy start.

Despite the win, things did not go according to script for the Bills on Sunday. Both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller were lost to injuries, and both were carted off. So that's awful. It's a groin injury for Fred, and a collarbone for C.J....

Source: C.J. Spiller will have surgery tomorrow to repair broken collarbone, and he is done for the season.

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 19, 2014

Brutal. Anthony Dixon handled the rushing workload when the lead backs went down. Bryce Brown should enter the mix next week, presumably in a significant way. Brown is the high-ceiling back, the big-play threat. For me, he's the Bills back to chase on the wire.

I would refer to Aaron Rodgers as "surgical," but that's almost an insult to his skill level. How many surgeons are as precise as Rodgers? Not many, I'd guess. He went a ridiculous 19-for-22 on Sunday, shredding Carolina's defense, averaging 11.6 yards per attempt and tossing three TD passes. He's obscene, really. As good as it gets.

Andy Dalton? Yeah, he is definitely not as good as it gets — or at least he wasn't on Sunday. The Bengals were shut out at Indianapolis, and the offense was a three-and-out machine. Cincy finished with just 135 total net yards of offense (2.5 per play), which is kind of insane. The Bengals D has allowed 107 total points over the team's last three games, so that unit isn't covered in glory, either. They host the Ravens, Jaguars and Browns in the coming weeks, so at least the schedule gets somewhat friendlier.

Odell Beckham Jr. delivered two spikes in Week 7 (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Larry Donnell resurfaced for the Giants in New York's 31-21 loss at Dallas, hauling in seven balls on as many targets for 90 yards. The Cowboys have been indifferent to tight end production basically all year, and it continued on Sunday. Buzzy rookie Odell Beckham Jr. delivered the biggest fantasy line for Big Blue, snagging a pair of TD passes on six targets. If he's still available in your league ... well, wow. Address that situation, please.

Andre Williams once again did nothing of note, averaging 2.8 YPC and catching nothin' on three targets. Rashad Jennings owners, you've got no reason to worry.

Andre Ellington was the unrivaled king of the Andres on Sunday. (Thanks for playing, Williams and Holmes.) Ellington led the Cards in both rushing and receiving, finishing with an even 160 scrimmage yards at Oakland. He managed to handle 30 touches (six receptions), though he didn't break the plane. Stepfan Taylor poached the TDs, annoyingly enough, scoring twice on 14 touches. You can't reasonably expect Taylor to achieve fantasy relevance while running behind Ellington, but it's worth noting his role near the goal-line.

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Drew Brees completed throws to nine different receivers in his team's late collapse at Detroit, but Jimmy Graham was a no-show. He saw two targets officially, catching neither. By the end of the game, he no longer stressed the Lions defense...

Quin: Jimmy Graham was more of a decoy out there in 2 minute, we weren't worried about him

— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) October 19, 2014

The best thing we can say about Graham's day is that he didn't re-injure himself (we think). Perhaps there's a buy-low opportunity here.

Golden Tate was a monster in Calvin Johnson's absence, catching 10 balls on 13 targets for 154 yards and one score. The touchdown was a late game-changing 73-yarder on which Tate did most of the heavy lifting, roasting the Saints' secondary.

Denard Robinson breaks the plane, blows up against the Browns (Richard Dole-USA TODAY Sports) Oh, hey, look. Jacksonville finally found a useful running back. Denard Robinson shredded the Browns for 127 yards on 22 carries, with an 8-yard touchdown included. I'm not gonna look it up, but I'm guessing Robinson's rushing total topped the previous single-game high for the 2014 Jags by like 107 yards. He is now the only Jacksonville RB on the approved list for fantasy purposes. Robinson also has a useful (and rare) dual position-eligibility situation that gamers will appreciate.

If you streamed the Cleveland D this week you weren't burned too badly, despite the fact that Jacksonville won, because Blake Bortles generously tossed three picks. Next week, the Jags host Miami.

If you haven't yet seen Jamaal Charles' 16-yard Tecmo touchdown run, make sure you hit the link. He left a trail of humiliated Chargers behind him, before being walloped in the end-zone. Charles is simply unfair — possibly something more than human. When you erase Priest Holmes from the Chiefs' record book, you're pretty damn good.

If you asked me to find a single play to summarize the Bears' loss to Miami on Sunday, it would have to be this Shea McClellin face-plant on Charles Clay's 13-yard touchdown. That's, um ... not good. Something less than a footwork clinic.

We shall speak no more of Bears.

Torrey Smith gave us another quality stat-line, taking advantage of a mostly helpless Atlanta on Sunday. Smith finished with 81 yards on three catches, and he hauled in a late 39-yard score. So there's more to him than PI flags. Joe Flacco followed up his five-touchdown binge in Week 6 with a 258-yard, two-TD, two-INT line against the Birds — not terrible, but not all we'd hoped for. Justin Forsett again dominated the touches in the Ravens backfield (23-95-0), but Bernard Pierce snagged the rushing score.

A few potential adds for your consideration, as you prepare to drop Steven Jackson...


QB Kyle Orton, Buf (at NYJ)
QB Ryan Tannehill, Mia (at Jac)
QB Robert Griffin III, Was (at Dal)
RB Tre Mason, STL (at KC)
RB/WR Denard Robinson, Jac (vs. Mia)
RB Benny Cunningham, STL (at KC)
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (bye)
WR Doug Baldwin, Sea (at Car)
WR Allen Robinson, Jac (vs. Mia)
WR Jordan Matthews, Phi (at Ari)
WR Davante Adams, GB (at NO)
TE Charles Clay, Mia (at Jac)
DEF Cleveland (vs. Oak)
DEF Miami (at Jac)

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 20, 2014, 1:44 am

When you think of Kyle Orton, professional quarterback, the word "journeyman" jumps to mind. He's been with five teams over nine seasons. He's never thrown a pass in the playoffs or a Pro Bowl. His regular facial hair has received more ink than his passing stats.

But if Orton can keep getting the ball to hotshot Buffalo rookie Sammy Watkins, fake-football owners will gladly overlook the pedestrian resume.

Orton and Watkins hooked up nine times for 122 yards and two scores in Sunday's dramatic victory over Minnesota, including the game-winning points with just one second remaining. Here's Watkins winning in the left corner of the end zone, and here's Watkins running past defenders on the other sideline. In upstate New York, it really makes you wanna shout.

If you need validation on Buffalo's QB change, consider what both passers have done with the dynamic Watkins. EJ Manuel's 31 Watkins targets turned into a 54.8 completion percentage and 6.4 YPA, mediocre numbers. Orton's completed 62 percent of his 29 Watkins attempts, good for an 8.1 YPA - and that's despite a Week 6 game against Darrelle Revis and the Patriots.

In short, Orton's steady game pushes Watkins into the fantasy Circle of Trust. Be ready to use No. 14 next week against the unsteady Jets secondary.

Watkins's heroics came at a perfect time for the Bills, as they lost C.J. Spiller (collarbone) and Fred Jackson (groin) earlier in the game. Spiller could be out a couple of months. There's no timetable on Jackson yet. Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon, anyone? 

Checking in with some other Booms from Sunday's Week 7: 

-- Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin, Seahawks: It's going to be a long flight home for the slumping Seahawks, who have to wonder how they gave away a game in St. Louis despite a 463-272 edge in scrimmage yards. A Seattle team that looked untouchable a month ago is a mere 3-3 now. 

The magnificent Wilson did all he could, throwing for 313 yards and two scores and rushing for another 106 yards and a third touchdown. Sometimes the pocket scrambling comes with a price - the dormant Rams defense woke up with three sacks - but otherwise Wilson played about as well as a player can in a loss. 

Baldwin stepped up nicely in the absence of Percy Harvin, snagging 7-of-11 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown. The mercurical Harvin had just 133 receiving yards when he packed his bags for New York on Friday. 

-- The Robinsons of Jacksonville: The Jaguars finally posted a 2014 victory, rolling past Cleveland in a decisive 24-6 victory. Second-year slash player Denard Robinson took control of the backfield, carrying 22 times for 127 yards and a score. Not everyone is confident Robinson can continually handle this type of workload - he's listed as a modest 197 pounds and had constant injury problems at Michigan - but the heavy volume wasn't an issue in Week 7. 

Another Robinson with a Big Ten pedigree, Allen Robinson of Penn State, grabbed the pass-receiving headlines (4-60-1 on seven targets). The Jacksonville coaching staff has been high on Robinson all year, and he might settle in as the team's preferred target for the rest of the year. 

-- Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Colts: Go ahead, keep giving Trent Richardson the heavier workload, it doesn't bother Bradshaw at all. The rock-solid understudy did his thing against the Bengals, scoring on the ground (10-52-1) and by the air (3-36-1), a dynamite fantasy day on just 13 touches. Maybe the Colts know what they're doing after all, using Bradshaw liberally but being careful not to wear him down (especially on the day of a 27-point victory). Next on the hit list: Pittsburgh, NY Giants, New England. 

Some Other Boomers: Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Golden Tate, Gavin Escobar, Jerick McKinnon. 

And on the Bust side of the equation: 

-- Browns Rushing Game: A date in Jacksonville usually is a cushy assignment, but Cleveland never got a thing going in a 24-6 loss Sunday. Ben Tate managed one 18-yard jaunt; his other 15 carries went for 18 collective yards. Isaiah Crowell, seven totes for 18 yards. Terrance West, five carries for eight yards. The Browns did get 112 receiving yards from Andrew Hawkins, but Brian Hoyer didn't have the best of days (5.2 YPA, one pick, 46.3 rating). Part of this flat-tire can be attributed to the absence of Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, who's out for the season. 

-- Zac Stacy, RB, Rams: Well, it was fun while it lasted. Stacy's 2013 surprise season carried many of us to fantasy football titles, but the Rams have apparently moved on. Stacy played just one snap in the victory over the Seahawks, while Tre Mason (18-85-1) and Benny Cunningham (seven touches, 49 yards, one score) lugged the mail. If you want a closer look at this backfield, look for the comprehensive Andy Behrens wrap later tonight.

-- Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: While we respected the Colts defense entering Week 7, we didn't exactly consider it a shutdown unit. Maybe that's our mistake. Dalton chucked the ball 38 times in Naptown and did nothing with the opportunity: 126 yards, no touchdowns, no points. Many of the connections were inconsequential dump-offs to tight end Jermaine Gresham (10-48, 12 targets). Cincicnnati is 0-2-1 since its feel-good bye week, and a home game against surging Baltimore next week won't be easy. 

-- Seahawks Defense and Special Teams: It's hard to imagine these units playing any worse than they did in the stunning loss at St. Louis. The Rams had a 90-yard punt return touchdown on a gadget play, and another kick return went for 70 yards. A daring fake punt deep in Rams territory helped St. Louis secure the upset, though it wasn't complete until Seattle's comical fumble-recovery fail on the game's last contested snap.

St. Louis finished the day 19-of-22 passing, with two touchdowns, no picks or sacks, and a 129.2 rating. Whatever you paid for Seattle's defense on draft day, it was a regretful purchase. 

Some Other Busters: Jimmy Graham, Any Falcon not named Roddy White, Justin Hunter, Alfred Morris, Cam Newton, Reggie Wayne. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 19, 2014, 9:46 pm

Five picks against the Yahoo Pro Football PickEm spread, that's how we roll here. Share your five best in the comments.

Zig-zag theory insists you use the Giants +6.5. New York just got embarrassed on National TV, and the Cowboys had a very public win at Seattle, too. Be wary of outlier results, and take the line value that ensues from them.

If you trust a coach, you want to invest in him after a bye week. Andy Reid +4 and Sean Payton +3, those will be two of our tickets.

I can't in good conscience spot a big number with a very flawed Washington team. Tennessee has plenty of playmakers, if Ken Whisenhunt feels like unlocking them for once. Titans +5.5 will go to post.

Back with the plucky Raiders +3.5, liking what Derek Carr brings to the table with his two primary wideouts (Holmes, Jones). Arizona's overrated secondary has been toasted all season.

Last Week: 1-4
Season: 14-15-1

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 19, 2014, 4:47 pm

All things considered, it's a reasonable injury report this late in the season. That established, there are some big names at the top of the tight end and wide receiver crew. Get your clipboards and co-pays, let's do this.

• Jimmy Graham (shoulder) had limited workouts Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable. We probably won't know until game-time if he'll play at Detroit. At least it's an early start, so there's time to make adjustments, as needed.

 The Bengals list A.J. Green (toe) as doubtful, but he's not going to play. He's still out indefinitely. Mohamed Sanu has been terrific of late and should see plenty of looks against Indianapolis.

• Every logical sign points to Calvin Johnson (ankle) missing another game. He's week-to-week. Detroit plays Atlanta next week, then has a Week 9 bye (along with five other teams).

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• Kevin Benjamin (post concussion) had a good session Friday and appears to be on target to play at Green Bay, though he still needs to be cleared by an outside doctor. We might have resolution on this situation 24 hours prior to kickoff.

• Jarrett Boykin (groin) is questionable, albeit Davante Adams is already ahead of him on the depth chart.

• Harry Douglas (foot) remains out, setting up Devin Hester for extra snaps at Baltimore. Julio Jones (ankle) is listed as probable.

• With Eric Ebron (hamstring) and Joseph Fauria (ankle) both out for the Lions, Brandon Pettigrew should have a bigger role than normal.

• Percy Harvin (thigh) will get extra rest time now that he's on the Jets. Basically it's another bye week for Harvin, who will also rest in Week 11 with the rest of Rex Ryan's crew.

• The Texans are taking it easy with Andre Johnson (ankle) but he's still on target to play Monday against Pittsburgh. Saturday is the key practice day here.

• Eddie Royal (elbow) is listed as probable, if you need a Hail Mary against the Chiefs.

Running Backs

• Ryan Mathews (knee) and Donald Brown (post concussion) remain out for San Diego, so it will once again be the Branden Oliver show against Kansas City.

• Toby Gerhart (foot) won't dress against Cleveland. The Jags will use a committee approach with their Week 7 backfield, which brings Storm Johnson, Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson into the mix. Good luck with those guys.

• Reggie Bush (ankle) had a full practice Friday and is listed as probable. He should take a sizable role in the New Orleans game.

• Arian Foster (groin) had a full practice Friday and is on target for Monday's showdown with Pittsburgh.

• Rashad Jennings (knee) is still aiming for a Week 9 return. The Giants play at Dallas on Sunday, then have the following week off. Andre Williams starts in the meantime.

• Shonn Greene (hamstring) has already been scratched, setting up Bishop Sankey for another start.

• Jonathan Stewart (knee) had a full week and is set to start at Green Bay. Ah, the quicksand of the Carolina backfield.

• Lamar Miller (knee) is listed as probable. Look for him to get plenty of work at Chicago, now that Knowshon Moreno is completely out of the picture.

• The Saints list Pierre Thomas (illness) and Mark Ingram (hand) as probable, so both of them figure to play at Detroit.

• Terrance West has a chance to dress this week, after being a healthy scratch in Week 6. Cleveland did just fine without him in the victory over Pittsburgh, with Ben Tate and Isaiah Crowell running well.


• Carson Palmer (shoulder) had a solid week and is listed as probable. Barring a last-second setback, he'll go at Oakland.

• Jake Locker (thumb) had a limited week and didn't do much Friday, making it unlikely that he'll play at Washington. Charlie Whitehurst is the fallback option.

• Derek Carr (ankle/knee), Tony Romo (ankle/ribs) , and Ryan Tannehill (ankle) are all listed as probable.

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 18, 2014, 4:50 am

Tricky times for the Iceman (Brace Hemmelgarn-USAT)The Shuffle Up series is all about value to come. What's happened to this point is merely an audition. How would you rank the players if you were starting from fresh today? (These are not Week 7 ranks; if you need those, please click here.)

The dollar values are merely comparison tools; they're not assembled in any scientific way. Players at the same position are considered even. We're aiming to illustrate tiers, show where the pockets of value are.

[Join FanDuel's $500,000 Week 7 fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 10,102 teams paid]

You'll disagree with some things (perhaps many things) because that's why we have a game in the first place. Share your respectful disagreement in the comments. (Running backs and tight ends are shuffled in the even weeks.)

$31 Peyton Manning
$30 Andrew Luck
$30 Aaron Rodgers
$28 Philip Rivers
$27 Jay Cutler
$25 Drew Brees
$23 Matt Ryan
$23 Colin Kaepernick
$22 Cam Newton
$21 Russell Wilson
$21 Tony Romo
$20 Nick Foles

The overwhelming play volume in Indianapolis is driving a large part of Luck's value. The Colts are the runaway leader in snaps per week. Mind you, playing cohesive football is also a large part of that story. Luck's attempted 56 passes in the red zone, 29 inside the 10, and 11 inside the five. Last year, he finished at 72-25-10 in those categories. He's also second in the league in red-zone rushes among quarterbacks; only Colin Kaepernick has more totes in that area of the field . . . Given how little the Seahawks were using Percy Harvin, I'm not making a post-trade adjustment to Wilson's value . . . A lot is made of Brees's home-road splits in recent years, but let's also note the homer tendencies of Ryan. He has a career 98.1 rating and 7.6 YPA at home, compared to 84.7 and 6.9 on the road. His touchdown rate is stable in both locations, but his completion percentage dips and his interception rate jumps when outside of Georgia. The differences are gigantic thus far in 2014, largely due to the obliteration of Tampa Bay last month.

My September stance on Foles hasn't changed at all: I love his setup (elite skill players and a progressive coaching staff), but I'm still not sure how good he really is. A spot in the Top 12 isn't a glaring condemnation; that still makes him a weekly starter in most formats. 

Foles's red-zone play has to get a lot better; his 69.4 rating in that area is the worst in the league among qualified starters. Romo's also struggling there, grading in the mid-70s. The Top 10, all well over 100: Wilson, Peyton Manning, Ryan, Orton, Hoyer, Cousins, Brady, Smith, Rivers and Davis. 

$18 Tom Brady
$17 Carson Palmer
$17 Matthew Stafford
$14 Eli Manning
$13 Joe Flacco
$13 Andy Dalton
$12 Alex Smith
$11 Ben Roethlisberger
$10 Mike Glennon

Seven of the Top 15 ADP quarterbacks are tied to a positive winning percentage in Yahoo fantasy leagues, according to our friends at Automated Insights. Luck's teams are winning 62.6 percent of the time, followed by Rivers (58.3), Manning (55.4) and Cutler (54.0). Not counting the injured Robert Griffin III, the biggest Top 15 bust has been Tom Brady (44.8 percent), though Brees (45.6 percent) and Stafford (46.3 percent) aren't far behind.

Here's a quirky Glennon stat: he's thrown for multiple touchdowns in 11 of his 16 pro starts, but he's never thrown for more than two. He's given us two scoring tosses (against one interception) in all three of his 2014 starts. I'd like to think the Bucs are finally seeing the error of their Josh McCown signing, especially with this season already in the dumpster. Glennon's emergence has unlocked Vincent Jackson; Glennon has an 83.0 rating when throwing to Jackson (39 attempts), compared to McCown's putrid 14.0 rating (20 attempts) when firing to No. 83. 

$9 Kyle Orton
$9 Austin Davis
$9 Blake Bortles
$8 Ryan Tannehill
$7 Kirk Cousins
$7 Brian Hoyer
$6 Derek Carr

If Griffin were out for the year, I'd have Cousins in double-digits without any hesitation. Sure, he's made a few loose throws here and there, but he's also clicking with DeSean Jackson and his tight ends, and he throws a much better deep ball than anyone expected . . . Carr's pocket awareness is advanced for a rookie, and the Raiders actually kept the pocket clean in Week 6's shoout against the Chargers. Carr has entered the QB2 discussion, and his solid play keeps Andre Holmes and James Jones fantasy-relevant . . . While the jury is still out on Tannehill, it's a joke he had to twist in the wind prior to the London game. What an amateur grandstanding show from head coach Joe Philbin. Miami has gotten its sack problem under control - just 10 dumps this year, after 58 last season. But Tannehill's skimpy 6.2 YPA needs to come up significantly. Tannehill has yet to rush for a touchdown, but he's averaging a sneaky 20 rushing yards per game. 

$5 Jake Locker
$4 Geno Smith
$3 Ryan Fitzpatrick
$3 Teddy Bridgewater
$1 Charlie Whitehurst
$0 EJ Manuel
$0 Josh McCown
$0 Chad Henne
$0 Drew Stanton
$0 Jimmy Clausen

How many Fitzgerald spikes will we see? (AP/Ross D. Franklin)
And here are your receivers.

$31 Antonio Brown
$31 Jordy Nelson
$31 Demaryius Thomas
$30 Julio Jones
$30 Dez Bryant
$28 Brandon Marshall
$26 Alshon Jeffery
$25 Jeremy Maclin
$24 Randall Cobb
$23 A.J. Green
$23 Calvin Johnson
$22 DeSean Jackson
$21 Mike Wallace
$21 T.Y. Hilton
$21 Emmanuel Sanders
$21 Vincent Jackson

There are three players who have four catches in the red zone but no touchdowns to show for it: Percy Harvin, Emmanuel Sanders, and Justin Brown. Sanders only has four targets in the area, period. He doesn't have the ideal skill set for goal-line dominance, but eventually someone this good has to score, even by accident. No post-merger player has ever topped 1,000 yards receiving without a touchdown; 13 different players have pulled off the 1000 yards with just one or two scores (Harry Douglas and Kendall Wright did it last season). 

Give the Ravens credit for unlocking the big-play ability of Steve Smith. Senior's four touchdowns this year have come from 21, 56, 61 and 80 yards. Contrast this to last year, when Smith scored four times but they were all from modest distances (2, 3, 17, 19). Smith only had two long touchdowns (30 yards or more) in his entire time with Cam Newton; the last one came in October, 2011. 

$20 Steve Smith
$19 Kelvin Benjamin
$18 Golden Tate
$18 Michael Floyd
$16 Julian Edelman
$16 Michael Crabtree
$16 Andre Johnson
$15 Mohamed Sanu
$15 Pierre Garcon
$14 Andre Holmes
$14 Terrance Williams
$14 Eric Decker
$13 DeAndre Hopkins
$13 Roddy White
$13 Keenan Allen
$12 Reggie Wayne
$12 Sammy Watkins
$12 Larry Fitzgerald
$11 Brian Quick
$11 James Jones
$11 Malcom Floyd
$11 Rueben Randle

EJ Manuel throwing to Watkins: 17-for-31, 197 yards, two TDs, no picks. Kyle Orton throwing to Watkins: 9-for-15, 114 yards, no TDs, one pick. The rating is going to side with Manuel because of the TD/INT ratio, but long-term I certainly prefer Orton for Watkins's value (higher completion percentage, better YPA). And keep in mind one of the Orton/Watkins games was mucked up by the presence of Darrelle Revis. Much better days are ahead . . . Austin Davis has a 107.9 rating when he throws to Brian Quick, an 84.0 rating when he throws to Kenny Britt, and a 67.8 rating when he throws to Jared Cook (I don't think Cook's sideline complaining is factored into that stat) . . . Floyd and Fitzgerald have a chance so long as Carson Palmer is on the field. Palmer is 9-for-14 chucking to Floyd (166 yards, TD) and 7-for-10 when he aims for Fitzgerald (120 yards, one score). Drew Stanton checks in this way: 6-for-18 with Floyd (130 yards), 12-for-22 with Fitzgerald (142 yards). Stanton's best moments by far came when he threw for John Brown (9-for-17, 84 yards, two TDs), likely because of second-team chemistry and familiarity. 

$10 Brandin Cooks
$10 Mike Evans
$10 Cecil Shorts
$9 Brandon LaFell
$9 Torrey Smith
$8 Odell Beckham Jr
$8 Justin Hunter
$7 Josh Gordon
$7 Marques Colston
$7 Percy Harvin
$6 Anquan Boldin
$6 Wes Welker
$6 Doug Baldwin
$5 Allen Hurns
$5 Kendall Wright
$5 Jordan Matthews
$5 Davante Adams
$5 Hakeem Nicks

It's possible I could have Harvin too low; a mecurial player is often best utilized immediately after a change of scenery. Remember how Manny Ramirez went ballistic right after his trade to Los Angeles? Mind you, no one had to help Ramirez hit; Harvin's potential is directly tied to how well Geno Smith plays and how effectively Marty Morhinweg manufactures touches . . . Shorts would chase into the $12-14 area if not for the health concerns . . . If Riley Cooper got hurt or simply went away, I'd double the price on Matthews immediately. 

$4 Eddie Royal
$4 Cordarrelle Patterson
$4 Andrew Hawkins
$4 Dwayne Bowe
$4 Markus Wheaton
$3 John Brown
$3 Miles Austin
$3 Allen Robinson
$3 Robert Woods
$3 Jermaine Kearse
$2 Louis Murphy
$2 Devin Hester
$2 Andre Roberts
$2 Steve Johnson
$2 Greg Jennings
$2 Kenny Britt
$2 Jerricho Cotchery
$2 Ricardo Lockette
$2 Brandon Lloyd
$2 Jarvis Landry
$2 Riley Cooper
$2 Jarius Wright
$2 Jeremy Kerley
$2 Taylor Gabriel
$1 Brian Tyms
$1 Travis Benjamin
$1 Harry Douglas
$1 Brice Butler
$1 Austin Pettis
$1 Brian Hartline
$1 Eric Weems
$1 Lance Moore
$1 Donnie Avery
$1 Jeremy Ross
$1 Kenny Stills
$0 Rod Streater
$0 Mike Williams
$0 Jason Avant
$0 Brandon Tate
$0 Tavon Austin

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 18, 2014, 3:37 am

Everyone who expects to be a fantasy factor in Week 7, take a step forward. 

Not so fast, Percy Harvin.  

In-season trades are rare in the NFL, which underscores why Friday's news was so shocking. The Seahawks and Jets hooked up on a Harvin trade; New York takes the receiver (and a sizable contract), while Seattle collects a conditional draft pick. 

[Join FanDuel's $500,000 Week 7 fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 10,102 teams paid]

Harvin was no sure thing to play in Week 7 – he's dealing with a sore thigh – but now he's a fantasy scratch, as the Jets played Thursday night in New England. Harvin leads the league in overturned touchdowns and bye weeks. He'll pick up his third holiday when the Jets sit during Week 11.

The deal resonates more in the real league than it does in our pretend-football universe. Harvin's value probably won't dip much with the Jets, given that Seattle wasn't getting much out of him to begin with. 

Harvin managed just 133 receiving yards through five games, along with 92 rushing yards (and one score) on 11 carries. He's outside the Top 60 in Yahoo wide receiver scoring. His bizarro signature game came in Washington two weeks back, when penalties wiped out three different Harvin touchdowns. 

Nonetheless, he's been a gamebreaker at times before; witness Harvin's Minnesota resume, or the big plays from last February's Super Bowl. There's some theoretical upside here. 

Maybe the Harvin addition pushes Geno Smith into stable QB2 range in the second half of the year. At least we're probably spared the Jeremy Kerley ghost sweep action the Jets were playing with. I'll call it a lateral move for Eric Decker – less defensive attention against maybe a slight leak in targets. 

I'll give a modest upgrade to the primary Seattle receivers (Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Ricardo Lockette), but there's no obvious breakthrough candidate here. Seattle played without Harvin just about all of 2013 and still didn't produce an impact fantasy wideout. This is a balanced offense that doesn't force the ball to any downfield option. It's a shame OC Darrell Bevell never found the right key to unlock Harvin. 

I'll probably leave Russell Wilson's value alone – he's produced without Harvin before, and they weren't on the same page for most of 2014. Perhaps Marshawn Lynch will get a little extra work, but he was already a Top 5 back on anyone's sheet – how much higher can he really go?

Trades are fun, even when they don't make immediate sense. Let's enjoy this one. Does Seattle know something about Harvin that the rest of the league does not? Did an unhappy Harvin push for the deal? Can a half-season of Harvin shape Smith into a capable pro quarterback? Will one of the Seattle receivers step into WR3 territory? Your take is welcome in the comments. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 17, 2014, 10:16 pm

Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders for Week 7.

Eddie Lacy, mired in a legitimate 50-50 snap split with James Starks, standard fantasy points in a generous matchup against Carolina 9.9.

Brandon –  OVER. Carolina has allowed seven running backs to reach at least 9.5 fantasy points over its past four games, so clearly there's enough meat on the bone in this matchup to feed both Lacy and Starks. And although the snap count has been even the past couple weeks, the Packers are still calling Lacy's number more often (27 carries to 20 over the past two games). I think Lacy goes for at least 75 YFS and a touchdown against a Panthers defense allowing 5.5 YPC to opposing backs.

[Join FanDuel's $500,000 Week 7 fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 10,102 teams paid]

Scott – OVER. I'm giving Lacy one more shot here. Carolina's rushing defense is a complete sieve (5.5 YPC allowed, easily the worst in the league), and this looks like a contest the Packers should control (creating a positive game script for Lacy). And if you're thinking about an outgoing Lacy trade, I'd wait until this result is in.  

Brad – UNDER. The matchup is extremely favorable, but he must find the end-zone to justify the over. In a dead-even split with Starks, I wouldn't bet he does. 

Cam Newton, finally off and running after lighting up Cincy for over 100 yards on the ground, rushing yards this week in Green Bay 54.5. 

Andy – Look, I love Cam and think he's a terrific trade target. His second-half schedule is a gift. But this is a huge number for a QB. My assumption is that Jonathan Stewart will return this week and get a bunch of touches against Green Bay's user-friendly run defense. No way Cam finishes with another 15-plus carries. Thus, UNDER.

Brandon – OVER. Sure, I'll bite on this one, which is about half his total from last week. Now that the restraints have been removed for Cam in the ground game, I think it's going to be a lot more of the same thing we saw last week (17/107/1 on the ground). The Panthers' running game has been virtually non-existent and, I think utilizing Cam's feet is how head coach Ron Rivera plans to make up for the backfield woes. At 2-3, Carolina has to go for broke, which means Cam has to keep on runnin'.

Dalton – UNDER. I’m buying into Newton’s return to health and a running threat, but even during the best rushing season of his career, he averaged 46.3 ypg. The Packers have also allowed the second-most rushing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. But I’m still going under here, as betting on any QB to reach 55 rushing yards in a game isn’t exactly safe. 

Ben Roethlisberger, who's underachieved massively in soft matchups this year, passing touchdowns Monday night against Houston 1.5. 

Brandon –  UNDER. I've whiffed on Roethlisberger the past two weeks, incorrectly thinking he'd have big games. Fool me three times? Nah, I'm going under as Big Ben has been terrible in the red zone (39 pass attempts, five touchdowns) and Houston does a good job of putting pressure on the QB (J.J. Watt leads defensive ends in QB hurries) and covering receivers (top 7 in the NFL in passes defensed).

Dalton – UNDER. Roethlisberger has thrown multiple touchdowns in just two of six games this season and Houston has ceded 1.7 TD passes per game, so I’ll just go with the odds here. Moreover, the Texans have been better against the pass (No. 10 in YPA) than against the rush (No. 20 in YPC). 

Andy – I'll say OVER, but not by much. I'll give him two TDs. Pittsburgh's defense sure looks like it's gonna force the Steelers into a few shootouts this season, and it's not as if Houston can't be scored upon. The Texans currently rank 28th at defending the pass (271.5 YPG).

Frank Gore, who according to an Ian Rapoport report had to earn his spot on the Niners roster preseason, total touches Sunday night in Denver 14.5.  

Dalton – UNDER. Gore has averaged 19.3 rushing attempts over the past three games, but the 49ers are nearly touchdown underdogs, and the running back has six total targets on the season. Denver has the fewest rushing attempts against them (94) in the NFL. 

Brad –  UNDER. This game becomes the Peyton Manning record-breaking slobber-fest. Combine that with Gore's slowly diminishing role and difficult matchup (Denver has allowed 2.90 ypc to RBs) and it's conceivable he doesn't touch the ball 10 times.  

Scott – I'll sneak this one UNDER because Gore is rarely used as a receiver these days (four catches, six targets). If Denver races out to a lead of more than one score (which is entirely reasonable, given the spread), Gore might wind up on the bench when San Francisco shifts into comeback mode. 

Mohamed Sanu, off an earth-shaking 15-120-1 in the kiss-your-sister battle versus Carolina, receiving yards in the follow up at Indy 74.5.  

Andy – Good number. I'll take the OVER, because I'm assuming a shootout here. Sanu is pretty clearly the healthiest competent receiver that Cincy has at its disposal these days.

Scott – OVER. I want you to start Sanu anywhere you can. He's scored in back-to-back weeks, he's seen 32 targets over the last three games, and he's capable of running everything in the route tree. He's the obvious No. 1 downfield read while A.J. Green rehabs. 

Dalton – OVER. Sanu has averaged 79.5 receiving yards over the past four games, but he saw a whopping 14 targets for 120 yards and a score last week with A.J. Green out. The best guess is Green will remain sidelined in Week 7, making Sanu a must start. 

Hot waiver wire pickup Jerick McKinnon, who looks to be in the driver's seat in the Minnesota backfield, total yards against the league's stiffest run defense (Buffalo) 69.5.

Brad – UNDER. The Vikes staff has said they want to get Asiata more involved after 'gifting' him three touches last week. McKinnon should still see 15-17 touches, but the Bills, particularly at home, are virtually impenetrable. Rushers are averaging just 3.44 yards per touch against them. Sharpie me in for 60-65 total yards. 

Andy – OVER. I don't think he'll cross the goal line, but I do think we'll see a decent receiving total from McKinnon. We should also note that it's not a given that Matt Asiata won't get a half-share of the snaps, because the Vikes don't seem sold on McKinnon in pass protection. (Remember, the rookie is coming from a collegiate system and role that gave him no meaningful experience in pass pro.)

Brandon – UNDER. Pass protection is an issue for the rookie, as he allowed a sack and four QB hurries last week in an elevated role. That's why we heard head coach Mike Zimmer making noise this week about getting Matt Asiata back into the mix. McKinnon is still likely to be the lead RB, but I expect something close to a workload split, and I don't think that affords either back enough of an opportunity to go over this mark against a defense allowing an NFL-low 2.7 YPC to the RB position.

Larry Donnell, virtually nonexistent over the past two weeks catching just one pass for six yards, receptions on the road against Big D 3.5. 

Andy  – UNDER. I'm not going to get caught up in the fantasy-points-against argument here. The fact is, the Giants have not been looking Donnell's way, at all. He's seen only one target in two games.

Dalton – OVER. Donnell has one catch on three targets over the past two weeks, but he’d averaged 6.3 catches (while scoring four touchdowns) over the first four games of the season. With Victor Cruz out, Donnell will need to step up, and he faces a Dallas secondary that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year. 

Brad – OVER. Down Victor Cruz, Donnell won't be shackled to the line like he has been the past two weeks. Dallas, which has allowed five TEs to cross this mark so far, is the most generous defense to the position in fantasy. A major turnaround is coming for the Giant. 

Keenan Allen, who currently ranks outside the top-60 in per game average among WRs and has yet to find the end-zone, touchdowns against KC .5.

Dalton – OVER. I wouldn’t feel great about predicting any WR to score during any week, but Allen had seven touchdowns over the final six games last year. So I’ll go with the lowest common dominator analysis saying he’s “due.” Seriously, Allen has to score some time, right? 

Brad – UNDER. Allen logged a tremendous amount of success against KC in two games last year, but he continues to get lost in the shuffle, especially inside the red-zone. Better days are on the horizon, however, this week his TD-less streak extends. 

Scott – UNDER, with a heavy sigh. We know Allen isn't getting deep this year (10.6 YPC), but the short stuff is also a problem. Philip Rivers has attempted 19 passes inside the 10-yard line, and Allen hasn't been targeted on any of them. Until the story turns somewhat (Allen did produce in this matchup last year), I'm pumping the brakes. And yes, I know I'm already too late on that move. 

BOLD PREDICTION. The one running back under 50-percent started in Yahoo leagues that has the best chance to finish with 15-plus standard fantasy points in Week 7 is ____________.

Brad – ISAIAH CROWELL. Off an 11-77-1 effort, the rookie draws an ultra-friendly matchup, facing a Jags D that's allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position. Ben Tate will be the primary back, but on a similar workload as Week 6, I foresee another 70 yards and a TD for the Crow. 

Scott – BERNARD PIERCE isn't much of a player, but he did get 15 carries in last week's blowout at Tampa, including four red-zone rushes and a cheap touchdown. The Ravens host Atlanta this week, a club that's given up 841 rushing yards and 12 ground TDs. Justin Forsett is clearly the preferred back to own in Baltimore, but I could see deeper-league owners giving Pierce a one-week contract. 

Brandon – ISAIAH CROWELL. Even in a backup role, his workload has been decent, as he's garnered 11 carries in three of his past four games. And he's been money in the bank in the red zone, scoring four times on just five carries. Against a soft Jags defense, I think his usual 11-plus touches (though he could see more if Cleveland jumps out to a big lead) could deliver his biggest numbers yet.

Top-Five Buys. Your best bets (versus the spread or over/unders) for Week 7.

Andy – 1) Ten +5 at Was, 2) Cin at Ind OVER 49.5, 3) Mia +3.5 at Chi, 4) Det -2.5 vs. NO, 5) KC +4 at SD

Brandon – 1) JAX +5.5 vs. Cle 2) NYG +6.5 at Dal 3) CHI -3 vs. Mia 4) DEN +7 vs. SF 5) Chicago-Miami under 48

Dalton – 1) ARI -3.5 at Oak 2) NYG +6.5 at Dal 3) CHI -3 vs. Mia 4) JAX +5.5 vs. Cle 5) CAR +7 at G.B.

Scott – 1) Giants +7, 2) Raiders +4, 3) Chargers/Chiefs over 45, 5) Browns-Jags under 45, 5) Bengals-Colts over 49.5.   

Brad – 1) StL +7 vs. Sea), 2) Atl/Bal UNDER 49, 3) NYG +6.5 at Dal, 4) Ari/Oak OVER 44.5 5) Den -7 vs. SF

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 17, 2014, 1:54 pm

With the landscape at running back in a perpetual state of change, owners not fortunate enough to have rights to DeMarco Murray, Arian Foster or Matt Forte, are being forced to debate full-blown committee backs on a week-in, week-out basis.


On this week’s highly educational program, Melanie Collins will guide our motley crew (Brandon Funston, Brad Evans, Andy Behrens and Shaun King) through the RB muck in an attempt to pinpoint the Week 7 values of part-timers James Starks, Jeremy Hill, Isaiah Crowell and Jerick McKinnon. Plus, our on-site physician, Dr. Gregory Horner, will detail what Calvin Johnson’s ‘lingering’ ankle pain means for his rest of season prognosis. As always, we’ll also tend to your pressing fantasy needs.

Here’s how you can join the circus:

Phone: 800.FFL.GURU

Twitter: @YahooFantasy

Prior to the on-screen madness, the Big Noise and Boss Man will inform and entertain behind the mic on our two-hour pregame simulcast (radio and video). On the docket: Sleepers, busts and shocker specials from every remaining Week 7 game, in-depth discussions about Andre Holmes and we'll reveal our five pillars of fantasy evil. Questions? Get in touch with the boys via the means below:

Phone: 800.777.2907

Twitter: @YSRFFL


Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 17, 2014, 1:49 pm

My 2014 football season might have peaked in May.

The Fantasy Football Index held their magazine Expert Auction in the spring, where I was lucky enough to land DeMarco Murray. I think I was price enforcing, but honestly I can't remember. When we had a post-auction Q&A, I talked about Murray's durability issues, whistled a bit of buyer's remorse.

Of course that's turned into my best team by far, a runaway juggernaut. In the many leagues that followed, I went 0-for-Murray. It's no fun to be sitting this one out.

[Join FanDuel's $500,000 Week 7 fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 10,102 teams paid]

Murray stands as one of 2014's "Right Answers" to this point, a guy who's winning leagues for people. Seventy-percent of the Top 500 teams in Yahoo have Murray on their roster. Murray's 122 points in Yahoo are about thirty percent higher than the No. 2 back, Matt Forte.

Murray has six straight 100-yard games to open the season (USA TODAY Sports)Murray is the league's runaway leader in rushing attempts (42 ahead of LeSean McCoy) and yards (243 clear of Le'Veon Bell), and he also stands first in yards from scrimmage and rushing touchdowns. And while his gross numbers are indeed, well, gross, he's also giving us consistency every week. That's how you win a fantasy league: big points, no whammys.

Murray's finished fourth, fifth, eighth, third, ninth and fourth in standard RB scoring this year. If you switch to a PPR tilt, he's never been lower than seventh. Working behind what's probably the NFL's best offensive line, he's been fake-football royalty. Murray's worst rushing game still netted 100 yards. His only game without a touchdown nonetheless went for 192 total yards.

In the early days of Yahoo Fantasy Football, a workhorse back wasn't that difficult to find. Murray's per-game scoring average through six weeks (21.7 ppg) is only the seventh-highest push-off in the Yahoo era. You'll remember some of these fantastic stars and starts, grading the initial six weeks of a season: Marshall Faulk 2000 (26.8 ppg), Priest Holmes 2002 (26.6), LaDainian Tomlinson 2006 (26.1), Faulk 2001 (24.3), Holmes 2003 (23.3), Shaun Alexander 2005 (22.7). And Chris Johnson's start in 2009 basically equals Murray this year, at 21.7 ppg.

But Murray's season becomes extra special when you consider two specific pieces of context. First, he's going bonkers in a league that's pass-heavy across the board, and second, he didn't cost an arm and a leg on draft day (many of those historical high-scorers were lottery picks).

If you liked Murray in August, you probably were able to land him, somewhere. His summer ADP was a modest 15.7, the eighth running back off the board. LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Forte, Eddie Lacy, Marshawn Lynch and Montee Ball all went earlier, on average. Peyton Manning, A.J. Green and Brandon Marshall did, too.

So now that we've found Murray, what are we going to do with him? Within Yahoo, owners are becoming understandably hesitant about parting with Murray straight up. One-for-one deals involving Murray dropped 17 percent from Week 4 to Week 5, according to our friends at Automated Insights. Then that number dropped an additional 12 percent from Week 5 to Week 6.

To get a better idea of what route to take, I assembled the Yahoo Fantasy Crew and asked each of them to contribute their state of the Murray address. Their answers are below. And as always, please share your personal answer key in the comments.

Calvin Hill congratulates DeMarco Murray (Matthew Emmons-USAT)

Andy Behrens: At some point, the injury-risk argument with Murray becomes inane, doesn't it? He's topped 100 yards in every game this season. He's found the end zone six times in six weeks. His O-line is basically a herd of mastodons. I'm willing to accept A LOT of injury risk when the payoff looks like this. If we were to redraft a 2014 fantasy league today, Murray would be the top player on my board, no question. He's already delivered huge stat lines against the Niners and Seahawks, so there's no sense fretting about any future match-ups. Right now, he's the perfect fantasy back. There's simply no way for fantasy football owners to insulate themselves from injury risk – Calvin is hurt, Green is hurt, Graham is hurt, Charles, Ball, Foster, Ellington, etc. Instead, we need to chase great players in great situations. I'd gladly buy-high on Murray, if you're selling.

Brad Evans: What Murray has achieved through six games is not only historic but truly remarkable. That cannot be disputed. Nearly 70-percent of Yahoo Public League leaders has the rusher on roster. If MVP trophies were handed out in Week 7, he would be the runaway winner.

However, for the savvy owner now is the time to turn a profit on Murray. The man is on pace for a whopping 480 touches, a mind-blowing volume considering the timeshare prevalence in this day and age of the NFL. His pad level has improved, but due to his upright running style, he is a rusher susceptible to lower body injuries. Stretching back to his days in Norman, he’s missed numerous games due to myriad leg and foot setbacks. His 14 games played last year was a pro career best.

His rest-of-season schedule – the 13th-easiest among RBs – is quite favorable, but with his value at its pinnacle, now is the time to entertain trade offers. He’s one awkward ankle bend away from spoiling your championship dreams.

Brandon Funston: I haven't heard much talk about it, but I wonder how much the loss of RT Doug Free (out 3-4 weeks with a sprained foot) will impact Murray's production. A quick check of Murray's directional rushing stats shows that he has averaged 4.7 YPC running between the tackles to the right side (Free's side) compared to 3.4 YPC when running to the left and 3.9 YPC when running up the middle – and he averages over 5.0 YPC running outside the tackles to either side. It seems that Murray has been able to benefit from running (inside) behind one of the best right tackles in the NFL.

I still expect Murray to be a fantasy stud, after all he's leading the league in Missed Tackles and is third in Yards After Contact, so he's making plenty of yards on his own. But expecting 19–plus fantasy points (a total he's reached in all six games so far) with Free out and two of the four toughest fantasy run defenses (WAS, ARI) on the schedule in the next three weeks, is probably wishful thinking. If you are an owner dreaming of acquiring Murray for the fantasy stretch run, maybe a potential short-term dip in Murray's production affords you a discounted buying opportunity.

Dalton Del Don: I unfortunately have zero shares of Murray this season and this coming from someone who still advocated taking running backs early. Not that I actively avoided him, but I can't say I went the extra dollar either. Murray entered the season having missed an average of nearly four games per year over his career, so it’s tempting to recommend selling high. However, he’s always been a talented back, and this Dallas offensive line looks legit. He has 35 broken tackles on the year. No other back has more than 25. It should take quite a haul to deal him. Murray isn't going to continue this pace (he’s projected for 424 rushing attempts), but I see no reason not to treat him as the top fantasy commodity.

Scott Pianowski: I never deem a player untouchable in the fantasy racket. There's some theoretical point where a trade makes sense, no matter the player. If I were fortunate enough to have Murray shares, I'd be open for a Herschel Walker type of mega-deal. Maybe someone in your league will break the bank for one player.

Of course, you better love the offer. If you don't, you pass.

Murray's workload doesn't bother me too much from an accumulation standpoint. I tend to think heavy-use backs get injured simply because they're in the line of fire more often. Should Murray get hurt later this year, I suspect it will be because the wrong hit caught him at the wrong time, not a matter of a heavily-used body breaking down.

I do think the Cowboys should try to handle Murray carefully in games that are already decided; there's no reason to risk him in any blowout situation. But other than that, let's sit back and enjoy the ride. Cowboy Up.  

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 16, 2014, 8:20 pm

Straight cash homie! In his never-ending quest to pay off his kids' college education early, Brad Evans unveils his FanDuel picks for the upcoming week and explains his reasoning behind them. Make that money, #TeamHuevos.

[Join Brad and play in FanDuel's Week 7 fantasy football league. It's just $10 to enter. First place wins $40,000 and the top 10,102 teams get paid.]


FAKE BUDGET: $60,000

Cam Newton, Car, QB (FanDuel Price: $8,400) – He's got legs. And he knows how to use them. Back to his old, versatile ways, Newton, who had slumped his way to 42 rushing yards in his first four games, found the spring in his step last week in Cincinnati. The QB, showing vintage open-field burst, sprinted his way to a season-best 107 rushing yards. Sam Shields and Co. have grounded many aerial attacks this year, but Green Bay's ineffectiveness up front could make Cam quite the opportunistic runner. Only Cincinnati and Washington have conceded more rushing yards to QBs than the Packers. Something along the lines of 280-300 combined yards and three touchdowns (one rush) is in my fearless forecast. 

Justin Forsett, Bal, RB ($6,200) – Pulling away from Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro, the ferret-sized rusher has emerged as the Ravens RB to own. In six games, he's averaged a robust 6.05 yards per touch, notching several 10-plus yard plays. Since Week 2, he's also tucked inside the RB top-20 netting 13.0 fantasy points per game in PPR. Atlanta is abysmal defending versatile rushers. In total, six RBs have eclipsed 90 total yards against them. Even worse, eight of them have scored at least 10 fantasy points. On roughly 14-16 touches, Forsett is a shoo-in for roughly 100 total yards and a TD. 

Branden Oliver, SD, RB ($7,400) – The Chargers' hot hand has branded the competition with consecutive scintillating performances. He accounted for 306 total yards and three touchdowns against the Jets and Raiders, gaining an impressive 66.5 percent of his yards after contact. The good times should keep rolling this week against KC. Yes, the Chiefs have surrendered the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs this year, but they've also yielded 5.29 yards per carry. They're refreshed off the bye, but the Chargers' commanding offensive line should open plentiful holes for the firecracker to explode through. Another century-mark effort with a TD is on tap. 

Demaryius Thomas, Den, WR ($9,100) – He certainly isn't for the thrifty, but with Peyton Manning gunning for NFL history at home and on prime-time, Thomas is sure to have another monster game. San Francisco's secondary has played admirably this year. Among eligible corners, Perrish Cox has given up the third-lowest QB rating at the position (39.4). Chris Culliver, who's allowed a 57.6 catch percentage, isn't too shabby either. Only Michael Floyd has crossed the 70-yard mark against this secondary. Still, given the circumstances, Thomas cranks out a 7-110-1 line. 

Brandon Marshall, Chi, WR ($7,700) – Hampered by a tender ankle for several weeks, Marshall finally resembled his usual self last week in Atlanta catching six balls for 113 yards, his first triple-digit effort of the season. Another standout performance is likely. Though they've produced respectable surface numbers, Miami boasts only an average secondary. Targeted 61 times, starting corners Cortland Finnegan and Brent Grimes have surrendered 41 receptions (67.2 catch percentage). Big physical wideouts Sammy Watkins and Jordy Nelson have given the duo fits. Marshall, constructed from similar materials, poses a serious matchup problem. 

Andre Holmes, Oak, WR ($6,000)Derek Carr has a man-crush on the guy targeting him 20 times over the past two weeks. During that span the pair have connected nine times for 195 yards and three touchdowns. Stunningly, Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie have been burned often in coverage this year. Combined the tandem has surrendered 17.34 yards per catch and a 117.8 QB rating. With Carr's confidence growing and Holmes now a prominent downfield presence, their torrid on-field romance surges on. Odds are strong the Raider becomes the fifth 100-yard receiver allowed by Arizona this year. 

Jordan Reed, Was, TE ($5,400) – Last week against 'Zona, he resembled the stud that ranked top 10 at the TE position over the first eight weeks of 2013, catching eight passes for 92 yards on 11 targets. Reed could build on that production against a Tennessee defense that often employs zone. A TE has done an end zone jig against the Titans in three straight games. He extends that streak and chips in 50-60 yards. 

Shaun Suisham, K, Pit ($4,700) – He's accurate and most importantly CHEAP. Fantastic price for the No. 12 kicker currently in fantasy. 

Buffalo Bills D/ST ($5,000) The Bills have their issues against the pass, but expect them to rattle Teddy Bridgewater in his first appearance at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Minnesota has allowed the third-most fantasy points to D/STs. 

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 16, 2014, 4:11 pm

Each week the Noise highlights 10 somewhat un-obvious names who he believes are destined to implode leave egg on his face. To qualify, each player must be started in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 7 Lames in the comments section below.

See Also: Week 7 Flames

Drew Brees, NO, QB (65 percent started)
Matchup: at Det
Whether in Fantasyland or zombie-apocalyptic Georgia, sometimes you're the cattle, other times the butcher. This week, Brees would pair nicely with a sesame seed bun. He's averaged a robust 314.8 passing yards per game, but the former All-Pro hasn't found the end zone with his usual regularity. If his 28-TD pace holds, it would be his lowest total since 2007, his second year with the Saints. New Orleans' goal-line efficiency on the ground coupled with Darren Sproles' absence are likely reasons for his profitless return. He's crossed the 20-fantasy-point threshold in every game this season, but, without the services of his best weapon, Jimmy Graham, a marginal week could be in store. Keep in mind 35.8 percent of Brees' TD passes since Week 1 last season have gone to the TE. In the recent past, the Lions were one of the more accommodating pass defenses in the league. Once routinely spanked through the air, Rashean Mathis and Darius Slay have played brilliantly. Combined they've allowed a 64.2 QB rating and 52.1 catch percentage. As a unit, Detroit has yet to give up a multi-TD passer and surrendered only 6.33 yards per attempt. And that was against the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Eli Manning. On the road, Brees, by the standard he established previously, blows. 

Fearless Forecast: 28-43, 267 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 19.3 fantasy points 

[Join FanDuel's $500,000 Week 7 fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 10,102 teams paid]

Andre Williams, NYG, RB (51 percent started)
Matchup: at Dal
When Rashad Jennings suffered a knee sprain two weeks ago, the Williams hype machine went into overdrive. His worked up owners, ecstatic about his increased role, threw out adjectives like "must-start," "stud" and "love muffin" when waxing poetically about the rookie's Week 6 value. One humiliating night in Philadelphia later and it's time for everyone to reassess. When he gets a full head of steam, the Boston College product is a load of bricks. As his 57.1 yards after contact percentage proves, he's a tough dude to bring down. However, he's blessed with the elusiveness of a fixed object, struggles in pass protection and is one-sixteenth the receiver of, say, an Alfred Morris. Point blank, he's an average power back with limited upside. The Giants offensive line did him no favors in Philly, but on the year he's averaged a yack-worthy 3.25 yards per carry. Jennings is likely to miss action for the second straight week, but keep your expectations tempered. Thanks to the stellar execution of defensive tackle Henry Melton and linebacker Justin Durant, the Cowboys have crushed naysayers (Me included) who believed only weeks ago they would be a pushover in all facets defensively. They've given up 5.65 yards per carry to RBs this year, but Arian Foster and Zac Stacy are the only rushers to register top-15 days against them. Unless New York actually employs real Giants to run block, Williams will again be the epitome of mediocrity. 

Fearless Forecast: 18 carries, 70 rushing yards, 1 reception, 6 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.3 fantasy points 

Frank Gore, SF, RB (68 percent started)
Matchup: at Den
The beginning of the end could already be underway for one of the toughest, most consistent performers to man the RB position this century. According to a recent Ian Rapoport report, the veteran had to earn a roster spot this past summer after the club invested a high draft pick in Carlos Hyde. That tidbit may seem outrageous, especially for a highly productive back who's been the backbone of the Niners organization for the past decade, but based on his dramatic decline over the second half last year, there's truth to it. He looked tremendous against Philly and KC totaling 227 yards and a TD in those efforts, however, he's slowly eroding under the surface. His 46.5 yards after contact percentage is indicative of power lost. More disturbing, in a snug game late in St. Louis, Jim Harbaugh leaned on Hyde to salt away the clock. He could rack a couple more RB2 level games, but his 2014 worth has likely peaked. A difficult road matchup against the Broncos will only solidify that belief. With Von Miller again playing exceptional football, Denver's run D is one of the league's nastiest. RBs are netting just 2.90 yards per carry against it. Rushers have had success in the vertical game against the Broncos, but Gore, with only four receptions on the year, has limitations in that capacity. Seek help elsewhere. 

Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 44 rushing yards, 1 receptions, 3 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 5.4 fantasy points

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Keenan Allen, SD, WR (64 percent started)
Matchup: vs. KC
What the heck, Keenan? Without a touchdown and averaging a pedestrian 49.3 receiving yards per game, he's slipped into a deep sophomore slump. Including Antonio Gates, he's the fourth-most valuable receiver on his team. In per game average, he ranks outside the top-60 among fantasy WRs, behind the likes of Travis Benjamin, Ricardo Lockette and Jarvis Landry. Gag. Because Philip Rivers is one bushy beard and "Manifesto" shy of being Karl Marx, Allen has gotten lost in the socialist shuffle. At least, that's what it seems. In truth, Allen's presence has increased compared to last year. A season ago, he accounted for 19.1 percent of San Diego's targets. This year, that number has grown to 21.1 percent. He's seen a slight dip in red-zone looks, but, given his prominent role, he should right the ship soon. However, don't expect him to hit the comeback trail this week. KC corner Sean Smith is among the league's best in pass coverage. He's surrendered a 50.0 catch percentage, 11.5 yards per catch and 76.6 QB rating in five games. Collectively, the Chiefs have allowed only four wideouts to score double-digit fantasy points this year. Brighter days are ahead, but this week, Allen's price tag hits a career low. 

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.9 fantasy points 

Reggie Wayne, Ind, WR (55 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Cin
It won't be long before Wayne receives a call from Canton. The six-time Pro Bowl selection ranks top-10 all-time in receptions and receiving yards. Off a shortened 2013 in which he suffered a catastrophic knee injury, he's rebounded fairly well. He ranks near the top in targets (54) and has posted an identical line as Houston's Andre Johnson (34-419-1). Maybe the former "U" dudes will ride a tandem bike soon too. His subsequent 8.0 fantasy points per game places him barely inside the WR top-36. Because of his high-volume, he's still fairly reliable, but matched against a stringent Bengals secondary, lackluster production is in the forecast. Starting corners Terence Newman and Leon Hall have given up just 9.4 yards per catch to their assignments and a 75.8 QB rating. Only Steve Smith, Julio Jones and Kelvin Benjamin have scored 10-plus fantasy points against them. In total, Cincy has conceded the sixth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. Wayne should again entice 7-9 targets, but an outcome similar to last week (9-4-35-0 at Hou) is in the cards. 

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns, 8.7 fantasy points 


Each week one fortunate guest prognosticator will have a chance to silence the Noise. Following the rules stated above, participants are asked to submit their "Flames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?

@YahooNoise While I'm at it, #Lames for week 7: QB- Brees, RB: Lynch, Morris, WR: Welker, Hilton, TE: Cameron, D/ST: Bengals #TeamHeuvos

— Jägerbomb Scotty (@srjhogan) October 15, 2014

Reader Record: 27-16, 62.7%

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 16, 2014, 1:42 pm

Who, exactly, demanded another prime-time matchup involving New England and New York?

The Pats are like the NFL equivalent of a reliable seven-passenger vehicle with a respectable safety record. The Jets are a sinkhole of despair. The Julian and Geno show is happening, tonight. Hooray, AFC East. Woo.

[Join FanDuel's $500,000 Week 7 fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 10,102 teams paid]

Here's a pair of widely available names, both approved for use if you're dealing with injuries and/or bye-week issues...

WR Brandon LaFell, NE (24 percent owned, 11 percent started) – Over the past four weeks, LaFell has seen 26 targets, catching 15 for 282 yards and three scores. Yeah, this is the same guy who was a mild disappointment in each of his four seasons in Carolina, but the team context is different these days. LaFell is on pace to establish new career highs in receiving yardage and touchdowns.

Here are the usage stats for the Pats receiving corps in Week 6, via Pro Football Focus:

Julian Edelman – 69 snaps, 11 targets
Rob Gronkowski – 59 snaps, 9 targets
Brandon LaFell – 53 snaps, 6 targets
Michael Hoomanawanui – 41 snaps, 1 target
Danny Amendola – 24 snaps, 0 targets
Tim Wright – 16 snaps, 1 target
Aaron Dobson – 11 snaps, 1 target
Brian Tyms – 8 snaps, 2 targets, one big play

So LaFell is pretty clearly Plan C, and he's a better bet than Edelman to find the end-zone. New York's defense has allowed a league-high 15 touchdown passes while ranking dead-last in interceptions (just one), so the matchup couldn't be much friendlier.

[Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today!]

TE Jace Amaro, NYJ (6 percent owned, 3 percent started) – Yup, he's a rookie tight end, and those guys almost never pay the fantasy bills. So that's strike one. And yes, Amaro has had a couple ugly drops this season. So that might be strike two. But Amaro is coming off a 12-target, 10-catch week, finishing with 68 receiving yards and an end-zone spike in the Jets' home loss to Denver. Amaro is a promising player, and his workload is clearly growing. If you're without the injured Jimmy Graham or the vacationing Zach Ertz this week, Amaro is a reasonable fill-in. It wouldn't be much of a surprise if he delivered 50-plus yards and a score.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 16, 2014, 12:09 pm

Group-think can be an especially scary thing when it comes to fantasy football rankings. After all, the unpredictable nature of the NFL game is part of what makes fantasy football so popular, and why some people like to say that the NFL acronym stands for "No F****** Logic." But when one of our Yahoo fantasy football analysts veers particularly far away from the rankings consensus, our curious nature begs for an explanation. So, with that in mind, I've identified two players from our Week 7 rankings that our Yahoo analysts love/hate significantly more than the rest of us, and have asked them to explain their reasoning. I'll kick things off with a couple of my outliers:

[Join FanDuel's $500,000 Week 7 fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 10,102 teams paid]

Love him: Brandin Cooks, NO, WR - Funston WR rank No. 11 (Yahoo rank No. 25)

The Saints head to Detroit this week without the services of All-World tight end Jimmy Graham, who is dealing with a sore shoulder. No surprise, Graham was Drew Brees' favorite target, leading the Saints with 47 looks in the passing game. Rookie wideout Brandin Cooks is second among Brees' aerial options with 41 targets. No other player on the team really compares to the attention those two have received from Brees - Colston is third with 29 targets, and also trails Cooks in red zone targets (6 to 4). So, if anyone is going to step up significantly for the Saints with Graham gone, I expect it to be the guy that has clearly been Brees' No. 2 option. I expect Cooks to outperform his Week 1 numbers (95 YFS, 1 TD) as Brees looks his way early and often on Sunday.

Hate him: Pierre Garcon, Was, WR - Funston WR rank No. 35 (Yahoo No. 22)

It's back to Garcon for me, the same player I "hated" last week. A TD against Arizona in Week 6 ended up bailing Garcon out a bit, but the same concerns that I had last week still apply to Garcon this week. The yardage in a Kirk Cousins world have been terrible (31 yards or less in three straight) and the workload hasn't been like what we've become accustomed to seeing from Garcon, either (6 targets or less in three straight). And, although he scored last week, he's not what you would classify as a reliable touchdown guy (7 TDs in his past 26 games). Until I see his targets and yardage start to rebound, you're not going to see me ranking him in WR2 territory.


Love him: Brian Hoyer, Cle, QB - Evans QB rank No. 11  (Yahoo No. 17)

Try hard not to laugh, but I feel Hoyer, off a game in which he completed just eight passes, has sound odds of penetrating the QB1 class this week. Why? He has the mother of all matchups facing the dreadful Jaguars on the road. Four quarterbacks have tallied multi-TD efforts against the Hello Kitties this year. Overall, the Jags have given up 8.29 yards per attempt and 313.8 passing yards per game. Isaiah Crowell and Ben Tate will be heavily featured, but I’m confident Hoyer eclipses 250 yards and logs his second two-plus TD performance of the year.

Hate him: Brandin Cooks, NO, WR - Evans WR rank No. 36 (Yahoo No. 25)

Look, I love the rookie like a son, but sometimes you have to put baby in a corner. Don’t automatically assume he'll shoulder a heavier workload with Jimmy Graham sidelined. He may see a slight uptick in targets, but Josh Hill and Ben Watson should fill the void. The offense won’t change much.
Against an outstanding coverage duo in Rashean Mathis and Darius Slay, who’ve combined to allow a 52.1 catch percentage and 64.2 QB rating to their assignments, they should contain the mighty mite. Cooks is still a viable WR3 in PPR settings, but without a TD since Week 1, he’s a benchable asset in standard leagues.


Love him: Andre Holmes, Oak, WR - Pianowski WR rank No. 22  (Yahoo No. 43)

If we were presented with this case before the season, it's an open-and-shut decision: no way are you rolling out a raw Oakland receiver against an established Arizona defense. Ah, but things change fast in the fantasy landscape. Holmes has settled in as an Oakland regular and is coming off two dynamic weeks (9-195-3), having his way against the Miami and San Diego secondaries. He's showing excellent rapport with rookie quarterback David Carr, too.

Arizona's defense had a brand name to boast of in August, but it's been wiped clean through the opening third of the season. The Cardinals have zero pass rush (six sacks) and all sorts of problems covering on the back end (8.4 YPA allowed, 91.2 rating permitted). Patrick Peterson or not, this is not a group I'm afraid to oppose. Go run that Week 6 Raiders tape again, you'll be impressed by the moving pictures.

Bench Reggie Wayne this week? (USAT)Hate him: Reggie Wayne, Ind, WR - Pianowski WR rank No. 43 (Yahoo No. 33)

I've been a Reggie Wayne fan for years, and I hope he makes it to Canton someday. But in 2014, he's just another ordinary veteran wideout with little upside. When Wayne catches a pass these days, he usually falls to the turf immediately. Forget any run after the catch, forget deep routes too. He's scored just one touchdown and he ranks a modest 35th in Yahoo WR scoring. When you add a tricky Cincinnati matchup to the Week 7 equation - the Bengals are the No. 6 defense when it comes to limiting WR production - I move away from Wayne. He's just a depth player, no longer someone you start with confidence.

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Love him: Jonathan Stewart, Car, RB – Behrens RB rank No. 26 (Yahoo No. 40)

My current rank for Stewart is based on three big assumptions: 1) J-Stew will be sufficiently recovered from his knee sprain and available to play this week, 2) the Panthers have not fallen head-over-heels for Fozzy Whittaker, and 3) the Green Bay Packers will continue to struggle defending the run. At the moment, Green Bay ranks dead-last in rush defense, allowing 154.5 yards per game and 4.6 per carry. If Stewart returns for Week 7, he has an excellent shot at outperforming my rank by a big margin.
Hate him: Larry Donnell, NYG, TE – Behrens TE rank No. 17 (Yahoo No. 9)

Over the past two weeks, Larry Donnell has seen two targets, catching one ball for six yards. What else needs to be said? Nothing. (I assume my colleagues are playing the fantasy-points-against game here, but I don't think Donnell belongs in the same class as some of the top-end tight ends faced by Dallas this season. He's not Vernon Davis, he's not Jimmy Graham, and he's not Delanie Walker. Instead, he's a guy with one catch for six yards in two games.)


Love him: Bishop Sankey, Ten, RB - Del Don RB rank No. 18 (Yahoo No. 27)

While Sankey's performance against a bad Jaguars defense was disappointing, he did get 19 touches, which is no joke when it comes to running backs these days. Washington has defended RBs well this season, but Sankey should only improve the more reps he gets and should once again act as Tennessee's lead back in Week 7.

Hate him: Jeremy Hill, Cin, RB - Del Don RB rank No. 36 (Yahoo No. 24)

He looked good while replacing an injured Giovani Bernard last week, but Hill has averaged 5.7 carries for 20.7 rushing yards over the past three games. Bernard is also expected to be fully healthy for Week 7. At least for now, Hill's fantasy value relies on him solely getting a goal-line score.

Author: Brandon Funston
Posted: October 15, 2014, 7:45 pm

Each week the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, un-obvious names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. To qualify, each player must be started in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 7 Flames in the comments section below.

Carson Palmer, Ari, QB (6 percent started)
Matchup: at Oak
Just a few days ago, the veteran's status was in limbo. A painful nerve condition in his throwing shoulder, which triggered burning sensations up and down his arm, kept him under wraps. However, after undergoing a successful "experimental treatment" in a part of the country known for such exercises (Denver), he surprisingly returned to the lineup and experienced no repercussions. Against Washington, he completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Most importantly, he highly involved both Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald, a tandem that floundered with Drew Stanton and briefly Logan Thomas at the helm. Operating behind an improved offensive line, Palmer has played well in two games. He's delivered strikes often downfield (5-for-11 on passes beyond 20 yards), excelled on play-action (111.1 QB Rating) and functioned admirably under pressure. His resulting 23.2 fantasy points per game (vs. SD and Wash) ranks top-seven at the position. This week, another QB1 level performance is a strong likelihood. The Raiders, deceivingly stout against the pass entering Week 6, were exposed by Philip Rivers, surrendering 313 yards and three touchdowns. To be fair, T.J. Carrie has executed laudably (54.7 QB rating allowed), but Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, who've given up 41 catches on 50 targets, certainly have not. Palmer, returning to the Black Hole for the first time since he last played there in 2012, lands a stinging blow. 

Fearless Forecast: 25-38, 269 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 6 rushing yards, 22.1 fantasy points

[Join FanDuel's $500,000 Week 7 fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 10,102 teams paid]

Justin Forsett, Bal, RB (59 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Atl
Over his seven-year career, Forsett, despite being productive as a starter, has been constantly questioned. His diminutive stature and slender frame led many to label him a change-of-pace rusher. However, the former Cal standout continues to silence his critics. He remains involved in a three-back rotation with Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro, but without a doubt the little guy has been the most consistently effective. Forsett would probably find it difficult busting through a pile of leaves, but his shiftiness and speed through the hole should not be underestimated. Among eligible RBs, he ranks top-15 in elusive rating (46.6) and breakaway percentage (45.5) according to Pro Football Focus. A top-20 rusher since taking on an expanded role in Week 2, he could penetrate the position's top-10 in Week 7. Atlanta is a sieve up front. No defense has allowed more fantasy points to the position. In total, RBs have rolled up 190.7 total yards per game and 11 scores against it with eight RBs achieving "Flame" status. On 14-18 touches, he lights up the virtual scoreboard. 

Fearless Forecast: 14 carries, 71 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 23 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.4 fantasy points

James Starks, GB, RB (3 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Car
Unlike some head coaches (Hint: One likes to wear hoodies, the other rhymes with Chisenfunt), Mike McCarthy is a coach of his word. For the past couple weeks he's maintained his commitment to a two-back rotation. After last Sunday's near dead-even split between Eddie Lacy (39 snaps) and Starks (38), the coach obviously isn't waffling. Roughly 10-14 touches per game should be the norm for No. 44 rest of season. When toting the rock, Starks has displayed impressive power and burst. In what will be a surprise to most, he's recorded almost the same yards after contact rate (61.8) as Lacy (62.1). Sunday he could improve on that number. Carolina, defensively, has done a complete 180 from last fall. Luke Kuechly continues to rank highly against the run (No. 12 among all LBs), but going from strong to squishy, the Panthers, collectively, have conceded 5.5 yards per carry, 170 total yards per game and eight touchdowns to RBs. Only Atlanta has given up more fantasy points per game to the position. With two teams on bye, most owners have numerous options to employ at RB. Still, Starks is a FLEXY sexy option in almost any format. 

Fearless Forecast: 13 carries, 62 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 9 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.6 fantasy points 

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James Jones, Oak, WR (13 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Ari
Quite possibly the MVP of the Rodney Dangerfield All-Stars, Jones is arguably the most disrespected commodity in the entirety of fantasy sports. If he suited up for a higher profiled club and caught passes from a proven passer, he would be coveted. Instead, owners, even those who repeatedly trot out the maddening likes of Keenan Allen, Cordarrelle Patterson and Percy Harvin, continue to give him the cold shoulder. Dumb. Whether PPR or standard, Jones has churned out WR2 numbers in 12-team leagues. Smelling like a rose in garbage time, he's tallied a near identical line as DeAndre Hopkins in one fewer game (35-26-328-3). Equally impressive, his 78.8 catch percentage ranks No. 5 among wideouts with at least 200 snaps. Arizona's ballyhooed secondary has failed. Rolled in flour and dropped in oil, Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie are extra crispy. On the year, the duo has surrendered 17.34 yards per catch and a 117.8 QB rating. Yes Andre Holmes' role is growing and putting trust in a rookie quarterback's hands is always a risky proposition, but if Derek Carr can carry over momentum from last week's breakout, Jones crosses the chalk for the fourth time in six games. 

Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.5 fantasy points 

Sammy Watkins, Buf, WR (43 percent started)
Matchup: vs. Min
From a pure talent standpoint Watkins is unequivocally the cream of this year's rookie wide receiver crop. His NASCAR wheels, ridiculous body control, ball-tracking skills and tacky hands should give defensive backs nightmares for years to come. Largely because E.J. Manuel would overthrow a Wampa from 10 yards out, Watkins played unevenly out of the gate. Kyle Orton, inserted into the lineup two weeks ago, also hasn't helped him establish consistency. With only a pair of touchdowns and two games of 40-plus yards to his name, he ranks outside the position's top-36. Despite the rollercoaster ride, Watkins is a strong play in Week 7. Minny DBs Xavier Rhodes and Josh Robinson have performed admirably in coverage, but if Watkins matches up with Captain Munnerlyn, he's sure to sink the corner's ship. Targeted 22 times, Munnerlyn has yielded 16 catches and a 137.9 QB rating. Overall, seven wideouts have posted "Flame" worthy numbers against Minnesota this year. Sensational Sammy will be the eighth. 

Fearless Forecast: 6 receptions, 77 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 18.2 fantasy points 

SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10-percent started)

Josh Hill, NO, TE (0 percent started)
Matchup: at Det
The Idaho State product could steal the show this week in Detroit. With Jimmy Graham expected to nurse a shoulder injury for the next 2-3 weeks, Hill will be called upon to fill Shaq-sized shoes. In spurts the backup has looked effective. His strong route-running abilities, huge mitts, athleticism and deceptive speed, have occasionally stunned opponents. Targeted only eight times, he's reeled in seven passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Ben Watson, a more adept run-blocker, has seen more action (170-to-87 snaps), but clearly the second-year weapon is a better vertical talent. Detroit has defended the pass with uncharacteristic success. The Lions rank top-five in lowest allowed YPA, passing yards and fantasy points to QBs. Major props to Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis. Though they've given up few explosive pass plays, tight ends have chipped away underneath. Larry Donnell (5-56-1), Greg Olsen (6-72-0), Andrew Quarless (4-43-1) and Jace Amaro (5-58-0) each posted useful PPR days against them. Off the bye, Hill steps out of the shadows. 

Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 50 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.0 fantasy points 


Each week one fortunate guest prognosticator will have a chance to silence the Noise. Following the rules stated above, participants are asked to submit their "Flames" (1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST) by midnight PT Tuesdays via Twitter @YahooNoise. How large are your stones?

@YahooNoise #TeamHUEVOS QB- Alex Smith, RB- J-Stew, RB- Bernard Pierce, WR- Andre Holmes, WR- Jarius Wright, TE- Jared Cook, D/ST- Cleveland

— Nathan Levin (@NickNameNate) October 14, 2014

Reader Record: 14-27, 34.1%

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 15, 2014, 1:43 pm

Brutal injury news here, straight from the Miami Dolphins:

RB Knowshon Moreno has been placed on injured reserve with an ACL injury.

— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) October 14, 2014

So that's terrible. Moreno had just returned from a dislocated elbow that caused him to miss two full games, and all but one carry of another. He's on a one-year deal with Miami, so he'll enter free agency in 2015 as a soon-to-be 28-year-old back with a worrisome injury history.

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Fantasy-wise, the spin here is simple: Lamar Miller takes over as the unrivaled No. 1 running back for the Dolphins, and we need to view him as a top-12-ish RB, rest of season. Miller has averaged a career-best 5.2 YPC through five games this year, he's found the end-zone four times, and he's on pace for 48 receptions. We should also mention that his bye is already behind him, a plus at this stage of the season.

The only real issue for Miller so far has been ball security (three fumbles lost), but, again, no player on Miami's current roster is likely to challenge his grip on the featured role. Daniel Thomas and Damien Williams are up next on the depth chart; Thomas was inactive on Sunday and Williams played four snaps.

We can't guarantee that Miller will ever see 25 carries in any game — he doesn't have more than 15 in any week this season — but he'll take all the touches he can handle. He's certainly a strong play this week at Chicago, facing a Bears defense that ranks middle-of-the-pack against the run.

Here's hoping for a quick and full recovery for Moreno. He was a season-saver for many of us last year, when he led the Broncos' ground game. Given the timing of his injury, he should have a shot to be fully recovered by opening week 2015, if he can find a team to take a flier.

More advice from Yahoo Fantasy: Who to target on the waiver wire

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 14, 2014, 2:52 pm

Colin Kaepernick threw for 343 yards, got 9.5 YPA and posted a 120.5 QB Rating with a 3:0 TD:INT ratio. He also added 37 yards on three carries (he leads the NFL with 242 rushing yards among quarterbacks), and his day could’ve been even bigger had this not happened. Kaepernick was terrific, and his touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin was ridiculousAustin Davis is an intriguing player, and he and the Rams looked good early on (San Francisco had allowed 20 points during the first quarter in the previous five games combined before yielding 14 on Monday night), but a questionable offensive PI penalty and an ensuing 80-yard TD catch by Brandon Lloyd on third down with 14 seconds left in the first half helped propel the 49ers to a comeback victory…Brian Quick had three touchdowns over the past two games and had seen at least nine targets in three of the team’s four games this season before disappearing Monday, when he hauled in one of four targets for just 10 yards…I wouldn’t worry too much about Quick, but owners of Zac Stacy certainly have reason to panic. His 2.1 YPC can be excused facing a tough 49ers run defense, but Stacy’s eight rushing attempts were just one more than Benny Cunningham (who scored at the goal line during the team’s opening drive) and also just three more than Tre Mason, who wasn’t inactive for the first time in his career. Stacy has been given more than 12 carries in just one game this season and is no longer a reliable weekly starter…Lloyd got 80 yards per target in this game…The Rams are the first team ever to record just one sack through five games. This is a team that had 53 sacks last year (the third most in the NFL) and added Aaron Donald with the  No. 13 pick in the draft. Chris Long is hurt, but this is still pretty bizarre. Three of St. Louis’ five games have been at home, and after racking up 19.0 sacks last season, Robert Quinn has yet to record a single one this year…The 49ers were the only team yet to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter before their pick-six with 53 seconds left.

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Last year C.J. Spiller had the excuse of an ankle injury for his poor performance, but there’s no explanation for his horrendous 2014. After carrying the ball 10 times last week in which none went for more than two yards, Spiller had six rushing attempts for 19 yards and a fumble lost Sunday. He’s averaging 3.4 YPC on the year and played 12 snaps in Week 6…Rob Gronkowski bounced back from an injury scare and continues to look better and better, while someone named Brian Tyms looked like the Patriots’ best deep threat in recent memory…I apologize for my Shane Vereen recommendation, as I expected him to be targeted more as a receiver…I’d probably rather own Brandon LaFell than Julian Edelman moving forward, although that depends on if you play in PPR formats…Brandon Bolden produced just 10 yards, but he’s the biggest beneficiary from Stevan Ridley’s injury and should be added in the majority of fantasy leagues…The Bills have allowed an NFL-low 2.8 YPC (next lowest is 3.1) and zero rushing touchdowns this season…Tom Brady got 5.8 YPA with a 4:5 TD:turnover ratio over the first four games of the season. Over the past two, he’s gotten 9.1 YPA with a 6:0 TD:turnover ratio.

This fake sonogram prank by Jimmy Kimmel was pretty funny

Cam Newton had a decent day passing but the real news was him rushing 17 times for 107 yards and a score. You never want to overrate one game, but in this case, it’s a big deal since it suggests Newton is feeling healthier now than at any point in the season. His 17 carries matched the amount the rest of Carolina had, only he outgained the Panthers’ running backs by 67 yards…Andy Dalton completed 76.7 percent of his passes and got 7.5 YPA with two touchdowns, which is impressive without A.J. Green, even if Carolina’s defense has taken a big step back this season…This TD run by Giovani Bernard was one of the best plays of the weekMohamed Sanu looks like a top-15 fantasy wide receiver as long as Green is sidelined…Adam Jones’ 97-yard kickoff return was the longest that didn’t go for a score in Bengals history (not surprisingly). It set up a TD run by Jeremy Hill, who celebrated doing the Ickey Shuffle. Hill later had another touchdown run taken away by a penalty, although fantasy owners could no longer salivate once Bernard unexpectedly returned to the game…With 7:08 left in the fourth quarter, Riverboat Ron lived up to his name, going for it on 4th-and-2, picking up a crucial first down that led to a touchdown later in the drive…The Panthers allowed 15.1 points-per-game last season, which was the second fewest in the NFL. They’ve yielded 26.2 ppg this year, which is the ninth-most…The first sack in this game didn’t come until overtime…There’s little question Kelvin Benjamin is a star in the making, but he’s gotten just 4.6 YPT (on 19 looks) over the past two games…Since 2011, Mike Nugent had been 26-of-27 on field goals inside the 40 before missing the 36-yard attempt to end Sunday’s game in overtime…After winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season while recording 156 tackles and two sacks, Luke Kuechly is on pace to finish with 197 tackles (which would be an NFL record) and three sacks this year.

We all know things are done differently in Russia, but here’s a policeman commandeering a pedestrian’s car to give chase to what appears to be a drunken driver

Ben Roethlisberger entered with a career 18-1 record against the Browns before losing to Cleveland 31-10 (it was 31-3 until a meaningless TD late in the fourth quarter)…The Browns won convincingly with Brian Hoyer completing just eight passes. It helps if you get 27.1 yards per completion though. Kyle Shanahan’s game plan deserves a ton of credit…Markus Wheaton got 3.3 YPT. That’s not good…Nice to see Jordan Cameron back with a pulse, and he could’ve had another TD had Hoyer not underthrown him during his 42-yard catch (that was brilliantly drawn up)…Cleveland’s lost fumble in the fourth quarter was just the team’s second turnover of the season…The Browns’ offensive line has been nothing short of fantastic, so it’s too bad to see Alex Mack go down with a season-ending injury. Ben Tate is one of the bigger candidates to get hurt, but while healthy, he’s a legitimate top-10 fantasy RB. Isaiah Crowell might be even better if Tate were to go down…Le’Veon Bell is on pace to finish with 2,115 yards from scrimmage yet he somehow hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1.

This segment on John Oliver’s show about civil forfeiture was both eye opening and infuriating. (Warning: some language.)

Maybe Toby Gerhart’s poor season wasn’t exactly all his fault. While Storm Johnson scored an early TD, his debut as the team’s feature back was more like a light drizzle…Bishop Sankey didn’t overly impress either, gaining just 61 yards on 18 carries (3.4 YPC) at home against a Jaguars defense that entered having allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this seasons. It was at least encouraging to see him dominate the work (no other back saw more than two rushing attempts), although Jackie Battle stole a GL touchdown during his second carry of the season…Coming back from an injury, Cecil Shorts immediately saw a whopping 16 targets. He’s always a threat to leave mid-game while reinjuring his hamstring, but Shorts is clearly Jacksonville’s No. 1 wideout, and if he continues to be targeted at anything close to this rate, he’s going to be a  fantasy factor…Delanie Walker’s 10 broken tackles are the second most among tight ends. He had six all of last season. On the flip side, a league-high (among TEs) three passes intended toward Walker have been intercepted this year…..After recovering an onside kick after a beautiful backdoor cover, the Jaguars had a chance to win a game for the first time this season, only to see it fade after having a 55-yard field goal attempt blocked.

Headlines of the Week: Swarm Of 300,000 Bees Kills Landscaper In Arizona...Red Bull Agrees To Pay $15 Million For Falsely Claiming To Provide SuperpowersHouston Radio Station Fires All 47 Employees To Play Beyonce 24/7...Student Responds To Bullying With Positive Post-Its, School Punishes Her For Littering...JetBlue Removes Mom After Three Tweets About Flight Delay...Man Sues Burger King After Onion Ring IncidentElderly L.A. Woman Vanishes, Is Found Alone In Maine Four Years Later...Scottish Woman Had 3-Inch Leech Living In Nose For A Month After Vietnam TripGoogle Hires Camel For Desert Street View...Ebola Comment Gets Passenger Hazmat Escort From Plane.

As a Joique Bell owner, it was a little frustrating seeing Theo Riddick dominate work on the opening drive, culminating in a TD catch, especially with Reggie Bush out. But Bell ended up leading Detroit with 18 carries (no other back had more than five), hitting pay dirt himself as well. He’ll be a top-15 type fantasy RB option as long as Bush is sidelined, although it sounds like that won’t be the case in Week 7…Not only did Jerrick McKinnon lead Minnesota with 11 carries, but incumbent Matt Asiata tallied negative five rushing yards. McKinnon also secured all six of his targets for a team-high six receptions and 42 yards. He’s an exciting talent who needs to be unleashed. Asiata can safely be dropped…More was expected of Golden Tate, who managed just 44 receiving yards on 12 targets with Calvin Johnson out…Teddy Bridgewater struggled badly, taking eight sacks with a 0:3 TD:INT ratio, but in fairness this Lions defense appears to be extremely legit…Before Matt Prater made a 52-yarder, Detroit’s kickers were a combined 1-of-10 from 40+ yards. They remain an ugly 5-of-15 on the year collectively…Cordarrelle Patterson got 15 yards on eight targets. I’m not going to lie to you, I expected him to be slightly better this season. Despite seeing just 29 targets (54 wide receivers have seen more this year), four passes intended for Patterson have been picked off, which is tied for an NFL-high.

Here’s a hawk attacking a quadcopter

This fake spike by Aaron Rodgers was pretty cool, but if Cortland Finnegan cuts off the sideline (he had safety help in the middle), the game might have ended. Of course, far be it from me to criticize Rodgers, who also did this and then this and was the sole reason the Packers won this game…Lamar Miller has totaled as many touchdowns (three) over the past two weeks as he had over his previous 32 games of his career. But he’s still yet to see more than 15 carries in a game this season…Randall Cobb, who’s 5-10, 192, somehow is on pace to finish with 19 touchdowns on 77 receptions…Eddie Lacy continues to be a massive disappointment and now finds himself sharing snaps with James Starks. Lacy has averaged 3.3 YPC or fewer in five of six games this season. Ugh.

Here’s a horse walking into a police station, no big deal. 

Julius Thomas’ seven TDs were the most ever by a tight end through four games. He added two more Sunday and is on pace to finish with a modest 29 scores this season. “It’s so easy!”...Ironically, Thomas has yet to record a single broken tackle this season…Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell combined for 20 yards on 13 carries. That’s not ideal…C.J. Anderson didn’t get a touch, although Ronnie Hillman is one of only two backs to see 100+ snaps this season who’s yet to record a broken tackle…After getting off to a slow start, Demaryius Thomas has racked up 18 catches for 350 yards and three touchdowns over the past two games…Meanwhile, Wes Welker’s first target of the game came with 2:07 left in the fourth quarter…The Jets had the ball midway through the fourth quarter down one score, so this game was actually competitive, even if it didn’t totally feel that way…New York has just three takeaways this season and have ceded a 15:1 TD:INT ratio...Geno Smith has thrown the ball away an NFL-high 16 times. Peyton Manning has done so twice. It’s almost as if one is better than the other.

Here’s a ‘Price Is Right’ contestant bidding $7,000 on a hammock

With 13:57 left in the second quarter, Joe Flacco was 10-of-13 for 195 yards (15.0 YPA) with a 5:0 TD:INT ratio. Is that good? You’ll rarely if ever see a more impressive 16 minutes of football (only one other QB had ever thrown four TDs in the first quarter)…Baltimore attempted a 64-yard field goal up 38-0 at the end of the first half (not that there’s anything wrong with that)…Austin Seferian-Jenkins has yet to reach 60 receiving yards, but he looks good to me and is someone I’d want on a dynasty team…Torrey Smith had twice as many touchdowns in the first quarter Sunday than he had during his previous nine games combined…Every time Bobby Rainey enters the game, he looks noticeably better than Doug Martin (other than when fumbling). Martin has broken three tackles on 48 carries this season. Rainey has broken 16 (tied for the seventh-most among RBs with LeSean McCoy) on 54 rushing attempts...Justin Forsett has averaged 6.4 YPC and is the Ravens’ best back by a wide margin (I’d say the same if Ray Rice were still playing). I understand health is a concern, but I see little reason why he’s not given 18-22 touches per game. Forsett is tied for the league-lead with six carries that have gone for 20+ yards…To say the Lovie Smith hire hasn’t worked out would be an understatement…The Buccaneers have allowed a 111.9 QB Rating to opposing passers this season. Peyton Manning’s current QB Rating is 110.5.

This Key & Peele text message skit is brilliant, but it’s definitely NSFW (language). 

Branden Oliver totaled 124 yards and a score, and yet, it almost felt like a letdown, given the opponent. He’s highly impressive…It’s time to start worrying about Keenan Allen, who’s gotten 55 yards or fewer in five of six games while yet to score this year. His one good game came against a Jaguars secondary that has allowed the second-most YPG to wide receivers this season. Allen being such a bust is especially crazy considering he entered his sophomore campaign healthier than last year and flashing more speed in the preseason while playing for a Chargers team that has averaged the fifth-most ppg (27.3) in the NFL…Philip Rivers and Derek Carr had combined for a 7:0 TD:INT ratio before the rookie was picked off with 1:13 left in the game, resulting in the first turnover of the day. This was a fun game if you like offense…I’m normally all for aggressive play calling, but I found it curious when San Diego called for a fake punt on 4th-and-35 (in a tied game in which they were seven-point favorites). Eric Weddle’s pass went incomplete, and he later took blame for the audible…Despite winning its fifth straight game, Sunday marked the first time San Diego scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter this season…The Raiders have somehow averaged the second fewest ppg (15.8) yet have taken the second fewest sacks (four) this year. 

Here’s dramatic footage of a train crashing into an 18-wheeler stuck on the tracks. “Holy mother of moo moo!” (There were no casualties).

The Falcons/Bears game had a league-high over/under (53.5 points) this week, so naturally the score was 3-3 with six minutes left in the second quarter. The scoring picked up thereafter but still finished with a modest 40…Matt Forte had a big game, totaling 157 yards and two scores. He also saw a game-high 13 targets, which seems like a lot for a running back…Since the Falcons won 56-14 in Week 3, they’ve been outscored 98-61 against teams with a collective 8-20 record…While Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett saw 37 of Jay Cutler’s 38 targets with zero touchdowns, it’s only natural Josh Morgan scored on his lone look of the game…Antone Smith’s seven career touchdowns have all gone for at least 38 yards...Over their last four games, the Falcons have totaled zero points in the fourth quarter…Atlanta has allowed just six touchdown passes on the year, but they’ve also yielded an NFL-high 8.6 YPA while recording just seven sacks. That’s not good, but it’s really bad when you consider they also entered Week 6 allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. They’ve ceded 12 rushing scores in 2014, which is five more than any other team. That’s not exactly a great combo.

Here’s a new Tesla that’s capable of driving itself

Here’s my Fantasy Fallout regarding Kevin Durant’s injury

Kirk Cousins has committed eight turnovers over the past three games. To put this into perspective, the Seahawks, who were unanimously drafted as the No. 1 fantasy defense this season, have five takeaways total this season…Over the last four weeks, DeSean Jackson has somehow produced 398 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 catches…Nice to see Michael Floyd score for the first time this season, as the return of Carson Palmer surely helped…Speaking of which, it was pretty odd to have all three Arizona QBs active and participating in pregame rituals, although it’s hard to argue with the results, as the Cardinals won by 10 points (this included a late pick-six, which helped me cover my “best bet” of the week)…Jordan Reed returned to action and wasn’t 100 percent yet still saw a team-high 11 targets on limited snaps. He’d be a monster if he were ever able to stay healthy…Despite having to use three different quarterbacks, the Cardinals are the only team in the NFL yet to throw an interception. Having said that, I’d argue Brian Orakpo had the worst drop of the week during this game, and yes, I realize defensive players can’t catch…After leading the NFL with 3.2 YPC after contact last season (minimum 110 rushing attempts), Andre Ellington ranks No. 54 among 56 qualified backs this year, getting just 1.6.

Police Blotter: Accidental 911 Call Leads Deputies To Active Meth LabCop Tries To Search Car Because ‘Everybody That Plays Frisbee Golf Smokes Weed.’Fake Policeman Caught After Stopping Real CopMan Shot 15 Minutes After Serving 15-Year Jail TermFan With Tom Brady Helmet Tattooed On His Head Is Jailed On Felony Narcotics ChargePolice: Man Climbs Out Of Grate, Throws Bombs In Greenwich Village RestaurantPolice Sorry For Telling Wrong Family Of DeathPolice: Man On Acid Demanded Homeowners Make Him Sandwich, Take Him To McDonald’s Drive-Thru...Desperate Darwen Burglar Violated Teddy BearArrest On Arson Charges For California Wildfire That Scorched 157 HomesGeorgia Parents Give 2-Year-Old Son Brandy And Coke; Tot’s Blood Alcohol Content 3 Times Legal Limit.

I’m a 49ers fan who hates the Seahawks, so naturally, the week in which I pick Seattle in my survivor pool they lose just their second game at home in the Russell Wilson era...This blocked punt was the result of some good coaching, but they also benefitted from a Cowboys lost fumble during a fair catch attempt. In other words, the Cowboys should’ve won this game by a more comfortable margin. The Seahawks continue to be the bane of my existence…Seattle hadn’t allowed a 40-yard rusher this season before Sunday. Both DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle had 40+ rushing yards midway through the second quarter…Murray became the second player to rush for six straight 100-yard games to open a year, with Jim Brown the only other to do so back in 1958…Murray is without question one of the best running backs right now (he has 471 yards after contact this season. The next most is Le’Veon Bell with 299), but I’d argue the Dallas offensive line is the single best unit (this includes offense, defense, special teams) in all of football. What a dominant group that absolutely manhandled a Seattle defense that entered as the league’s No. 1 rush defense (Tony Romo took a big hit early on, but he enjoyed a clean pocket for much of the rest of the game).

Almost everyone expected the Cowboys’ defense to be historically bad. Instead they have allowed the eighth-fewest ppg in the league so far and pressured Seattle’s offense greatly (it didn’t help center Max Unger was out). It’s unclear if Rod Marinelli deserves some kind of prize or if Monte Kiffin was just that bad. The answer is probably somewhere in between, although I would give Marinelli the coach of the year award right now…Dallas had 10 first downs versus zero for Seattle during the second quarter…Dan Bailey made a 56-yard field goal, which helped keep his FG% the best in NFL history (minimum 100 attempts)…Richard Sherman’s pass interference penalty was Seattle’s first of the season…This catch by Terrance Williams during a crucial 3rd-and-20 late in the fourth quarter was the play of the game (if not year)

Longreads of the Week: “The Human Factor: Should Airplanes Be Flying Themselves?” and “At Florida State, Football Clouds Justice.”

The Giants entered having taken a modest seven sacks on the year over five games yet suffered six Sunday night, as the Eagles’ defense continued to impress, recording six, although their terror on special teams scoring touchdowns ended…Actually, the Eagles entered Week 6 having allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, so while Philly’s D may not have reached pay dirt it did hold a hot Eli Manning to just 6.6 YPA and no touchdowns. They also held hot pickup Andre Williams in check, as New York’s new feature back was limited to just 58 rushing yards on 16 carries…LeSean McCoy, meanwhile, finally broke out, running for 149 yards on 22 totes, although it was Darren Sproles who got the team’s lone score on the ground (he also left with a knee injury)…Jeremy Maclin averaged 11.4 targets over the first five games yet saw just three during his team’s 27-0 victory Sunday night...Larry Donnell had as many touchdowns (three) in Week 4 as he’s had targets during the two games since then…Hate to see the Victor Cruz season-ending injury, in which he left on a cart crying. Brutal.

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Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: October 14, 2014, 7:16 am

David Carr came to the Houston Texans as an expected savior, the top pick in the 2002 draft. He didn't get much accomplished in his five primary seasons, in part because of a sack problem the Texans (and the player) never fully solved. Carr was dropped 76 times as a rookie, 49 times in his third year and 68 times in his fourth season – each time leading the league. Carr settled into a backup role after that, throwing just 110 passes over his final six years.

Derek Carr seems determined not to follow in his older brother's footsteps.

The younger Carr didn't have the same expectations as he entered the NFL; he was merely the 36th overall pick in May's draft. It wasn't clear how quickly Carr would play, though Matt Schaub's deterioration ultimately forced the issue. The Raiders eventually decided to throw their rookie into the deep end of the pool, hoping he could swim immediately – no matter the mediocre supporting cast around him.

[Join FanDuel's $500,000 Week 7 fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 10,102 teams paid]

Oakland's winless through five games, but Carr isn't the problem here. He's performed admirably for a first-year quarterback. His best showing came in Sunday's 31-28 loss to San Diego, a 282-yard, four-touchdown performance. In particular, he's showing snappy rapport with receivers James Jones and Andre Holmes.

Carr's Week 6 tape showed plenty of moxie. He's already developed a valuable mix of presence and patience in the pocket, and he's capable of adjusting his velocity and ball position based on the throw he's asked to make (contrast this to Geno Smith, who always wants to throw the heater, or EJ Manuel, who consistently set up teammates to fail before he got benched).

Carr's first touchdown pass Sunday was a gorgeous deep ball to Holmes; the rookie realized how open the play was and put plenty of air under the throw. Carr's goal-line pass to Jones was a matter of pace, threading the needle and putting extra mustard on the ball, delivering a laser to a well-covered receiver.

Although Carr had four TD passes for the game, his most impressive toss was on a non-scoring play. Check out the touch he delivered on this 30-yard connection with Holmes. Terrific execution on both ends of the play. Give your athletic receiver a chance to high-point the ball. 

[Pickups of the Week: Who to target on the waiver wire]

Oakland's pass blocking has a solid grade to this point in the season; the Raiders cumulatively stand 11th in pass blocking per the indispensable Pro Football Focus. But let's make sure Carr gets some of the credit for this mark; the same unit, after all, stands 24th in run blocking. Carr's minuscule 1.76 sack rate is currently the best in the NFL, a shocking stat for a rookie to hold on a winless club. Most sacks are more about the quarterback's awareness and decision-making than the blocking up front; Carr is making his offensive line look better than it really is. 

Opponents don't have to worry much about Oakland's rushing game. The Raiders sit 22nd in yards per rushing attempt, and 31st in rushing yards per game. At some point every Sunday, the opposing defense takes dead aim at the pocket, creatively rushing the rookie quarterback. It's impressive that Carr has taken just three sacks under this pressure.

Carr has stepped into the QB2 discussion with his recent play, and if nothing else he's making Holmes and Jones worth consideration going forward. Jones has posted a Top 20 receiver resume in standard scoring (though he's more of a WR 3/4 in most formats) and Holmes has to be taken seriously now that he's playing the majority of snaps these days. Holmes was woefully underutilized in the first three games, but sometimes teams don't figure out their best personnel until the middle of the year (often it's a happy accident, something that comes about through injuries and such). Let's just be glad that Oakland eventually found the right answer. 

-- A bunch of players and areas deserve credit for New England's turnaround the last two weeks. Tom Brady has played better, sure. The blocking has been better, no doubt. The wideouts are starting to produce, especially in the intermediate and deep areas (something that was desperately lacking in the opening four weeks). The coaching staff is finally finding answers to the early questions faced. 

But the biggest difference I see is Rob Gronkowski.

Although the veteran tight end had a handful of touchdowns in September, he wasn't anywhere close to 100 percent. I wasn't sure when Gronkowski would rebound to full throttle, if at all, and that sounds like a silly statement in the mid-October light of day. Gronkowski played well in the Week 5 victory over Cincinnati, and was absolutely dominant in Sunday's win at Buffalo, an uncoverable freak of nature. To those that never wavered, take your victory lap in the comments. 

-- San Diego's backfield is another case of a team benefiting from an injury, unearthing a talented player who just needed a chance. I can't see any reason to play Donald Brown over Branden Oliver going forward, and I expect Oliver to have a meaty role even when Ryan Mathews returns. 

Oliver is regularly compared to Darren Sproles, mostly because they're both undersized running backs who were assigned No. 43 in San Diego. It's not really a parallel comparison, though. Oliver is an inch taller and 18 pounds thicker, and he's a better fit for inside running. Oliver isn't afraid to take on contact and finish his runs, and he consistently keeps the pile moving. With all due respect to Sproles and his dynamic game, his skill set is considerably different. 

-- Kyle Orton made for an easy punchline when he took over Buffalo's starting job two weeks ago, but he's proven to be worthy of the assignment. He's posted a 90.9 rating and 7.5 YPA through two starts, with 607 yards against the Lions and Patriots. There have been occasional lapses with pocket awareness (and one awful pick-six against Detroit), but he's been better than average for the most part. He gives Buffalo their best chance to win.

Orton provided my favorite intangible highlight from Week 6; he waved off Buffalo's punt unit in the middle of the fourth period, not letting his team quit on a 16-point deficit. How the Bills could even entertain the idea of punting with 7:15 to go is beyond me. Buffalo converted the 4th-and-2, but that doesn't even matter; the proper move is to keep your offense on the field. 

I'm not going to worry about Sammy Watkins, who spent most of a quiet afternoon on Revis Island. He'll be more involved against the Vikings and Jets over the next two weeks. Orton gives him a chance to be a steady WR3 week-in and week-out. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 13, 2014, 11:28 pm

Cam Newton is still a bad dude, just in case you were wondering. He passed for 284 yards at Cincinnati on Sunday while also delivering the week's fifth-highest rushing total (107). He didn't target himself in the passing game, unfortunately, so we can't quite call him a triple-threat QB. But we can say with relative confidence that Cam is back to being Cam — the upper-tier fantasy weapon with the S on his chest.

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Newton passed for a pair of touchdowns against the Bengals, connecting with usual suspects Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen, and he targeted ten different receivers on the day, connecting with nine. Cam also ran all over Cincy, read-optioning them to death, crossing the goal-line on this grown-man carry, with various defenders clinging to him. He appeared to tweak the thumb on his throwing hand late in regulation, but he remained in the game through overtime.

Basically, whatever you needed to see from Cam before trusting him again, you surely saw it on Sunday. Next week, he gets a Green Bay defense that's had very little success stopping anyone's run game. Newton won't need another 17-carry outing to satisfy the fantasy community, but it's nice to know it remains a possibility.

The Panthers have an incredibly friendly second-half schedule, you'll note, loaded with the weak defenses of the NFC South, plus the Eagles, Vikings and Browns. Newton has an excellent shot to again finish among the top-five players at his position, despite the slow start to his season.

If you're a Panthers fan, you can at least feel good about the play of your quarterback this week, even if the result of the game was ... perplexing. Unsatisfying. Semi-unreal. Carolina and Cincinnati battled to the highest-scoring tie in NFL history (37-37), with both teams forfeiting game-winning opportunities. Ron Rivera chose to kick a short field goal on 4th-and-1 in OT, leaving the Bengals with over two minutes of clock, essentially choosing a tie as his best-case scenario. If that was playing-it-by-the-book, then Ron needs new books. Mike Nugent had a shot to win the game for Cincy with two seconds remaining, but his 36-yard attempt sailed wide right. And at that point, no one quite knew how to feel.

Like this guy, for example...

So wait is it ok that i kind of just celebrated? #awkwardmoment lol

— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) October 12, 2014

Philip Rivers had the day we all expected against Oakland, passing for 313 yards and three scores, doing nothing to halt his Player of the Year momentum. Branden Oliver also justified the waiver hype, finishing with 124 yards on 30 touches, with a game-deciding score included. But the actionable fantasy news from this unexpectedly entertaining game was the performance delivered by Raiders wideout Andre Holmes, who caught four balls for 121 yards and two TDs on eight targets. Holmes is a field-stretcher with good size (6-foot-4) and respectable speed, and he clearly enjoys rapport with Derek Carr. He's a reasonable pickup, for those in need.

As Julius Thomas was catching his second TD pass on Sunday, an on-field mic caught him yelling, "It's too [expletive] easy!" So that was pretty awesome, if you happened to be on the right side of a fantasy matchup involving Thomas. (Honestly, if you started Julius this week and didn't immediately send that Vine to your opponent, I don't even know why you play fantasy.) He's now up to nine touchdowns in five games, which of course is absurd. Ronnie Hillman dominated touches in the Denver backfield (27 for 116 yards), with Juwan Thompson looking good in a supporting role (8-38-0). So Hillman it is. He put the ball on the ground once (recovered by his own team), but otherwise impressed.

Joe Flacco went shock-and-awe on the Tampa Bay defense, roasting the Buccaneers early, often and with impunity. It got ugly in a hurry. Flacco needed only 17 minutes of game time to throw five touchdown passes — yup, FIVE — against the lifeless Bucs. You can find a few highlights right here. Here's what Flacco looks like on your fantasy bench, if you're interested...

sad trombone

Nice work, fantasy expert.

Torrey Smith emerged from exile to catch the first and second of Flacco's TD tosses. Justin Forsett was again the Ravens back to own (assuming you care to own one), finishing with 111 rushing yards on 14 carries. Forsett got the touches when it mattered. Tampa's defense has now given up 35-plus points in three of the team's last four games, so that's clearly a unit you'll continue to pick on, fantasy-wise.

Giovani Bernard, post-TD (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Giovani Bernard showcased pretty much all the important running back traits on his early 89-yard TD against the Panthers, shedding tacklers, stiff-arming, and out-racing defenders to the end-zone. Gio finished his day with 157 scrimmage yards and one score, and he managed to return following a shoulder injury that seemed likely to end his day. Bernard's understudy Jeremy Hill was useful as well, giving us 35 yards and a score (followed by a spot-on Ickey Shuffle. Well-played, rookie.)

Did the Titans really give a goal-line carry to Jackie Battle? Of course they did. Because Ken Whisenhunt hates you, personally. Bishop Sankey wasn't a complete dud — he gave us 68 yards on 19 touches — but he certainly didn't lead your fake team to victory in Week 6. If Sankey couldn't shine against Jacksonville ... well, that's not a good sign. At least Storm Johnson delivered a touchdown while disappointing us (10-21-1).

New England's win at Buffalo was marred by knee injuries to Stevan Ridley and Jerod Mayo, and the early speculation isn't good. Ridley owners, this seems unlikely to end well. Shane Vereen obviously stands to gain value, but Brandon Bolden will take carries as well. And BenJarvus Green-Ellis is lurking out there somewhere, unattached. The Pats backfield has been a messy committee in the past, and that seems likely to remain the case.

If the Cowboys are somehow going to finish this season 8-8, they've really got their work cut out for them. Because that team looks good. Dallas traveled to Seattle in Week 6, beating the Seahawks in a notoriously unfriendly environment. Tony Romo passed for 250 yards and two TDs, DeMarco Murray had his typical million carries for 100-plus yards, and the team's O-line was pretty much an impenetrable wall. Also, Terrance Williams made an absolutely silly third-down catch, following an even more ridiculous scramble by Romo. If you're not a believer in Dallas this season ... well, fine, I get it. Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones, a rich history of mediocrity, etc. But the team is now 5-1, and 3-0 on the road. They've cleared the toughest stretch on the schedule, too.

Cordarrelle Patterson, without football. Naturally. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Remember that whole anxious-to-get-Cordarrelle-the-ball thing? Yeah, well, that played out exactly as you knew it would. Patterson saw three touches in Minnesota's loss to the Lions on Sunday, gaining 17 total yards. He actually saw a team-high eight targets, but hauled in just two. The hip malfunction is reportedly impacting him, but it's not as if he was dominant in the early weeks, before the injury. The Vikes really got nothin' going against Detroit in Week 6, gaining just 212 total yards and giving the ball away three times via interception. Not good. It's worth noting, however, that Jerick McKinnon dominated the backfield touches, finishing with 17 to Matt Asiata's three. McKinnon is clearly the most explosive player — he was a combine freakshow, you'll recall — and he belongs on a roster in nearly all leagues.

Jets rookie tight end Jace Amaro saw 12 targets on Sunday, catching 10 for 68 yards and a score in the loss to Denver. He had some camp buzz surrounding him months ago, but drops have been a persistent issue. Still, the usage is notable, even if the team context is unfortunate.

Ben Tate feasted again, carrying 25 times for 78 yards and two TDs against the Steelers. Isaiah Crowell continued to impress as well, gaining 77 yards on only 11 carries, breaking the plane once. Cleveland QB Brian Hoyer completed only eight balls on 17 attempts, yet finished with 217 yards (102 of them belonging to Jordan Cameron). The Browns beat Pittsburgh for the first time since, like, Brian Sipe-vs.-Mark Malone in '83, I believe. Nice work, Cleveland. I have nothing positive to say about the Steelers at this time, so let's just move on...

The Bears apparently will only win games when they're on the road and victory is unexpected/undeserved. But whatever, I'll take it. Matt Forte had the monster day we all imagined he'd have against Atlanta's not-so-stout defense, gaining 157 yards, catching ten balls and finding the end-zone twice. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery dominated the Falcons DBs, each topping 100 yards, and Jay Cutler passed for a season high 381 yards while avoiding game-altering turnovers.

All Antone ever does is score. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

Obviously Antone Smith scored again for Atlanta. That's kinda his thing. If you're going to be one-dimensional, it's an awesome dimension. This time it was a 41-yard reception for Smith. His season-high in touches is only six, yet he's already delivered five touchdowns — all from distances of 38 yards or more, which is nuts. It's tough to start a guy in fantasy if he only rarely sees the ball, but it's tough to sit a guy who never fails to score. If you're among the few Yahoo owners who used him in Week 6, we salute you.

Carson Palmer was excellent in his return from shoulder/nerve issues, completing 28 of 44 throws for 250 yards and two scores. He connected on touchdowns with both Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald, so, at least for now, you can feel good about all your Arizona skill players. Palmer's upcoming schedule is plenty appealing for fantasy purposes — Oak, Phi, Dal, STL — so he's in the waiver discussion this week.

This week's Aaron Rodgers clinic involved a few new wrinkles, as he only gave Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb one TD apiece. He found tight end Andrew Quarless for a game-winning walkoff score in the final seconds, not long after completing a fake-spike throw to rookie Davante Adams. The Pack pulled out a game they probably would have lost with anyone else behind center. It's good to be the cheese, I suppose.

Brutal injury news here from the Sunday night game...

Victor Cruz has a torn patellar tendon, Giants confirm. Clearly he is out for the season. #NYG

— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) October 13, 2014

So let's hope for the best for Cruz in his recovery. Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle are the Giants primary receivers moving forward. Darren Sproles also suffered a knee injury of as-yet-unknown severity; we'll presumably know more about his outlook on Monday.


QB Carson Palmer, Ari (at Oak)
QB Joe Flacco, Bal (vs. Atl)
RB Jerick McKinnon, Min (at Buf)
RB Jonathan Stewart, Car (at GB)
RB Brandon Bolden, NE (vs. NYJ)
RB Antone Smith, Atl (at Bal)
WR Andre Holmes, Oak (vs. Ari)
WR Cecil Shorts, Jac (vs. Cle)
WR Malcom Floyd, SD (vs. KC)
WR Brandon LaFell, NE (vs. NYJ)
WR Mohamed Sanu, Cin (at Ind)
WR Davante Adams, GB (vs. Car)
TE Jace Amaro, Was (at NE)
DEF Cleveland (at Jac)

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 13, 2014, 2:57 am

Joe Flacco wasn't doing anything special through five weeks of the 2014 NFL season. A 87.8 rating, that's fine. A 6.8 YPA, that's so-so. Seven touchdowns, three picks, okay. He didn't have a touchdown pass in last week's loss at Indianapolis.  

And then the Tampa Bay defense showed up on the schedule. Drop in a quarter, fire up the pinball machine. 

The Ravens held a 7-on-7 drill Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium, loosely disguised as a football game. Flacco threw for five touchdowns – all in the first 16:03 of the game – en route to a 48-17 romp. Don't let the final score throw you; the Ravens took their foot off the gas early. If Baltimore cared about record books, Flacco's name would be in them this week. He only threw 29 passes for the afternoon, completing 21 of them (306 yards, 10.6 a pop). 

For the first time this year, Torrey Smith was invited to the party (4-51, two scores), rewarding those brave enough (or desperate enough) to start him. The rejuvenated Steve Smith piled up 110 yards, including a 56-yard score. Off-the-radar Michael Campanaro and Kamar Aiken secured the other scoring passes. The Ravens also rushed for 169 yards, most of them from Justin Forsett (14-111).  

Say this for the Bucs offense, it had some fun in garbage time. Mike Glennon collected 314 passing yards and two scores, and the four main receivers (Murphy, Jackson, Evans, Seferian-Jenkins) had passable days. Tampa Bay also averaged 4.8 yards a carry, but you can't run the ball very often when you fall into a 38-0 hole. We'll miss Tampa Bay's passing game next Sunday, during the Week 7 bye. And we'll really miss Tampa's turnstile of a secondary. 

In other fake-football action from Sunday:


Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals: No A.J. Green, no problem  Sanu hauled in 10-of-14 targets, rolling up 120 yards and a score. It should have been enough to spark a Cincinnati overtime victory over Carolina, but Mike Nugent missed a chip shot at the overtime gun. Much to the chagrin of elimination poolies everywhere, the Bengals had to settle for a tie. Cincinnati has an interesting game at Indianapolis next week, and you get the idea Sanu will be the featured target again. 

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: I don't know how his ribs are feeling, or how his ankle is doing. Newton also sustained a thumb injury in the Cincinnati tie. But it's fun to see Newton scrambling again, extending plays with his legs and making defenses pay for breakdowns in structure. Newton needed 46 pass attempts to get to 284 yards (that's just 6.2 YPA), but then you see 107 yards and a score on the ground and you give him a pass. Superman is back in the building. We look forward to a Newton-Rodgers matchup next week. 

Jacksonville Passing Game: No one throws you a parade for a 14-point effort  (and a loss) at Tennessee, but we're just in it for the fantasy numbers. Rookie Blake Bortles posted a tasty 32-46-336 line, with one touchdown and 36 rushing yards. That'll do. Oft-injured wideout Cecil Shorts finally made an impact (10-103 on 16 targets), with most of the production coming late. Tight end Clay Harbor (3-91-1) has been on the same page with Bortles all along. Jacksonville-Cleveland should be fun next week. 

Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: I was one of the Gronk doubters in the summer, not willing to pay a second or third-round pick for someone with his physical history. I didn't regret that call over the first five weeks (despite a flurry of Gronkowski touchdowns), but I have to change my opinion after watching Gronkowski dominate the Bills defense for three hours (7-94 on nine targets). Gronk looked unstoppable and untackleable from the opening snap, and he also had a touchdown wiped out by penalty. 

Other Booms: Detroit D/ST, Derek Carr and Andre Holmes, Antone Smith, Tom Brady and Brandon LaFell, Julius Thomas, Scott Chandler, Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler & Friends 


Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans: For weeks, we implored Ken Whisenhunt to play his most talented back, his hotshot rookie. The call finally came in Week 6, but Sankey let us down with the return (18-61 rushing, 1-7 receiving). Mind you, The Wiz didn't do us any favors by farming out a one-yard touchdown to journeyman Jackie Battle. But Sankey should have been able to produce a lot more against the ordinary Jacksonville defense. 

Wes Welker, WR, Broncos: The Thomas Boys did their usual damage through the air, as you'd expect, in Denver's 31-17 victory at the Jets. But Welker was Mr. Invisible, seeing one piddly target, for nine crummy yards. It might be a long year for Welker, as Denver clearly has three better pass receivers on the roster.  

Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers: Just when we thought we were out of the woods with Lacy, he releases a 14-40 stink bomb at Miami (no touchdowns, no receptions). James Starks stole 10 touches, and even John Kuhn had four rushing attempts. Maybe Lacy's going to be a RB2 this year, not the bell cow everyone expected. Carolina looks like a friendly matchup for Week 7, but it's difficult to trust Lacy. 

Matt Stafford, QB, Lions: Okay, he was on the road against a respectable Minnesota defense, and he didn't have Calvin Johnson or Reggie Bush to work with. But a measly 185 passing yards won't pay the fantasy rent, especially on 33 attempts (5.6 YPA). Stafford had one touchdown flip, took four sacks. Stafford has been one of the volume kings of fantasy for many years, but with the Lions playing dominating defense, the shape of the game has changed. 

Other Busts: Keenan Allen, Shane Vereen, C.J. Spiller, Russell Wilson, Knowshon Moreno, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan. 

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 12, 2014, 10:40 pm

Kevin Durant has suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot, which will sideline him 6-8 weeks, although this timetable isn’t concrete since it’s unclear if he’ll require surgery or not. It sounds like at best, he’ll miss the first month of the season, with a real chance his absence will extend beyond that. It’s rough news for fantasy basketball’s No. 1 player.

According to Basketball Monster, over the past two seasons the difference between Durant and the No. 2 player (LeBron James), has been equal to the difference between James and the No. 6 player (Anthony Davis), and that’s on a per-game basis (Durant has missed a total of two games over this span). Durant won the scoring title and league MVP last year, and no player is a bigger help to free throw percentage in fantasy terms.

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There’s still an argument to take Durant in the first round in head-to-head formats, but this news obviously knocks him down draft boards a bit. In rotisserie leagues, Durant now looks more like a mid-second round pick, depending on your willingness to gamble. Still, it’s doubtful KD falls out of the second round in most leagues.

Russell Westbrook already led the NBA in Usage Rate last season, but it’s safe to expect his role to be even greater as long as Durant is out. He should be a top-five fantasy player over the first couple of months of the season. Anthony Morrow and Reggie Jackson are the two other biggest beneficiaries, with the former an interesting late-round flier for those in search of help in three-pointers and the latter now an exciting target in the middle rounds.

Jackson left Friday’s game with an arm injury, but assuming it’s not serious, he suddenly becomes Oklahoma City’s No. 2 scoring option. He averaged 14.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.1 threes in 26 starts last season, and the team will need to replace a lot of offense, as Durant averaged 20.8 field goal attempts and 9.9 free throw attempts last year.

The Durant injury is a tough blow, but it doesn’t sound like an injury that should affect his performance once he’s able to return to the court. He’s been fantasy basketball’s No. 1 player in four of the past five seasons (he finished third in the other) but will now likely be taken in the 15-20 range of drafts with this news.

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Author: Dalton Del Don
Posted: October 12, 2014, 4:42 pm

Five picks against the Yahoo Pro Football PickEm spread, that's how we roll here. Share your five best in the comments.

-- It's lovely that the Patriots played a terrific game in Week 5, but I can't get the Miami, Oakland, or Kansas City tapes out of my head. Sure, the Pats have owned the Bills in this series, but given the rapid pace of personnel changes in the NFL, that doesn't matter much to me. New England still has a suspect offensive line, and Buffalo has the right pieces to exploit that. I decided on Bills +3 early in the week.

-- We'll go back to the Rams +3.5, liking what Austin Davis brings to the table and happy to saddle up with a home dog on Monday night. The Niners still have a bunch of injuries with their key receivers, and I'm not sure who Colin Kaepernick is on a week-to-week basis.

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-- You never want to read too much into outlier performances in any direction, so we'll give Cincinnati a pass for last week and dial up Bengals -6.5. The defense tends to play a lot better at home, and Carolina's offense has all sorts of problems (Newton isn't healthy, Benjamin is struggling with drops, the backfield is quicksand). Even without A.J. Green, Cincinnati should move the ball and score consistently in this spot. 

-- Most square players will load up on San Diego, but those plush Vegas carpets don't come from handing money away. The Raiders +7 pique my interest, at home, off a bye, with a new coach and fresh start. Rookie QB Derek Carr is playing much better than most realize (look at the tiny sack rate). Perhaps San Diego will get caught looking ahead to the Chiefs and Broncos in Weeks 7 and 8.

-- The Vikings +1.5 is another case of ignoring a team's most recent result. We'll get Teddy Bridgewater back, and Minnesota comes into the game with extra prep time. Detroit's defense is good at all three levels, but the offense figures to be without Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush again (now confirmed, they're out). I've never been a full believer in Matt Stafford.

Last Week: 4-1
Season: 13-11-1

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 12, 2014, 3:17 pm

One reason I never spend much on defensemen on draft day is because I always feel you can find cheap values late in the draft, or in the early days of free-agent pickups. Here are some players I've added or considered for my rosters; maybe they can help you, too.

Johnny Boychuk is set up to have a career year with the Islanders, where he'll get first-team power-play time (always hedge against Lubomir Visnovsky's health). Boychuk posted a reasonable 5-18-23 line with 142 shots in Boston last year, and that came without a single power-play point. Boychuk was in fine form in New York's opening win, picking up a power play goal and assist in a 5-3 victory. Forty-plus points? I can see it.

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Like Boychuk, Trevor Daley is an established veteran who's never had a big scoring year (last season's 9-16-25 was his best showing). But the Stars are giving Daley a shot with the top power-play unit, and he responded with a PPG on Thursday. Look at the other guys on the No. 1 Dallas unit: Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, Ales Hemsky. Who couldn't pile up points playing with those guys?

The case for Sami Vatanen is so obvious, I can't believe he's 86 percent unowned in Yahoo leagues. Vatanen posted a 6-15-21 line in 48 games last year, and the slick puck mover is going to get a ton of power-play opportunity this season. Vatanen had two man-advantage assists in the Anaheim opener, and was tops on the club with 5:13 in specialty time. What's not to like? Fix that ownership tag. 

Olli Maatta won't be a power-play staple in Pittsburgh; they have too many established blueliners in front of him there (Kris Letang, Christian Ehrhoff, even Paul Martin). But Maatta is certainly going to get a regular shift with this high-scoring club, and he managed a 9-20-29 line last year despite limited man-advantage run. The 20-year-old defenseman has everything you look for in a future star: vision, size, confidence, pedigree. Look for an uptick in his point total.

We've been waiting on Zach Bogosian's development for several years, ever since he was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 draft. We haven't seen anything past a 30-point season, despite excellent size and a powerful shot. Sometimes the bigger blueliners need more time to develop. The Jets will shuttle two power-play units, with Bogosian part of that mix. He picked up two assists, at even strength, in the season opener. Sometimes you follow the shots and pedigree, and hope the light goes on at age 24.

Anton Stralman showed us some power-play chops a few years ago, posting a 6-28-34 line with a bad Columbus team in 2009-10. The setup is better for him now: a plum spot in Tampa Bay, skating some with the first and second PP units. The Rangers didn't use Stralman as a specialist last year, so the point total was a washout. He won't automatically be with the top Lightning group, but there will be some overlap with the Steven Stamkos unit. This looks like an affordable 30-plus points.

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 11, 2014, 9:23 pm

Players get hurt in this tackle football thing, so we need to study the injury report closely. Here's a look at the dinged-up skill players of note from Week 6. We'll tackle the running backs first, then bounce around to the other positions.

• Shonn Greene (hamstring) is listed as doubtful, so we might finally get a look at Bishop Sankey in a featured role. Then again, with Ken Whisenhunt you never want to bet too heavily on logic. Jacksonville's rushing defense has been average on a per-play basis, though it looks worse on the gross-yardage page because of game flow and an 0-5 record. 

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• With Ryan Mathews (knee) and Donald Brown (concussion) out for Week 6, the Chargers will give Branden Oliver a long look at Oakland. Ronnie Brown has been signed for depth, but he's nothing special. If you have Oliver, I have to suspect you're starting him. 

• Reggie Bush (ankle) didn't practice all week, and although he's listed as questionable, that sounds rather optimistic. Joique Bell (post concussion) had an active practice week and seems likely to return, with Theo Riddick and George Winn in reserve. Detroit has an early start with Minnesota, so we'll have early definition on their active list.

• Zac Stacy (calf) worked Friday and probably will play Monday against San Francisco, though we'd like to see him do well in the Saturday workout. Benny Cunningham is getting about a third of the carries for the team thus far in 2014.

• Although Knowshon Moreno (elbow) had three limited practices during the week, the Dolphins list him as probable. I can't trust Moreno as a fantasy play until I see something on the field.

• Fred Jackson is dealing with an ankle injury and a fever kept him out of Friday's practice, but it's hard to imagine him missing the showdown against New England. We'll know in plenty of time, as it's an early kickoff.

• Toby Gerhart (foot) won't play at Tennessee, which might pave the way for a Storm Johnson breakthrough. If you'd like to read some Johnson propaganda, Andy Behrens has you covered.

• Jonathan Stewart (knee) had a partial practice week and might be able to play at Cincinnati, but I hope your backfield doesn't need him.

Wide Receiver/Tight End 

• Although A.J. Green (toe) is listed as questionable on the injury report, that merely looks like the Bengals playing games. Green is considered week-to-week and unlikely to play against Carolina on Sunday. Mohamed Sanu deserves a cheat-sheet bump in Green's absence.

• Calvin Johnson (ankle) is listed as doubtful, and like Green he's basically week-to-week at this point. Golden Tate is smoking-hot right now and is a good start against Minnesota.

• Greg Olsen (ankle) missed two days of practice before a partial day Friday. He's considered questionable, but at least he has an early start at Cincinnati.

• Vincent Jackson (rib) did some Friday work after missing time earlier in the week. He's listed as questionable for Sunday's early start with Baltimore. Teammate Mike Evans (groin) is rehabbing quickly and has a shot to play. I'd prefer to wait and see with Evans, not risk anything this week, but he should be close to 100 percent after Tampa Bay's Week 7 bye.

• Eric Decker (hamstring) did some work and has a shot to play against his former Denver mates, though he's listed as questionable. Even if Decker starts, you have to be concerned about an early departure.

• Cecil Shorts (hamstring) is listed as probable, not that you're eager to dial up any Jacksonville receiver right now.

• Vernon Davis (back) has been practicing and has a chance to play against St. Louis, though it's far from a sure thing. He was wearing a non-contact jersey at Saturday's practice. He's officially listed as questionable

• Jordan Reed (hamstring) has a chance to return this week, though it's risky with a late start at Arizona. He had a partial workout in each of the three main practice days. 

• Malcom Floyd (hamstring) missed some practice time and is listed as questionable.

• Devin Hester (hamstring) worked Friday and should be able to play in his grudge match against Chicago. Harry Douglas (foot) remains out.

• Jarret Boykin (groin) won't play, which pushes more snaps to Davante Adams at Miami.


• Logan Thomas took all the Arizona reps this week, while Carson Palmer (shoulder) and Drew Stanton (concussion) rested. The Cardinals aren't going to name their Week 6 starter until just before game-time, and they have a second-wave start against Washington. Good times. Thomas looked confused and overmatched in his stint at Denver last week. 

• Tom Brady (ankle) showed up on the Friday injury report, a surprise. This probably is the usual Patriot games, but check back Sunday morning just to confirm his status. 

• The Titans haven't ruled Jake Locker (thumb) out for the home game against Jacksonville, but all logical signs point to him sitting. Charlie Whitehurst is the next option, with rookie Zach Mettenberger a possibility if the offense starts slowly.

• Teddy Bridgwater (ankle) is ready to return for the Vikings. The Lions present a daunting matchup.

• Derek Carr (knee/ankle) should be able to play against San Diego, though he missed some reps this week.

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 11, 2014, 9:12 am

Jacksonville running back Toby Gerhart was a moderately buzzy fantasy commodity back in August, but his stock took a nosedive in the opener and hasn't recovered. We're now five games into Gerhart's season, and he's averaging 2.6 yards per carry. These are the week-by week yardage totals he's delivered thus far: 57, 17, 63, 40, 29.

Add in the fact that Gerhart has only visited the end-zone once, and we have a running back who cannot be started, except perhaps in deep AFC South-only leagues (which do not exist).

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To be fair to Gerhart, health issues have clearly limited his performance this season. He injured an ankle in Week 1, then suffered a foot sprain/malfunction last Sunday. This week, Toby has been ruled out for the Jaguars matchup at Tennessee.

If for some reason you're still interested in the Jacksonville ground game, we have a new name for you. This from the Florida Times-Union:

We won’t know for sure until Sunday but [Gus] Bradley sure indicated like Storm Johnson would be getting a big shot at playing against the Titans. The Jaguars are searching for a run-game pulse and Johnson – fourth on the tailback depth chart during camp – will be the next one up.

Johnson is a rookie from UCF, like his quarterback, and he played a small role in Week 5 for the Jaguars, carrying four times for 27 yards. He has nice strength, size (6-foot-0, 216) and vision, but he doesn't quite have top-end speed (4.6). Ball security has been a concern, too.

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Still, Johnson was a productive collegiate player, at least for one season (1139 rush, 30 REC, 17 TDs), and he has a decent opportunity ahead. He could be looking at something like a 10-15 touch workload against a not-so-intimidating opponent. The Titans currently rank 26th in the league against the run, allowing 136.8 rushing yards per game. In Week 7, assuming Johnson is still in backfield mix, he'll get Cleveland, a team allowing 5.1 yards per carry and 152.5 per game.

So if you're involved in a league where medium-volume RBs from bad teams are worth rostering, then Johnson is your man. He's available in 89 percent of Yahoo leagues, which means that most of you can take a flier. It reeks of desperation, sure, but we've all been there.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 10, 2014, 9:29 pm

Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders for Week 6.

Coming off back-to-back unsatisfactory efforts, Nick Foles fantasy points scored in Yahoo standard (4 pts/pass td, 1 pt/25 yds passing) leagues Sunday night versus New York 17.9.

Brandon –  OVER. This is a team that is scoring 31 points per game, and this is a QB that has gone over this number in 9 of his past 13 regular-season games. Sure, it's a tough matchup, but Foles is at home against a defense that he's at least familiar with. I'll put him down for 300 passing yards, 2 TD passes and a pick.

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Scott – OVER. I realize Foles isn't playing well right now and the Giants secondary is a tricky draw. But I don't have any faith in the Eagles rushing game at the moment, and eventually those lucky Philadelphia return touchdowns are going to fade away (leading to more offensive snaps). I trust Chip Kelly, I trust Jeremy Maclin and his henchmen, and I guess that means I trust Foles too. Heck, see if you can buy low on Foles (that's a buy-low recco you can actually act on). 

Brad – UNDER.  The Giants secondary is the second-stingiest in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, only Denver is better. Prince Amukamura and DRC are giving up a 55.5 QB rating and 50.0 catch percentage to their assignments. Sure, the volume is always attractive, but, Foles, who ranks dead last in the league in accuracy percentage, will be exposed. 

Ronnie Hillman, who is expected to take over the lead role in the Broncos backfield with Montee Ball sidelined, touches against the Jets 16.5. 

Andy – WHO CARES? Is that an acceptable answer here? If not, I'll say UNDER. But I really don't see the appeal of the Denver backfield this week, against an excellent defensive front. I didn't bid aggressively on Hillman this week, because A) the schedule ahead is rough, B) he's probably the third-best between-the-tackles runner in this backfield, and C) I don't think he'll show us enough to claim Montee Ball's job. Whether he gets 12 touches this week or 18, I don't view him as a strong play.

Brandon – UNDER. I want nothing to do with the Denver backfield this week for a couple reasons, first and foremost being that it is facing a Jets defense allowing 3.4 YPC to opposing running backs. Another concern is that Denver has been the fifth-least productive fantasy backfield to this point. And, finally, there's a the lack of certainty of ball distribution in the backfield. Would anyone really be surprised if Hillman was mostly ineffective in the first half and suddenly Juwan Thompson is getting a featured shot after halftime?

Dalton – OVER. I don’t expect much more than this, but Hillman saw 15 touches last week after replacing an injured Montee Ball mid-game. His matchup is tough against the Jets, but last week’s opponent (the Cardinals) have actually allowed even fewer fantasy points to opposing backs this season. It’s safe to expect Denver to be playing while ahead for much of Sunday’s game as well.

In his first game back from an elbow injury that cost him multiple weeks, Knowshon Moreno rushing yards against Green Bay 79.5. 

Brandon –  UNDER. He's still no guarantee to play - he's not out of the game-time decision woods yet. And, that being the case, he's too risky to play this week in fantasy, and certainly not someone you should count on for 80 YFS, especially with Lamar Miller playing well.

Dalton – UNDER. The Packers are vulnerable against the run, and Miami will try to be ground-heavy in an attempt to keep the potent Green Bay offense off the field, but Moreno is coming off a elbow injury that was originally expected to keep him sidelined longer than this surprise Week 6 return. Moreover, Lamar Miller has gotten 5.7 YPC this season and should see at least half the touches this week.

Andy –  UNDER. Clearly the matchup works, but we have no reason to think that Moreno will see a full workload in his return from injury. Lamar Miller has been a little fumbly, but he's otherwise been productive (5.7 YPC). Moreno needs to be owned, obviously, but he's not a must-start just yet.

Brandon Marshall, whose barely made a peep over the past three weeks, receptions in Atlanta 5.5. 

Dalton – OVER. He hasn’t topped this number since Week 1, but Marshall is getting closer to 100 percent, and coach Marc Trestman has recently said the WR needs more targets. Marshall has averaged 109.0 receptions over the past two seasons, and the over/under in this game is a league-high 53.5 points. 

Brad –  OVER. He's practiced with few limitations for the second straight week. This Sunday, he returns to greatness. Only two receivers have gone over this mark against the Falcons this year, but in a game promised by Vegas to provide ample fantasy goodness (53.5 over/under), he's a shoo-in for at least 7-75-1. 

Scott – Easiest OVER there is. I see some buy-low recommendations on Marshall, but it seems like wishful thinking to me. Everyone in Chicago realizes No. 15 needs to get the ball, and that will be fixed this week. 

Man of the moment in San Diego, Branden Oliver, off 182-total yards, 2-TD explosion against the Jets, combined yards in the follow-up in Oakland 119.5.  

Andy – YES, PLEASE. OVER. He's facing the league's No. 31 ranked run defense, and he should have the rushing workload all to himself. Oliver was a revelation in Week 5. He's a recommended play here, a likely top-10 fantasy RB. I'm in.

Scott – OVER. If you can do it against the Jets, you can do it against anyone. San Diego's offense loves its balance, and there's no back around to steal major touches from Oliver. It pains me to have him on zero teams; that's FAAB leverage for you. A big game is likely, a monster game possible. 

Dalton – OVER. This may seem a bit crazy with such an unproven back, especially one who’s 5-8. But with the recent Ronnie Brown signing, it sure seems like Donald Brown will be out, so I expect Oliver to get 20+ touches. The Raiders have yielded the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

Odell Beckham Jr., who made a noticeable splash in his NFL debut catching four passes for 44 yards and a TD, standard fantasy points scored in Philly 9.9.

Brad – OVER. In his first ever NFL game, the first-rounder delivered on his promise. His routes were smooth, he displayed considerable quickness and gained separation. Putting it mildly, Philly's secondary stinks. Odds are strong the rookie finishes inside the WR top-30 with ease. 

Andy – UNDER. He's a talented receiver and the matchup clearly works, but he's still no more than the third option in this team's passing game. He played 38 snaps last week and saw five targets. I'm not willing to assume a jump in usage, so I'm forecasting four catches and 50-ish receiving yards this week, with no spike.

Brandon – OVER. The Eagles allow nearly three passing touchdowns per game, and the Giants are second in the league in Red Zone scoring attempts per game behind Indy. Beckham's role is expecected to keep growing and he's a quality route runner. I think he will cash in on a RZ opportunity again in this one.

TE Tussle. Pick one for Week 6: Owen Daniels (at TB), Antonio Gates (at Oak), Jordan Cameron (vs. Pit) or Larry Donnell (vs. Phi)? 

Brandon – GATES. Not sure how you can go against Gates, the No. 2 fantasy tight end, in a matchup (OAK) that certainly shouldn't scare you.

Dalton – CAMERON. I currently have these three literally ranked back-to-back-to-back on my tight end ranks this week. The Raiders have actually allowed the fewest receptions to opposing TEs this year, although the Eagles have allowed fewer fantasy points to them. I’m stubbornly sticking with Cameron, but he’s been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments so far in 2014.

Brad – DONNELL. Load up on Giants. Seriously, start everyone. Eli, Randle, ODB, Andre Williams, Mark Bavaro, Rodney Hampton ... everyone. In a game brimming with fantasy appeal, Donnell rebounds strongly after last week's donut disaster. 

Andre Williams, filling the void for tender-kneed Rashad Jennings, final fantasy rank among Week 6 RBs 12.5.

Dalton – OVER. I have him ranked No. 10 for this week, but there are so many possibilities of an unknown going off, the safe bet here is the under. Williams remains raw as a pass catcher, and the Eagles have allowed just two rushing scores all season (they’ve ceded twice as many receiving touchdowns to opposing RBs). 

Brad – OVER. This one's very close, but I'm projecting roughly 75-80 combined yards for the rookie on what should be a season-high workload. He's a top-notch RB2, but unless he surpasses the 90-yard, 1-TD mark, it's unlikely he ventures into RB1 territory. 

Scott – This probably comes down to the touchdown column, because volume shouldn't be a concern. I think Williams is better than 50-50 to spike in Week 6 (the Giants move the ball well; Philly doesn't stop opponents), so I'll go UNDER, call him a Top 12 back. 

BOLD PREDICTION. The one wide receiver under 50-percent started in Yahoo leagues that has the best chance to penetrate the top-10 (PPR) in Week 6 is ____________.

Brad – ANDREW HAWKINS. In Cleveland's first matchup against Pittsburgh, Hawkins was PPR gold. Targeted 10 times, he caught eight passes for 87 yards. He's yet to find the end zone, but he's sure to score at some point. On another robust workload, he's a near lock for another 6-plus receptions and 80 yards. Splash six, and he's a top-10 producer. 

Scott –  If you're super-desperate for a wideout (I'm thinking 14 team leagues and up), maybe ANDRE ROBERTS can do something for you. He's scored in the last two games, and has four catches or more in three of his last four starts. Those aren't Pro Bowl stats, but in deeper pools, they may be of interest to you. Arizona's secondary has been overrated from the first day of summer camp. 

Andy – Seriously, who the heck ever looks at "percent started"? So weird. I'll say KENNY BRITT here, just because I like to keep pushing. I'll remind you again that Britt's usage has essentially been the same as Brian Quick's over the past two games (13 targets), but he's somehow widely available. I don't see him as substantially less valuable than Quick moving forward.

Honorable mention in this weird category: JORDAN MATTHEWS.

Top-Five Buys. Your best bets (versus the spread or over/unders) for Week 6.

Andy – 1) GB -3 at Mia, 2) SF -3 at STL, 3) Dal +8 at Sea, 4) TB +3 vs. Bal, 5) Chi +3 at Atl

Brandon – 1) TB +3 vs Bal, 2) MIA +3 vs. GB 3) CAR +6.5 @ Cin, 4) DET-MIN over 43.5, 5) CAR-CIN under 43.5,

Dalton – 1) ARI (-3.5) vs. Was 2) PHI (-2.5) vs. NYG 3) TB (+3) vs. Bal 4) MIN (+1.5) vs. Atl 5) SF (-3) at Stl

Scott – 1) BUF +3, 2) MIN +1.5, 3) Dal +8, 4) NYG-PHI over 50, 5) CLE-PIT under 46.5. Bonus: Orioles in 6. 

Brad – 1) Dal (+8) at Sea, 2) OVER (50) NYG/Phi, 3) GB (-3) at Mia, 4) StL (+3) vs. SF, 5) UNDER (47) Dal/Sea

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 10, 2014, 4:07 pm

The alarming turnover at the running back position presumably reached a crescendo last week as Rashad Jennings, Donald Brown and Montee Ball all succumbed to significant setbacks. Their departures add fresh blood to the RB mix as Andre Williams, Brandon Oliver and Ronnie Hillman will have every opportunity to prove their mettle.

Hopefully, you bought in.

On this week’s exuberant show, Melanie Collins, Brandon Funston, Brad Evans, Andy Behrens and Shaun King will tell you what newfangled starter will guide owners to victory in Week 6. Additionally, our group of merry fanalysts will clash over the values of Tony Romo, LeSean McCoy and Vincent Jackson and decide whether to keep or kick Cordarrelle Patterson to the curb.

Have a pressing fantasy need?  Here’s how you can join the circus:

Phone: 800.FFL.GURU

Twitter: @YahooFantasy

As always, our dastardly duo, Brad and Brandon, will man our two-hour pregame show. On the docket, sleepers, busts and shocker specials from every remaining game, deliciously toasted bagels and likely arguments over San Francisco 49ers. Get in on the action here:

Phone:  800.777.2907

Twitter: @YSRFFL


Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 10, 2014, 2:12 pm

Cordarrelle Patterson, in happier times. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)You guys, these are words that actually fell out of Norv Turner's mouth:

"There's things we've got in every week for Cordarrelle, and we're anxious to get him more involved. We'll keep trying to."

Yeah, OK.

Cordarrelle Patterson has received just two offensive touches in each of his last two games, which is not the usage anyone expected. It certainly does not suggest an anxious offensive coordinator.

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In fact, since Patterson's ridiculous 67-yard touchdown run in the opener, he's received exactly one carry. Matt Asiata has 60. SIXTY. Patterson has largely served as a decorative piece of the Minnesota offense, a decoy. But he won't function well in that capacity forever, unless the Vikings occasionally remind opponents why they should account for him. 

Thus, Norv says they'll try to get him more involved. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a promise, though. I did not detect genuine anxiousness. Again, the Vikes could just HAND PATTERSON THE FOOTBALL AT ANY TIME if they cared so deeply about increasing his touches. This is still, I believe, a legal maneuver in the NFL.

So we wait.

Earlier today, I dealt Cordarrelle for C.J. Spiller in a 20-team league — a dud-for-dud swap. (The deal also involved scrap-heap QBs, but the heart of it was Patterson-for-Spiller.) If you've recently traded Patterson, feel free to share the details in comments. I'm very far from writing him off as a fantasy asset — the kid gave us nine total TDs last year, after all — but we've clearly reached a stage where WR1 upside is a far-off dream.

Really, I'd just like to see another six-touch game. The last time that happened, Patterson gained 128 yards. So perhaps Asiata can spare a couple of carries.

Author: Andy Behrens
Posted: October 9, 2014, 10:33 pm

The Shuffle Up series is all about value to come. What's happened to this point is merely an audition. How would you rank the players if you were starting from fresh today? (These are not Week 6 ranks.)

The dollar values are merely comparison tools; they're not assembled in any scientific way. Players at the same position are considered even. We're aiming to illustrate tiers, show where the pockets of value are.

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You'll disagree with some things (perhaps many things) because that's why we have a game in the first place. Share your respectful disagreement in the comments. (Quarterbacks and wideouts are shuffled in the odd weeks.) 

$31 DeMarco Murray
$31 Marshawn Lynch
$30 LeVeon Bell
$30 Matt Forte
$29 Jamaal Charles
$27 Giovani Bernard
$27 Eddie Lacy
$25 LeSean McCoy
$24 Arian Foster
$23 Andre Ellington

There's been a lot written about the big-name RB busts of 2014, and a lot of hair pulled out. But let's back up for a second and consider one thing: maybe the running back board isn't that much of a minefield after all. The RB1s from this draft have actually held up reasonably well.

Okay, with McCoy, Charles, Peterson, no arguments there. They've all flopped. But if you picked a RB from the 4-13 list off ADP, you did well. Seven of them have hit, if we use their Yahoo winning percentage (the cumulative records of Yahoo teams rostering that player; hat tip, Automated Insights). Your friends are these guys: Forte, Lynch, Murray, Bernard, Foster, Morris and Levy Bell. Most of them look rock-solid going forward. 

Ellington is currently at 50 percent, a wash. The two misses in the 4-13 pocket are Montee Ball and Eddie Lacy (and maybe Lacy is on the rebound). 

To be fair, I'm doing a little cherry picking here: Automated Insights provided me the Top 15 backs to examine, and the 14 and 15 guys are misses (Stacy, Martin). But when I pursued their wideout data by winning percentage, I was intrigued to see just six of the Top 23 wideouts are tied to a winning fantasy record in Yahoo leagues. 

I still think you're more likely to get on base with a first-round receiver pick, but perhaps the slugging percentage is better if you hit on a running back. A lot more research needs to be done with this stuff, of course. A 4-5 game sample from 2014 can't be used to conclude anything. But I do know this: if a genie could provide me with one and only one sure thing every August, I'd always ask for the running back name. 

$19 Alfred Morris
$19 Ben Tate
$18 Ahmad Bradshaw
$16 Frank Gore
$13 Stevan Ridley
$13 Chris Ivory
$13 Fred Jackson
$12 C.J. Spiller
$11 Knowshon Moreno
$11 Zac Stacy
$11 Lamar Miller
$10 Matt Asiata
$10 Justin Forsett
$10 Shane Vereen
$10 Rashad Jennings
$9 Bishop Sankey
$9 Darren Sproles
$8 Doug Martin
$8 Mark Ingram
$8 Trent Richardson

Morris is one of my favorite backs to watch, a smart, physical, determined one-cut runner. Alas, he's languishing on a team that's a terrible fit for his skills. 

The Redskins defense is a joke, of course, which means the team is often playing catch-up late - and using backs other than Morris. Washington has also been lax in developing Morris as a receiver; while part of that is a nod to what Roy Helu can do, it's still a mistake. Why not make your offense harder to decipher (and defend) when your primary tailback is on the field? 

Morris is an intelligent player and theoretically capable of playing in all situations, the team just won't let him. I'll continue to dream my impossible dream, the idea of Morris being moved to a different club at the deadline. And for fantasy purposes, I have to keep him in on the RB 1/2 borderline, not a sure-thing RB1. 

A bunch of losses haven't forced the Titans to elevate Sankey over Greene, but maybe a Greene injury will save them from themselves . . . As much as I don't like Richardson's abilty, he offers a sneaky flex floor because the Colts keep feeding him touches . . . I'd like to go lower on Martin, but he's another guy who's bailed out by a team that's hopelessly devoted to him . . . The Jets have finally accepted that Ivory is far and away their best back. He runs like he wants to cause injury (to a defender or himself) on every snap, but he'll be a strong RB2 until the breaking point comes. The abilty is not a problem here . . . Asiata's defined role and simple path to goal-line touches keep his value afloat, no matter that he's an ordinary talent. 

$7 Jeremy Hill
$7 Ryan Mathews
$7 Reggie Bush
$6 Branden Oliver
$5 Steven Jackson
$5 Andre Williams
$4 Joique Bell
$4 Knile Davis
$4 Ronnie Hillman
$4 Carlos Hyde
$4 James Starks
$4 C.J. Anderson
$3 Khiry Robinson
$3 Pierre Thomas
$3 Montee Ball
$3 Darren McFadden
$3 Antone Smith
$3 Bobby Rainey
$3 Bernard Pierce
$3 Alfred Blue
$3 Denard Robinson
$3 Joseph Randle
$2 Jerick McKinnon
$2 Chris Johnson
$2 Lorenzo Taliaferro
$2 Jonathan Stewart
$2 Isaiah Crowell
$2 Storm Johnson
$2 Robert Turbin
$2 KaDeem Carey

Good luck trading Ball - most of you will have to decide to stash or drop. I won't be surprised if someone runs away with the gig while Ball is out, though it could be any one of three guys. And maybe there's an outside chance of Denver trading for somebody . . . If the Falcons haven't increased Smith's role by now, it's hard to imagine it will ever happen. He's also 29, for what it's worth . . . Denard Robinson was injury-prone in college and I think the Jags want to be careful with his workload . . . I expect Oliver to have a role with the Chargers even after Ryan Mathews comes back. He looked terrific Week 5, and remember he did it against a defense that normally stuffs the run. 

$1 Toby Gerhart
$1 Shonn Greene
$1 Benny Cunningham
$1 Terrance West
$1 Roy Helu Jr.
$1 Maurice Jones-Drew
$1 LeGarrette Blount
$1 DeAngelo Williams
$1 Donald Brown
$1 Juwan Thompson
$1 Lance Dunbar
$1 Bilal Powell
$1 Marcel Reece
$0 Devonta Freeman
$0 Dexter McCluster
$0 DeAnthony Thomas
$0 Jacquizz Rodgers
$0 Stepfan Taylor

And here are your tight ends. 

$30 Jimmy Graham
$30 Julius Thomas
$27 Rob Gronkowski
$23 Greg Olsen
$22 Martellus Bennett
$20 Delanie Walker
$20 Antonio Gates
$19 Travis Kelce
$16 Larry Donnell
$16 Zach Ertz
$15 Vernon Davis

It's a good time to trade for Donnell; his owner might be nervous after the Week 5 bagel. The Falcons were determined not to let Donnell beat them last week (on the heels of the three-touchdown show in Week 4), but I doubt other teams will replicate that plan . . . Hopefully the Chiefs spend much of their bye week trying to unleash and unlock The Kelce Show. He's easily the best receiver the team has, and perhaps the 2-3 record (and Week 5 loss) will be an incentive to change and innovation. I doubt the price is cheap, but I'd nonetheless ask about him now - maybe the bye week could open the path to a trade. He still has major breakout potential. 

$13 Heath Miller
$12 Jordan Cameron
$11 Dwayne Allen
$8 Jason Witten
$8 Jordan Reed
$6 Owen Daniels
$5 Tim Wright
$5 Charles Clay
$4 Jared Cook
$4 Austin Seferian-Jenkins
$3 Kyle Rudolph
$3 Ladarius Green
$3 Clay Harbor
$3 Eric Ebron

Wright moves like a wide receiver (his position in college) and the Pats badly need downfield threats and seam factors. Wright only had around 20 snaps in the win over Cincinnati, but that didn't stop him from a tasty 5-85-1 line. He's an interesting TE2 for now, and could be a TE1 in the near future . . . Witten's YPC and catch rate are fine, but he's stuck on zero touchdowns and his opportunities have cratered. I'd suggest you try to deal him, but where's the market? Even Cowboys fans probably know to stay away from the 32-year-old. He's the team's fourth option . . . We had a better headline for this piece but Cook dropped it . . . The Chargers are sitting on a future Pro Bowler with Green, but they keep him under wraps for some reason. Looks like we'll have to wait until 2015. Opponents must be doing cartwheels when they watch Green not being used, week-after-week . . . Even with the Browns playing in a bunch of shootouts, Cameron hasn't done much. Later in the year, Josh Gordon complicates the mix. 

$2 Scott Chandler
$2 Garrett Graham
$1 Coby Fleener
$1 Andrew Quarless
$1 Anthony Fasano
$1 Jace Amaro
$1 Mychal Rivera
$1 Rob Housler
$1 Niles Paul
$0 Zach Miller
$0 John Carlson
$0 Luke Willson
$0 Jermaine Gresham

Author: Scott Pianowski
Posted: October 9, 2014, 5:34 pm

Straight cash homie! In his never-ending quest to pay off his kids' college education early, Brad Evans unveils his FanDuel picks for the upcoming week and explains his reasoning behind them. Make that money, #TeamHuevos. 

[Play in FanDuel's Week 6 Double-Up league. Finish in the top half and double your money; just $10 to enter. Game begins THIS Sunday at 1 PM ET.]


FAKE BUDGET: $60,000

Eli Manning, NYG, QB (FanDuel Price: $7,200) – Back in business, Eli has completed 70.1 percent of his passes and posted an 8:1 TD:INT split over the past three weeks. He's benefited from clean pockets, thrown crisp balls downfield and spread the love. In what should be a high-scoring affair Sunday night in Philly, he's a near lock for multiple scores and a handsome yardage total. Because of their exhaustive pace and porous DB play, the Eagles have allowed the most fantasy points to QBs, yielding 291.6 passing yards and 2.6 passing touchdowns per game. At $7,200 smackaroos, he's a brand name at a generic price. 

Matt Forte, Chi, RB ($9,000) – He's incredibly expensive, but FanDuelers need to shell out the bucks for the Bear. In a PPR friendly format, you'll get what you pay for. Touchdowns have been scarce, but he's averaged 123.6 total yards per game this season, forcing numerous missed tackles. Expect him to tally fiery numbers in Hot-lanta. No defense has been more generous to rushers than the Falcons. On the year, they've surrendered 193.2 total yards per game and nine touchdowns to RBs. Given Jay Cutler's ability to stretch the field and the Bears' terrific offensive line, Forte should jet through countless wide holes. Another 120-plus yards, many of those coming through the air, are on tap. 

Branden Oliver, SD, RB ($6,200) – This week's most highly sought after waiver pickup is also a very employable daily game option. At his rock-bottom price and given his wonderfuly friendly matchup (at Oak), it's hard not to get giddy about his Week 6 potential. Shot out of a cannon against the usually unforgiving Jets, the upstart totaled 182 yards and two scores on 23 touches last Sunday. Impressively, he forced six missed tackles and generated 62.3 percent of his yards after contact. Short, compact and powerful, he continues his fantasy ascencion against a Raiders D that's given up 4.56 yards per carry and the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs. Newly signed veteran Ronnie Brown may wrest a handful of touches, but another century-mark effort is upcoming. 

Julio Jones, Atl, WR ($9,000) –Thanks to the sensational bargains at QB and RB this week, savvy investors will be able to afford the luxury of playing Julio. He's worth every penny. The Bears secondary, hampered by injuries and underachievement, will have its hands full trying to contain the league's best deep-ball weapon. Rookie Kyle Fuller has been magnificent, but if Jones lines up opposite Tim Jennings, a long TD reception is a foregone conclusion. The embattled corner has yielded a 106.8 QB rating and 14.7 yards per catch this season. Jones has recorded at least six catches and 80 yards in every game this year. This Sunday, he easily extends that streak. In a contest with plenty of shootout appeal (53.5 over/under in Vegas), Jones cages the Bears en route to a 7-100-1 day. 

Victor Cruz, NYG, WR ($6,800) – Eli has dabbled in socialism during his hot streak, targeting Larry Donnell, Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle often. As a result, Cruz has tallied erratic numbers. After consecutive 100-yard games in Weeks 3 and 4 he nearly vanished last Sunday hauling in three passes for just 22 yards. But because of this week's high-volume potential and Philly's dreadful pass defense, he's a dependable daily-game option. On roughly 8-10 targets, he's a shoo-in for at least five receptions and 80 yards. 

Golden Tate, Det, WR ($6,400) – Possibly without the services of Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford is sure to zero in on No. 15. With Megatron banged up the past two weeks, the ex-'Hawk soared, catching 15 balls for 250 yards and a touchdown. His versatility, ferocity after the catch and strong hands should wreck havoc against a sketchy Minnesota D. Xavier Rhodes has performed admirably, but Captain Munnerlyn, who's conceded a 149.2 QB rating and 81.3 catch rate, is susceptible. Anticipate another 100-yard game from arguably the most underappreciated WR in virtual pigskin. 

Owen Daniels, Bal, TE ($5,300) – Squashing thoughts of a TEBC in Baltimore, Daniels has elevated his game since Dennis Pitta was derailed by a hip injury. Last week, he played on 58-of-60 snaps, catching five passes for 70 yards. Going toe-to-toe with a Tampa D that's given up the third-most receiving yards to tight ends, he's a recommended purchase at his very affordable price. Roughly 4-6 receptions with 60-plus yards are likely. 

Caleb Sturgis, Mia, K ($5,100) – The 10th-best kicker so far, he should receive plenty of chip shot opportunities against a Green Bay D that struggles bottling the run. Thanks to Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno, Sturgis boots his way to a profitable day. 

Denver Broncos D/ST ($5,000) – They face Geno Smith. Enough said.  

Want to bull rush Brad? Find him on Twitter. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Tuesday-Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here). Additionally, tune into 'FFL' radio on Yahoo! Sports Radio Sundays at 9 AM ET. 

Author: Brad Evans
Posted: October 9, 2014, 5:02 pm

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