FANTASY FOOTBALL ARTICLES

The Huddle Daily -- Week Five Archive
August 19 - August 23, 2013  

August 23, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
Felix Jones is headed to Pittsburgh to create a 4-headed RBBC to start the season.

• With cutdown day looming early next week, teams are looking to get something--anything--from guys who aren't going to make their roster anyway. That's how Felix Jones, losing a battle with Bryce Brown and Chris Polk for backup work in Philly, became expendable. And with the Steelers losing Le'Veon Bell and clearly not satisfied with an Isaac Redman/Jonathan Dwyer tandem, the trade was tailor-made. Pittsburgh gets Jones, who if he can stay healthy could fit into a committee with one of the aforementioned backs. In return the Eagles acquired Adrian Robinson, a linebacker whose primary contributions have come on special teams.

• Late rounds in your fantasy draft can be where you win your league championship. Check out these "Late Round Legends."

• The Patriots didn't look particularly good in their preseason Week 3 loss to Detroit, but they didn't have Danny Amendola, either. In his absence Julian Edelman played in the slot and was in for 45 of the first unit's 46 snaps. But before you start thinking Edelman will be a fantasy factor, consider that he had less than half the targets (three, for 3-18 receiving) of either Aaron Dobson (eight, 4-50) or Kenbrell Thompkins (12, 8-116) despite being on the field 50 percent more. Amendola's clearly the WR1, with the youngsters easily usurping the veteran Edelman for wingman duties.

• Pittsburgh may have lost Le'Veon Bell to injury, but they do have a potential fantasy impact rookie on the roster. Third-round pick Markus Wheaton was unable to practice with the team during OTAs due to school still being in session at Oregon State, but he's making up for lost time. At minimum he replaces the deep threat the Steelers lost when Mike Wallace took his talents to South Beach, but he could very easily step into a bigger role ahead of Emmanuel Sanders or Jerricho Cotchery sooner rather than later.

• Speaking of rookie receivers, there's no question the Vikings have big plans for first-round pick Cordarrelle Patterson; however, they may be working to get him involved sooner rather than later. Patterson has yet to catch a pass from starting quarterback Christian Ponder this preseason, but expect that to change during the Vikings' dress rehearsal preseason game Sunday night. All reports on Patterson have been glowing: that he isn't making mental errors, that the team hasn't had to simplify the playbook, that he's far exceeded expectations in the football IQ department for a player with just one year of major-college experience. He'll add value in leagues that count return yardage, and if Ponder proves able to capitalize on defenses gearted to stop Adrian Peterson Patterson is the likely implement of choice.

Join The Huddle today for full access to our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

• Any slim hopes that Marcus Lattimore might provide fantasy value this year were scuttled with the Niners announcing that Lattimore will start the season on the PUP list, a move that rules him out of at least the first six games. The good news is that there's still hope Lattimore can regain most, if not all, of the talentes he flashed prior to the knee injury that dropped him from first-round to fourth-round status, so dynasty leaguers shouldn't ignore him.

• Finally, the Giants named David Wilson as their starting running back for the regular season opener against Dallas. But before you bump him too far up the cheat sheets, it's worth noting that Andre Brown still gets mentioned in the same breath when Giants' officials are talking about their backfield. Brown also seems to be the guy on third downs, and he's the likely goal line guy as well. In other words, it's RBBC business as usual in the Big Apple.


August 22, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
Rookie Montee Ball may end up benefiting from Ronnie Hillman's fumble probems.

• If you thought the Broncos' preseason woes were confined to the defensive side of the ball, where Elvis Dumervil faxed his way out of town and Von Miller will miss the first six games due to suspension... well, you're sadly mistaken. The Ronnie Hillman goal line fumble the Seahawks turned into a 106-yard defensive touchdown in the second preseason game was one of four drops in the first half alone, and new offensive coordinator Adam Gase has made it a point of emphasis in practice. So maybe, just maybe, if Montee Ball doesn't develop a case of slippery fingers he could push Hillman aside sooner rather than later and live up to the early-preseason fantasy hype.

• Late rounds in your fantasy draft can be where you win your league championship. Check out these "Late Round Legends."

• Fallout from the Le'Veon Bell-Lisfranc news continues, and none of it is particularly good. All indications are the Steelers planto let Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer battle for and/or share carries, with free agent signee and special teams guy LaRod Stephens-Howling handling third-down work. There's minimal upside to each of these--Redman hasn't been able to stay healthy and neither back could he nail down the feature-back job when given a shot last year--although LSH wasn't half-bad when desperation forced the Cardinals to give him more than return work at times last year. Your best-case fantasy scenario involves avoiding the situation entirely, but in a larger league with larger rosters throwing a dart at LSH isn't a bad idea--especially in scoring systems that reward return yardage.

• A few years back the Browns took some heat for whatever unsanitary conditions led to a rash of staph infections in their locker room. This year those jokes can head south, as the Buccaneers revealed that Carl Nicks and Lawrence Tynes both developed cases of MRSA. The organization had the locker room scrubbed and there are no indications anyone else is affected, but Nicks and Tynes remain sidelined; in fact, the Bucs recently signed Rian Lindell to handle kicking duties due to the lack of a timetable on Tynes.

• IDP leagues should have a plan in place for how to deal with defensive players who play offense snaps, because it looks as if Patrick Peterson will be doing just that in Arizona. Peterson indicated that the package of plays in which he's involved has grown to 60; he's not necessarily the ball-carrier or primary receiver on each one, but he's definitely involved. Peterson saw two offensive snaps in last week's preseason game against Dallas, and all signs point to him lining up as a legit target for Carson Palmer--so plan accordingly.

Join The Huddle today for full access to our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

• Not that anyone is looking to the Jets for fantasy help, but if there was a member of the passing game worth owning it would likely be Santonio Holmes. However, Holmes has been sidelined for almost a full year after suffering a Lisfranc injury (consider that, those of you buying into the 6-to-8 week timetable for Le'Veon Bell). Doctors have apparently cleared Holmes to return to football activities, but he has yet to do so. Prima donna? Not yet healthy? Fortunately for fantasy owners, it probably doesn't matter either way.

• Finally, a bit of good news for Dustin Keller--or as much good news as there can be for a guy who just tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL and dislocated his kneecap. The good news is that there's no nerve damage, which makes it more likely he can at least attempt to come back from the other injuries next year. Had there been nerve damage, popular opinion was that Keller's career was in jeopardy; now, if Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III are the standard, Keller should be back on the field in 2014.


August 21, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
LeVeon Bell continues his slide down fantasy rankings thanks to his foot injury.

• Le'Veon Bell continues to slide down the cheat sheet as word trickles out about his foot injury. The latest--and most dire--report suggests he'll miss six weeks with a Lisfranc injury. And seeing how six weeks tends to turn into "rest of season" for running backs (see Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden), fantasy fans of the once-prized rookie is now already looking forward to his sophomore campaign. Meanwhile, Isaac Redman makes an appearance on the bottom of your rankings.

• The scoring rules in your league matter. So what do you do about that? You read the extensive new feature at The Huddle covering just that subject: "Understanding Your Scoring Rules."

• With Dustin Keller gone for the year, the Dolphins have turned to Charles Clay. More of an H-back last year, Clay has been working with the first team in Keller's spot; if he's able to develop the same chemistry Keller and Ryan Tannehill were working on prior to the injury, he makes an intriguing deep fantasy sleeper.

• In advance of cutdown day, teams are trying to turn veterans who won't make their club into someone with a chance. Along those lines the Colts dealt Delone Carter to Baltimore for David Reed. Carter was battling former first-round pick Donald Brown for the RB3 gig behind Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard; he's no more of a lock to make the roster in Baltimore, but since the Colts already made their call it was nice of them to give him a shot elsewhere. Reed brings value as a kick returner in Indy, especially if the Colts run as much 2-TE sets as we think they will under Pep Hamilton.

• Remember when Jason Smith was the next big thing at offensive tackle? That hasn't exactly worked out for the former second-overall selection. The Saints released Smith Wednesday, marking the third team that has given up on him. Maybe the Bears or Cardinals or Chargers will kick the tires, but there doesn't seem to be much air there.

Join The Huddle today for full access to our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

• Remember that slobberknocker hit Jon Bostic put on Mike Willie in the Bears/Chargers game last week? You know, the one we saw highlights of on NFL Network over and over and over? Yeah, evidently the League thought there was too much helmet-to-helmet contact and slapped Bostic with a $21,000 fine. The hit wasn't flagged, but the league... well, guess we won't be waiting for a sequel to that "NFL's Greatest Hits" video.

• Finally, it looks as though Ray Guy may finally put a punter in the Hall of Fame. Guy was named as one of two senior committee nominees to the Hall, along with Falcons defensive end Claude Humphrey. The guy who invented hang time should be in the Hall; remember, punters are people too.


August 20, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
Michael Vick has won the week 1 starting job in Philly.

• It was apparently "name your starting quarterback" day in the NFL Tuesday. The Eagles announced that Michael Vick will be under center in Week 1, though Chip Kelly said both Vick and Nick Foles will be on the roster. The Browns ended the breathless speculation about their quarterback situation by naming Brandon Weeden as the starter for their season opener. And not to be outdone, reports out of New York indicate that Geno Smith will start… the third preseason game, unless he aggravates his ankle injury during the practice week. As for their Week 1 starter… stay tuned.

• The scoring rules in your league matter. So what do you do about that? You read the extensive new feature at The Huddle covering just that subject: "Understanding Your Scoring Rules."

• Good luck getting helpful injury news from the Patriots, who went beyond even NHL-level secrecy on their assessment of why Danny Amendola missed practice Tuesday. Bill Belichick indicated Amendola is day to day without addressing what the injury might be. C'mon, Bill; at least give us a "lower body injury" or something to work with!

• Also missing practice Tuesday was Aaron Rodgers, and while Rodgers trumps Tom Brady in the fantasy rankings there wasn't anywhere near the level of panic in Green Bay. Turns out Rodgers is suffering from a head cold; some orange juice, a little chicken soup, and Rodgers should be back in the mix before you know it.

• Back to the panic: Victor Cruz showed up for a news conference Tuesday morning on crutches, with his left foot in a walking boot. Maybe that's overkill for a bruised heel, but Cruz said he has "no concerns" about his availability for the Giants' season opener. After missing spring workouts due to his contract situation, Cruz needs to get at least a little time in with Eli Manning for fantasy owners--and the Giants--to be comfortable with his ability to match the numbers he put up in 2012.

•  Kirk Cousins is also nursing a foot injury, but the good news Tuesday morning was that an MRI revealed no ligament damage. Cousins may miss a week or two of practice, but he should still be ready for clipboard duty in Week 1--maybe more if Dr. James Andrews doesn't sign off on the availability of Robert Griffin III.

Join The Huddle today for full access to our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

• The league has spoken, and Antonio Smith will miss two preseason games and one regular season tilt for smacking Richie Incognito with his own helmet. Build that into your IDP projections for Smith, who initially appeared as if he might escape missing just a pair of fake games he wasn't going to play much in anyway.

• Finally, David Akers claims a "Charlie Brown" injury led to his fall from the league's highest scoring kicker to the bum who struggled through 2012. Akers said he fell while attempting a kickoff in practice, and while he felt okay right away things just "kind of built up". The 49ers released Akers, who is now battling Havard Rugland in Detroit for a gig that, given the Lions' offense, could be a fantasy helper. It's worth noting that Akers hit field goals of 54 and 63 yards during Monday's practice.


August 19, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
Looks like Denver LB Von Miller will find himself in this position for a while once the season starts.

• A swap of former first-round picks would normally draw more attention. But when those first-round picks are Chiefs bust WR Jon Baldwin and 49ers bust WR A.J. Jenkins... well, yawn. At least each will get a fresh start with a team looking for depth at the position. But if either could be counted on for the sort of productivity that earned them a first-round grade, they wouldn't have been a need for a trade in the first place.

• IDP'ers should check out this definitive breakdown of all 32 NFL teams from a defensive perspective and the impact to IDP players: "IDP Pre-Season Previews."

• The other big news of the day affects IDPers as well as fantasy owners looking to the Denver Broncos for defensive help this year. Indications are that Von Miller will be suspended for six games--significantly more than the "zero" the Broncos appeared to be banking on during the appeals process as well as a stiffer penalty than the usual two- and four-gamers the league hands out. Additional reports suggest Miller is negotiating with the league for a reduced penalty, but all signs point towards Denver being without their premier pass rusher for a healthy chunk of the start of the season. Not only does Miller's IDP value take a hit, the Broncos--widely considered a fantasy helper--will drop in the Team DST rankings as well.

• Not that it's news we weren't expecting, but latest reports that the availability of Rob Gronkowski for the start of the season is uncertain seem to be taking an ominous tone. New England beat reporters have been saying for some time that they expect Gronk to start the season on the PUP list, and while the Patriots may avoid that route in hopes of getting him back earlier than the mandatory six weeks it seems inevitable that Gronk won't be catching passes from Tom Brady in Week 1. In a related story, the fantasy stock of Zac Sudfeld continues to climb.

• Shrewd drafters adding Rueben Randle in the latter rounds as a sort of handcuff to oft-injured Hakeem Nicks received something of an added benefit in the injury to Victor Cruz, who is nursing a heel contusion. The Giants don't expect Cruz to play again in the preseason, as they don't want to risk a speed receiver with a foot injury on a meaningless game. That means more looks for Randle, who now has two routes to more targets in addition to serving as Eli Manning's third wide receiver.

•  Blaine Gabbert won't play another snap this preseason, but the Jaguars have apparently seen enough to name him the starting quarterback for Week 1. Gabbert suffered a hairline fracture of his throwing thumb during the Jags' second preseason game; still, he's expected to be ready for the practice week leading up the season opener. Fantasy owners can continue to ignore Gabbert as they've been doing all along.

Join The Huddle today for full access to our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

• A late trade Monday, this one involving linemen. The Browns sent defensive lineman Brian Sanford to Seattle in exchange for guard John Moffitt. Moffitt helps the Browns at a position where they're down two players already; Sanford was an undrafted free agent in 2010 who's stuck around and now finds himself with a chance to be part of one of the better defenses in the league.

• Finally, more kicker news. The Bills gave veteran Rian Lindell his walking papers and will roll with rookie Dustin Hopkins as their kicker. With Buffalo picking up the tempo offensively and possessing a bevy of young weapons, it's a job that might actually warrant fantasy attention--maybe not on draft day, but certainly once the bye weeks hit.

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