FANTASY FOOTBALL ARTICLES

The Huddle Daily -- Week Two Archive
July 29 - August 2, 2013  

August 2, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
Bills WR Stevie Johnson hobbled off the practice field Friday.

• Injury news heading into the weekend, and while it isn't as dire as last week's Harvin/Maclin/Pitta gut punch it does carry some fantasy sway. Stevie Johnson hobbled off during Friday's practice with a hamstring injury; indications are it's a strain, but it could knock him out for most of the preseason. That's bad news as far as Johnson getting on the same page as rookie E.J. Manuel, who is establishing himself as the Week 1 starter in Buffalo. But if you're looking for a silver lining, consider the extra reps youngsters like T.J. Graham, Robert Woods, Marquis Goodwin and Da'Rick Rogers will get. It's an intriguing group that, if Manuel is as good as hoped, could yield some serious fantasy bounty--especially in keeper and dynasty leagues.

• Heading to an early draft this weekend? Read Finding Fantasy Value at Tight End to unearth some value TE's you can draft late.

• After kicking the tires on multiple replacement options, the 49ers have apparently settled on Austin Collie as a solution to their thinning wide receiver corps. Collie is working his way back from a ruptured patellar tendon and also has a history of concussions, but if he can get (and stay) on the field he has a chance to make a fantasy impact with San Francisco looking for someone to help Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis in the passing game. The Niners also added Lavelle Hawkins to flesh out the position.

• Just as Arian Foster is poised to return to action, backup Ben Tate hobbled off Friday with a groin injury. Tate indicated the injury wasn't significant, and the expectation is he'll be back this weekend along with Foster, but it does highlight the handcuff's inability to stay healthy. To wit: Foster has missed three games in three years while his insurance policy has missed six in the past two. Too early to start mining the depth in Houston just yet, but it's a situation to be aware of if you're spending an early pick on Foster.

• Another mid-tier fantasy receiver with a hamstring problem: Tampa Bay's Mike Williams left Friday's practice due to hamstring issues, and there's no timetable for a return. Greg Schiano said Williams' injury is minor, but you know the drill with hamstring problems: they tend to linger.

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• Nothing like a little offensive line news to kick off the weekend. In New York first-round pick Justin Pugh is dealing with a concussion, which could delay his cracking the starting lineup as expected. Meanwhile, in Miami the hand is firmly poised over the panic button as Jonathan Martin struggles with the transition to blind side protector for Ryan Tannehill. This shouldn't come as a surprise given that Martin allowed the most QB hurries in the league last year despite playing primarily on the right side. The upshot is, Tannehill will have a tough time going deep to Mike Wallace with a pass-rushing end or linebacker in his face. And lack of deep shots takes much of the luster off of Wallace's fantasy value.

• Finally, Sebastian Janikowski inked a five-year contract extension worth $19 million. The deal will keep him kicking in Oakland for the foreseeable future, and also maintain his status as the best-paid kicker in the league. Janikowski still has a big leg, making him a fantasy perennial in distance leagues, but the Raiders offense will need to provide more opportunities for him to be a major factor.


August 1, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
In Giants training camp RB David Wilson is the "co-starter." Huh?

• The Giants have rolled out their first unofficial depth chart of the season, and David Wilson fans can't be happy that he and Andre Brown are listed as co-starters. While everyone knows Big Blue will use a committee approach, Wilson is being drafted based on the upside of at least a slightly more expanded role. It's worth noting that with similar carries last year--71 for Wilson, 73 for Brown--Brown actually outperformed Wilson with 385 yards and eight touchdowns compared to 358 and four for Wilson.

• The Huddle's Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule Swings could be the most important schedule strength analysis you read this pre-season.

• The 49ers continue to kick the tires on receivers. Austin Collie is back for a second look, and San Francisco will also test-drive Laurent Robinson, who has checked in with half a dozen NFL teams already as he tries to bounce back from his injury-marred 2012 campaign in Jacksonville.

• San Francisco may also need to look at defensive players as well. Patrick Willis has a slight fracture in his right hand, though it isn't expected to cost him any significant playing time. Meanwhile, cornerback Chris Culliver was carted off after injuring his left knee Thursday; no word yet, but any time the cart is out there's cause for concern.

• A little good news on the receiver front in New England as Julian Edelman was cleared to come off the PUP list. Bill Belichick indicated that the veteran "has some ground to make up, according to ESPN, due to having missed much of the offseason workouts and all of training camp due to a foot injury. Rookie Aaron Dobson, who is one of the young wideouts looking to displace Edelman, also returned to practice after taking a cleat to the ankle earlier in the week.

• The Jaguars appear to be scaling back expectations and workload for Denard Robinson after the rookie opened camp doing a little bit of everything: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, punt returns, and kick returns. Robinson struggled with some fumbles and drops, so Jacksonville is taking him off punt return duty for now and using him offensively on running plays and in the wildcat formation. Still, on a team short on playmakers it wouldn't be surprising that, once the dropsies are gone, the Jaguars find a way to get the ball into Robinson's hands 10 times a game.

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

• Who doesn't like kicker news? In Detroit, Havard Rugland--aka YouTube sensation "Kickalicious"--recorded his first misses of training camp on Thursday after connecting on his first 11 "official" field goal attempts--including a 58-yarder. Rugland is battling veteran David Akers, who is just a couple years removed from leading the league in scoring. Staying in the NFC North, the Packers have a spirited battle for their kicking gig--one with obvious fantasy upside--as Giorgio Tavecchio is pushing incumbent Mason Crosby. Tavecchio is 10-for-12 in camp, while Crosby, who struggled mightily last year and made just 63 percent of his field goals, is 9-for-11.

• Finally, as if Mario Williams wasn't having enough difficulty fighting through injuries to get back on the field, now he's apparently auditioning for a sequel to Police Academy. Williams is at the center of an investigation into a law enforcement academy in Texas, where he reportedly completed the 660 hours required for certification in four months (do the math, it's an impressive rate). Williams is apparently licensed to be a police officer anywhere in the state of Texas, so if this whole football thing doesn't work out for him at least he's got that to fall back on. Maybe.


July 31, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
The Jets hope Chris Ivory can emerge as their feature back this season.

Blaine Gabbert rolled his ankle a couple days back, and while he sat out Wednesday's practice session with a wrap on his injured ankle he indicated that he'll be back on Thursday. Meanwhile, Chad Henne worked with the starters; his highlights included a touchdown toss to Cecil Shorts, a look-off completion to Marcedes Lewis, and an option pitch to Maurice Jones-Drew. No wonder Gabbert is in a hurry to get back.

• The Huddle's Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule Swings could be the most important schedule strength analysis you read this pre-season.

• The Jets hope Chris Ivory emerges as their feature back, but according to ESPN they're only banking on him for 15 carries a game. For rationale look no further than Wednesday, when Ivory left the practice field with the trainer prior to team drills. Ivory is dealing with a bum hamstring and has already indicated he won't practice Thursday. With Mike Goodson still absent, Bilal Powell appears to be the current leader for Gang Green carries. And if Shonn Greene can hammer out a 1,000-yard season in that offense, anyone can.

• With Percy Harvin slated to miss three months following hip surgery and Sidney Rice in Switzerland getting treatment on his knee, the Seahawks are looking for receiver help. Golden Tate stepped up during Wednesday's practice, hauling in a long completion against Brandon Browner; rookie Chris Harper also made a nice play against the first-team secondary. Coach Pete Carroll also singled out Jermaine Kearse and Stephen Williams as receivers who could move up in the rotation.

• The Colts have a pair of position battles playing out in training camp, both with fantasy ramifications. Darrius Heyward-Bey is starting over TY Hilton even though DHB continues to drop catchable balls; with new OC Pep Hamilton less likely to run as many three-WR sets as Bruce Arians did last year, failing to beat out DHB for the WR2 gig will cost Hilton snaps--and long-ball opportunities in the new offense will be scarce enough already. To wit, Coby Fleener was the pass-catching star of Tuesday's camp and could be the guy taking the biggest bite out of Hilton's potential numbers. Meanwhile, Vick Ballard runs with the first team while Ahmad Bradshaw sports his familiar walking boot. Those two appear set at RB1 and RB2, but if Bradshaw can't stay healthy Indy's RB3 might come into play. It's looking like that won't be Delone Carter, who is dropping passes while running with the third team while rookie Kerwynn Williams is flashing speed as both a back and return man. Williams might wind up sticking over former first-round pick Donald Brown as well.

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

Jonathan Stewart remains sidelined due to injury, and while that opens the door for more DeAngelo Williams it also gives the Panthers an opportunity to look at speedy rookie Kenjon Barner. Don't expect Barner to see significant carries (barring injury, of course, and when Stewart is involved there always seems to be injury), but he and Ted Ginn--who himself is making a strong showing as a potential WR3--could spice up the Carolina return game for leagues that include the return game in defensive scoring.

• Finally, the league announced they're turning the Pro Bowl into a big real-life fantasy football game, with Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders drafting from players selected by coaches, players, and fans. The new-look Pro Bowl will also do away with kickoffs and add two-minute drills to the end of each quarter. Whether the new format reinvigorates the Pro Bowl remains to be seen, but it certainly can't hurt.


July 30, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
Can Bills rookie E.J. Manuel win the starting job in training camp?

• With new coach Doug Marrone upping the tempo, the Bills are a team fantasy owners are keeping a close eye on. And the key position battle in Buffalo is at quarterback, where despite Kevin Kolb continuing to get first shot at first-team snaps rookie E.J. Manuel is making the more favorable impression. Tuesday's highlights included a deep completion to fellow rook Da'Rick Rogers; meanwhile, Kolb hasn't been awful but sems to be losing ground in the battle.

• Receiver is always the deepest position in fantasy football, which means there’s a lot of value throughout the draft. Due to the number of players at the position a bevy of productive pass catchers can be found in the double-digit rounds of fantasy drafts. Here are five receivers that are being selected in Round 10 or later but have a good chance to make a fantasy impact in 2013.

• With the Raiders breaking in a new quarterback, it's entirely possible their receiver rotation undergoes a shakeup as well. To that end, Matt Flynn has been consistently finding Rod Streater during practices, to the point that Streater may be emerging as not just Oakland's go-to guy but a viable fantasy contributor as well.

• Good news on the Arian Foster front, as Gary Kubiak has indicated that he expects the Texans' stud running back to be off the PUP and back on the field midweek. Foster's return should put a halt to his slide down fantasy draft boards, though it does solidify Ben Tate as the must-have handcuff of the 2013 season.

Danny Amendola continues to stand out in New England but dynamite Twitter follow Doug Kyed of NESN (@DougKyedNESN) has a couple other names to track. With Aaron Dobson on the sidelines, Kenbrell Thompkins took advantage of his opportunity to run with the ones and make a push for a role in the receiver rotation. Additionally, athletic tight end Zach Sudfeld might be the best fit on the Patriots roster to replace what Aaron Hernandez brought to the table. Kyed notes that Sudfeld has speed that Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells, and Michael Hoomanawanui don't and could play out wide--much like Hernandez did. Bottom line, guys who are in line to catch passes from Tom Brady certainly deserve to be on your fantasy radar.

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

• While the Seahawks wait for news on Percy Harvin and his troublesome hip--Harvin had a second opinion earlier Tuesday and is reportedly mulling his options, including season-ending surgery--Sidney Rice is in Switzerland getting treatment on his knee. Why Switzerland, aside from the chocolate and the yodeling? Because in Europe you can get some procedures which haven't been approved by the FDA. Pete Carroll indicated that he doesn't expect Rice to miss any games, but right about now Golden Tate is starting to look like a pretty promising fantasy play as Russell Wilson's primary--only?--target.

• Finally, after pointing out the photo of Packers rookie Eddie Lacy that was making the rounds yesterday we would be derelict in our duties if we didn't follow up by noting that it was an incredibly unflattering shot that made Lacy look vastly bigger than he truly is. Of course, that didn't stop Green Bay teammates from picking on Lacy. The good news is, Packers coach Mike McCarthy noted that if there were any conditioning concerns that player wouldn't be on the field, and Lacy hasn't missed any practice time.


July 29, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
The training camp injury to Jeremy Maclin has the Eagles scrambling.

• The loss of Jeremy Maclin to a season-ending knee injury has the Eagles looking for ways to replace his offensive contribution, and GM Howie Roseman has indicated the solution will most likely come from within. While Riley Cooper is the leading candidate to start opposite DeSean Jackson, tight ends James Casey and Zach Ertz and running back Bryce Brown will see their roles expanded as well. And Jackson takes over as the clear-cut WR1, with obvious upside. Chip Kelly said of Jackson, "He could be a real special player in this league, but he's got to make that decision that he wants to be." This would be a good time for Jackson to want to be.

• Receiver is always the deepest position in fantasy football, which means there’s a lot of value throughout the draft. Due to the number of players at the position a bevy of productive pass catchers can be found in the double-digit rounds of fantasy drafts. Here are five receivers that are being selected in Round 10 or later but have a good chance to make a fantasy impact in 2013.

• Speaking of injured NFC East receivers, Hakeem Nicks kicked off training camp by tweaking his groin. After missing time last year with foot and knee injuries, and looking for a Victor Cruz-like payday with his contract expiring at the end of this season, this isn't how Nicks wanted to launch the 2013 campaign. Rueben Randle looks to be playing his way not only into the Giants' WR3 spot but potentially a starting gig if Nicks can't stay healthy.

• The other major injury news over the weekend came out of Baltimore, where Dennis Pitta suffered a hip injury that will wipe out his entire season. The Ravens signed Visanthe Shiancoe to take Pitta's roster spot, and if he's able to quickly acclimate to the Ravens he could provide a nice wingman option to Ed Dickson, who now becomes the starter. Pitta's absence could also allow Tandon Doss, a possession receiver pushing Jacoby Jones for Anquan Boldin's old spot, to become more involved as well.

• The battle to quarterback the Bills has begun, with Kevin Kolb taking most the first round of first-team snaps but rookie E.J. Manuel getting some work with the starters as well. Manuel has drawn praise thus far in camp, notably connecting on long "touchdowns" in one-on-one drills with fellow rookies Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. He also hit T.J. Graham twice during the late session on Sunday. Not a bad bit of throwing for a team that's found most of its recent success on the ground.

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

• Lots of receiver talk as teams are dusting off their passing game. In Miami, where Mike Wallace is getting all the press, the Dolphins lost Armon Binns to a torn ACL Sunday. Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson are the best of what's left opposite Wallace, but Marvin McNutt has played well early on and looks to be ahead of Rishard Matthews and Jeff Fuller for a roster spot--and maybe more.

• Finally, go ahead and do a search for Eddie Lacy photos on your Internet browser of choice. Apparently the running back battle in Green Bay is over, because Lacy ate fellow rookie Jonathan Franklin. The photo is anything but flattering; even so, it appears Lacy is not yet in football shape. With Franklin looking good and expected to play in passing situations, and the Packers quite fond of throwing the ball, Franklin is shaping up to be a solid fantasy sleeper--especially if Lacy's shape continues to be round.

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