Cleat Geeks

Preseason Preview; Green Bay Packers

Week 3 of the preseason is now behind us for all teams, and let’s face it, week four is nothing more than a formality. We here at CleatGeeks are proud to bring you the fans great football coverage all season long on your favorite teams. This starts with our preseason previews and continues through out the season with weekly articles. As the editor of CleatGeeks I gave each of our talented football writers the same five questions to answer about the team they cover. These answers give us the Preseason Preview for the Green Bay Packers by Tim Ross.

What players are you most excited to watch this season? Why?

This answer is quite simple Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers carried the Packers to the playoffs and ultimately into the NFC championship game last season with a run of quarterback performance that few in the NFL can equal. He said the Packers would run the table when they were 4-6 and coming off several blow-outs in November of last season. Rodgers not only talked big but also performed big to end last season. He ended the season with 40 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. Later I will reveal a fair expectation for the Packers this season. Rodgers will play a large role in that expectation becoming a reality. Rodgers remains in the prime of his career and fans of the green and gold can bank on another greater season from him.

Who were the teams biggest departures and additions?

The Packers biggest free agency departure is TJ Lang. Lang had issues with a hip injury that gave him trouble all season last year but at 29 Lang was still a key member of the Packers offensive line. Adding a little more sting to Lang’s departure is the fact that Lang ended up with the divisional rival Lions. The Packers biggest addition of the off season is Martellus Bennett. Bennett basically traded Hall of Fame quarterbacks in going from Tom Brady to Aaron Rodgers in free agency. Benett should provide the Packers offense with yet another weapon for Rodgers to work with. Benett had 701 yard and 7 touchdowns last season with New England.

What fantasy players from the Green Bay Packers team will be on my actual fantasy team?

Image result for Jordy Nelson packersHard to pick just one here as the Packers figure to have one of the most high powered offenses in the league. I know a common fantasy strategy is for people to draft a quarterback and pair him with a receiver or two from the same team. This strategy is used as it is a way of getting “double points” for a long pass or touchdown. As Rodgers for example can hit touchdowns to Jordy Nelson or Davante Adams. If a player owns Rodgers and Nelson or Adams they can get double points for a touchdown pass and reception. Along this line of thinking, Rodgers, Adams, Nelson and Benett are all solid Packers to look to draft. Randall Cobb is due for a bounce back season following last year when he only had 610 yards and four touchdowns. Also Mason Crosby has shown that in the bad weather in Green Bay that is possible in November and December that he can be an excellent and productive fantasy kicker. The bottom line is the Packers have a deep and powerful offense on paper. There is only one ball on the field and Rodgers has shown he will go to whoever is open, but there are plenty of Packers to consider having on your fantasy roster.Image result for Mason Crosby packers

Which games on the schedule are most important to your team?

Week 1 Seattle, Week 2 @ Atlanta, Week 5 @ Dallas, Week 15 @ Carolina. Assuming the Packers are the best team in the north division, this 4 game cluster will be against the other teams that I figure to be the other contending teams in the NFC. How the Packers perform in these four games figure to factor greatly in what their playoff seed will be. The thing that is a little concerning about these games is all figure to be important and three of these four are on the road.

What is your realistic expectation for your team this season?

The Packers ranked second worst in the NFL in pass defense last season. They also had a ton of injuries. If the pass defense is significantly better, the Packers  offensive line is able to cover the loss of Lang while on the whole keeping this roster reasonably healthy the Packers have again assembled a roster that has the talent to be the NFC’s representative in the Supper Bowl in Houston in February.

Draft Smarter, Not Harder

 

As the 2017 Fantasy Football season approaches, nearly every potential team owner is studying one way or another. Everyone is trying to develop a strategy that they think will put them above the rest of the other players during the draft. The most famous buzzword in all of sports, “sleeper,” is thrown around in casual conversations with friends as they make bold predictions about players they are targeting, but no one pays enough attention to the already well established (and consistently healthy) players enough. As you get ready for your draft, remember, no one will win a league based on the upside of their draft. Winning a league comes from health and consistency, and of course, a little luck. Here is a quick rundown, by position, of healthy and consistent players that you should not pass up for potential breakouts.

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Quarterback

We all know it is a passing league these days, and the fact that there were 13 QB’s that threw for over 4,000 yards in 2016 will prove that. Reaching for a QB early in a draft never really made much sense to me unless you absolutely nail your first 2-3 picks. Players like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are elite talents, but you don’t need them to win. The difference between the 4th highest scoring QB last year and the 10th was right around 30 points for the season. That means that when you reached for that QB in the 4th or 5th round, you still only got less than 2 points per week more than someone you could have drafted a few rounds later. That is not enough of a difference to warrant a mid-round pick, in my opinion. That is why I will be targeting players like Matthew Stafford in my leagues. He is in a pass-heavy offense and proved that he can still put up very solid numbers even without Megatron. He is a lock for 4,000 yards passing every year and you can bank on him throwing 23-26 TD’s. He will be readily available for you in the much later rounds, and even if there is for some reason a QB run you should feel confident knowing he will be there after you fill out the rest of your starting lineup. Another player I don’t mind waiting for is Russel Wilson. His overall numbers were down, mostly due to injuries that lead to his lack of mobility, but he comes into 2017 healthy and ready to bounce back. He will most certainly fly off the draft board before Matthew Stafford, but he will still probably be there in the later rounds when you begin to draft players who will be spending most of the season on your bench.

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Running Backs

Outside of the top 3 (Johnson, Bell, Zeke), it will be hard to predict who is the next best back because nearly every team has a third down back. There are very few 3-down backs in the league, so you need to look for someone who has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Many people will look to Jay Ajayi, but Ajayi has a very rusty and out of shape Jay Cutler as his QB and will likely face defenses that are focused solely on stopping him instead of the Miami passing game. Melvin Gordon is another option here, especially with the departure of Danny Woodhead, but he is coming off knee and hip surgery and is too risky for me at his current first round price. Running backs after the big 3 that I like are Devonta Freeman and LeSean McCoy. Freeman does lose touches to Tevin Coleman, but that didn’t stop him from surpassing 1,500 total yards for the second season in a row. Even though he lost some time to Coleman, Freeman was still one of the better pass catchers out of the backfield, hauling in 54 catches for 462 yards and 2 TDs. LeSean McCoy on the other hand is a three-down back with potential for 300 touches in 2017. Even though he missed one game, McCoy still caught 50 passes in 2016 and scored 14 total TDs. For whatever reason people I talk to seem to forget his age (he is only 28) and say he is over the hill. In my opinion, I think he is one of the safer bets at the RB position.

 

Wide Receivers

TY Hilton was a big surprise to everyone last year and was an absolute gift to the people who drafted him. Setting a career high with 91 catches and led the NFL with 1,448 yards, Hilton took a huge step forward and showed everyone that he is the real deal. Playing in every game over the past two seasons, TY has averaged over 130 targets over the past three years, and his volume and ability to stay on the field make him a bankable fantasy option. He is a great late second round pick and seems to be falling there right into some lucky owners lap. Two other players I see at the WR position having another strong year are Doug Baldwin and Demaryius Thomas. Neither has missed a game in the last three years and are very low-risk players. These two might be available in the third round, and if they are, you better not pass them up unless you already have two wide outs on your roster. Honorable mention here goes to Julian Edelman who will get grossly overlooked this year because of the addition of Brandon Cooks. It would not surprise me if he outplays Cooks or at the very least is on par with him even though Cooks is going 2-3 rounds earlier.

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Tight End

Tight end is another position where if you don’t get an elite talent you should not waste a mid-round pick on. The top three names that usually come off the board are Gronk, Travis Kelce, and Jordan Reed, and each of them comes with a lot of risk. A full 16 games from these players can lead to something special, but I find it hard to reach for players like that early in a draft. I would much rather wait on Jimmy Graham or Greg Olsen if I am planning on filling that spot a little earlier than usual, but two players I like this year are Kyle Rudolph and Martellus Bennett. Bennett is a brand new tool for superstar Aaron Rodgers and has the ability to put up very good numbers. He can be kind of an upside pick, but he is a very safe one at the least. Green Bay will be throwing the ball constantly once again, especially with Ty Montgomery and his inexperience in the backfield. Kyle Rudolph, on the other hand, is no superstar, but he hasn’t missed a game in two years and amassed a whopping 132 targets last season, more than any tight end in the league. He is another forgotten name because of the possibility of greatness at the top and could end up being a great value pick later in your draft. Like Bennett, he is a high floor pick.

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In closing, no matter who you draft, no matter how much upside and talent they have, they still need to stay on the field. This list of players can be used as fallback guys if you like. Miss out on Amari Cooper? Look for Baldwin and Thomas. Have a late first round pick? Nab Freeman or McCoy. Forget about drafting a tight end? Hope for Rudolph, wait for Bennett, and remember, you would rather have 4 starting WR/RB players on your roster than 3 and a QB in the 4th.

Top Ten Fantasy Receivers

One of the deepest positions in fantasy football is wide receiver. There are so many guys who can produce in this group, it makes sense to wait on drafting them. However, some guys are worth investing in early. The type of guys you can depend on every week to get you double digit points. Here are my top ten receivers to have in the 2017 season.

10) Brandin Cooks

Tom Brady has a new toy to play with this year and his name is Brandin Cooks. His break away speed and his elusiveness will make for many big plays in the Patriots offense. Look for him to be targeted often in New England, racking up lots of receptions which will mean lots of points in PPR league.

9) Amari Cooper

Image result for amari cooper raiders

The Raiders returned to the playoffs last year thanks in large part to Oakland’s passing attack. Cooper, the most explosive target on the Raiders, should help them repeat that success in 2017. His size and explosiveness make him an up and coming star, in his way to being one of the best in the game. Look for big touchdown numbers from Derek Carr’s favorite target this year.

8) Dez Bryant

The Cowboys are a run first team, but that shouldn’t take away from Bryant’s fantasy value. In fact, it should add to it. Opposing defenses will be stacking the box, thus leaving on an island to make plays. With as physical and talented as Dez is, he’s going to rank up a lot of points and a lot of touchdowns this year.

7) Jordy Nelson

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Nelson is consistently overlooked as one of the elite receivers in the game. His ability to take the top off the defense and excellent hands make him a big play threat every week. He’s starting to get a little older, in terms of football years, so he may start to slow down some. Even if he does begin to slow down, he’ll still be one of the best in the game.

6) T.Y. Hilton

Hilton can really do it all. He’s going to get you a lot of receptions and is a big play threat down the field. His situation is also really good for fantasy owners, playing with a great quarterback who will be forced to throw the ball a lot this year. Hilton is a very low risk pick and will be great this year.

5) AJ Green

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Green is an absolute stud. His speed, size and hands are some of the best in the league. There’s no doubt he’ll have a great year, especially with the addition of John Ross to take pressure off him. The only thing that could hold him back even a little is the play of his quarterback.

4) Mike Evans

Evans is a big physical receiver who makes his money in the red zone. Expect him to still get his fair share of touchdowns this season, but I think there’s a chance his numbers dip just a little this year. The Bucs brought in several new weapons in the off-season, so his targets will likely dip. Evans will still get his, but I can’t put him any higher than this.

3) Odell Beckham

Beckham might be the most talented receiver in the NFL. He’s explosive and can really go up and get the ball. So why isn’t this super star of the top of my list? Part of it is questions about an aging Eli Manning. Part of it is a number of bigger targets who could potentially steal a lot of touchdowns from him. Regardless, Beckham will still put up big numbers this year.

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2) Julio Jones

Jones is the best in the game as far as I’m concerned. He’s everything you could really hope for in a wide receiver; talk, fast, skilled, you name it. He’s going to be towards the top of the leader boards in every receiving category. I’m a little nervous about how the Falcons will adjust to a new offensive coordinator, but this kind of talent transcends scheme and coaching.

1) Antonio Brown

Image result for antonio brown catch

Brown is in a perfect position in terms of fantasy receivers. He’s got talent around him, but not too much that it’s going to cut into his production. He’ll get loads of receptions and he has a knack for finding the end zone. I’m a little concerned that Big Ben might start to slow down this year, but I don’t anticipate that slowing Brown down at all.

Fantasy Football Focus: Top Ten Quarterbacks for the 2017 Season

July is upon us, which means our fantasy football drafts will be right around the corner. Conventional wisdom would tell you to wait on drafting a quarterback because the position is so deep and full of production. That’s as true this year as it ever has been. There are some excellent QBs in the league right now, so even in deep 16 team leagues everyone should find a quality starter. However, there are a few guys who stand out above the rest. Here are my top ten fantasy QBs for the 2017 season.

10) Cam Newton

This time last year Newton was coming off a Super Bowl appearance and an incredible MVP season. Despite dropping back down to his career norms last season, he still offers a lot in fantasy. His ability to run combined with what he offers as a passer will give you a lot of ways to score, specifically touchdowns. Then consider that the Panthers added a pair of pass catching RB to help him out of the backfield and it feels clear that Newton will be one of the top fantasy options in 2017.

9) Andrew Luck

Luck is a fantastic quarterback who has already proven he can elevate his teammates despite not having great talent around him. Last year he ranked eighth in passing yards and fifth in passing touchdowns. You can probably expect similar numbers in the upcoming season as most of his supporting cast is the same. Assuming his offensive line can protect him, he’s basically a top ten fantasy lock.

8) Derek Carr

Fresh off his massive pay day, Carr should be in the conversation for MVP again this season. He ranked 8th in passing touchdowns and was less than 70 yards away from cracking the 4,000 passing yard mark for the first time in his career. The most impressive part of Carr’s game is his low number of interceptions. He threw just six last year, so if you’re in a league the penalized hard for turnovers that’s something to consider. Now with Latavius Murray taking his talents to the Vikings, more of the offense will revolve around Carr throwing the ball than ever before.

7) Drew Brees

Undoubtably, Brees is one of the best to ever play the game. Even at 37 years old he threw for another 5,000+ yards (most passing yards in the NFL) and 37 touchdowns (third most passing TD’s in the NFL). So why is he only my seventh rated fantasy QB going into 2017? Two reasons. One is that he is 37 years old and it’s only a matter of time until he starts slowing down. The second and more important reason is the loss of Brandin Cooks. His 1,100+ yards of production and his excellent explosiveness are just gone with no replacement and that’s going to hurt Brees as a result. Even so, he should still have a very good year.

6) Marcus Mariota

It’s in their third year that most young quarterbacks elevate their game from good to great. That should be fun to watch for Titans fans as he already ranked tenth in passing touchdowns last season. Now with the addition of fifth overall pick Corey Davis, as the number one wide receiver, and Eric Decker, one of the best slot receivers in the game, Mariota’s numbers should be on the rise. Look for him to be one of the top passers in 2017.

5) Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben is one of the best in the game and has elite playmakers around him. He ranked sixth in touchdown passes last year while missing two games. Now fully healthy going into the season, with Le’Veon Bell expected to play a full season this year, Big Ben should prove to still be one of the elite QB’s in the game. The only thing fantasy owners have to worry about is if he’ll stay healthy the entire year (which he rarely seems to do). So draft Big Ben early, but also consider drafting a backup earlier than normal just in case.

Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4) Jameis Winston 

Winston is another third year quarterback who is expected to make a big jump this season. After becoming the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4,000+ yards in his first two seasons, the Bucs actually got him some real playmakers to throw to. With the addition of DeSean Jackson in free agency and OJ Howard and Chris Godwin in the draft, Winston’s passing yards (12th in the NFL last year) and passing touchdowns (7th in the NFL last year) to improve dramatically. Don’t be shocked to see him in MVP conversations in 2017.

3) Matt Ryan

Last year Ryan put together a career season on his way to an MVP award and a Super Bowl appearance. While I don’t expect him to be quiet as good this year, I still expect him to be excellent. The Falcons have the best group of skill position players in the NFL, highlighted by the best receiver in the game in Julio Jones. It’s hard to say exactly how the offense will respond to a new coordinator calling the plays, but I can’t overlook Matty Ice and the talent he has to work with.

2) Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers was a fantasy stud last year.  He was fourth in the NFL in passing yards and first in passing touchdowns. Will all of his weapons returning, plus a few more coming in via the draft and free agency, I see no reason Rodgers can repeat or even improve upon last year’s numbers.

1) Tom Brady

Brady didn’t put up the eye popping numbers that many of the guys on this list did last year. That was because he was suspended for the first four games of the year. Even so, he still threw 28 touchdowns and helped lead the Patriots to an epic Super Bowl win. Now he’s not only back for a full season, but he’s got one of the best receivers in the game to throw to this year. Brandin Cooks was traded to the Patriots in the offseason, which means the 1,100+ yards that Drew Brees lost is now at Brady’s disposal.

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Hype/Gripe: Week 14

If you’re reading this article in preparation for your matchup this week, congrats on making the fantasy playoffs! Every week is sudden death from here on out, so it’s win or go home! Obviously you’re here to gain some insight for this week, but also ask me questions on Twitter if you have any! I’m here to help you win a championship, unless you’re in my league.

In this article, I will be hyping up some players this week, but also will share some gripes on a few others. There is one thing I need to stress: this is not a start/sit article. You can use it as a tool to decide who to start/sit, but not every “hype” means “start,” and vice versa. All “hype” means is I think that player will out-perform their current value and projections. This means I think a player who is a “gripe” will under-perform based on their current value and projections. If you would like to see how I think everyone stacks up this week, I highly suggest you take a look at my rankings!

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Hyped Quarterback for Week 14

Russell Wilson, vs GB: Wilson has not been good this season, but he is coming around lately. He is definitely passing better, and his knee is looking healthier since he has been scrambling again (42.6 rushing YPG over the past three games). It is not a secret that the banged-up Packers have struggled to defend the pass, and now linebacker Nick Perry will be out too, which diminishes their pass rush. I’m not worried about the weather, start Russ in this fantastic matchup.

Other “Hyped” QBs:

Cam Newton, vs SD
Carson Palmer, vs MIA

If You’re Desperate: Worried about Colin Kaepernick after last week? I don’t blame you. I do think this was a fluke though, and he will get the privilege of passing against the Jets. Kaepernick has expressed interest in leaving this offseason, so he should be extra motivated to prove he deserves to be paid.

 

Quarterbacks Who Get Gripes for Week 14

Marcus Mariota, vs DEN
Blake Bortles, vs MIN

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Hyped Running Back for Week 14

Jeremy Hill, vs CLE: Hill has had a couple tough matchups in a row, which caused him to really struggle running the ball. He should bounce back this week against a terrible Browns defense that gives up the second-most rushing yards per game at 140.6 and 4.5 YPC. Expect the Bengals to come out and establish the run to take pressure off of Dalton. In his game against them earlier this season, Hill had a modest 168 yards on nine carries! Yeah, I’m hyping this guy up this week.

Other “Hyped” RBs:

Matt Forte, vs SF
Jordan Howard, vs DET

If You’re Desperate: Rex Burkhead has taken over Giovani Bernard’s role after his injury, and he obviously has the same things going for him that Hill does. He was given twelve touches last week, and I expect somewhere in that range again. That might be all he needs against this defense to hold flex value.

 

Running Backs Who Get Gripes for Week 14

Jay Ajayi, vs ARI
Rashad Jennings, vs DAL

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Hyped Wide Receiver for Week 14

Doug Baldwin, vs GB: Baldwin is clearly Wilson’s favorite target, and they  have one of the best matchups this week. Out of the slot, Baldwin will be matched up with Micah Hyde in this one. While Hyde is a very talented player, he tends to struggle in man coverage and while surely struggle to stay on Baldwin through four quarters.

Other “Hyped” WRs:

Kenny Britt, vs ATL
Pierre Garcon, vs PHI

If You’re Desperate: Robby Anderson has consistently been getting snaps for the Jets, but now his value is experiencing a big boost. After Bryce Petty came in at quarterback, Anderson saw 10-of-25 of Petty’s targets. Look for him to see a lot of targets again this week as he faces the 49ers.

 

Wide Receivers Who Get Gripes for Week 14

Rishard Matthews, vs DEN
Allen Robinson, vs MIN

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Hyped Tight End for Week 14

Zach Ertz, vs WAS: Ertz has received 32 targets over the past three weeks from Carson Wentz, and I like his matchup this week! The Redskins have struggled with tight ends lately, just look at the five catches for 52 yards they gave up to Jermaine Gresham last week! That equals the most yards Gresham has had this season, so this points to great things from Ertz. Look for him to receive around ten targets yet again.

Other “Hyped” TEs:

Tyler Eifert, vs CLE
Jason Witten, vs NYG

If You’re Desperate: Vance McDonald is not one of the big names people talk about, but he is quietly performing well. Excluding last game, he is averaging just above 48 yards per game with Kaepernick throwing to him. In a good matchup with the Jets, McDonald is a clear sleeper this week.

 

Tight Ends Who Get Gripes for Week 14

Jordan Reed, vs PHI
Dwayne Allen, vs HOU

 

Like this week Hype/Gripe? Let me know! Also, please share any questions, concerns, compliments/criticisms on the article or whatever! This helps me know how to write the best article for YOU!

Hype/Gripe: Week 13

Do not panic, but we are quickly approaching the end of the NFL season! Sad, I know. We are in week 13, which is a huge week for fantasy football. You may be starting your playoffs, fighting for the playoffs, or trying to knock somebody out of the playoffs! 

In this article, I will be hyping up some players this week, but also will share some gripes on a few others. There is one thing I need to stress: this is not a start/sit article. You can use it as a tool to decide who to start/sit, but not every “hype” means “start,” and vice versa. All “hype” means is I think that player will out-perform their current value and projections. This means I think a player who is a “gripe” will under-perform based on their current value and projections. If you would like to see how I think everyone stacks up this week, I highly suggest you take a look at my rankings!

Quarterbacks Who Are Hyped for Week 13

Andrew Luck, vs NYJ: Luck returns from his week off all rested up from being hit every other throw to play the Jets. Could there be anything better? Don’t think too hard about this one, play Andrew Luck. I know his offensive line is unable to protect him, but remember, the Jets are also unable to cover anyone. The Jets also only have 19 sacks on the year. This is not saying their pass rush is tied for second-worst in the league, it’s because opposing quarterbacks only need one second for their receiving options to get open.

Other “Hyped” QBs:

Colin Kaepernick, vs CHI
Philip Rivers, vs TB
Matthew Stafford, vs NO

If You’re Desperate: Alex Smith has a great matchup with the Falcons. Atlanta was giving up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks as it is, but it was announced that star cornerback Trufant is done of the season. The Falcons shouldn’t struggle too much putting up points, so Smith may be forced to pass a bit more often. It also appears Maclin will be back this week, so that improves Smith’s receiving corps quite a bit.

Quarterbacks Who Get Gripes for Week 13

Blake Bortles, vs DEN
Andy Dalton, vs PHI

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Running Backs Who Are Hyped for Week 13

Jordan Howard, vs SF: Howard will wear a pair of custom cleats this Sunday to honor his late father. If the matchup against the 49ers didn’t make you drool before, this bit of extra motivation and inspiration should put Howard over the top and lead to a big game from the rookie.

Other “Hyped” RBs:

Theo Riddick, vs NO
Doug Martin, vs SD
Matt Forte, vs IND

If You’re Desperate: Kenneth Dixon received a career-high 17 touches last week, which resulted in 80 yards. I expect the Ravens to keep feeding the rookie, and there’s a chance he is not even owned!

 

Running Backs Who Get Gripes for Week 13

Jay Ajayi, vs BAL
Jonathan Stewart, vs SEA

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Wide Receivers Who Are Hyped for Week 13

Marvin Jones vs NO: Remember Marvin Jones? He’s the guy everyone was bragging about that they “knew he’s be amazing this year,” but then he seemingly fell off the face of the earth. Well, look for him to return to relevancy with this juicy matchup against the Saints! It’s pretty obvious that the Lions will pass a ton in this game and Jones should be matched up with Delvin Breaux quite often, and he can take full advantage of this. He has not found the end zone since week six, and I am on record right here and now when I say this pitiful streak ends on Sunday. I will either be looking smart or like an ass after this game, so stay tuned in to celebrate or harass me on Twitter.

Other “Hyped” WRs:

Jordy Nelson, vs HOU
Doug Baldwin, vs CAR
Willie Snead, vs DET

If You’re Desperate: Taylor Gabriel from the Falcons is owned in less than one-third of leagues, which is crazy. The guy is averaging 80.5 total yards and a touchdown over the past four games! He gets a good matchup with the Chiefs here, so take a look and see if Gabriel is still out there on waivers.

 

Wide Receivers Who Get Gripes for Week 13

Davante Adams, vs HOU
Marqise Lee, vs DEN

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Tight Ends Who Are Hyped for Week 13

Travis Kelce vs ATL: This is a combination of Atlanta struggling against tight ends and Kelce performing really well. He has 100+ yards in the last 3-of-5 games, including back-to-back games. This has partially been due to Maclin missing time, but Maclin’s return should just open things up for Kelce even more in this game! As I said above, Smith may have to stay aggressive in this one. Well, as aggressive as an Alex Smith-led offense gets. When the Chiefs have success on offense, you know Kelce is involved.

Other “Hyped” TEs:

Eric Ebron, vs NO
C.J. Fiedorowicz, vs GB
Zach Ertz, vs CIN

If You’re Desperate: Vance McDonald is not just a receiving option in Chip Kelly’s offense, he is a go-to guy for Kaepernick. He has received 6+ targets in the past six games, and is a solid option at tight end even if you’re not desperate! He is quietly performing well, so he may not have been on the radar of your league opponents.

 

Tight Ends Who Get Gripes for Week 13

Reed/Davis, vs ARI
Tyler Eifert, vs PHI

Like this week Hype/Gripe? Let me know! Also, please share any questions, concerns, compliments/criticisms on the article or whatever! This helps me know how to write the best article for YOU!

Hype/Gripe: Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving, ladies and geeks! There’s not much better than a day full of food and football! I asked on Twitter earlier in the week if you all wanted a normal “Hype/Gripe” or a Thanksgiving edition, and an overwhelming majority demanded for me to get festive and break out a holiday edition of this article! We have three games to choose from today: MIN vs DET, WAS vs DAL, and PIT vs IND. Since there are significantly less players to choose from, this edition will obviously be a bit shorter than we all are used to. If you have any more questions about the games today or the rest of the week, you can ask me on Twitter or refer to my rankings.

In this article, I will be hyping up some players this week, but also will share some gripes on a few others. There is one thing I need to stress: this is not a start/sit article. You can use it as a tool to decide who to start/sit, but not every “hype” means “start,” and vice versa. All “hype” means is I think that player will out-perform their current value and projections. This means I think a player who is a “gripe” will under-perform based on their current value and projections.

Dak Prescott

Hyped QB on Thanksgiving

Dak Prescott vs WAS: The rookie has impressed throughout his entire first season, and now it is time for him to continue the Cowboys’ tradition of playing on Thanksgiving. I like Prescott’s matchup against the Redskins here. I feel he is in the best position since he is going up against a beatable defense, but the opposing offense is also good enough to keep pressure on his own team to stay aggressive. If one of these games turn into a shoot-out, it’ll be this one.

If You’re Desperate: Scott Tolzien will be the guy under center for the Colts against the Steelers. Tolzien is in his fourth season out of Wisconsin and was previously on the Packers. While in Green Bay, he only had one game where he started and finished it. The game was against the Giants in 2013, and he passed for 339 with three interceptions. He faces a Pittsburgh defense that you can pass on, but it is obviously a risk starting Tolzien. His stats in that Packer game are not great, but there is one thing to be encouraged about: the Packers did not change much, if anything, with him as their starter in that game. They trusted he could run the offense, so it makes me optimistic that he can do the same with the Colts. Do not expect him to be the #1 quarterback, but if you’re desperate enough or need a cheap DFS option, Tolzien is your man!

Griped QB on Thanksgiving

Sam Bradford vs DET: As of writing this article, it seems like Bradford will be without receiver Stefon Diggs. That is obviously a big blow to Bradford’s value and the entire offense. Even if Diggs does play, there is a lot of quarterback talent playing on turkey day, so it is tough to feel good about Bradford.

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Hyped RB on Thanksgiving

Frank Gore vs PIT: The Steelers have been surprisingly bad against running backs this season. Gore has proved he can still do damage on the ground and in the receiving game this season, and they will be calling on him often in this game. We are very aware about the talent of the offensive line, and the Steelers will be bringing heavy pressure against Tolzien, so expect swing passes and drop-offs to Gore here. Again, this is not a start/sit article exactly. Am I saying to start him over Bell or Elliott? Of course not. Those two are top-three running backs every single week, but I think Gore outperforms his value here.

If You’re Desperate: Jerick McKinnon is definitely on my radar in this week and beyond. He is a highly-skilled, versatile back that the Vikings desperately need to use for their offense to improve. They recently cut Ronnie Hillman, so now he is basically only competing with Matt Asiata for carries. McKinnon received over half of the snaps last week for the first time since week five, and I expect his snap count to be around 60-65% here.

Griped RB on Thanksgiving

Rob Kelley vs DAL: The Cowboys have not allowed a 100-yard rusher yet this season. They actually have only given up 80+ rushing yards only once this season, and that was to Darren Sproles. They do, however, give up receiving yards to running backs. This is not Kelley’s thing. You can cross your fingers and hope for a touchdown, but I do not think you’ll get a bunch of yards from him this week.

Dez Bryant

Hyped WR on Thanksgiving

Dez Bryant vs WAS: Dez had an incredible game last week as he played for the memory of his dad. I expect him to carry that emotion over into this game. He had a pretty disappointing game last Thanksgiving when he played against Josh Norman. While it has been said that the Redskins do not plan to use shadow coverage on Dez, I am sure we will be seeing that match-up plenty. Dez is an emotional player and I can’t wait for him to get his revenge.

If You’re Desperate: Cordarrelle Patterson is finally being used as a receiver on offense instead of just jet sweeps. He has played in over 60% of the offensive snaps for quite a games now, and that is expected to go up this week whether Diggs is out or just banged up. Patterson is an explosive guy that makes plays and explosive performances happen in games like these.

Griped WR on Thanksgiving

T.Y. Hilton vs PIT: We have already discussed Tolzien, and he is not going to be taking the same shots downfield that Andrew Luck would. Part of the reason is because of the type of player he is, but also because of the pressure the Steelers will apply. If you have Hilton, you’re probably starting him. I am just saying to limit your expectations a little bit.

NFL: DEC 27 49ers at Lions

Hyped TE on Thanksgiving

Eric Ebron vs MIN: While the Lions’ offense has been a bit inconsistent, Ebron has been one of the guys you can rely on. He has been getting consistent catches and yards, but he has struggled to find the end zone. He had seven catches for 92 yards against the Vikings just a couple weeks ago, and I expect something similar again here. The Vikings have actually given up double-digit fantasy points to tight ends for the past four weeks, and Ebron should make it five in a row with this game.

If You’re Desperate: Jack Doyle is one of the players to potentially receive a boost with Tolzien under center. Usually inexperienced quarterbacks like to make easy throws to big-bodied targets (makes sense right?), and that’s what I am expecting here.

Griped TE on Thanksgiving

Steelers TEs against the Colts: Just stay away. There are so many other options at tight end, why would you play one of these guys? Yes, the Steelers have desperately been trying to get Ladarius Green a touchdown the past two weeks, but what has happened? Three catches for 30 yards. You have five other teams to choose from on Thanksgiving, so just take a look elsewhere.

 

Like this week’s Hype/Gripe? Share it all over the place! Show your grandma! Read it five more times! Do whatever makes you happy, but please let me know if you liked it or what you want to see. It can be something I should improve, something new you’d like to see added to my fantasy world, or anything like that! You know you can tell me on Twitter @FantasyFlurry, and while you’re at it, follow my new account @DFSFlurry if you want me to help you make some money playing daily fantasy sports! Happy Thanksgiving!

Hype/Gripe: Week 10

After back-to-back weeks with six teams on bye, it’s relieving to know that there’s only four teams this week: Bills, Lions, Colts and Raiders. Still, there’s quite a bit of fantasy-relevant players on those teams! Hopefully you’re not scrambling too much to get a lineup together for this week, but if you are, let me help you! This article should be a big help to you, but also check out my week 10 rankings to see where everyone really stacks up this week. If you have anymore questions after that, definitely ask me over on Twitter @FantasyFlurry!

In this article, I will be hyping up some players this week, but also will share some gripes on a few others. There is one thing I need to stress: this is not a start/sit article. You can use it as a tool to decide who to start/sit, but not every “hype” means “start,” and vice versa. All “hype” means is I think that player will out-perform their current value and projections. This means I think a player who is a “gripe” will under-perform based on their current value and projections.

NFL: Preseason-Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles

Quarterbacks Who Are Hyped for Week 10

Carson Wentz, vs ATL: The rookie has cooled off after his hot start, but he should get back on track against a Falcons team that gives up 22.1 fantasy points to quarterbacks, the most in the league. They have given up 300+ passing yards or 3+ touchdowns in seven games this season. Atlanta’s offense has also been terrific, so it can be expected that the there will be pressure on the Philadelphia offense to keep putting points on the board.

Other “Hyped” QBs:

Eli Manning, vs CIN
Philip Rivers, vs MIA
Ben Roethlisberger, vs DAL

If You’re Desperate: Jay Cutler returned to action a couple weeks ago to lead his team over the Vikings while passing for 252 yards and a touchdown. He could have had at least one other touchdown, but apparently Jeffery was not used to getting thrown perfect passes in the end zone. Cutler had his bye last week and now will have a Tampa defense that gives up the fourth-most points to quarterbacks. They have given up four touchdowns through the air in each of the past two games, and I expect Cutler to add two or three onto their total this week.

 

Quarterbacks Who Get Gripes for Week 10

Drew Brees, vs DEN
Kirk Cousins, vs MIN

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Running Backs Who Are Hyped for Week 10

Lamar Miller, vs JAX: Many Miller owners are frustrated because they thought he could be the number-one running back this season. I totally understand, but look at his stats. Touchdowns have been the main reason for him not being considered one of the best. I’m not worried about his shoulder injury at all. Miller should be the workhorse again on Sunday, so start him with confidence.

Other “Hyped” RBs:

Jay Ajayi, vs SD
Devontae Booker, vs NO:
Jordan Howard, vs TB

If You’re Desperate: Jerick McKinnon is finally practicing in full this week, and you would be crazy to think he isn’t the most talented guy in the backfield. Yes, he finds himself in a committee, but again, he’s the most talented guy. I’m assuming the Vikings will try to feed the guy that gets hot, and with a terrific matchup against the Redskins, McKinnon is hungry. He has something to prove, and now that he’s healthy, he has a great chance to do that. Many people are desperate for running back help this week, so McKinnon could be a good pickup to lead you to victory.

 

Running Backs Who Get Gripes for Week 10

Christine Michael, vs NE
DeMarco Murray, vs GB

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Wide Receivers Who Are Hyped for Week 10

Alshon Jeffery, vs TB: If you are an Alshon owner, you should be thanking the fantasy Gods that Jay Cutler is back! Hoyer was much too safe with the ball and did not want to risk forcing the ball downfield. Cutler is not afraid to air it out and give Jeffery a chance to come down with a jump ball. I’m expecting a big game from Jeffery in this matchup, and he’s even valued fairly cheaply in DFS!

Other “Hyped” WRs:

Jordan Matthews, vs ATL
Rishard Matthews, vs GB
Tyrell Williams, vs MIA

If You’re Desperate: Brian Quick is unowned in a large percentage of leagues, but his big-play ability makes him a great streaming option this week. Quick will be going up against a bad Jets secondary, who have given up nine plays of 40+ yards this season. His snap count percentage has also increased in each of the past six games. While the Rams offense is not good, he is one of the best weapons, for whatever that’s worth.

 

Wide Receivers Who Get Gripes for Week 10

A.J. Green, vs NYG
Michael Thomas, vs DEN

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Tight Ends Who Are Hyped for Week 10

Zach Miller, vs TB: Much like Alshon Jeffery, Miller benefits greatly by the return of Cutler. He is not just a talented tight end, he is a go-to guy for Cutler. He also has a great matchup with the Bucs, who have struggled with tight ends so far this season. They have given up three touchdowns to tight ends over the past two weeks, and 21 receptions in the past four games.

Other “Hyped” TEs:

Tyler Eifert, vs NYG
Zach Ertz, vs ATL
Travis Kelce, vs CAR

If You’re Desperate: Lance Kendricks has received 29 targets over the past three weeks, and he has turned them into 179 yards and a touchdown. Frankly, he has been one of the very few bright spots for this offense. Much like Quick, he has a great matchup, and he doesn’t have much competition for targets.

 

Tight Ends Who Get Gripes for Week 10

Julius Thomas, vs HOU
Jimmy Graham, vs NE

Like this week Hype/Gripe? Let me know! Also, please share in questions, concerns, compliments/criticisms on the article or whatever! This helps me know how to write the best article for YOU!

10 Things I Learned From NFL Week 9

1. Vikings Collapse

OC Norv Turner resigned this week, which left many people shocked. To me, it seems like he got into that lifeboat before the entire ship sank! I’m not saying the Vikings are going to continue on this downward spiral, and I’m totally not going to compare them to the Falcons last season. I’m not! Well…I’ll let you read between the lines.

 

2. Ravens Win

The Ravens not only beat the Steelers, but they made all of the Steelers’ fans wish Big Ben sat out one more week. The Ravens are currently leading the AFC North. Yes, really.

 

3. Well…Barely Win

 

The win for the Ravens marked the tenth-straight game for them decided by a touchdown or less. They truly are a few plays away from being undefeated or winless.

 

4. Offensive Showdown or Defensive Embarrassment?

The Saints traveled to San Francisco to defeat the 49ers 41-23 this week. In this game, the offenses combined for 1,057 total yards! I’m not sure if I’m impressed or sad.

 

5. NFC East Craziness

If the season ended today, three NFC East teams would be in the playoffs. The one team that’s left out? Eagles. The team that started the season 3-0!

 

6. Disappointing Day for Ajayi

ajayi

After positing back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances, Jay Ajayi only ran for a measly 111 yards. Talk about a letdown…

 

7. Losing Records

20 of the 32 teams in the league are currently at .500 or below. Could this be one of the many reasons the NFL ratings are in the toilet?

 

8. Mariota Making Touchdowns Happen

This kid has a gift! He was making touchdowns happen in virtually every way on Sunday! He threw for a touchdown, ran for one, then threw a pick six, and also fumbled the ball, which led to a scoop-and-score for the defense. Bravo.

 

9. Raiders Are Becoming a Complete Team

Oakland Raiders v New Orleans Saints

It’s amazing how much better a team can look when they don’t commit 200 yards worth of penalties. They have one of the best offensive lines in football, and even someone like Latavius Murray can gain yards on the ground. This makes a perfect compliment to Carr’s big arm throwing to the talented WR duo. Also, the defense is FINALLY starting to live up to expectations! They have a ways to go, but the money spent this off-season is beginning to be justified.

 

10. Jimmy Graham’s Knee is Alright

Jimmy Graham is coming off of a patellar tendon tear, which is the toughest injury for an NFL player to come back from and play at the same level that they did previously. Even if they do, it could take awhile. Well, I think Graham is doing alright. On Monday Night Football, he hauled in eight catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns. This marks Graham’s third 100-yard game this season. You’d have to travel back to 2013 for the last time Graham had at least three 100-yard games in a season.

Hype/Gripe: Week 9

We are officially at midseason! This is both exciting and sad. Well…mostly sad. Hopefully you at least are dominating your fantasy leagues and getting ready for a playoff run! Getting a win this week could prove to be difficult since there are six teams on bye yet again: Bears, Bengals, Patriots, Cardinals, Redskins and Texans. Last week I tested out a slightly different format for my “Hype/Gripe,” and I will be rolling that same format out again this week! If you want to see how I think everyone stacks up this week, check out my week nine rankings!

In this article, I will be hyping up some players this week, but also will share some gripes on a few others. There is one thing I need to stress: this is not a start/sit article. You can use it as a tool to decide who to start/sit, but not every “hype” means “start,” and vice versa. All “hype” means is I think that player will out-perform their current value and projections. This means I think a player who is a “gripe” will under-perform based on their current value and projections.

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Quarterbacks Who Are Hyped for Week 9

Drew Brees, vs SF: We all know Brees is a must-start every week, but I’m just hyping him up even more! The 49ers are baaaad. Like really, really bad. They look almost respectable against quarterbacks by the numbers because of the opponents they have faced, and because teams ran the ball a lot since they were up. Well, guess who else is bad on defense? The Saints! You’d have to go back to 2014 to find a game where the Saints blew a team out, and that’s because their defense keeps opponents in the game. I think the 49ers have success on offense in this game, and this will keep that little bit of pressure on Brees to keep passing, especially considering their running back situation.

Other “Hyped” QBs:

Dak Prescott, vs CLE
Ryan Tannehill, vs NYJ
Nick Foles, vs JAX

If You’re Desperate: Colin Kaepernick is someone who is widely available that could help win you the matchup this week. This hype around Kaepernick is explained above a little bit. The Saints defense will always keep teams in games. Now, let’s look at Kaepernick’s situation opposite of Brees. Drew Brees is a likely candidate for 350+ passing yards this week, so the 49ers will have to do what they can to keep up. Kaepernick has a big arm, and he will be throwing the ball downfield often this week. He will also do damage with his legs, which makes his floor for the week relatively high. The Saints will likely struggle to get effective pressure on Kaepernick, so this means two things: 1) When there is a lane, Kaepernick will take it; 2) If the pocket doesn’t collapse, he can keep his eyes looking downfield for Torry Smith or Vance McDonald.

 

Quarterbacks Who Get Gripes for Week 9

Derek Carr, vs DEN
Matthew Stafford, vs MIN

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Running Backs Who Are Hyped for Week 9

Charcandrick West, vs JAX: West will be alone in the backfield for the Chiefs since Spencer Ware is out with a concussion. The Jaguars have given up five rushing touchdowns in the past three weeks, and West will likely add onto that total. Also, Nick Foles will be at quarterback for the Chiefs. He will force the ball downfield more often than Alex Smith did, so this will space out the defense even further for West to run against.

Other “Hyped” RBs:

Devontae Booker, vs OAK
Mark Ingram, vs SF
Carlos Hyde, vs NO

If You’re Desperate: Derrick Henry came into the game last week when Murray was hurt and performed very well. The Titans have said that Murray will play this week, but Henry should still be a decent replacement if you have a player on bye. The Titans will either continue to run Murray into the ground and cause him to get hurt worse, or they will give more touches to Henry. Either way, he wins.

 

Running Backs Who Get Gripes for Week 9

Frank Gore, vs GB
Christine Michael, vs BUF

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Wide Receivers Who Are Hyped for Week 9

Jarvis Landry, vs NYJ: The Jets secondary is trash. It doesn’t take much research to come to that conclusion! Landry is Tannehill’s favorite target, and they likely spent their bye week looking for ways to get Landry and Parker more involved. Well, Parker was listed on the injury report with his hamstring hurt again, so his snaps might be limited slightly. Landry will stay on the field, likely get double-digit targets, and he is more than capable of busting a couple plays open on the Jets. He is a must-start this week.

Other “Hyped” WRs:

Ty Montgomery, vs IND
Mike Wallace, vs PIT
Allen Robinson, vs KC

If You’re Desperate: Kenny Stills will also be playing the Jets this week, and he could give that secondary problems. With DeVante Parker’s hamstring continuing to hinder him, Stills will find himself on the field, and the Dolphins will try to get him behind the defense. The Jets have struggled with big-play guys all season, and that is what Stills is.

 

Wide Receivers Who Get Gripes for Week 9

Michael Crabtree, vs DEN
Marvin Jones, vs MIN

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Tight Ends Who Are Hyped for Week 9

Kyle Rudolph, vs DET: After a hot start, Rudolph has cooled off as of late. He was a bit banged up, but this was mostly a product of the entire offense struggling. Luckily, the Vikings play a struggling Lions defense this week that the passing game should be able to take advantage of. The Lions give up the most fantasy points to tight ends with 11.8 points given up per week. Rudolph will continue to be a go-to guy on third downs and in the red zone, but he will see extra targets in the middle of the field this week too.

Other “Hyped” TEs:

Gary Barnidge, vs DAL
Dennis Pitta, vs PIT
Antonio Gates, vs TEN

If You’re Desperate: Vance McDonald faces a Saints defense that is likely to give up a bunch of yards and points to the 49ers. This offense does not have many weapons, but McDonald is one of that is capable of doing damage. He played in 77% of the offensive snaps in their last game, which what his highest percentage of the season. I expect him to raise that number even higher this week, which will lead to plenty of opportunities for him to score.

 

Tight Ends Who Get Gripes for Week 9

Julius Thomas, vs KC
Jack Doyle, vs GB

 

Please let me know if you like this format of “Hype/Gripe” or if you like the other version better! This helps me know how to write the best article for YOU! As always, let me know what you think and please share it on Twitter!

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