Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams Has Hard Road Ahead

Until Bell returns, De'Angelo Williams will get the rock in Pittsburgh

Until Bell returns from a possible suspension, De’Angelo Williams will get the rock in Pittsburgh

After winning the AFC North with a young and talented offensive unit, Pittsburgh will likely begin the season without the services of their star running back Le’Veon Bell. The 23-year-old is likely to serve a three game suspension to start the season for his DUI and marijuana charges unless he can get it overturned by appeal. If Bell is forced to sit, the Steelers will be forced to rely on DeAngelo Williams.

Williams has a tough job in replacing Bell who rushed for 1,361 yards and 8 TDs on 290 rushes averaging a top-notch 4.7 yards per carry. Bell’s presence will also be hard to replicate as a pass-catcher from the backfield, as he came down with 83 catches for 854 yards and 3 TDs in 2014.

DeAngelo Williams has not been the feature back since 2013 with the Panthers and it’ll be difficult for the 32-year-old back to get things going with Pittsburgh’s tough schedule at the start of the season.

Williams and the Steelers will have their work cut out for them to start the season as the team kicks off the season against the Patriots, 49ers and Rams. For the start of the season, consider Williams little more than a middle of the pack RB2, with a major drop off after Bell’s return from suspension.


Fantasy Production Dip for Emmanuel Sanders?

A run oriented offense will take a bite out of Emmanuel Sanders fantasy numbers

A run oriented offense will take a bite out of Emmanuel Sanders fantasy numbers

It’s widely anticipated that WR Emmanuel Sanders and the Broncos passing game will take a back seat to the running game for HC Gary Kubiak’s new offense. However, Sanders’ presence as a deep ball threat and Julius Thomas’ departure could leave the door open more a second straight 1,000-yard season.

Sanders put up career stats during his first year with the Broncos in 2014, catching 101 passes for 1,404 yards and 9 TDs (all career highs). Kubiak and OC Rick Dennison are on the same page coming into the season to lead a more balanced offensive attack that relies much more on the run game.

C.J. Anderson’s strong sophomore year campaign, including impressive playmaking skills in the playoffs, makes this decision much more plausible. Even with the running game taking the forefront, there’s no reason why Emmanuel Sanders can’t be dominant in this new system.

Sanders now has one less offensive weapon to battle with for production with TE Julius Thomas leaving for the Jacksonville Jaguars. That leaves only 2 highly skilled receivers in Sanders and Demaryius Thomas for Peyton Manning to look for downfield.

Sanders should see a decent amount of looks coming his way with single coverage because defenses may be more focussed on trying to slow down the Broncos rushing attack. Expect Sanders to come down with less receptions, yards and TDs than last year, but not enough to keep him out of the WR1 discussion.

Future Uncertain for Skins TE Jordan Reed

Another season brings another dim outlook for Jordan Reed

Another season brings another dim outlook for Jordan Reed

Washington Redskins tight end, Jordan Reed, was reportedly held out of Tuesday’s OTA’s because of soreness in his right knee – well that didn’t take long. The third year player has a long history with injuries dating back to his Florida Gator days, but you shouldn’t write him off just yet.

The most important takeaway is the unfortunate timing of the injury. Head coach Jay Gruden downplayed the situation and said Reed will have his knee, “checked out”, so as of now, no one knows the severity of the injury. Fortunately for Reed, OTA’s are voluntary and if he needs substantial time to rest, that is what he’ll receive. However, Redskins fans and fantasy owners can’t help but feel like this is déjà vu.

In his four years as a Gator, Reed missed a handful of games due to injury, including the season opener in 2010 due to a right knee injury. In his first two years as a Redskin, Reed has missed 12 of 32 games due to hamstring and concussion issues. These ailments have drawn attention to Reed’s durability and reliability. Then again, whom else do the Redskins have to rely on?

In the 2015 NFL draft, the Redskins brought in 10 players. From those 10, six of them are offensive weapons, but zero play the tight end position. Last season, Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen rotated time at the position filling in for the hobbling Reed. Paul reeled in 39 catches for 507 yards and a TD, but his blocking ability is subpar. That’s when Paulsen would switch in and defenses would key in on the offensive game plan.

Reed can do it all, well, do everything but stay on the field. But when Reed is out there, he has been productive hauling in 95 catches for 964 yards and 3 TDs. He is a fluid route runner with great athleticism and the frame to block on the edge. If Reed can stay healthy and if the Redskins can find stability at the quarterback position, the third year TE can have a career year.

MLB Week 8 – Waiver Wire Report

Nick Hundley

Fantasy owners should scoop up veteran catcher Nick Hundley while he’s hot

Nick Hundley- Colorado Rockies

The catcher position is often the hardest to properly fill in fantasy baseball, as it is a defensively emphasized spot. If you are in the market for an upgrade at the 2, look no further than Nick Hundley. The backstop is owned in only 29.4% of fantasy baseball leagues. His play suggests that number should be much higher. On the season Hundley is batting .309 with 15 RBI, 16 runs and four home runs. His home-road splits are wildly in favor of Coors Field, so he could gain your attention as a platoon player, slotting in when at home. Of course Hundley isn’t the perfect option at catcher. But if you’re struggling at the position and need a quick semi-fix, the Rockies’ backstop is the perfect option.

Anthony Gose- Detroit Tigers

Anthony Gose is batting .333 on the season thus far. He also has tallied seven steals and 19 runs. The outfielder also has the highest BABIP in all of MLB. It’s safe to say that is a good sign for current play and improvements to come. The speed carries weight of its own as well, with the steal category often only being won be a bag or two. Gose is only owned in 30.1% of leagues, and could earn a spot on your team quickly (if you’re not of the 30% that is.)

Minnesota is the ONLY Option for A-P

Adrian Peteson

The buck stops in Minnesota for Adrian Peterson 

According Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer, the buck stops in Minnesota for Adrian Peterson. He laid down the gauntlet today stating that Adrian Peterson has “two choices: he can play for us or NOT play.” That doesn’t leave too much wiggle room for the embattled running back.

Obviously Peterson was skipping the OTA’s because he wants a trade, but Zimmer drew his line in the sand for all to see. Peterson is under contract through 2018 and will be paid a pretty penny for each consecutive year he plays with the team, if he decides to play.

The Vikings obviously need their stud running back to aid in the progression of second-year quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater and be a game-changer out of the backfield. The Vikings didn’t make a trade or take a running back in the 2015 draft anticipating the return of Peterson. Now the franchise is on pins and needles waiting to see what Peterson will decide.

Is Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Trade Bait?

Minnesota is still waiting for Cordarrelle Patterson to come around

The Vikings are still waiting for Cordarrelle Patterson to come of age in Minnesota

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer insists that Cordarrelle Patterson is “doing a good job in this offseason”, but many are starting to wonder if his optimism is genuine? Patterson has been knocked for trying to succeed as a wideout with athleticism alone, and failing to run routes efficiently, so Zimmer’s optimism could easily be a shout out to potential trading partners.

Patterson appeared to be loaded with potential coming out of Tennessee before the 2013 season, standing at 6’2” with a pair of very quick feet. However, his on-field performance has left the coaching staff and fantasy owners flat during his first two seasons. The reality is that the Vikings may be engaging in some gamesmanship to make Patterson look like a player who has finally come into his own.

It’s no secret that Vikings RB Adrian Peterson wants out of Minnesota, but unfortunately they haven’t found a team willing to meet their trade demands, and insist he will remain with the team through this season. However, hyping up Cordarrelle Patterson makes the situation much more interesting.

With the Vikings looking to secure a couple first round draft picks in return for AP, the team may be overplaying Cordarrelle Patterson’s offseason success to make him more attractive for a potential trade offer.

Patterson actually regressed during his second NFL season, catching only 33 passes thrown his way for 384 yards and one touchdown, down in both categories from 2013. With the acquisition of Mike Wallace, and contributions from Jarius Wright and Charles Johnson, Patterson’s role with the Vikings has become a significant question mark.

Runsey Castillo Gets the Call in Boston

Rusney Castillo should take flight in Boston sooner than later

Rusney Castillo should take flight in Boston sooner than later

During his first 3 games, you wouldn’t say that Boston outfielder Runsey Castillo is setting the world on fire. But adjusting to the major league level is no easy task and fantasy owners should know that this Cuban player has potential written all over him. He’s hit safely in his first three games before getting the day off on Monday and should heat up along with the dog days of summer.

In 17 games at Pawtucket, Castillo hit .304/.355/.449 with two homers and six stolen bases. That type of production is exactly what the sputtering Red Sox offense needs.

Coming into the season, Boston expected its hitting to carry the team, but right now they are sinking because of it. Castillo could very well be the spark Boston needs to turn the team’s young season around.

Last year, Castillo played 10 games with Boston, including 40 plate appearances. He tallied two home runs while batting .333/.400/.528. He also stole three bases and walked three times. Currently he is only owned in 31% of fantasy baseball leagues. If you have the patience, and a spot on your bench, consider adding Castillo. He may be the Red Sox saving grace—why not yours?

MLB Week 7 – Waiver Wire Report

Andre Ethier

Andre Ethier might be the spark your fantasy team is looking for

Andre Ethier – OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

2009 seems like a very long time ago for Andre Ethier. The Dodgers outfielder clubbed 31 homers that season and drove in 106 runs, finishing sixth in MVP voting. He’s declined considerably since then and has looked like the odd man out in the L.A. outfield for a while. Injuries to Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford have led to a resurgence for Ethier in the early part of 2015. He currently sports a .316/.416/.558 slash line along with five home runs and 14 RBI. Even during his best days Ethier never posted a .974 OPS and there’s little reason to think that will happen now. But if you’re an MLB fantasy owner who could use a spark in one of your outfield or utility spots, you might try to ride the Andre Ethier revival for as long as it lasts.

Nathan Karns – SP, Tampa Bay Rays

Rookie starting pitcher Nathan Karns has quietly helped solidify a Rays rotation dealing with the losses of Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly. He is 3-1 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He’s fanned 44 batters in 45.1 innings of work. A major component of Karns’ success so far is a .196 BAA, the eighth-best such mark throughout MLB. It will be difficult for him to maintain that, but you can’t really argue with his results for the time being. Originally from the Nationals system, Karns’ prospects look good in a Rays organization that knows a thing or two about developing young pitching. Right now Karns is pitching his way to the forefront of the AL Rookie of the Year conversation, and he may be pitching his way onto your MLB fantasy squad as well.

Delino DeShields Jr. – 2B, Texas Rangers

The son of the longtime MLB vet was one of the candidates to fill in the gap left by the Texas Rangers’ demotion of Rougned Odor, and he has done surprisingly well in limited chances thus far. In 53 at-bats he is hitting a respectable .283. He’s made his presence known on the base paths as well, swiping 10 bags in 11 attempts. Perhaps most impressively, DeShields has shown some legitimate plate discipline for a young player, drawing 10 walks in 63 plate appearances. For MLB fantasy owners, this is more of a long-range toss of the dice. DeShields’ playing time will be erratic for now, but could increase if he keeps contributing. Still just 22 years old, he’s a wild card that could provide some upside to your fantasy lineup if you have a need at second base.

Kyle Gibson – SP, Minnesota Twins

As the Twins surprise the baseball world, so do several of their key contributors, pitcher Kyle Gibson among them. In this third big league season Gibson has been enjoying a breakthrough of sorts, putting up a 2.98 ERA over 48.1 innings of work. Gibson won’t help you much in terms of strikeouts (3.5 K/9) and the Twins offense hasn’t been the most supportive (3.38 runs/game), translating to an even 3-3 record. He’s shown a knack for keeping the ball in the park (0.6 HR/9), which has led to generally good outcomes in spacious Target Field. If you’re in the market for starting pitching depth, Gibson should be a name on your list.

Can E.J. Manuel Hang on in Buffalo?


E.J. Manuel is the odds on favorite to win the starting job for the Bills

With just two career seasons and 15 total games under his belt, E.J. Manuel is rumored to be on the outs in Buffalo. Talk about a short lease. However, this particular rumor is more likely to be a motivational ploy through the media. It would be rash of Buffalo to get rid of the team’s best quarterback on the roster.

The Bills just may have one of the worst quarterback-by-committee in the NFL. Atop the depth chart is the aforementioned E.J. Manuel, but the Bills traded for mediocre journeyman, Matt Cassel, to spark a quarterback competition. Next comes the practice squad made up of Jeff Tuel and Tyrod Taylor.

Disregarding the fact that Manuel is the best option the Bills have under center for this year, the franchise has another problem if he is not on the roster for 2015. If released, the Bills will hit the salary cap, limiting their flexibility in upcoming years.

First year offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, has made it clear that uprooting Manuel is not in the plans of the franchise. “Speculation is the key word and the rumors are the furthest thing from the truth,” Roman told reporters at One Bills Drive. “Honestly, it’s anybody’s job to take.”

Whoever wins the job will have a plethora of weapons at their disposal. In addition to the free agent signing of LeSean McCoy, the Bills also acquired wide receiver Percy Harvin and Tight End Charles Clay during this offseason.

Look for the quarterback competition to heat up and the roster rumors to cool down May 26th at the start of OTA’s.

Eli Manning Ready to Shine in 2015


Eli is ready to build off of a very respectable 2014 campaign

Eli Manning wants to limit his turnovers for the upcoming season and his goal is very much in reach. Manning isn’t among the top fantasy keepers, but he had a very successful season, posting a 2.14 to 1 TD/Int ratio and there’s no reason to doubt that can improve upon those numbers and put himself in the conversation for an MVP award.

The Giants offensive unit has been significantly upgraded and will alleviate some stress for QB Eli Manning. New York just recently added pass-catching RB Shane Vereen whose contributions helped the Patriots secure the team’s 4th Super Bowl title. Vereen’s presence in the backfield will provide a safety outlet for Manning to turn to in high-pressure situations.

In addition to adding Vereen, the Giants will also benefit from the return of WR Victor Cruz if he can get healthy. Cruz has proven his ability to create separation and make big plays, as he broke 1,000 receiving yards in 2011 and 2012 (and reached 998 in 2013 in 14 games) and registered 19 total touchdowns. Following surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon, his ability to once again play at an elite level is questionable, but with a strong recovery, he could blow up for another strong year.

Manning will also be able to turn to TE Larry Donnell who could be one of this year’s fantasy sleeper picks. Donnell is not afraid to catch the ball over the middle and can be decent target in the red zone. He flashed signs of that potential during his 3 touchdown performance Week 4 in New York’s road win against the Washington Redskins. With the WR corps calling for most of opposing defenses’ attention, Donnell should benefit from the lack of attention.

The last important piece to Eli Manning’s successful season is the most important player in this offensive unit. Odell Beckham. Beckham exploded for a rookie season campaign that earned him the 2014 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The 22-year-old freak athlete went for 1,305 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 91 receptions. The stats prove to be very impressive, and even more so since he only played in 12 games, and he broke 100 yards in 7 of them.

With Cruz and Beckham operating in the same system together for the first time, Eli Manning should have little trouble finding open receivers. It’s not out of the question for Manning to keep his interceptions in single digits as he has suggested he can do, so long as his targets stay healthy and focused.