NFL Week 9 Running Back Sit/Start Report

START – Jeremy Langford:  Rookie Jeremy Langford is expected to fully take over backfield duties during Matt Forte’s potential multi-week absence. As usual, Bears coach John Fox is having honesty issues, so Forte is still listed only as “doubtful.” The reality is that Forte is widely expected to miss at LEAST the next two weeks and Langford is next up on the Bears depth chart. After Forte’s apparent MCL injury, Langford took over, taking 12 carries for 46 yards. Though the numbers don’t jump out as overly impressive, the matchup ahead against the San Diego Chargers Monday night should allow for a strong performance. The Chargers rank 27th in allowing 124.6 rushing yards per game, leaving the door open for a breakout performance for the rookie tailback. Consider Jeremy Langford a solid RB2 with upside based on goal-line opportunities.

START – Lamar Miller:  Miller has been on a roll as of late, racking up 303 yards and 3 touchdowns on 42 carries in his last 3 games, also picking up 85 yards on 10 receptions for 1 TD. His usage rate is sky high, and despite the tough matchup ahead against the Buffalo Bills, Miller should see a full workload with multiple goal-line opportunities. His lack of competition for touches makes him a lock for high snaps and around 15 touches, which should translate to RB2 numbers, despite facing a stout Bills rush defense.

SIT – Frank Gore:  Gore is coming off a season-high 22 carries, and 25 total touches in the Colts’ 29-26 overtime loss to the Carolina Panthers. After the firing of OC Pep Hamilton, the offense could see radical change, and this might be a situation to avoid this week. Even more discouraging for Gore, the Colts host the Denver Broncos, whose defense has led them to a 7-0 record to start the year. Denver currently ranks 4th in surrendering 89.3 rushing yards per game, and Gore should not be expected to heavily surpass the average. Consider Frank Gore a low-end RB2 with a potential dud of a performance for week 9.




Can Christine Michael Provide any Fantasy Punch?


Christine Michael is a shot in the dark, but his potential makes him a must add

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly turned to Christine Michael to lead the backfield in their Week 7. He has been handling first-team reps in practice, and will get an opportunity to secure the starting spot. This is big shot in the dark for fantasy owners, but there’s no dismissing the power and glory of offensive line he will be running behind.

Though they only gave up a 2016 seventh round pick to acquire Michael, the move was a clear sign that Dallas has very little faith in their current stable of running backs including: Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden. Despite the strength of the Dallas offensive line, none of these running backs have been able to make an impact or grab the coveted starting position.

Enter Christine Michael. Seattle gave him away for nothing. So can he reignite his career as a Dallas running back or is this a gimmick to keep Jerry Jones satisfied for another week or two? Fantasy owners have to at least roll the dice and see if anything comes of this.

Michael was the 62nd overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and showcased his freakish athleticism at the combine. He recorded bla 43-inch vertical, 4.54 40-yard dash, and 10 foot 5 inch broad jump, as a 5 foot 10 inch, 220 pound powerful tailback.

The Cowboys will host the Oakland Raiders this week, and Michael should see upwards of 15 touches, including goal-line looks. His matchup this week warrants a TD-dependant RB2 status, and he has potential to become a high-end RB2 if he earns more volume moving forward.

1st Quarter – Fantasy RB Bust Report

Alfred Morris

Alfred Morris has been losing ground to rookie Matt Jones since the season started

These running backs have avoided living up to their fantasy potential through 4 games this season. Though all 4 of these players are letting fantasy owners down, some have more potential to breakout of their slump than others.

C.J. Anderson: Anderson is the single most disappointing Running Back during the 1st Quarter of the 2015 season.

Marshawn Lynch:  Lynch has not produced any noteworthy performances this season, even missing the Seahawks’ Week 4 win against the Detroit Lions, his second missed game in 6 years with the team. Before sustaining a hamstring injury, Lynch’s best game was in Week 1 against the Rams, taking 18 rushes for 71 yards (4.1 yards per carry), and hauling in 5 receptions for 31 yards. Owners should not be too worried about Lynch’s status moving forward, as he is already expected to play Week 5. The Seahawks entire team has been in a bit of a slump, but with that likely to turn around due to Kam Chancellor’s return, and Wilson’s usage of veteran Jimmy Graham and youngster Tyler Lockett, Lynch should be put in a position to score multiple times per game moving forward.

DeMarco Murray:  DeMarco Murray’s abysmal play is certainly a cause for concern, as he has not been able to help move the chains in what was supposed to be a powerhouse Philadelphia offense. Murray has rushed 29 times for just 47 yards, amounting to 1.1 yards per carry. Murray’s hamstring injury kept him out of a Week 3 matchup with the New York Jets, and back-up RB Ryan Mathews propelled the Eagles to a 24-17 win behind his 108 rushing yards on 24 carries, and 2 receptions for 20 yards and a TD. If Mathews can be successful against a stout Jets defense, and Murray could not be serviceable against the Redskins, Falcons or Cowboys, then maybe he just isn’t fit to be the feature back on a team with a less than stellar offensive line. Consider DeMarco Murray’s status as an RB1 highly questionable moving forward, with a major potential drop-off.

Alfred Morris:  Alfred Morris’ value has fluctuated heavily due to rookie Matt Jones’ push for more carries. After Morris led the team with 17 carries for 62 yards, it looks like he’s atop the depth chart, but his spot isn’t safe by any means. Morris’ numbers don’t look too bad, as he has rushed for 4.0 yards per carry thus far, but Matt Jones, and his 4.7 yards per carry, has much more appeal moving forward. All it takes is one more solid game from Jones to push Morris further back, securing the starting tailback position. Jones runs with more explosiveness than Morris does, and has displayed his ability to break tackles, more so than Alfred Morris. Though this situation is clearly a timeshare for now, expect Jones to emerge as the lead back in weeks to come, making Alfred Morris close to irrelevant in standard fantasy leagues.

LeSean McCoy:  LeSean McCoy is dealing with a significant hamstring injury, and could miss 3-4 weeks. Despite his inability to play in the near future, his fantasy value has plummeted, as he has made close to zero impact in Rex Ryan’s run-heavy Bills offense. There’s no reason he has not found the end zone on any of his 43 carries (but caught 1 TD against the Dolphins), rushing for 146 yards (3.4 yards per carry). Even his YPC statistic is deceiving, as his Week 2 performance was the only one in which he rushed for more than 2.4 yards per carry. McCoy can’t blame anyone other than himself for his early-season struggles, as Bills rookie tailback Karlos Williams has been very effective thus far, rushing for 226 yards and 3 TDs on 42 carries, one less than McCoy. With McCoy sidelined, Williams will continue to lead the charge, and at this rate, establish himself as the more efficient rusher, making breakout performances from McCoy hard to come by in the future.


C.J. Anderson’s Fantasy Value Takes a Dive

Fantasy Owners who hold onto C.J. Anderson are going down

Fantasy Owners who are holding onto C.J. Anderson are hitting rock bottom

Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson has been an unmitigated disaster for fantasy owners this season. After three games, Anderson is shooting blanks and leaving many fantasy owners flat on their backs with meaningless single digit duds. His struggles should not be seen as a fluke and owners should do everything in their power to unload him before the situations gets worse.

He’s failed to rush for more than 2.4 yards per carry and hasn’t caught a whiff of the end zone as fellow RB Ronnie Hillman has the only rushing TD for Denver this season. Hillman has been the more effective back thus far, and could see his usage continue to rise amidst CJ Anderson’s ineffective play. Do not be surprised if Hillman eventually jumps Anderson on the depth chart and starts to receive the bulk of the snaps in the backfield.

There’s a small chance that Anderson could take a turn for the better soon, as the Broncos host a weak rush-defensive team in the Minnesota Vikings this week. This presents the slimmest chance that he can break out of his slump, but fantasy owners should NOT get their hopes up. The Vikings currently rank 24th in allowing 119.3 rushing yards per game.

Someone from the Denver Broncos backfield has to at least be given a chance to function as a chain-mover this week, but it’s difficult to believe that it would be Anderson over Hillman. Moving forward, consider CJ Anderson nothing more than a middle-of-the-pack RB3 and do everything you can to move him onto another team.


3 Quarterbacks for Fantasy Football Survivalists

Derek Carr looking to build momentum after stunning the Ravens in Week 2

Derek Carr looking to build momentum after stunning the Ravens last week

  1. Derek Carr, OAK:

Derek Carr’s rookie season was impressive, but not to the point where one could expect him to breakout as a sophomore in the NFL. That mindset changed once the Raiders selected WR Amari Cooper in this year’s draft and signed veteran wideout Michael Crabtree. With significant upgrades in his wide receiver corps, Carr’s job has become much easier. Instead of being forced to work with mediocre talents in Andre Holmes and Rod Streater, Derek Carr can now look to his new targets to make big plays for him. Carr can be considered a high-end QB2 currently, with the potential to be a QB1 towards the end of the season.

  1. Blake Bortles, JAC:

Blake Bortles did not have a stellar rookie season in 2014, but he has proven recently that he has grown and matured as an NFL quarterback. After struggling against a stout Panthers defense during Week 1, Bortles came back and put up 273 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions on 18 completions in a surprising win against the Miami Dolphins. Bortles showed great chemistry with second-year wideout Allen Robinson, as the two connected for 155 yards and 2 TDs against Carolina on six receptions. Blake Bortles will also get another strong target in Julius Thomas in a few weeks back from his hand injury, giving him someone to look toward when in red-zone situations. Expect Bortles to be a middle-of-the-pack QB2 with major upside, especially once Julius Thomas returns to the starting lineup.

  1. Jameis Winston, TB:

Jameis Winston has not been spectacular in his first two NFL games, but his level of play will rise in weeks to come. His production should increase heavily with the implementing of WR Mike Evans into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense. Winston has only had veteran WR Vincent Jackson to turn to thus far, and a less-than-100% Mike Evans in Week 2. Now that his hamstring has fully healed, his pitch count will be reduced, and he can be counted on to make big plays for the rookie QB in games moving forward. While gaining NFL experience, and working with stud WRs in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, Jameis Winston should be considered a QB2 with upside as the season progresses.


NFL Week 2 Sit/Start Report

Fantasy owners might consider leaving C.J. Anderson on the bench during Week 2

Fantasy owners might consider leaving C.J. Anderson on the bench during Week 2

SIT – QB Peyton Manning, DEN:

Peyton Manning is set to struggle heavily this season and it’s very apparent that his arm is not what it used to be. Manning is coming off an awful Week 1 performance (24-40 with 175 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 interception) in Denver’s 19-13 win against the Baltimore Ravens, but that shouldn’t be seen as a rare occasion at this point. The 39-year-old had trouble hitting WR Emmanuel Sanders on open fly patterns in several potential touchdown plays, and seemed to be troubled in the pocket more so than football fans are accustomed to seeing. This week, the Broncos take on the Chiefs in Kansas City, and Manning will face one of the tougher defenses in the league. The Chiefs bullied the Houston Texans a week ago, sacking QB Brian Hoyer 4 times (and QB Ryan Mallett once), as well as forcing Hoyer to fumble and throw an interception. Do not be surprised if Manning throws 1 TD or less, and turn it over 1-2 times in what’s shaping up to be a potential loss for the Bronco.

SIT – RB CJ Anderson

Like Manning, Anderson also had an underwhelming performance at Baltimore in Week 1, which will be reflected in his diminishing touches against the Chiefs. Anderson had trouble finding the hole, and rushed 12 times for just 29 yards, adding 4 receptions for 19 yards. The more effective RB has been Ronnie Hillman, and he will likely start to dip into CJ Anderson’s production in what could be an even timeshare. Hillman also received 12 carries against the Ravens, and rushed for 41 yards. Though his 3.4 yards per carry were not incredibly high, he rushed for 7.5 ypc on 16 carries this preseason, and his hot start has proven his worth.

In addition to the RB controversy, CJ Anderson is not at full strength. Anderson is listed as questionable with a toe injury for Thursday night’s game, and the short week could limit him even more so, and possibly hold him out of the contest. Even in he’s able to suit up, consider CJ Anderson nothing more than a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 play this week.

Start – RB Joseph Randle

Joseph Randle had a solid first game as Dallas’ starting tailback in the Cowboys’ thrilling last-second win over the New York Giants, and will look to keep the ball rolling against the Eagles Week 2. Randle finished Sunday night’s win with 16 carries for 65 yards, adding 3 catches for 42 yards. Dallas’ backfield situation was anything but clear heading into the season with Randle, Lance Dunbar and Darren McFadden competing for the job, but it looks as though Randle is now the firm starter. He looked quick in his runs last Sunday night, and with the Cowboys’ top-notch offensive line, he could be in for an even stronger performance this weekend.

Start – RB Tevin Coleman

Falcons Rookie RB Tevin Coleman took 20 carries for 80 yards against the Eagles Week 1, and there’s no reason why Joseph Randle can’t surpass that mark on Sunday. The Cowboys plan on rushing 25-30 times per game according to their Executive VP Stephen Jones, and Joseph Randle will be the one to lead the team in those touches on a weekly basis. Consider Randle a high-end RB2 play in what should be a strong performance against the Eagles this weekend.

Start – RB Justin Forsett

Justin Forsett is coming off the best season of his career as he was fifth in rushing for 1,266 yards, and added 8 rushing TDs, and continues to be Baltimore’s clear-cut feature back. Forsett rushed for just 43 yards on 14 carries in the Ravens’ 19-13 Week 1 loss to the Broncos, but this week’s matchup with the Raiders bodes well for his potential breakout performance. The Raiders were atrocious against the run in Week 1, as they allowed a combined 126 yards and 2 TDs on the ground between Bengals tailbacks Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill.

The Ravens should be much more run-heavy than they were in 2014 with the departure of Torrey Smith, leaving them with 1 noteworthy wideout in Steve Smith to turn to in passing situations. Expect Forsett to receive at least 15-20 touches, and come up with a performance worthy of a RB1 slot in standard leagues.


Fantasy Breakout Wide Receiver Report – NFL Week 1

Jeremy Maclin may not duplicate last season's magic, but he might come close

Jeremy Maclin may not duplicate last season’s 1,300 receiving yards, but he might come close

With just one day to go before the kickoff the 2015 season, we wanted to take one last look at the wide receiver position. This is a position that is rich with talent and depth this season, which makes it easy to overlook the diamonds in the rough. Today we feature three players that are bound to make a big splash during Week 1.                                     – ADP rankings powered by

Jeremy Maclin (ADP: WR #22)

Many experts wrote off Jeremy Maclin when he got shipped off to Kansas City, but he’s seems determined to make many of those experts eat their words. Since being reunited with his former Eagles HC Andy Reid, Maclin has been on fire showing amazing chemistry with K.C. quarterback Alex Smith. Also, let’s not forget that Maclin is coming off the best season of his career in Philly where he registered 85 receptions for more than 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Chiefs head to Houston to take on the Texans to start the season and Maclin owners should enjoy a big day. Houston’s defense features strong players in J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing and Jadeveon Clowney, but that shouldn’t be seen as terribly threatening. Houston will have trouble dealing with versatile RB Jamaal Charles, as well as red-zone target TE Travis Kelce, leaving Maclin in single coverage situations more often than not. Expect Maclin to produce like that of a middle-of-the-pack WR1 this week.

Tyler Lockett (ADP: WR #57)

Lockett is more of a reach play for Week 1, but he could be worth the risk in deeper fantasy formats. The rookie wideout from Kansas State has made some impressive special teams plays this preseason, scoring on punt and kick return TDs and also torched the Raiders defense for a 63-yard TD during Seattle’s preseason victory. Lockett has competition for targets in the Seahawks’ newly acquired freak-athlete TE Jimmy Graham, and WRs Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin, but his upside could allow him to steal targets from his fellow receivers. One preseason trend that should bode well for Lockett’s potential moving forward, is that Jimmy Graham was used as a blocker on nearly 37 percent of his snaps, leaving room for others to step up. Expect Lockett to see minimal snaps in Week 1, but with his big-play ability, he could definitely come down with a couple long receptions and a touchdown.

John Brown (ADP: WR #36)

John Brown is currently listed as Arizona’s WR3, but he could become Carson Palmer’s most trusted target. Brown is behind Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd on the depth chart, but uncertainty surrounds that wide receiver corps situation. Fitzgerald is undoubtedly on the decline, as he has failed to eclipse the 1,000 for three straight seasons, so his current place atop the depth chart is in jeopardy. John Brown will also most likely replace Michael Floyd for Week 1, as Floyd is listed as questionable with three dislocated fingers. Brown’s ability to take over as a starter later on in the season, but with Floyd out immediately, John Brown should be in line for a big game Week 1. The Cardinals are set to host the New Orleans Saints, who ranked 31st a season ago, allowing 384 yards per game, and 25th in surrendering an average of 251 passing yards per contest. Barring an out of body defensive performance from the Saints, the Cardinals offense should put up 21+ points, making a touchdown from Brown fairly likely. Consider John Brown a middle WR3 week 1, and a high WR3 if Michael Floyd is unable to play.


3 Fantasy Running Backs Packing 2015 Sleeper Potential

Tre Mason

There’s no denying that Tre Mason could provide some early season punch for your fantasy roster

It’s important to stock your fantasy team with depth at every position, especially at tailback. The elite backs, and most starters will be taken within the first 6-7 rounds, but there should be some hidden gems available in the later rounds. When it comes time to round out your roster, these are some neglected talents with breakout potential for the upcoming season. – ADP rankings powered by

Tre Mason, STL (ADP: RB #37)

Tre Mason is being recognized as a much less appealing fantasy running back since the Rams drafted Georgia’s Todd Gurley, but his potential should not be ignored. Mason established himself as a force in the league last season, flashing signs of greatness during his 12-week, 765 yards and 4 TD rookie campaign. In addition to building off a strong showing a season ago, Mason should benefit from Gurley’s recovery from ACL reconstruction surgery. All indications show that Gurley will be eased into action, and could potentially sit out the first couple games. Expect Tre Mason to take on a full workload initially, and to continue to play a prominent role in the Rams offense this season.

Ryan Mathews, PHI (ADP: RB #36)

Mathews had quite the offseason, accepting a role behind DeMarco Murray in his move to the Philadelphia Eagles. Murray is coming off his best NFL season, as he led the league with 1,845 yards, and 13 TDs (tied with Marshawn Lynch), but is expected to lose some rotational carries to Mathews. Normally, a RB behind a top back like Murray wouldn’t be looked at with any promise, but with Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offensive attack, Mathews should be able to have his presence felt. Not only will the up tempo offense put him in a position to succeed, DeMarco Murray’s injury history could lead to Mathews starting at least a couple games on his own. Ryan Mathews’ value should be evaluated as a flex option, with a potential spike in production should Murray fall to injury.

Matt Jones, WAS (ADP: RB #63)

Matt Jones is one of the more intriguing options at tailback this season, as his role with the Redskins isn’t completely certain yet. The rookie out of Florida has already carved out a role with Washington as the third down running back, and he has the potential to take over as the starter as the season progresses. Jones has exhibited his explosiveness this preseason, as he has rushed for 6.95 yards per carry on 20 carries, as he has been working in with the first-team offense as well. In addition to Jones’ high level of ability, he should be targeted due to the Redskins’ uncertainty in the passing game, as Kirk Cousins should have a hard time acclimating to being the team’s sole starter after the benching of Robert Griffin III. Look toward Matt Jones as a weekly RB3 to start, with major upside if he passes Alfred Morris on the depth chart as the season progresses.


Matt Forte: Still a Fantasy Powerhouse

Even in Forte ends up in Dallas, his fantasy star will continue to shine

Make no mistake – Matt Forte is STILL a top 5 fantasy powerhouse

While Head Coach John Fox suggests he interested in a timeshare in the Chicago backfield, the reality is that Matt Forte is the only sane choice to be the sole feature back in the Windy City. Forte has gotten significant production as a tailback in both the running and passing games and will continue to shine as one of the game’s top fantasy keepers.

HC John Fox has exhibited his love for the split-carry system while coaching in the past at the Carolina Panthers (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart), and the Denver Broncos (C.J. Anderson, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman), but the situation in Chicago is much different. Forte has been able to contribute heavily as a versatile asset to both the running and passing games. Don’t expect to find any fantasy sleeper picks in the Bears backfield unless Forte goes down with an injury.

Forte is coming off yet another impressive season, as he picked up 1,846 all-purpose yards, and 10 total touchdowns. As a rusher alone, he broke 1,000 yards and 6 TDs in what was a disappointing 5-11 season for the Bears.

Chicago has 3 very mediocre running backs following Forte on the depth chart in second-year back Ka’Deem Carey, rookie Jeremy Langford, and former Falcons tailback Jacquizz Rodgers. None of these backs should receive more than 50 carries next season, leaving Forte with a ton of carries to deal with. More than just as a rusher, Forte could possibly even pick up more touches in the passing game in 2015 with the departure of Brandon Marshall.

Brandon Marshall, along with Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery, was one of 3 major targets for QB Jay Cutler last season, and his targets will need to be picked up by the rest of the offensive unit. Matt Forte should capitalize on Marshall’s absence, and put together another successful season. Consider Forte a top-5 RB heading into 2015 in standard fantasy formats.


Plenty of Work Ahead for C.J. Spiller

Saints are hoping to lean on C.J. Spiller coming into the new season

Saints hoping to lean on C.J. Spiller coming into the new season

Running back C.J. Spiller will see plenty of work as the newest member of the Saints backfield and could very well break into the top 10 to 15 fantasy RB conversation. With the departure of tailbacks Pierre Thomas and Travis Cadet, Spiller’s ceiling is sky high coming into the new season.

Mark Ingram will most likely handle lead back duties, but Spiller’s niche in the Saints offense will be very similar to that of Drew Brees’ former weapon, Pierre Thomas. Thomas thrived as an outlet passer for the Saints and there’s no reason that Spiller shouldn’t shine as well.

Spiller’s best season as a pass catcher was in 2012 with the Bills, catching 43 passes for 459 yards and 2 TDs. Those numbers are easily attainable in New Orleans’ offensive system.

Spiller possesses great speed and pass catching ability, and Head Coach Sean Payton wants to get him the ball in space. In 2014, Pierre Thomas and Travis Cadet combined for 83 receptions, 674 yards and 2 TDs. Spiller is a far superior talent to those two backs, and should thrive in that role, especially with the lack of offensive options for this upcoming season.

Jimmy Graham and Pierre Thomas were keys to success for Drew Brees, and without them for 2015, C.J. Spiller will have to fill the void. Spiller could be in line for 1,000 total yards easily, and worth an add as a solid RB2 in standard fantasy formats.