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.

NFL Week 4 – Injury Check Down Report

Lynch

An MRI shows that Lynch has a “damaged” hamstring and is questionable for Monday Night

RUNNING BACK

Marshawn Lynch: Through out the week, it has seemed less and less likely that Marshawn Lynch will play during Week 4. An MRI revealed unspecified damage to his hamstring and this leaves fantasy owners with a real problem. To make matters worse, this is a Monday Night affair that would leave fantasy owners stranded if Lynch can’t suit up. Even if he does play, don’t expect Beast-Mode to kick in until he has had more time to recover from his injury.

Lesean McCoy – OUT

Arian Foster: Arian Foster owners are in a serious holding pattern this morning – Check back with us at 11:45 this morning to see if Foster will play.

Andre Ellington: Ellington is expected to play today, but Bruce Arians has named Chris Johnson as his starting back.

Doug Martin: Had a minor knee tweak, but will play a Sunday, and Martin claims to be in perfect health.

Todd Gurley: Gurley made his debut last week and should play again against the Cardinals, I expect him to have a tough day against a stout Arizona defense.

QUARTERBACK

Drew Brees: Drew Brees has been dealing with a shoulder issue but is expected to play on Sunday against the Cowboys.

WIDE RECEIVER

Eric Decker – Is expected to play, but is officially a game time decision for an EARLY GAME in the U.K.

Sammy Watkins – OUT

Alshon Jeffries – OUT

Victor Cruz – OUT

Charles Johnson – OUT

Desean Jackson – OUT

 

 

 

No Fantasy Love for Arizona Running Backs

David Johnson is bursting with talent, but still playing behind Chris Johnson

David Johnson is bursting with talent, but still playing behind Chris Johnson

As Andre Ellington struggles with his injury issues, the Arizona Cardinals have some decisions to make at the running back position. Even though Chris Johnson and David Johnson are waiting in the wings, expect Arizona to rely more heavily on its passing game with its starter missing in action. This past Sunday, Arizona’s offense shined against Chicago, so the team should hold over until Ellington returns.

However, the Cardinals will have to answer the question of who gets the permanent starting position once Ellington recovers. Ellington is known for his lingering injuries and could miss more games than expected. Arizona has good depth at the running back spot this year, which means more than one player is vying for the role.

Chris Johnson seems to have a new lease on life after narrowly escaping death in the offseason when he was involved in a shooting that left him injured and a friend of his dead. The eight-year veteran is well regarded for his record-setting performances early on in his career, but his production has fizzled in the past few years. Arizona is hoping that he can show flashes of his former self in the coming season. On Sunday, he rushed for 72 yards against the Chicago Bears.

Another Johnson on the Cardinals squad, David Johnson is set to make an impact in the immediate future. Arizona Coach Bruce Arians believes that David will have an increase in the number of carries he is given. It seems to be that every time he gets the ball, he scores, as evident by the 55-yard touchdown catch he pulled off against the New Orleans Saints on opening weekend. The third round pick from Northern Iowa has made a name for himself, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. He rushed for 42 yards on five attempts against the Bears, and recorded a 108-yard kickoff return. David has many talents that should propel his stock even higher as the weeks go on.

Look for Chris to keep the starting position. He’s a trusted veteran who understands situations. But, David takes advantage of his opportunities and should have a breakout season.

NFL Week 2 – Injury Check Down Report

Chris Ivory might leave fantasy owners with a game-time decision on Monday night

Chris Ivory might leave fantasy owners with a game-time decision tag on Monday night

BREAKING NEWS – Dez Bryant – OUT 10-12 WEEKS

Alshon Jeffrey – OUT

C.J. Spiller: Will play today, but likely be on a limited snap count.

Tre Mason: Will make his debut on Sunday against the Redskins.

Mike Evans: Will make his debut on Sunday against the Saints.

Chris Ivory:  Ivory has been hampered all week with a groin injury, but it sounds like he will play this week. Just because he may play does not mean he will be 100%, most likely will have reduced volume so is a risky start this week.

Todd Gurley:  It sounds like Gurley may technically make his NFL debut this weekend, but even if he does I doubt he’ll see many touches. Gurley may slowly be introduced into the Rams offense; in the next couple of weeks he will become a more viable option.

T.Y Hilton:  Like Ivory, as the week has gone on Hilton sounds more likely to play, but even if he does play I’d avoid him, not only because he won’t be a 100%, but because Darrelle Revis most likely will be following him all over the field. Darrelle Revis is arguably the best cornerback in football, even if T.Y. was 100% I’d be hesitant on starting him.

Lesean McCoy:  Will definitely be playing this weekend, the question is whether or not he’ll be 100% with a hamstring injury. Going against the Patriots defense makes it hard to predict how well he will play. The uncertainty is bountiful here, but it’s hard to not start Lesean McCoy, as the Bills like to run the ball.

Delanie Walker:  Delanie Walker is listed as questionable due to a wrist injury. One can find more certainty and production this weekend with a healthier TE, even if Walker is healthful, we don’t know if Marcus Mariota’s performance was an anomaly. I’d avoid till 100%.

No Surprise – Jose Reyes Banged Up Again

Drafting Jose Reyes is ALWAYS a risky proposition

Drafting Jose Reyes is ALWAYS a risky proposition

Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes has been a frustrating player to his real-life clubs and MLB fantasy owners alike. Last week Toronto announced that the four-time All-Star would be placed on the 15-day DL with a cracked left rib he suffered on April 12. After trying to play through the injury it was back to a familiar place for Reyes, the disabled list.

Any baseball fan knows that Reyes has an extensive injury history. He’s averaged 115 games played over the past six seasons, due in large part to a torn calf muscle that limited him to just 36 games in 2009 and an ailing ankle that kept him out of 69 contests in 2013.

In spite of his unreliable health, Reyes has remained appealing to MLB fantasy owners due to his combination of speed and hitting prowess. He captured the National League batting title in 2011 with an average of .337. He led the NL in stolen bases from 2005-2007 with 60, 64, and 78 swipes, respectively. The latter two totals were enough to pace both leagues. Reyes has grown considerably more judicious on the base paths since then (natural with age and injury) but stole 30 bases as recently as last season.

When you draft a player like Reyes, it means that you have to stayed glued to the fantasy injury updates after every game he plays. As usual, the shortstop was a risk/reward proposition heading into the 2015 fantasy season. Many rankings placed him within the top 50 before the draft. If he could stay reasonably healthy as he did last year (143 games played), he seemed a good bet for a .280+ average and around 30 steals. Reyes rewarded that faith by getting off to good start in 2015. On April 16 he was batting to a .324/.350/.405 slash line. He began sliding from there and by the time he landed on the DL that line had slipped to .250/.266/.300.

Reyes owners will simply keep their fingers crossed, monitor his injury updates and hope that he’ll be ready to return after 15 days. They will also hope that his recent slumping was chiefly due to this injury and that once healed he will reassume the form he showed in the first couple weeks. Seemingly minor injuries have snowballed for Reyes in the past, so he will look to avoid that kind of extended setback.

Fantasy Owners Struggling with Andrew McCutchen

Andrew McCutchen is leaving fantasy owners flat on their backs

Pirates slugger Andrew McCutchen leaving fantasy owners flat on their backs

When a former MVP’s MLB fantasy value starts to plummet, fantasy owners are faced with a very tough choice. Do you hold the player and hope that his MLB fantasy stock will rebound or do you cut your losses and move on in a different direction? That’s the hard reality facing any team that’s watching a hobbled Andrew McCutchen struggle through game after ugly game. It’s not exactly breaking fantasy baseball news that the Pirates outfielder is batting a miserable .194 this season with only two home runs and no stolen bases.

Normally a six plus win player (based on WAR), McCutchen is only carrying a .2 WAR through this point in the season. However, the season is still very young and McCutchen could bounce back if the Bucs are smart enough to let him rest his ailing knee. It would be easy to overreact, assume that you as a fantasy owner are stuck with him for the season. But, the alternative is a much better outlook. Assume that things will turn around for McCutchen—because with a little rest, they probably will.

Throughout his career, April has consistently been McCutchen’s worst month of the season. During the month of April, he holds his lowest batting average, lowest hit total, lowest home run total, lowest walk total and his lowest monthly OPS. Yet with all of these repeated slow starts, McCutchen has won an MVP and been voted third in the race two other years. He has proven that he can overcome the slow Aprils and put in a fantastic season.

As a fantasy owner, there is obviously room for concern, but it’s still too early to panic. Monitor his injury closely, but bank on him bouncing back with the coming flip of the calendar. Count on Cutch—at the very least, he’s earned that from you.

Dancing Days May be Over for Victor Cruz

There are no guarantees that Cruz will be ready for the start of the season

There are no guarantees that Cruz will be ready for the start of the season

Reports are swirling that Victor Cruz may never fully regain the form that made him one of the most explosive players in the NFL before a patellar tendon injury sent him to the sidelines. Cruz is 5 months removed from season-ending surgery and may not be ready for the beginning of the 2015 regular season.

Cruz just started running at the Giants facility last week, but it looks like the Giants are going to ease Cruz back into action to ensure that the receiver doesn’t have a setback. Coach Tom Coughlin has already hinted at the fact that the organization would make sure Cruz was fully healed before he was thrust back into action.

The Giants followed a slow and precise recovery plan with Odell Beckham Jr. last year when he was dealing with an injured hamstring. That plan obviously worked as ODB went on to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. During the 2014 season, Beckham missed the entire pre-season and the first four weeks of the year with a hamstring injury.

Cruz thinks that he will back at 100% by May or June, but outside sources say he is not even close to a return to the field.

If Cruz can get back to his old ways, the Giants will have one of the better one-two punches at wide out in the league. But that is far from certain given that Cruz’s success relies on short routes, quick cuts and is coming off one of the worst possible knee injuries.

It will be interesting to see how Cruz progresses through the off-season and if he can ever regain fantasy relevance.

Percy Harvin Ruled Out Against Niners

Injury woes persist for Percy Harvin

Injury woes persist for Percy Harvin

Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin has been ruled out of this weekend’s NFL Championship Game against the 49ers. Due to a lingering hip injury, Harvin hasn’t been much of a factor for the Seahawks offense this season and after sustaining a concussion last weekend, he will not suit up against the Niners.

Harvin played in Seattle’s divisional playoff victory last weekend against the New Orleans Saints and took two substantial hits that caused the receiver to sustain a concussion.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll says Harvin was never close to returning to the practice field. The Seahawks passing offense has been stagnant lately and Harvin’s presence would have provided a spark for Russell Wilson, but they will have to press on without him.

Breaking Down Panthers vs. 49ers Matchup

Can the Panthers shut down the 49ers offense again?

Can the Panthers shut down the 49ers offense again?

On Sunday the (12-4) San Francisco 49ers will travel to Carolina to take on the (12-4) Panthers. With the two teams having very strong defenses, a lot will ride on which quarterback, Cam Newton or Colin Kaepernick, can consistently get their offense rolling.

One of the biggest concerns for the Panthers fans is the status of star wide receiver Steve Smith. The thirteen-year veteran is currently battling a knee injury that has limited his participation in practice this week. It is believed that Smith will play regardless of the severity of his injury, likely as the primary decoy for the Carolina offense.

The San Francisco 49ers are having much better luck at receiver than their Sunday opponents. After missing a majority of the season, Michael Crabtree has returned from his Achilles injury and has shown what the 49ers have been missing in his absence. The receiver hauled in 8 receptions for 125 yards in last weeks 23-20 Wild Card victory over the Green Bay Packers.

With both defenses among the top in the league, the matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers will come down to which team’s offense can limit turnovers. With Panthers receiver Steve Smith likely to be a non-factor, and the 49ers Michael Crabtree coming back into form, the edge must go to the underdog San Francisco 49ers.