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

 

 

 

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.

Hawks Percy Harvin Hopeful for Playoffs

Harvin hopeful for the playoffs

Harvin hopeful for the playoffs

It was just about a week ago that Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said that the Seahawks might have to make a roster move sending Percy Harvin to season-ending injured reserve. Harvin returned from hip surgery on November 17th to play his only game of the season against his former Minnesota Vikings. The next few weeks weren’t so good for the 5th year receiver, and after missing the next four games, it looked like it was time to pull the plug on Percy.

However, with 2014 (and a playoff run) closing in, things might be taking a turn for the Seattle Seahawks and their essentially unused weapon. Harvin has been practicing this week as his team prepares for their first playoff game on January 11th, after a first round bye. Still dealing with a lingering hip problem, Harvin has been giving it a go in practice in hopes for a return. Pete Carroll said the young and dynamic receiver would do anything to play and is finally at a place where he has a chance.

Taking things a step further yet, Harvin apparently had an “amazing” workout with quarterback, Russell Wilson, on Monday. This was the deciding factor not to put Harvin on I.R. and to keep options open for the playoffs. After his throwing session, Harvin went on to tweet “go time once again.”

If it does prove to be “go time” for Harvin, the NFC had better look out. The Seahawks have proven themselves extremely dangerous on both sides of the ball, even without a multi-faceted threat like Harvin. The 25 year old out of Florida has proven himself both as a receiver and return man in four seasons with the Vikings.

He never went a season without 60 catches (until his 1 game 2013 season) and averaged over 10 yards per catch in each season as well. We’ll have to wait and see what happens over Week 18, but it would surely be perfect timing for the Seahawks if Harvin is able to suit up. The ‘Hawks will play the lowest winning seed out of the NFC Wild Card round on January 11th (between the Packers, 49ers, Eagles and Saints). In case you need a reminder, it is clearly PLAYOFF TIME IN THE NFL!

Vikings Matt Asiata In Line to Start Again

Matt Asiata in line for a big game against the Lions

Matt Asiata in line for a big game against the Lions

Vikings running back Matt Asiata will be starting this Sunday at home against the Detroit Lions. With starter Adrian Peterson doubtful, and second string tailback Toby Gerhart ruled out with a hamstring injury, Asiata will receive the bulk of the carries.

In Asiata’s only other start in Week 15, he was able to do some serious damage. Though he was only able to manage 51 yards off of 30 carries, he picked up 3 touchdowns in the process. He got into the end zone multiple times due to Minnesota’s inability to maintain a solid passing offense, as they were forced to rely on the back in his first start of the season.

Expecting Asiata to reach that high touchdown total again is very foolish, and his match up will not allow him to pick up many yards on the ground either. Detroit is fourth in the league in allowing only 94.8 rushing yards per game and Matt Asiata will struggle to produce. The Lions are coming off a loss that is keeping them out of the playoffs, so expect them to come back with a vengeance and shut down the Minnesota Vikings.

Asiata should only be used as an RB2 if a fantasy manager is desperate for a fill in for Peterson and Gerhart, but other than that he should be avoided.

Aaron is Back, Roger That!

Rodgers needs to be sharp to vault Green Bay back into the playoffs

Rodgers needs to be sharp to vault Green Bay back into the playoffs

The Green Bay Packers announced that all-star quarterback Aaron Rogers is back.

This is great news for the Green Bay Packers as they will not have to see the likes of their sub-par backup quarterbacks anymore. A win this week against the Bears and the Packers will clinch a spot in the playoffs. This is also a big week for fantasy owners who have a week 17 championship game.

There is no doubt that Rogers is going to be a “must-start” because he is Aaron Rogers. The Bears have been a little stingy against the pass this year as only Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for more than 300 yards against them. Never the less, if you have Rogers on your team, you have to play him.

Some more good news for Rogers owners is that Randal Cobb is also slated to play on Sunday. Cobb is the Green Bay Packers most valuable weapon and Rogers will look to get the ball into his playmakers hands. The duo will look to get back at the defense who knocked out Rogers in week 9 which is the last time Rogers played.

This game is for all the marbles, its a championship week for many fantasy owners and a make or break game for the Packers.

Week 17 Running Back Sit and Start Report

Donald Brown could have a banner day against the Jags defense

Donald Brown could have a banner day against the Jags defense

Although most fantasy leagues have come to a close, some of them ride the season out to its very end. With those leagues, owners should be mindful of who they plug in at the running back position for this week. The following players should either be started or avoided based on an in depth examination of their contest.

Start:

Donald Brown, IND:

Brown has overtaken Trent Richardson for the starting job and has produced convincingly enough to keep the position. Coming off a stellar 110 total yard and 2 total touchdown performance against Kansas City, he will look to continue his momentum against a vulnerable Jags run defense.

The Jaguars have shown little resistance to the run, allowing a horrific 135.2 rushing yards per game, ranking them 30th. Expect Donald Brown to rack up a ton of yards while carving this abysmal Jacksonville rush defense to shreds this Sunday, while possibly scoring a touchdown or two in the process.

Sit:

Frank Gore, SF:

The San Francisco back had another solid year and has already found success against Arizona earlier in the season, but don’t expect that success to continue. Gore rushed for more than 100 yards at home against the Cardinals in Week 6, but that still stands as the only game where Arizona has failed to limit an opponent’s leading rusher to below that total.

The Cards are hot, riding a 3 game winning streak and their defense is strong, especially their rush defense. Arizona allows an average of 84.5 rushing yards per contest, ranking them first in the league. Expect them to contain Frank Gore at home in Sunday’s game.