Cowboys Backfield Running on Empty

Darren

Unless Dallas pulls off a blockbuster trade, they will struggle with Darren McFadden

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is under the impression that his team’s running game will be even better than it was last season. despite the departure of the league’s leading rusher, DeMarco Murray. It might be wishful thinking or something else, but the reality is that the Dallas rushing game is headed for disaster.

The Cowboys elected not to draft a running back in this year’s NFL Draft, failing to find a suitable replacement for DeMarco Murray who crossed divisional lines to play for the Eagles. Now it appears that Dallas will stick with Darren McFadden at the forefront, with Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar handling backup duties.

McFadden is far from the the list of top fantasy keepers and can’t even be considered in the category of fantasy sleeper picks. His best days are long behind him and even in his prime, he was always terribly fragile. Despite all of this, McFadden sits atop the depth chart in Dallas and his numbers from 2014 prove he has no serious fantasy upside. McFadden rushed for a mediocre 534 yards last season with the Oakland Raiders, adding just 2 touchdowns, and failing to surpass 100 yards in any of his team’s 16 games.

Some of these problems might be alleviated with Dallas’s killer offensive line, as they heavily contributed to DeMarco Murray’s career year comprised of 1,845 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 12 100+ yard games. Murray was very well-protected, which led to 2014 being the first year he was able to participate in all 16 games.

Despite the ability of the Cowboys’ offensive line to increase running back production, I’m skeptical that they are done making moves to help improve their backfield situation. Adrian Peterson is currently still a member of the Vikings, and notably wants out of Minnesota, leaving a late offseason transaction a possibility that could help both sides.

Though the Vikings are currently in a state of commitment to their franchise RB, he has expressed his interest in a trade to the Cowboys, and they are making space for him. According to Yahoo! Sports, Dallas’ QB Tony Romo has agreed to restructure his contract, clearing up nearly $13 million in cap space. Adrian Peterson’s current contract is for 3 years, $46 million, and it would look very strange if Romo’s restructuring was not done in order to free up room for a potential acquisition.

Regardless of whether a deal strikes between the Cowboys and Vikings, it looks very promising that Dallas will make another push for Adrian Peterson.

Advertisements

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.

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel Still “Undecided”

ESPN says Manziel is ready to declare and hire an agent

ESPN says Manziel is ready to declare and hire an agent

With Auburn and Florida State closing out the college football season in style Monday night, many of college football’s stars now have a huge decision to make: whether or not to declare for the NFL Draft in April or continue playing for their respective universities. The spotlight is on many talented juniors across the country, but no one’s decision is being more awaited than that of Texas A&M quarterback, Johnny Manziel.

Since winning the Heisman Trophy as a freshman last season, the player dubbed “Johnny Football” has been one of college football’s most polarizing figures. Love him or hate him, though, Manziel is a talented QB with a knack for making the impossible plays look easy and will have a future in the NFL. ESPN’s Todd McShay has Manziel going fourth overall so it’s easy to see what kind of talent he has. Now, the only decision left for Manziel is whether or not he wants to forego his junior and senior seasons or continue playing for the Aggies.

As of Monday night’s championship game, Manziel is still undecided about his future. Talking with ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, Manziel will be talking with his family in the coming days to help make a decision. “I want to make the right decision that’s best for me and my family,” Manziel said.

Coming off one of his best performances yet in this year’s Chick-fil-A bowl, signs may, however, be pointing towards Manziel looking to play football on Sundays next season. Manziel has already selected an agency to represent him – another step towards his declaration for the NFL. Even teammates doubt his return as Texas A&M receiver, Ricky Seals-Jones, told reporters last Friday night that “Johnny’s gone”.

No matter what decision Manziel makes, one thing is for certain: Johnny Manziel will still be “Johnny Football”. He may just have to add a “pro” to go along with his new professional status.

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel Still “Undecided”

ESPN says Manziel is ready to declare and hire an agent

ESPN says Manziel is ready to declare and hire an agent

With Auburn and Florida State closing out the college football season in style Monday night, many of college football’s stars now have a huge decision to make: whether or not to declare for the NFL Draft in April or continue playing for their respective universities. The spotlight is on many talented juniors across the country, but no one’s decision is being more awaited than that of Texas A&M quarterback, Johnny Manziel.

Since winning the Heisman Trophy as a freshman last season, the player dubbed “Johnny Football” has been one of college football’s most polarizing figures. Love him or hate him, though, Manziel is a talented QB with a knack for making the impossible plays look easy and will have a future in the NFL. ESPN’s Todd McShay has Manziel going fourth overall so it’s easy to see what kind of talent he has. Now, the only decision left for Manziel is whether or not he wants to forego his junior and senior seasons or continue playing for the Aggies.

As of Monday night’s championship game, Manziel is still undecided about his future. Talking with ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, Manziel will be talking with his family in the coming days to help make a decision. “I want to make the right decision that’s best for me and my family,” Manziel said.

Coming off one of his best performances yet in this year’s Chick-fil-A bowl, signs may, however, be pointing towards Manziel looking to play football on Sundays next season. Manziel has already selected an agency to represent him – another step towards his declaration for the NFL. Even teammates doubt his return as Texas A&M receiver, Ricky Seals-Jones, told reporters last Friday night that “Johnny’s gone”.

No matter what decision Manziel makes, one thing is for certain: Johnny Manziel will still be “Johnny Football”. He may just have to add a “pro” to go along with his new professional status.

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!

Week 17 Tight End-Wide Receiver Sleeper Report

Boykin could be in for a big game with Aaron Rodgers back in action

Boykin could be in for a big game with Aaron Rodgers back in action

Week 17 is here and it’s championship week for anyone still playing. Luckily there aren’t many teams that will be treating Week 17 as a bye week with all the playoff and seeding implications in almost every game, it should be a great week for fantasy owners.

Aaron Rodgers has been named the starter for Week 17 making several Green Bay wide receivers relevant again and with Romo out, owners should not be starting anyone besides Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. Calvin Johnson is going to be a game time decision and did not practice all week so Megatron owners might need a backup plan for him as well.

Jarrett Boykin, Nate Washington and Joseph Fauria lead the crop of Week 17 WR and TE sleepers.

There are

Jarrett Boykin (WR – GB)

Jarrett Boykin has been up and down with Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien at quarterback and couldn’t really be trusted on a weekly basis without Rodgers in the lineup. With Rodgers back in the lineup this week, Boykin is a solid WR3 and Flex play in PPR leagues.

The only concern with Boykin is that Randall Cobb may play this week which would make Cobb the third best option on the team. Keep an eye out for Cobb’s status on Sunday because with Cobb in the lineup, it decreases Boykin’s value quite a bit. If Cobb does get the start, he wouldn’t be a bad option as well and is available in a lot of leagues.

Nate Washington (WR – TEN)

Ryan Fitzpatrick has really helped the likes of Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker this season. There has been a lot of buzz around Wright and Walker in recent weeks, but Nate Washington has actually been keeping pace with both the last two weeks.

Washington has totaled 13 catches for 209 yards and a touchdown the past two weeks.  He’s getting lots of targets and is benefiting from Fitzpatrick’s gun-slinger mentality.  The Titans and Texans don’t have much to play for in Week 17 but Ryan Fitzpatrick wants to prove that he belongs in the NFL and will be taking this game very seriously.

Washington is a bit of a reach for a championship game, but Washington would be a good spot start if Calvin Johnson doesn’t end up playing.

Joseph Fauria (TE – DET)

For owners that made it to the championship game without  one of the top 3 0r 4 tight ends, it might not be a bad idea to give Joseph Fauria a start this week. Fauria is a touchdown machine and has the tight end position to himself with Brandon Pettigrew on the IR.

Fauria only managed three catches for 43 yards and a two point conversion in Week 16 but he did have six targets may have more if Calvin Johnson doesn’t end up playing.  Fauria is a great red zone and goal line target at 6’7″ and 255 pounds.  

Considering Fauria’s size and Detroit’s match-up against the Vikings (3rd most points to tight ends this season), owners could do a lot worse than Fauria with the lack of production at the tight end position this year.

 

Cowboys Romo Undergoes Back Surgery

Tony Romo is HIGHLY unlikely to play against the Eagles

Tony Romo is done for the season

Tony Romo is done for the season after undergoing season ending back surgery. 

Romo took an epidural injection in his back to relieve the pain and reduce the heavy inflammation, but it obviously wasn’t enough. Romo’s back-up quarterback Kyle Orton will get the start in the winner take all matchup with the Eagles.

Orton hasn’t seen much live game action since he played for the Chiefs during the 2011 season. In the case that something happens to Orton, the Cowboys have signed 41-yeard-old Jon Kitna out of retirement as the official third string behind Romo and Orton.

This game is the determining game to enter the playoffs for both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles recently embarrassed the Chicago Bears defense scoring 54 points, and are excited to take on their divisional rivals.

Week 16 Running Back Sit and Start Report

Ryan Mathews is a great play against a WORTHLESS Raiders defense

Ryan Mathews is a great play against a WORTHLESS Raiders defense

Week 16 is here, and with that comes fantasy football championships. All of your hard work and maybe some luck have brought you to this point and it all comes down to one more Sunday of football. If you still have some questions at the running back position, this will be your guide to bringing home the title.

Start:

Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers: After being the butt of fantasy football jokes for most of his career, Mathews has put together a solid 2013 season which has seen him catch fire in recent weeks. He has scored a combined 60 fantasy points in his last 4 weeks and is seeing a huge workload. Mathews has had 29 carries in each of his last two games which has resulted in two straight 100 yard rushing games. With a matchup against an Oakland Raiders defense which surrendered 5 TDs to Jamaal Charles last week, Mathews should be a great play this week.

DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys: On the start list for the second straight week, Murray has been ridiculously good in recent weeks. He gauged the Packers for 134 yards and a score last week and is now averaging 6.3 yards per carry since his return from injury in Week 9. This week the Cowboys take on the Washington Redskins who are horrendous against the run. With the Redskins surrendering the most rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs, it’s a good bet we’ll see Murray in the end zone sometime on Sunday.

Sit:

Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints: With a division title on the line in the Saints matchup against the Carolina Panthers this week, don’t expect much from the Saints primary back. Thomas has cooled off from his hot streak earlier in the season and is only averaging 4.4 fantasy points in his last three games. Travelling to Carolina, Thomas will not have any running room in what will be one of the best games of the week.

Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots: Overcoming his fumbling woes, Ridley has come back in the past two weeks to get back most of his carries. However, even with 8 carries in each of the last two weeks, Ridley has been non-productive, averaging only 35 yards per game. His hot stretch in November is long gone, and a matchup with a solid Baltimore Ravens defense doesn’t bode well for the back. Ridley is still unreliable at this point.

Week 16 Wide Receiver Sleeper Report

Jennings has a rough matchup against the Bengals

Jennings has a rough matchup against the Bengals

It’s championship week and time to cash in on all those hours of fantasy research. Wes Welker and Jordan Cameron are out with concussions and no owner should start Larry Fitzgerald even if he ends up playing against Seattle.

Owners need to correctly start a WR3 or Flex to ensure a fantasy championship and we have a few under the radar guys that can help owners bring that trophy home.  Greg Jennings, Doug Baldwin and Andre Caldwell lead the crop of Week 16 WR sleepers.

Greg Jennings (WR – MIN)

Greg Jennings had his first monster game of the year last week hauling in 11 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown.  Jennings has had no fantasy value most of the season, with the inconsistent play at the quarterback position but he seems to have found new life with Matt Cassel at quarterback.

Jennings appears to have a bad match-up on the surface facing a Bengals defense with a lot of talent but they have suffered several key injuries in recent weeks and have been giving up a lot of touchdowns through the air. Jennings is a nice filler for owners looking for replacements for Welker or Fitzgerald.

Doug Baldwin (WR – SEA)

Doug Baldwin has been quietly producing decent fantasy numbers for the last six weeks.  He doesn’t get much press playing for a team that’s known for their defense and power run game but Baldwin has scored double-digit fantasy points in five of his last six games in PPR leagues.

Baldwin also doesn’t appear to have a great match-up facing a stingy Arizona defense but Golden Tate will likely be matched up with Patrick Peterson most of the day and Baldwin might have a field day in the slot working against a defense that lost their best slot defender (Tyrann Matthieu) for the season.

Baldwin doesn’t have a high ceiling or a low floor but he’s almost a lock to get between 11 to 19 points in PPR formats and has scored four touchdowns in his last six games.  Baldwin is a nice WR3 and Flex play in 12 plus team leagues.

Andre Caldwell (WR – DEN)

Andre Caldwell was a hot pickup off waivers this week after he caught six passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns in Week 15 against the Chargers. With Welker out for the rest of the regular season, Caldwell will have plenty of fantasy value the next two weeks.

Several factors point towards Caldwell having an opportunity for another big game on Sunday. For starters, Peyton Manning is three touchdowns shy of tying Tom Brady’s all-time record of 50 touchdowns in a season and the Broncos will want him to break that record this week.  Additionally, the Broncos defense appears to be getting worse every week and the Texans should be able to hang with the Broncos for a few quarters.  As long as the game remains competitive, Manning will continue to throw the ball and Caldwell will get plenty of single coverage throughout the day.

Caldwell is a low-end WR3 or Flex play this week with a good chance to find the end zone this week in Houston.

Steer Clear of Donald Brown Against the Chiefs

Colts running back Donald Brown was back participating in drills at Fridays practice. Brown left Sundays contest against Houston after dealing with severe neck pain. His participation on Friday bodes well for his chances to start on Sunday vs. Kansas City.

The 5th year back out of Connecticut has clearly been the more trusted option in the Colts backfield all year. Even after the addition of Trent Richardson, Brown has shown he is invaluable to the team because of his knowledge and comfort in the offense.

Starting the former Husky in your fantasy lineup will still be a risky move this week. There is a chance he can re-tweak his neck while getting run down by one of the league’s best defenses. The Chiefs have not been quite as stout against the run lately allowing almost 120 rush yards per game over their last 6 games, but are very capable of clamping down at any point in time.

Trent Richardson has been getting a better feel for the offense and filled in admirably for brown last week gaining 64 yards on 19 carries. He also contributed in the pass game, he was targeted 6 times catching 4 of them for 38 yards and a touchdown.

We may see more of Richardson’s involvement in the offense Week 16 even if Brown does get the start.

Brown is no more than a marginal flex start Week 16 vs. The Chiefs.