Despite Rumblings, C.J. Anderson is the Man in Denver

C.J. Anderson

Even with no decent blocking, C.J. Anderson made his mark in the Mile High City

Broncos running back CJ Anderson’s spectacular 2014 season has him sitting atop the depth chart heading into the new year, but according to OC Gary Kubiak, he will have to earn the starting spot all over again. Anderson was certainly one of last season’s top fantasy sleeper picks, but there were reports of conditioning issues towards the end of last season. This may have contributed to his decline in production, but it still seems as though he may be the best man for the job.

Anderson started the 2014 season as the #3 RB behind Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball, and was given a chance to prove his worth after both backs went down with injuries. Anderson took over as the lead back in week 10, and put up 767 rushing yards and 10 total touchdowns from there on out (8 games). With all 3 backs now healthy heading into training camp, there should be an open competition, but it’s hard to see anyone other than Anderson taking the starting spot.

Though his conditioning toward the end of the season may have put a damper on his strong sophomore season campaign, but his performance in the playoffs showcased his resilience. Anderson’s numbers were average, but there were two plays against Indianapolis he made where he extended drives by fighting through multiple tackles on fourth down. His ability to break tackles, in addition to his agility and cutting ability should secure CJ Anderson his starting role.

Anderson broke 1,000 all purpose yards as a second-year tailback taking over after multiple injuries at the position. With the opportunity to start for an entire season, he should easily break 1,000 rushing yards and at least 8 touchdowns.

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Manning, Brady Set for AFC Championship Clash

Savor this quarterback rivalry while it lasts

Savor this quarterback rivalry while it lasts

Football fans got exactly what they asked for as Peyton Manning and the Broncos take on Tom Brady and the Patriots for a spot in the Super Bowl.

It’s no surprise the Broncos have made it this far with all the weapons they have on offense, but few expected the Patriots to get within a game of the Super Bowl after losing Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker during the off-season.

Most football experts will agree that on paper that Denver should win by at least two touchdowns. Denver is playing at home, the weather is expected to be 50+ degrees, the Broncos had statistically the best offensive season in NFL history and Peyton Manning had the best statistical season for a quarterback in NFL history. The Broncos bring to the table five players who have scored 10 or more touchdowns this season while the  Patriots have no vertical passing game and  have surprisingly morphed into a power running team.

It seems hard to imagine how the Patriots can keep up with the Broncos but Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have a history of finding a way to give Peyton Manning and his high power offenses fits and no one will be surprised if the Patriots find a way to win and advance to their sixth Super Bowl appearance in the Brady and Belichick era.

It should be a great AFC championship game, but which team has the edge?

What happened in Week 12 when the Patriots came back from a 24 point deficit to win in overtime doesn’t hold much water when analyzing this game. Both teams had three turnovers, it was extremely windy, and both teams have lost significant players since the Week 12 match-up. There will be no Rob Gronkowski to control the middle of the field and there will be no Von Miller to rush the passer and no Chris Harris to guard the slot receivers.

This game will come down to whether or not the Broncos can convert red zone trips into touchdowns and whether or not the Patriots can run the ball successfully and move the chains on third down. Like most games in the NFL, this game will be won or lost in the trenches.

Let’s take a look at both sides of the ball and break down which team has the advantage in this game.

Broncos Offense against Patriots Defense 

Belichick and the Patriots will do everything in their power to not get beaten through the air and will likely play with only six players in the box and two deep safeties at all times.  The Broncos should be able to run the ball which will shorten the game and play into the Patriots. The Pats will bet the house on their ability to make key stops in the red zone.

The Patriots defense will have a perfect game plan to stop the Broncos offense, but do they have the players to execute this game plan? I think not, advantage Broncos Offense. 

Broncos Defense against Patriots Offense

The Patriots will need to run the ball extremely well to win this game. They have been running the ball very well in recent weeks and should have enough success to keep them in this game. The Pats will try to establish the run early and get their play-action passing game going in “obvious” run situations. The Patriots have had a lot of success completing short passes and turning them into big plays so whether or not the Broncos can make open field tackles will be a big factor in this game.

Look for the Patriots to use their short passing game to open up the run early. The Broncos do have the seventh ranked rushing defense but they haven’t been tested on the ground much this season since their opponents have been playing from behind most of the year. The Patriots should have success on the ground and Shane Vereen should be able to move the chains catching passes out of the backfield on third downs.

Does a Tom Brady powered offense have an advantage over Denver’s 19th ranked defense? I think so, advantage Patriots Offense.

Many look at this game as Manning against Brady, but I believe this game will be won by which team is more physical upfront. The more physical team will likely create the most pressure on the opposing quarterback which will likely lead to a game-changing turnover. The quarterback that will have the best game will be the one with the least amount pressuring from the opposing pass rush.

I see this being a great game with multiple lead changes but I don’t see the Patriots having enough firepower on offense to keep up with a Broncos squad that is playing at home and on a mission to get to a Super Bowl after their disappointing early exit in the playoffs last season. Brady is 2 – 1 against Manning in the playoffs but the home team has won each time in those meetings.

I see the Broncos winning at home in a four point game and kneeling on the ball to run out the clock. The Broncos expected to be at this point before the season started and the Patriots are just happy to have gotten this far given what they have had to overcome to get here.

 

 

Denver Looking for Payback Against Bolts

Oh how familiar this scenario must look for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. It’s almost as if there is some type of deja vu going on here. The Broncos found themselves in this same exact spot last this time last year. They were 13-3 in the regular season and start off the playoffs in the divisional round because of a first round bye.

The pressure has got to be on the Broncos right?

Just think if the great Peyton Manning goes down two years in a row with an unbelievable team to a wild card team in the San Diego Chargers. This is not just an ordinary Chargers team though, no not so fast. San Diego is the only team to beat the Denver Broncos in that vaunted climate in Mile High Stadium.

Still with all this said the edge still goes to the Denver Broncos. Peyton Manning is not going to take the Charges lightly. The Broncos passing game is just too overwhelming for the Chargers secondary. The Broncos will get back Manning’s favorite target in Wes Welker. This should provide an ample boost that Denver needs to outscore the Chargers.

This game could very well come down to a shootout between the two high powered offenses. If it comes down to this you have to trust in the guru Peyton Manning. Denver gets the slight edge in this game but they cannot overlook this Chargers team who has all the momentum in the world right now.

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 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.

Broncos Receiver Wes Welker Still Not Practicing

Welker's back-to-back concussions have fantasy owners worried

Welker’s back-to-back concussions have fantasy owners worried

Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker missed practice Monday as he continues to deal with a concussion that kept him sidelined for Week 15. Seeing as how he has not been cleared yet for exercise, his availability for Week 16 is questionable.

Welker has been diagnosed with 2 separate concussions in the last four weeks, and the time to recover may be longer than usual. Granted he does have a few days to be cleared to take the field again, the slot wide receiver with a history of head trauma should be taken care of accordingly.

The Broncos missed his presence very much so as they lost to the San Diego Chargers by a score of 27-20 on Thursday night. QB Peyton Manning struggled to get things going, missing his slot target, as he only managed to throw for 289 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

However, though he holds great importance to the Denver offense, their weak opponent in the Houston Texans may allow Welker to rest for precautionary measures as he will most likely not be needed to secure a win. Until further notice, consider Wes Welker’s status doubtful.

If Welker is able to overcome his injury, he can be considered a WR1 in fantasy leagues across the board.

 

Broncos Receiver Wes Welker Still Not Practicing

Welker's back-to-back concussions have fantasy owners worried

Welker’s back-to-back concussions have fantasy owners worried

Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker missed practice Monday as he continues to deal with a concussion that kept him sidelined for Week 15. Seeing as how he has not been cleared yet for exercise, his availability for Week 16 is questionable.

Welker has been diagnosed with 2 separate concussions in the last four weeks, and the time to recover may be longer than usual. Granted he does have a few days to be cleared to take the field again, the slot wide receiver with a history of head trauma should be taken care of accordingly.

The Broncos missed his presence very much so as they lost to the San Diego Chargers by a score of 27-20 on Thursday night. QB Peyton Manning struggled to get things going, missing his slot target, as he only managed to throw for 289 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

However, though he holds great importance to the Denver offense, their weak opponent in the Houston Texans may allow Welker to rest for precautionary measures as he will most likely not be needed to secure a win. Until further notice, consider Wes Welker’s status doubtful.

If Welker is able to overcome his injury, he can be considered a WR1 in fantasy leagues across the board.

 

Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickup Report

Crabtree has a dream matchup on Monday Night against Atlanta

Crabtree has a dream matchup on Monday Night against Atlanta

Week 16 is here and it’s championship week for a majority of fantasy leagues.  Wes Welker’s status is still unknown for this week and Larry Fitzgerald may be sidelined with a concussion.

It’s time to pick up the missing piece to a fantasy football championship or possibly keep the missing piece away from your opponent. Michael Crabtree, Andre Caldwell and Delanie Walker lead the crop of Week 16 WR – TE waiver wire targets.

Micahel Crabtree (SF – WR)

Michael Crabtree is the answer to a lot of fantasy football owners prayers.  When healthy, he’s an elite receiver playing on a team that’s fighting to get in the playoffs and has a dream Week 16 match-up against the Atlanta Falcons.

Crabtree appeared on the Fantasy Buzzer waiver wire list three weeks ago in large part due to his Week 16 match-up.  Crabtree had tough match-ups the last three weeks (his first of the season) but has shown progress in each game.  Crabtree is coming off his best week of his short season racking up five catches for 45 yards and a touchdown.

Crabtree will be flying off of waivers this week and should be considered a high end WR3 and Flex play this week. Even if you don’t plan on starting him this week, grab him if he’s available to keep away from your opponent.

Andre Caldwell (WR – DEN)

Many owners are scrambling for a replacement for Wes Welker who may be out the rest of the regular season with a concussion.  There is no reason to look any further than his replacement, Andre Caldwell.

Caldwell filled in for Welker on Thursday night and put up really nice numbers hauling in six passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns. Welker’s status is still uncertain but many experts are speculating that Welker won’t play for the remainder of the regular season.  With opposing defenses having to key on three or four other Broncos it’s safe to say that Caldwell will get his share of single coverage opportunities.

Caldwell is a bit of a stretch to start in a championship game but with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball, he’s sure to get several quality targets and is not a bad option in deeper leagues.

Delanie Walker ( TE – TEN)

Delanie Walker has been showing up on the Fantasy Buzzer waiver wire and sleeper list just about every week this season. With the lack of production at the tight end position, owners won’t find a better pickup at the tight end position

Walker has put up double-digit fantasy points in three of the last four games he’s played in.  Walker missed Week 14’s game with a concussion and was kicked to the curb by a lot of owners.  Walker bounced back from the concussion in Week 15 with eight catches for 53 yards and a touchdown and is primed to produce in Week 16.

Walker is only owned in 40% of Yahoo and 22.6% of ESPN fantasy leagues and should be considered as a a top 10 tight end this week playing against the Jaguars who are giving up the second most fantasy points to tight ends in the NFL.

Walker is another player who should be picked up to keep away from an owner struggling at the tight end position.