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.

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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.

 

Usual Fantasy Stars Struggle During Week 16

Johnson fell apart when his team and fantasy owners needed him the most

Johnson fell apart when his team and fantasy owners needed him the most

Many, if not all, fantasy leagues played their championship weekend during Week 16, and unfortunately for owners of Calvin Johnson, Marshawn Lynch and the Kansas City defense, your fantasy team may have stumbled in the most important fantasy week of the season. While injuries may have been the reason for some of the production drop, some teams were just outplayed during Week 16.

The Detroit Lions took on the struggling New York Giants Sunday, and the league’s best receiver left many fantasy owners scratching their heads. It appears that a long season finally caught up to Calvin Johnson, and injuries that he has played through in the past were just too limiting. The Giants held a significantly less than 100 percent Megatron to a meager three receptions for 43 yards and zero scores. Head Coach Jim Schwartz said after the game that Megatron was limited due to both a knee and ankle injury and that was used sparingly in the team’s overtime loss to the Giants. Fantasy owners need to watch Megatron’s injury status carefully over the next week, especially if your championship round consists of two weeks.

Unfortunately for the Seattle Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch and his fantasy owners, no injuries could be blamed for his weak performance Sunday against a driven Arizona Cardinals football team. Lynch was held to under 75 rushing yards for the fifth straight week. The Arizona Cardinals defense honed in on the star running back and limited him to an average of just 3.9 yards per carry. While the Cardinals have had one of the top rushing defenses in the league this season, the usually dominant Seattle Seahawks struggled to get their offense going in the team’s 17-10 loss. Fantasy owners should not worry, as Lynch will face a more inferior rush defense in the St. Louis Rams next week.

One of the biggest surprises of the entire season is the Kansas City Chiefs and their jump from the worst team a year ago to one of the most dominant and electrifying in 2014. The Kansas City defense has been the most consistent components of the Chiefs success this season, and unfortunately for fantasy owners and the Chiefs alike, the defense fell apart Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.  

Much of the problem resided in the offenses’ inability to keep their defense off the field, and that became ever more apparent as they failed to score any points after stud running back Jamaal Charles’ 31-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. Not to mention the Kansas City defense was only able to sack Andrew Luck once all game. Fantasy owners should expect the Kansas City Chiefs defense to rebound in the final game of the season against the San Diego Chargers, as the Chiefs look to gain momentum as the playoffs begin.

Week 16 Running Back Sleeper Report

Bell has a banner matchup this week against a hopeless Giants defense

Bell has a banner matchup this week against a hopeless Giants defense

With two weeks left in the NFL regular season, there are few positions that a team could be in. Teams like Denver, Kansas City, Seattle and Indianapolis have clinched playoff berths and are jockeying for position. Teams like Miami, Baltimore, San Diego, and Green Bay (or Detroit or Chicago) are fighting to get a seat at the table. And then you have teams like Houston, Jacksonville, Washington, and Atlanta (along with a host of others) who probably would do best to ride their losing seasons out and get a great draft pick.

The teams in the first two tiers need all of their skill position players to have big games for them; that’s good for fantasy owners. The teams in the last tier have already begun to shut down their best players because they know there is nothing left to play for.

Take Houston for example. Ben Tate has officially been put on IR. He could probably go, but the Texans know there is no use in risking his health on a 2-12 team. And this comes after Arian Foster already being out for the year some weeks earlier.

So as you make decisions in your fantasy playoffs, be sure you are paying attention to your key skill positions and how their teams are faring. If they are still in line for a top draft pick, don’t expect someone to have a breakout game just because. The teams may say they are still playing for something, but what they really want is one of the top players eligible for next year’s draft.

With that in mind, here are a couple backs that could have an impact this week.

Joique Bell (DET)

Bell is second fiddle to Reggie Bush when it comes to touches in the Detroit offense. However, he’s managed 7 TD’s on the ground this year, and has been a reliable threat out of the backfield for a team that puts up huge numbers on offense.

He had a weak game against Baltimore last week, but the Lions are facing the New York Giants this Sunday. The Giants season is over. And while Tom Coughlin may be fighting for his job, his team looked pathetic last week against Seattle.

Detroit needs this game badly, and they will need all hands on deck to finish strong. Look for Bell to be a viable target for Matthew Stafford out of the backfield. He is bound to be an important piece for them as they strive to make the playoffs.

Rashard Mendenhall (AZ)

Mendenhall has average a paltry 3.1 yards per carry this season, but he is still Arizona’s number one option at running back. You may be tempted to sit him because it’s entirely possible he throws up a dud.

But, Arizona needs to win their next two games if they have a chance at making the playoffs. And Bruce Arians will keep feeding Mendenhall the rock regardless of his production.

Seattle has a stout defense, but Arizona will try to establish their ground game early and often. They will mix in Andre Ellington here and there, but the Cardinals have proven that they will ride Mendenhall into the dance or into the offseason. He consistently gets over 15 touches every game, and the Seahawks have little to play for. Look for the Arizona offense to come out hungry.

Week 16 Running Back Sleeper Report

Bell has a banner matchup this week against a hopeless Giants defense

Bell has a banner matchup this week against a hopeless Giants defense

With two weeks left in the NFL regular season, there are few positions that a team could be in. Teams like Denver, Kansas City, Seattle and Indianapolis have clinched playoff berths and are jockeying for position. Teams like Miami, Baltimore, San Diego, and Green Bay (or Detroit or Chicago) are fighting to get a seat at the table. And then you have teams like Houston, Jacksonville, Washington, and Atlanta (along with a host of others) who probably would do best to ride their losing seasons out and get a great draft pick.

The teams in the first two tiers need all of their skill position players to have big games for them; that’s good for fantasy owners. The teams in the last tier have already begun to shut down their best players because they know there is nothing left to play for.

Take Houston for example. Ben Tate has officially been put on IR. He could probably go, but the Texans know there is no use in risking his health on a 2-12 team. And this comes after Arian Foster already being out for the year some weeks earlier.

So as you make decisions in your fantasy playoffs, be sure you are paying attention to your key skill positions and how their teams are faring. If they are still in line for a top draft pick, don’t expect someone to have a breakout game just because. The teams may say they are still playing for something, but what they really want is one of the top players eligible for next year’s draft.

With that in mind, here are a couple backs that could have an impact this week.

Joique Bell (DET)

Bell is second fiddle to Reggie Bush when it comes to touches in the Detroit offense. However, he’s managed 7 TD’s on the ground this year, and has been a reliable threat out of the backfield for a team that puts up huge numbers on offense.

He had a weak game against Baltimore last week, but the Lions are facing the New York Giants this Sunday. The Giants season is over. And while Tom Coughlin may be fighting for his job, his team looked pathetic last week against Seattle.

Detroit needs this game badly, and they will need all hands on deck to finish strong. Look for Bell to be a viable target for Matthew Stafford out of the backfield. He is bound to be an important piece for them as they strive to make the playoffs.

Rashard Mendenhall (AZ)

Mendenhall has average a paltry 3.1 yards per carry this season, but he is still Arizona’s number one option at running back. You may be tempted to sit him because it’s entirely possible he throws up a dud.

But, Arizona needs to win their next two games if they have a chance at making the playoffs. And Bruce Arians will keep feeding Mendenhall the rock regardless of his production.

Seattle has a stout defense, but Arizona will try to establish their ground game early and often. They will mix in Andre Ellington here and there, but the Cardinals have proven that they will ride Mendenhall into the dance or into the offseason. He consistently gets over 15 touches every game, and the Seahawks have little to play for. Look for the Arizona offense to come out hungry.

Monday Night Football Sit and Start Report

Most fantasy owners gave up on Rice weeks ago

Most fantasy owners gave up on Rice weeks ago

Week 15 wraps up tonight on Monday Night Football with the Baltimore Ravens traveling to Detroit to take on the Lions. In a matchup that has the potential to produce some big fantasy numbers, your fantasy week could be decided with the right sits or starts.

Start:

Reggie Bush- Lions running back Reggie Bush has been electrifying all season. Bush has rushed for 854 on 180 attempts and three touchdowns in his 11 games this season. He is averaging an impressive 4.7 YPC and has also added 45 receptions for 448 yards and 2 touchdowns on the year. While the Ravens have a solid rush defense, fantasy owners should expect Bush’s dual threat ability to produce strong fantasy numbers on Monday Night Football.

Torrey Smith- Ravens third year receiver Torrey Smith is looking to eclipse the 1,000 yards receiving mark for the first time in his career. With 55 receptions for 963 yards so far on the season, Smith can likely accomplish this feat against the Lions in Week 15. With the offense faces a strong rush defense, fantasy owners should expect to see strong performances out of the Baltimore receivers who will be facing the league’s seventh worst pass defense.

Sit:

Ray Rice- As one of the best multipurpose runningbacks in the NFL the past couple of years, Ray Rice has struggled to find his mojo this season. Through the first 12 games this season Rice has rushed for 549 yards on 185 attempts, averaging 3 yards per carry (YPC). The Ravens will be facing a daunting rush defense in Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Ezekiel Ansah, and Willie Young. Fantasy owners should expect the Ravens to rely much more on quarterback Joe Flacco’s big arm than on Ray Rice up the middle.

Nate Burleson- Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson has failed to live up to the potential he showed in the two games before he was injured. Since returning from his broken arm, Burleson has a meager nine receptions for 95 yards in three games. While the Ravens do not possess one of the premier pass defenses in the league, allowing an average of 231.7 yards per game, Burleson is a risky play in any fantasy matchup. Fantasy owners should keep Nate Burleson out of any starting role this late in the season.

 

Lions Reggie Bush a No-Go at Practice

Bush says he will play, but fantasy owners have to wait and see

Bush says he will play, but fantasy owners have to wait and see

The multi-talented Lions running back Reggie Bush has not returned to the practice field since reinjuring his calf during warmups in snowy Philadelphia last week. This is not what fantasy owners who are still in their respective playoffs want to hear.

On a positive note, Bush has all the confidence in the world that he is going to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Bush’s status came down to the wire last week and he ended up not playing because he slipped in the snow before the game even started. It looks like Bush is going to give it a go come Friday at practice. Fantasy owners should be hopeful that this dynamic talent will play Sunday.

Bush is a matchup nightmare for defenses as he’s been running the ball effectively as of late and we all know what type of tools he brings to the passing game. Make sure to keep an eye out for future injury reports on Bush. If he cannot go, expect Joique Bell to carry the load similar to last week against Philadelphia.

Lions Reggie Bush a No-Go at Practice

Bush says he will play, but fantasy owners have to wait and see

Bush says he will play, but fantasy owners have to wait and see

The multi-talented Lions running back Reggie Bush has not returned to the practice field since reinjuring his calf during warmups in snowy Philadelphia last week. This is not what fantasy owners who are still in their respective playoffs want to hear.

On a positive note, Bush has all the confidence in the world that he is going to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Bush’s status came down to the wire last week and he ended up not playing because he slipped in the snow before the game even started. It looks like Bush is going to give it a go come Friday at practice. Fantasy owners should be hopeful that this dynamic talent will play Sunday.

Bush is a matchup nightmare for defenses as he’s been running the ball effectively as of late and we all know what type of tools he brings to the passing game. Make sure to keep an eye out for future injury reports on Bush. If he cannot go, expect Joique Bell to carry the load similar to last week against Philadelphia.

Snow Slips up Lions, Bush in Philadelphia

Bush aggravated injured calf during snow-plagued warmups

Bush aggravated injured calf during snow-plagued warmups

With a blizzard roaring down much of the east coast on Sunday, conditions were unbelievably bad at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia for the matchup between the first place Eagles and Detroit Lions. With inches of snow covering the field, the Lions lost one of their key pieces to their offense in Reggie Bush before the game even started when Bush slipped and aggravated a calf injury.

Listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, Bush was limited in practice all week due to a newly concerning calf injury. Bush had been dealing with a knee issue all season, but this calf injury was new and had threatened Bush’s availability for Sunday. However, Bush was in line to start Sunday afternoon before he slipped in pregame warm-ups. Bush was seen slamming his helmet down in disgust and was unable to play in the game as a result.

With Bush being such a valuable piece to many fantasy owners this season, the new injury is very concerning as the extent of the injury still has not been revealed. If Bush is to miss any time, Joique Bell will be a must-add for any Bush owner. Bell filled in adamantly for the injured Bush on Sunday as he fumbled twice in the snowy conditions, but gained 127 total yards and scored a touchdown as well as a two-point conversion.

Bush owners who are still alive at this point in the season are sure to be in a bind, but still have one or two options on the waiver wire. Both Daniel Thomas and Toby Gerhart could be productive next week if Lamar Miller and Adrian Peterson need to miss time from their injuries sustained on Sunday.

All Systems Go for Julius Thomas

Thomas

Thomas is back and the Titans defense should be worried

Broncos tight end Julius Thomas is officially listed as probable for Sunday’s Week 14 contest with the Tennessee Titans. Thomas will be ready to go after fully participating in both Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practices.

Thomas should be used as a top 3 TE1 in fantasy leagues across the board.

Julius Thomas had missed the last 2 games due to a knee injury, and barring the slim chance of a setback, should have no restrictions against Tennessee. The Titans strong pass defense ranks 7th in the league allowing a  212.6 passing yards per contest, but they are vulnerable. What makes the Titans defense so impressive is their secondary, but their midfield defense is where they lack solid coverage. This is where Julius Thomas does most of his damage, so expect a monster game from him.

Peyton Manning is getting one of his favorite targets back, and he should produce heavily in his return. Thomas has racked up 590 yards and 10 touchdowns on 45 receptions in his third season thus far and should be able to keep the ball rolling this week. Despite only playing 10 games, Thomas’ 10 touchdowns only put him 2 behind leaders Calvin Johnson and Jimmy Graham.

As long as Thomas can remain healthy, he is a viable TE1 option, regardless of how tough the opponent.