Well the Johnny Manziel era as the starting quarterback of the Cleveland browns sure didn’t last long. Roughly a week after he was named the starter for the remainder of the 2015 season, Browns head coach Mike Pettine announced on Tuesday that not only Manziel would not start this week’s game versus Baltimore, but he was now listed as the third string quarterback on the depth chart behind Austin Davis. This bold move by Pettine not only likely ends Manziel’s stay in Cleveland but it could also cost General Manager Ray Farmer and Pettine their jobs as well.
This latest firestorm Manziel finds himself caught up in stems from a recently released video which shows Manziel with a champagne bottle in his hand partying in Austin, Texas during the Browns’ bye week. Manziel, who earlier this year (Jan 28th), had checked himself into a rehab center to help sort out some of his off-field issues had been instructed in a meeting with Pettine prior to the bye to lay low and make sure to avoid causing this type of distraction.
Obviously, Manziel’s decision making off the field is still just as bad as it is on the field. What has me scratching my head is why did this video of Manziel apparently drinking and partying irk the Browns to the point that they not only benched him but demoted him, yet the incident that occurred with Manziel’s girlfriend in October, where he “allegedly” had been hitting her, was seemingly swept under the rug? I would just cut bait and release Manziel today, as there is no point to have a third string quarterback bring this much distraction to your organization.
The Browns made Manziel the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, a decision that was both heralded and scrutinized at the same time. The ones who supported the pick were Browns’ majority owner Jimmy Haslam and a number of the Browns faithful who had visions of “Johnny Football” running around and making plays happen out of nothing like he did while he played for Texas A&M. The truth was that Manziel should have never been drafted in the first round (no quarterback under six feet should be) as his play with the Aggies, although exciting, was not NFL caliber. Manziel played in Kevin Sumlin’s spread offense where he had one read to make, and if that was not there, Manziel would scramble to buy time until a receiver (usually Mike Evans) would come free or make a play on a jump ball that Manziel would float up there. Many scouts and front office personnel had their doubts, as did I, that Manziel would be anything but a backup in the NFL.
Yet the Browns, namely Haslam, appeared enamored with the aura and popularity that Manziel brought with him. Manziel signed with LeBron James’s business partner Maverick Carter to represent him, which caused a bit of a stir in Cleveland. This move somehow seemed to give the fans, and apparently Haslam, the impression that if LeBron wants to be associated with Johnny Football, then he must be the real deal.
The decision to draft Manziel also cost the Browns the opportunity to potentially draft other quarterbacks like Teddy Bridgewater, David Carr, and Jimmy Garoppolo, all whom were drafted after Manziel and all whom were highly rated prospects. Any one of those three quarterbacks would have been a better selection and would have given Mike Pettine and his staff a fighting chance. Instead, an overzealous owner got caught up in the hype that surrounded “Johnny Football” ignoring the off-field distractions and the on-field limitations just to make a splash. As it stands now, Pettine, who by all accounts appears to be a good coach, most likely will be fired at the end of the season along with general manager Sam Farmer because they were unsuccessful in getting a third string quarterback to grow up and act like a professional.
Danny Shimon is a graduate of Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp.
Follow Danny on Twitter @dshimon56
Elliott is a third year junior and a two year starter for Ohio State. He is a former 4-star recruit who had offers from many of the top programs in the country. He played as a backup as a true freshman in 2013 and has been the starter the last two seasons. To date this season he has rushed for 1458 yards, a 6.3 yards per carry average and 17 touchdowns. He also has 24 receptions for a 7.0 average per catch. In 2014 he ran for 1878 yards and had an additional 28 receptions. His touchdown total in 2014 was 18.
Following the Ohio State loss to Michigan State last week, Elliott announced he would enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
Ezekiel Elliott – RB – Ohio State
Size – 6000 – 225 – 4.52 (all estimates)
Strong Points – Has the size and frame needed to succeed as an NFL running back. Very good athlete with quick feet, good play speed with a quick burst. Has excellent balance. Is quick to the hole with very good vision/instincts. Shows creativity and cutback ability. Runs with good lean. Has strength and power and consistently gets yards after contact. Very reliable as a pass receiver. Has soft hands and can adjust to the ball. For a college running back, he is a very good blocker. Will face up in pass pro and can be effective blocking on the move in the run game.
Weak Points – Not a burner. Showed selfishness and immaturity following the loss to Michigan State. Is he a real team player?
Summation – A third year junior coming out. Has been the bell cow running back for Ohio State the last two seasons. Has a running style that is conducive to success in the NFL. He is a strong and powerful inside runner who shows creativity and cut back ability. Runs low and consistently gets yards after contact. Is very quick footed with quick change of direction and a burst. While he is not a burner, he gets a number of long runs at the college level because of his burst and instincts. He is a very reliable pass receiver with soft hands and run after the catch skills. He blocks as well as any back coming out of college. That will get him on the field early in the NFL. Overall, he will start early in his career and with his style he should be a productive NFL runner back. Though not as fast, he is a far better all-around back than Melvin Gordon from Wisconsin last year. Because of his actions after the Michigan State game, many clubs will closely look at his character, personality and maturity level.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe
After the weekend’s games, things will change in both the Top Four and the Top Ten of the Playoff Rankings. #3 Ohio State got beat up at home versus Michigan State. They looked so bad that it wouldn’t surprise me if Ohio State gets beaten badly in Ann Arbor against rival Michigan this Saturday. Personally, I feel Ohio State has been a fraud all season. They have underachieved and could very well have lost another two or three games.
The comments by some of the Ohio State players after the loss to Michigan State showed that some of these players are nothing but hired mercenaries. Get in there three years and kiss college football goodbye. Zeke Elliott’s and Cardale Jones’s words and tweets are telling. These kids are not team players and it will affect their draft standing.
Like I have been saying for weeks, there would not be an undefeated Big 12 team at season’s end. Baylor easily beat #6 Oklahoma State in Stillwater to knock the Cowboys from the unbeaten ranks. The next big conference game is Oklahoma at Oklahoma State this Saturday. If Oklahoma wins they have an outside chance to get into the Playoff, but only if a beaten up #4 Notre Dame loses at Stanford.
Notre Dame’s only loss is a two pointer at #1 Clemson in a hurricane. With all the injuries Notre Dame has suffered, it is remarkable that they are 10-1. In the preseason they lost starting nose tackle Jarron Jones to an ACL. In the opening game they lost starting running back Tarean Folston In game two they lost their starting quarterback Malik Zaire to an ankle fracture and then this past week they lost starting corner KaiVarae Russell to a leg fracture. While Notre Dame had the depth to make up for the other injuries, they don’t have strong secondary depth and the Russell loss could be huge in this week’s game at Stanford. Running back C.J. Procise will also miss the Stanford game with an ankle sprain.
#5 Iowa seems to look stronger every week, but let’s face it, they haven’t played a tough schedule. Their toughest game of the season could well be this week when they travel to Nebraska. While the Cornhuskers have only won five games, they have won two straight including a won over Michigan State. This game will be very important in Iowa’s drive to the Playoff. If they win this week, they will have to most likely beat Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship. The winner of the Big Championship will almost assuredly be in the Playoff.
Barring an upset, Clemson and Alabama look like locks to be in the Playoff as each will be heavily favored in their respective conference championship games.
The Carolina Panthers keep rolling along. They now stand at a perfect 10-0 after their 44 – 16 win over Washington. Looking at their remaining schedule, the Panthers are better than even money to go 16-0 in the regular season.
Carolina could very well lock up the NFC South in another two weeks. Three and maybe four more wins will give them home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs, and they don’t have to play any of the teams they are in contention with. Their biggest competition for home field is Arizona, and the Cardinals remaining schedule is much tougher than Carolina’s.
The most disappointing team in the NFL this season has to be the Philadelphia Eagles. Right now they sit at 4-6 and are coming off two straight home field losses. Yesterday’s 38 – 17 loss to Tampa Bay was telling as the Eagle defense didn’t show up and the offense wasn’t much better.
Early in the season, their Thanksgiving Day matchup in Detroit looked like an easy win, but right now the Lions are playing much improved football and will be favorites. I would say it is a good bet that Chip Kelly won’t be the Eagles’ Head Coach in 2016. If that happens, there will be changes in the Eagles front office as well.
Follow Greg on Twitter @Greggabe
This season’s new medical timeout rule was supposed to prevent another Julian Edelman Super Bowl situation. Sunday we see that rule failed Case Keenum as he appeared dazed, was not removed from the game, but later found to have a concussion.
The play should have never have happened anyways. Elvis Dumervil was standing well across the line of scrimmage when he thought there was a false start. It seemed like some of the players didn’t even play on the snap as they anticipated an unabated to the QB or false start call. During the free play, the back of Keenum’s head hit the turf.
Immediately, both of Keenum’s hands go to his head. Right tackle Garrett Reynolds goes to help pull his somewhat limp QB up, but is unable to as Keenum slumps back to his side and then rolls onto all fours. Center Tim Barnes comes to check on Keenum as well but the QB slowly gets up and walks off to the side. The next play, Keenum throws high to Wes Welker. The following play, Keenum drops back to pass and is nonchalantly holding the ball in one hand at his waist and fumbles when his arm is hit. Ironically, staying in the game is likely what cost the Rams the game.
To me, there was clear visual evidence of potential head injury; however, a medical timeout was not called. When the rule was ratified, I wrote how that was not going to solve all concussion detection issues.
Here the system failed Case Keenum. I am not blaming any one person, but the spotter, referee, ATCs, team doctors, unaffiliated neuro consultant (UNC), coaches and players all share in the responsibility. I doubt there was a conspiracy to keep Keenum in the game, rather a confluence of factors that lead to his not being removed.
The “eye-in-the-sky” has gotten the most criticism but that may be fair. Visually there was enough to call a medical timeout but perhaps the spotter saw team medical personnel come onto the field to tend to Keenum so the spotter saw no need to stop the game. During the referees adjudication of the offsides penalty and explanation of the in the grasp call, the Rams head Athletic Trainer speaks to Keenum on the field including pointing to his own head.
I know the Rams to have a quality head athletic trainer. He saw enough to come onto the field to check on Keenum; however, had he seen the video as the viewers at home and the spotter did, I am also sure he would have removed his QB from the game for further evaluation.
The concussion happened on the 30-yard line in the open and not away from the play or in a pile of bodies. Clearly coaches saw enough to have Nick Foles warm up and put his helmet on. They could have removed Keenum from the game. The team doctors and sideline UNC could have seen it as well and stepped in. Rams offensive linemen saw their QB struggle after the hit and players need to take care of their teammate by notifying medical staff or pointing their signal caller to the sideline.
Referees have the ability to send a player off but here the head man was too busy doing his main job. The referee hurried right past a struggling Keenum to spot the ball for “in the grasp” rather than an incomplete pass, determines the pre-snap penalty and makes the public announcement.
I guarantee the league will look into this. In my NFL experience, it is common for New York to call medical personnel and spotters to discuss what happened. Although I doubt there was a conspiracy to keep Keenum in the game, it still is not a good look for the NFL and something must change. Everyone on the sidelines, field and booth need to step up.
MMMD 1: Joe Flacco done for season
The Ravens QB was rolled up on his lead leg on the first play of the game winning mini-drive after a late turnover. Flacco limped but stayed in the game for three more plays before the game-winning field goal.
After the game, head coach John Harbaugh announced ACL tear and likely MCL tear. Based on video analysis, Flacco does not have a true mutli-ligament knee injury. His MCL may be sprained but this is not like the ACL and MCL tear that NaVorro Bowman suffered where he missed the entire next season.
Because Flacco’s ACL/MCL is much less severe than Bowman’s ACL/MCL injury, I believe Ravens signal caller will have an excellent chance to be under center for the first snap of the 2016 season.
MMMD 2: Justin Forsett breaks forearm
In more Ravens bad luck, their starting RB suffered an obvious radius and ulna fracture. He will need surgery that will likely consist of plates and screws. Recovery is a minimum of six weeks so his season is done.
The good news is Forsett should make a full recovery (barring infection like Rob Gronkowski had) for the offseason program. He can play with the plates in his forearm as they will usually stay in for his playing career.
MMMD 3: Marshawn Lynch likely surgery
When Beast Mode was reported to have abdomen and groin issues weeks ago, I worried about sports hernia despite reports of a normal MRI. Now the Seahawks RB is headed across the country for a second opinion and probable surgery. Even Pete Carroll admits “the surgery thing is always an option in there.”
Athletic pubalgia and core muscle injury are other names for sports hernia. Physicians have moved to use other names as there is no true hernia in this injury. The issue is with muscle insertions from the abdomen and groin on the pubic bone.
Look for the surgery to be done immediately as typical recovery is six weeks and the hope would be a playoff return for Lynch.
MMMD 4: Colin Kaepernick surgery signals the end in SF
The 49ers demoted their starter and he will now be on injured reserve for a shoulder surgery. There may be more to this story than meets the eye. In my NFL experience, a QB could play through a non-throwing shoulder labral tear and have offseason surgery. He apparently played with it since the October 4th Packers game. The 4-6 months recovery leaves time for that.
This likely means that one or both parties are done with each other and just looking to move on rather than stay available if Blaine Gabbert is hurt or performs poorly. It will be interesting to see whether a trade will happen or if Kaepernick will be released. I do not believe this procedure will reduce his market values since it is his non-throwing shoulder.
MMMD 5: QB updates
Andrew Luck was on the sidelines with his team but that doesn’t mean he is ready to go soon. The short end of the Colts initial 2-6 week timeline was never realistic. Kidney lacerations are kept out of contact for a minimum of a month or longer.
Peyton Manning did not travel to Chicago with the team. If his foot bothered him to be on the sideline, he could have sat in the box with headset on. Afterall, everyone says he is essentially an on field coach. In any case, his plantar fasciitis could be improved but will not heal with just one week’s rest. It will be interesting to see how long Manning will be held out.
Tony Romo had no issues with his clavicle and lead the Cowboys to a much needed victory. Jerry Jones said he had six fractures; however, medically we would say one fracture with comminution (multiple pieces). He played Sunday nine weeks after injury and should continue to do well but his collarbone will not be as strong as the other side for months.
MMMD 6: Medical potpourri
Charcandrick West injured his hamstring and is said to be day-to-day. Hamstring injury severity is hard to determine by video so we will just have to go by the team reports.
Glen Dorsey is feared by the 49ers to have torn his ACL. I did not see the play but a MRI is pending.
Rodney Hudson re-aggravated his high ankle sprain. Although the mechanism seemed mild, re-injury likely means some missed tine for the Raiders center.
Nick Mangold was seen on the sidelines with a splint that is normally used for metacarpal fractures. Turns out he suffered a laceration not a fracture. Must have been significant as one can usually play through cuts even on the snapping hand. I hope his underlying tendons were sparred. He could move to guard if the injury is an issue with snapping.
Devonta Freeman and Zach Ertz left with head injuries. In 2015, with concussions seemingly being held out longer, it would be surprising if both returned next week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick appeared dazed after his touchdown run but after the game he said he was checked for concussion and cleared on the sidelines. He did play without missing time as expected after his thumb ulnar collateral ligament repair.
Jordan Reed was reported to have a MCL injury. Severity is not known as I did not see the video, but it will be hard for a skill player to retrun in one week.
Carlos Hyde missed a third straight week with stress fracture. I still suspect Jones fracture and would not be surprised if eventual surgery was announced.
Julian Edelman had his Jones fracture surgery. Recovery is typically 6-8 weeks but the Patriots WR may have a harder time with early return due to his style of multiple quick cuts and underneath routes.
Reggie Bush did not have ACL or MCL injury as initially announced. He had meniscus surgery. By the timeline, he likely had repair rather than trimming, which takes longer to return.
Breshard Perriman confirmed PCL injury only in his first comments to media after he was placed on IR. No additional surgery is needed. I just hope he doesn’t have associated cartilage injury.
Victor Cruz said he needed surgery for his calf and was placed on IR. The procedure has not been done yet. I am curious as to what will be done. Typically, one does not do surgery to fix calf strains as muscle doesn’t hold suture, making repair difficult.
MMMD 7: ProFootballDoc scorecard
I was fooled by the splint Nick Mangold had on. Without seeing the injury video, I made the wrong assumption of fracture based on the splint he wore on the sideline. It was reported after the game to be a severe laceration. This makes five misses for the year.
Marshawn Lynch does indeed have sports hernia symptoms. Despite going down non-contact and pointing to his Achilles, Byron Jones injury seems to be mild as the video indicated. Tony Romo did well with his clavicle fracture as expected. Ryan Fitzpatrick did have Friday thumb surgery and return to play as predicted.
The 2015 season started the week at 94-4 record. Adding in this week, the tally is now 98-5.
Follow David on Twitter: @profootballdoc
Dr. David Chao is a former NFL head team physician with 17 years of sideline, locker and training room experience. He currently has a successful orthopedic/sports medicine practice in San Diego.
Welcome back everyone for another week of NFP DFS Corner. Last weekend was a very low scoring weekend in fantasy, very similar to week 2 earlier this year. The usual studs took a backseat to some lesser known players who lit up the box scores. For anyone who hasn’t played DraftKings yet and would like to sign up, you can sign up here.
Week 11 Byes: Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 11 Weather Report can be found here.
It looks like rain will be a factor in Sunday’s Cowboys and Dolphins game.
Below you will see Vegas’s Spreads and O/U Totals for week 11. This is helpful in determining potential game scripts based off Vegas’s projections.
|Jaguars||Titans||JAC -3||43||Thurs. Nov 19th||8:25pm|
|Lions||Raiders||OAK -1.5||48||Sun. Nov 22nd||1pm|
|47.5||Sun. Nov 22nd||1pm|
|Texans||Jets||NYJ -2.5||42||Sun. Nov 22nd||1pm|
|Eagles||Buccaneers||PHI -6||45.5||Sun. Nov 22nd||1pm|
|Bears||Broncos||DEN -2||43||Sun. Nov 22nd||1pm|
|Vikings||Packers||MIN -1||45||Sun. Nov 22nd||1pm|
|Ravens||Rams||BAL -1.5||42||Sun. Nov 22nd||1pm|
|Dolphins||Cowboys||DAL -1||47||Sun. Nov 22nd||1pm|
|Panthers||Redskins||CAR -7||45||Sun. Nov 22nd||1pm|
|Cardinals||Bengals||ARI -3||48||Sun. Nov 22nd||4:05pm|
|Seahawks||49ers||SEA -12||40.5||Sun. Nov 22nd||4:25pm|
|Chargers||Chiefs||KC -3||44.5||Sun. Nov 22nd||8:30pm|
|Patriots||Bills||NE -7||48.5||Mon. Nov 23rd||8:30pm|
High Priced Options:
I will not be paying up for any high priced Quarterbacks this week, but if I did, it would be for Tom Brady.
Mid Priced Options
Cam Netwon ($6,900) vs. Washington Redskins: Cam Newton has been a very consistent cash game QB this year given his rushing upside and touchdown production. He threw for 217 yards last week to go along with one passing and one rushing touchdown. Washington is an average defense, and they are coming off a huge win and have a big road test this week at Carolina. The Panthers are touchdown favorites and this offense runs through Cam Newton. I expect at least 200 passing yards to go along with a touchdown in the air as well as on the ground.
Derek Carr ($6,300) @ Detroit Lions: Derek Carr is quickly ascending into a Franchise caliber QB in his second season with the Raiders. He has a great matchup this week versus the Lions, who are giving up the 4th most points to opposing QBs. Although their defense played well last week, I am not buying it as they have allowed over 16 touchdowns through the air to go along with only 4 interceptions. Carr has been very consistent the past few weeks since their bye, putting up 22.3, 30.3, 32.1 and 23.9 points. He has averaged over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns over those past 4 games.
Low Priced Options:
Matt Stafford ($5,400) vs. Oakland Raiders: While Stafford has been very up and down this year, he has been better as of late. He has reached 3x value 3 out of the past 4 weeks and has a favorable matchup this week versus an Oakland defense that is giving up over 20 points a game to opposing QBs and just lost their second best pass rusher in Aldon Smith for the remainder of the year. The Oakland pass defense ranks 31st in passing yards allowed per game and have given up 16 touchdowns through the air. The Raiders have been solid against the run and the Lions have no running game so I am expecting them to air out in this game which Vegas has the O/U at 48.5.
Mark Sanchez ($5,000) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sanchez should get the start in this one as Sam Bradford suffered a separated shoulder and a concussion last week vs. the Dolphins. The selection of Sanchez here is simple, he is $5k and should easily reach his value in a game that Vegas is predicting the Eagles to put up 28 points in this game. Sanchez knows this offense and runs it with a faster pace than Bradford does. I don’t think there will be much drop of in terms of fantasy. The Bucs are allowing opposing QBs to put up over 19 points against them which would be almost 4x value given Sanchez current price.
Other QB’s to target: Marcus Mariota (Tournaments), Brock Osweiler (Tournaments), Case Keenum (Tournaments)
Running Back Plays
High Priced Options
Devonta Freeman ($8,400) vs. Indianapolis Colts: Freeman and the Falcons should be fresh for this matchup as they are coming off a bye. Despite only receiving 12 carries in a very disappointing loss against the 49ers, Freeman was still able to bring in 8 receptions and a receiving touchdown. Regardless, I am expecting the Falcons to come out focused in this game and Freeman is very active in the passing game and a focal point of this offense. The Colts’ rush D has allowed the 22nd most rushing yards on the season and the -6.5 game script and O/U of 47.5 provides a high scoring game and a favorable game script for Freeman.
Mid Priced Options:
Adrian Peterson ($6,800) vs. Green Bay Packers: I had to double check and make sure that Adrian Peterson was actually priced at $6.8k and that it wasn’t an error. AP is coming into full stride as he just rushed for 203 yards and 1 touchdown. This is a big divisional matchup versus a struggling Packers team. The Packers rush D is ranked 24th in the NFL allowing over 116 rushing yards per game. The Vikings offense is built around AP and he usually tends to have big games against the Cheese Heads.
Lamar Miller ($6,200) vs. Dallas Cowboys: Despite the emergence of rookie Jay Ajayi, Miller is still the lead back in Miami. Since the firing of Joe Philbin, Miller has been a very consistent play. Since Dan Campbell took over, Miller has had 21.3, 33.1, 14.4, 41.6 and 22.8 points over that span. Over the last 3 games he is averaging over 6 catches a game which presents a very nice floor. Furthermore, he is facing a Dallas defense that is allowing over 108 rushing yards per game and over 30 points per game to opposing fantasy running backs.
DeMarco Murray ($6,000) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Murray was solid again last week rushing for 61 yards and hauling in 6 catches for 58 receiving yards. It looks like Ryan Matthews will not be playing this week, so continue to monitor his status as he goes through the leagues concussion protocol. Without the threat of Matthews, Murray shouldn’t have any of his touchdowns vultured away. Despite the Bucs being solid against the run, I recommend this pick due to Murray’s high floor given his touches and involvement in the passing game. Sanchez does not really stretch the field so I am expecting a lot of dump offs to Murray.
Low Priced Options
Charcandrick West ($4,500) @ San Diego Chargers: I will have a lot of exposure to West this week as he gets to face off against a Chargers defense that is giving up the most points to opposing running backs. West put up 31.1 points against a very good Broncos defense, albeit missing some key players due to injuries. Nonetheless, he has seen over 25 touches since he took over the job and has posted scores of 31.1, 22.2 and 23.9 points.
Darren McFadden ($5,000) @ Miami Dolphins: The Cowboys offense was completely underwhelming last week in a losing effort to Tampa Bay. Tony Romo is slated to make his return this week and the offense should drastically improve even if Romo is rusty and not 100%. I would imagine they would try to lean on the run and ease Romo back into play. The Cowboys just cut Christine Michael this week leaving no threat to McFadden behind him. His volume should be high and he gets to face a Miami run defense that is ranked 31st in the NFL allowing over 130 rushing yards per game.
Other Running backs to target: Marshawn Lynch ($6,700), Frank Gore ($4,700), and Jonathan Stewart ($4,400), Darren Sproles (Tournaments)
Wide Receiver Plays
High Priced Options
Demaryius Thomas ($7,300) @ Chicago Bears: A lot of people will be fading DT this weekend due to Brock Osweiler making his first NFL start of the season and the struggles of the Broncos’ offense. But I don’t think Osweiler will be a hindrance to DT whatsoever and might actually provide an upgrade over the weak armed Manning. DT is still a target machine, but the touchdowns haven’t been there this year as he has only 1 on the season. I am expecting Brock to get the ball down the field and rely on DT as a security blanket for him.
Calvin Johnson ($7,200) vs Oakland Raiders: Johnson has been hobbled yet again by an ankle injury but should be good to go this weekend. While he is not the dominant Megatron of the past, he is still Matt Stafford’s most targeted receiver in a game where a lot of passing is expected. None of the Raiders corners are very good and this presents a very good matchup for both Calvin and Golden Tate.
Middle Priced Options
Michael Crabtree ($6,000) @ Detroit Lions: Crabtree has reinvented himself in Oakland this year. Crabtree has been a target monster on the year despite only getting 5 targets last week. Lets hope his average game last week scares some people away in what will be a very good matchup for the Raiders passing attack. The Lions are giving up over 40 fantasy points to opposing receivers and I am expecting Slay to guard Cooper in this one which should allow Crabtree to garner more targets.
Jordan Matthews ($6,000) vs. Tampa Bay Bucaneers: For most of the reasons I stated above, Sanchez doesnt love to stretch the field veritcally but throws a lot of underneath stuff and short passes over the middle. Sanchez had great chemistry last year with Matthews and was the main reason for his strong finish. Matthews also has a great matchup against struggling nickel cornerback, Alterraun Verner.
Low Priced Options
Danny Amendola ($4,000) vs. Buffalo Bills: Amendola will be a very popular and highly owned pick this week but you must take advantage of his current $4k price for the volume that is expected. Amendola will be replacing Julian Edelman and should immediately see 8 plus targets a game playing out of the slot. He gets a very favorable matchup against struggling corner Nickell Robey as Darby and Gilmore will lock down the outside receivers.
Stevie Johnson ($3,900) vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Stevie Johnson is strictly a value play here as he has become one of River’s top targets due to the slew of injuries the Chargers have had on offense. Johnson has the best matchup out of the receivers facing Ron Parker and had 10 targets last game. He should see a lot of targets due to the amount of passes Rivers has been throwing this year so it shouldn’t be hard for Johnson to hit 3x value in this matchup.
Other Wide Receivers to target: Mike Evans, Stefon Diggs
Tight End Plays
High Priced Options
Rob Gronkowski ($7,700) vs. Buffalo Bills: Gronk is always a consideration each week given his TD upside. With the Patriots losing Edelman and Dion Lewis, Brady is running out of comfortable/familiar faces. I am expecting to see a bump in Gronk’s volume moving forward and with all the price savings at other positions it will not be hard to squeeze him in our lineups.
Mid Priced Options
Antonio Gates ($4,800) vs. Kansas City: As mentioned above, Gates is one of the few remaining targets Rivers has left. Despite not the greatest matchup, Gates is essentially matchup proof. He is averaging over 11 targets, 7 catches and 78 yards per game and is $2,900 less than Gronk
Jacob Tamme ($3,600) vs. Indianapolis Colts: Tamme has been quitely on a nice little stretch since week 5. Going into the bye, he saw a total of 22 targets in the two previous games. His scoring output since week 5 has been 12.1, 29.3, 6.6, 6.2, 17.4 points. The Colts are giving up the 5th most points to tight ends, so Tamme should be able to reach value with low ownership.
Zach Ertz ($3,100) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The injuries up front for the Eagles’ offensive line have resulted in the Eagles using more 2 tight end sets recently. Ertz has been exceeding value over the past weeks with performances of 13.8, 9.4, 11.3, 8.3 and 11 points. He had a touchdown called back last week, and we all remember how much Mark Sanchez utilized him last year down the stretch and ended the season with a 15 catch effort against Washington. As stated before, Sanchez throws a lot of short and intermediate passes so Ertz is a good punt TE with plenty of upside.
Other Tight Ends to target: Travis Kelce ($4,700)
Defenses to Target
Seattle Seahawks ($4,000) vs. San Francisco 49ers
Carolina Panthers ($3,600) vs. Washington Redskins
New York Jets ($3,000) @ Houston
Kansas City Chiefs ($2,600) vs. San Diego Chargers
Best of luck to everyone this weekend. Make sure to check the Active/Inactive list as the come out tomorrow morning.