Cowboys Quarterback Brandon Weeden

The Cowboys are certainly missing Tony Romo right now. Brandon Weeden’s performance had some highs and some lows. On one hand he completed 20 out of 26 pass attempts for a 77% completion total. On another hand, he failed to find the endzone, and had majors problems moving the ball down the field after the second half. Part of what was holding Weeden back was the offensive strategy employed by The Cowboys. His hands were tied by short passes, and conservative play. This worked in the first half, but by the third quarter the Falcons had figured out the game plan. After that, it was just a mess. Weeden’s lone long look resulted in an interception so there may be a reason why the Cowboys coaching staff is holding onto the reins so tightly. Even though Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has professed his admiration for their new quarterback, it looks as if Jason Garrett has doubts.

The Cowboys are going to have to make a change. Either they start letting Weeden take some looks down the field, or they continue to lose games. If Weeden cracks under pressure next Sunday against the Saints, he’s getting sidelined in favor of former Bills quarterback Matt Cassel. Cassel hasn’t been taking many snaps in practice, but I bet that will change this week.

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What Happened to Sammy Watkins?

I started Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins week one, and I wasn’t the only one. Watkins had an impressive rookie campaign, knocking on the door of 1,000 yard and scoring six touchdowns. One a team with out many elite receiver options, Watkins was expected to shine early. Unfortunately for many fantasy players, he did not. In fact, he put up a big ol’ goose egg. Instead, it was preseason addition Percy Harvin who racked up the yards and fantasy points.

So what should we expect going forward? In my opinion, not much. While Watkins may have some outstanding games, as he’s a very talented player, I just don’t see him performing at a fantasy starter’s level consistently. While his talent is exceptional, he currently has two things holding him back; Tyrod Taylor and Rex Ryan.

While it’s true that Taylor’s week one performance was impressive (with a 73% completions, including six passes over 20 yards out of his 19 attempts) I doubt that will be the norm in Buffalo. In previous season where Taylor attempted more than five passes, his completion percentage average was 39%. Where Taylor will excel is with his legs, not his arm. In game one against the Indianapolis Colts he had 41 rushing yards. The Bills offensive line looks much improved from last season, which will benefit both Taylor and the Bills Rushers.

His biggest hinderance to his fantasy produciton however, is Head Coach, Rex Ryan. Ryan is known for two things; His killer defenses, and his ground and pound rushing game. Rex has been quoted as saying, “whatever you do best, we’re going to take away from you” in reference to his defensive philosophy. His love of the run game has never been a secret either. Want a cleverly inserted quote? “We prefer to ground and pound it. We’ll run fifty times a game if we can on you” -Rex Ryan. It’s just how he coaches, and how he prefers to run his team.

This week Watkins may surprise us against the New England Patriots. He’s currently predicted to score about eight points this week in standard leagues. My advice would be to wait for a break out game and and trade him for someone more reliable. If you’re dead set on keeping him, watch your defensive match ups, and play him when they’re favorable.

Ryan Mallett Named Houston Texans Starting Quarterback

While the Texans coaching staff are staying mum on any concrete decisions, many media outlets are reporting that Ryan Mallett has been named the Houston Texans starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

Brian Hoyer was named the starter week one after a close preseason battle between the two. Mallett was pretty outspoken about how he felt about the decision. Mallett vented his frustration at a media conference, saying “’I’m disappointed. I don’t agree with it, but it’s for the best of the team, so I’m just going to wait till my turn gets called, and I mean at some point, it’s going to happen this year”. I guess he was right, though his opportunity has come quicker than even he imagined.

Hoyer failed to impress week one against the Kansas City Chiefs. He fumbled once, threw for 236 yards, had one touchdown, and one interception. Under his leadership the team managed only ten points in almost four quarters. Mallett was subbed in late in the fourth quarter where he managed to pass for 98 yards, including one touchdown. With him at the helm, the Texans were able to score twice, and almost rally back to beat the chiefs. It wasn’t just Mallet that looked good. With Mallett under center, primary receiver DeAndre Hopkins was finally able to shine, and the offense was finally able to get into a groove.

So what does this mean for the Texans? And what does it mean for fantasy players? I think that in both cases the answer is the same. Every player should see a boost in production with Mallett holding the reins, both on the field and in fantasy scoring. While I wouldn’t rush out just yet to claim Mallett off the waiver wire, I’m excited to see what he can bring to the Texans offense, and with the Houston Texans rushing game stalled due to the loss of running back Arian Foster, there should be plenty of passing action.  I listed wide receiver Nate Washington as one of my targets for the week two waiver wire, and I’m sticking by my guns. I think both Hopkins and Washington should see double digit points against the Carolina Panthers defense.

2015 The Year of the Fantasy Tight End?

Week one is in the books. There were some highs. There were some lows. There was a lot of information to process. One of the biggest stand outs was just how productive tight ends were. Typically when we talk about fantasy tight ends you hear about Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, and maybe Greg Olsen thrown in for good measure, but this season there looks to be a lot more names added to the list. Even Gronk had a hard time staying at the top of the tight end leader boards, and it was rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins nipping at his heals.

In fact, there were 13 tight ends who finished with double digit fantasy points. To put that in perspective there were 23 running backs, and 20 wide receivers who racked up up more than 10 fantasy points. If you play in a league that allows a tight end in the flex position this is huge. As more tight ends eat into receptions, and endzone targets, they’re going to eat into RB/WR production. Here’s a more in depth breakdown how fantasy tight ends performed in week one.

Rob Gronkowski 27.4
Austin Seferian-Jenkins 23
Travis Kelce 22.6
Tyler Eifert 22.4
Jason Witten 18
Darren Fells 14.2
Ladarius Green 13.4
Jordan Reed 12.3
Martellus Bennett 11.5
Eric Ebron 11.3
Jimmy Graham 11.1
Delanie Walker 10.3
Lance Kendricks 10.2

*based on ESPN standard scoring

Almost half of these guys are owned in less than 50% of leagues. And while I’m not saying all of these guys are going to put up these types of numbers every week, they’re all worth keeping an eye on.

Tight ends seem to be leveling the playing field between themselves and other players. Tight ends are typically taller, and stronger than wide receivers. This makes them the perfect endzone threat. If you’re having roster issues, and can play a tight end in multiple roster spots, it may be worth it to take a chance on one of these guys, or another tight end that’s caught your eye. I don’t see the “Tight End Trend” going away any time soon.

Terrelle Pryor’s New Team? He recently worked out with the New England Patriots

UPDATE:

Terrelle Pryor was recently released from The Cleveland Browns after making the cut for the 53 man roster. To say he was disappointed would be an understatement.

But Pryor’s NFL dreams are still alive, and he is sticking with his role as a wide receiver. His workout with The Patriots makes sense. The Pats are currently down three receivers with the loss of Brandon Gibson, and Brandon Lafell to injury, and Reggie Wayne due to personal choices. Their currently top targets, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, played very well in their season opener, but could benefit from another target on the field. Tom Brady is playing with a chip on his shoulder, due to the offseason chaos caused by deflate gate. He looked great in The Pats opening game against the Steelers, and I don’t expect his gunslinger mentality to ease up anytime soon.

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Terrelle Pryor: The Browns ‘Big Mistake’

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsEven though Pryor made the cut for The Cleveland Browns, he was later waived in favor of running back Robert Turbin from the Seattle Seahawks. Pryor, who previously was listed as a quarterback, this season made the switch to wide receiver. What’s interesting to me, is that even though listed as a receiver, Pryor failed to record a single catch or target during the preseason. In fact, he was used more rushing, recording nine yards on two attempts. Pryor seems to have a lot going for him on paper. He towers over supposed started Andrew Hawkins at 6’4″, and has at least two inches over the remaining wide receivers. He carries a little more weight, but I believe this translates more to his strength than being flabby. His size and speed (Pryor ran a 4.38 40) would make him a prime endzone threat. Last season, The Browns only recorded 12 passing touchdowns. Almost half the NFL average. So obviously they could use the receiving target. And yet Pryor was passed over.

The Browns have also notoriously struggled at quarterback. They have officially named Josh McCown as the starter behind off field bad boy, Johnny Manziel. McCown has yet to play a full season, and has only broken 200 pass attempts once in his 12 seasons. Pryor could have provided a little insurance to a battle weary team for a very cheap roster spot.

The Browns offensively seem to be struggling on all sides, and the addition of a running back makes sense. (In a weird twist, Pryor’s rushing average is higher than Turbins) But the fact that they deemed Turbins contribution to the team, stronger than Pryor’s leave some scratching their heads.

While it seem The Browns didn’t know what to do with Pryor, his football hopes are still alive. Two teams will work out Pryor in the coming week as a receiver. If a team could harness his strengths they could end up with a steal. The Browns may have made a huge mistake in cutting Pryor. I guess we’ll just have to see.

Week One Waiver Wire Pick Ups

There isn’t a draft strategy guaranteed to win you a fantasy football championship. There isn’t a golden rule that you can follow to insure you don’t end up drafting some duds on your team. There isn’t a cheat sheet, algorithm, or fantasy guru out there that can clinch a playoff spot for you. (though some come close) So if after the draft day glow wears off and you find yourself looking at a turd of a line up, it’ll be okay. You see, you have options. You have the wavier wire. That’s what it’s there for. It’s like the extreme makeover for otherwise crappy teams. It’s your Biggest Loser, your Rehab Addict, your Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It exists, to trim the fat, to give a fresh coat of paint, to throw a hot as hell blazer on your broken little team, and reveal it’s inner beauty. So without further ado, here are some guys you can target, if you’re feeling less than stellar about your draft.

Quarterback Jay Cutler, Bears– owned in 33% of leagues

People, the hate has swung too far. I know that Cutler looks like he’d rather have a profession as a Mad Man as opposed to a quarterback, but the guy isn’t as awful as he’s being painted. This season he should benefit from new offensive coordinator Adam Gase. (former OC for the Denver Broncos, and Peyton Manning) The Bears offensive line looks a lot tighter this year as well. The only thing holding Cutler back is that his receivers are a little banged up right now, but The Bears have a lot of hungry mouths to feed, and they all have good hands. Last season he finished as a top 15 QB. This season there’s no reason to think he can’t break into the top 12 fairly easily. This week they play Green Bay, so you can expect a lot of offense from both teams. If you hate your current quarterback, you could do a lot worse than Cutler.

Week One Prediction: 19 points

Wide Receiver Danny Amendola, Patriots– owned in 13% of leagues

The Patriots have been decimated at wide receiver. Brandon LaFell was just put on the PUP list, Brandon Gibson is on season ending I/R with an ACL tear, and Reggie Wayne just flew the coop for his own personal reasons. This leaves Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola,and Aaron Dobson to carry the load, and Edelman is dealing with his own injuries. A lot of times, waiver pick ups are made based on weekly matchups, or just filling a temporary void, but Amendola can offer you value all season. He’s currently the best back up option in New England. With all of Tom Brady’s preseason woes, you better bet he’s going to come out swinging. If you have a spot on your roster, Amendola is a great player to target.

Week One Prediction: 10 Points

Wide Receiver Ted Ginn Jr, Panthers-owned in 1.4% of leagues

Injuries. Injuries, everywhere. Leading receiver Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season with an ACL tear, and Devin Funchess is a rookie so that leaves us with Ted Ginn. Ginn didn’t exactly impress last season, but his fantasy production came with a lot of militating factors. One, he has a less than desirable quarterback situation. Two, he was buried in the depth chart. It’s worth noting that in his previous season with The Panthers he averaged 15.4 YPC, and had five touchdowns. With Benjamin out Cam Newton is going to need a long ball threat and I think Ginn is just the guy for the job. Funchess could eat into some of Ginn’s production, but the job is Ginn’s until he proves himself. Ginn is another player that offers season long value for your team.

Week One Prediction 9 Points 

Tight end Ladarius Green, Chargers– owned in 9.4% of leagues

Green has been vaulted back into fantasy relevancy with the suspension of Antonio Gates. Gates is out for four games, and Green looks to take over his roster spot. Phillip Rivers is a competent quarterback, who likes to target his tight ends in the endzone. There’s every reason to expect that Green will come down with a few TD’s while starting. Though Green is only a viable starter for the first four games of the season, I think he’s worth an add if you want an upgrade at TE. Keep and eye on him throughout the regular season as well. Gates isn’t getting an younger.

Week One Prediction: 8 Points

Running Back Dri Archer, Steelers- owned in .7% of leagues. 

This one is more of a reach, but hear me out. After LeVeon Bell serves out his two game suspension, it’s more likely to be Dri Archer on the field backing him up as opposed to DeAngelo Williams. Archer has better hands and more speed. The only thing that Williams has over Archer, is his strength and ability to run through players so this does take away short yardage options, like on 3rd and 1. But if it’s a short yardage situation on the goal line it will be Bell not Williams that gets the carry. Martavius Byrant is also suspended for four games, so having one more guy with soft hands on the field gives a boost to the Pittsburgh offense.This is a highly speculative grab but if you’re in a PPR league, a league that allows return yardage, or a 12-14 man league, Archer may be worth a stash.

Week One Prediction: 7 Points

Running Back Cameron Artis-Payne, Panthers– owned in 15.4% of leagues

Cameron is currently back up to the injury prone Jonathan Stewart. Stewart averaged 9 carries a game last season when he participated in a Running back committee approach with DeAngelo Williams, so I don’t expect him to get a heavy workload, and due to the loss of starter Kelvin Benjamin The Panthers are going to need to get their run game going to open up the field. Artis-Payne looked good all preseason, and I expect him to eat into Stewart’s touches and yardage. Plus last season, Cam Newton scored 5 rushing touchdowns. I don’t expect the same rushing TD production out of Newton this year. Payne will get a few of those TD looks. As far as handcuffs go, there are only a couple I would rather have on my team than Artis-Payne. He’s on a running back hungry team, behind an injury prone starter. For reference, Christine Michael has been a trendy name lately with his trade to the Dallas Cowboys, and is currently owned in 25.4% of leagues. Between these two I’d rather have Payne.

Week One Prediction: 6 Points

*Since it’s week one I tried to list guys that could help your team more than week one. If you’re already looking to tidy up your roster you’re obviously going to need the help. Good luck out there!