Chris Ferguson from Sacramento, CA asks: First year fantasy player here.. I didn't end up getting a top defense in the draft because they all seemed to go to early. I've heard about the value of streaming defenses but was wondering if it would be better to just grab one that could be good all year. Here's my situation: I have the Jets that I picked up for their week 1 match-up against Oakland, but I could pick up Tampa Bay, Baltimore, New Orleans, Arizona, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Baltimore. So my question is, what would you do here in week 1 and going forward with those options?
Welcome to the drug we call fantasy football! I have to commend you on waiting on a defense in your first draft. Defensive strategy in fantasy football is a tricky thing. In my opinion you get way more value out of a positional player throughout the year so I usually follow the strategy of waiting until the last couple rounds to take my defense. Following this strategy I know going in that I am going to be playing match ups week to week with my defenses. This is going to be your best bet heading into your first year. Luckily, a lot of the work is done for you. A good source for tracking the best match ups are odds websites. I prefer the Vegas odds sites because they are incredibly good at what they do. What you're looking for when checking these odds sites is the over/under scores. Find the lowest over/under games and base your weekly defense on that game. Other factors come in to play too, but this is always a good start. Opposing QB's and play-makers, game time weather reports, and specific stat categories are all things you will want to look up to increase your odds of your defense performing well. In Week 1 you have a good defense in the Jets. They have solid linebackers and apply a lot of pressure with their 3 man front. The Jets are also going up against a rookie QB in Derek Carr. Carr is prone to make mistakes considering his inexperience and the likely pressure Rex Ryan will send. They are also one of the lowest over/under picks with 39.5 points. On a side note. Keep an eye on Tampa Bay. Lovie Smith is proven defensive coach and specializes in teaching his team takeaways which leads to big points for fantasy defenses. If you have more questions as your season continues just drop a line or log into the podcast chat room. Get to the podcast early for important questions; the advice from Dave and Jason is solid, but you want to get your question answered before the shots start being poured!
Steve312 from Chicago writes: So I just heard the news about Derek Carr starting ahead of Matt Schaub for the Raiders. Assuming that he starts for the rest of the year, which receiver on Oakland benefits the most (Rod Streater, James Jones or Denarius Moore) and could any of them be fantasy relevant as early as week 1? Thanks!
It's Oakland. WHO CARES? In all seriousness there are guys to keep an eye on, but far too much is uncertain at this point. In week 1 none of the Oakland wide receivers will be relevant. The Jets secondary may not be anything to fear, but their defensive line always finds a way to get to quarterback. Fantasy value decreases for wide receivers when their rookie QB is getting blitzed and put on his ass frequently. Keep an eye on Rod Streater this season. He is a third year wide out who broke out last season. James Jones is the new guy on the block and is going to have to make adjustments after previously being thrown to from the best QB in the league. We're going to have to see what he has before you can even think about adding him to your bench. Denarius Moore's value is seriously hampered by his spot on the depth chart. If you aren't an X or a Y it is tough to maintain consistent fantasy value.
Mike from New York asks: Somehow I wound up scooping up some late round Dolphins in one of my leagues. In my flex spot, I'm trying to decide between Mike Wallace and Lamar Miller. With the recent resurgence of Knowshon Moreno, I'm not not sure if Miller is the go to guy in my flex anymore. Should I go with Wallace instead?
I like the easy questions! Mike Wallace is your play here between those two players. Lamar Miller was disappointing in the preseason and Moreno appears to have a little left in his tank. Knowshon Moreno's health is still a concern, but not in week 1. Wallace was disappointing last year after getting the big contract, but all reports are positive this preseason and he is working overtime after practices. There is a caution in week 1 as Wallace is likely to be on Revis Island. Considering he is your flex player you shouldn't be too concerned. My bet is he gets in the end zone in week 1 and that's all you really want.
With so many options to choose from, sometimes fielding a fantasy lineup can be quite the headache. Obvious are the starts akin to Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck and the games other bigger names. However, it’s the tougher choices – namely the less obvious starts – that will end up winning your league.
Here are a few names you might want to consider:
Alex Smith QB Kansas City – Alex Smith has been just ok so far this year. Like so often when he played in San Francisco, Smith is more of a game manager than a passer. In leagues that play two quarterbacks, this week could be the opportune time to take a chance on Smith as he gets the hapless St. Louis Rams at home – a team whose defense is highly disappointing this season, especially against the pass. Top target Dwayne Bowe hasn’t been exactly lighting it up, but did show his presence in Week 7 against San Diego grabbing 5 catches for 84 yards – a good sign for Smith owners. Let’s not forget that RB Jamaal Charles always has the capability to turn a short catch into a long play. Too many indicators point to Smith being a decent play and solid WR2 for Week 8.
Bryce Brown RB Buffalo – We all know what Bryce Brown is capable of doing in a game. With 564 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns in limited game time while filling in for an injured LeSean McCoy in 2012, we got a good taste of the kind of talent Brown has. Brown hasn’t since done very much waiting in the wings behind McCoy before getting moved to Buffalo this season where he has been sitting behind two very serviceable backs in Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Now Spiller is out until at least Week 16 with a collarbone injury and a less effective than past Jackson could be out up to four weeks with a groin issue. That leaves Buffalo to rely on Brown. Brown has the opportunity to really show what he can do in the next few weeks and though this week’s matchup at NY Jets isn’t the greatest, he should still put up numbers to qualify him as a decent RB2, especially if he can gain QB Kyle Orton’s confidence early and get targets in the short passing game. Brown has big play ability.
Darren McFadden RB Oakland – McFadden only has 14 carries in each of his last two games but has tallied an above pedestrian 128 rushing yards with a touchdown. This week I suspect will McFadden get more carries and he has a juicy match-up at Cleveland who rank 25 against running backs this season. There is all kinds of potential for McFadden to put up fair numbers this week as neither team is known for slinging the ball around setting the table for a big run game on both ends. McFadden is a fill in option only as a RB3, but don’t be surprised if he exceeds expectations this week.
Mike Wallace WR Miami – Anytime a player goes up against Jacksonville this year, you have to take a close look. This week Wallace gets his chance and he should deliver big numbers. Scoring a touchdown in his last three games, Wallace has gotten fantasy owners double digits in points during that stretch and there is no reason to think he won’t do it again this week. This week would probably also be a good bet for Wallace to finally reach the 100-yard-plus receiving mark, as he has failed to do so far this season. Wallace is a nice WR2 with big WR1 potential.
Eric Decker WR NY Jets – Keep an eye on Decker’s status. He has played with a bum hamstring the past two games but has still managed 10 catches on 17 targets. Now that all purpose wide receiver Percy Harvin enters the fold, Decker could find himself open for QB Geno Smith far more often. Decker should certainly benefit from the surprising acquisition of Harvin and this week’s matchup against Buffalo would have been quite enticing anyway since their defense is ranked 24 against the wide receiver position. Despite a struggling Smith at the helm, Decker could be a decent WR2 in Week 8.
Gavin Escobar TE Dallas – Tightend Jason Witten’s numbers are dwindling while counterpart Gavin Escobar has snagged 3 touchdowns in the past two games. Witten will certainly get more targets moving up and down the field but Escobar has clearly shown his ability to get open in the endzone where a battle-weary Witten may have finally lost a step. There are plenty of decent tightend plays out there for Week 8, but if you are having injury or bye week issues, Escobar could be worth a shot for a touchdown grab or more. Escobar could be a nice fill in option – keep him on your radar.
Update: The Dolphins were clearly fed up with Wallace's antics even though the latest reports were saying that he was making good with Tannehill and the coaching staff in Miami. He was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 2015 5th round pick. The Dolphins may still try to pick up another receiver to pair with Stills and Landry like Cecil Shorts. Wallace will be used heavily on the Vikings, but his value does dip a little bit as Teddy Bridgewater is not yet playing to the level of Tannehill.
NFL Free Agency this year has been a fireworks show. I know, I know.. every year has its blockbuster trades and unforeseeable acquisitions along with players facing unexpected injuries and trouble with the law - but this off-season just seems a little more impactful already.
And it's only March 13th!
So.. is Friday the 13th of March, 2015 the day that Mike Wallace's dynasty outlook on the Dolphins hits a new low? Yes. With the signing of former Saint Kenny Stills, the Dolphins have just shown us where their future lies. And it's looking pretty good, folks.
Let's take a quick look at Kenny Stills: he's a 3rd year player (breakout, anyone?) who, along with a 78.8% catch rate, grabbed 63 balls for a combined 931 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had success in 2014 running multiple routes and was among the very best (4th, in fact) in the NFL at bringing in the football.
Granted, Stills' quarterback was Drew Brees, but Tannehill has been no slouch in his first few years as an NFL signal caller and is generally expected to continue to improve - especially with new offensive targets like Kenny Stills and a recent acquisition from the Browns, Tight End Jordan Cameron.
Back to Mike Wallace.
His numbers have been hovering around 1000 yards for his whole career and while his yardage total in 2014 (862) was disappointing compared to his previous seasons, he was able to match his career high in touchdowns (10) from back in Pittsburgh in 2010. Still, issues on the field and with coaches specifically have made the Dolphins' management rethink Wallace as their go-to receiver. Earlier in the year there were rumors swirling about Wallace being traded or facing a pay cut to stay on the team and although nothing of that sort has happened yet, he's definitely on the hot seat there.
Personally, I think the Dolphins will have Wallace and Stills both lined up on a lot of plays this year and although Stills is the future there, Wallace could keep a place on the team if he is able to take Stills under his wing and teach him how to be a play-maker. That said, Wallace will lose some down-field targets to Stills and some red-zone looks to Cameron. This is not to mention Jarvis Landry, who broke out in 2014 as a rookie with 84 receptions for 758 yards and 5 touchdowns.
What does all of this mean? Well, the Dolphins offensive outlook just shot up for the 2015 season but we'll likely see Wallace's stock plummet slightly as he becomes more a part of the team rather than a lone wolf making plays by himself out there.
We've all got one week under our belts, and probably whatever you cooked on the grill on Sunday. Football is back, which means cold beers, grilled burgers and getting up early to cook something all day long. Well, it might mean that, but right here, it really means waiver wires, who do I start, and of course, our (soon to be) world famous rankings.
Look for Peyton Manning to bounce back this week against a Chiefs defense that gave up two scoring drives to (new starter) Ryan Mallett in relief. Matt Stafford has basically fallen off of everyone's fantasy radar - he was drafted low and isn't starting material in most leagues. Maybe the time of Stafford to Johnson has passed - Calvin's numbers certainly were disappointing in week 1. Last week Danny Woodhead had 20 touches - if he has half that number this week, he should still start in your standard league flex spots. Doug Martin, meanwhile, is not the kind of back that can go out and make his own success. He'll be at the mercy of a struggling Jameis Winston for the time being.
Mike Wallace was Teddy Bridgewater's favorite target, connecting with him six times. Look for this connection to net you a TD in week 2 against the Lions. Davante Adams has taken a bit of a hit after the realization that, of course, James Jones will fit right in with his old team and will cut into Adams's workload a decent amount. Heath Miller is the clear beneficiary in the Steelers offense that's lacking two big weapons. He should have at least one more week with an increased workload.
Good luck this week, make sure to check before the games start for last minute injuries.
We're joined by fantasy football veteran and former drinkfive.com contributor Vince Foss as we discuss the very best plays moving forward into championship week. We'll analyze the matchups and go over recent NFL news and updates that can impact the production of your players.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!