Author Archives: Mike MacGregor

NFL Preseason Week 4 Projections and Rankings Update, Team Notes

Buffalo Bills

Rookie WR Sammy Watkins reinjured his ribs and left the Bills Week 4 preseason game. He had trouble with his ribs before, so this is certainly concerning. As for the state of the whole Bills offense after a 23-0 drubbing by the Detroit Lions, it looks like I’m whoring myself out to cheer for another team again this season. Please leave suggestions in the comments.

In all seriousness about my allegiance to the Bills, props to P Brian Moorman for his open letter to the Buffalo fan base after his release.

Hey, the Bills could bring in free agent QB Kyle Orton. I’ll drink to that!

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton said he has no doubt he will play in the Panthers Week 1 game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite his fractured ribs. Play and play like Cam Newton are two different things. Here is hoping he doesn’t get a painful welcome to the season greeting from Lavonte David or Mark Barron.

Someone set me straight, I actually think Jonathan Stewart is worthy of a last round pick on hopes (prayers?) he can stay healthy to start the season and impress. Then trade him.

Chicago Bears

WR Santonio Holmes caught a TD and returned one punt in the Bears final preseason game, as he continues to make his case to latch on as the team’s third WR with Marquess Wilson sidelined indefinitely. I still don’t think he makes the “On The Radar” section of our rankings, but damn, who can forget that Super Bowl catch?

Cincinnati Bengals

Jeremy Hill got a heavy workload and looked good doing so in the Bengals last preseason game. The next day, BenJarvus Green-Ellis was released.

Cleveland Browns

Josh Gordon‘s one-year suspension was upheld on appeal. He can’t play in the CFL either, if you were concerned about that. He should have lots of time on his hands now, which can only lead to good things…

Denver Broncos

WR Wes Welker is optimistic but overall uncertain to play for Week 1 of the regular season.

Green Bay Packers

WR Jarrett Boykin received some praise from the head coach. About time? I haven’t heard anything positive all offseason and it would seem to me Boykin’s fantasy value was moving down. He stepped in admirably last year, and this would be one of the teams where their WR3 has value. Keep in mind, the Packers’ TE position is a mess. Davante Adams is still the better longer-term play over Boykin.

Miami Dolphins

I eluded to this in our recent RB Tiers + Strategy article, and I’m making a change, giving Knowshon Moreno a bigger piece of the RB pie in Miami ahead of Lamar Miller.

New England Patriots

WR Aaron Dobson saw his first game action of the preseason the other night, returning from a foot injury. The already muddled receiving corps on the Pats gets even murkier. Pick your poison between Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Brandon LaFell. Or better yet, leave them be.

The Pats acquired TE Tim Wright from the Bucs along with a draft pick for Logan Mankins. Wright performed well last year on the receiver depleted Bucs as a rookie, but was lost amongst a myriad of TE options in Bucs training camp. Now he’s with the Pats, fantasy owners are getting excited. I wouldn’t get too excited, except as a potential short term option IF Rob Gronkowski can’t play Week 1. Which, is still very much a possibility, of course. We may not know for certain until about an hour before kickoff, Sunday September 7th.

Oakland Raiders

Matt Schaub has a banged up elbow. Derek Carr looked great in preseason action. QB controversy? Hey, as long as they don’t throw the kid to the wolves like the Houston Texans did with his older brother, right?

Hey look, a Denarius Moore sighting. I received a dynasty league trade offer from the Moore owner in my league the next morning.

Philadelphia Eagles

RB Chris Polk continues to sit out game action, missing the Eagles final preseason game. He would be in the handcuff discussion if anything happened to LeSean McCoy, but only if Polk himself can get healthy.

Seattle Seahawks

RB Christine Michael has a hamstring injury, missed the Seahawks final preseason game and is behind Robert Turbin on the depth chart. If looking to draft a lottery ticket in your draft at RB, then consider looking elsewhere.

St. Louis Rams

RB Benny Cunningham is getting on the fantasy radar, having outplayed Zac Stacy and rookie Tre Mason in preseason. I wouldn’t worry too much about Cunningham displacing Stacy at this point, but it is always good to know the right replacement players if the starter goes down.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rookie RB Charles Sims is expected to be placed on the NFL’s injured reserve – designated to return list, meaning he could be brought back to the active roster after about the midpoint of the season. If Doug Martin is rolling we shouldn’t be too worried about a returning Sims for redraft, but pretty clear the Bucs love the kid, so be aware.

Kickers

Could this position get more annoying for fantasy football? Matt Prater gets himself suspended for four games and now with roster cuts in full swing, some name kickers are getting the axe. Be wary of Alex Henery – Eagles, Connor Barth – Bucs, and, and … someone else I’m forgetting … have I mentioned I hate kickers?

Points are points, so you’ve got to keep tabs on them, even though we’d rather spend our time elsewhere, like playing Fantasy Throwdown, perhaps? (You can choose to remove kickers from your Throwdown challenges, by the way.)

Post-NFL Preseason Week 3 Projections and Rankings Update, Team Notes

Doug Martin (22) of the Buccaneers runs the ball during the NFL regular season game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. October 13, 2013; Photographer: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

Rookie Charles Sims looked good through training camp, threatening our relatively high ranking on Doug Martin. Now Sims is out injured and Martin has a more solid hold on a heavy workload out of the Bucs backfield. Photo: Icon Sportswire

The late nights are catching up with me, but before we know it, football will officially be here! Many fantasy football drafts are done, and still many more to go. There was a lot of news and value changes – some big, some small – as a result of Week 3 NFL preseason games, including another concussion for Wes Welker and another ACL tear for Sam Bradford. Without further adieu, here are the notes to accompany our newly updated player projections and cheatsheet rankings.

A new copy of Projection Pal with the updated projections will be available shortly for Draft Buddy users.

Buffalo Bills

WR Sammy Watkins was inactive for the Bills less than stellar preseason performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has sore ribs. The wilder E.J. Manuel looks, and now this, the more difficult it is to get excited about Watkins to start the season.

Baltimore Ravens

All this while it was looking promising Bernard Pierce would open the season as the starter while Ray Rice sat out, suspended. If Pierce impresses during his short stint, then who knows what could happen. However, Pierce suffered a head injury in preseason action against the Washington Redskins. They are not calling it a concussion, which is positive, but there is some added risk here.

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton has a hairline fracture to one of his ribs. Sounds painful! But, I expect Cam will tough it out and start Week 1. We aren’t adjusting our already low ranking, but fantasy owners will surely be wincing every time he takes off to run for the next little while. This puts a small damper on the Kelvin Benjamin hype building from the Panthers last preseason game.

Cleveland Browns

After a lackluster Week 2 preseason game by both quarterbacks, the Browns named Brian Hoyer their regular season starter, and Johnny Manziel will sit, learn and bide his time. For the significance of the news, there won’t be much of a rankings change. Hoyer jumps from Tier 8 to the bottom of Tier 7, while Manziel holds steady.

Denver Broncos

WR Wes Welker suffered a concussion in the Broncos Week 3 preseason game on a hit by safety D.J. Swearinger of the Houston Texans, and on a poor decision by Peyton Manning to throw it to him in heavy traffic. Welker’s value now plummets. The team line is they hope he is cleared to play Week 1, but on his third concussion in recent memory, don’t count on it.

K Matt Prater is suspended for the first four games of the season. Great offense, but still, just a kicker. The Broncos have a bye in Week 4, so he can return prior to Week 6. Maybe pick him up off waivers before Week 5 if your kicker isn’t cutting the mustard.

Green Bay Packers

TE Brandon Bostick has a slight fracture of his fibula and will be on the shelf at least a few weeks into the regular season. Some more clarity of the tight end situation in Green Bay through attrition. It won’t be Bostick and it won’t be Colt Lyerla, out for the season. Richard Rodgers appears to be the guy if you have to have a piece of this action. Andrew Quarless, who is not good (for fantasy), but a veteran, is still kicking around.

Miami Dolphins

UDFA RB Damien Williams is ahead of Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee on the depth chart. Considering what little we’ve seen from Knowshon Moreno so far, and it is late in the preseason, this is somewhat significant. A name to keep in mind.

Update – I started to write this prior to the Dolphins-Dallas Cowboys game – Moreno ran 10 times for 64 yards. Nice stat line.

TE Charles Clay is expected to play in the Dolphins third preseason game. Keep on eye on it. We’ve got him down the rankings from a bunch of places since he’s been sitting out with a knee injury. Update – he did play, so that is good news.

Minnesota Vikings

New report the Vikings just officially named Matt Cassel their starting QB. Don’t draft Cassel. Drafting Teddy Bridgewater is highly speculative in redraft leagues unless it is of the 2QB variety or with exceptionally deep rosters.

New England Patriots

RB Shane Vereen is rising up boards with his continued strong preseason play. He looks good. I was ready to take him in the early 4th round in a draft on Saturday night (some keepers in play, but not a lot) when he was snapped up a pick before me.

New York Giants

WR Odell Beckham Jr. missed the Giants third preseason game with a hamstring injury. This is the same hamstring he’s dealt with most of preseason. He’s behind the curve now and probably shouldn’t be drafted in most redraft leagues unless they use fairly deep rosters.

Philadelphia Eagles

RB LeSean McCoy sprained his thumb during the team’s Week 3 preseason game. Doesn’t look serious but wanted to mention it.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount are in trouble with police – charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and Bell is also being charged with driving under the influence, since it was his car and he was behind the wheel. Nice job, L.B. and L.B. No news on punishment from the team or league right now. Should be minimal, and potentially take a while, so no change in rankings really but understand there is an element of risk hanging over Bell in particular.

St. Louis Rams

Much to the chagrin of our own Dave Stringer, die hard Rams fan, QB Sam Bradford was diagnosed with a torn ACL and is out for the season. Backup Shaun Hill takes over. NFL AM on NFL Network can’t help themselves bringing up the flimsy parallel between this and the Trent Green-Kurt Warner circumstances from 1999. Stealing a line from another oft-annoying network, “C’mon Man!”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Since our last update, rookie Charles Sims hurt his ankle in practice and will miss significant time. Although the Bucs still have decent depth behind Doug Martin in Mike James and Bobby Rainey, they will lean more on Martin. Fantasy owners were down on Martin all preseason for different reasons, including more even splitting the workload in Tampa than we would hope for from an RB1. Now that is off the table, he should move up in drafts. We consistently had him higher than most, currently RB8, so no move necessary in our rankings.

Pre-NFL Preseason Week 2 Projections and Rankings Update, Team Notes

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) on the field following the end of the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. December 1, 2013; Photographer: Andrew Richardson/Icon Sportswire

More questions than answers about Rob Gronkowski’s health and status to start the regular season, yet fantasy players are loving the chance to add him in the late 2nd to early 3rd round in redraft leagues. I’m preaching more caution than that. Photo: Andrew Richardson

Another week closer to the start of the season as Week 2 of preseason is underway. Lets get this week’s projections and rankings update done prior to the weekend, for those drafting in the next few days.

I’ve got an auction draft over at Reality Sports Online on Friday night. Here are the team news and notes to compliment the changes you’ll find in our projections and rankings since last time.

Have you got Draft Buddy yet? It help create custom cheatsheets and track your draft. Please forgive this unabashed plug, but check it out and sign up here! I’ll update Projection Pal for our projections so you can easily import them into Buddy.

Arizona Cardinals

The Andre Ellington bandwagon is picking up steam on reports the Cardinals hope to get him 20 touches per game, and they aren’t going to play him much in the preseason. (Yes, I understand there is some hypocrisy where if some players don’t play = bad; others don’t play = good. It’s a tricky balancing act, just roll with it.) At any rate, we’ve got a butt cheek on the wagon and at this point I believe I would take him above Arian Foster, while rankings partner-in-crime Dave would not.

Ron Jaworski is excited about Cards rookie QB Logan Thomas. We love Jaws, but he does get overly excited at times. Nothing to see here for redraft, folks.

Atlanta Falcons

RB Steven Jackson continues to miss practice with a hamstring injury. He’s an okay bet as a third running back on your fantasy team. Similarly, rookie Devonta Freeman is an okay bet as a rookie and handcuff who may be thrust into more opportunity than planned when the Falcons drafted him.

Baltimore Ravens

WR Steve Smith is getting good reviews out of Ravens camp. Guy is a baller. I remember the last time he was considered done and a complete after thought in fantasy drafts prior to the 2011 season. 2011 stats: 79 for 1,394 and 7 TD. Going to be tougher to do it now, but if he’s sitting there near the end of an auction going for just a few bucks, I’ll buy.

Chicago Bears

TE Martellus Bennett is back after his suspension… in fact, he was welcomed back about 5 minutes after our last update in which I downgraded him. However, it isn’t like I didn’t expect him back at some point. The downgrade was more because of the limited upside he offers relative to some guys who were just below him. I’m not moving him back up.

Cincinnati Bengals

WR Marvin Jones has a broken foot and will miss at least a few weeks and quite possibly a lot more. This opens up things for Mohamed Sanu who should start in Jones’ place. I wouldn’t consider Jones a great stash for later pick.

Cleveland Browns

Since every update needs a comment about the Browns QB situation, here goes… they signed Rex Grossman and waived Tyler Thigpen. Kidding! Well, that is true, but not what you were after I assume. The Browns are indicating they want to decide who the regular season starter is after their Week 3 preseason game.

Latest on Josh Gordon is a decision expected next week as to whether his year long suspension gets reduced or not.

Detroit Lions

WR Calvin Johnson is wearing a protective split on his finger that required offseason surgery. The finger didn’t bother him, or his fantasy owners, last year, so lets chalk this up as a report I felt should be mentioned to keep you in the know, but a non-issue otherwise.

Green Bay Packers

UDFA TE Colt Lyerla tore his ACL and is done for the season. Dynasty players and draftniks may be more familiar with the name. We wiped all Packers out of our TE rankings week ago given the uncertainty with their depth chart.

Houston Texans

The Texans released RB Andre Brown. This is somewhat surprising as Brown played well for the New York Giants and was the clear favorite to backup Arian Foster. Dennis Johnson also got the axe. Jonathan Grimes is the name to put on your radar, along with rookie Alfred Blue.

Indianapolis Colts

RB Ahmad Bradshaw says he expects to play Week 1 of the regular season. He is the primary backup behind Trent Richardson. You could do a lot worse late in your draft adding Bradshaw as a speculative upside pick.

Miami Dolphins

RB Knowshon Moreno will miss the Dolphins second preseason game but is slated to be back in action for their third game.

TE Charles Clay is still missing practice with a knee injury. Clay was a surprise and big boost to his fantasy owners last season, most of whom grabbed him off the waiver wire. Given this injury however, look to upside picks at TE like Zach Ertz or Jordan Reed, or even more reliable options like Delanie Walker, before Clay until he’s healthy.

New England Patriots

Rookie RB James White is making a good impression, earning first-team reps in practice while Stevan Ridley works with the second-team. The way the Pats use their running backs is potentially maddening for fantasy owners, but White is going so late in drafts he’s worth a shot. Ridley would appear to be a pass, let someone else take him, at this point.

Rob Gronkowski is apparently 50-50 for the opener. I guess that is as good a guess as any. We can be certain the Patriots won’t spill the beans either way. Picture Bill Belichick doing an impression of Ivan Drago: “If he plays, he plays.”

Listen, I understand if/when Gronk returns to action he is a huge boost to your fantasy lineup on a PPG basis, BUT, he isn’t even guaranteed to start the season. Yet I see tweets to the effect of: “Got Gronk 2.12.” “Seriously? Steal!” “Yeah, take that every time.” Say what? Its not like the second or early third round are throw caution to the wind picks. Gronk is not a must-have to win your league. At that price let someone else take the risk.

BTW, Friday news update: Gronk apparently favoring his knee and limping at practice. The saga continues…

New Orleans Saints

QB Drew Brees remains out with an oblique injury. This one has me slightly worried, knowing how bad oblique injuries can be for baseball players. They are less common in football. Brees will sit this week’s preseason game and hopefully he’ll return to action next week.

A recent Saints depth chart indicates Pierre Thomas is third in the pecking order at running back behind Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. The Saints love the RBBC, and Thomas is their best pass catcher (although Ingram is no slouch), but this would seem to indicate Ingram and Robinson are performing well. We’re going to squeeze these guys closer together in the rankings.

New York Giants

Rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. is at practice, working his way back into the swing of things after a hamstring injury sidelined him. He’s behind the curve right now, but this is the first positive news is some time. Jerrel Jernigan is working with the starters and playing the slot. The Giants passing game looks… uninspiring.

New York Jets

RB Chris Ivory is still limited due to a rib injury, but still not moving Chris Johnson up.

WR Eric Decker is not practicing due to a quadriceps injury. Will revisit if we are concerned or not closer to the start of the season.

Oakland Raiders

TE Nick Kasa tore his ACL. Who? He got a very minimal mention in our last update, so this became newsworthy.

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Riley Cooper is still out with a foot injury but hopes to play in the team’s third preseason game. Check our recent Players To Avoid article for my comments on Jeremy Maclin. Same applies to Cooper, except less talent and less injury prone. I don’t see a lot of reason to draft this guy even in the bottom half of the draft.