Tag Archives: update

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 1 Projections and Rankings Update, Team Notes

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel; Photos: Icon Sportswire

Rankings and projections updated, including a note on the Cleveland quarterback competition between Brian Hoyer (left) and this other guy (right). Photo: Icon Sportswire

NFL.com, NFL Network and everything officially associated with the shield can’t mention Johnny Manziel‘s name enough right now. I hate when they do that, when they pick a player and focus 200% attention on said hyped up player of the moment, virtually ignoring the rest of what is going on.

Week 1 of preseason games are in the books, and our fantasy football rankings and projections are due for an update. We’ll mention the Cleveland Browns starting QB competition, plus everything else that impacts our forecasts to get your ready for your upcoming fantasy drafts.

If you are looking for a custom cheatsheet and draft tracking tool, look no further than the tool that gave this website its name, Draft Buddy. For current Draft Buddy users, I will update a copy of Projection Pal with our projections to import into Buddy.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Rookie RB Devonta Freeman is getting plenty of reps with the first-team while Steven Jackson sits with a hamstring injury. If Freeman is a quick study on his pass protection, he’ll contribute even with a healthy SJax to try to keep the veteran healthy for the season.

Baltimore Ravens

  • Early reports indicate RB Bernard Pierce is doing well in Gary Kubiak’s zone blocking running scheme. Could he unseat Ray Rice if he performs well in a two-game audition while Rice is out with suspension? I’m going to leave that question hanging for now as food for thought.

Buffalo Bills

  • RB Bryce Brown received rave reviews from the head coach after a nice preseason game performance. He was just picked in an ongoing draft of mine in the 13th round, which seemed early since regardless of the reviews, Brown continues to be third in the pecking order behind C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. I drafted Spiller so I took notice. Then I realized I inadvertently already took two handcuffs of the guy who drafted Brown, so maybe the pick was intentionally early.
  • Is it WR Robert Woods or Mike Williams to play second fiddle to Sammy Watkins? Well, we thought it was Woods in a landslide back in June but now it appears a lot closer contest. Woods moves down our rankings and my suggestion is leave both for someone else to draft.

Carolina Panthers

  • QB Cam Newton missed the Panthers preseason opener to prevent risking damage to his surgically repaired ankle. His ankle injury doesn’t seem to be factoring into his current ADP. We obviously have Newton ranked considerably lower than that as a clear avoid pick in fantasy drafts.
  • RB Jonathan Stewart is missing preseason and doesn’t appear close to returning to game action. It seems no matter where we rank this guy it is too high. Now he’s in our “not ranked – on the radar” section. Just, avoid.

Chicago Bears

  • TE Martellus Bennett is away from the team currently after being indefinitely suspended and fined by the Bears. He body slammed rookie CB Kyle Fuller. Anger issues Martellus? I’m not dismissing the seriousness of the crime, but the length of suspension is catching my attention. It happened August 4th. Today is the 10th. Small red flag here. The only reason Bennett is (was) inside our Top 12 TE is because of the lack of receiving options on the Bears (especially with third WR Marquess Wilson out for a while), but he sure doesn’t excite me adding him to my fantasy team. Moving him down.

Cleveland Browns

  • I said at the top I would mention the QB battle between Brian Hoyer and that other guy. Truth be told, there isn’t much to tell that changes anything. Both performed decently in the preseason opener with no clear winner or loser. Hoyer is still the favorite to start the season on our board, but as I mentioned on ESPN 1450 in State College, PA radio last week (plug, plug), if and when Manziel starts, his value shoots up inside – perhaps well inside – the Top 20 at QB based on his ability to accumulate fantasy points with his legs. It would be a rollercoaster ride each week, but he could be worth a speculative add now as a third QB, even if just for his trade value in-season.

Dallas Cowboys

  • I mentioned Cole Beasley as a late round flier option in our last update. Dave tells me the Cowboys are committed to giving Gavin Escobar more time in 11 formations which will limit playing time for Beasley.

Denver Broncos

  • RB Montee Ball had his appendectomy surgery and no one seems too concerned he is going to miss starting Week 1 of the season. It isn’t the worst thing in the world for a running back to miss preseason games. We didn’t change his projections or ranking when this news first broke.
  • RB C.J. Anderson suffered a concussion in the Broncos preseason opener, helping Ronnie Hillman secure his grip as the primary backup. Hillman’s biggest problem is securing his grip on the football, and we’ll need to see more game action to believe he can do it.

Green Bay Packers

  • Packers running backs coach Sam Gash compared Eddie Lacy to Jamal Lewis and Curtis Martin, two former fantasy stud backs that Gash blocked for in his career. Lacy doesn’t have Gash blocking for him, but the more I read about Lacy and consider his situation and performance as a rookie, the closer I have him to Tier 1 than Tier 2 at RB. In fact, I’m making that change. I would take Lacy 5th overall in non-PPR and PPR leagues.
  • Rookie WR Jared Abbrederis tore his ACL and is out for the season. While he was down the depth chart, it is worth noting that fellow rookie Davante Adams has less competition for the fourth WR spot, from which one injury above him can pave the way to fantasy relevance on this team. See: Boykin, Jarrett (2013).

Houston Texans

  • Case Keenum has a small edge over Tom Savage for the backup QB job. Uh… this was a small news item prior to their preseason opener in which they lost 32-0 to the Arizona Cardinals. We don’t want to read too much into preseason, and neither Arian Foster or Andre Johnson played, but all three quarterbacks looked bad. I’m downgrading Foster and AJ in the rankings. They are already dinged and the early signs for this offense are not good.

Indianapolis Colts

  • This is more a from the gut prediction than anything, but I feel like a healthy Hakeem Nicks becomes the Colts top receiver. He’s a value buy where he’s going in drafts, while T.Y. Hilton is a sell at his current price, IMHO.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • RB Toby Gerhart is missing preseason action with a hip injury. While, “it isn’t the worst thing in the world for a running back to miss preseason games”, it isn’t ideal for a player on a new team in his first starting gig. Regardless, anyone working off of our rankings before this news isn’t drafting Gerhart anyway.
  • WR Marqise Lee received some harsh criticism from head coach Gus Bradley following their preseason opener. Serious red flag or light a fire under the kid? I think more the latter, or it wouldn’t be done is such a public manner.

Kansas City Chiefs

  • It was a coming out party for Travis Kelce in the Chiefs first preseason game. Talent wasn’t in question, but whether he can he stay healthy, is. Right now he is, so I moved him into the TE rankings as an upside backup selection.

Miami Dolphins

  • RB Knowshon Moreno is still out recovering from knee surgery. To be honest, we probably have him a little too low in the rankings now, but it would be nice to see him back in action before giving the green light to draft this guy.

New England Patriots

  • It is a new week, and a new Patriots receiver is getting some positive press. This time it is free agent acquisition Brandon LaFell. LaFell is a big target for Tom Brady, he’s got that going for him. I’ll move him into our On the Radar section, but it would need to be a 32-team league before I envision drafting LaFell until such time we see and hear more good news out of Pats camp.

New Orleans Saints

  • Rookie WR Brandin Cooks is looking good per early reports. If he falls to reasonable levels, he is worth the risk-reward, even in re-draft leagues. He is going pretty high right now on average, but that ADP is sure to vary quite a bit from league to league. If the decision comes down to Cooks vs. a sure but average starter in a blah passing offense, then put some trust in Saints head coach Sean Payton.
  • At the point where Cooks is getting drafted, you want to put more emphasis on upside picks at the position. To that end, I shuffled a bunch of picks in Tier 8, moving some young upside choices ahead of guys who made the most of their situation last year – Jarrett Boykin, Marvin Jones, Riley Cooper – who I feel will have a tough time repeating their production this year.

New York Jets

  • RB Chris Johnson looked sluggish in the Jets first preseason game. Surprised? Don’t be. If you are looking for a RB who runs with conviction then you’re looking at the wrong guy. No one is expecting upside for a Top 10 finish at this point. He’s ranked where he’s ranked based on projected volume of carries. I’ve seen him drafted fairly high but I moved him to the bottom of Tier 4. By the way, he was the only healthy back on the Jets the other night. Chris Ivory left with a rib injury. Bilal Powell was already out with a pulled hamstring.

Oakland Raiders

  • Trusted fantasy football adviser, Dave Stringer, has told me for a little while we should swap Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew in the rankings. I’ve resisted so far, but MJD started the first preseason game and if both start the season healthy, MJD is more likely to stay that way and earn consistent carries. I guess I’m still enamored with McFadden’s speed and big play ability, but I made the switch.
  • TE David Ausberry requires knee surgery. We had him the projected starter, but not ranked, just on the radar. Looks like we’ll flip-flop that back to Mychal Rivera, and Nick Kasa is another name floating around.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • WR Riley Cooper missed the Eagles preseason opener with a foot injury but is expected back soon. We already have Cooper ranked low relative to his ADP. Good offense and opportunity but marginal talent.

San Diego Chargers

  • Although he has the talent, and he’s in a contract year, Ryan Mathews worries me given his injury history even though he stayed healthy last season. The Chargers ratcheted up his carries late last season with good success, but should know that can’t be the norm for him. I adjusted his projections down slightly (no rankings change), and moved Danny Woodhead up.
  • UDFA RB Branden Oliver looked impressive in the Chargers preseason opener. Who? Sorry, patting myself on the back a bit as I drafted Oliver as a college player in one league last season which earned a big round of “Who?”‘s at the time. Nothing to see here yet except in deep, deep dynasty leagues.

San Francisco 49ers

  • The way San Francisco is losing running backs, and with him entering his third year as a starter, I have a little more confidence in Colin Kaepernick and moved him up the rankings.
  • Michael Crabtree is missing time with a hamstring injury. Something to note when obnoxious fellow owner yells that across the room after you draft Crabtree. Tell him to shut his pie hole, the injury doesn’t appear serious.

Pre-Preseason Projections and Rankings Update, Team Notes

It’s a new month – August! NFL preseason is about to get going and this is the biggest month of the fantasy football calendar all year when the majority of fantasy drafts take place. Our projections and cheatsheet rankings are in need of an update. Check them out, and here are the team news and notes from the last week to accompany those changes.

For Draft Buddy users, I will update a copy of Projection Pal and make it available to download, so you can import our updated projections.

Arizona Cardinals

  • RB Stepfan Taylor worked ahead of Jonathan Dwyer with the first team offense while starter Andre Ellington sat out with a sore neck. Noting this here to keep tabs on next man up should anything happen to Ellington.

  • Glowing reports continue for WR John Brown. Could be something to see here.

Atlanta Falcons

  • RB Steven Jackson is dealing with a hamstring injury and missing practice time. The veteran doesn’t really need much training camp time anyway, but if he’s struggling to stay healthy this early that is a concern to fantasy players.

Carolina Panthers

  • WR Kelvin Benjamin is missing time with what coach Ron Rivera described as a bone bruise on his knee. They don’t seem that concerned but generally when a rookie misses time, it is at least some concern. He is expected back relatively soon.

Cleveland Browns

  • WR Josh Gordon‘s suspension hearing was scheduled for August 1st, although last note I read was not to expect to hear the outcome of that meeting just yet. More waiting, but there should be a decision soon.

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Cole Beasley is drawing good reviews from training camp. He’s down the pecking order, for sure, but a name to keep in mind in the event of injury and because the offense is anticipated to be very pass heavy.

Detroit Lions

  • WR Golden Tate was removed from the PUP list to take part in regular training camp practice. He was on there with shoulder soreness.

Indianapolis Colts

  • RB Vick Ballard is out for the season after tearing his Achilles’. Unfortunate. We felt Ballard could press for touches against Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw becomes a more attractive commodity at this point.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • The more I think about it the more I think Chad Henne starts and plays all season barring injury, while Blake Bortles sits, watches and learns. We had their projections relatively close to a split, but changing that up so majority is Henne.

  • Conflicting reports from Jacksonville that the team wants RB Toby Gerhart to have 20+ carries per game, but then they want to be careful he doesn’t surpass 300 carries. Regardless of the exact usage, Gerhart is in line to be a work horse back, a more rare commodity in this age of the NFL and for fantasy football. We just aren’t optimistic on Gerhart’s ability to be overly productive with those carries.
  • Marqise Lee is getting lots of reps in practice with Cecil Shorts sidelined (hamstring) and Ace Sanders out (personal). Fellow rookie Allen Robinson is also out a couple weeks with a hamstring injury.

Miami Dolphins

  • RB Knowshon Moreno is still recovering from issues with his knee, and says he may not play in the preseason at all. His value drops further. Unless he’s an absolute bargain on draft day I would have a tough time pulling the trigger and using a roster spot on him.

  • WR Mike Wallace is missing practice with hamstring tightness. Hamstrings are the injury du jour for wide receivers this summer.

Minnesota Vikings

  • Matt Cassel is in the lead as the projected starting quarterback, but Teddy Bridgewater is apparently closing the gap. An early week report indicates Bridgewater will get some time with the starters during preseason games.

  • Reviewing our projections and rankings, Bridgewater we have projected as the starter but ranked slightly lower. That’s a mistake. Don’t draft Cassel. Draft Bridgewater in dynasty, deep keepers and late in 2-QB redraft leagues.

New England Patriots

  • Initial timetable on WR Aaron Dobson recovering from foot surgery in March was two to three months, but it seems that was optimistic. He isn’t showing any change of direction work while rehabbing and on the PUP list currently. He might not be ready for the start of the season, so I’m pulling him out of the rankings and distributing about half his earlier projections across other receivers.

New York Giants

  • News on the comeback of RB David Wilson from neck surgery took a bad turn this week. An upcoming surgeon’s evaluation has called into question, and reports definitely leaned more pessimistic, on whether Wilson can continue his football career. More news is needed but this drops major red flags on Wilson right now.

  • Reuben Randle had some hamstring issues earlier in the week but appears okay. Rookie Odell Beckham Jr. on the other hand, he’s out at least a week with a bothersome hamstring. He also missed time during OTAs for the same reason, drawing the ire of head coach Tom Coughlin.

New York Jets

  • Large majority of first-team reps are going to Geno Smith, and little to none to Michael Vick. This is the quarterback training camp battle that never was. It is Geno Smith time until he gets hurt or the coaches – rightfully so – feel forced to switch in an effort to keep themselves employed.

San Francisco 49ers

  • RB Kendall Hunter tore his ACL and is lost for the year, while LaMichael James dislocated his elbow. Even though James is expected back Week 1, he wasn’t going to be a big factor backing up Frank Gore. We dropped Marcus Lattimore last week in our rankings on the heels of not very encouraging rehab reports. Given that, it looks like Carlos Hyde is the clear cut handcuff for Gore, and could earn a good number of touches with suddenly little competition behind him. Hyde moves up.

Seattle Seahawks

  • RB Marshawn Lynch ended his holdout. No one holds out like they used to. Remember Joey Galloway? We hadn’t changed Lynch’s projections or ranking anyway, so no need to change it back now.

Washington Redskins

  • WR Pierre Garcon is sitting out with … you guessed it … a strained hamstring.