With the Dolphins on a bye this week all that Phin fans could do was watch the rest of the NFL and size up the Bills under practice squad QB Thad Lewis. I got to say, Lewis and the Bills gave the Bengals 10th ranked fantasy defense a run for their money on Sunday. Despite giving up 24 points, they finished in the top 12 for week 6 making them a low-end Def1 in almost all formats. That’s the funny thing about defenses and tight ends in fantasy football; even mediocre days can still be solid in fantasy terms.
Some NFL news that is going to have major fantasy implications hit the wire on Sunday afternoon. The Jaguars are now reportedly open to trade RB Maurice Jones-Drew. The truth is that MJD isn’t going to be back with the Jaguars after this season, which is when his contract expires. The Jaguars have little to play for at this point and should look to take whatever they can get for a nearly 29-year-old RB that is running on fumes after racking up 954 carries over the last 3 seasons. His 2.8 YPC average this season isn’t his fault, but that won’t matter when teams look at bringing him in. I’d expect the Jaguars to take a late-round pick for him, and his value will increase should he find himself in a starting role. And no, the team won’t matter as long as he is starting.
This week I sat down for an interview with Phinsphocus.com (a Dolphins fan-site) to talk about the Dolphins and fantasy football. I’d like to thank Michael Serrania for talking with me and look forward to seeing all the fan-sites next week at the Miami Dolphins Web Weekend.
Nick Foles – QB Eagles: With Michael Vick out, Foles took the reins and led his team to a 31-20 victory over the Bucs in convincing fashion. Foles finished with 293 yards passing and 4 TDs (3 passing, 1 rushing) with no turnovers. The Eagles have no won two in a row under Foles after going 1-3 with Vick at QB; can anyone guess where this is leading? Vick owners better check to make sure Foles isn’t on the waiver wire after this one.
Thad Lewis – QB Bills: Lewis was signed from the practice squad just this week, and threw for 216 yards, 2 TDs, and ran for 17 yards and another TD. He did lose a fumble, but as I said above, he gave the Bengals a defense a run for their money on Sunday. I don’t think he looks as well next weekend against the Dolphins with game film on him, but he did have at least one good week to tell his grandkids about.
Knowshon Moreno – RB Broncos: Moreno was someone I told people to start via email and social media when asked about him because I knew the Broncos would be up early, and thus they’d lean on the running game more. Moreno finished with 104 total yards of offense, but it was the 3 TDs that he scored that vaulted him atop the fantasy rankings for RBs this week. Moreno is a top 10 RB this season because the Broncos have an elite passing game, which means he is an every week starter no matter who they play from here on out.
Brandon Jacobs – RB Giants: Jacobs turned back to the clock on Thursday night and put up106 rushing yards and 2 TDs against the Bears. Even though the Giants are winless this season, Jacobs finished in the top 5 for fantasy RBs on NFL.com. The Giants look like they finally had some O-Line continuity against the Bears and they might just find their first win in week 7 against the struggling Vikings. I would have no problems plugging Jacobs into my flex spot with the Saints and Raiders on a bye and having several flex-type players on their rosters.
Giovani Bernard – RB Bengals: As I predicted, Bernard finished with 100 total yards of offense and a touchdown on Sunday, ranking him in the top 10 for RBs. Bernard has more value in PPR leagues than in standard leagues, but even in my NFL.com standard leagues he still finished as an RB1. Next week the Bengals take on the Lions and Bernard is firmly in the RB2 spot for me.
Vincent Jackson – WR Buccaneers: As I predicted, V-Jax put up huge numbers this week and finished #1 overall for fantasy WRs. Jackson hauled in 9 catches for 114 yards and 2 TDs on Sunday, good enough for 23.40 fantasy points in NFL.com standard scoring and 32.40 in Yahoo PPR scoring. Don’t be too excited as all the factors that led to this created the perfect storm so to speak. The Bucs had a bye last week, Mike Williams was inactive, and the Eagles secondary is one of the most generous ones in the NFL. Jackson is more of a WR2 most weeks, but could against reach WR1 stats next week against the Falcons.
Justin Blackmon – WR Jaguars: What Henne couldn’t do for fantasy owners, Blackmon did do. Henne found Blackmon for a total of 14 receptions for 190 yards. Again, the Jaguars didn’t score in the air, but Blackmon was worth playing in both standard and PPR formats regardless because of the huge numbers he did put up. Honestly, I’d trade for Blackmon right now if the price is right in your league because Cecil Shorts is probably out for a while (if he even returns) and Blackmon is all the Jaguars have to throw to.
Riley Cooper – WR Eagles: Look up “fluke” in the dictionary and you are going to see a picture of Cooper smiling. On Sunday he managed to reel in 4 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown to finish with #5 at WR on NFL.com with 18.00 points. Let someone else chase Cooper’s stats in this one as he was starting to lose snaps to Jeff Maehl before today, and got away with a push-off on his 47-yard touchdown.
Vernon Davis – TE 49ers: Davis came up HUGE for fantasy owners this week as he finished with 8 catches (11 targets) for 180 yards and 2 TDs and the #3 overall (all positions accounted for) ranking on NFL.com. Davis has always had the talent to succeed in the NFL, but TE is an all-or-nothing position in fantasy football. Davis is a weekly top 5-7 play at TE, so don’t think about sitting him unless you have Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron, Antonio Gates or Jason Witten on your team too.
Joseph Fauria – TE Lions: Who? Yes, that’s what I said too. Fauria is a rookie TE that has total 7 catches this season for 5 touchdowns and 66 yards. Much like Cooper above, do NOT chase these fantasy points by picking him up off the waiver wire. Just shake your head and say “oh well” like the rest of us.
St. Louis Rams defense: Playing the Texans’ is quickly becoming a recipe for fantasy defense success, as their two QBs have combined to throw 5 INTs that have been returned for a touchdown, also known as a Pick Six. This week it was Yates instead of Schaub, but that didn’t matter as the Rams finished as the #1 fantasy defense thanks to their 13 points allowed, 5 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 defensive touchdowns (1 INT, 1 fumble).
Matt Schaub and T.J. Yates – QBs Texans: I knew it was only a matter of time before Schaub was yanked from the game on Sunday, and it just so happened that he hurt his leg in the 3rd quarter and that allowed the Texans to make the switch at QB. Yates came in and proceeded to throw a 98-yard pick-six on his first drive, and an end-zone INT on his next. Schaub finished with 186 passing yards and no INTs, while Yates finished with 98 passing yards and 2 INTs. The Rams do have a good defense, but the Texans passing attack can be downgraded across the board for next week’s match-up with the Chiefs #1 ranked fantasy defense.
Chad Henne – QB Jaguars: So my sleeper pick of the week never woke up against a generous Broncos defense on Sunday. Henne did finish with 303 yards passing, but he failed to reach the endzone and threw 2 INTs to finish well into the bottom end of the QB2 range. The Broncos are always ahead by so many points that opposing QBs usually have plenty of garbage time stats to pad their fantasy numbers. But, not even garbage time could make a Jaguars quarterback worth playing in fantasy leagues. The only positive I can find from this horrible pick was that the NFL.com fantasy analysts said Henne would throw as many TDs as Peyton Manning. If by TDs he meant INTs, then yes, he did throw as many as Manning did.
Peyton Manning – QB Broncos: I never thought I’d see this Manning brother on this side of the list this season, but alas he is. Manning had a good game by all accounts, throwing for 295 yards and 2 TDs. But, he also threw an interception and lost 2 fumbles. All totaled, Manning finished with 13.10 fantasy points on NFL.com’s standard scoring, after they projected him to score 30.18 fantasy points. He finished 16th for fantasy QBs, and this further shows why you should never trust the fantasy game’s projected stats. They are ALWAYS wrong and hardly ever close.
Ray Rice – RB Ravens: Rice is owned in 100 percent of NFL.com leagues, yet he managed just 49 total yards of offense on Sunday with no touchdowns. Up to this point Rice has had just one truly “good” game (week 5), he’s missed one game, and in the other 4 games he has put up a combined 123 rushing yards, 1 touchdown and 1 lost fumble. Rice is currently ranking out in the flex range (#27 on NFL.com for RBs) and I am not surprised as I predicted in the pre-season that the Ravens would not be nearly as good as they were last year. The team has just changed too much, and not in a good way.
LeGarrette Blount – RB Patriots: Blount saw his fantasy value disappear on Sunday as he managed just 9 yards on 7 carries, while Stevan Ridley accounted for 96 rushing yards and 2 TDs. Blount is owned in 22.4 percent of NFL.com leagues (as of Sunday evening), but that number is dropping as people are cutting Blount by the thousands (7,515 on Sunday alone). Go ahead and cut Blount in all but the deeper leagues.
Joique Bell – RB Lions: Bell is owned in 51.3 percent of NFL.com leagues, and I have tried to warn people not to play him as anything more than a desperation flex option the last few weeks. Bell managed just 25 yards rushing, and 8 yards receiving while Reggie Bush accounted for 78 yards on the ground, 57 in the air, and a touchdown on Sunday. Bell is nothing more than a handcuff for Bush owners as evidence by his 10.60 combined fantasy points on NFL.com over the last 3 games. In fact, he’s only had two good games this season, in weeks 1 and 3. The other four games have been below average for a fantasy RB owned in over half the NFL.com leagues.
Danny Amendola – WR Patriots: There is a reason why I cautioned people from drafting both Amendola and Tom Brady in the pre-season, because the Patriots aren’t what they once were. Amendola left the game in the 3rd quarter with what is sure to be a fairly serious concussion (he appeared to go limp before hitting the ground), and managed just 2 catches for 0 yards (yes, that’s zero) and 1 rushing yard on the day. In NFL.com standard fractional scoring, Amendola managed 0.10 fantasy points on Sunday. Pay close attention to the coming reports on Amendola as this injury could knock him out for a chunk of the season.
Dez Bryant – WR Cowboys: Bryant entered the week as NFL.com’s #1 ranked WR in standard scoring formats. Tony Romo only managed 170 passing yards with a TD and an INT and because of that Bryant only finished with 5 catches for 36 yards and no endzone visits. Bryant ranked 50th for WRs on NFL.com this week, and that number is likely to fall after the Monday Night Football game. There is no reason to worry here, as it was just an off night.
Tavon Austin – WR Rams: Why do 81.8 percent of people still own Austin on NFL.com? To date, he has 24 catches for 159 yards and 2 TDs, and his season high for yards was 47 back in week 2 where he also recorded those 2 TDs. This week he managed a single catch for 3 yards, which gave his NFL.com fractional owners 0.30 points, and his non-fractional owners 0 points. The last 3 weeks he has put up a total of 41 yards on 6 catches and no touchdowns. If you own Austin in anything but a 16-team (or deeper), or dynasty league, cut him for whatever is on the waiver wire right now.
Kenny Britt – WR Titans: Still owned in 62.1 percent of NFL.com leagues, Britt again disappointed fantasy owners with his 1 catch for 7 yards on Sunday. The truth is, Britt is owned in roughly 62.1 percent too many leagues and should be cut immediately. Don’t even finish this article, just go cut him! Britt has fallen completely out of the Titans offensive plans and shouldn’t be owned in any league, no matter the format, until trade rumors start picking up about him.
Jimmy Graham – TE Saints: Graham is the proof when I say that TE is a boom-or-bust position in fantasy sports. Graham is unquestionably the #1 TE in the NFL, both reality and fantasy, but was held without a catch on Sunday. The recipe for success this week was to stick shadow corner Aqib Talib on Graham. Talib left in the 3rd quarter with a hip injury, but the damage was done and cages were rattled. Graham has a bye next week and I will say right now that he will put up MONSTER numbers against the Bills in week 8.
Houston Texans defense: What are the chances of a fantasy defense owned by 86.4 percent of NFL.com players scoring 0.00 points in back-to-back weeks? That’s just what the Texans did this week as they gave up 26 points to the Rams, while not recording a single sack, INT, or fumble recovery. Just like last week, they didn’t hurt you… but they didn’t help you either. I’d sit them down or cut them loose and just play defenses on a weekly match-up basis if you own them.
For those keeping track, the only pick I was wrong about this week was the Henne pick. Bernard was talked about above, DeAngelo Williams finished as a RB2 (15th for RBs) with 97 total yards, [Vincent] Jackson was mentioned above, Bengals defense was talked about, Russell Wilson didn’t score and finished 13th on NFL.com (QB2), Terrelle Pryor threw 3 INTs and finished 19th, Bilal Powell finished with 50 total yards and no scores (33rd for RBs), Maurice Jones-Drew was 13th (RB2) for RBs because he did score, but not the RB1 he is owned and started (started in 69.5 percent of NFL.com leagues) as, Chris Givens had 20 yards receiving (59th for WRs), Miles Austin had no catches, Jared Cook had 45 yards receiving (16th for TEs), and the Patriots defense ranked 22nd for defenses.
To go 15-16 on fantasy pick with no obvious picks is not an easy thing to do. Especially when you account for the Wilson, Williams, Jones-Drew, Pryor, and Austin picks. Now if I could just get ESPN, NFL.com, Yahoo.com, or CBSSportsline.com to notice I will be golden.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.