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SUNDAY NEWS: Live Feed All Day Long (Week 3)

This Week 3 Sunday News topic will be updated all Sunday long!!!

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News: 9/21 (03:20pm) Andre Ellington (foot) is active for Week 3 against the 49ers; Vernon Davis (ankle, knee) is inactive for Week 3 against AZ. Carson Palmer is also inactive.
Take: Andre Ellington should see a grip of work in this one, and despite his foot, he remains one of our bigger breakouts this year. He has been doing outstanding fantasy-wise considering the foot and his loss of Carson Palmer. Derek Carrier will get extra run at TE this week for the 49ers.


News: 9/21 (03:17pm) Jamaal Charles is inactive for Week 3 against MIA.
Take: This was fully expected, but we wanted to give you official word. Knile Davis has fantasy RB1-upside this week.


News: 9/21 (03:17pm) Danny Woodhead was carted off the field with a severe ankle injury.
Take: Horrible news, as he was truly setup to shine in PPR formats while Ryan Mathews was out. We will keep you updated on his injury and how long he might be out.


News: 9/21 (12:55pm) According to rotoworld, the Texans have announced that Alfred Blue will be their starting runner against the Giants today (Week 3).
Take: As I/we said this morning, I really like this kid and he is a sneaky, but risky, Week 3 play. I am playing him in one league despite the risk. His upside is big. Alfred Blue and Jeremy Hill are the sneaky RB starts of the week.


News: 9/21 (12:41pm) DeSean Jackson is on the field and warming up to play.
Take: Jackson looks like a go in this one. Of course, anything can happen during warm-ups, but you're signed up for Smart Alerts, so you're covered! We will send an alert back out should something change. Kirk Cousins is a sneaky start this week if you need a QB. Pierre Garcon owners were probably hoping Jackson wouldn't go, but I don't think DJax is fully healthy, so Garcon could see more targets than usual. Start Niles Paul if you got him, as Jordan Reed is out!


News: 9/21 (12:39pm) FOX’s Jay Glazer has confirmed that Jamaal Charles (ankle) is not expected to play in Sunday’s Week 3 contest against MIA.
Take: Knile Davis has low-end RB1 appeal in this one. Be sure to check back just in case anything changes with Charles’ status, but Week 3 should be all Knile Davis.


News: 9/21 (12:33pm) Shaun Hill (thigh) is active for Week 3 against DAL.
Take: Austin Davis was expected to start, but it appears Hill is working out with the starters. Neither QB should be starting in fantasy leagues unless the league is a large 2QB league.


News: 9/21 (12:13pm) Bengals OC Hue Jackson “doesn’t have a number” in mind in terms of how many carries he’ll split up between Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard.
Take: You guys all know by now how much I love Giovani Bernard, as I believe he is a top 5-10 fantasy rusher this year. Even with that stance, I love Jeremy Hill, and that offense has room for both runners. Today might be the game Jeremy Hill explodes, and again, I can’t stress enough I still believe fully in Gio. Hill is going to be used early and often between the tackles, and he will have 8-10TD potential this season. He is averaging 4.9 yards-per-carry and is coming off a 15-carry game in Week 2. Don’t bench a stud or big name for the guy, but Hill is a fantastic flex-start this week (and moving forward).


News: 9/21 (12:13pm) According to rotoworld, Danny Woodhead is listed as the starting running back for the Chargers this week.
Take: We’ve been saying it all week, Danny Woodhead is the best RB in SD right now, especially in PPR. Donald Brown is expected to get early-down work, but Woodhead has more appeal fantasy-wise.


News: 9/21 (12:05pm) Keenan Allen (groin) is active for the Chargers’ Week 3 contest against BUF; Ryan Mathews is inactive.
Take: This is the best buy-low WR in fantasy right now. Why? Yeah, yeah, he hasn’t done much in Weeks 1 and 2, right? Well, he faced AZ in Week 1 and Richard Sherman and SEA in Week 2. Well, let me tell you, if you watched Allen against Sherman, you’d be quite impressed. Allen has amazing footwork, speed and route running ability. He is a fantasy WR1 talent-wise – We hope the Keenan Allen show starts in Week 3!


News: 9/21 (12:01pm) Dez Bryant (shoulder) is active for Week 3 against STL.
Take: This was expected, but it’s great to get confirmation that Dez is ready to explode in Week 3.


News: 9/21 (12:01pm) Tavon Austin (knee) is inactive for Week 3 against DAL.
Take: He isn’t a viable starter right now anyway.


News: 9/21 (12:01pm) Aaron Dobson is inactive for Week 3 against OAK.
Take: He isn’t a viable starter right now in fantasy anyway.


News: 9/21 (11:56am) Bernard Pierce (thigh) is inactive for Sunday’s Week 3 contest at CLE.
Take: Justin Forsett and and the rookie we have been talking up for weeks, Lorenzo Taliaferro, would likely split carries in this one with Pierce officially out. Taliaferro is a must-add in dynasty, and he remains a sneaky pick-up in larger redraft leagues — just know anything can happen carry-wise in this game, so be careful plugging either into your line up. Lorenzo Taliaferro has big upside if he plays a ton, though, but his workload is far from guaranteed — this week at least.


News: 9/21 (11:55am) A.J. Green (toe) is active for Week 3.
Take: This was expected, but it’s great to get further confirmation. Green is a top 1-4WR any week that he is on the field.


News: 9/21 (11:33am) NFL Network is reporting that Arian Foster (hamstring) is officially inactive for Sunday’s Week 3 contest against NYG.
Take: Alfred Blue and Ronnie Brown will most likely split some work, but if you need a sneaky play this week at RB, Alfred Blue is your guy! There is always risk with these starts, so know that, as Brown could get more reps than anyone can predict, but I love this kid Blue! Jonathan Grimes could see some run, hence the risk in starting anyone last-minute. I like Blue here.


News: 9/21 (11:23am) ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Shane Vereen (shoulder) is expected to play Sunday’s Week 3 contest against OAK.
Take: Check back last-minute, just in case he suffers a setback in warm-ups. Sign-Up For Smart Alerts to ensure you get real-time alerts on all this!


News: 9/21 (11:23am) Both Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) are expected to play in Monday night’s Week 3 contest against the Jets.
Take: This is solid info to have now, as some were considering using some Sunday options vs. those Monday night plays. Anything can happen in warm-ups, but both WRs appear ready to rumble on Monday night.


News: 9/21 (10:43am) Vernon Davis (ankle, knee) remains “doubtful” for Week 3.
Take: Unless a miracle occurs in this situation, Derek Carrier is going to get some extra run in Week 3.


News: 9/21 (10:18am) DeSean Jackson is expected to be available for Week 3.
Take: Expect him to play, but check back, as setbacks happen in warm-ups all the time.


News: 9/21 (10:18am) Wes Welker is expected to be a third-down/role player in Week 3 against SEA.
Take: He should return to his strong fantasy WR3 role at some point, but given the match-up and expected playing time, he might not be ready for that just yet.


News: 9/21 (10:16am) There is some buzz this morning suggesting that Bernard Pierce (thigh) may not play Week 3 against CLE.
Take: Justin Forsett and and the rookie we have been talking up for weeks, Lorenzo Taliaferro, would likely split carries in this one if Pierce cannot go. Taliaferro is a must-add in dynasty, and he remains a sneaky pick-up in larger redraft leagues — just know anything can happen carry-wise if Pierce sits, so be careful plugging either into your line up. Lorenzo Taliaferro has big upside if he plays a ton, but his workload is far from guaranteed — this week at least.


News: 9/21 (10:16am) NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports Arian Foster (hamstring) is a “long shot” to play Sunday’s Week 3 contest against NYG.
Take: Alfred Blue and Ronnie Brown will most likely split work; Blue is a decent pickup if you’re in need, but just know he is boom or bust given that Brown could get more work than expected, or less work than expected. Blue is a great dynasty add, though, know that!


News: 9/21 (10:16am) Maurice Jones-Drew (hand) is not expected to be available for Week 3 game against NE.
Take: Darren McFadden should see more work than normal. Let’s see if McFadden can hold-up.


News: 9/21 (10:05am) ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Jordan Cameron (shoulder) is expected to play against BAL.
Take: Great news, for now. Of course, check back with us closer to kickoff, as anything can happen in warm-ups.


News: 9/21 (10:04am) NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that Jamaal Charles (ankle) is not expected to play Sunday against MIA.
Take: Check back of course, but for now, Knile Davis is expected to start. We will adjust the Analyzers/Rankings to reflect the change, but keep in mind that an earlier report, this morning, suggested that Charles had a good chance to play. Stay tuned, but expect Charles to sit as of now.


News: 9/21 (02:02am) Bernard Pierce (thigh) is listed as questionable for Week 3 at Cleveland.
Take: The Ravens signed RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, so you have to wonder if Pierce is more questionable than the Ravens are letting on. Pierce practiced on Friday, so expected him to go in Week 3 unless we send out another Smart Alerts on the guy. Just to ensure we’re saying it ahead of time, Ravens rookie RB Lorenzo Taliaferro could eventually see the field, and if he does, watch out. He is a great dynasty “go get” right now.


News: 9/21 (02:02am) Chris Johnson (ankle) is probable for Monday night’s Week 3 contest vs. the Bears.
Take: As sad as it is to say, CJ2K is merely a flex option at this point.


News: 9/21 (02:02am) Antonio Gates (hamstring) is probable for Week 3.
Take: Great news – After last week, be proved he still has some TE1 left in the tank.


News: 9/21 (02:02am) Chargers RB Branden Oliver will be active for Week 3 against the Bills.
Take: This is a dynasty sleeper right here. Be sure to consider grabbing this guy in those deep dynasty leagues. He could never see the field other than special teams, sure, but his talent level is big-time, so I hope he gets a shot. He will be the No. 3RB with Ryan Mathews out.


News: 9/21 (02:01am) DeSean Jackson is questionable for Week 3.
Take: This will be a game-time decision, so check back all the way up to kickoff, as well as sign up for Smart Alerts.


News: 9/21 (02:01am) Hakeem Nicks (illness) is listed as questionable for Week 3.
Take: This is a game-time decision, meaning you just have to check back frequently all the way up until kickoff (as well as sign up for Smart Alerts)


News: 9/21 (02:01am) Matt Schaub has been ruled out for Week 3.
Take: Derek Carr has a lot of dynasty appeal, it will be fun to watch him mature from Weeks 3-16.


RADIO: Listen Russ Bliss and Smitty Talk Zac Stacy, Andre Ellington, Montee Ball and more.

Take a listen to Russ Bliss’ third radio show of the 2014 fantasy football season! Russ has been doing fantasy radio for over 20 years with his famous “The Red Zone” program, which airs on NBCSports Radio (1060am). Smitty is slotted to join Russ almost every Tuesday night, and below is the third show of the year. Take a listen!

The Red Zone With Russ Bliss

Date: 8/26/14

Guest: Smitty,

Topics: Tim Wright, Sam Bradford, Shaun Hill, Zac Stacy, Andre Ellington, Montee Ball, Tony Romo, Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, Demaryius Thomas, AJ Green, Calvin Johnson, Eddie Lacy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Giovani Bernard, Marshawn Lynch, Dez Bryant, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and more

Listen Now!

NEWS: Calvin Johnson making jaw-dropping plays every day in camp?

According to ESPN, Lions WR Calvin Johnson “has looked impressive through the first two weeks of camp, making jaw-dropping plays essentially every day.”

SMITTY: Calvin Johnson is just insanely-talented, there is no other way to put it. I think Julio Jones is right there with him as far as pure physical ability, and of course Dez Bryant and AJ Green are almost right there with those two… receivers are dominating fantasy football consistency right now, and like last year, my favorite plan of attack for upcoming drafts is to go WR/WR and load up on Joique Bell-types at the running back position. I wouldn’t take the WR/WR approach in every league you do, but it’s a fantastic strategy if you know how to land your sleeper rushers. Back on the topic of Lions players, Matthew Stafford could be in for a big year given all his weapons, which includes newly-added Golden Tate, and still-solid Reggie Bush — That’s all on top of having a 100+ and 50+ reception players in both Calvin and Bell. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings on all these guys?

NEWS: Marvin Jones breaks foot and will miss multiple weeks.

Update: NFL Network is reporting that the Bengals are hoping that WR Marvin Jones (foot) will make it back by Week 5.

According to reports, Bengals WR Marvin Jones will miss multiple weeks due to a broken foot.

SMITTY: This is awful news for the Bengals, Andy Dalton, and of course, Marvin Jones owners. We have adjusted our Week 1 Power Rankings accordingly. Mohamed Sanu is next up for the No. 2 wide receiver job in Cincy.

NEWS: Andy Dalton signs six-year, $115 million contract with Bengals.

According to reports, Bengals QB Andy Dalton signed a six-year, $115 million contract with the Bengals.

SMITTY: Wow. While this deal will certainly be built to protect the Bengals, meaning not a ton will be fully guaranteed, it’s head-scratching that a guy like Ben Tate has to beg for a two-year, $6.2 million contract, and a mediocre passer like Andy Dalton is given nod of trust to the tune $115 million. If you want to look at big numbers that are deserving, checkout AJ Green’s Full-Season 2014 Fantasy Football Projections.

Analyzing the July ADP: 2014 Value Grabs

smitty-staff

Ok, so it’s the middle of July, which means that 2014 fantasy football drafts are around the corner. Are you ready? Do you know know where players are falling on average in recent fantasy football mock drafts? Knowing a player’s ADP (average draft position) is a critical aspect of fantasy football drafting, as you always want to maximize draft value with every pick that you make. Now, what does that mean? Here are two examples:

Not Maximizing Draft Value

An example of this would be drafting Marshawn Lynch in the 1.08-1.09 range. Keep in mind, I am not calling the selecting of Lynch at 1.08-1.09 a bad pick, it’s just not a pick that is going to give you tons of unexpected value. In fact, Lynch has to have a top 5ish fantasy running back season for him to earn you back your investment. While you won’t be able to draft underrated players at every selection, especially in the first round, this is an example of picking a player where he deserves to be selected. There is both nothing wrong with this pick, nor is there anything spectacular about it. It’s just a good predictable pick.

Maximizing Draft Value

An example of this would be to draft Aaron Rodgers at 3.01. Given that Rodgers could arguably lead all fantasy football players in scoring in 2014, there is a ton of room for over-performing with a 3.01 selection. Again, you can’t find value above and beyond at every turn, but in rounds 2-5 (not so much in round 1), there are handfuls of players that fit the bill.

Ok, so now that I’ve explained “Maximizing Draft Value”, it’s time to call out some “value grabs” heading into early 2014 fantasy football drafts. The ADP data below was provided by our friends over at fantasy football calculator:

2014 Fantasy Football ADP (as of 7/16/14)

1
1.02
LeSean McCoy
RB
PHI
2 1.02 Jamaal Charles RB KC
3 1.03 Adrian Peterson RB MIN
4 1.05 Matt Forte RB CHI
5 1.05 Calvin Johnson WR DET
6 1.06 Eddie Lacy RB GB
7 1.08 Marshawn Lynch RB SEA
8 1.09 Jimmy Graham TE NO
9 1.09 Peyton Manning QB DEN
10 1.09 Demaryius Thomas WR DEN
11 1.11 Dez Bryant WR DAL
12 1.12 Montee Ball RB DEN
13 2.01 Arian Foster RB HOU
14 2.02 A.J. Green WR CIN
15 2.03 DeMarco Murray RB DAL
16 2.04 Julio Jones WR ATL
17 2.05 Brandon Marshall WR CHI
18 2.05 LeVeon Bell RB PIT
19 2.07 Giovani Bernard RB CIN
20 2.08 Aaron Rodgers QB GB
21 2.09 Alfred Morris RB WAS
22 2.1 Drew Brees QB NO
23 2.11 Jordy Nelson WR GB
24 2.12 Doug Martin RB TB
25 3.01 Antonio Brown WR PIT
26 3.02 Alshon Jeffery WR CHI
27 3.03 Zac Stacy RB STL
28 3.04 Randall Cobb WR GB
29 3.05 Julius Thomas TE DEN
30 3.06 Andre Ellington RB ARI
31 3.07 C.J. Spiller RB BUF
32 3.07 Rob Gronkowski TE NE
33 3.09 Reggie Bush RB DET
34 3.1 Vincent Jackson WR TB
35 3.11 Keenan Allen WR SD
36 4.01 Pierre Garcon WR WAS
37 4.01 Toby Gerhart RB JAC
38 4.03 Bishop Sankey RB TEN
39 4.03 Victor Cruz WR NYG
40 4.05 Ryan Mathews RB SD
41 4.05 Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI
42 4.06 Rashad Jennings RB NYG
43 4.07 Wes Welker WR DEN
44 4.07 Cordarrelle Patterson WR MIN
45 4.09 Percy Harvin WR SEA
46 4.11 Shane Vereen RB NE
47 4.11 Andre Johnson WR HOU
48 4.11 Frank Gore RB SF
49 4.12 Matthew Stafford QB DET
50 4.12 Michael Crabtree WR SF
51 5.02 Roddy White WR ATL
52 5.02 Chris Johnson RB NYJ
53 5.04 DeSean Jackson WR WAS
54 5.05 Trent Richardson RB IND
55 5.07 Andrew Luck QB IND
56 5.07 Ben Tate RB CLE
57 5.08 Michael Floyd WR ARI
58 5.09 Vernon Davis TE SF
59 5.09 T.Y. Hilton WR IND
60 5.1 Jordan Cameron TE CLE
61 5.11 Joique Bell RB DET
62 6.01 Jeremy Maclin WR PHI
63 6.01 Ray Rice RB BAL
64 6.04 Torrey Smith WR BAL
65 6.05 Stevan Ridley RB NE
66 6.06 Nick Foles QB PHI
67 6.06 Emmanuel Sanders WR DEN
68 6.07 Robert Griffin III QB WAS
69 6.08 Mike Wallace WR MIA
70 6.09 Steven Jackson RB ATL
71 6.1 Julian Edelman WR NE
72 6.11 Jason Witten TE DAL
73 6.11 Pierre Thomas RB NO
74 7.01 Tom Brady QB NE
75 7.02 Marques Colston WR NO
76 7.03 Lamar Miller RB MIA
77 7.05 Maurice Jones-Drew RB OAK
78 7.06 Terrance Williams WR DAL
79 7.06 Matt Ryan QB ATL
80 7.06 Golden Tate WR DET
81 7.07 Jordan Reed TE WAS
82 7.09 Cam Newton QB CAR
83 7.09 Darren Sproles RB PHI
84 7.11 Sammy Watkins WR BUF
85 7.12 Terrance West RB CLE
86 8.01 Kendall Wright WR TEN
87 8.01 Reggie Wayne WR IND
88 8.02 Greg Olsen TE CAR
89 8.03 Colin Kaepernick QB SF
90 8.05 Dennis Pitta TE BAL
91 8.05 Seattle Defense DEF SEA
92 8.05 Bernard Pierce RB BAL
93 8.05 Eric Decker WR NYJ
94 8.08 Tony Romo QB DAL
95 8.09 Darren McFadden RB OAK
96 8.1 Riley Cooper WR PHI
97 8.11 Fred Jackson RB BUF
98 8.12 Kyle Rudolph TE MIN
99 8.12 Brandin Cooks WR NO
100 9.02 Jeremy Hill RB CIN
101 9.03 Knowshon Moreno RB MIA
102 9.04 Khiry Robinson RB NO
103 9.04 Rueben Randle WR NYG
104 9.04 Jay Cutler QB CHI
105 9.05 Danny Woodhead RB SD
106 9.09 Mike Evans WR TB
107 9.09 Hakeem Nicks WR IND
108 9.09 San Francisco Defense DEF SF
109 9.09 Dwayne Bowe WR KC
110 9.1 DeAngelo Williams RB CAR
111 9.11 Tavon Austin WR STL
112 10.01 Philip Rivers QB SD
113 10.03 Devonta Freeman RB ATL
114 10.04 Cecil Shorts WR JAC
115 10.05 Zach Ertz TE PHI
116 10.06 Carolina Defense DEF CAR
117 10.06 Christine Michael RB SEA
118 10.08 Kelvin Benjamin WR CAR
119 10.08 Russell Wilson QB SEA
120 10.08 Danny Amendola WR NE
121 10.1 Kenny Stills WR NO
122 10.11 DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU
123 10.12 Denver Defense DEF DEN
124 11.01 Anquan Boldin WR SF
125 11.03 Eric Ebron TE DET
126 11.03 St. Louis Defense DEF STL
127 11.04 Ben Roethlisberger QB PIT
128 11.04 LeGarrette Blount RB PIT
129 11.05 Marvin Jones WR CIN
130 11.07 Carlos Hyde RB SF
131 11.08 Tre Mason RB STL
132 11.08 Ladarius Green TE SD
133 11.09 Andy Dalton QB CIN
134 11.1 New England Defense DEF NE
135 11.1 Jarrett Boykin WR GB
136 11.11 Jordan Matthews WR PHI
137 11.12 Chris Ivory RB NYJ
138 11.12 Aaron Dobson WR NE
139 12.01 Johnny Manziel QB CLE
140 12.04 David Wilson RB NYG
141 12.05 Arizona Defense DEF ARI
142 12.07 Martellus Bennett TE CHI
143 12.07 Jonathan Stewart RB CAR
144 12.08 Steve Smith WR BAL
145 12.09 Cincinnati Defense DEF CIN
146 12.11 James Jones WR OAK
147 12.12 Matt Prater PK DEN
148 13.01 Josh McCown QB TB
149 13.01 Charles Clay TE MIA
150 13.02 Andre Brown RB HOU

Value Grabs

Round One

There never are a lot of over-performing players in the first-round, as you can only over-perform so much from a first-round draft slot. However, if trying to pin down a couple names, I’d say that both Montee Ball and Peyton Manning have the ability to lead their position in scoring, so given they both have ADPs near the tail-end of the first-round, there is some value if we have to muster some up in this first-round.

Rounds 2-3

2.01 – Arian Foster: Honestly, Foster falls a lot further than this in all the drafts I’ve participated in, but because he has top 5RB appeal, even a 2.01 slotting has some value written all over it. So, expect Foster to fall more in the 2.05-2.12 range in your upcoming draft, and that’s fantastic value. Yes, there are some injury concerns, but Foster only has 1,320 regular-season touches to his name, which is 635 less than Marshawn Lynch (1,955) has to his name, and 572 less than Matt Forte (1,892) has to his name.

2.02 – AJ Green: I’m not sure why a receiver that could potentially finish as the No. 1 overall receiver in 2014 sits at 2.02 — That’s quite a bargain, and this data has over 800 drafts averaged.

2.04 – Julio Jones: Everything just said about AJG above can be said here. Are there injury concerns? Sure, but Julio has as much upside and physical ability than any receiver in the league (if not more).

2.07 – Giovani Bernard: While it’s entirely possible the little guy finishes around this range overall come season’s end, he has a ceiling in the top 5-10RB range, so this is a screaming deal, especially in PPR.

2.08 – Aaron Rodgers: I think I already covered how awesome this value is (in paragraph one of this article); the dude can be the No. 1 overall scorer. I don’t care if QBs fall late, or if there is always good QB value later, anytime you can land a player at 2.08 that can lead all fantasy players in scoring, you’re looking at a monster-type steal.

3.06 – Andre Ellington: Some might even think that this ADP is too high for an unproven Arizona rusher, but the soon-to-be sophomore rusher pulled in 39 passes as a rookie! He is easily considered the starter in AZ heading into 2014, and it wouldn’t shock me at all if he drops top 5-10RB numbers. This is a home run pick right here, and if he remains healthy, it’s a pick that won’t likely leave you burned, as he can earn 3.06-type value even if he doesn’t meet my lofty expectations.

3.07 – CJ Spiller: He still has top 10RB appeal, so the risk is low in the middle-to-late third!

Round 4-5

4.07 – Cordarrelle Patterson: There is very little risk right here, as CP can drop low-end WR2-type numbers on a disappointing season. His ceiling is easily top 6-12 for WRs in 2014 and beyond.

5.08 – Michael Floyd: The stud receiver could very well takeover as Arizona’s top option by late this year, or at least early next year. On his journey to that talent level, he should drop super-high fantasy WR2-type numbers.

5.11 – Joique Bell: The runner turns 28 before Week 1, so he is no spring chicken…. just keep that in mind in dynasty, although he has low mileage. For all you yearly-league players out there, this runner could very well crank out high-end fantasy RB2-type stats this upcoming season, which would make him a steal in hindsight when talking about 5.11-type ADP. If healthy, he feels like a lock for 50-60 receptions… I envision him running for 1,000 yards and 6TDs this year, as well… even if he doesn’t, he still earns 5.11-type value in PPR. If he meets my expectations, well, then he crushes 5.11 value!

We could go on and on, as there are handfuls of later-round grabs that could explode from their current ADPs (like Nick Foles in the 6th-round), but this should have you covered through round 5. For more on this topic, or any other, get on the forums!

2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft In July (Redraft, PPR)

Below is a 2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft (in July), and below each round you will find my commentary/take on that round. This mock draft took place on our forums, so it’s a great indicator of current/true player values. The scoring for this fantasy football mock draft was assumed to be PPR, and it was done with a ‘redraft’ (2014 only) frame of mind. Thanks to all who participated. Enjoy.

Round One
1.01 – LeSean McCoy RB
1.02 – Jamaal Charles RB
1.03 – Adrian Peterson RB
1.04 – Calvin Johnson WR
1.05 – Eddie Lacy RB
1.06 – Matt Forte RB
1.07 – AJ Green WR
1.08 – Demariyus Thomas WR
1.09 – Julio Jones WR
1.10 – Jimmy Graham TE
1.11 – Marshawn Lynch RB
1.12 – Dez Byrant WR

Smitty’s Take: There weren’t very many surprises in round one, and their usually aren’t. Sure, a case can be made for Peyton Manning being round one worthy, but it’s not surprising to see him fall to 2.01. LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson are spot on in my book, and I can’t argue a bit with 1.04-1.12 (aside from pushing Manning into that 1.09-1.12 range, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea).

Round Two
2.01 – Peyton Manning QB
2.02 – Monte Ball RB
2.03 – Aaron Rodgers QB
2.04 – Rob Gronkowski TE
2.05 – Doug Martin RB
2.06 – Brandon Marshall WR
2.07 – Antonio Brown WR
2.08 – Randall Cobb WR
2.09 – Demarco Murray RB
2.10 – Arian Foster RB
2.11 – Leveon Bell RB
2.12 – Julius Thomas TE

Smitty’s Take: Ok, so this is where one draft will look completely different than another draft (even if that mock draft took place on the same exact forum 10 minutes later). I love the value of Montee Ball, even though his value has climbed higher than most expected (aside from us, as we predicted the climb). This is a redraft mock, but we’ve been pimping Ball since last season, and he and Nick Foles (and Christine Michael) have been our top “go get” players all off-season long. This was when Foles was still in most everyone’s bottom-half of their top ten-ranked passers, and this was before Ball started sniffing second-round value (he was even a 4th-round player on average back in February). In redraft, though, don’t shy away from making Ball your second-drafted player, as he is very likely to crank out top 1-5RB numbers in that extremely-potent Denver offense. I wouldn’t even shy away from grabbing him ahead of Lynch in round one. Crazy? Well, let’s talk come season’s end.

Aaron Rodgers probably seems high to some, and not high to others. Frankly, how high QBs go depends on your league and league trends, so anyone suggesting that Rodgers at 2.03 is too early, or too late, is obviously speaking based on trends that they see league-wide. His 2.03 slotting above is neither too early or too late, as he can easily earn top 15 overall value. Doug Martin has a touch more risk than upside at his 2.05 slotting above, but if you can handcuff him to Charles Sims, you can minimize most of that risk. But, if drafting at that spot, I would have let him slide to the 2.10-2.12 range, which is where I’m more comfortable snagging Martin in 2014; he has tons of talent, but he also has an injury label that he needs to shake, plus he has a potential sharing situation heading his way. Arian foster has awesome value heading into 2014, as he constantly falls in that late second-round range. He may go in the first-round in some leagues, as again, every league is different with players like this (faced injury the prior season and has some overworked concerns). He has top 5RB upside, so 2.10 is low-risk/high-reward in my opinion.

Round Three
3.01 – Giovani Bernard RB
3.02 – CJ Spiller RB
3.03 – Nick Foles QB
3.04 – Jordy Nelson WR
3.05 – Victor Cruz WR
3.06 – Drew Brees QB
3.07 – Keenan Allen WR
3.08 – Zac Stacy RB
3.09 – Bishop Stankey RB
3.10 – Cordarrelle Patterson WR
3.11 – Andre Johnson WR
3.12 – Pierre Garcon WR

Smitty’s Take: I love the value of Gio Bernard at 3.01, but I don’t think you will see him fall that far on average. I could be wrong, and I sure hope that I am wrong, as I’d love this value in all my real upcoming 2014 fantasy football drafts. Gio Bernard is fantasy RB1-capable, yet he landed at 3.01 above… that’s crazy-good value, and again, that’s why I think that this won’t happen on average (he will more often be a 2.04-2.08 range player). Cordarrelle Patterson is now creeping into the 3rd-round in a lot of early 2014 mock drafts… expect this trend to continue, possibly even in the upward direction. He can earn that value, though, he has WR1-type upside, I just wonder if that production is still a year away. It might not be, but it gets a bit risky when you’re talking 3rd-round vs. 4th-round is all (I like him a lot in the 4th). Keenan Allen is another player that is climbing mock draft boards as of late, and let me tell you, I see the guy producing borderline low-end fantasy WR1-type numbers this year. He often falls into the 4th-round outside of STARTERS/DraftCalc communities, so snag him in the 4th-round where you can, as he can crush that value! Nick Foles is another player that ranks and gets drafted higher in DraftCalc and FFStarters worlds, so know that he often falls to the 4th-round, or even the 5th-round… and if I consider the 3rd-round still a steal (in terms of what he can do by season’s end), you can imagine how big of a steal he is to me at 4th- and 5th-round value. Use ADP data to your advantage and don’t draft Foles in the 3rd-round if you don’t have to, but I think we’re about to see Foles drop a top 3 fantasy QB season (with appearances with the top 1-2 on lots of occasions).

Round Four
4.01 – Andre Ellington RB
4.02 – Alshon Jefferey WR
4.03 – Matthew Stafford QB
4.04 – Alfred Morris RB
4.05 – Michael Floyd WR
4.06 – Vincent Jackson WR
4.07 – Wes Welker WR
4.08 – Frank Gore RB
4.09 – Andrew Luck QB
4.10 – Kendall Wright WR
4.11 – Percy Harvin WR
4.12 – Shane Vereen RB

Smitty’s Take: Not a lot of surprises in terms of players falling into this round, but I will say that Andre Ellington is the only running back left that has top 5-10 fantasy running back upside. He has almost no risk as a 4th- to 5th-round pick, because he pulled in 39 receptions as a rookie, and 40-50 receptions feels like a given entering his first season as a starter. Ellington has HUGE, HUGE upside! I can’t wait to watch him breakout!

Just Missed The Cut

Now, a 4th-round argument can be made for any of the below players, especially Ben Tate (if handcuffed to Terrance West), Tom Brady, and Chris Johnson.

Larry Fitzgerald
Reggie Bush
Sammy Watkins
Ben Tate & Terrance West
Trent Richardson
Toby Gerhart
Chris Johnson
Rashad Jennings
Joique Bell
Cam Newton
Tom Brady
RG3
Ryan Mathews
Mike Evans
Vernon Davis
Ray Rice / Bernard Pierce
Jordan Cameron
Michael Crabtree
Eric Decker
Lamar Miller
Mike Wallace
Matt Ryan
Tony Romo
Hakeem Nicks
Julian Edelman

NEWS: Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford look sharp in camp

According to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, the play of the day on Tuesday was when Matthew Stafford tossed “a 50-plus yard pass to Calvin Johnson that resulted in a touchdown during 11-on-11 drills.”

SMITTY: Being involved in a big play during camp isn’t news, but it’s nice to report that Calvin Johnson (finger and knee) looks fully healthy. Stafford looking sharp is great to hear as well, as he could be having a cup of coffee with the top 5-6 fantasy quarterbacks all season long in 2014. In redraft, Calvin is clearly a top 1-3 receiver, if not plain old No. 1. In dynasty, it’s never a bad idea to test out the good old trade waters when it comes to a player like Calvin, who is sitting at max value and turning 29. Selling is only wise if you’re getting tremendously-good value in return. The key word is “test” the trade waters… Need trade help? Go here:

fantasy football trade analyzer

Article: Top 25 Fantasy Football Players (‘Hardcore’ Dynasty Angle)

Below are my Top 25 Fantasy Football Dynasty Players heading into 2014 and beyond; however, these rankings won’t necessarily match any kind of site rankings that we have up, as these rankings below look toward the long-term in hardcore fashion! So, keep this in mind, as you’d typically see a Marshawn Lynch and Matt Forte ranking in the top 6-12 overall in both yearly-league and conservative-like dynasty rankings. This set of rankings is not either of those; with the below, we’re looking more toward 2015-2017! For example, while Lynch has top 5-10RB upside heading into just 2014, you’d be hard pressed to trade him away for even a mid second-round talent in an existing ‘future-geared’ dynasty league. Dynasty and redraft are truly that different, especially leagues that are more “future” focused. With all that said, let’s get to it!

Top 25 Fantasy Football Dynasty Players

1. LeSean McCoy RB PHI
Just like last year, the handcuff is critical, as concusions are still a worry. The upside is far too great to ignore if you can in fact handcuff (Sproles for 2014… maybe even Chris Polk – the future handcuff is probably a future rookie).
2. Jamaal Charles RB KC
He had 1,980 regular-season yards and 12TDs last year, but he only received 259 carries. This means being overworked isn’t a concern. Like McCoy, at least 2 more elite seasons could be on the horizon, maybe more.
3. Julio Jones WR ATL
No receiver has more upside than Jones; his only downside is the foot/injury-risk. That’s literally the only downside!
4. AJ Green WR CIN
Since his sophomore season, he averages 97.5 receptions, 1,388 yards and 11TDs per campaign. He will only get better and is the definition of consistency.
5. Calvin Johnson WR DET
While he might have slipped past Jones and Green in this article, 2-3 more years of top 1-4WR numbers makes you almost a steal at No. 5.
6. Dez Bryant WR DAL
Being 25 and entering a contract year, we should see Dez drop one of his best seasons ever as a pro. This will have him ranking high heading into 2015 and beyond. Hopefully he stays healthy during this contract year!
7. Demaryius Thomas WR DEN
Because it’s unclear how long Peyton Manning has left in the NFL, Thomas just can’t be ranked above the receivers upward, at least in my eyes. His “default” drop in value due to this issue, well, that makes him a bargain here, which is good news for those liking this value here at the seven spot.
8. Montee Ball RB DEN
Even if Manning isn’t under center for a grip of years longer, I maintain my stance that Ball is both elite and in a great situation. Many just share the view about his situation being ideal. Top 5RB numbers is in the cards in 2014, and I think he can dance in that top 5-10 range for a handful more seasons – at least. He is that special, a stance I’ve maintained since he was an incoming rookie.
9. Adrian Peterson RB MIN
At some point we have to drop Peterson down a few notches, right? Ok, maybe some really believe he is Superman. He might be for a few more years, but since these rankings are aggressively pointing toward the future more so than 2014, I think this is a fair spot. Even with an aggressive look to the future vs. the now, I still consider 2-3 years a long time in dynasty. It is entirely possible Peterson plays like a top 2-4RB in 2014, and then remains top 5-10 worth for 1-2 more seasons. If anyone can do this, it’s AP.
10. Eddie Lacy RB GB
I don’t hide that I was super critical of Lacy heading into his rookie season, and I still worry about his longevity. However, if I’m being fair, even with some injury concerns relating to his foot (yes, some will call them unfair concerns, I get that), 2-3 years is a long time, and I think he can last that long. This means, in that GB offense, he holds top 8-12 overall dynasty value. I admit that I was wrong about Lacy – He looks beast-like for that short 2-3 years, no question. Handcuffing him is wise, though.
11. Jimmy Graham WR NO
He is only 27, so 3-4 more seasons of 80 receptions, 1,000+ yards and 10+ touchdowns seems more than reasonable, which makes ranking him 11-14 reasonable as well. I am not big on drafting TEs this high, so my ranking here might not match where I’d take the guy, but that doesn’t make the strategy the only one. There are all kinds of ways to draft, and going TE early is a strategy many love.
12. Giovani Bernard RB CIN
Some worry about the presence of Jeremy Hill, but Gio is a big-time receiver, so denting his upside and future value is almost impossible when you’re talking about a pure runner like Hill. Gio had 1,209 total yards, 56 receptions and 8TDs during his rookie campaign, one where he didn’t get starters carries. Any questions?
13. Alshon Jeffery WR CHI
One could rank Brandon Marshall here, or Jeffery. Honestly, I could go either way with a 2014- and 2015-only outlook. But, since I’m looking a bit more toward the future with these ranks, Jeffery gets the nod here.
14. Aaron Rodgers QB GB
While many would wait on a passer, and draft-wise I would as well, there are roughly three quarterbacks that have 40TD upside for the now and future. Again, I would probably draft guys like A-Rod, Nick Foles and Andrew Luck a round later, but as I said, rankings don’t always parallel ADPs, thus, all three QBs will be steals in all start-up drafts!
15. Brandon Marshall WR CHI
He just turned 30, so if looking “hardcore” toward the future, Marshall has to fall below a few younger studs like the players up above. But, this feels about as far as I can let him drop given his upside for the next couple seasons.
16. Nick Foles QB PHI
You either believe in Foles or you don’t. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground on this issue. I think a 40TD passer is in the making, especially in PHI under Chip Kelly. Get on board!
17. Andrew Luck QB IND
Top 3QB numbers are surely approaching. He could dance in that 3-5 zone for 2014, then be everyone’s favorite QB to believe in come 2015, or he could thrive in elite fashion right out of the gate this upcoming season. Either way, his future is bright. Like I said above under Rodgers’ write-up, ranking him this high does not mean I’d draft him this high. Use ADPs!
18. Josh Gordon WR CLE
On one hand, how do you toss aside the potential that this guy has? On the other hand, you have to calculate in some future risk into his rank. This even feels a bit high, but surely he is capable of such a ranking. Comment on this ranking below, there are not wrong or right ways to rank Gordon right now.
19. Keenan Allen WR SD
Some doubt him, some call him too small.. I see a tremendous athlete that will easily be his team’s top-targeted receiver for handfuls of years. He had 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and 8TDs as a rookie. I’m not sure why many still doubt Allen. He is a fantasy WR1, and a bargain one at that.
20. Sammy Watkins WR BUF
This feels like a safe place to rank Watkins, but he certainly has upside to be better than this. No question!
21. Bishop Sankey RB TEN
Like with Watkins, this seems like a very safe place to slot Sankey, who isn’t quite as special as let’s say a Tre Mason, but he is still plenty good enough to be a top 5-10 fantasy RB if given the workload. Don’t get me wrong, he is very talented, and some players get so much better once they enter the pros and learn the game – I love his ability mixed with his situation, and his ability can surely grow into elite. This feels very safe with lots of room for upside!
22. Matt Forte RB CHI
A decline in production could strike as early as 2014; the upside Forte has makes it tough to push him down any further than this, though. Remember, in more casual dynasty rankings, he would rank higher; these are a bit more ‘future’ aggressive, though!
23. Doug Martin RB TB
The presence of Charles Sims is a concern, sure, but that’s why D-Martin is a 23rd overall-type pick and not a top 5RB. He has value and upside of a top 5-10RB, and the risk is literally built into his current valuation (in any format).
24. Randall Cobb WR GB
A top 5-7 fantasy WR that many will just overlook as such. He has injury risk, so he makes a better early third-round pick vs a late second-round pick – know that and use ADPs!
25. Andre Ellington & LeVeon Bell & DeMarco Murray
I made this a three-way tie at No. 25 because it was just too hard to leave some names out of this top 25… Is Ellington cracking the top 25 Bold? Sure. Could he be worth very little 2-3 years from now? Absolutely. He could also be a top 5-10RB staple. It’s a tough business predicting breakouts when coaches don’t make the right decisions. Even when players like Ellington feel 100% “Can’t Miss” to me, part of the prediction/analysis is on the coaching staff’s ability to recognize what fantasy worlds are recognizing. It’s amazing how some players never reach their potential under some leaderships. Arizona has a history of underutilizing their running backs, but at what point do you accept that Bruce Arians had nothing to do with any of that trending? I’m cautious, as I would NEVER draft Ellington this high (no. 25 overall); but, I feel his ceiling is much higher than this, so ranking him here with the intention of drafting him a bit later, well, that feels solid at this point in the off-season. Remember, even if he is not given the rushes we all would like to see him get, Ellington pulled in 39 receptions as a rookie, so he could be well on his way to 45-50 receptions in 2014, and more from then on out!
Missed The Cut

Missed The Cut

Of course guys like Drew Brees, Zac Stacy, Marshawn Lynch, CJ Spiller, Trent Richardson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Mike Evans, and even Arian Foster deserve consideration for placement up in that top 18-25. So, if you’re thinking, “how did Le’Veon Bell not crack that top 25? Or, if you’re thinking the same thing about DeMarco Murray, it’s close enough that I could easily swap either, or both, out and place them into that 22-25 range. It’s just that close, and a call had to be made. And, Marshawn Lynch not being in the top 25 feels crazy, I know, but again, he would have been if this was more of a “now” and “future” dynasty analysis vs. a more hardcore look at the future… so, given that the guy has 1,955 total regular-season touches, it screams ‘breakdown’ on the horizon. How quickly will he fall apart? That’s tough to say, and we could be a year early predicting a decline, no question. But, isn’t being safe better than being a year late?

Two players that intrigue me a lot despite one being super young (and not in a position to start yet) and one being a bit older age-wise (but set to thrive in his role): Christine Michael and Joique Bell. Both of these rushers have crazy-sneaky Top 25 Overall Dynasty Appeal, even for the deep future.

2014 Projections & Analyzers Are Ready!

We here at Fantasy Football Starters are excited to announce that our 2014 NFL Fantasy Football Projections are ready, which means that our fantasy football Analyzers are ready as well! Our famously-accurate Draft Analyzer, Lineup Analyzer, Trade Analyzer and Team Analyzer are already loaded with well over 400 NFL Player Projections.

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