Take a listen to Russ Bliss’ during his second show of this Week 9 — This is Russ’ Wednesday show.
Wednesday Show The Red Zone With Russ Bliss
Topics: Start Bench, Trade Advice, Buy-Low
Take a listen to Russ Bliss’ during his second show of this Week 9 — This is Russ’ Wednesday show.
Topics: Start Bench, Trade Advice, Buy-Low
SMITTY: Peyton Manning exploded as expected in Week 8 on Thursday night, throwing for 286 yards, 3TDs and 0INTs; All 3TDs were to Emmanuel Sanders, who pulled in 120 yards on 9 receptions. Demaryius Thomas pulled in 8 passes for 105 yards, while Ronnie Hillman ran for 109 yards and pulled in 3 passes for 29 yards (which will very likely now have Montee Ball walking into a RBBC upon his return to the field). Julius Thomas pulled in just 2-of-6 targets for 26 yards. Philip Rivers threw for 252, 3TDs and 2INTS, with 9 receptions for 73 yards and one of those scores going to Keenan Allen. Antonio Gates pulled in 5 balls for 54 yards and 2TDs, while Branden Oliver ran just 13 times for 36 yards (and pulled in 7 passes for 27 yards). So, what’s the major takeaway from this game? Buy-low on both Julius Thomas and Branden Oliver… Thomas has been in a major slump as of late, but the bottom line is that he has 9TDs through Week 8. Buy-low! And, as for Oliver, the dude pulled in 7 receptions and the Chargers were getting killed… he is clearly getting work, so he is a great player to try and acquire from an owner in a panic. Buy-low, though, so that there is little risk! Looking for Week 8 Power Rankings?
SMITTY: Inactive for tonight’s Thursday night battle between the Broncos and Chargers include: Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown, Montee Ball, Kapri Bibbs. Cody Latimer is active for the Broncos.
Look for Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas to have big games in this one, but that is a given. All those Broncos seem unstoppable right now. While it’s likely that the Broncos get out to an early lead and never let go of it, it wouldn’t be extremely surprising to see the Chargers put up a good fight. All it takes is one early turnover for the game to go in any direction… Ronnie Hillman will have yet another chance to impress, but his usage will depend on game flow. Keenan Allen needs to step-up in this one, as those that own the guy in fantasy may have already benched him heading into this Week 8. I still firmly believe in his skill set, there is no denying his routes and abilities, but he isn’t getting the targets he should be, and he has been banged up a bit… Rivers has to focus on him early and often in this one. Branden Oliver should be efficient as long as Denver doesn’t get off to too quick a lead, but Oliver is still relevant if San Diego is passing late in the contest. Antonio Gates is obviously a TE1 play moving forward, and in larger leagues, both Eddie Royal and Malcom Floyd are fine WR3/4s this week. Looking for Week 8 Power Rankings?
SMITTY: What an explosion for those Broncos players, everyone but Montee Ball (groin), who now could be out a while. This makes Ronnie Hillman a must-grab if available in your league, and also keep in mind that Juwan Thompson could get some run at running back should Ball miss a chunk of time. Congrats to those who bought Demaryius Thomas last week… he was on our buy-low list(s) since Week 1, and the time for buying low is now over (after he dropped 200+ receiving and 2TDs in Week 5). In fairness, Ball has made it on our buy-low list, but it’s react and adapt in this sport, so stay all over add/drops and buy-low on players like Demaryius (pre-bounceing back) where you can to make up for losses/busts. While Ball’s recent play, and now this injury, is a huge letdown, he still could play well down the stretch, so selling on pennies on the dollar is not an option. Stash him, let him heal, then wait and see. Peyton Manning tossed 479 passing yards, 4TDs and 2INTs in Week 5 against the Cards, and Julius Thomas, the No. 1 fantasy TE right now, was his usual ‘phenomenal self’ pulling in 2TD passes out of Manning’s 4TDs. Need some quick trade ideas? Get on our forums and get some help!
According to numerous reports, Broncos WR Wes Welker’s four-game suspension will begin in Week 1. Immediately after news broke that Broncos WR Wes Welker was suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, much buzz hit news wires all around suggesting that the suspension wouldn’t begin until Week 2.
SMITTY: After a couple hours of buzz floating around news wires suggesting that Wes Welker’s four-game suspension might not kickstart until Week 2, it’s been clarified by many sources that Welker’s suspension will be effective as of Week 1. Again, this is a big blow to Wes Welker’s fantasy value, but it increases the value of all four of Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer (and even Montee Ball). Sanders, who already had upside for fantasy WR2-type numbers this upcoming season, but at the cost of a fantasy WR3, is the receiver that will likely see the biggest uptick in targets with this news. Peyton Manning and that offense won’t likely miss a beat in Weeks 1-4, as Latimer will fill in for Welker just fine, as Welker was already dipping below the 900-yard mark in terms of receiving, and he had all kinds of concussion concerns moving forward. Expect Welker to return to his WR3 role with the team upon his four-game suspension. Looking for how this impacts our Week 1 Power Rankings?
According to numerous reports, Broncos WR Wes Welker has been suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Smitty: UPDATE – The Denver Post’s Mike Klis is currently reporting that the Broncos believe that Wes Welker will play Week 1 against the Colts. We will keep you posted on this, but it’s possible the announcement is too late in the week to affect Week 1. Stay tuned.
SMITTY: Wow. This is quite a blow to Wes Welker’s fantasy value, and it increases the value of all four of Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer. Even Montee Ball sees more receptions with this news. Probably the player that gets the biggest target increase is Sanders, who already had upside for fantasy WR2-type numbers this year at the cost of a fantasy WR3. Now it just feels like more of a lock. As for Peyton Manning and that offense, it won’t miss a beat. Latimer will fill in for Welker just fine, as Welker was already dipping below the 900-yard mark in terms of receiving, and he had all kinds of concussion concerns moving forward. Expect Welker to return to his WR3 role with the team upon his four-game suspension, though, but Latimer (even Caldwell) now gets a nice little window to showcase his talents. Looking for how this impacts our Week 1 Power Rankings?
According to reports, Broncos WR Wes Welker has been cleared to travel with the team during the final preseason contest.
SMITTY: While anything can happen at any stage of the league’s concussion protocol, Wes Welker is zipping through that protocol and is already running; he has well over a week before the season opener, so it’s pretty safe to say that Welker will be in the line-up and an excellent fantasy WR3 in Week 1. Even if Welker is healthy all year long, Emmanuel Sanders is ready to take on the WR2 role in Denver in 2014, and it’s not crazy to imagine the receiver pulling in top 15-20 fantasy wide receiver numbers in Denver. For those thinking Peyton Manning cannot come close to replicating last year’s numbers, it’s unwise betting against Manning. Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker… that’s quite an arsenal. Do I expect another 55TDs? No, but 40 is a safe bet and 45 is likely… Manning is one of the safest players to build your fantasy team round entering 2014. Looking for Full-Season 2014 Fantasy Football Projections?
According to DenverBroncos.com’s David DeChant, Broncos WR Cody Latimer had an “excellent first week of practice” and had arguably the “best play of camp thus far”.
SMITTY: Cody Latimer has a lot of talent, but some things would need to happen for him to get consistent looks early on in 2014. Demaryius Thomas is automatically going to pull in 90/1300+/10-14TDS, and all three of Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are going to be 1,000-yard capable, and even 7+TD capable (with 1-2 of them getting closer to 10TDs). We’re not done… Montee Ball is set to be next in line for receptions/targets out of all pass-catchers, as Knowshon Moreno pulled in 60/548/3TDs last year as the team’s starting rusher… Ball is a much more gifted player, so there just isn’t much room at all for Latimer as it stands now. That said, if an injury strikes that group of receivers in Denver in 2014, don’t be shocked if Latimer becomes a very sneaky fantasy WR3 per start. Looking for Peyton Manning/Broncos Week 1 Power Rankings?
According to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold, Broncos WR Cody Latimer “offer glimpses of how adept he is at winning the ball in contested situations.”
SMITTY: Cody Latimer definitely has talent, and that makes him a fine dynasty prospect, but opportunities will be a bit inconsistent for the rookie in 2014. Demaryius Thomas will likely pull in 90-95 balls this upcoming year, Wes Welker will likely snag 70-80, Julius Thomas is sure to haul in 60-plus, which leaves Emmanuel Sanders with a shot at 60 or so… so it’s tough imagining a scenario, that didn’t involved injury, where Latimer was handed anything close to consistent in the targets department. Even Montee Ball could pull in 50-60 receptions in 2014 (Moreno pulled in 60 last year), so Latimer is arguably the 6th-best receiving option on the team as it stand right now. Again, injury, or disappointing play (let’s say Sanders falters), could change things quickly. All these numbers I’m tossing around sure have me rethinking how far I’m going to let Peyton Manning slip in my upcoming August drafts. Ready for your draft? Run our Draft Analyzer:
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.
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).
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.
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).
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!
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.
Ben Tate & Terrance West
Ray Rice / Bernard Pierce