Archive for DeMarco Murray

NEWS: Tony Romo (back) is at best questionable for Week 9 against AZ?

SMITTY: According to Ian Fitzsimmons, of ESPN Radio, Tony Romo (back injury) is “questionable” at best for Week 9 against the Cardinals. This situation got a lot worse as yesterday moved along. Initially reported not to be the same back issue that ended Romo’s 2013 season, the injury is clearly something to be worried about if you own the passer in fantasy leagues. We will keep you posted via this news wire and via our Smart Alerts, so keep checking back with us. Without Romo in Week 9, Dez Bryant would get a bump down stat-wise, and even though one would think it could mean more running for DeMarco Murray, really, a balanced offense is the best thing for ground success against a mean Arizona rushing defense — Murray owners want Romo under center! Looking for Week 9 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Week 8 Monday Night Inactives: Robert Griffin III, Aldrich Robinson

SMITTY: It’s sounding more and more likely that Robert Griffin III will try and return in Week 9, but much of that will depend upon how well Colt McCoy performs in this one. Expect to see a whole lot of Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray in this one. Terrance Williams is also a very strong fantasy WR3-play in this one. As for those Washington players, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson are strong WR3 plays this week, and Jordan Reed remains a low-end TE1 for as long as he is on the field. Looking for Week 8 Power Rankings?

NEWS: DeMarco Murray drops 149 rushing yards and 2TDs in Week 4; Murray a top 1-3 overall player moving forward.

SMITTY: What a beast. Not many saw this big of a season coming, aside from a select group on our forums. The guys i on pace for over 2,136 rushing yards and 20TDs. Will he continue on this monstrous pace? While I wouldn’t rule it out, I wouldn’t count on 133.5 rushing yards and 1.25TDs per-game. No matter what you expect, or no matter what you accept as a ‘pattern’ at this point, Murray is a top 1-3RB lock moving forward. Looking for Week 4 Power Rankings?

ARTICLE: Who could disappoint, who could surprise in Week 1?

smitty staff

Our friends over at FantasyPros asked us to participate in a two-question expert panel where the following (below) questions were asked. My answers are also below; keep in mind that the topics were to call out ‘surprise’ players on the good and bad side, so don’t go sitting DeMarco Murray for a mediocre option or anything, it’s just at tough matchup, and disappointment isn’t hard to imagine for this Week 1 contest:

Q1: Give us the player you think will be the top positive surprise this week (someone who will be a good sneaky start for owners).

BEN TATE (RB, at PIT) – “This isn’t the easiest matchup known to man, but it certainly won’t hold Tate back from getting good usage. Could Cleveland struggle to score? Could Pittsburgh get up big and force the Browns to pass, pass, pass? Sure, but that’s why this is a “surprise” pick, and I think Tate deserves such confidence given he has 100/1TD upside each game that he starts.”

Q2: On the flip side, name the player you believe will be week 1′s biggest disappointment.

DEMARCO MURRAY (RB, at SF) – He faces the 49ers, and I think it’s tough to expect big numbers out of him this week. Always start your studs, don’t sit him for a mediocre option or anything, as he could still find his way into a scoring situation somehow, but Week 1 could be rough on Murray owners.”

Read the entire article here.

NEWS: Lance Dunbar still impressing?

According to dallasnews.com, Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar “continues to be impressive.”

SMITTY: DeMarco Murray has top 15 overall upside heading into 2014, no question, but there are some injury concerns with the dynamic talent. The solution if you plan on investing in Murray in 2014 (or if you own him in dynasty)? Handcuff him to Lance Dunbar. Some will argue that the true back-up is Joseph Randle, who is likely ahead of Ryan Williams, but I love Dunbar’s skill set, and I think he shines if ever forced to carry more weight for the Cowboys in ’14. First off, he is already cemented into that Cowboys’ passing attack, so he has big PPR appeal. If Murray went down, Dunbar would shine if given the shot.

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: Lance Dunbar a big-time sleeper in 2014?

According to FoxSports, Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar could be used all over the field in 2014. Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown had this to say on the runner: “Well, he’s a guy that’s going to be a complete weapon. We can line him up anywhere on the team-tailback spot, at the wide receiver spot, in the slot. He has tremendous hands and he’s just not a specialty guy. He could play tailback if you need him to go out there and give you 15 or 20 carries.”

SMITTY: I’ve been pumping this guy up since last year, but he was hit with a knee injury last season. He is small, standing at 5-8, 188 pounds, but he is super dynamic, can pull in passes extremely well, and in that Cowboys offense, I think he’d perform like a champ if his number was called. He won’t unseat DeMarco Murray (who should have a big season himself), but if Murray ever got hurt, I think Dunbar would thrive. Dunbar is a must-own for all Murray owners and he is crafty solo-own for those looking to stash a super sleeper this upcoming season (I just scooped him up in the 4th-round of my expert league vet/rookie draft). I’ll leave you with this… Scott Linehan was brought over from Detroit and he is now the Cowboys’ passing game coordinator. He was able to get 1,197 total yards, 53 receptions and 8TDs out of Joique Bell last year, this while still getting 1,006 rushing yards, 7 total TDs, 54 receptions and 506 receiving yards out of Reggie Bush — Don’t be surprised if Dunbar becomes flex-worthy even playing behind a healthy Murray. Want 2014 Projections?
draft 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.

Your 2014 fantasy football draft help is at your finger tips – Get started below:



Note: Our Analyzers are The Original Fantasy Football Analyzers, and they crank out Custom Cheat Sheets based on YOUR Scoring System. That’s right, they are custom just for your league(s). You can add up to five teams in your FFStarters Roster Management area, then each of our Draft, Trade, Lineup and Team Analyzers adapt to each league separately. With over 1.7 Million fantasy football teams analyzed since 2004, we offer a money back guarantee. No software to download. Get started!