Adrian Peterson – The Vision Test

You don’t need me to tell you that Adrian Peterson is good at football. But telling you specifically why, is the reason I created The Vision Test. AP is a unique player, not only in the stats he’s amassed through his career, but exactly how he collects them on the field. He’s the high-water mark for RBs and in fantasy football drafts where we’re waiting later and later to select ball carriers, looking at what exceptional athletes do on the field and finding similarly talented backs is key. Basically, Adrian Peterson is what happens when just about everything works properly on a running play. Rather than introduce The Vision Test by telling you what Antonio Andrews does wrong, it would be a better display to tell you what someone like Adrian Peterson does right.

The six game sample I used for AP were weeks 4, 6, 10, 12, 14, and 15. The top performances were 10 and 12, his lowest totals were 4 and 6, with weeks 14 and 15 splitting the distance. 118 carries in total not only gave me an informed look at his strengths, but also showed my how defenses can, and do stop the future HOFer from taking over a game.

Speaking strictly in terms of field vision AP is one of the best in the game today. His combined vision score (measured by the cut he takes toward the hole in addition to the burst he uses to do so) for the 6 game sample is a whopping 115.5. His highest single game came week 12 @ Atlanta where he took 29 carries for 158 yards and 2 scores amassing 27 standard scoring fantasy points with his groundwork, all en route to a 32.5 Vision Score. His lowest Vision Score came week 4 against the Broncos (11.5) where he was frequently thrown off by the Miller/Ware tandem along Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe. But this score sitting here is just a number,

If there’s one knock on Peterson it’s that he isn’t a patient runner with the football. If this was a tendency he developed at some early point he actually found a way to turn it into a strength. Being an impatient runner doesn’t mean he isn’t a smart one. AP gets up to the LOS before defensive linemen and linebackers have a chance to react. This aggressive running style cuts time off for linebackers to react and flow, while also not giving defensive linemen the chance to get off their block. AP also benefits from having developed an incredible reputation in the NFL.

Watch any run where Peterson has a little room on the edge and you’ll see either a CB or a boundary linebacker strongly playing contain. The fear of AP’s prowess bouncing outside is so strong that those boundary defenders hold that position as he zips by them and a linebacker making his way to the 3rd level of the defense. AP also routinely makes it look like defenses are over-pursuing him and this is due to what may be the biggest strength in his running style.

A lot was made in Week 1 that AP couldn’t run out of the shotgun because he was used to seeing a fullback in front of him. In reality, AP uses any and every blocking lineman like he would a fullback. He gets right behind his lineman in a hurry finds the crease and explodes upfield. Peterson also might be the most decisive runner in the league, he makes his cut and if he can get 2 steps in after that there are no cutbacks.

Amazingly there aren’t a ton of bells and whistles in Adrian Peterson’s running style. He gets to the LOS fast, makes his decision and rather than try and bulldoze every defender in front of him, he shows a little burst, keeps his feet moving, and extends runs an extra yard or two by doing so. Peterson sinks his hips down and squats so low in the hole, backside defenders frequently move to contain him as they play to keep him from cutting back. Really what AP is doing is generating power from his entire lower body to run through 1 or 2 arm tackles in traffic.

AP really enjoys employing a stutter, or jab step when he sees a crease on the outside or has extra running room on the inside. He’ll often set himself squared up against a defender jab step one way, wait for the defender to react, and then cut across their body in search for more open field. By the time a tackler has caught up with him he’s fighting for extra yards but has the awareness on the field to know when a 2nd or 3rd defender is moving to lay a big hit and goes down to avoid the unnecessary contact.

Denver, Kansas City, and Arizona all held Adrian Peterson in check for their games. It’s a complete defensive task to stop Peterson and these units all did so by employing the similar strategies. Outside linebackers or safeties need to keep their contain consistently, some of the most impressive runs AP had in my sample happened when outside defenders over-pursued and he bounced outside for big gains. The defensive line has an equally hard task, A gap rushers need to just hold up the center or guard blocking them, with Peterson’s aggressive running style any penetration at that spot on the line leads to the defensive tackle having to turn around to grab AP who has already passed them. Defensive ends can use AP’s rush to get right behind his OL to their advantage by driving them back. This throws off Peterson’s timing and when done right, leaves him looking for a running lane as either the DT makes a move or a linebacker comes in to clean things up.

Looking at the personnel each of those teams have it’s no wonder they were able to show strong again Peterson. Miller, Ware, Jackson, and Wolfe give him fits all day. KC has the tandem of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston on the outside with the underrated and now retired Mike Devito pushing the OL. Arizona’s clear standout against AP was of course Tyrann Mathieu with solid contributions by Deone Bucannon and Calais Campbell.

There’s one type of play that stands out when watching AP and it’s how he performs on the standard RB dive. His aggressive running style, burst at the LOS, and the speed/toughness combo he shows at the 2nd and 3rd level of the defense is put on display when the Vikings run it (typically when AP is at the early/mid teens in terms of carry numbers). His 15TH carry against Denver is a dive and goes for a 48 yard TD. Sylvester Williams gets washed out of the inside and Peterson hits the gas and is gone before the safety can change direction. AP is exceptional at hitting that 5th gear when there is open space on an inside run. That play just described was his 15th carry against Denver in Week 4. His 15th carry Week 15 against Chicago looks remarkable similar with its only difference being Chris Prosinski getting just enough of AP to bring him down before he beats him for the TD. His 21st carry Week 12 against the Falcons follows suit with a nasty stutter step/juke mixed in for flavor.

However, in that same game against Atlanta Adrian Peterson shows why you can’t sell out your assignment to stop him on the dive play. On 3rd and 1, seeing a pile of bodies in front of him Peterson notices outside linebacker Brooks Reed crash the middle. AP cuts his dive outside, sprints to the open field, keeps the threat of taking the sideline, cuts inside, shakes off a hit from Paul Worrilow and gets taken down after gaining 17 yards. For me, this was Peterson’s most complete run. A display of all his talents, neatly packed into a 3rd down conversion, against what was at that time, one of the top rushing defenses in the league.

Adrian Peterson is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball and his vision on the field the most dangerous aspect of his game. Combining this with the aggression and power he puts into every run along with his speed and near perfect jab step are what makes him the best RB in the NFL right now. I’m as big a fan of Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell as anyone but for redraft leagues, Adrian Peterson is the clear RB to go first.

Posted in The Vision Test | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Vision Test

When I was a kid, I loved pro wrestling. I’m not talking about like when I was 13 or 14, I mean when I was 4 I loved pro wrestling. I still have a very vivid memory of my brother teaching me how to do the Sharpshooter, the signature move of my favorite wrestler Bret Hart. As fun as it was to watch on TV I really enjoyed my wrestling action figures as well. The stable at the Jordan household included to the best of my memory Bret and Owen Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, The British Bulldogs, and a tag team I swear I googled for 20 minutes to find just to include them, The Bushwhackers. Even had a little blue ring with the ropes for them to wrestle in and everything.

This must have made it odd when I was 5 and asked my mother if she could buy me a dollhouse. Dolls weren’t of any previous interest to me, it was all Legos and wrestlers.

There were no questions, no, “boys don’t play with dollhouses” discussions to be had. I asked for it, and when she could my mother purchased me a dollhouse and waited to see what plans I had in store for it.


It’s weird how our memories work, right now I can’t tell you how I had my coffee earlier today, but I can absolutely remember that dollhouse. It’s not like the one in the picture here, because it’s that exact type. The blue roof and white banisters were crystal clear in my head when I first had the idea to write all this. I’m not a huge nostalgia fiend, but when I searched 90s dollhouses and saw it pop up the feeling was indescribable. The closest I can come is to saying that it was like seeing an old friend I had almost forgotten. A rush of childhood memories consumed me after.

It even came with furniture and a little dollhouse family, which would have been perfect if I had wanted dolls. From what my mother told me, when we started playing with it I removed the family almost immediately and handed them to her. I got all my wrestlers out and started playing with them in the house instead. I didn’t want a dollhouse for dolls, I wanted a place for my wrestlers to live.

The point of the story here, and I promise there is one, is that my mother took the time to see what I was going to do. Asking for a dollhouse probably came out of nowhere, but watching me move the Hart’s in with Ric Flair and the rest of the gang, albeit peculiar, must have made sense when she saw it.

Sometimes you just need to see what happens.

To this day seeing things is still really important to me. When I read other fantasy writers I’m overwhelmingly drawn to those who reference thing they’ve seen watching film. I respect all the metrics people out there and realize its worth but I’m just more captured by mentions of a wide receiver’s body lean or a quarterback’s quick feet in the pocket.

Seeing things is also incredibly important to running backs. In fact a running back’s vision is either praised or trashed in scouting write-ups. I never found there to be a middle ground, or for that matter any further analysis on what seems to be a crucial factor of a running back’s job performance.

All of this is exactly why I created what I’m calling: The Vision Test. Going through game film, taking a 6 game sample through the season where a RB had varying degrees of success I analyze and score a running back’s performance by each individual carry. First off, I select 2 games where the RB performed well, 2 mediocre showings, and 2 low-end outings. High yardage games that were boosted by a very long run aren’t used. To me, if a back had 15 carries for 125 and an 80 yard TD run he really went 14 for 45 with either 1 good, or 1 very lucky play as well.

As far as what I’m looking for? Well I measure things like what hole the running back went through on the play, as well as if his linemen opened up a running lane; you can’t display good vision if a defensive player is in you face behind the line of scrimmage. I also account for things like whether the lane was forming or closing, doing my best to see things as the back on the field would.

After doing this I score how the back performed on the play in different aspects. The cut a back takes into the hole, the burst they show at the LOS, jukes, spins, stiff arms, lowered shoulders, and more is measured and scored per play. Vision really does play a key asset in a RBs success on game day. See the hole and run right to it? An intelligent linebacker will flow downhill and clean things up for a 1 yard gain. But, show patience, cut off your lineman’s hip, sink down into the hole and burst forward as a backside lineman works to the second level? You have a 15 yard gain and 5 energized lineman all racing to help you to your feet so you can huddle up.

I come away with the Run Score for the game made up of three scores for the back: their vision, finesse, and strength scores. The separate scores help tell me which backs can put things all together, and which ones might not be great at finding the crease, but slam into or spin around defenders for their gains instead. Additionally, thanks to the help from my buddy Vincenzo, my sheet also gives me the scores for a game broken down into how they performed when running through specific gaps, and how productive a back depending on running lane he is presented on a play.

This is all just the introduction to and explanation of this concept. The first player article will be out Wednesday and after that I’ll be covering some of fantasy football’s more hotly debated RBs just in time for redraft season. I’m excited to be doing this and hope it brings more than a few championship trophies to readers.

Before I’m out I also want to that 3 writers I brought this to a while ago as I was still working out the kinks. Chris Cheung, Joe Redemann, and Leo Paciga all gave me incredible advice when I presented this to them. Their reactions and suggestions were invaluable and I’m entirely too lucky to know them. Everyone should be following them on Twitter @FFDynasty101, @JayArrNFL, and @Ciga_FF respectively. And of course if you have any questions about The Vision Test or and requests on specific running backs you’d like covered you can find me @The_ATJ.

Posted in The Vision Test | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.18 Liz Loza and Underhyped Players

I hit the jackpot today in getting Liz Loza (@LizLoza_FF) of Yahoo Fantasy to come on and talk pre-hype sleepers. Liz and I chat about a 2nd year back that’s being being seriously invested in by his team, a WR that has the perfect blend of rapport and trust with his QB, and an interesting similarity in both of our degrees.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.17 Chris Cheung and Drafting

I’m joined again by Chris Cheung (@FFDynasty101) of as we talk about 2 key components of drafting independent of league type: Proper Understanding of ADP and Composing Tiers. Chris has 2 invaluable articles covering these topics (links below). We also discuss the fun that will ensue when #SFB480 kicks off and thank Scott Fish (@ScottFish24) for the immense amount of work he does for the community.

His ADP one:

and rookie tiers:

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.16 TJ Hernandez and DFS

I’m joined by TJ Hernandez (@TJHernandez) of to talk about the DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) industry as a whole. We discuss topics from the variety of jobs that DFS brings to states and the interesting material it gives writers, to the similarities between the lobby design of DFS and online casinos. We also touch on the highly competitive people playing DFS, scandals that happened last year, and the gambling vs betting debate.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.15 Leo Paciga

I’m joined by one of the best in the industry as Leo Paciga (@Ciga_FF) of DLF and I discuss streamlining his Dynasty Notebooks in 3 easy steps, completely rebuilding a dynasty squad, and the dynasty RB you should be trading for in your leagues.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.14 NFC UDFAs

I talk NFC UDFAs, their place on respective depth charts, paths to NFL success, and a rookie TE nobody is talking about.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.13 AFC UDFAs

I spotlight some undrafted free agents that went to AFC teams after the NFL Draft. In addition to talking about their fantasy potential, I outline their spot on the depth chart and what they would need to do to stick around. I take a few questions at the end of the episode on UDFAs as well.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


I can’t explain what a driving, motivating, and inspiring force my mother is in my life. She has been there with me though everything, and I know that comes off as cliche, but its 100% true.

Through my whole life she challenged me to try new things. When I was young that was as simple as encouraging me to play soccer, learn the trombone, and do better in math class.

As an adult it was encouraging me to start my own website, supporting me when I wanted to expand to podcasting, and reinforcing my work ethic when I wanted to join PFF. She was even a source of compassion and comfort when I was unable to stay with them.

Someday I’ll write everything I want to about my mother and the tremendous difference she has, and continues to make in my life.

For now, I’ll just say thank you to her, and thank you to all the mothers out there who support their children in all their endeavors. Not a single one of us could do it without the incredible support we receive from you on a daily basis.


Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged | Leave a comment

3.12 NFL Draft Day 3

A little solo episode for everyone. I talk about the fantasy impact of rounds 4-7 in IDP, dynasty, and redraft formats. Find out why I’m high on Rams pass catchers, the first pick in round 5, some 7th round inside linebackers, and MR. 241 – Charone Peake.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.11 2016 NFL Draft Day 2

Day 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft is here and I’m joined by John Laub (@GridironSchol1) Chris Cheung (@FFDynasty101) and Chad Lio (@WaiverWarrior1) as we react to the litany of selections. John and I discuss IDP selections in the 2nd round as well as Sterling Shepard to the Giants, and Christian Hackenberg to the Jets. Chris and I react to Kenyan Drake to MIA, Tyler Boyd to CIN, and some of the fantasy relevant names on the board by mid round 3. Chad comes on to finish things up as we talk Austin Hooper, Braxton Miller, Leonte Carroo, and the future GOAT: CJ Prosise.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.10 2016 NFL Draft Round 1 Special

Two hours of NFL Draft goodness are packed into this episode as I’m joined by Chad Lio (@WaiverWarrior1) and Chris Cheung (@FFDynasty101) to get reactions on the 31 picks in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Chad and I talk about some confusing fits made in the first half of the round, react live to Treadwell landing with the Vikings, and talk Paxton Lynch joining the Broncos. Chris and I talk Dolphins, best players remaining, and rank the first round WRs for dynasty and redraft leagues!

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.09 IDP Rookies with Joe Redemann

I’m joined by Joe Redemann (@JayArr_FF) of numberFire for some marathon IDP talk. We go through Joe’s picks in the 2016 Rookie Mocktacular and debate top defensive prospects including: DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Rankins, Leonard Floyd, Reggie Ragland, Jordan Jenkins, Noah Spence, and tons more!

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking on a Brand New League

So you want to start your own fantasy football league. First off congrats, because as someone who tried to start new leagues (successfully and otherwise) I can attest that it’s a task that involves a lot of careful thought. Over the next week or so you can consider me your new league spirit guide…or just someone who wants to lend a hand, because honestly even as someone who has been playing for a while, starting up a new league can be a little daunting.

To start off I think you need to do a little exploratory interest measuring. Send some texts, tweets, emails, and DMs to see if the people you know and want are interested. No promises are made here, especially if you’re thinking about a league now. Some/most of your friends are caught up in inferior sports like Baseball or better ones like Hockey or Basketball. If we’re talking about a dynasty league you might have a better chance since you’re looking for people who would be participating just about year round, so they’re definitely hooked on football. You’re just gauging the likely hood of participation.

Once there’s a decent bit of interest you need to come up with a scoring format. This is so key and I believe overlooked because this affects everything from how players are valued to the type of fantasy players you can recruit. This will be what I cover today.

  • Standard Scoring – This is your bread and butter scoring format. 1 point for every 10 rushing or receiving yards. 1 point for every 25 passing yards. Rushing and receiving TDs are 6 points, passing TDs are 4 points. I won’t get into every little detail but you get the idea. Simple, easy to manage, straightforward player valuation. On top of this, the most easily accessible fantasy advice is usually for standard scoring, so getting Phil at work who likes football but doesn’t play fantasy to join the office league will be a bit easier.
  • PPR Scoring – If standard is our bread and butter, PPR (Point Per Reception) is throwing a little cheese between those pieces and tossing it on the stove. Almost everything remains the same as standard scoring but with the added bonus of 1 point for each reception. High volume WRs and pass catching RBs are provided an extra boost with this system. I enjoy this format as a base to start with since it more accurately represents how the NFL, and its fans value players.
  • “Premium” Scoring – Here’s one I haven’t made up my mind on. The premium here refers to TEs, typically being set up as 1.5 points per reception for TEs. This provides them with extra value as TEs outside of Gronk are oft ignored by most owners. I lean towards not being a fan of this as I believe if we adjust scoring so everyone matters, nobody matters. I know some people want to react to this by calling me a moron and explaining that this just adjusts the game so TEs aren’t so underappreciated. I respond by saying LOOK AT ALL THESE CAPS, then moving on to…
  • Milestone Bonus Scoring – The same base scoring as the three preceding formats with the bonus being applied to solid and great games put up by players. Cross the 100 yard mark rushing or receiving and get an extra 2 points, 150 for 3, 200 for 5 and so on. Added points if a player can tie or break an NFL record. This addition to scoring is great and properly awards stupendous performances. I think this is really necessary in an real league.
  • Yardage Bonus Scoring – I’m in a keeper league that’s been going on for about 6 or so years that uses a yardage bonus scoring system. The picture at the top of my Twitter page where Antonio Brown scored 100+ points is from that league. Scores that are 40, 50, 60, and 80 yards long receive additional point bonuses. This scoring cuts both ways, it provides extra incentive to draft gamebreaking talents like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, and the like. But it also allows for some fluky games where guys are receiving crazy point bonuses because a broken coverage led to a 75 yard catch and run by Torrey Smith. It’s a double edge sword, but double edge swords are cool as hell and look badass. I wouldn’t recommend this for every league but if you’re playing with a group of people who each have 2 or 3 other leagues this is a fun way to change up the game and keep everyone on their toes.
  • Negative Scoring “Bonuses” – I’m all for this in some cases like INTs and Fumbles. But some leagues penalize guys for drops and sacks taken, which to me are subjective. No no, I know a sack is a sack and a drop is a drop but Sacks aren’t always the QBs fault, and drops happen when players are trying to make plays. I’m not a fan of a scoring system where a guy desperately trying to make a catch and help his team loses points. And if a starting LT is out why is it the QBs fault if the defense gets by the backup a little quicker.

So this covers a majority of the spectrum when it comes to selecting scoring formats for your fantasy football league. This next week I’ll dive into things like number of teams, divisions, win tallies, commissioner powers, and anything else I can come up with.

If you have any questions or any unique scoring bonuses your league uses that you like, throw them in the comments below. Same goes for any topics about starting up a league that you want covered. In the meantime enjoy the new podcast episodes and get pumped for the NFL Draft!

Posted in Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Tight Ends, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.08 2016 NFL Draft WRs Part 3

I’m back with Chris Cheung (@FFDynasty101) as we cover 5 of the more interesting WRs in this year’s draft class. We discuss when 40 times begin to concern you, drafting a player just to trade him, how long you should wait for players to make an impact, and most important: the fascination with the hand size measurable.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.07 4th Round Dynasty Prospects

John Laub (@GridironSchol91) and I talk about some of our favorite selections in the 4th round of the 2016 Rookie Mocktacular, and dynasty drafts in general.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.06 John Laub and the Rookie Mocktacular

I’m joined by John Laub (@GridironSchol91) again as we go through his picks in the 4 round dynasty rookie mock draft dubbed the 2016 Rookie Mocktacular. We finish up by running through the back end of John’s 1st round NFL Mock Draft on FootballDiehards.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.05 John Laub and Deep Dynasty Picks

John Laub (@GridironSchol91) and I dive deep into the dynasty pool to talk about late round prospects that are being overlooked by your leaguemates. Late round WRs Mitch Mathews and Devin Lucien are given a long look, and the physical tools of RBs Darius Jackson and Tyler Ervin are discussed. There is also an impact QB out there being completely ignored in rookie drafts. We finish up touching on the first half of John’s NFL Mock Draft on Football Diehards.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.04 2016 NFL Draft WRs Part 2

Back at with Chris Cheung (FFDynasty101) talking more rookie WRs, the Miami spring game, why, “bad” Michael Thomas is still going ahead of, “good” Michael Thomas, Tyler Boyd’s leash on your bench, Will Fuller’s rising ADP, the uncertainty of both Pharaoh Cooper and Braxton Miller.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.03 2016 NFL Draft WRs Part 1

I’m joined by Chris Cheung (@FFDyansty101) for the first of multiple pods on Dynasty WRs, why we’ve been been spoiled by the past 2 draft classes, taking a look at the little things WRs do, the Warriors quest for history and of course, Kobe.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dynasty Trade Etiquette

I put up a poll on Twitter yesterday, phrased it carefully so there was no bias, and got some interesting responses out of it so I decided to flesh it out in a full piece here.

“Is purposely letting a dynasty trade expire a strategy?”

It should be pretty much without saying that this obviously shouldn’t be one’s primary strategy. There’s no such thing as playing hard to get in a trade. It’s not even how you should first approach negotiations. But purposely logging into a league and not responding to a trade is a move that can get a few different messages across.

There’s a keeper league I’ve been a part of for what has to be 7 years, give or take. There was an owner (who isn’t a part of the league anymore) who would constantly propose trades to guys in the league that were hilariously lopsided. Beanie Wells and Scott Chandler for Jimmy Graham in his heyday. Cedric Benson and Nate Washington for Demaryius Thomas. You get the idea. An annual, habitual, headache that everyone had to deal with. One year, after a flurry of trades were made he tried to get in on the action…

People refused to respond to his proposals so he benched his entire team and said he’d do so until someone made a trade with him. Rather than boot him the commish leaned on him a bit and I dealt some end of bench guys to smooth everything over. We all used letting the trade expire as a way to let him know we weren’t dealing with lopsided trades anymore. That’s a strong way to get a message across, and it worked. In the following years his offers were much better suited to each team.

In the responses to my tweet people said letting an offer expire was rude, pointless, and gives up leverage. And I understand that way of thinking, but the last part there came with an added bit of strategy.

People were responding saying they would counter a trade offer without rejecting the initial proposal. I’ll admit this is something I’ve never done, simply because I have never thought of it. Some dismissed that as a bad move, but I think it lets the other owner in on your trading process.

If I’m offered 2 RBs and a high pick for a WR and a mid level pick (which is happening in a league now) and I counter for only 1 of those backs and a low level WR (and no picks) without rejecting the first trade, it gives the owner a chance to compare the offers and see what I’m trying to swing for in the deal. I also believe what I offer up in my counter really doesn’t matter as long as it’s not an insult. The counter/reject refusal is to show the other owner I know what I’m doing and what I’m looking for.

The last batch of responses I got was that everything could be considered a strategy, it’s all about how well you do it. This for me is pretty much how I view things: Strategy is strategy. Sometimes it pisses people off, but if you’re looking to get someone frustrated because they propose lopsided trades constantly then your strategy is fine. If I’m in consistently well paced talks with someone and they all of a sudden stop responding, I know I’ve got to up my offer. If they counter and leave another trade open it’s probably so I can compare them. You just have to enter negotiations believing that the player on the other side of the computer is as smart as you are, a move I don’t think is employed enough.

So share this around with your leaguemates and if you have any other tips or tricks you like using in trades and want to discuss, drop a line in the comments below. And you can always get at me on Twitter @The_ATJ. While @FFDynasty101 and I get the next few episodes set up, subscribe to The Fantasy Force Podcast on iTunes and catch our dynasty takes on rookie RBs.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.02 Christopher Harris

I’m joined by Christopher Harris (@HarrisFootball) to talk running backs and how their offensive line play influences their performance. We dive into who is being lifted by the men in front of them, who is succeeding despite them, who is being held back, and which players could lose carries to better backs joining their roster.

Subscribe to The Fantasy Force Podcast on iTunes and give it a review+rating while you’re there.

Posted in Podcasts, Running Backs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3.01 2016 NFL Draft RBs

A new season of the Fantasy Force podcast kicks off as I am joined by fantasy analyst, dynasty player, and draftnik Chris Cheung (@FFDynasty101) to talk about the notable RBs entering the 2016 NFL Draft and their impact on the dynasty landscape. We go over the versatility of player comps, the different styles of evaluating players, and the best NFL fits for these prospects.

Posted in Podcasts, Running Backs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Doug ain’t Funnie

There’s a lot to like about incoming rookie Ezekiel Elliot. Great hands, great change of direction, great burst through the line. But he’s not who the Dallas Cowboys should be looking at on draft day. So clearly I’m about to extol the benefits of the cowboys taking Derrick Henry in the 2nd round right? Nah

I’m no hardcore NFL Draft guy, though I might try my hand at a mock this year for fun, but I think the best move for the Cowboys right now is to draft defensive talent and go after a RB in free agency. One specific RB…Doug Martin.

Yeah so it’s not the most original or outlandish thought, the top FA RB signing with the league’s best OL but sometimes you just gotta Occam’s Razor (or lex parsimoniae for my friends who took Latin in school) these things. So to really flesh out why Martin should be the guy for Jerruh lets take a look at the Cowboys.

The absolutely BONKERS offensive line (Smith, Martin, Frederick, Free, Collins) to open up running lanes and protect the QB. One of the game’s premier receivers right in the prime of his career with a competent #2 on the other side of the field. A great, albeit aging, TE that would put up better box score stats if he wasn’t so good at blocking. And last, a solid QB that at 36 can see the light at the end of the tunnel of his career.

On the other side, Byron Jones and Barry Church make an interesting safety combo, one run stopper, one deep safety. Brandon Carr will most likely be gone, leaving a hole at corner in addition to the upgrades that were already needed. Linebacking corps that are beginning to show their age. With a defensive line that could use a little oomph up the middle.

The Cowboys offense is built on a win now mentality but the defense could use some attitude, and not a, shove a coach, throw a woman down on a pile of guns attitude. A beneficial one. If he’s not gone at #3 I think the ‘Boys should sprint to the podium and add Deforest Buckner. While I don’t think his best fit is as a defensive tackle Buckner moved all around the line at Oregon proving to be a nuisance Centers, Guards, and Tackles alike. And instead of Henry in the 2nd I like another backfield addition, a defensive one. Someone like Will Jackson would make a nice add across from a hopefully healthy Orlando Scandrick.

With a more balanced roster the Cowboys can do their defense one last favor by adding The Muscle Hamster.

A more stout running game leads to more downtime for a defense. And if you don’t think that matters ask Eagles defenders how they’ve enjoyed the past few seasons. More time on the sideline means more adjustments which if they Cowboys start to skew young on D, would be more valuable than metrics can show.

Last year Doug Martin displayed the combination of vision and decisiveness that would be an incredible addition to the Dallas roster. More so he has this burst at the LOS that teams covet from their RBs. One moment he’s even with the Center and Guard, the next he’s 4-6 yards downfield making contact with a LB and falling forward to finish his run. Even on pitches Martin can and will turn upfield at the first sign of a hole.

With 33 catches last year Martin was underused in the passing game with the Bucs coaching staff seeing what they had in Charles Sims. While Lance Dunbar would still be around in Dallas to steal some looks, Doug Martin could be more involved in the offensive gameplan all around. Dallas lacked the presence of a threatening run game and that combined with the loss of Tony Romo had the team go 1-11 while searching for an answer.

Martin’s skill set will keep edge defenders honest, which helps keep Romo upright. His power running style fits in perfectly with what the Cowboys have in place on their line, and in their playbook. Opposing teams can’t load the box because Dez can beat them over the top. And because they can spend their picks on defense, Doug Martin makes the Cowboys team complete. We just saw the blueprint for winning with an aging QB, and while we know Dallas won’t look like Denver on defense, they won’t look like them on offense either, and that’s a good thing.

Running backs have been undervalued in the NFL recently, and coming off a hot season Doug Martin could be a big part of the entire position coming back. Doug ain’t Funnie, but a pairing with Dallas is as good as Patty Mayonnaise.

Posted in Running Backs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Happened to RG3?

Sometimes things in the NFL puzzle fantasy players. Why doesn’t Lamar Miller got 25 touches a game? Why isn’t DGB getting more playing time? Why aren’t we just tossing jump balls to Mike Evans ALL THE TIME?

But one I just can’t seem to get a real handle on is What happened to RG3?

The guy has some next level skills on the field and set the league on fire in his rookie season. Then a torn ACL in his playoff debut seemed like it would change everything. The once invincible franchise savior seemed anything but. His charisma which became such a huge part of his play style seemed to go once he donned that gigantic leg brace. The playcalling in Washington changed to accommodate a mobile QB only working on one leg. The read option was gone, and the mobility that made RG3 a feared QB was ignored in favor of getting him on the field as quick as possible.

Now I’ve written about Griffin before and it’s pretty clear that I was a fan then, but I ignored something big. Bringing Jay Gruden in to HC Washington was one of the worst moves when it came to getting the most out of a unique talent.

Most coaches would adapt their playbook to get the most out of a real difference maker at the single most important offensive position. But Jay Gruden who still thinks Dalton over Kaep was the right move (I’m making a lot of bold calls here) felt content to have his explosive QB sit in the pocket and launch it.

Well now RG3 won’t be in Washington anymore and reports have anywhere from 8 to 16 teams that would be interested in picking up the 2012 #2 overall pick. You could pretty much list any team that isn’t sure there have the long term answer at QB on this list.

The Browns, Texans, Jets, Cowboys, Rams, 9ers, Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, and Cardinals should all definitely be having internal discussions regarding the fit and potential pitch to RG3.

Now using my home game version of NFL GM I like Griffin in Cleveland. Hue Jackson gets a pivotal piece in his new offense, the franchise QB, for relatively cheap on a 2 year deal. a rejuvenated RG3, Duke Johnson, and the return of Josh Gordon paired with Travis Benjamin. All that under the tutelage of Hue Jackson could place the Browns as one of the more entertaining offenses in the NFL.

Robert Griffin III could still be a revolutionary player in the right offensive hands. And for someone that enjoyed watching him throw a dart to a receiver only to run 60 yards down the field to meet him in the endzone. The NFL needs more guys that are having fun out there. More Newtons, more Mettenbergers, more RGIIIs…

Now on to the 3 and out where I quickly hit 3 players, topics, thoughts, etc.

3 and Out – Overlooked Rookie WRs

Tajae Sharpe – I’ve been tweeting about Tajae Sharpe since the beginning of the college football season. A solid route runner that displayed good hands and great body control, Sharpe played at UMass where his usage always struck me as odd. I know you can’t just feed one player nonstop but Mark Whipple’s offense had me saying, “Why aren’t they throwing it to Sharpe?” Usually these exclamations came right as Blake Frohnapfel let it rip to Sharpe along the sideline, and when he had space from his defender he was good moving with the ball too.

Rashard Higgins – For a guy that’s credited as such an explosive player his numbers all over don’t match up. 4.64, 32 inch vert, 13 reps of 225. Side note: if I was able to rep out 225 for 13 reps I’d be telling everyone I know about it every single day. What I see in Higgins is a project but it’s the kind that often works out. It’s easier to have a prospect that does the on the field things right and just needs to work on the physical attributes. A guy who catches with his body needs to retool how he does everything from how he runs to the way he looks the ball in. I’d rather have a guy like Higgins that needs to work on speed in and out of breaks that already does most of it right.

Malcolm Mitchell – Mitchell runs so smooth on the field you can mistake his fluidity of moves for speed. And this is where his 4.45 40 comes into play. I’ll take a 4 and a half that runs and cuts smoothly over a 4.3 that doesn’t have good footwork running his routes. That 40 time means a lot but you have to watch film to see if the straight line speed is transferred to the field. Other thing Mitchell has going for him? He share a birthday with me and Josh Holloway…that’s gotta count for something right?

Posted in Fantasy Football, Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Curating Your Analysts

Sundays without football just feel weird. It’s like, all of a sudden there’s this huge chunk of time where I get to do things that I do the other 6 days of the week. Gym time, errands, grocery shopping…for a few months now the world is my oyster for 7 days a week.

In fact last Sunday I hit the gym and stopped for food on my way home. The woman in front of me hands over some cash and coin, and as the cashier is getting her change the woman pulls out another bit of cash and change and hands it to the cashier as well. Simple enough, somebody wants a ten dollar bill rather than eight and change, we’re all good. The girl at the register takes the money and pauses momentarily as she figures out the new change.

This clearly wasn’t acceptable in the mind of the woman paying.

“Come on sweetie, its simple math. You can do it!”

“All you do is add what’s in your hand to what you were going to take out of your drawer.”

“This is the future of America here.” (which she directed at her daughter who was with her)

And I don’t think I need to describe this woman’s tone as she was loudly saying these things.

As someone who works in retail, I’ll share this with anyone who finds themselves mystified right now. The people who are ringing you up forget everything, everything, right after they do it, myself included. We just work faster that way. It’s an operating system freeing memory when you close a program. Once I’ve taken your cash and opened my drawer I’ve already forgotten your total. I know your change, so the total becomes a useless number to me.

Most of the time when those things happen it’s a quick fix. I usually know why people are handing me the extra change they are, but on occasion, just like that girl did, you have to take two seconds. And it’s certainly not something you need to embarrass a stranger over.

These rude acts aren’t even isolated incidents. When I was in college I used to work at that same grocery store. One night I’m mopping up something a customer spilled as a woman passes me with her elementary school aged son.

“That’s why you have to study in school. If you don’t you’ll end up a failure mopping floors.”

I was 19 when I heard that, and at 25 going on 26 I still remember each and every word.

So what does any of this have to do with fantasy football?

Well there are a lot of great writers on Twitter…and then there are a few others

Dismissive when they get questions from people who follow them. Elitist and self-important when it comes to explaining their newly crafted metric. Insulting to the point of humiliation when it comes to disagreeing with other writers.

I’m proud to play and write about fantasy football. I’ve loved it since day 1 and I encourage friends, family, and coworkers to play it because because it’s a great way to keep in touch with people, it makes watching football even more enjoyable, and it’s just fun…except when it comes to these people.

When you tweet nasty things at people who are open enough to come to you, you make the fantasy community a smaller and more bitter place. And if you’re someone who gets a nasty response, unfollow and find a writer that will take the time to help you.

With all this out of the way I’m happy to be looking at the start of the 2016 Fantasy Football season. Rookie breakdowns, free agency analysis, and fantasy depth charts are all on the horizon. Got somebody you want a little extra info on? Drop me a line in the comments below or as always you can get at me @TheFantasyForce

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged | Leave a comment

Building A Brand

When I tell people I write about fantasy football, which I do more and more, I get a range of questions. “Who should I pick up?” “Look at this trade someone in my league offered me, should I take take it?” “So do you just make tons of money on on those websites with the commercials?” “How’s [insert name] going to do the rest of the season?” And I’ll answer them as best I can, and I’ll give reasons why and everything. But one question I get from pretty much everyone is, “What’s your thing?”

Your persona, hook, angle, shtick, brand (a word I’m despising more and more)…whatever you want to call it, everybody wants to know. But the thing is, I never quite have an answer for that. I don’t know if I ever will. Of course there has to be research and some decent accuracy. And although it happens frequently, fantasy writers can’t credit themselves as, “the one” that gets everything right, because nobody can do that. Everyone works hard, but nobody has a crystal ball, and if they did? They wouldn’t be using it on fantasy football.

In college I focused in journalism and more than anything else professors urged us to find our voice. I can’t possible express how important this was for me. From reporting, to profiling, to feature writing, every style was practiced with enough room for students to mold the work be their own. That combined with a writing professor who I’ll most certainly write about some other time led me to find that essays were my strong suit.

So what does any of this have to do with a brand? Well, unfortunately for the Rovell set out there, not much. I’ve only ever wanted to be a good writer. No gimmicks, no persona, no brand. Just interesting, personal, good writing.

Which isn’t to say there can’t be certain themes to my writing. Everyone likes knowing they can come to a place for something specific, and maybe this is one of the first of mine. Any listener to the podcast (which will be returning this week) knows I have a penchant for bad names (Ultimock) So I’m proud to unveil what I’m calling, The Fantasy Four(ce)..say it out loud…you’ll get it…

Here I pick the four performances that impressed me most from this past week and it’s looking like the rookie debut of this is nearly filled with well…rookies.

todd-gurley-nfl-cleveland-browns-st.-louis-rams1Todd Gurley running wild against the Browns – Sometimes a matchup is everything. NFL and fantasy fans alike got a treat on this one. Todd Gurley, one of the most anticipated rookies got a red hot start to his career and after coming off a BYE got a chance to face off against a porous Browns run defense. This game kind of displayed everything Todd Gurley can do on a football field. He ran inside and outside, displayed strength, quickness, and his ridiculous athleticism. There’s the hurdle in the 2nd Q, the brilliant cut he made a little later in the quarter that I tweeted a bit about yesterday, and of course the long run we’ve seen on countless vines. We even saw Gurley start to be utilized in the passing game this week, which is music to the ears of PPR owners. In dynasty Gurley is clearly the top back to own and in redraft leagues he’s a top 5 back ROS.

Stefon Diggs being the go to guy for Teddy – It’s gotta be Charles Johnson, at least that’s what a lot of people were saying at the beginning of this year. I’m pretty happy I wasn’t one of those people, not that I was any better with my Mike Wallace love. Teddy Bridgewater put together a solid rookie campaign but he’s no Brady or Peyton so he’s gotta develop a rapport with a receiver, someone to go to when he’s looking to keep a drive going, to start a hot streak, to bust out of a cold one. So we watched as Charles Johnson was named a starter heading into the season, as the Vikings swung a deal for speed demon Mike Wallace, and occasionally made the Turner/Rudolph argument. Now we’re seeing the primary guy emerge and it’s the 5th rounder out of Maryland. I’ll say this after watching Diggs tear it up against the Lions, he’s fast. Not just straight line speed fast, in and out of breaks, getting the end around, launching off the line, Diggs looks like he’s shot out of a cannon. I’d pay to see a race between the roadrunner, a speeding bullet, and Diggs, because Diggs would win, full pads and everything. I’m interested in seeing what Diggs will be like when he comes back down to earth, but I think it’s safe to say that owners should expect nothing less than a strong Flex play to a mid to high WR2 output on a week to week basis.

Amari Cooper being well…Amari Cooper – Crisp routes, sure hands, good moves with the ball. We were all served up some pretty hefty expectations in the pre draft scouting for Amari Cooper. Here’s the thing, Cooper has delivered on each and every one of these advertisements. The only thing that isn’t going for Amari Cooper is that he has a surprising lack of RZ targets. Carr is clearly comfortable throwing the ball to Cooper in any situation on a multitude of routes. Notching at least 4 and 45 in every contest so far Cooper offers fantasy owner exactly what you need out of a WR2/3 tremendous upside and a safe floor, even more so in PPR. For his troubles Cooper will receive and all expenses paid trip to Revis Island next week as the Raiders host the Jets. Outside of this and his week 14 divisional meetup with Harris, Talib, and associates, Amari Cooper is a high end WR2 at the worst with top 5 potential every time he steps on the field.

Charcandrick West dominating the KC backfield – Waiting for the first non-rookie? Well here he is. Earlier I touched on Todd Gurley starting to get involved in the passing game and here is another RB who is doing the same. West may have had just 2 receptions but the wheel routes he’s running have enormous potential. A little more work with Alex Smith and knowing where he likes to put the ball will help turn these quick passes into big gains. Also, like Gurley, West runs outside on pitches, gets inside power runs, and uses his shiftiness in both situations, which is crucial. We usually think of outside runs as the only times a running back gets to display their fancy footwork. However, it’s the power runs, where space is at a minimum where this is most important. Creating that small crease is the difference between being stuffed for a 1 yard gain, and breaking for 7, 12, or 20. Jamaal Charles was a master at this and while West isn’t at that level, it’s clear that he’s taking pointers from someone.

So there it is, four players that much like a good meal, leave me wanting more. Think I’ve got it wrong? Maybe you think there’s more to the success of these players than what I have here? Comment below!

Before I’m out of here there’s a little housekeeping to be done. I know you’re all following me on Twitter @TheFantasyForce. But did you know you can also find me on Facebook? That’s right! Head over with the link on the right of this page and like The Fantasy Force! Get assistance with lineup decisions, waiver priorities, and trade advice.

Posted in Fantasy Football, Running Backs, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moments of Doubt

There are times I wonder why I do this. Which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy it. I think moments of doubt are natural when taking on something. They bring out a lot of reflection. Working through a moment of doubt can really help renew the dedication to your cause. Recently I felt that way about this very website. Can I really produce the level of content that I want to consistently? Will I be able to write things in the style I truly want to? Am I even sure that my style of writing has become refined enough to the point I want it to be?

Sometimes the answers to these question aren’t always what we want them to be. However, getting those answers leaves us in a better place to do what we want. Sometimes the answers to these questions come from unlikely place.

My best friend Mo lives in Pittsburgh. We chat on the phone for about a half an hour maybe every other week. Standard stuff, “How’s life? How’s work?” all of that. He’s an occasional football fan, not really someone who plays fantasy. He just catches a game every now and then. We’re talking a couple weeks ago and he lets me know that one of our recent phone tag bouts was actually fantasy football related.

He goes on to tell me about how not one but two of his friends needed fantasy football advice and when he couldn’t get a hold of me he directed them to none other than TheFantasyForce. Using tweets (especially the Ultimock so thanks again to everyone who was a part of that) articles, and TheFantasyForce Podcast they were able to successfully work their drafts.

I was able to catch up with one of those friends a few days ago and was delighted to find out she was 1-0 and still has a pretty strong roster even after losing Dez to injury.

So after week 1 we might be experiencing some moments of doubt when it comes to certain players and their fantasy future. Let’s work through some of those.

Can Dion Lewis really thrive with Blount coming back?

When I sat down with Adam Cahill (@TheOtherFFGuy), and to be fair I can’t be certain if he was sitting, we spoke about coaches that like to utilize certain types of players. That strategy, plus the talent of the player, is why people were so excited about CJ Spiller ending up with Sean Payton in New Orleans. But one that Adam touched on was the pass catching RB for Bill Belichick. Not just a Shane Vereen specialty, that role is what put Danny Woodhead on for his NFL career and was held by longtime Patriots RB Kevin Faulk. After week 1 we know for certain that Dion Lewis has this role.

Here’s what I like in addition to that: Lewis look pretty good as runner too. Now it’s a far cry from Lewis outright taking Legarette Blount’s early down work, but it means he’ll be involved and won’t blow the opportunity. Lewis actually needs to work on his efficiency in the passing game believe it or not. But again, being the passing down guy for The Hoodie means he will have plenty of chances to fix his game.

Will Allen Robinson and TJ Yeldon work on the same fantasy squad?

This sounds like the beginning of copping out of this argument but it really depends what you’re team needs the both of them to be. Due to their spots on draft day ARob and TJ could have been great value adds on the same fantasy squad. So how do owners balance owning two talented, but inexperienced players on an offense that is still finding it way? Well, it’s all about what you want from them.

Allen Robinson probably wants to forget week 1 ASAP. 27 Yards, 6 Targets, and a great loss of confidence from fantasy owners everywhere. Actually that last one might not keep him up at night. The six targets is concerning but it was only week 1 and the Jags will make efforts to up their offensive playcalling. Allen Robinson has the talent to lead the Jaguars wideouts this season, and if you notice his owner getting anxious, don’t be afraid to pounce on them with a trade.

As for TJ Yeldon, 15 touches was an encouraging sign going forward. He logged just under 2/3 of his team’s snaps as well. Jacksonville’s coaching staff will try and use their offense to control the game a bit more, and as mentioned above, will make efforts to play a little less conservatively. This will open up running lanes for Yeldon as well if they are successful. 18-20 touches should be closer to what Yeldon sees but production is what really counts. Yeldon can’t be relied on as an RB2 yet, but leagues with multiple flex spots will favor Yeldon as a, “safer” option.

Will Alex Smith keep up this pace?

The ultimate game manager put up some gaudy stats in week 1 causing me to refresh the data on my fantasy teams in disbelief. Going for vast depth on the other skill positions in a league left me deciding between Jay Cutler in an Adam Gase offense or Alex Smith. I chose Smith and couldn’t be happier with that decision. Now, I’m not saying that I saw this type of production in my (and his) future, but it was part of the reason I drafted him.

Travis Kelce working a full snap count and the upgrade to Jeremy Maclin from Dwayne Bowe puts some great talent around the former No. 1 overall pick. Combine that real receiving talent with the fact that Smith likes to keep the risky throws down and you have the odd high floor high ceiling play at QB. The league I have Smith in is what I call my, “home” league. It’s the first one I check waivers on, It’s the one where I have some real skin in the game. And crazy enough? I’m not just content, I’m happy with that choice.

Is Tyler Eifert for real?

It’s hard to succinctly explain just exactly how good Tyler Eifert was last week. He finished 3rd in run blocking amongst TEs according to PFF and was just bonkers in the passing game. Eifert ran a particularly good seam route for the Bengals, and looked every bit the athletic prospect we thought he was entering the league. And saying he’s 6’6 251 just doesn’t do enough justice to how much bigger he looks than everyone else on the field.

Eifert is now the second option in the passing game for Cincy and had multiple plays where he was Andy Dalton’s first read. No, 100 yards and 2 scores won’t be the norm for the man from Notre Dame but it’s very possible that we could be looking at a top 5 option at a devalued spot.

So there we have it. 4 situations every fantasy owner will be paying special attention to this season. Have concerns about any players or situations that I didn’t cover? Comment below or tweet me @TheFantasyForce and you’ll get all the answers you need.

Posted in Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Tight Ends, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WRs to Target Late in Fantasy Drafts

I enjoy going to them gym and lifting weights, and that might be putting it lightly. After work it’s where I go to relieve stress, push myself, and do things I never thought I could. Just as much as the workout itself I enjoy the preparation. Not just putting together and planning the workout. I enjoy everything down to packing my gym bag.

More than just shorts and a shirt. I come prepared. Lifting straps, chalk, my notebook with the day’s workout so I can track results, a towel for the sauna, a pre-workout drink and a post-workout protein shake. I have absolutely zero wasted space in my bag when I leave, and it’s why I have zero wasted moments in the gym. I could go on with more examples, but my point is, to really get the most out of something you have to be properly prepare for it.

Fantasy drafts are no different. We prepare with rankings. A person’s particular ranking  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Every pick really does matter. And in recent years those mid to late round picks can offer quite a lot of value to owners who have been seeking out the right players.

Wide receivers offer the most difficult to predict position group in fantasy football, especially in those rounds when there seems to be a whole lot of, “sameness” in the available players. But really, how often can we gamble on a late pick and have it pay off?

Since 2012 there have been a total of 37 wide receivers who had consensus rankings outside the top 24 at their position, who then went on to finish inside the top 24. Of those 37, 23 were ranked outside the top 36. And in 9 instances players that were ranked outside the top 24 finished with a top 12 season.

Many of these once ADP steals are now some of the heavy hitters in fantasy football today with names including: TY Hilton, Randall Cobb, and Alshon Jeffery.

So now that we know it can be done, and how often it can happen, we need to look at why. How do we not see the potential playmakers out there on draft boards? Sure, there are cases of rookies stepping in and changing the game, but more often than not it is 2nd and 3rd year players, guys returning from injury, and players who carve a role for themselves in the gameplan or a clear path to a starting spot. With all of this knowledge here, I have two players who are being drafted outside the top 50 at their position, who have the best shot at finishing inside the top 24.

Marvin Jones – Rank: WR58 ADP: WR66 – After spending last year injured, Marvin Jones is flying well under the radar this year. But let’s take a look back to 2013 and see just how well Jones played. By the end of the 2013 NFL season Marvin Jones finished with a 14.2 grade from PFF on passing plays. To put that in perspective, another Jones (Julio), finished last year with passing play score of 14.8. Yes, Jones caught 10 TDs and that certainly gave a boost to his numbers but in an offense where he’ll see the #2CB on any team he faces, he certainly will have the opportunity to win his matchup.

Jones has a rather interesting spot on the field where Andy Dalton likes throwing to him as well. 20+ yards down the field outside the numbers on his left. In 2013 Dalton slung 27 balls in that area, 10 of those were targeted to Marvin Jones. Now this is where it gets interesting, Jones caught 7 of those targets for 193 yards and 2 scores. And you can look at those numbers and say, “yeah sure but that far down the field it was probably a catch and run” however Jones’ YAC in that area of the field? 10. That’s right. 10 yards after the catch when being targeted 20+ yards down the field on the left. The stats speak to the type of plays these had to be. Jones had to have a defender in the area and whether he worked back to the ball, outjumped a DB to high point it, or just plain beat the coverage with a shake, he reeled in what came his way. Oh and without Jones on the field last year, in that same spot of the field, Dalton threw 14 passes, connected on 3, for 111 yards 2 scores and a pick. Mohamed Sanu might be a fine replacement in Madden, but in the NFL, Marvin Jones is the best man for the #2 job in Cincy.

Brian Quick – Rank: WR55 ADP: WR56 – Pulling in 99 yards in week 1 last year, Brian Quick became a hot waiver wire add early in the season. He even began to pay off dividends until a brutal injury in week 8 ended his season. Quick dislocated his shoulder and tore his rotator cuff in the 2nd quarter of the Rams game against the Chiefs. The injury was severe and Quick has not participated in any contact drills yet and could very well see limited, if any, preseason action. This is where things get interesting. The Rams have their BYE in week 6, which means Quick might not see a full slate of snaps until week 7. That’s a fair amount of time for a player to sit on the end of someone’s bench, but for those who draft and keep Quick, he will help guide teams to the playoffs.
Volume is key for players looking to produce at the WR position in both fantasy and the actual NFL. Quick is without question the top WR on the Rams and if we were positive he could enter the season healthy he would see a good percentage of targets straight from the get go. You just don’t find many team’s top WRs going in the 50s at his position, and this is only where his value begins.

In the limited time he was on the field last year, Brian Quick did most of his damage 10-19 yards downfield, catching 13 of 17 targets for 202 and 2 TDs. It should be noted that this was Shaun Hill and Austin Davis throwing him the ball. Now we look at new Rams QB Nick Foles, a bit of a letdown last year for fantasy people who thought he would only throw 3 INTs in a 16 game season. Sure, Foles got on a hot streak in an insanely QB friendly system back in 2013. But during that great stretch, where on the gridiron did Foles prove to be most effective? You guessed it, 10-19 yards down the field where Foles threw 77 passes for a pretty 52-890-7 statline. Sure the Rams system is different, but Foles still has to be the one to make the reads and deliver the ball in the right place.

All of his is a long, drawn out way of saying that both Brian Quick and Nick Foles make their money in the same part of the field. If we could guarantee that Quick plays 16 games this season I would have no problem saying he could end up in the top 24. Being picked as a WR5/6 if drafted at all, Quick provides higher upside than guys like Charles Johnson, Donte Moncrief, Kendall Wright, and Pierre Garcon, all being drafted well ahead of him.

Preparing for a fantasy draft is key to winning your league. And as you hoist your trophy and hear your league mates say you got lucky with a pick in the 16th round, you can tell them it wasn’t luck, you just came prepared.

Posted in Fantasy Football, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ep 16 Mind in the Mock Adam Cahill

I’m joined by Adam Cahill (@TheOtherFFGuy) to talk some Ultimock strategy, including a RB that is falling too far down draft boards, coaches that historically use certain types of talent, and staking an entire fantasy season on one player.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ep 15 Mind in the Mock: Jay Harding

Jay Harding and I talk about his strategy behind the Ultimock, fantasy football history, and an interesting fantasy football playoff strategy.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A New Season For All

With the Hall of Fame Game kicking off the NFL preseason yesterday one thing is clear: Football is back. And I have an announcement that has been a long time coming. This season I start working as an analyst for Fear not though, TheFantasyForce is still all me. I’ll be here all season for lineup questions, trade discussions, waiver pickups, and a revamped Fantasy Force Podcast. I’ve long been a fan of PFF and all the data available there, frequently citing their statistics in my work. Now that I have a foot in the door, working as someone collecting that data, I couldn’t be happier. The next 20+ weeks of NFL football present renewed hope for fans, fantasy players, and even Jets fans. I’m excited for all that is coming up this season and hope I can lead more than a few of you to hoisting your league’s Lombardi Trophy.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ep 14 Mind in the Mock: Tod Burros

Tod Burros @TodFromPA sits down we me to talk results from the Ultimock, trading teams, and why some players might not need a Snickers.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ep 13 Mind in the Mock: Lisa London


I’m joined by Lisa London (@leedoglaw) as we talk results from the Ultimock, strategy for live drafts, and injury plagues.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Watching the NFL Draft

I can’t quite figure out what I’d like to say about the NFL Draft. Yes, I’ll be watching it tonight and tweeting about it as well. But this year, more than any I can remember just has a ton of, let’s call them, “intricacies” that I’m having a hard time dealing with.

The number one pick will almost certainly be a man who has what can graciously be called an insanely checkered past and no real indication that his behavior will improve with the millions of dollars that will be headed his way. With all of the recent image concerns the NFL has been dealing with it amazes me that Jameis Winston could still be a day 2 pick, much less first overall.

We see smaller transgressions like Shane Ray and his recent possession issue. This of course gives scouts the option of saying, “Well the turf toe injury was one thing but when you combine it with this…” as if the two events have any sort of correlation.

We can also turn our attention to whatever seems to be going on with La’el Collins. It’s certainly concerning that we haven’t heard anything to the effect of, “he’s assisting the investigation in any way he can.” I’ll reserve judgement on the rest of this until more information comes out.

And there’s one story that bothers me in a different way. Randy Gregory is plummeting down draft boards. He’s being labeled as someone who might not have the mental toughness to go through the rigors of an NFL season. Where are they getting this from? Well it’s believed that Gregory suffers from some sort of anxiety issue.
We’ve seen athletes with special concerns in the past. The most recent one I can remember is Royce White of the NBA. Gregory is being punished for having something other than a cloudy past. Multi-Million dollar organizations are completely writing off a talented player because it might mean putting in just a small amount more of effort in assisting him.

The list goes on, with many more players. Nobody is perfect, and I don’t hold professional athletes to any sort of golden standard. It just seems like this year, more than others in the past I’m hoping that there are players my team specifically doesn’t pick. I also see teams disappointing me by further downgrading a player who might have an addiction issue, and writing it off with an injury concern. And wholly ignoring a player with a potential anxiety problem.

Yes, I’ll be watching the NFL Draft. And yes, I’ll talk about prospects from a football standpoint. It is just less than inspiring to see, “character concerns” be condemned last season, while they are ignored when evaluating the incoming class of rookies. But I guess, those who don’t learn from history…

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ep 12 NFL Draft 2015 Part 2

One episode of draft coverage just wasn’t enough to cover the prospects. Part 2 of the NFL Draft covers rookies that will be selected in rounds 2-4. And fear not! Christoper Cheung (@FFPriceCheck) is back with some heavy hitting dynasty analysis as well.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ep 11 NFL Draft 2015 Part 1

The Fantasy Force Podcast is back! Christopher Chung (@FFPriceCheck) and I talk about some of the top prospects entering this year’s NFL Draft. Come back tomorrow where we cover prospects in rounds 2-4.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Agent Frenzy: QBs

Quite possibly the best thing about Fantasy Football is that there’s no true season. Yeah, of course the 16/17 weeks where you’re playing head to head matches is the real meat and potatoes of it all, but there is always something happening in the NFL that hardcore fantasy players (or writers looking for offseason articles) can hear about. Yes, we’re so far away from even preseason games that I cry a little just thinking about it. In addition to learning more about the players entering the draft I’ll be talking about this year’s top free agents by position and where they might land.

First though we need to take a look at what teams are in the market for a QB and what type they’re looking for. Teams in need of a starting caliber QB include the Buccaneers, Jets, Texans, Bills, and Rams. It’s also important to note that there are teams that desperately need a backup in case of things like a sophomore slump, nagging injury, or mentor role. These teams include the Cardinals, who might enter the regular season with 10 QBs on the active roster, just to be safe. The 49ers, Raiders, Cowboys, and Browns should be in the market for capable backups. Even the Jets, Chargers, Seahawks, Vikings and Titans could add some depth at the position to have some QB2 battles in camp and the preseason. Now on to the free agent arm candy…get it? because they throw the, nevermind…

1. Mark Sanchez- Being the top QB in a free agency class usually means you’re a solid player. This year things seem a little less than rosy. Sanchez had a rough go of things after taking over the Eagles offense in place of an injured Nick Foles, though Jordan Matthews owners appreciated the extra targets. The lowlight came when after facing the Seahawks in week 14 Michael Bennett referred to Sanchez as,”trying to impersonate a good quarterback.” Nevertheless there is a market for the guy and if he doesn’t return to the Eagles he could find himself with a familiar face. Yeah that’s right, I think Mark Sanchez could end up in Buffalo with Rex Ryan. Now I’m not saying this is a great move, but it’s one of only a few truly open QB jobs in the league today. We all know Sanchez wants to be a starter in the league and this might be his best bet. I think Cleveland might also work and even the Rams are a possibility, but if Sanchez moves, it’s most likely going to be back to the AFC East.

2. Brian Hoyer- Let’s go back a little over a year ago. the Browns had just moved an under producing Trent Richardson to the Colts. At that moment things seemed more dismal than usual for the Browns, which is saying something. Then in steps hometown kid Brian Hoyer, another Brady backup in a new city looking to take the reigns of a team. Watching Hoyer play in those few games was truly entertaining. The QB had a sharp zip on his passes and the Browns aerial attack was looking formidable with Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon *sigh*. Now Hoyer, the guy who has twice breathed life into the Browns offense is on the open market. Hoyer is a guy who can take care of business on the field for about three years while you’re hopefully grooming a young player. This means he could land with the Bills, the Titans, or stay in Cleveland. Mike Pettine seems unwilling to put any faith in a Johnny Manziel era starting next season so Cleveland would be wise to lock up the QB with a 2 year deal. However, reports are that the Browns and Hoyer are, “drifting apart” from one another. I think Tennessee makes sense because if they nab Hoyer they can dangle that #2 pick out in front of Chip Kelly’s face and watch the Eagles trade away two number one picks and the better part of a draft class for Mariota. Hoyer would have a good shot at getting the starting gig and I would begin figuring out how to hype Justin Hunter yet again.

3. Jake Locker- Speaking of the Titans we have their former 1st round pick to talk about. Locker might possess the best impressive to frustrating talent combo of any QB in fantasy football. He was once the rookie who stepped in for an injured Matt Hasselbeck and looked like he was going to run the Titans for years. Now…not so much. In fact, Locker might not find a big market for his talents. If Hoyer is a guy who can run a team for up to three years Locker might be the guy for an 8-10 game stretch before getting benched after falling off. Remember when I said the cardinals need another backup or 7? Well I think this would be a prime deal for both sides. If the Cards can ink Locker to a 1 year deal He’ll get to work with offensive guru Bruce Arians and maybe the Cradinals would have a legitimate plan for the inevitable Carson Palmer retirement. I know Drew Stanton did a fine job taking over in relief of Palmer last year but if the Cardinals want to ball out in the NFC West they need to plan as if Palmer isn’t going to be on the team this year, so in two years when he actually isn’t they are not feeling queasy. This move makes wonderful football sense so it only has about a 3% chance of actually happening.

4. Ryan Mallett- The second Brady backup on this list. Man, someday I hope there’s a free agent class of Hoyer, Mallett, and Cassell. Acquired by the Texans in a trade last year to more or less give Bill O’Brien a familiar face. Mallett looked, well, I don’t know, serviceable in his playing time. Early reports are that he’s getting the Texans starting gig so it looks like he’s staying away from the possibility of being tackled by JJ Watt which would definitely be my move if I was a QB. I’d be the backup practice squad QB for the Texans over suiting up as a starter for the Jags and you know my reason? There’s literally no way JJ Watt can sack me if I’m on his team. Mallett will probably end up with a 2 or 3 year deal with a good portion of the money up front this year so if the move to Tom Savage is made in a season or two it’ll be an easy cap break for Houston.

5. Josh McCown- The free man among all of the, “pending free agents,” McCown who was released by Tampa Bay is taking meetings with many teams. McCown is taking more meetings than movie stars take talk show appearances. McCown is talking meetings like he’s trying to see which jersey perfectly matches his eye color. McCown is taking meetings like he has a bunch of frequent flyer miles that are going to expire. I tweeted about it yesterday but the only reason we’re hearing so much about him is that due to him being released, McCown is available to meet with teams now while the other free agents must wait until March 10th. Specifically 4 P.M. on March 10th. The past two years have told us just about all we need to know about McCown. He can’t start for your squad, but he’ll be a good backup who can assist a younger player. So far McCown has sat down with Buffalo, the Jets, and the Bears where he has a familiarity with both John Fox and Adam Gase dating back to Carolina and Detroit respectively. McCown would be a solid candidate to land with the Jets. He’ll most likely ride behind Geno Smith and if Geno keeps doing what he does McCown will be a starter for Gang Green in no time. It opens up the Jets draft so they won’t be thrown into full on panic mode if the top two QBs are gone by #6. This, just like the Locker move makes so much sense it has to happen, so it won’t. We can put the percentage of my Locker AND McCown predictions both happening somewhere around winning the lottery right as a bolt of lightning hits you.

Posted in Fantasy Football, Quarterbacks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Monday Blues

Any casual reader/follower of The Fantasy Force knows that I’m a New York Jets fan. Amazingly so I haven’t been a Jets fan my whole life. It all started in 2009. I finished my first semester in college and football (and fantasy) season was on the horizon with a star studded NFL rookie class. I enjoyed playing and watching the game so much that I figured it would be even better if I personally invested myself in a team.
And so began a hypothetical season of The Bachelor with me and my 32 potential matches. I had always been a fan of Ladanian Tomlinson in high school so the Chargers were in. The Texans were still new enough that I could root for them and still feel like I got in on the ground floor. And then there were the local teams. The Giants were there, had their guy at QB, playmakers and personalities were bountiful. And last there was the Jets…
The team had not been great and they were dumping then Head Coach Eric Mangini (cue the “Mangenius” Sopranos scene). Word was they were the favorites to land Ravens defensive mastermind Rex Ryan. The trash talking swagger master was going to bring along some of his Baltimore field lieutenants as well like Bart Scott.
The decision was made before I knew what happened. I was a Jets fan. From the, “I’m not here to kiss his rings” press conference I knew I made the right decision. With a monstrous offensive line, Thomas Jones, and a star in the making in Mark Sanchez, everything was great. Oh and that defense, it was everything we were expecting. True smash mouth football. They’d hit you and while you were getting up they’d tell the nearest microphone just how hard they hit you. And the coach was the first guy to do it!
Well it’s not 2009 anymore, and yet it is all over again. I said I wanted to go through the ups and the downs of rooting for one team. And that’s certainly what’s happening. I lost my once ascendant QB last year but it was all fine because I still had the top guy.
Now it’s Black Monday, when head coaches around the league clean out their offices (which my guy did before anyone else because he’s an overachiever).
What made me choose this team is gone. And while I’ll always root for the Jets I’m also going to be a Rex Ryan fan for life as well. It’s bittersweet, it’s sport, it’s life.

Posted in Editorials | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Season on the IR

This post is roughly 10 or so weeks late but there’s a reason for that.

The first year of The Fantasy Force was hastily done. Set up on the day the 2013 season began as a way for me to keep my writing sharp it was fun and I was shocked when I built up a small audience and gained some fans who would tweet me lineup questions on Sundays. It was something I always wanted to try and it ended up being a ton of fun so I decided to give it a go for the full 2014 season.

The idea of podcasting came to me for the new season and I invested in a microphone, made sure I had stats and interesting things to say for episodes, and reached out to a friend who was musically inclined for a theme song. Things started rolling and all of a sudden I was doing division recaps, making pre season rankings, and establishing a league for fans to compete with me in.

The first few weeks of the season went by and while adjusting to a new work schedule I was still managing to put out articles. I was knocking out questions on Twitter and most of my preseason picks were working out nicely. Then one day I open up my laptop and see the image at the top here.

My research tool, my recording studio, my everything for The Fantasy Force was behind those cracked pixels. Dejected I stuck to Twitter answering questions and tweeting out my thoughts Monday mornings as I headed to work (via public transportation, don’t text and drive).

So rather than dwell on the subject I just offer this up as an explanation for the lack of posts and podcasts this season.

As far as the future goes, I’ve renewed as a domain so I will be returning next year prior to the rookie draft. I’ll be doing offseason pieces as well looking at different strategies for drafts as well as evaluating individual players. Consider me the third year WR who is absolutely going to take off next saeason. For those who have tweeted lineup questions and such thank you for your continued support and the best of luck to you during the championship weeks!

p.s. Be on the lookout next week for another post

Posted in Fantasy Football | Leave a comment

Moving On

I’ll never forget how her hair looked in the sun, the way it shined. It was March 22nd, 2011. I skipped a day of classes at school and got together with a friend in New York City as she was finishing up with a job interview. She met me in Grand Central Terminal when I got off the train and after a hug and some chit chat we made the decision to head out in search of that most essential of beverages: coffee. Finding a surprisingly not so packed Starbucks we sat down and talked about how long it had been since we’d seen each other, how her interview went, and how excited we were to spend some time together after not seeing each other for a long while.

Having no real plan for the day, after leaving with caffeine coursing through our systems we hopped on a subway and headed towards the Chelsea district. We ended up exiting a few stops early and decided to head to Union Square Park so we could engage in one of our all time favorite activities: people watching. Finding a spot on some steps we sat and talked about how school was going for me, how work was going for her, and how the mutual friend who introduced us was doing.

Now at this point I should tell you that I was occasionally only half listening to what she was saying. This is because I just couldn’t stop looking at her. We hadn’t hung out sometime north of 4 months, and I remembered that she was attractive, but sitting down with her, talking about life, and laughing at terrible jokes we both made, I noticed how stunning she was. And that hair. She was a redhead and there was just something about the way the sunlight was catching it.

We were just friends and any time either one of us made a move it was met with reproach by the other. But something felt different this time. After a little internal debate I decided I was going to go for it. I slid in a little closer, waited for a chance, and went for it. Absolute magic. Fireworks went off, people started cheering, and confetti fell from the sky…or at least that’s what happened in my head.

We spent another 6 hours together that day. I walked her back to Grand Central where she got on a train back to Connecticut. The train hadn’t yet pulled out of the station when she texted that she missed me.

To move all this along I’ll speed it up here. Fast forward 6 months later and we’re both rude to each other when we text…if we remember to. Phone calls don’t go past 15 minutes before someone hangs up abruptly in anger and frustration. The writing was on the wall for a while before she ends it. We don’t speak anymore.

And for a while there I just couldn’t realize how something so great went off the rails so quickly. I struggled with it for a long time and never came up with a satisfactory answer. I still haven’t. And for whatever reason it took a long time for me to let that go and move on.  Sometimes things just don’t work out like they once did on paper.

Fantasy owners know this feeling well. We see something on paper and it looks amazing, be it our rosters immediately after the draft, the depth chart status of a sleeper by week 1, or a cakewalk matchup to be exploited against a weak opponent. But sometimes, they just don’t work out. And it happens to writers too, sometimes what we see happen in training camp, preseason, and media statements just don’t play out how we expect it.

So now I’m moving on from some players (or notions) I was once enamored with.

Cam Newton as a Top 5 QB: If there’s one positive to this (and there really isn’t) it’s that you didn’t give up a ridiculously high pick to get SuperCam. And I was a HUGE advocate of drafting him, and I was VERY wrong. The cracked rib was really the alarm here. Cam has a good arm, not great, but good. His arm is made much more dangerous when paired with his running. We haven’t seen much of either this season and probably won’t until the later part of the year. Don’t bank on Cam getting you there.

The Justin Hunter Breakout: Oh man this one got me good. You hear the reports that he’s gotten bigger heading into camp so he can be more physical at the line: good start. The countless, “unstoppable goalline fade” pieces by reporters: building steam. The, “J-A-G” story in practice and his on field response to it: I’m all in. And then…nothing…well not quite nothing, after a heartbreaking first half in week one the Titans come out in the second half and immediately get a long distance connection from Locker to Hunter. The breakout is happening…But that now seems like more of a flash in the pan than a sign of dominance for a decade to come. Don’t worry though, if it doesn’t work out this year he’ll be on every writer’s, “Third Year Wideout Rule” list.

Cordarrelle Patterson being Josh Gordon: What’s worse than Justin Hunter being flat so far? A high upside WR, with a coach who knows what to do with him, an absolute breakout week 1…and then whoever has been on the field for the Vikings in that #84 jersey the past 3 weeks. There’s a chance I bench CPatt this week in a league where I have 2 flex spots in addition to 3 WR spots. He’ll have some crazy games here and there, but if you don’t know when they’ll happen he might as well be like Tavon Austin. My confidence is severely shaken.

Kenny Stills becoming the truth in New Orleans: A late round flyer not panning out happens a bunch. But I’ve been driving the Kenny Stills bandwagon since before mini-camp! Without knowing the guy at all I want him to succeed so bad I can feel it. When he dashes down the field I can be heard yelling at Drew Brees to sling it to him. Stills has even shown up as my low value flex position in DFS leagues this year to no real luck. So believe me when I say I’m rooting for him, because I’ve put money behind it

LeSean McCoy being the Safest Fantasy Draft Pick: UGH it’s definitely the offensive line, yeah, they’re the problem…but Sproles is running pretty well. WAIT it’s SPROLES, he’s what’s robbed the golden boy of fantasy…but he’s not really stealing touches that McCoy would have had. It’s Chip??? Nah that’s probably not it. McCoy will find his groove, fantasy owners will just have to tough it out, but when you draft a guy first overall you don’t expect to have to tough out the first few weeks, that’s not what you’re paying for. Whatever hasn’t been clicking will start soon, you just have to make sure your team is still breathing when it does.



Reuben Randle being a TD machine in NY: Now he did just have his best game of the young season, but with OBJ returning and Donnell looking better every game I just don’t know if Randall’s ascension into the 12 TD club will happen. The only thing going for him is that OBJ is under 6′ and that will keep Randle on the field in the redzone. That is why I hereby state that I reserve the right to have this last one stricken completely from the public record. It may not be used against me in bar bets, tweets, or good old fashioned trash talk.

So there you have it the 5/6/5 fantasy outcomes that I am washing my hands of. Everything once looked so great, but now I just can’t hope like I did a mere 5 weeks ago. Flowers wilt, relationships crumble, and fantasy players disappoint. These are facts of life that we all must accept.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this.

As a reminder if you have any waiver, trade, or lineup questions you can tweet me @TheFantasyForce

Posted in Fantasy Football, Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Should All Know Better

I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. Maybe around week 8. But I would grind it out and have something to show for it. Then again around week 12 and I’d rebound and hit a good stride to close out the season. But writers block in week 2? That’s insane. And yet here I am. Sitting in front of my laptop for the third time with nothing. But I checked around and it looked like I wasn’t the only one with this problem. It’s just that it seems so difficult to find something positive this week. The Devon Still story is amazing ( ) and you should read about it if you haven’t. The Saints made it even better too but it just took a backseat to everything else.

Sunday night I started to to work on a piece about overreacting and which types of cases it’s good on and which times you’re jumping the gun. I woke up Monday morning, opened up Twitter and immediately put that story in a drawer.

I got working on something Wednesday, picked up steam on it Thursday night and was putting the finishing touches on it Friday afternoon. That story won’t end up seeing the light of day now either.

I won’t talk about the details on either situation. More and more will be uncovered on both accounts and ESPN, the Associated Press, and a whole host of newspapers will have better coverage of these issues than I would be able to provide.

The only relevant thing I have to say is that both men should have known better. Anyone should know better.

It’s not acceptable to hit anyone, not women, not children, not other men outside of a football field. If you can’t solve something with words then get away from that situation.

You don’t punch a woman in the face because you’re arguing with her. Ray Rice should know better. In Goodell’s case you don’t have an abused woman sit down with her abuser as you try and speak with them about the attack. The most precursory search online tells you that that’s the wrong thing to do. Roger Goodell should have known better.

You don’t beat a child toddler with a switch because they won’t listen to you, they’re toddlers and the fact that they won’t always listen shouldn’t be something we have to explain anymore. I don’t care that Adrian Peterson used the same discipline on his son that he got when he was a kid. Adrian Peterson should know better. You can say he didn’t mean to harm his son, but the moment he got that switch that’s exactly what he was doing. There are many more unsavory details of the abuse that are being uncovered but for now we’ll leave it at that.

And last, there are the NFL fans. The people who showed up to Thursday night’s game wearing Ray Rice jersey’s. The woman who stood as cars passed supporting Rice and talking about second chances as if it’s out of the question that Rice has never done anything like this before (and wouldn’t again). Men are proudly taking selfies and supporting a guy who punched his wife in the face! I DONT UNDERSTAND WHY WE ARE DOING THIS. I don’t know why there was someone tailgating at the Vikings game who wore a Peterson jersey and walked around with a switch. These people should know better. It’s not funny in the slightest. The people who say things about Ray Rice like, “I saw the video. That’s their personal business, and it shouldn’t have affected his career. I don’t agree with domestic violence, but she’s still with him, so obviously it wasn’t that big of a deal. Everyone should just drop it” via CBS – The people who are spouting off lines like, “Well you can’t tell someone how to parent their child.” Really? Well yeah I guess you can’t but what you can do is have the courts tell them that their version of, “parenting” is abuse. These fans should know better. We all should.

I have no clever end for this. No fantasy tie in. The game that I love doesn’t deserve that. Continue enjoying Fantasy Football.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

We’re Finally Here

I never liked the first day of school. From tearing up during the Pledge of Allegiance in kindergarten all the way up to my final semester of college where I don’t even think I shaved to look extra sharp for that first day. It was just a bunch of build up and no payoff. You get hyped for the first day and then you just end up having to introduce yourself a ton in between forgetting the various names of people who just said hello. It’s overrated. And since every good fantasy owner spends enough time researching players that the game practically ends up being a class unto itself I’ve always found school to be a solid comparison for parts of the season.

So if I was always less than enthused with the thought of the first day, why do I LOVE the first game of the season? It’s because for fantasy owners the first day isn’t tonight.The first day was when we looked at preliminary rankings. We introduced ourselves to the new class of rookies, and over analyzed the first reports out of mini camp. We delved through coach speak and the constant mantra that competition is everything and that no starting spot is safe. We’ve waded through QB battles, RB depth charts, and WR target breakdowns. We’ve talked about deep sleepers like they’re can’t miss players and we’ve somehow said that Marshawn Lynch is a risky pick.

By the time training camp, Hard Knocks, and the preseason were all said and done it was well past the first day. This to me is more like the beginning of the third week of classes where you’re starting to get a feel for the material. You know what your professor expects, the workload hasn’t become ridiculous yet, and you’ve even started to talk to the cute girl that you have Art History and English with. Everything is great right now, we can focus on watching football, real football (because we all know the preseason just didn’t cut it).

And while we’re on the subject of real football, let’s not forget why we’re here…Fantasy Football

Luckily the fantasy advice for this game is pretty straightforward. For the Packers you’re starting Rodgers, Lacy, Nelson, and Cobb. When it comes to the Seahawks You’re starting Wilson, Lynch, Harvin, and the Seattle D/ST. You gotta love teams that don’t give you too much debate. Don’t get cute with matchups or anything either, there’s plenty of time for that 3 weeks from now.

If you have any questions you can comment below or tweet me @TheFantasyForce

Posted in Fantasy Football, Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You’re Going to Be Hearing A Lot of This

So Sam Bradford is lost for the year with a torn ACL. This is (obviously) a crushing blow to Bradford who really did seem to have the confidence of both the coaches and the ownership in St. Louis. The question now becomes: what do the Rams do to move on? Shaun Hill is there and we’ve seen him be more than capable at the NFL level before. However, I have what I’m sure is a not so outlandish thought. Why don’t the Rams try and trade for Mark Sanchez?

It’s ok, I’ll give you a second to crack a joke there. But when you really think about it, it’s a move that makes too much sense not to happen.

Sanchez has been on fire since landing in Philly just a few short months ago. He has a zip on his passes again and is showing a nice combo of accuracy and touch when needed. Also, for what it’s worth, I personally believe he was never that bad of a QB with the Jets, but provided a convenient scapegoat for when the wheels started to come off after reaching the AFC Championship game two years in a row. Whats more is that Sanchez would be reunited with Brian Schottenheimer, his old QB coach turned OC in New York.

So this is a no-brainer right? Actually, not quite, for a few reasons actually. In a sheer business sense, the Eagles have all the leverage in any hypothetical trade talks. The Rams would vastly overpay for a QB who doesn’t have an entire offseason to prepare with new teammates. Sure, reuniting with an old coach is a nice story on paper but it’s not like the offense is the same in STL as it was in NY. Sanchez would have to learn a whole new playbook, and if you think that’s easy to do just tell me where Josh Freeman is after being run out of town by Greg Schiano and then thrust into the Vikings huddle. Sanchez won’t have timing down with his WRs either, and if you think THAT doesn’t matter, ask Tom Brady what it’s like going from vets like Wes Welker and Randy Moss to new guys like Dobson and Thompkins.

Last thing, Mark Sanchez hasn’t actually revived his career yet. Sure he looks great after a few months with Chip Kelly. But this has all been preseason action. Do I think there’s a legitimate chance Foles sort of falls off this season and Sanchez takes the reigns and reminds everyone why he was a top draft pick in his day? Not really (although the Sanchez fan in me wants that). And Sanchez knows this. So read about the trade rumors all you want, I think that’s one of the more entertaining things to read about in sports because we all get to fel like GMs even if it’s only for a second. But just know that there’s no chance this happens.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tell Your Friends

I made this announcement on Twitter last night but it didn’t feel official, this post should correct that.

If I pass 300 followers on Twitter before the regular season begins I will do a special 10 minute podcast episode rapping.

This is not a joke.

So get out there, tell friends, relatives, coworkers, league mates, basically anyone and everyone who plays fantasy football.

You can also use the hashtag #FFRapCast and I’ll pick some people randomly and invite them into The Fantasy Force Fan League where the winner receives an NFL jersey of their choice.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ep. 10 SAFF Mock and Preseason Notes

Late night podcast with a ton of shout outs! I talk a bit about the SAFF mock and what we should be looking for when we’re watching preseason games.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ep. 9 WR/TE Rankings Talk

In this episode I talk a little about what made who land where for my WR and TE Rankings.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Coin Flip” Draft Picks (ESPN Edition)

This started out as a simple article about two players who’s Average Draft Position (ADP) were roughly 2-6 spots from each other, meaning you were only likely to grab one (I decided to use and for my ADP figures). Then the research started…I thought I would browse ADPs and find players that were around one another in both and make a case for the one I liked. However, it quickly became apparent that  finding two sets of guys who were both being drafted near one another on both websites proved more than a little difficult. So to clear all this up I’ll be doing two versions of this post (and I hate to mix sports metaphors) to cover all my bases. So here is the ESPN version.

Doug Martin (14) and Arian Foster (11) – Somehow this is a thing…Doug Martin is on average going 14th overall with Foster going 11th. If you’re in a 12 team league on ESPN you probably don’t have a shot at nabbing both. However, I can put this to bed quickly, you want Foster. In my own ranks (updated today) I have Martin moving from 19th outside my top 20 at 25, and Foster is my #7 RB and couldn’t possibly fall past #10. With the news of Carl Nicks being released from the Bucs I can’t see Martin being a guy you would have any confidence starting. Foster on the other hand is the bell cow in Houston where they’ve taken steps to upgrade their line. One last thing: Pro Football Focus graded the Texans 12th overall at run blocking while the Bucs finished 5th worst. And that was before they lost Zuttah, Joseph, and Nicks. Plus, it’s hard not to want to draft a guy who is just trying to be the best teammate possible.

Trent Richardson (53) and Andre Ellington (50) – Going back to Pro Football Focus here: Andre Ellington had 5 games last season where he didn’t get a positive rushing grade from PFF, in comparison Trent Richardson had five games where he DID receive a positive rushing grade. Just to put that all together, on the season Richardson finished with a -5.7 (-6.1 rush) and Ellington +13.9 (7.6 rush). With a coach that has more confidence in him, a vastly upgraded offensive line, and a markedly increased workload coming up, it seems like a no brainer that Ellington should be surpassing Richardson on your draft day boards.

 Joique Bell (73) and Sammy Watkins (70) – Sammy Watkins didn’t have a single reception in the Hall of Fame game!!! That means he’s the biggest bust in Buffalo Bills history RIGHT? Yeah this might as well be the reaction when people even bother writing about preseason stats. I’ve been saying for a while now that I like the value Robert Woods gives you, if you’re going to be drafting a Bills WR. I can’t recall a single mock where I’ve grabbed Watkins and neither should you. Joique Bell however provides exceptional value at his current spot. With Mike Lombardi in Detroit most are predicting a Pierre Thomas type role for Bell. While I don’t like assuming Lombardi is transferring everything from New Orleans I can safely say that it doesn’t matter. Bell finished 16th last year in scoring at RB and no matter what the system, he is poised for more work. You can (and should) wait on an RB2 this year and when you do, make sure you get Bell.

Tavon Austin (143) and Jeremy Hill (147) – I can’t figure out why everybody loves Tavon Austin. Sure he’ll go off and win you two or three weeks, but that doesn’t matter when he scores zero points and loses you another 7. And yes, 7 was the number of times Austin went out and put up a goose egg. Maybe that number will drop to 5 this year… Then there’s Jeremy Hill. I said on the last pod that BJGE finished 30 at RB last year, so I think it’s more than safe to assume that is the floor when we’re talking about Hill, who will inherit the Law Firm’s role and then some this year. Hill is a must own handcuff for Giovani Bernard owners this year and will even pay off if you don’t own have the standout of last year’s Hard Knocks. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Hill’s name in the top 25 finishers at RB by the end of the season.

Posted in Fantasy Football, Running Backs, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ep. 8 QB/RB Rankings Talk

Outside of the rankings update it’s been a bit since the last new post up here so I’m happy to say this new pod has some of the reasons players fell in certain spots for my QBs and RBs. The WR and TE pod will be out Thursday and that will have a ton of sleepers. Check out the end of the episode for a BIG announcement.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

D/ST Rankings

Hey everyone, the NFC West is a brutal division to be in! One single division is responsible for four of my top five fantasy defenses. Each one of them has something unique to fear and of course the Seahawks rank as the best of the bunch. In fact, as long as the L.O.B. is in Seattle, I can’t imagine them not being the top ranked D/ST…and that’s before you factor in Percy Harvin and the return game.

  1. Seahawks
  2. Panthers
  3. 49ers
  4. Rams
  5. Cardinals
  6. Bengals
  7. Saints
  8. Patriots
  9. Chiefs
  10. Browns
  11. Broncos
  12. Buccaneers
  13. Colts
  14. Jets
  15. Steelers
  16. Titans
  17. Ravens
  18. Giants
  19. Bills
  20. Lions
  21. Jaguars
  22. Packers
  23. Eagles
  24. Raiders
  25. Bears
  26. Vikings
  27. Texans
  28. Falcons
  29. Dolphins
  30. Washington
  31. Chargers
  32. Cowboys
Posted in Defense/Special Teams, Fantasy Football | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

K Rankings

Let your friends tell you kickers don’t matter in fantasy. Let them tell you they’re all the same. Let them laugh when you grab Gostkowski, Prater, or Tucker just one round early when they’re grabbing their 7th WR (that they’ll drop 2 weeks into the season). And when you pull off that one point victory because your kicker made a 50-yard field goal on Monday night…smile and continue to act like kickers don’t matter.

  1. Stephen Gostkowski
  2. Matt Prater
  3. Justin Tucker
  4. Steven Hauschka
  5. Mason Crosby
  6. Nick Novak
  7. Dan Bailey
  8. Nick Folk
  9. Blair Walsh
  10. Adam Vinateri
  11. Robbie Gould
  12. Greg Zurlein
  13. Dan Bailey
  14. Shayne Graham
  15. Alex Henry
  16. Graham Gano
  17. Ryan Succop
  18. Matt Bryant
  19. Shaun Suisham
  20. Jay Feely
  21. Sebastian Janikowski
  22. Dan Carpenter
  23. Caleb Sturgis
  24. Mike Nugent
  25. Randy Bullock
  26. Kai Forbath
  27. Josh Brown
  28. Connor Barth
  29. Josh Scobee
  30. Billy Cundiff
Posted in Fantasy Football, Kickers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

TE Rankings

All due respect to Tony Gonzalez, but Jimmy Graham is revolutionizing the TE position today in the NFL (and fantasy owners appreciate it). If you need any evidence of that just note where his ADP is this season. He’s the only tight end to warrant a first round selection. Even though the league is starting to stock up on the pass catching big men it really is Jimmy Graham and then everyone else.

  1. Jimmy Graham
  2. Julius Thomas
  3. Rob Gronkowski
  4. Jordan Cameron
  5. Vernon Davis
  6. Jason Witten
  7. Jordan Reed
  8. Dennis Pitta
  9. Martellus Bennett
  10. Kyle Rudolph
  11. Greg Olsen
  12. Charles Clay
  13. Delanie Walker
  14. Dwayne Allen
  15. Eric Ebron
  16. Zach Ertz
  17. Ladarius Green
  18. Antonio Gates
  19. Heath Miller
  20. Jared Cook
  21. Jace Amaro
  22. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
  23. Tyler Eifert
  24. Ryan Griffin
  25. Coby Fleener
  26. Owen Daniels
  27. C.J. Fiedorowicz
  28. Richard Rodgers
  29. Scott Chandler
  30. Travis Kelce
Posted in Fantasy Football, Tight Ends | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

WR Rankings

Wide Receivers, more than any other position in fantasy football separate championship teams from those that miss the playoffs entirely. A large part of this is due to a lack of predictability at the position. Combine that with a scarcity of top tier talent and that is why having an elite receiving option is big to NFL and fantasy teams.

  1. Demaryius Thomas
  2. Dez Bryant
  3. Calvin Johnson
  4. Brandon Marshall
  5. AJ Green
  6. Jordy Nelson
  7. Antonio Brown
  8. Julio Jones
  9. Randall Cobb
  10. Alshon Jeffery
  11. DeSean Jackson
  12. Andre Johnson
  13. Vincent Jackson
  14. Pierre Garcon
  15. Victor Cruz
  16. Wes Welker
  17. Keenan Allen
  18. Michael Crabtree
  19. Michael Floyd
  20. Torrey Smith
  21. Roddy White
  22. Jeremy Maclin
  23. Cordarrelle Patterson
  24. T.Y. Hilton
  25. Larry Fitzgerald
  26. Percy Harvin
  27. Reggie Wayne
  28. Mike Wallace
  29. Emmanuel Sanders
  30. Eric Decker
  31. Kendall Wright
  32. James Jones
  33. Terrance Williams
  34. Golden Tate
  35. Anquan Boldin
  36. Julian Edelman
  37. DeAndre Hopkins
  38. Sammy Watkins
  39. Justin Hunter
  40. Marques Colston
  41. Dwayne Bowe
  42. Mike Evans
  43. Hakeem Nicks
  44. Jarrett Boykin
  45. Greg Jennings
  46. Doug Baldwin
  47. Kenny Stills
  48. Markus Wheaton
  49. Brandin Cooks
  50. Stevie Johnson
  51. Reuben Randle
  52. Brian Hartline
  53. Cecil Shorts
  54. Riley Cooper
  55. Danny Amendola
  56. Rod Streater
  57. Harry Douglas
  58. Andrew Hawkins
  59. Kelvin Benjamin
  60. Marvin Jones
  61. Kenny Britt
  62. Steve Smith
  63. Brandon LaFell
  64. Odell Beckham
  65. Andre Roberts
  66. Jericho Cotchery
  67. Lance Moore
  68. Robert Woods
  69. Jordan Matthews
  70. Marquise Lee
  71. Denarius Moore
  72. Allen Robinson
  73. Kenbrell Thompkins
  74. Jeremy Kerley
  75. Tavon Austin
  76. Aaron Dobson
  77. Stephen Hill
  78. Paul Richardson
  79. Jerome Simpson
  80. Charles Johnson
Posted in Fantasy Football, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

RB Rankings

A dependable RB 1 is the most crucial and sough after position in fantasy football. And while 2013 was historically bad for first round Running Backs this year holds many more safe options. Yes, the NFL is turning into a passing league, and that is why workhorse backs are more valuable than ever. No matter what type of league you are in, productive Running Backs are the key to victory in every fantasy format.

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. LeSean McCoy
  3. Matt Forte
  4. Jamaal Charles
  5. Eddie Lacy
  6. Marshawn Lynch
  7. Arian Foster
  8. Montee Ball
  9. Le’veon Bell
  10. Zac Stacy
  11. DeMarco Murray
  12. Alfred Morris
  13. Giovani Bernard
  14. Ryan Matthews
  15. Reggie Bush
  16. Frank Gore
  17. CJ Spiller
  18. Ben Tate
  19. Joique Bell
  20. Steven Jackson
  21. Andre Ellington
  22. Chris Johnson
  23. Toby Gerhart
  24. Trent Richardson
  25. Doug Martin
  26. Bishop Sankey
  27. Shane Vereen
  28. Fred Jackson
  29. Stevan Ridley
  30. Rashad Jennings
  31. Pierre Thomas
  32. Lamar Miller
  33. Jeremy Hill
  34. Maurice Jones-Drew
  35. DeAngelo Williams
  36. Ray Rice
  37. Darren Sproles
  38. Darren McFadden
  39. Khiry Robinson
  40. Chris Ivory
  41. Bernard Pierce
  42. Danny Woodhead
  43. Tre Mason
  44. Knowshon Moreno
  45. LeGarrette Blount
  46. Bryce Brown
  47. Andre Brown
  48. Mike Tolbert
  49. Christine Michael
  50. Shonn Greene
  51. Mark Ingram
  52. Donald Brown
  53. Latavius Murray
  54. Terrance West
  55. James Starks
  56. Carlos Hyde
  57. Lorenzo Teliafario
  58. Charles Sims
  59. Devonta Freeman
  60. Knile Davis
  61. CJ Anderson
  62. Roy Helu
  63. Joseph Randle
  64. Ronnie Hillman
  65. Jonathan Dwyer
  66. Jonathan Stewart
  67. David Wilson
  68. Ka’Deem Carey
  69. Mike James
  70. Theo Riddick
  71. Marcus Lattimore
  72. Marcel Reece
  73. Ahmad Bradshaw
  74. Robert Turbin
  75. Jerick McKinnon
  76. Brandon Bolden
  77. Chris Polk
  78. Jacquizz Rodgers
  79. Stepfan Taylor
Posted in Fantasy Football, Running Backs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

QB Rankings

Signal callers can make or break an NFL team and the same goes for your fantasy squad as well. Yes, the talent level is deeper than ever, but owners who are willing to enter a season with Josh McCown as their starting QB will be sorely disappointed when they start 0-4 on the season. The top of the heap are still truly elite. Think of a quality QB as the rug from The Big Lebowski, they really tie the whole team together.

  1. Peyton Manning
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Aaron Rodgers
  4. Cam Newton
  5. Matthew Stafford
  6. Andrew Luck
  7. RGIII
  8. Colin Kaepernick
  9. Nick Foles
  10. Tony Romo
  11. Matt Ryan
  12. Russel Wilson
  13. Jay Cutler
  14. Philip Rivers
  15. Tom Brady
  16. Ben Roethlisberger
  17. Carson Palmer
  18. Ryan Tannehill
  19. Geno Smith
  20. Andy Dalton
  21. Alex Smith
  22. Eli Manning
  23. Jake Locker
  24. Johnny Manziel
  25. Josh McCown
  26. EJ Manuel
  27. Sam Bradford
  28. Matt Cassel
  29. Chad Henne
  30. Matt Schaub
  31. Joe Flacco
  32. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  33. Teddy Bridgewater
  34. Mike Glennon
  35. Brian Hoyer
  36. Zach Mettenberger
  37. Mark Sanchez
  38. Jimmy Garoppolo
  39. Michael Vick
  40. Terrelle Pryor
Posted in Fantasy Football, Quarterbacks | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ep. 7 AFC East Review

The last divisional breakdown is here! The top three questions fantasy owners have for each AFC East team are all answered. Make sure you’re always getting updates by following on Twitter @TheFantasyForce and getting updated from

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ep. 6 NFC East Review

The NFC East Review is here! Full breakdown of the division with the three biggest questions fantasy owners have for each team! Got any questions I didn’t answer? Tweet me @TheFantasyForce

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Players I’m Excited About

Obviously I could write this entire article about the top 10 guys going in drafts. However, for this article I’m looking past ESPN’s top 70 ranked players. This is closer to a sleeper article in that respect, but since the guys here start going around round 7 of mocks these are my guys to keep an eye on. For ease of use I’ve isolated three players out of every set of 10. Think I missed anyone? Don’t like my choices? Comment below!

70-79 Kendall Wright (74), Emmanuel Sanders (76), Mike Wallace (78)

  • Wright: There’s good news all over the Titans offense. The offensive line is improved and now younger with Schwenke, Warmack, and Lewan. Sankey looks like he’s the heir apparent to the starting running gig. And Titans WRs are undervaled in fantasy! Wright will be PPR gold in Ken Wisenhunt’s aerial attack, and will be a solid WR 3 in standard formats.
  • Sanders: Eric Decker was a top 10 WR last season. While Sanders isn’t as big (5’11 to Decker’s 6’3) all we’ve heard is that he’s faster and a far superior wideout by comparison. Denver let Decker walk without even a lowball offer.
  • Wallace: Bill Lazor, who helped Chip Kelly craft his attack for the pros is now in Miami. So you’re telling me that after what you saw from Desean Jackson last season you’re not the least bit intrigued by the deep threat in a Bill Lazor offense? With an upgraded offensive line? And no competition for those deep routes? I thought so…

80-89 Toby Gerhart (80), Terrance Williams (83), Fred Jackson (86)

  • Gerhart: Warning, you probably won’t get Gerhart in the 9th round by August. but in a fantasy world where RB 2 is an overvalued position Toby will provide legitimate value. The line in Jacksonville is largely unproven, but Gus Bradley seems to be getting his guys to play at a high level. No matter who is under center for the Jags, Gerhart will be the focal point of the offense. I’d take that even out of a 6th rounder.
  • Williams: Tony Romo liked throwing to Williams. During his productive stint last year Romo looked at him early and often. Plus Miles Austin is gone. Combine all of this with the fact that he is on a team with a complete offense. A bona fide #1 for opposing defenses to key on, and being on a Scott Linehan offense doesn’t hurt starting WRs. The upside is downright tasty.
  • Jackson: Every year they say it’s the end. Every year is the year of the Spiller takeover. And every year Fred Jackson provides fantasy value way beyond his draft spot. Just like I said about Frank Gore, I’m not going to say Fred Jackson is done until he retires.

90-99 Deangelo Williams (91), DeAndre Hopkins (94), Jordan Cameron (96)

  • Williams: Yes he’s in a timeshare and his TD production isn’t ideally where you want it to be. But he’s a starter and a stable piece on an evolving offense. Williams will get to tote the rock a fair share in Carolina. Getting him in the 10th round means he’s most likely sitting on your bench, able to give you safe production in the event of an injury or an early BYE week for one of your RBs.
  • Hopkins: In the event that anything happens with Andre Johnson and the Texans Hopkins jumps into the #1 role. But that not all there is to like. His 15.4 YPC shows that he knows how to get open and make big plays. Certainly Bill O’Brien will be showing his picture around the QB room so whoever starts knows who to look for.
  • Cameron: Amazingly Cameron has been dropping to the 9th round in fantasy drafts. Which is pretty low for a guy that was recently deemed, “uncoverable.” He’s one of two TEs going outside the top 5 at his position with the shot to crack the top 3. Josh Gordon will certainly miss some time (if not the entire season) and in his absence Cameron will dominate. His stock grows higher is Brian Hoyer is the quarterback of the Browns.

100-109 Dwayne Bowe (101), Shonn Greene (105), Lamar Miller (108)

  • Bowe: I know, I know, I know. Believe me I got burned by him on nearly every team last season. Due to this gigantic disappointment he’s now falling so low in drafts that it’s not hard to draft him anymore. He’s in the 40s at WR with a QB that wants a legitimate deal, and a head coach who has historically drawn elite production out of his #1 WR. Hard to do better for upside out of your 5th wideout on your team.
  • Greene: I just mentioned that Sankey looks like he’s the “bell cow to be” in Tennessee (inadvertent rhyme there but I left it in) but lets entertain a crazy thought. What if Sankey is a bust? Really, what if his first year is a total flop? Or what if Greene plays like a man possessed? Sankey hasn’t played an NFL down and people are already calling him a starter? Wouldn’t that get to you if you were a vet who used to have his own starting gig? Call it hedging my bets, call it a lack of faith in an unproven rookie, call it what you like, but taking Greene on a late pick isn’t as crazy as it sounds.
  • Miller: Knowshon Moreno was apparently disappointing in camp. Lamar Miller was a popular sleeper last season and seemed to get caught up in the disappointment that was the Dolphins offense last season. The line is rebuilt with Brandon Albert, and Ja’Wuan James and there’s the previously mentioned Bill Lazor offensive gameplan. I’m not saying that Miller will be Shady McCoy, but if he starts he’ll produce.

110-119 Dennis Pitta (110), Jeremy Hill (116), Jay Cutler (119)

  • Pitta: The Ravens TE is already one of Joe Flacco’s favorite targets. He’s athletic and big enough to be a redzone difference maker. The Ravens run game will certainly be in shambles regardless of when Ray Rice returns. Put all this together with Gary Kubiak as the OC in Baltimore and his success with Owen Daniels and it’s not hard to see why he’s getting love as a low to mid TE1.
  • Hill: The Law Firm looked dreadfully slow last season and still ranked 30th at RB. Hill has fresh legs and is in the makings of a brand new smash and dash in Cincy with Giovani Bernard. A BYE week/handcuff/injury fill in who becomes much more in case of injury is certainly worth a 12 round stash.
  • Cutler: Time for what may be my top favorite stat this offseason: Jay Cutler and Josh McCown combined to be the #3 QB in fantasy football last year. I’ll follow that up with another stat i’m fond of: the Bears allowed the 4th fewest sacks last year in the NFL. Marc Trestman says Cutler looks better than he’s ever seen him. Now either I can keep going or you can pencil in Jay Cutler as your starting QB after nabbing top RBs and WRs.

120-125 Justin Hunter (120), Latavius Murray (124) Kenny Stills (NR)

  • Hunter: Remember way back at the start of this article where I talked about Kendall Wright? You can go back, I’ll wait. Take all of that and now apply it to a 6’4 WR who ran a 4.36 40 yard dash, who won a state title in the high jump when he was in high school, and had 4 TD catches on only 18 grabs last season. If you thought getting Keenan Allen was great last year just wait until you have Hunter.
  • Murray: I have less doubts about MJD and Run DMC than most, but should both disappoint in camp, preseason, or early in the season Murray is ready for his shot. 6’3 230 and a 4.38 40 time can give even the most cautious of fantasy owners reason to be excited.
  • Stills: Outside the top 125 but anyone who reads the articles here, checks my twitter (@TheFantasyForce), or listens to my podcast knows I’m about as big a Kenny Stills fan as anyone who isn’t directly related to him by blood. The catch rate, the average depth of target, the veteran departures, I’ve talked about Kenny Stills so much that if I don’t get him on just about every team I own this year I will be severely disappointed. You should be too.
Posted in Fantasy Football, Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Tight Ends, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teammates Being Drafted in the Wrong Order

Outside of Julio Jones and Roddy White there isn’t a single set of teammates (at the same position) in fantasy football that you would not only draft, but also feel comfortable starting together on a weekly basis. And while I’m not about to advocate for drafting the following treammates together I’ve noticed in all of my recent mocks that some teammates are going in the wrong order. This could be due to perceived value, name recognition, or maybe the price for one player is way too high.

Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd – This is the pair that started the idea for this article for me. Fitz and Floyd are seeing their fantasy stocks rush in opposite directions. Yet somehow I’m seeing Fitz go a round or two earlier than his teammate. What makes this even more puzzling is that a lot of Fitz’s value last season was dependent on TD receptions (he had 10). I don’t see double digit TD grabs repeating itself and I’m actively avoiding Fitz in drafts, and I’m also grabbing Floyd the round after I see Fitz go. The Cardinals are going to turn some heads this season and Floyd will be a big reason why. His play is electric, and at 6’3 225 he will continue to be a problem for opposing defenses. Floyd will be a top 20 WR this season in Bruce Arians’ vertical attack, Fitzgerald will probably fall in somewhere around 25.

Ben Tate and Terrance West – In a fantasy world where people will say, “injury history” within 10 words of saying DeMarco Murray’s name, I am astounded that Ben Tate is ranked so high. Through his first four seasons in the NFL Tate has missed a total of 24 games due to injury (for comparison’s sake Murray has missed 11 through 3 years). These injuries were all incurred as Arian Foster’s backup. I can’t imagine that giving a guy who has missed over a third of the games of his career a higher workload will solve anything. And then there’s Terrance West. The third round pick who has impressed coaches with his quickness and burst. Pair this with head coach Mike Pettine’s repeated mentions of a RBBC and I have no problem moving Tate down my board some rounds and bumping West up 2/3.

Marques Colston and Kenny Stills – I’ve been a huge booster for Kenny Stills this offseason. He was on my early sleepers list, he someone I’ve been tweeting about whenever I can find a new stat. And he was the topic that closed out the NFC South podcast with some impressive stats. What I find amazing is that I have drafted Stills in every single mock draft I’ve been a part of so far. He’s just falling down draft boards. Meanwhile owners seem to be stuck in the past when looking at Colston. He was once a fringe WR1 but this season for me he won’t even be filling out a flex spot. With Colston’s athleticism on the decline there just isn’t much upside to putting him out there, and I personally don’t like drafting players that I won’t be confident in starting. The Saints are going to be a fast team on offense next season, Stills and rookie Brandin Cooks will benefit, Colston might just get left in their dust.

Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods – This may seem like an underwhelming pair for redraft leagues. However there are some key things to consider. When the Bills traded Stevie Johnson they did so no only because they got Sammy Watkins, but because they have enough faith in Robert Woods stepping it up next season. Hampered a bit by injury last season, Woods will be taking over the slot routes where Johnson made his money. Sammy Watkins also said recently that he needs to work on his chemistry with EJ Manuel. Which brings us to the Bills QB. A former first round pick, Manuel will feel the heat to produce in his second season under center. This means that if there is indeed some sort of chemistry issue with Watkins, Manuel will do what feels comfortable, and last season that looked a whole lot like throwing the ball to Robert Woods.

Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon – This was legitimately the hardest pair to be certain about. This is because a convincing case can be made for either player. However, for me I give the edge to Jackson because of his big play ability. I don’t see either WR regressing into not being useful for fantasy. They are both above average WR 2s. But (no offense to Garcon) Jackson is a special talent who just has a knack for getting open downfield. RGIII has a great deep ball and ones that would have been dropped by Aldrick Robinson last year will be caugh by Jackson this one. Add that all to the fact that DJax has two revenge games marked on his calendar and I start to salivate at the idea of pairing Jackson with an elite fantasy WR or RB on my team.

Posted in Fantasy Football, Running Backs, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ep. 5 NFC South Review

We have the full breakdown of the NFC South. As always if you have any more questions Tweet me @TheFantasyForce or comment below and I’ll get right back to you. Also make sure you’re subscribing here and on (Just click the button on the right) and download their app so you can take The Fantasy Force with you wherever you go.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ep. 4 AFC South Review

This episode is the full breakdown of the AFC South division. As always you can submit any other questions you have for these teams in the comment section below or tweet me @TheFantasyForce. Make sure you’re following on Twitter, subscribed on iTunes and Stitcher, and following the blog here on WordPress.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ep. 3 AFC North Review

Here’s the full AFC North breakdown with the 3 biggest questions fantasy owners have for each team. If you have any questions you can post them here in the comments section. Make sure you’re following the blog, following on Twitter @TheFantasyForce and subscribing on iTunes.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ep. 2 NFC North Review

Latest episode of The Fantasy Force Podcast is up! I talk about the NFC North and all the fantasy value it provides for owners. Got any questions I didn’t answer? disagree with anything I said? Put it in the comments and make sure you follow on Twitter @TheFantasyForce for all fantasy football updates.

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ep. 1 AFC and NFC West Review

The first podcast is here! Enjoy the AFC and NFC West breakdowns. And what do we think about a fan league this season? Have any questions about these teams I didn’t answer? Post them in the comments section and I’ll get right on it!

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fantasy Force…Podcast

That’s right! It’s finally here! In 2014 The Fantasy Force will be podcasting. The debut episode will be coming early next week but until then, enjoy a tease of the intro with theme song by K-Nice!

Posted in Podcasts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Early QB Ranks Sampler

Just a sneak peak at the soon to be published QB ranks. In HANDWRITTEN form!


Posted in Fantasy Football | Leave a comment

Don’t Be That Guy

photo1 (2)

Usually these types of articles are better reserved for some of those leading up to the season type posts. But I saw this and in the moment it moved me so much that I had to write this article. Twitter is a phenomenal website. It breaks news, it provides updates, it gives bloggers a way to build their following (don’t forget to follow with that link on the right). It gives celebrities a way to interact with their fans…or more appropriately it gives fans a way to interact with celebrities.

But too often, Twitter is used like this. A way for a guy who had nothing better to do at that moment than to harass Arian Foster of the Houston Texans, has the chance to do just that. Also just while we’re talking about the tweet itself – Arian Foster didn’t have a bad fantasy year when he was healthy (8 games 542 yards 4.5 YPC). He was every bit the first round pick everyone drafted, then he got injured which can totally happen when 11 premier athletes are trying to tackle you as you run and cut.

It’s a pretty big thrill when someone famous you follow on Twitter responds to you. Even this guy responded back to Foster thanking him. I’ve had it happen a couple times. You look at your phone and you don’t quite recognize that this famous person responded to a random tweet you sent them. It’s a big deal for a bit and if any of your friends know about that person you tell them immediately. I sent a text to a buddy of mine solely because Pacman Jones followed The Fantasy Force on Twitter.

Responding to fans is a double edged sword. If fans know that you interact with them on social media it makes them more prone to complain when they do something you don’t like (ex. getting surgery for a bulging disc in your back). But it’s also this really cool and encouraging thing to see. It’s pretty dope knowing that you @ someone famous and they take a couple seconds out of their day to respond to you. It’s essentially like seeing Arian Foster in line at the bank and working up the stones to say something to him and you guys go on to actually exchange a couple words. That’d be a story you tell for years! And you’re lying if you say otherwise.

Which is why I hate seeing this. This isn’t just bad for that guy who had Foster RT his idiocy. It’s bad for fantasy football. When people ask me what my interests are I excitedly tell them I’m an avid fantasy football player. By now most people have at the very least heard the phrase so even if they aren’t quite sure what it is they knows it’s a thing. And that thing is beautiful.

Fantasy football is doing something amazing. It’s bringing a wide array of people together. There are office leagues which give workers a shot to beat their boss at something. There are family leagues which create new debates at dinner tables and holidays. And there are leagues that I’m in with people that I probably wouldn’t be talking to anymore in my life if it weren’t for our mutual love of fantasy football. And that guy is a black eye for us.

That guy makes us look like children and it’s just embarrassing. I don’t want to tell people I play fantasy football and have them come back with, “oh so you must tweet at athletes when they don’t do well enough for you” That would be mortifying! If you’re angry at a professional athlete for how he or she performed in a game trust me they’re angry at themselves. They don’t have a crucial week 4 matchup with Doug from accounting, or aunt Tina who stumbled into getting Josh Gordon, or Mark from college who has beat you the past 3 years. They have a check riding on it. That’s the money to provide for their family, keep a roof over their heads, and put food on the table.

I don’t want us to be normal. We’re nerdy (face it) we look at practice reports, we’ve Googled what an ACL is, and we know that if the coach would just call a sweep to the weak side the defense would stop clogging the running lanes on trap plays. I just don’t want us to be embarrassing, to have a bad reputation, to look uncouth. Some of you may disagree with me, and that’s fine. In fact I encourage you to tweet me whether or not you think I’m right and why, maybe get it in the comments section and we can all have a debate. But there’s just no way to put a good face on that. That guy wasn’t passionate about Foster’s performance, the Texans’ prospects for the upcoming season, or even fantasy football. He was a troll who could help but fanboy out when he got a response.

You can argue that athletes invite this when they sign up for Twitter, I think they signed up for the same reasons we did. Some will say that athletes need thicker skin. I say some people need less thick skulls.

Posted in Editorials | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Making The Case For…RGIII

Making the case is going to be a brand new article for The Fantasy Force where I’ll examine players who have the potential to either greatly overperform or underperform what the fantasy community is expecting.

And for the inaugural post I’m going to look at one of the most hotly debated players recently. Without further ado…


Robert Griffin III was one of the most exciting players in the league when he debuted but last year we saw a different player. Potentially rushed back from ACL surgery and clearly not 100% Griffin was not the points juggernaut some owners were expecting him to be. The designed QB runs called by Washington were cut down which while it hampered his rushing value a bit kept him safer than if they were being used at his rookie rates.

This upcoming season we’re not going to be talking about RGIII’s rushing as much because his arm will be doing all the work. A lot of that is because of the talent surrounding him, and not just on the field.

Maybe not to us, but this man is terrifying to defensive coordinators.

Jay Gruden was the single most talked about head coaching candidate this offseason and when Washington essentially cleaned house he was their man for the job. And make no mistake, he is the real deal when it comes to offensive minds in the game. Let me break it down with some quick stats. Washington attempted 24 more passes than Cincy last season, but the Bengals completed 9 more passes and outgained the Washington air attack by nearly 400 yards and had 13 more passing touchdowns.



Those are numbers I can get behind. In fact there’s one more number I can get behind: 5. What’s 5? That was where Andy Dalton finished in total points among QBs. ANDY DALTON WAS FANTASY FOOTBALL’S 5TH RANKED QB (standard league scoring). Don’t get me wrong I think he’s a talented QB but not quite 5th. And RGIII has a stronger arm and WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY MORE talented pass catchers than Dalton/Gruden had at their disposal.

Jackson and Garcon can both run a bevy of routes over all areas of the field. Jordan Reed will have a monster year (his position coach is now the OC) and Andre Roberts was in the WR 3 discussion before D Jax hit town so I think combined with a strong run game, Washington is set to rival the Chicago Bears as, “NFL team who provides way more fantasy points and players than you originally thought.”

We know that barring injury to any, that Peyton, Drew, and Aaron will be the top 3 guys at QB but after that it comes down to personal preference. And I sure prefer the QB who has two top dare I say elite options on the outside, a TE that he has chemistry with, and a powerful running game. Oh and as I mentioned before he has a coach who knows how to make an offense click.

Like last year I will be waiting on a QB and if I can get around my unhealthy emotional attachment to Colin Kaepernick (I knew he was a stud when i grabbed him off the waiver wire 2 years ago, it’s a pride thing) I will be grabbing Griffin and making early plans for my championship game smack talk.

Think I missed the mark here? Got any players you’d like me to cover? Comment below and I’ll get it done for you!

Posted in Fantasy Football, Quarterbacks | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Early TE Sleepers

The TE sleeper is an odd player to identify. Especially with the incoming crop of exciting rookies entering the league, there are some tight ends who will be flat out ignored in drafts. However not all is bleak and with injuries always a concern, finding a reliable TE who also has upside is a true asset. Nobody I list here is going to be coming off the board early, in fact the highest drafted TE on this list doesn’t leave the board until the 14th round of 12 team leagues. Also, I can’t decide if the combine uniforms are ridiculous or cool. Feel free to comment below and help me figure this one out.

Mychal Rivera – After Raiders owner Mark Davis botched the answer to who the Raiders foundation is, Head Coach Dennis Allen was given the question and named Rivera as one of his centerpieces. That makes most snarky NFL fans laugh and has others launching into a rant about the current state of the Raiders. For me (and other fantasy owners) that says that Davis is planning with Rivera in mind. He’s no household name and didn’t post any single ‘wow’ game last season but being named as a foundation piece by your head coach speaks volumes. In addition his QB is Matt Schaub who has something of an affinity for throwing to the TE. Schaub likes the TE, Allen likes Rivera, so I like Rivera. And considering that he’s currently going undrafted I love the price. Could finish as a top 15 option at TE with upside.

Ladarius Green – As Antonio Gates enters the twilight of his career it is Green who will benefit most. As someone who grabbed him on the waiver wire last season I enjoyed the flashes I saw from weeks 11-13. In fact for someone who had such a profound albeit brief fantasy impact I was shocked when I saw that he only had 17 receptions on the season. However with those catches going for 376 and 3 I’m interested. Early reports are that the San Diego coaching staff is excited to incorporate Green into the gameplan more. When these talks are already happening in April it’s a very good sign. With the type of explosive play he brings to the field he adds extra value to leagues that have yardage bonuses.  Green is the very rare handcuff TE because if Antonio Gates has an injury that will hold him out for any length of time Green will be a sure top 10 TE. I’d say even with Gates on the field he is still a top 20 player.

Levine Toilolo – I could play with you all and cite Toilolo’s amazing 79% catch rate which is a full 19 points higher than Jimmy Graham’s. However with just 11 catches on 14 targets it’s a rather small sample size we’re working with. What I can say is that I like Toilolo for the same reasons I like Toby Gerhart. He’s spent time with one of the best to ever play the game so he’s bound to have picked up some habits and has some impressive game tape to watch. He’s also a gigantic target at 6’8 265. It’s early and Toilolo is already becoming a popular sleeper so there’s a chance that the hype train is speeding by preseason time but if he’s still around in the 13th round of drafts i’m taking a shot at the new kid in the ATL.

Posted in Fantasy Football, Tight Ends | Tagged | Leave a comment

Early WR Sleepers

Sleepers are possibly the most sought after commodity in any fantasy sport. Sleepers are investments. Sleepers are getting 3rd round value out of an 8th round pick. But the easiest way to put it? Sleepers equal championships. But if I give you a list of sleepers who are all going in the same round I’m not doing my job right. I want to give you a shot at landing every name on this list. Which is why I’ve coordinated my sleepers list with the player’s ADP for next season (ADP according to This way you can tailor certain sleepers to your own draft strategy. With the league favoring pass-happy attacks there are certainly more than a few breakout candidates heading into the 2014 season. But the names here are more than candidates, they’re as close to sure things as a sleeper can be. So here are the wide receivers to watch based on our current ADP figures as of 3/30.

Terrance Williams – Current ADP Round 7 Pick 1 – Williams is currently the 29th WR coming off the board in mock drafts. I’d still think Williams was a steal if he were the 25th (currently Julian Edelman). From weeks 5-8 of last season with Miles Austin out Williams shined and notched a TD grab in each game. Now with Austin a free agent it will be Williams lining up opposite Dez Bryant. Just from watching those games it’s clear that Tony Romo not only looks for Williams but has faith in his ability to come down with the ball. A good WR 3 should work out to be your weekly flex play, but Williams will produce like a WR2 most weeks, giving you a formidable starting lineup. The biggest upside? With Witten and Bryant on the field, Williams isn’t on the defense’s radar meaning i’m expecting big play after big play.

Kenny Stills – Current ADP Round 10 Pick 8 – In order to sign Jairus Byrd and ink Jimmy Graham to the long term deal they want the Saints said goodbye to Will Smith, Roman Harper, Jabari Greer, and longtime wideout Lance Moore. More than anything I think the release of Moore is a huge vote of confidence for Kenny Stills. You could do worse for a sleeper pick than the young speedster deep threat in the Saints offense. The loss of the defensive players means the Saints will probably address that in the draft meaning Still won’t face stiff competition. Let’s face it, It’s not like Drew Brees is going to see his yardage drop off in 2014 and Stills is going to be a big reason why. 1200 yards and a bare minimum of 6 TDs are my expectations for the second year man.

Robert Woods – Current ADP Round 13 Pick 8 – In an effort to get younger, athletic, and dynamic on the offensive side of the ball the Bills drafted EJ Manuel with the 16th overall selection and went back in the second round and grabbed Woods with the 41st selection. In his rookie year Woods showed flashes with 6 games of either 60 yards or a TD. When Woods and Manuel were both healthy they showed good chemistry and produced encouraging numbers. Their second year success is directly tied to one another. Stevie Johnson will still draw a team’s top corner meaning Woods won’t be seeing #1 competition and with the run game being Buffalo’s main threat Woods won’t be coming up in opposing gameplans, at least not early this season. And a chance for this talent in the 13th round? That’s more than enough upside for me.

Posted in Fantasy Football, Wide Receivers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Early RB Sleepers

Some say it’s too early to look at sleepers for the 2014 season. Those are the people who will be missing out on the playoffs this year. Let’s face it, you came to here because fantasy football prep never ends. Every draft pick you make next season should add value to your team (and if you come here it will). So to provide you with the top talent in all rounds of your draft I’ve isolated a trio of running backs who will be the difference between making the playoffs and winning a championship in 2014.

Running Back

Toby Gerhart

Toby Gerhart

I’m not sure why we all aren’t losing our minds over Toby Gerhart getting starting job in the NFL. Fantasy football’s most important handcuff will become it’s most important sleeper. I’ll list (some of) the positives. One of the most effective backups in his career, so we know he’s familiar with the speed of the game at the pro level. At 6’0 231 lbs he’s sure got the build of a workhorse back. Add the fact that he’s got 77 catches in his career and I start to salivate. Plus he spent his career behind Adrian Peterson, which is like having a master class in running the football. Gus Bradley was asked if Gerhart was going to be his bell cow and he answered, “You know what, that’s what we hope to see” Gerhart will finish next year as a top 10 RB, but you won’t have to pay for that production with a high pick. Draft and enjoy.


Andre Ellington

Andre Ellington

Andre Ellington was the most talented runner on the Cardinals last year. Now this year he’ll get his shot to show everyone that he deserves the starting job. I just said how much I liked Toby Gerhart’s size, and although Ellington is considerably smaller at 5’9 199 he still plays big. His strengths are patience, hands, and open field moves. Elington shows astounding patience for a guy as quick as he is, waiting for his blockers to get in position in front of him. When he is in the open field he employs the stiff arm to keep himself separated from defenders in pursuit. And for how little he was used by Bruce Arians, Ellington still managed 39 receptions for 371 yards. Need more to be happy about? When free agency opened up Arizona was yet again a player adding Jared Veldheer from Oakland immediately improving the Cardinals line. Easily a top 15 back next year.


Shane Vereen

Shane Vereen

I’m a huge fan of LeGarrette Blount, so I enjoyed seeing him become relevant again in New England. However, the fact of the matter is that if Shane Vereen wasn’t inured none of it ever would have happened. The moment Stevan Ridley’s fumbling issues reemerged it would have been Vereen stepping into the starting role for the Patriots. In fact, if you look at Vereen’s stats in week 1 (14 rushes for 101 and 7 catches for 58) it appears that he already started emerging as the go to guy for Bill & Co. Vereen is PPR gold with 47 catches in just 8 games. but standard league players will enjoy the 427 yards he piled up on those catches and the 3 receiving TD as well. Certainly the Patriots most versatile back, Vereen will earn a special place in fantasy owner’s hearts next season. He’s a can’t miss top 20 talent.

Not wild about one of these guys? Got anyone you like that I didn’t mention? Comment below and I’ll tell you what I think!


Posted in Fantasy Football, Running Backs | Tagged | Leave a comment

Rookies Poised To Make A Fantasy Impact

This post and more can be found at!

Every year of fantasy football brings the possibility of a game breaking rookie to the draft pool. Anyone who had RGIII in his rookie season was the proud owner of fantasy football’s biggest surprise. This past year Eddie Lacy was a shock as nobody expected him to finish as the sixth highest scoring RB. So who has the best shot to launch your team into championship levels? I’ve found six non-QBs to watch out for.

Sammy Watkins (6’1 205) Sure he didn’t break CJ2K’s 40 yard speed at the combine, but that doesn’t bother me. He ran well and looked very nice during the on the field drills, especially the gauntlet drill snagging nearly every ball with his hands and not his body while also showing that blazing speed. There is no doubt in my mind that Watkins is the single most talented pass catcher in this class. And although many see him going to the Raiders I think an ideal spot would be the Browns. They would remake that offense with Gordon, Cameron, Watkins, and either Ben Tate or another high value RB via free agency. Between their ferocious defense and a potentially remade offense Cleveland would become a team to fear after an offseason of turmoil and embarrassment.

Fantasy Draft Status: He won’t be a sleeper so if you want Watkins you’ll have to pay for him. He probably won’t be around after the sixth round of standard drafts. But if you have a solid core and are looking to gamble on a WR2 you could find worse options than Watkins.

Eric Ebron (6’4 245) I love getting great value at the TE spot in every fantasy league I’m in. Unfortunately while I think Ebron has a shot to finish in the top 10 for his position I think he will be well overdrafted. I doubt after his impressive showing of speed at the combine that he will be on the board for the Jets at 18. The Bills, Lions, and Titans at 9, 10 and 11 respectively could use the services of the standout TE. Wherever he ends up he will be one of the top two options in the passing game. But does he have any college basketball stats for me to look at and pretend to translate to the football field?

Fantasy Draft Status: Like Watkins he won’t be a bona fide sleeper but I’d feel safe nabbing him in the early teen rounds of my drafts. In most leagues he’ll be drafted early by overzealous owners so he might not be available come round 10 so I’m sticking with my strategy for drafting TEs – If I’m not getting Jimmy Graham I’m waiting until everyone else has their TE slot filled while i stock up on other positions.

Jace Amaro (6’6 260) After a disappointing combine performance Amaro will slip down draft boards. This means he could fall to a team that desperately needs a TE…the Seattle Seahawks. Which would be the perfect fit for him. A strong TE to help block for Lynch who is also a gigantic target in the redzone. If he does indeed fall to the final first round pick It’ll be the Seahawks creating an offense as physical and intimidating as their defense. However he has something HUGE working against him: no college basketball stats to be found. There’s also the chance he is snagged by the Patriots at the 29 spot in which case we’ll begin the same discussion we had with Zach Sudfeld a year ago.

Fantasy Draft Status: Amaro’s value will be determined on his preseason play. And will be a popular sleeper. Unless he catches fire in the preseason (entirely possible) he should be around in some of your final rounds.

Brandin Cooks (5’10 185) After a more than respectable showing at the combine Cooks is a true asset for teams looking to add a little speed to their WR corps. If everything goes well Cooks will find himself on a squad the desperately needs a slot WR. It would be a little bit of a surprise to see him fall all the way to the Panthers but no team would be a better fit for him as they lack a true slot guy as Steve Smith tends to play on the outside despite his stature. Add the possible signing of Hakeem Nicks as well and the Panthers have a complete passing attack. Maybe even enough for Cam Newton to dethrone Peyton or Drew Brees as fantasy’s number 2 QB.

Fantasy Draft Status: Purely a deep sleeper. There’s a possibility that Cooks doesn’t end up drafted, which works for owners who visit SAFF because I’ll tell you that he’s someone who should be on your watch list the moment your draft ends. Mark my words, he’ll have his weeks where he wins his owner’s matchups.

Carlos Hyde (6’0 236) Remember last year when no RB was taken in the first round? Well that might happen again. BUT remember how big of an impact the rookie RBs made in fantasy football last year? Well that’s not quite going to happen. I just don’t see this year’s crop of runners breaking out like last year. However, I can see Hyde finishing in the top 20, maybe even 15 but his real value is that right now he doesn’t have a crazy amount of hype surrounding him.

Fantasy Draft Status: As a solid pass blocker Hyde has the chance to see a lot of the field. However, as a possible late first round selection there’s no team that needs a bell cow back and that means I might stay away entirely. Should he fall to the early second round to the Jags or Titans I become intrigued and am even willing to go as early as 7th or 8th round depending on how reports are out of training camp.

Marquise Lee (6’0 192) Lee is a tweener between a slot receiver and an outside man. However, this works well for him as an adept offensive coordinator would love having Lee as a chess piece. If he’s on the board at 18 the Jets will almost surely nab him and he will become one of, if not THE focal point of the Jets passing attack. This is good as it means he will get targets, however, this is also bad as it means he will see other team’s top corners which if he’s on the Jets means he’ll see Aqib Talib twice a season. He’ll have ups and downs but I like his talent.

Fantasy Draft Status: As a Jets fan I feel that I should get this analysis of him done before he’s donning Green and White and I begin yelling about how he’s the second coming of Jerry Rice. That being said with a great training camp and preseason I’d be willing to spend an 11th or 12th round pick depending on how rankings shake out.

As the draft gets closer we will update and add to this list as well as breaking down the top QBs of the draft and ultimately where they should be on your fantasy teams. Don’t forget to sign up for offseason mock drafts at to hone your drafting strategies.

Posted in Fantasy Football, Running Backs, Tight Ends, Wide Receivers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Some Thoughts On Michael Sam

Michael Sam made a bit of History Sunday when the SEC Defensive Player of the Year announced that he is gay. This is truly an historic moment, not just for the NFL but American sports as a whole. Like many others, I took to my preferred social media platforms to see what the reaction was and I came out of that more devastated than I expected.

On the professional side there was Herm Edwards, former Jets and Chiefs head coach who stated that Sam will be, “Bringing Baggage” with him into an NFL locker room ( There were people on Facebook commenting on SportsCenter’s post about Michael Sam that had clever comments like, “That post game shower is going to be awkward,” and, “He should be fitted for pom poms not shoulder pads.” Then there is the anonymous (cowardly) NFL executive who told Sports Illustrated that the NFL is, “still a man’s-man game.”

So just to wrap all that hate up, that’s Herm Edwards saying being gay is akin to having off the field issues, the, “Facebook tough guy” comparing being gay to being a cheerleader, and some NFL executive claiming that Sam is not quite man enough to play in the NFL. I guess you can’t say it in Herm’s case but the second and third people are sure tough in the mighty cloak of anonymity.

Then there are those saying something along the lines of, “I don’t care about his sexuality, I care about the effort/dedication/heart he shows on the field.” Whereas I just discussed the people who have things completely wrong I’d like to address those who are just a tad too forward thinking for me. Because I think Michael Sam’s sexuality is a big deal, except I don’t mean that in a negative way. When he is signed to a team, and he will be, Michael Sam will be the first active, openly gay male athlete in any of the big four leagues. We shouldn’t be understating how groundbreaking and important that is.

It’s important because it’s the NFL. Our biggest sport and biggest stage will have our first active openly gay athlete. It’s important because the Mizzou roster apparently knew of Sam’s sexual orientation before the season began because he came out to them. That shows that a college football roster could play with alongside a man who is out, and did so without spilling the beans to the first reporter with a functioning microphone. Certainly we can expect the same amount of respect and professionalism from an NFL roster. But all of that pales in comparison to the biggest reason that Michael Sam’s sexuality is important. It’s because he’s becoming a role model. If you don’t think tons of growing children will be watching Michael Sam and his NFL career, you’re lying to yourself. Michael Sam is saying, “this is who I am,” and that alone makes a difference.

Other than what I just talked about I don’t see how Sam’s sexuality is a topic up for discussion. This time last year you didn’t see a single person talking about how drafting Tyrann Mathieu meant you were opening up your locker room to increased drug use. He wasn’t any less of a man because he had a substance abuse problem. I don’t think the team shower after a game will produce any issues for Sam. There were no draft day stories about how Manti Te’o might dangerously increase the amount of online dating in his NFL locker room. I’m certain Sam won’t be lining up for a basket toss when his coach wants him on the field. And yet somehow CBS draft boards had Sam falling approximately 70 spots due to a press conference. Being gay isn’t baggage or an off the field issue. It doesn’t mean that Sam will rank who on the team has the best abs. All Michael Sam’s coming out means is that he’s a man who shows great heart and courage. I wish him all the success at the next level.

Posted in Editorials | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Calling An Audible

Sometimes when you are in the game things change. The most important thing about changes are when you see them you have to make adjustments. That’s why I’m here to say that I, Andrew Jordan, the author of all the posts on The Fantasy Force will be changing the way things are done. I received an offer to be a contributor for the website For anyone who hasn’t been there I highly recommend checking it out and subscribing to the site, as we have just put out our offseason preliminary top 10 QB ranking and are soon following with other the other skill positions as well. Some of you may be asking what this means for The Fantasy Force. Well here’s the deal. Instead of individual player breakdowns, I will be breaking down entire teams and what their players will mean to your fantasy team next season. I will however, take any requests from any fan that wants to see a specific player looked at in depth. This along with NFL Draft analysis and free agency impacts. It is my goal to always provide my readers with top quality content as well as any and all interaction with me personally. 

The Fantasy Force will release a team a week aiming for Wednesdays and Thursdays. I thank you for your understanding at this time and truly appreciate all of the fans who check on this blog and share it with their friends. As I look to next season I will be setting up a fan league where hand picked fans of The Fantasy Force will get to participate in a league with me. I will of course be looking for the fans I interact with the most for this league so keep those comments, and twitter question rolling and maybe you could get a chance to play against me. 

Once again for more of my work you can check out and be sure to subscribe so you can stay updated, and as always, remain a Fantasy Force.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged | Leave a comment

Can Matthew Stafford Lead Your Team to a Fantasy Championship?

It didn’t take terribly long for Matthew Stafford to make a splash in the offseason. Once Jim Schwartz was fired as head coach of the Lions it was reported that Matthew Stafford would be involved in the search for a new head coach. This meant meeting one on one with the coaching candidates and reporting back to team brass about how they interacted. This made some football purists lose their minds. Some believe that a player should never have a say in the coaches. A more practical way to think about it is by saying, “if we’re sinking all this money into our franchise QB and putting wins and losses primarily on his shoulders maybe we should make sure he and our coach are on the same page.”

Regardless what you may think about this from a football standpoint, this is great news for fantasy football players. Nothing is better than an offensive juggernaut like the Lions being paired with an offensive minded coach like Jim Caldwell. If the Lions can line up a solid wideout across from Megatron they’d really have something. Having Reggie Bush this last season really helped the offense as the threat of the pass was felt on every area of the field, and on every down. The TE position was a bit of a weak spot for the Lions with Brandon Pettigrew performing less than amazing. However, undrafted rookie Joseph Fauria caught 7 TD passes on only 18 total receptions, so his development is something to watch this offseason.

Matthew Stafford will continue to put up solid numbers for his fantasy owners. His primary value comes from the fact that he gives you top 10 production with top 5 upside, but doesn’t come off the board until the 4th round of drafts, meaning that you are able to build a solid team before adding your stud QB. Stafford must take this offseason to improve his game even more. The days of him being a young developing QB must come to a close. At this point in his career we don’t want to hear him being compared to Andrew Luck and Russel Wilson. With all the tools at his disposal it is up to Matthew Stafford to work hard enough and get his name mentioned in the same breath as Drew Brees.  Calvin Johnson will have a few surgeries early this offseason so we know he will be fine which means it’s up to Matthew Stafford and Matthew Stafford alone to become an upper echelon QB and a true fantasy force.

Think Stafford has got what it takes to be a top 3 QB? Maybe you’re not so keen on him leading your fantasy unit? Comment below and let us know what you think!

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Browns Officially Announce Mike Pettine as Head Coach [Poll]

One of the highlights of Mike Pettine’s press conference came when he was asked if he was surprised to get a call from the Browns. His response is as follows.  “I was not surprised but those expectations were there at some point it was a goal of mine for sure a career goal. I know some guys that only want to progress to be a position coach or coordinate. I got the taste of being a head coach when I was a head coach in high school but again it was nothing that I actively pursued. When I’ve talked to young coaches and when I see guys heading down the wrong path I’ve always talked in terms of, ‘don’t look for a better job, do a better job’ and I always felt that if I put my head down and worked hard that the better opportunities find you on their own.”

Vote in our poll below and share your thoughts on the coaching hire. As always if you have any questions or something to say share them in the comments section!

Posted in Fantasy Football, News, Sports | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can Michael Crabtree Make A Fantasy Difference in 2014?

The biggest hindrance to Crabtree’s value is that he has to see Sherman twice a year.

Unfortunately due to a preseason ACL injury there isn’t a whole lot from this season to take for Crabtree’s value headed into next season. And our most recent memory of him involves being dominated when Richard Sherman was covering him. However, barring another freak accident Crabtree will actually have quite the productive 2014 for fantasy owners.

The single biggest thing going for Crabtree is that Colin Kaepernick has faith in him. We all still remember the post NFC Championship game presser where Kaepernick states that he would still throw that fade to TC. But any responsible fantasy owner needs more than a post game statement to base a draft pick on. So we dug up some stats: When Colin Kaepernick became the starter for the 49ers back in week 11 of 2012 he targeted Michael Crabtree on 40 percent of his pass routes that season. Brandon Marshall was the only wideout targeted at a higher rate. If there’s one thing that eases a fantasy football owner’s mind it’s knowing that a wideout he owns is targeted often.

That kind of consistency in looks from his QB can’t possibly be overstated. However, the numbers did take a slight dip in 2013. Crabtree was only targeted 6.6 times per game (5 GP this regular season) but in the postseason this jumped up to 9.3 (3 GP) pulling him to a 7.625 average in the 2013 postseason in total. Too many numbers being thrown around? All this means is that his targets steadily increased as 1) the stakes got higher for the 49ers and 2) Crabtree worked back from his injury.

So what does 2014 look like for King Crab? Pretty good as a matter of fact. He’s a top 20 WR no doubt and has top 12 upside and I have an nice argument for owning him: You know what you’re getting. Sure it’s not a hot headline grabbing reason but in fantasy that’s worth its word count in gold. 1200 yards and somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10 TDs wouldn’t even sound gaudy if Crabtree had a full season with Kaepernick. However a safe low end prediction from me puts him at 1000 and 6 which would still make him the 19th ranked WR if those stats were applied to this season. To put it this way, I know that next year Michael Crabtree will be on nearly every team I own in 2014.

Not so impressed with Crabtree? Have concerns that the Niners offense won’t support three fantasy relevant pass catchers? Post a comment below and we’ll get the ball rolling!

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Browns to Likely Hire Mike Pettine

Mike Pettine left a meeting with the Browns today without a deal done but reports are saying that the two sides are close to a contract and may be ironing out some minor details. Last season Pettine was the Defensive Coordinator/playcaller for the Buffalo Bills and turned their defense respectable again, overseeing the rise of Kiko Alonso and a revamped Mario Williams. The Browns now get even scarier on the defensive side of the ball and will be a popular D/ST draft pick in standard leagues. The Browns will be bringing in Atlanta Falcons OC Dirk Koetter and should he become their new OC the Browns may have just pulled off two of the more intriguing coaching hires of this offseason.

Have any questions about how Pettine and/or Koetter could impact certain Browns players? Ask below in the comments section and don’t forget to check out The Fantasy Force’s very own article looking at Josh Gordon’s 2014 season prospects.

Posted in Fantasy Football, News, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Were Richard Sherman’s Comments Understandable?

Richard Sherman, speaking to Erin Andrews post game said, “I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that is the result you are going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me!” Vote below and defend your position in the comments!

Posted in Fantasy Football, News, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can Jamaal Charles top His 2013 Season?

I don’t see any defenders here…then again, Jamaal Charles probably doesn’t either.

When Andy Reid took over the Chiefs in 2013 many people knew Jamaal Charles would be an effective weapon for him. Seeing what Reid did for Brian Westbrook and Shady McCoy it seemed like a match made in heaven. Nobody knew just how good it would get. Charles enjoyed unprecedented success and was one of the biggest reasons the Chiefs were the final undefeated team this season. But it’s more than just a coach and a scheme that helped Charles to be both fantasy dominant and consistent. Here we’ll look at all the factors (aside from Reid) that helped Charles and determine if he has a chance to repeat or top his 2013 season.

A bit of unrelated nonsense here but we’re going to see the number 7 keep cropping up in some of the things that had a say in how effective Charles was. Does it mean anything? Maybe, maybe not. But I’m not one to leave anything out.

Brandon Albert – The first significant 7 he is Albert’s jersey number (76) Remember in the offseason when Eric Fisher was drafted and the Chiefs were trying to move Albert for anything they could get? Sure seems like they (somewhat) don’t regret doing that now. I say somewhat because Albert is now a free agent and is going to get seriously paid this offseason, if not by KC then by someone else. Fisher struggled mightily for Kansas City and Albert held his own and remains one of the more intriguing free agents in the 2014 offseason. On an offensive line that didn’t even crack Pro Football Focus’ top half of the league, losing a key piece like Albert could mean that Charles is getting hit in the backfield just a little bit more next season.

Alex Smith – I bet you’re wondering what the 7 is in this category. 7 here is the number of interceptions thrown all season by Smith. Call him conservative, or a game manager, or a checkdown artist or whatever you’d like. Those seven turnovers are why Charles was successful. Offensive drives were sustained because Alex Smith doesn’t get careless with the ball. That means more time on the field for Charles to do his thing.

Chiefs Defense – No real 7 here. Maybe the front seven, which is the area of the D that needs a little work. After all, a running game is only effective when the score of a game allows a team to run the ball. And Kansas City does boast a rather impressive defense. Dontari Poe is a beast in the middle and Justing Houston and Tamba Hali patrolling the hashmarks means that teams aren’t going to be breaking down this unit over time. Having a healthy Eric Berry, a still underrated Brandon Flowers, and Sean Smith in the defensive backfield means that teams can’t air it out when the ground game fails to impress. Mike DeVito and Tyson Jackson are stop-gap level solutions at defensive end and could have some depth added behind them by a potential mid-round rookie selection who in that unit has all the chances to have a breakout season.

Receiving Proficiency – Saving the best for last here. The signigicant 7 here happens to be the number of receiving TDs Charles had in 2013. That’s the number of receiving touchdowns Jamaal Charles had in 2013. Out of all the gaudy numbers in his statline I believe that number in particular will be the hardest to duplicate. Sure Alex Smith does a fair share of checkdowns but Charles blowing those plays open time after time isn’t something I expect to repeat to such amazing results. It’s not something that definitely won’t repeat but I would be genuinely shocked if it did.

So there is everything that allowed Jamaal Charles to redefine productivity in 2013. I see a similar season coming from him in 2014 if the Chiefs retain Albert, or grab a suitable replacement in free agency if they do intend to move Fisher over. I think they should keep their two bookends and add a guard via the draft and grab a defensive end as well. Knile Davis will be a must own handcuff for Charles owners in 2014 as he touched the ball an insane amount this year. Some may make the case for Shady McCoy being the first RB off the board because you knowwhat you will get with him but I make the following argument for Charles. His floor is higher. His ceiling is higher. He is more consistent. And he outscored McCoy this year and there is no sign that he won’t next year, while a revamped and clear passing attack in Philly could lead to McCoy not having to be used as much. Charles is your number one RB for next year. He is your number one guy off the board. He is your Fantasy Force.

p.s. I would like some credit for not making any terrible Charles in Charge puns. Thank you.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Will Josh Gordon Do Next?

Who needs a ref? Signaling first downs will be a large part of what Gordon does from now on.

The single biggest surprise of the 2013 fantasy football season was Josh Gordon. It’s not even that the numbers don’t lie when it comes to complimenting his feats. It’s finding the right ones to properly display just how effective he was. He was the top scoring wideout and missed two games due to a suspension. Out of the 14 games he did participate in he had ten games where he scored double digit points. 7 games where he topped 100 yards. 2 games where he topped 200. And to top it off 9 TDs. All of this was done with a revolving door at QB, no discernible running game, and no other legitimate receiving threat on the outside which meant that teams were throwing their best corner at him every week (not to mention having a safety and a nickel corner rolled to him as well).

So what should be the expectation level of owners looking to potentially sink a first round pick into the savior of a perpetually doomed Browns franchise? Well, I’m here to say that we can expect more of the same. How can he follow that up though? Well luckily this is a case of a budding superstar having the right pieces around him to optimize his talents. I’m of course speaking about Norv Turner. Say what you want about him and weather or not you think he makes a competent head coach, the guy makes his top wide receiver a stud. We go back all the way to Turner with the Cowboys back in the 90s and you’ll notice that once Turner was the offensive coordinator Michael Irvin never dipped lower than second in the league in receiving yards at the end of the year. You see what he did for the career of Vincent Jackson and now he has the ridiculously fast Gordon at his disposal. Nobody knows how long Turner will be the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns but we do know that as long as he is, Josh Gordon will be a fixture on championship fantasy teams.

Here’s why it might just get better for the guy. The Browns are almost certainly going with either a QB or a RB in the draft this year. While i’m not a Browns fan myself I think it should be a running back because I really liked what I saw from Brian Hoyer in his limited time on the field before sustaining a crushing injury that cut short a promising season. Should they go with a rookie QB Turner will make it abundantly clear to the young man that his success is tied to giving Gordon the ball. The only thing that concerns me with the Browns drafting a QB is that he will have to adjust to the game speed in the NFL. If there is any sort of adjustment period it will almost certainly impact Gordon’s numbers. However, if the Browns go with the running game in the first few rounds it will give defenses something else to think about when facing the Browns. Yeah 8 men in the box isn’t something the Browns are probably going to see next season but having at least some threat in the run game will only serve to help Gordon.

So what does the stat line look like for Gordon next year? Another 1,600 yard season is more than doable since he has shown that he is essentially both matchup and QB proof. If there is a solid run game in Cleveland he will certainly be able to hit double digit touchdowns. Let’s face it, when the Jets held Gordon to a mere 97 yards it was lauded as a shutdown effort by Dee Milliner. That is when you know you are dealing with greatness, when 97 yards is considered a shutdown.

With an increasingly talented defense and an early draft pick in addition to Gordon the future certainly seems bright in Cleveland. As they search for a head coach one can only hope that Ken Wisenhunt is hired and that Gordon is deemed unstoppable by the NFL and awarded an automatic 100 yards per game…which having Turner and Wisenhunt at the helm might as well be the same thing.

Think I missed the mark on this one? Have some concerns on certain factors that might effect Gordon next year? Comment below or tweet me @TheFantasyForce and I’ll put those concerns to bed. I’ll also be taking requests on which player you want covered next and any questions you may have. Until then enjoy the playoffs and tell your friends about The Fantasy Force!

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

On Returning

The only sad part about fantasy football is the end. Especially when you have not one but TWO SECOND PLACE FINISHES. There is something to knowing that there may be other major sports and fantasy seasons but something about them just can’t compare to fantasy football. This is why The Fantasy Force will keep updating players throughout the offseason. Other fantasy sports questions will still be handled via twitter @thefantasyforce but in the new year the goal is to do a wrap up and analysis on every player who will be a part of your fantasy season in 2014. We’re going to look at what coaching changes will effect what players and their value going into next season. We’ll break down free agency implications. And of course we will breakdown the NFL rookie draft in all of its glory. We’re gonna give you sleepers for next season, some early rankings, and by the time next fantasy season rolls around the fantasy force will have full blown coverage to serve its fans. So if you are looking for a way to get a leg up on your competition keep up to date with The Fantasy Force. In fact go and tell your friends to do the same. Anyone who wants can check out the twitter page for the force and notice all the fans satisfied with their help. And if you have a specific player you would like covered early on just tweet @thefantasyforce and a post will be up ASAP. Here is to not just being a factor next season, but being a force!

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is finally upon us and like everyone else this time of year has me feeling very thankful. And I truly am thankful for fantasy football. As a nerd/jock hybrid since high school I never really fit in with one particular clique. Not the strongest or most gifted athlete on the football team and not the smartest guy in my class there was no place I really was the best at anything. Then I was introduced to fantasy football by my friend Henry whom I had played soccer with. The V.F.L. or Van Fleet League, named after a field we used to hop the fence of and play football on Sundays was my first taste of fantasy sports. I couldn’t tell you where I finished because I don’t remember. However, I do remember wanting and missing out on Ladanian Tomlinson and instead having to own Peyton Manning…in 2004…when he threw 49 TD passes. I no longer play in that league but I will always be thankful to Henry and the V.F.L. for introducing me to the amazing community that is fantasy sports.
Moving along I’d like to express thanks to Mike G. A vendor who worked a few days a week at my last job, Mike is a huge fantasy football player and current commissioner of the Twisted Toolshed Keeper League. Those who looked at the previous post, can note that this is the league where I am the owner of ATJ’s Kaeptain. Mike is a dedicated father, a diehard Giants fan and an overall great guy to know. He may sometimes veto trades and he still probably believes the Giants can make the playoffs this year but he’s a quality fantasy player who is always making good adds and trying to wheel and deal with everyone in our league. He’s still the first guy I run speculative adds by to see what he thinks and his opinion is valued second to none. He keeps everything fun and competitive and for as many years as this league will run I will be a proud member of it.
While I’m on the subject of the Twisted Toolshed Keeper League I’d like to say thanks to all the people who participate in it. It’s a 12 team 2 flex spot league where everyone competes. This is a league where I’ve only ever met Mike and a guy named Vincenzo who I went to school with and invited when a couple spots opened up. Vin is another solid guy who I honestly might not be talking to regularly if it weren’t for fantasy sports. I’m crossing my fingers that we hold a live in person draft next year somewhere so I can meet most/all of these guys and put faces with (team) names. With all that said I want to thank them for coming back and diving into waiver wire each week. It’s by far the most competitive league I’ve ever been a part of and like I just said, as long as it’s going on I’m gladly putting down my buy in money.
I’m wrapping up soon but I’d like to extend a special thanks to a man named Chris Eberhart. Chris is someone I went to school with and was looking to start this blog with as he is a fantastic fantasy player and phenomenal writer. He is too busy with work to write a regular piece for the website but he gave advice and ideas that proved to be invaluable through the start of this blog. The conversations about topics to post on and design ideas for the blog I had with him were long and full of ideas from him that could have started dozens of sleek and successful blogs. He’s a guy that has had a lasting impact on the blog and anyone looking to follow a quality writer can find him @ChrisEberhart2.
Last but certainly not least I’d like to thank anyone who reads this, anyone who has keeps coming back to read the stories and advice I give, and anyone who follows on twitter. One fan in particular, Daniel Meekins who can be found on Twitter @MrMeekins_ was really my first true fan. This is a gentleman who I don’t know but always has top notch questions on Sundays. He comes back week after week and if this blog ever becomes something big his questions will still be the first ones I answer. I know postings aren’t as consistent as I would like them to be and that will be getting better but for now everyone who reads, follows, comments, and asks questions on twitter @TheFantasyForce will always have a special place in my heart.
So get out there, be with your loved ones, heap the turkey, the sweet potatoes, the gravy, and the cranberry sauce on a plate and have great conversations with whoever you’re with. Kick back and enjoy the NFL games later in the day, and best of luck to any fantasy teams who have players going in these games.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Different Wins

Just like the pros, fantasy owners experience all different types of wins. These three are all unique wins I had this week and they all illustrate why we play the game.
First is my team, “Gio Bernard’s Minivan” This team is in first place in a 14 team league…with me dealing Jimmy Graham for Aaron Rodgers the week he played the Bears. I’m supremely proud of this team. From top to bottom there is starting talent and I expect to win nearly every week. This win was entirely business. And handling business feels good.
We move on to, “A Boy Named Suh” a 10 teamer where I’ve fallen out of contention. Depressing as that is I still set a lineup each week. This week I knocked off the number one team in this league. Now if this owner looses next week they will fall to third in seeding, which could give him a far tougher matchup. Playing spoiler to a team when you’re out of it is supremely enjoyable and the best way to make good out of a bad situation.
The final victory here is the crown jewel of my victories this week. ATJ’s Kaeptain was a gigantic underdog this week. I was in a tie for the final playoff spot with the team I faced off against who was supposed to crush me. Not just defeat, crush. Obliterate. Demolish. I had Giovani Bernard and Marshawn Lynch on BYEs this week. It was custom scoring where I was a 60+ point underdog which would still work out to 30-35 points in standard leagues. I slowly started accepting not making the playoffs. But then it happened. Josh Gordon went off. Eddie Lacy tore up the Vikings. Kendall Wright grabbed his first TD since week 2. And benching the Browns D in favor if the Jets ended up greatly in my favor. Those weeks where most of your replacements do outstanding is truly something to behold. Even better is when it happens late in season when you’re fighting for a playoff spot.
These moments are why fantasy football is great. It’s why I play every year and why I scour the waiver wire for every team I own. Fantasy Football brings joy even in the most dour circumstances. It why you play the game

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Making the Most of What Remains (WR Edition)

For some of you waivers will clear Wednesday while you rest up for another work day for others they clear Thursday as you viciously await Friday’s workday and beginning of the weekend. Either way we’ll provide waiver/free agent payers who are must adds as you head into this crucial stretch.

Here’s the reasoning behind my adds: I’m not adding a guy that I wouldn’t put into my starting lineup. It’s week 12 and the guys who look like they were poised to break out at the beginning of the year have either already done so or won’t do so until next season. This means that I won’t be talking about Cordarrelle Patterson and his brand new starting opportunity. He’s a sleeper for next season but beyond that he isn’t on my fantasy radar. With all that said here are my wideout pickups who should stay on your team.

Kenny Stills WR New Orleans Saints – He may be a boom or bust player but nobody booms louder than Stills. And in an offense that has such, “boomability” (not sure if that’s a word but I like it) as the Saints I like his chances to have a big day more than someone like DeAndre Hopkins or Tavon Austin.

Rishard Matthews WR Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins have some offensive line woes going on right now and that means that a lot of their passes are going to be short. This is where those little bubble screens and flat routes come into play, and that is where Matthews lives. Against an aggressive Carolina D I see a ton of short bailout routes by Matthews. Call him a safe lock for 6 points and a ceiling around 14 if he slips some tackles and gets a TD.

Santonio Holmes WR New York Jets – No this isn’t me being a homer. Holmes still has gamebreaking ability and others in your league will proceed with caution due to his supposedly cloudy QB situation.

Here’s a quick non-fantasy related rant. Just to clear that up for everyone: GENO SMITH IS THE JETS STARTING QB. Matt Simms threw a garbage time TD to Jeff Cumberland and didn’t do anything else to impress me. Geno has a much stronger arm than Simms, has legs to escape the ever collapsing Jets pocket, and  most importantly he gives the Jets the best chance to win. The guy has a suspect offensive line and at one point Greg Salas who didn’t make the Rams was one of our leading WRs. I don’t like what the Jets and Jets fans think of our starting QBs. Sanchez briefly met our lofty expectations and because he didn’t make it to the Super Bowl in his second season people started gradually turning their backs on him. We didn’t bring in any quality wideouts and let our offensive line deteriorate from Furgeson, Faneca, Mangold, Moore, and Woody to I don’t even know who anymore. It looked like Vlad Ducasse had things figured out in the beginning of the season and then immediately regressed. And franchise QBs have dealt with O line issues and less than talented pass catchers, but not both at the same time. You can’t expect a man to lead his team to victory when he’s running for his life AND throwing to castaways from the Rams. End of rant.

Now that I’ve gotten than out of the way there are my sneaky WR adds for week 12. I would feel comfortable with any of them as my flex and it never hurts to add another talented player to a fantasy roster. Stay tuned tomorrow for which RB’s you can add in a week where many of the top guys are out.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Important

Sharing one’s victories is important. In a fantasy football world where we are always looking to improve our teams it is sometimes necessary to sit back and just enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Making the Most of What Remains (QB Edition)

Intensity is the name of the game. It always seems to pick up after week 11. And now these late BYE week teams have you wondering if you can survive without Marshawn Lynch or AJ Green. That’s because one week is all it takes to end a dominating season, or derail a glorious comeback. You watched some players like Jarrett Boykin fly off the waiver wire because you couldn’t imagine starting him over your flex spot player. But now with Jordan Reed suffering a concussion, Reggie Bush being benched for fumbling, and the previously mentioned Green on a week off you look at your once stacked roster and see it as paper thin. The breakouts have already happened and now there isn’t a true difference maker left on the wire…or is there. To make the late push and assure yourself a spot in the playoffs you absolutely need to find that waiver wire gem, and that is where we come in. Today, we’ll give you the available Quarterbacks for those who own let’s say a combination of Aaron Rodgers and Andy Dalton.

#1 Mike Glennon – Believe me I know this isn’t a sexy name to start the list but he’s exactly what you’re looking for in a week 12 fill in. And what you’re looking for is someone who has a matchup with the Detroit Lions. The Lions aren’t that good defending the pass. On the other side of the ball, even with Revis getting better I still think that Megatron gets his and this game ends up as a sort of mini shootout. This whole situation works wonders for fantasy owners. In fact I’ll go ahead and say that this scenario seems like it was cooked up by some sort of fantasy football wizard who needed a week 12 QB pickup. Expect Glennon to be a top 10 finisher next Sunday.

#2 Jason Campbell – Here’s something I forgot to mention about Glennon: I like that he has a supremely talented WR at his disposal. It is for that same reason that I like Jason Campbell. Josh Gordon has been the biggest value man for owners who nabbed him late and waited through the suspension. I’d say more about how I like Jason Campbell or his matchup with Pittsburgh but honestly Josh Gordon is about 90% of the reason I would start Campbell. He rushes a bit as well which provides a bit of an extra fantasy bump but when you pair a speedy big play man with a strong armed QB against a defense that rotates between looking inexperienced taking bad angles to the ball and old, seemingly too slow to make plays you have what most people with low waiver priorities are looking for.

#3 Josh McCown – Out of the QBs listed here McCown has the most talented WR group by far so how is it that he is third on my list? Simple, he has a week 12 game against the Rams. Yeah I know it doesn’t sound scary but they’re a better defense than you think and they’ve had a week to prep for this opponent. Having that extra week nearly assures your team a stout showing on defense…unless your team is the New York Jets in which case you’re just destined for heartbreak. Here’s the bright side. Depending on how long Jay Cutler is out (still indefinite) McCown has a rather beautiful schedule facing from week 13, in order: Vikings, Cowboys, Browns, Eagles, Packers. The only team that scares me there is the Browns and number 2 WRs have a field day against Cleveland and Alshon Jefferey is one of the top #2’s in the league. If you have an IR spot available and maybe a middle of the road QB you could also add Cutler for weeks 16 and 17 should he return. Those matchups are just too tasty to ignore.

So there are the top 3 QB pickups for week 12. Tomorrow we’ll be covering the RBs and WRs to grab for this crucial fantasy time. As always you can follow on Twitter @thefantasyforce for more information and lineup assistance. Think I missed the boat on some of these picks? Have another QB you think will do better? Let me know in the comments and I’ll let you know where you’re right and tell you about any concerns I may have with them!

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grading the Rookie Running Backs

This previous NFL Draft was the first draft in 49 years where a running back wasn’t selected in the first round. That made some draw the conclusion that this rookie class of running backs might take a while to develop, if they turn into anything at all. Well now we are 9 full weeks into the season and these young rushers are making one heck of an impact on the league. Rookie runners typically have more value in keeper leagues and should you be in one here are the Fantasy Force rankings for the impressive, undervalued backfield staff.

Giovani Bernard – By now we have all seen Giovani Bernard’s tremendous run where he reversed direction and looped around an entire defense to take it to the house. That isn’t a fluke play, but rather exactly what Bernard does. He is exactly what the Lions thought Jhavid Best was going to be. Every time he touches the ball it could be 6 points. The best thing about Bernard is that he touches the ball in every way possible, he runs it up the gut, he bounces it to the outside, he catches safety valve passes, and he runs routes down the field. In a single game there isn’t a blade of grass on the field that Bernard doesn’t step on. The biggest bump to his value though: He gets goalline work. For his small stature that’s surprising considering that a bruiser like the law firm is on the roster but Bernard is effective nonetheless.

Le’Veon Bell – The man who made us wait a little bit truly does look like the real deal. I need no more convincing than when Bell scored his first TD ( First there’s the little shake in the backfield which doesn’t look like much but that isn’t a move we’re seeing Willis McGahee or Ray Rice make, point being that if it’s one of those types of guys that’s a tackle for a loss for the defender and the Steelers are facing a 4th down. Then taking a moment to see where he can go he breaks to the outside and dives into the endzone. This is without Levi Brown who the Steelers hadn’t yet acquired and Markuice Pouncey who is one of the finest centers in the NFL. The Steelers will upgrade their O-line in the offseason and Bell will look dominant.

Eddie Lacy – Remember when we saw that picture and said Lacy looked out of shape? Well I didn’t but a lot of people did. Guess he doesn’t look so chunky now. Eddie Lacy is running like a bull breaking through arm tackles that would be clotheslines on me. He’s even running through regular tackles so who knows what will bring him down. Aaron Rodgers being out means a possibly gigantic run for Lacy coming up. As for those who see James Starks as a threat I actually see him as a shield, protecting Lacy from overuse and too much wear and tear. Starks provides Lacy a few seconds to rest up and get ready for another violent run, and that is how Lacy has remained so effective. A parting note, I don’t know what will become of Jonathan Franklin or DeJuan Harris but it is clear that this is Lacy’s backfield.

Montee Ball – It’s hard to tell what is going to happen with Ball. He has had ball security issues and while he was lauded as a solid pass catcher he’s yet to display that on a prolific passing offense. He had a solid game before the BYE, grabbed his first rushing TD but beyond that it’s looking bleak. Moreno isn’t an old back who is breaking down after this season so Ball only has value if Moreno goes down. However, with as ineffective as he’s been Ball would only be a low-end RB2 if he is indeed the guy to start if something happened to Moreno.

Zac Stacy – The surprise of the year comes from Zac Stacy. So how did he work himself into the starting spot? Well to quote my first post on The Fantasy Force, “we’ve seen that no Rams RB can separate from the field, this might lead the coaching staff to give Cunningham some carries and see what he’s made of.” True I was talking about Benny Cunningham there but the reason Stacy got the job was right. St. Louis threw all their RBs at a wall and Stacy stuck. He has done well against the Seahawks and the Panthers, two frightening matchups for RBs and come away successful so the sky is the limit.

There are your fantasy relevant rookie RBs and why I like them. Now to rank them for Dynasty league purposes, this incorporates how they will finish this season and their potential for next season.

1) Eddie Lacy

2) Zac Stacy

3) Giovani Bernard

4) Le’Veon Bell

5) Montee Ball

Let me tell you that I had the hardest time ranking Bernard and Bell. They’re so close but I think Bernard starts next year. If I was doing rankings for all RBs for next season Bernard and Bell would again right next to one another.

Think I totally missed on my rankings? Have any questions about why they ended up where they are? Post in the comments below!

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Inevitable Post About Trades

Bad trades happen. They happen for a ton of reasons. One guy thinks he buying low on a player who is gonna break out. Maybe an owner parts with a superstar because he doesn’t like the schedule come fantasy playoff time. Bad trades just happen. And they should happen, because if you’re in a league with friends a bad trade is something you razz them about for years to come. Remember when Bill traded Arian Foster for Brian Westbrook right before the 2010 season started? You get it?

Bad trades happen, and they are what make fantasy football great and competitive. I like to negotiate, which is why i suggest sending a friendly email to the owner you’re negotiating with. I like to buy low on players, and I do so by selling high on guys I own so trades I make seldom look fair the week they’re done. Sometimes it works out for me like when I sling an overperforming Darren McFadden for rookie underperformer Doug Martin. Other times I deal a boatload of players for Michael Vick…in 2011

Bad trades happen. They shouldn’t be vetoed, they shouldn’t be complained about, because they happen everywhere. Just look at the Trent Richardson trade. Cleveland looked like they were trying to tank following that fiasco and now that he doesn’t look so hot in Indy it looks like Irsay actually hurt his team. However there’s no veto in the NFL so now we know that Cleveland just might have known what they were doing. Have trust in your fellow owners that they do as well.

Have a trade that your league is up in arms about? Post it in the comments and I’ll make a ruling right here!

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BYE Week

The Fantasy Force would like to announce that it has a BYE week for the NFL’s week 9. I’ll try to keep the twitter page active with pickups, (Marvin Jones, Jason Campbell, and Drew Davis for deep leagues). I am also looking to keep the content flowing a bit better both on the site and the twitter.

The return of The Fantasy Force next week will be a glorious one and to hold you over until I am back I leave you with this big news, fantasy basketball will be covered on The Fantasy Force.

p.s. DeAndre Hopkins could have a monster game with the Texans current RB situation.


Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Josh Freeman

This terror of a Monday Night Football game is over and I now see that Josh Freeman should not have started.
Leslie Frazier probably figured that the Giants would be their usual abysmal pass D. That Eli would sling a couple picks. And that he could bring Josh Freeman along slow.
None of that happened and in a game where you needed a QB who could go into a shootout Josh Freeman just wasn’t the guy tonight. Christian Ponder, not Josh Freeman should have started tonight. Should have saved Freeman for next week, and this game wasn’t Josh Freeman’s fault. It was Leslie Frazier’s.
Josh Freeman still hasn’t figured out what exit out of the Vikings facility gets him closest to his car so how could he possibly manage an NFL game at QB.
Then there’s the chemistry. The Vikings wideouts aren’t on the same page with Freeman, they can’t time out his throws, and they aren’t ready for the zip on the ball that Freeman puts. The timing is off and it was painful to watch. However before we get the torches and pitchforks to chase Josh Freeman out of another town just know that all of this failure is square on the shoulders of (soon to be former) Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

What To Do With Trent Richardson

It was the tenth pick in the first round, what were you supposed to do grab a wideout? You knew Foster, Peterson, and Lynch were gone before the draft even started so you prayed for Spiller. And you watched Rice, Charles, McCoy, Martin, and Morris, fly off after them and there you were, one pick away from your dream RB 1. Then CJ wasn’t in your queue any more. You check the draft history and there he went right at #9. So you grabbed the only first round RB talent left. Trent Richardson. Then you talked yourself into him. He’s a 3 down back. He has no competition for carries. He’s the biggest/only threat on their team and Joe Thomas is his tackle so how bad could it really be? And you saw two weeks of lackluster production as the offense lacked pop without Josh Gordon.

And then it happened.

You got a text from a league friend about it. And didn’t believe it.

You checked Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport’s twitter accounts. And didn’t believe it.

Then you googled it. And seeing it in text, tweet, and now search engine, you believed it.

Trent Richardson was a member of the Indianapolis Colts.


Everything changed, he was on a playoff team now, he was on a team with a passing attack now. No more 8 men in the box. You could practically hear the fantasy points rolling in. You saw dubious trade proposals like Eddie Lacy and Justin Blackmon roll in. Heck the guy that offered that one said he’d toss in Bilal Powell if you chipped in Kellen Winslow Jr. and you turned it down. Sure you’d be getting some depth but really? How would you replace all that production he’ll be giving you now!

I think I can cut the, “Masterpiece Theater” now right?

If hope was somehow scored in fantasy football Trent Richardson would be CRUSHING all other players now. But it isn’t and he’s not crushing it. As it stands he’s your 20th ranked RB heading into this week and you aren’t a fan. If you’ve seen any Colts game you see Donald Brown out on pass plays now and that’s frustrating. Don’t hit the sell button so fast though, here are some of the facts working in your favor. Pep Hamilton wants a power run game in Indy. Trent Richardson is a power back. Richardson had shown flashes of greatness in his rookie season and from the RB position that is a hard thing to do and not follow up on. Then there’s 13, 20, 18, and 10. Those are his carries with the Colts. Believe me there are going to be more 20s and 18s than 10s. And last, the injury woes that came attached with Richardson look to be nonexistent this year.

Here’s the bad news. Only 2 catches with the Colts. Only a 3.1 YPC with the Colts, he had the benefit of a 4.0 on Monday making that 3.1 higher than what it would have been. He doesn’t look slow like MJD, or CJ Spiller, or Ray Rice, and that actually is concerning as you would understand these numbers if he was toughing his way through a hip, groin, or hamstring issue. We can’t tell if it’s the line, the way defenses are playing him, or if it’s just his field vision but something isn’t going right.

So what do you do with Trent Richardson?

So as always there’s two routes to go if you give him up. You either have a team with depth and are looking to package him with another player and get a steal. Or if you’re thin (maybe grabbed Randall Cobb) you’re looking for multiple players. Here is what you’re doing.

RB – Boy the crop here is rough. You could try and get a straight swap with a Doug Martin owner (and you’d be getting the better end of that deal). If you’re looking to get a markedly better player without giving away the store aim for someone like Frank Gore or Alfred Morris. I wouldn’t throw in much more than a WR 3 or a WR4 with a little upside though.

WR – I so badly want to go all in on Justin Blackmon right now. Be part of the first wave bandwagoners. I don’t think he can keep up this pace but man he sure looks like he can. He faces the Chargers next and after a third outstanding game his asking price will be too high. so if you can snag him and someone else go for it. I also like Keenan Allen if you can get an additional player. If you’re looking to up your WR game significantly throw in someone else and try and get Antonio Brown. Richardson much like CJ2K has a name that brings a little extra pop to his value. Brown doesn’t have that yet, but he will soon.

TE – I’m not doing a RB for TE trade unless all i have is Brandon Petigrew and in that case I’m going for a Martellus Bennett and some spare WR change. Look for matchups when taking the lesser player here. A Jerome Simpson sounds about right.

So here’s a last bit of advice for Richardson owners. Denver has given up a TD to a RB in every game this year. So there’s a chance he has a nice week against the Broncos. Then there’s the BYE week. BYE weeks are a sacred thing in the NFL. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trent has a stranglehold on the snaps for all three downs after the week off.

So there it is. What you need to know and who you could get for Trent Richardson. His play hasn’t been pretty so far and it might take some patience from owners to see his real value. However, nobody in the fantasy community would go crazy if you deal him. Enough people like the name and believe in the opportunity so I think it’s completely worth it to post on your league’s message board that he’s available and much like the Browns were, you’re listening to any and all offers.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waiver Duds and Buds

Maybe it’s an untimely injury. Maybe it’s the BYE week. Maybe it’s just a matchup you just don’t love.

There are many reasons a fantasy owner scours the waiver wire. And for some these moves pay off handsomely where they see their injured top WR’s numbers replaced by a guy who was in the right place at the right time to catch a deep ball. Some don’t work as a guy who had everything rolling for him: a steady production increase, a savory matchup, and the head coach saying they wanted to get him more involved, goes up and lays an egg.

It’s happened to all of us. Me personally? I’ve known the joy of nabbing Samkon Gado (remember him?) or Marcel Reece last season. So I have a decent enough reputation of finding the hidden talent that’s out there. So why don’t i share with you 6 players. 3 who you should steer clear (your duds) of and 3 you will remember fondly when you talk about great waiver adds 5 years from now (your buds).

Bud #1

Jerome Simpson – He is my numero uno bud not because he is a guarantee for production but because his ceiling is so high. Why isn’t he a guarantee for numbers? He has no idea who his starting QB will be. I think it’s Josh Freeman but who knows? Here is what he does have going for him 1) he plays the Giants this week 2) he plays the Giants this week 3) HE PLAYS THE GIANTS THIS WEEK!!! Sompson is your Hail Mary play here. If you had injuries like Cobb or Julio Jones, an underperforming guy like Dwayne Bowe or have someone on BYE like Denarius Moore and you NEED a win you should put Simpson into your lineup. I would take Simpson’s dud in this game (maybe 40 yards) with his upside (100+ yds and a score) over a mid range option like Rueben Randle, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Michael Floyd, or a new waiver darling soon to be mentioned.

Dud #1

Jarrett BoykinRandall Cobb is out and James Jones might miss this game so this automatically means the guy replacing him has nearly equal value right? WRONG I have nothing personal against Jarrett Boykin but I think we’re confusing a starting opportunity with what Randall Cobb brings to the Packers. I think he’ll have his games if and only if James Jones remains out. The Randall Cobb injury means an increase in work for Eddie Lacy, an increase in targets for Jordy Nelson, and an increase in usage for Jermichael Finley. To put it plain: It’s better news for those owners than it is for someone grabbing Boykin.

Bud #2

Keenan Allen – Here is a guy you are going to need number 1 priority on the waiver wire for. This stud in the making has has Philip Rivers’ back the past 2 weeks. Allen has found his knack for getting open and as evidenced on the post route that got him his Monday Night TD he has the benefit of good chemistry with Rivers. I only have him as number two here because he is going to be so sought after because after 2 weeks of stepping up we know this isn’t a fluke. if you’re at the back end of the waiver wire you didn’t even bother reading this and just put in a claim on him to go through the motions.

Dud #2

Garrett Graham – Don’t worry, I fell for the hype too. Graham had already produced with Owen Daniels active so with him currently sidelined Graham was about to become somebody you started with no hesitation. Except then all of a sudden he wasn’t. Matt Schaub, the guy who loved firing for his TE’s was injured and chemistry with a new QB takes time. Then there’s their opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs. They haven’t faced an elite talent at the TE spot outside of Jason Witten but have been solid defending against the TE. And oh yeah! Graham isn’t an elite talent. He has a BYE after this week and then returns to face the Colts who have done a good job defending top talents like Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis. UGH IF ONLY THERE WERE A TE YOU COULD ADD THIS WEEK!!! oh wait…

Bud #3

Jordan Reed – Come on! There is still time to get on the bandwagon and tell your friends that you were on it from the beginning. The Washington professional football team is throwing it a lot, and after Pierre Garcon this is the guy RGIII is looking for. He was second in targets, catches, and receiving yards against the Cowboys. His production will continue to improve as Griffin’s accuracy gets to where it needs to be now that his legs are under him again. Had Owen Daniels? Picked up Graham? Don’t cry, Jordan Reed will take care of you. He also provides value to those Jimmy Graham owners waiting for MRI results like you’re an honorary member of the Graham family.

Dud #3

Zac Stacy – Hey wait a minute, Stacy has put up 2 serviceable fantasy games in a row, the starting job is clearly his, what’s the deal? Here’s the deal: Panthers, Seahawks, Titans, Colts, Bears, 49ers, Cardinals. Those are Stacy’s matchups through week 14. There isn’t a single opponent there who isn’t incredible at stopping the run. I want this guy to succeed but I just don’t see him having too great of a year. Hold on to him in a dynasty league, because if the Rams know what they have and don’t just see bleak stats he’ll be their lead back heading into next season.

Well there we have it. 3 guys you have to go out and get and 3 who should be avoided. These are the guys who you will tell your children about when you teach them how to play fantasy football. It’s the waiver adds now that are talked about when buddy’s get together for a night out. Somewhere he there is a Samkon Gado just waiting to be a fantasy owner’s brilliant pickup. These guys are why you brag, they change how you look back on a season. That’s why all my great waiver adds are now officially my buds.

Have a guy you think we completely missed? Maybe you aren’t so hot on some our the bud selections this time around? comment below and follow the fantasy force on Twitter @TheFantasyForce and we’ll address your needs as best we can.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mark it Down

Martellus Bennett gets 60+ yards and a TD tonight against his former team.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What To Do With A.J. Green

A.J. Green was probably the second or third wideout coming off the board in fantasy drafts this year. So it’s safe to say that fantasy owners are a little more than disappointed with his performance so far as he ranks as the 11th highest scoring receiver. And you’re really angry considering that his ranking is inflated due to his 9/162/2 week 1 performance. Some of this is on Green but a lot of this lack of production falls on the shoulders of Andy Dalton. Dalton has failed to connect with Green on a consistent basis, and it has not only spelled danger for fantasy owners but also for his team. When the run game gets stuck in Cincy Dalton wil have to bail them out, and we just aren’t sure he can.

So with a QB who isn’t progressing and being the only legitimate pass catching threat on the Bengals is it fair to start considering selling AJ Green? I believe so. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not dealing Green for Nate Washington or Brian Hartline. However if I could swing it and get say a Randall Cobb I’d do it in a heartbeat. So here’s a list of who I would and wouldn’t want for AJ Green.

Antonio BrownNo – I know he’s on an offense that’s improving from week to week and they finally have their starting tailback but this is trading somewhat for the same situation but a different player. Brown also has a QB who can get him the ball a little better but being the only significant outside threat means bracket coverage or safety help over the top from opposing defenses. If you own Brown you should see if you can deal for Green while their numbers are still close together. Why? Because while Brown is an exceptional athlete AJ Green is just in a class with few others. Package Brown with your RB 4 or 5 and try and swing that deal now.

Eric DeckerYes – 47 is a solid number. 25 is just a number. This isn’t me just grading seeming random sets of numbers. Since week 2 Eric Decker has 47 standard fantasy sports, Green has, you guessed it: 25. The Broncos won’t stop being a pass happy offense, they won’t cool down. Know why? They won’t stop because they’re winning and they won’t cool off because these are all receivers that can dominate single coverage, and when you’re the “least threatening” player in the passing game you sure aren’t seeing the double coverage. Here’s a bonus for fantasy owners: Decker isn’t an attractive name: you might be able to tack on another player (just pick a position you’re deficient in).

Running backs – Unfortunately there just isn’t any particular name here you’d feel you were getting a fair trade for straight up. Doug Martin or Trent Richardson owners might listen to your trade talks but there isn’t a guarantee that you’re walking away with a 1 for 1 swap. Arian Foster owners aren’t ready to abandon him yet, DeMarco Murray is an interesting prospect to deal for, and Alfred Morris owners are probably waiting to see how this week goes. The problem with dealing away a running back is that there are so few that you can trust. This means that if you or another owner possess one you won’t feel comfortable dealing him away, if only because it makes setting lineups more matchup and guesswork based.

Tight Ends – There is a similar thing about tight ends that if you find a productive one you tend to run with him. You wouldn’t be able to get Jimmy Graham without giving away too much. and You have to wonder if someone like Antonio Gates can keep it up. If you’re a Green owner who needs some extra help try a package deal like Martellus Bennett and a #2 or #3 WR. I always like to push and get an ideal trade so when the owner counters he’ll be downgrading to a deal I’d still be happy with. However, if the Jordan Cameron owner has another acceptable TE on his roster I would offer that deal straight up.

So if you own AJ Green I encourage you to explore the deals you could get for him. If you own the Antonio Brown’s and Reggie Wayne‘s and Cecil Shorts’ of the world you should take a flier on him as his raw athletic talents could pull him out of his slump. Just be certain you aren’t giving away the farm. A decent #2 WR (the names just mentioned) and a less than impressive back (MJD OWNERS LOOK HERE) can make for a sneaky fake convincing deal. And as always if it isn’t accepted it at least opens up talks.

Last, here is a bit of trade advice. I like to talk up the players I’m trading, and also be honest about the guy I’m looking for. I HATE the, “used car salesman” owners who tell me how MJD still has immense value because he’s a starting RB, how T.Y. Hilton is the second coming of Dez Bryant,  and that there’s no way Marshawn Lynch can keep up his pace so I should deal him Lynch. If I’m doing the package deal i talked about in the last paragraph I’m telling the other owner how MJD has actually outproduced his current flex RB and how the Colts aren’t possibly going to forget about Reggie Wayne in the passing game.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brandon Weeden’s Mustache

No this isn’t an advertisement for some obscure Cleveland-based indie rock band. This is about Brandon Weeden and what he means for your fantasy team. The only format where he is a must own is 2 QB leagues where pretty much every QB should be owned. However, the stats he earns for himself aren’t the only way he affects your fantasy team. I’m talking about the guys he’s throwing to. Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon were earning themselves respectable fantasy names with solid performances for Cameron from week 1 and Gordon busting out after a two week suspension. The only thing is that Gordon’s value came with Brian Hoyer throwing him the ball.

The previous post lightly took Weeden to task for being the type of QB who is going to make the people around him suffer rather than raise them up. And I still think that’s true. However, I was able to see some of the good in Weeden holding onto the ball. Josh Gordon is a speed demon which means cornerbacks are taking an angle on him in coverage. Rather than straight backpedal they already have their hips adjusted on an angle (usually toward the sideline) to have a smaller hip rotation to not lose ground on Gordon. This gives the young speedster plenty of time to cut across the defensive back’s body for easy catches.

So what does any of this have to do with Weeden? How can we spin his negative into a positive and get Josh Gordon owners to back off of the ledge? Well, Weeden’s lack of an immediate release leads to Gordon being able to race down the field a little further. This allows Weeden to take more downfield shots. He actually has some success here hitting 6-9 throws that traveled more than 10 yards last Thursday. Need more encouragement? Weeden was 7-9 on throws to Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. Still though if you watched the game, he looked slow with his release, stared down his first read, he just looked indecisive.

So how does any of this relate to the bizarre title for today’s post? Well I think I’ve got just the thing to help Brandon Weedon get his mojo back…grow a mustache. Go back to make sure you saw that, reread that sentence to make sure you got it right. Brandon Weeden needs to grow a mustache. I’m talking like a Ron Swanson one. Why? What does this have to do with fantasy? It’s simple, growing a mustache would be the most decisive thing Brandon Weeden has done. This type of commitment will lead to Weeden being more decisive on the field as well.  The ball will be fired out of the pocket faster and the entire fantasy community will raise Weeden up on their shoulders. Josh Gordon racking up 100 yards every game, Jordan Cameron averaging a TD catch a game. Can’t you see it? Can’t you see the glory that would come from growing the ‘stache. And hey, even if he is the same old Brandon Weeden after, what better way to win over the Cleveland everyman than with an impressive facial hair choice. It could all happen fantasy community, Browns fans, Brandon Weeden. It could all happen with the mustache.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Morning Quarterback

So last night’s game was…interesting… and here with the quick team specific breakdown we start with the Cleveland Browns.

Brandon Weeden is back, much to the dismay of Browns fans everywhere and while the Browns did come away with the win there are several things that give me pause about Weeden not just as a fantasy QB.

The ball to Ogbonnaya looked like it was registered to be in the Americas Cup it sailed so well. Those passes are flat out dangerous and as a Josh Gordon owner myself I became worried for his safety should he be the recipient of a pass down the middle.

The Browns D/ST was terrible, then great, then iffy, then amazing. With 18 points in standard scoring the 2 touchdowns they produced certainly eased the minds of fantasy owners after they gave up a quick TD. Most D/ST units will be rather consistent from week to week, with the occasional dud performance, and the occasional outburst for 2 TDs. Lucky for Browns owners the dud game also had the two scores to turn it back to great.

Back to Weeden. He sure looked slow with his decision making. Where Hoyer chose one of his first 2 reads and fired the ball out quick, Weeden seemed to hesitate and, “burp the baby” that’s a real term in football look it up. All of this means that more talented secondary units (Sorry Bills fans) will get a jump on routes as he stares down his receiver before either A) getting sacked or B) throwing a pick 6. Brandon Weeden is not back, he isn’t improving, and his receivers all take a hit in rankings until Hoyer is back and hopefully starting.

And the Bills lost so they couldn’t have done anything to write home about right? Well not quite.

Sorry for that unintended rhyme there but as we jump in we can say that Fred Jackson looked pretty great out there. He hit the hole with the authority of the Fred Jackson that many believed to be long gone. This running back ability split is probably what the Bengals imagined their backfield would be like. Spiller (Bernard) being the home run threat with quick cuts and Jackson (Green-Ellis) being the tougher guy who can grind out the tough yards with both men being able to flip roles to keep defenses guessing. Well they have the whole package in Giovani Bernard and meanwhile if healthy, and that’s a pretty big if, the Bills have two fresh RBs who can swap out at any time.

Stevie Johnson exited the game due to injury and that meant the Joe Haden had a rather relaxing day booking an extended stay for Robert Woods on Haden island. However, Woods looked alright grabbing 5 passes for 64 yards. Here’s the deal though, Woods’ value is somewhat dependant on Stevie Johnson suiting up and completing games. Woods will someday be a great WR in the league but it isn’t today. Being a 1WR on a team is a huge responsibility, and it provides tremendous value, but only if that player can outperform 1CBs that he will face each week. I think Woods can slip the D sometimes as a #1 but I’d be so much more happy if he has a team’s second best cover man on him. That being said he gets a boost in dynasty leagues now as his opportunity here will only speed up his development of moves to get off the press at the line.

EJ Manuel wasn’t your starting QB in fantasy so the Jeff Tuel appearance doesn’t change any of that for fantasy.

Last, and this is a more niche fantasy topic as it involves IDP, but read on as there is also just some plain football speak here. Kiko Alonso has got a heck of a motor hasn’t he? The leap to stop McGahee at the goalline garnered comparisons to Troy Polomalu and they’re spot on. Take all of (vintage) Troy’s top of the line athleticism and put it in your middle linebacker and you know who you’d have? Alonso. Sure the Bills D/ST isn’t a legit contender in fantasy but with that D-Line, potentially locking up Jairus Byrd, and having Alonso in the middle of it all is several gigantic steps in the right direction.

So that’s what we’ve got for you to cover the meaningful takeaways from Thursday’s game. It was another sloppy example of football and the NFL but since it doesn’t sound like the days are ending anytime soon we’ll just have to get used to them together. Feel like we missed something that concerned you? comment below or tweet us and we’ll answer any and all questions and put concerns to bed.

p.s. Use our latest waiver wire post and remain a Fantasy Force

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wavering Waiver Wire

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I just don’t see it like some. Maybe the talent is just jumping out and I refuse to believe it. Or maybe i’m right. Either way the waiver wire looks practically bare to me. It looks like fantasy owners are just scavenging the last bits of meat off the bones. However, there are some owners out there who depend on these guys to step up and perform and in a sea of would be one week fantasy wonders how do you find the ones who will break out? You read the rest of this article, and follow me @thefantasyforce for gameday tips and personal assistance for any and all lineup questions. The following list contains players that are likely still available in your leagues and I’ll let you know when they’re going to have their own personal birthday weeks, and a few who should be avoided at all costs.

Jerome Simpson

You won’t be getting any WOWs if you grab Simpson. But guess what? You shouldn’t be worried about impressing your other owners. You should be concerned with beating them. Simpson gets a bump if Cassel remains the starter (I don’t believe Leslie Frazier when he says it’s still Ponder). As long as there aren’t any reports that Cordarrelle Patterson is becoming more involved or supplanting Simpson he’s a worthwhile add in 12 team leagues. Need more convincing? Here are the Vikings next five opponents: Panthers, Giants, Packers, Cowboys, and Redskins. That’s kind of exactly what a wideout needs to become an every week fantasy flex. He’s on a BYE now so if he’s a free agent grab him before you have to rely on waiver order to see if you can get him.

Robert Woods

Helping out on twitter Sunday morning there was a guy who wanted to know if he should start Robert Woods or Harry Douglas. This has got to be a deep league if this is your flex conversation. I did a little research and found that Douglas was only out on 57% of offensive snaps (good news for Roddy White owners as that’s a sign he’s getting healthy) so Woods had more upside than Douglas. Hold on a minute while I pat myself on the back. Douglas had a serviceable game but Woods exploded burning the Ravens D and gaining the trust of fellow rookie EJ Manuel. With Stevie Johnson yet again dealing with groin and hamstring issues Woods may be leaned on more to produce, a task he’s all too ready for.

Mike Goodson

The man is coming off a four game suspension and Bilal Powell has been more than just a regular fill-in at tailback, so don’t count on his production this week or next as he gets back into game shape. However, in weeks 7 and 8 facing the Pats and Bengals respectively Powell will fall back down to earth right around the time Goodson is displaying his superb speed and catching ability. I think he’s a starter by week 9 against the Saints and Geno Smith’s long awaited safety valve. However, here’s a bit of bad news, and this is looking way down the line: Weeks 15 and 16 where you’re going for the crown the Jets face the Panthers and Browns. He’ll hopefully torch Baltimore in week 12 and that is when you hit the sell button as hard as you can and gain a valuable WR.

Jordan Reed

Hey I said it was bare out there didn’t I? Here’s the deal – Jordan Reed was Washington’s 3rd round pick. A former basketball player in the mold of Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates, and Julius Thomas. However, standing at 6’2 he is the shortest of the players named, and wow did you know Jimmy Graham was 6’7? Anyway, Reed is enjoying a week off which he needed thanks to a thigh issue that got some extra time to heal with missing last week’s game. Washington has a terrible defense and will be trailing often so when Pierre Garcon is double covered the middle will free up for Reed. A bonus? When teams look to integrate rookies into the offense more they do it on a BYE week.

Zac Stacy

So I guess I kind of whiffed last week on the Benny Cunningham call. Well I still think he ran better than Richardson it’s Stacy who is now in the mix for the starting job in the Rams backfield. Gun to my head (or really any part of my body) I believe that Cunningham is the most talented runner of the group but he is being wasted as the Rams kickoff return man. It’s possible that because of these extra duties that Stacy gets a look from the coaching staff. Against a Jacksonville defense that is let’s say less than fearsome if Stacy gets the nod for some extra carries he could impress.

Believe me it was tough to find 5 names out there who could make any sort of a splash and the order they’re listed is the order I’d want them in. That’s all we have for the waiver wire this week. If something comes to mind I will tweet it out @thefantasyforce

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Matchup Plays

A lot of picking the “plug and play” D/ST goes entirely based on matchups. However much of this in the early season remains basically guesswork. My defense of note here is the Tennessee Titans. Having only allowed an average of 10 points they are seen as a sure bet this week.
I’m not buying that.
We talk a lot of the “game manager” quarterback. Geno Smith is not that. He takes shots downfield. He uses his legs to not only run for gains but get open and create better angles for passes. Make no mistake I’m not starting Geno Smith this week. However, that doesn’t mean that a rookie who wants to win his first road game won’t throw a wrench in your fantasy defense plans.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


Here’s your special Thursday Night Football MID!



Let’s double down on it


Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thursday 2 Minute Drill

Time for your 2 Minute Drill 49ers Rams edition!

We’re learning that the Thursday night game produces lackluster results on the offensive end with lower point and yardage totals compared to the Sunday games. So here we go with your fantasy players from them San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick

Yikes the fall from fantasy grace has not been pretty. However, I still believe in the guy, heck in the league I care about the most the team name is the Kaeptain so you could say I’m a fan. He will rebound, but I just don’t know if it’s in this game. Here’s where my confidence level is: I’m strongly considering benching the Kaeptain for EJ Manuel just because this is a Thursday game.

Frank Gore

Let’s say 80-90 yards and a score is your ceiling here. I think he’ll come close and let’s face it, you wouldn’t feel confident benching him in favor of someone else.

Anquan Boldin

Boy oh Boy that week 1 explosion seems so long ago. He will be seeing ultimate trash talker Cortland Finnegan this week and I think he comes away with a respectable showing for a WR 2 and a good day for a flex player depending on your roster construction.

Vernon Davis

He’s suiting up today but with the Rams allowing an average of 55 yards to the TE you should be looking elsewhere for production today.

The 49ers D/ST

A mild play here and you’d be counting on a pick or two from Sam Bradford so if you have them you’re probably rolling with them anyway.

How about the Rams for tonight?

Sam Bradford

He’s a 2 QB league option only. He’ll have a solid game but beyond a BYE week fill in he has no value to you.

Daryl Richardson

He’s going to play tonight and with Isaiah Pead out he’ll get his but I really like Benny Cunningham to do his thing. A way to check my temp on Cunningham? I have Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Giovani Bernard, and Eddie Lacy as Rbs on a team and I’m thinking of dropping Willis McGahee to stash Benny.

Tayvon Austin

Better in PPR than anything else but don’t be surprised if he finally gets deployed in this divisional matchup like the Rams have been talking about. get him in your flex and be happy.

Jared Cook

A stiff matchup this week. I think just like Davis on the other team that you should be avoiding the TEs in this game. Go out and grab Heath Miller or Brandon Myers, even Charles Clay if he’s still there.

That’s our time so get out there and fix those lineups, stash Benny Cunningham, and enjoy the action!

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment