Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Fantasy & Reality: Five up, five down

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

I don't have many pet peeves, but one of them is when people ask me about a possible trade after the draft but before the season started. You just set up your entire roster, now you want to make deals? Unless an obvious offer comes along, it's not worth making preseason moves.

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe today!

But that was just a few weeks ago. Now people are asking about possible trades and at least we've had three weeks to get a glimpse of who's hot and who's not around the NFL. Now's the time to think about roster improvement. If you're 3-0 or 2-1, depth should be on your mind. If you're 1-2 or winless, rapid improvement is definitely on your mind.

This season we've come up with a Fantasy Trade Value Chart, designed to help you figure out fair and unfair offers that come along. But after three weeks, there are still a number of players who are valued too high and too low that owners should give some thought to trading for or trading away.

Buying low

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: This has been a hot topic for me for a couple of weeks now. Roethlisberger is one of just five quarterbacks with at least 19 Fantasy points per game so far in 2012, but no one's noticing. He's only starting in 38 percent of CBSSports.com leagues. That means he's on the bench for two-thirds of the people who play on our site. That means he can be had for cheap. Who wouldn't trade away a backup quarterback, especially at a time when many starters are healthy and another backup passer can be claimed off waivers? There's a difference with Roethlisberger: He has to throw because the Steelers' run game is such a mess. I love the idea of acquiring Roethliberger on the cheap if I'm not thrilled with my current starting quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers, QB; Greg Jennings/Jordy Nelson, WRs; Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers: A smart Fantasy owner will shake off Green Bay's tough start offensively. But the smarter Fantasy owner will seek out the disgruntled owner of the Packers' pass game stars and lowball him on his talent. The Packers began the year with matchups against the Niners, Bears and Seahawks, three tough defenses with strong defensive lines. They have another tough matchup in Week 6 at Houston, but otherwise won't have a big challenge until Week 12 at the Giants and then again at the Bears in Week 15. Everything else is a cakewalk starting this week against the Saints at home. Jennings especially stands out as a great buy-low candidate: He has as many targets in two games (19) as Nelson has in three.

Most Traded Players (as of 9/26)
Player # of trades
1. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans 2549
2. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins 1987
3. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals 1536
4. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons 1525
5. Cedric Benson, RB, Packers 1416
6. Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins 1284
7. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots 1248
8. Michael Bush, RB, Bears 1217
9. Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos 1208
10. Kevin Smith, RB, Lions 1150

Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots: Ridley's numbers have declined over three weeks thanks to a great Week 1 and tough matchups in Weeks 2 and 3. Things should turn around for him starting this week against the Bills. Here's a good note: Ridley has more carries through three weeks (52) than any Patriots running back since 2007 (Laurence Maroney, 54). And he's still averaging 4.5 yards per carry on the year. It remains to be seen how much Brandon Bolden and Danny Woodhead will take away from Ridley, but we're still in love with him for the simple reason he'll be the primary back in an offense loaded with passing talent.

Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars: Pretty soon people are going to start punting on Blackmon because of his ugly start. Why not swoop in with the worst player on your bench for him? Yes, he has only four catches for 31 yards, but he does have 15 targets (Top 60 among wideouts) and is in little to no danger of losing playing time as the Jaguars' receiving corps is getting thin. He's also in no danger of playing in a lot of games where the Jaguars have a big lead and run the kill the clock. He has nowhere to go but up and you can get him for a song -- far less of a risk than what people paid for him during the draft.

Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions: There is a slew of interesting tight ends available on waivers but they're going quick. One of the tight ends who might be getting cut in a lot of leagues is Pettigrew, who has yet to post more than seven Fantasy points in a standard format. It's the same old story for Pettigrew: Lots of catches, not a lot of yards. He's fourth among tight ends in targets and fifth in receptions, but a weak receiving average keeps him grounded. Still, he had at least five catches per week in half of his games last year and two of three games this year. He's probably the best buy-low tight end you could get.

Selling high

Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins: You don't need me to tell you that Griffin's been the best Fantasy player through three weeks. Everyone knows it. And some Fantasy owners will get a little crazy and offer up the moon for him. That's when you should deal him off -- we've seen him dealt for Andre Johnson, Julio Jones and Darren McFadden. If you can land an elite talent at another position for Griffin, it's probably a good idea (obviously in seasonal formats only). He's most likely not the only quarterback on your roster; assuming you're comfortable with who else you have, so don't frown on the idea of giving up Griffin if a great deal comes along. Anything short of that and you should hold off.

Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins: RG3 isn't the only Redskin worth moving. Morris was either drafted very late or picked up off waivers, so he's been a boon to most of you. Time to make him pay off: After this week against the Bucs, the Redskins will take on the Falcons, Vikings, Giants and Steelers in their next four. Combined they've allowed six rushing touchdowns and three 100-yard rushing games to running backs. Then after his Week 10 bye he'll have two games each against the Cowboys and Eagles -- assuming he's still the Redskins' primary rusher by then. Like Griffin, don't give Morris away just to avoid some bad stat lines. But an owner desperate for running back help should pony up a solid receiver or tight end to shore up his or her ground attack.

Steve Johnson, WR, Bills: Buffalo's schedule is about to get very tough. With C.J. Spiller banged up and Fred Jackson on the mend there's no chance of getting a huge amount in a trade for them, nor will anyone pay up big for Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Steve Johnson is one of two receivers with at least 10 Fantasy points per game thanks to a three-game touchdown streak to begin the year, and he's a guy who could fetch quite a bit in trade. Johnson led off 2011 with scores in each of his first three games and had four more with one 100-yard game the rest of the way. In his breakout 2010 season he scored in five straight games from late September through October before scoring four touchdowns in two games the rest of the season. With a history of limping to the finish line, Johnson might be a receiver you should consider hitting the ejection button on soon. I might even consider taking less than a five-star deal for him.

Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons: The dude is on fire with touchdowns in three straight games and just over 70 yards per game. Think he keeps it up? Not many think so -- he had two three-game touchdown streaks last season with no other scores sprinkled in throughout the year. But here's a chance for Fantasy owners to get sneaky -- one could trade Gonzalez for a good player at another position and then go right out to the waiver wire to find another tight end who is producing good numbers. Heath Miller has somehow scored more touchdowns than Gonzalez has and is unowned in over 60 percent of CBSSports.com leagues as of Sept. 25! Brandon Myers is another sweet tight end who could be claimed to take over for Gonzalez. Make the huge amount of tight end talent work for you by getting rid of Gonzalez while his value is arguably at a three-year high.

Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: This one is a tough call but falls along the same lines as Morris. Gore's playing above expectations thanks in part to a pretty good schedule, but some tough matchups coming up could bring him back down to earth. Let's also not forget that the Niners have a number of running backs on the roster and initially planned to keep Gore's carry totals under the 282 he had in 2011. He's also missed at least two games in three of his last four seasons and has averaged more than 4.3 yards per carry once since his breakout 2006 season -- the 5.9 yard rushing average he's sporting now will head south. An owner scrambling for a running back could pony up a couple of stellar talents for Gore. Let him do it and take advantage.

Fantasy & Reality

Quick observations about the misconceptions (Fantasy) and truths (Reality) from around the league.

Fantasy: Cam Newton is a rock solid, safe No. 1 Fantasy quarterback. There I was in my office last week contemplating Newton as the No. 1 quarterback on my rank list for Week 3 as he faced a beleaguered Giants defense at home on a short week. I pulled away from that but couldn't get him past No. 2 on my rank list. He sure played like No. 2 all right, throwing three interceptions while completing a gross 53 percent of his passes with zero touchdowns. He has four touchdowns through three games, a cold streak he suffered through once all of last season. His offensive line isn't protecting him as much and his passing is just as streaky if not more so than it was in 2011. I'd be nervous about starting him this week against a Falcons secondary that embarrassed Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers in consecutive weeks.

Reality: Marques Colston is a problem. Don't take my word for it -- take Drew Brees'. Sure, he won't say anything that isn't glowingly positive about Colston, but the proof is in the numbers: 31 targets for Jimmy Graham, 25 for Darren Sproles, 22 targets for Lance Moore, 19 for Marques Colston. Last week even Devery Henderson had more passes thrown his way than Colston. The veteran wideout has had some decent gains this season but isn't a factor in the red zone (four targets) and looks as if a foot injury is slowing him down.

Fantasy: Shonn Greene is the Jets' best running back. We know Rex Ryan could be at his wit's end with the problems the Jets are having but it remains to be seen just how patient he'll be with Greene going forward. For the second week in a row Greene had a poor 2.1 rushing average with a long run of 9 yards. For a guy who averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry in nine games last season, that's not good news. Ryan already told the media this week that giving Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight more carries is "a possibility that we'll look into." Greene is on notice with Ryan while Powell stands as a good waiver nab for those with an eye toward the rest of the season.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Football.

Reality: Tom Brady struggles against the Ravens. Okay, maybe he didn't exactly struggle against the Ravens on Sunday night. He completed 68 percent of his passes, he threw for a season-high 8.2 yards per attempt and he didn't have any turnovers. But he didn't throw multiple touchdowns and that stung owners expecting big stats from him. No one who drafted Brady is freaking out, but through three weeks he has fewer Fantasy points than both rookie quarterbacks as well as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andy Dalton. It's not exactly ideal, but it's still better than what people have gotten from other Top 25 overall picks like Rodgers, Stafford and Newton.

Impactful injuries

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills: The entire city of Buffalo breathed a sigh of relief when Spiller was diagnosed with a sprained shoulder, not a separation. He could play sooner than later (maybe this week) but Fred Jackson, who got hurt in Week 1, could beat him back to the field. Spiller's long-term outlook is still considered positive.

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins: It looked rough when Bush tested his knee on the sideline in the second half on Sunday and couldn't come back into the game against the Jets. But no structural damage was found and Bush might find himself back on the field in a week. Hopefully this is the last time Bush deals with a knee problem this season, but we know better.

Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos: McGahee is day-to-day with a rib injury. Without him the Broncos would presumably roll with a Lance Ball/Ronnie Hillman/Knowshon Moreno trio. We'll see if he gets some work in practice before a juicy Week 4 matchup vs. Oakland.

Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals: Wells might have turf toe, or at least that's what was implied on Sunday. The injury would open the door for Ryan Williams to be the primary ball carrier for the Cardinals.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders: DHB was carted off the field in Oakland Sunday with a concussion and a neck sprain. He left a hospital earlier in the week and isn't expected back anytime soon. The door is open for Denarius Moore to cement himself as the Raiders' best receiver.

Jared Cook, TE, Titans: Cook banged up his shoulder in Week 3 but coach Mike Munchak feels good about him playing at Houston in Week 4. At least someone feels good about playing the Texans!

Darrelle Revis, CB, Jets: It's a torn ACL for the league's best cornerback, ending his season and putting a lot of pressure on the rest of the Jets secondary. Kyle Wilson will pick up Revis' slack, but he won't intimidate offenses like Revis did. The Jets defense has as many sacks as game played -- without Revis they're in big trouble.

Adrian Clayborn, DE, Buccaneers: Clayborn was considered one of the league's up-and-coming pass-rush specialists. The Bucs will be even easier to pass against without him coming down on quarterbacks. He tore ligaments in his knee.

DST sleepers for Week 4

Last week's DST sleepers: Bills (12 points), Chargers (four points), Saints (nine points), Colts (don't ask)

Cardinals (vs. Dolphins) ... The Cardinals DST was owned in under half of CBSSports.com leagues last week. That number should be closer to 100 percent this week. Great schedule for the rest of the season and it kicks off with a game at home vs. Miami potentially without Reggie Bush. They should dominate.
Falcons (vs. Panthers) ... In consecutive weeks the Falcons have landed multiple interceptions against good quarterbacks. Containing Cam Newton doesn't sound easy but Atlanta picked him off five times in two games last year, both Falcons wins.
Buccaneers vs. Redskins ... In three games against teams led by Newton, Eli Manning and Tony Romo, the Bucs DST has managed to top 12 Fantasy points per game. Sure, the Redskins offense is a challenge to contain, but the Bucs' run defense has been surprisingly effective and the pass defense has allowed a ton of yards but not a ton of touchdowns.

Two more things

• Christian Ponder might end up being this year's rags-to-riches Fantasy story. Through three weeks he's been very impressive, totaling five touchdowns without an interception and a good completion percentage every game -- a nice improvement from last year. Where he's had help is in his receiving corps -- Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph have been big for him. More help is on the way as Jerome Simpson is coming back from a three-game suspension and can help stretch defenses further. The Vikings have averaged 23 points per game this season and Ponder has been a major reason.

• I came away with a very favorable impression of Kevin Kolb in the Cardinals' drubbing of the Eagles in Week 3. After playing it close to the vest against the Patriots in Week 2 and making everyone nervous about using Larry Fitzgerald, Kolb opened it up a bit more against the Eagles and completed 17 of 24 passes for his most efficient game as a member of the Cardinals. He threw downfield more, stood up in the pocket more and played beyond expectations, especially in a game against a tough pass rush. If this lasts we won't have to sweat Fitzgerald's numbers with Kolb anymore, and it might even lead to the Arizona ground attack becoming more of a factor, just like it was for Ryan Williams against the Eagles (83 yards on just 13 carries).

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Julio Jones looking to make up for lost touchdowns
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:26 pm ET) Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who missed the final 11 weeks last year with a fractured foot, will be taking on the division rival Saints for the first time in nearly a full calendar year when they come to town in Week 1. He scored a touchdown in that last meeting, catching seven passes for 76 yards, and seems eager to do so again.

"That's a big emphasis this year," wide receiver Julio Jones told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We have to score in the red zone. We have too many weapons to get [stopped] in the red zone."

Jones was referring to last year's season opener -- a game the Falcons lost 23-17 after stalling twice inside the 10-yard line. Given the Jones' size and physicality, the Falcons will obviously look to him in those situations, especially with tight Tony Gonzalez now out of the picture.

Jones has expressed concern recently that he's not quite ready for a full workload yet, but even if the Falcons rest him a little more than usual, you can bet they'll take advantage of his time on the field. Even though the Saints technically ranked second against the pass last year, allowing 194.1 yards per game, you shouldn't hesitate to start Jones in Fantasy. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank him fifth among wide receivers for the week.


Bill Belichick: No decision on Gronk's status yet
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:15 pm ET) While Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) said he'll definitely play Sunday at Miami, coach Bill Belichick said no final decision has been made, reports CSNNE.com.

"I'm glad that Rob's optimistic about this situation," Belichick said. "We'll go through the week of practice and take a look at everything, everybody, and see where everybody's at and try to do what we like is best for the team. With all due respect to Rob -- I'm glad he feels the way he does -- but in the end, we'll have to make the decision we feel like is best for the team and we'll do that as we go through the week."


Antonio Brown to return punts
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:02 pm ET) Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said receiver Antonio Brown will return punts along with rookie Dri Archer. "He's a Pro Bowl-caliber return man, so that's how you play him," Tomlin said of Brown.

Matt Ryan begins with familiar foe
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:58 pm ET) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan made the most of his opening-week matchup against the Saints last season, completing 25 for 38 passes for 304 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The hope is he can do something similar with the Saints coming to town in Week 1.

While last year's opener was at New Orleans, this one is at home, where Ryan went without a touchdown against the Saints in Week 12 last year. But he was without star wide receiver Julio Jones in that game. The Saints did rank second against the pass last year, allowing 194.1 yards per game, but against the Falcons, coming off a year in which they threw the ball more often than any other team, that probably won't impact a Ryan's numbers too much. It certainly didn't limit his yardage last year. Even in that Week 12 meeting, he threw for 292.

Bottom line: Based on where you drafted Ryan, you'd need an awfully good reason to consider sitting him in Fantasy, and this matchup against the Saints isn't it. Jamey Eisenberg ranks him ninth among quarterbacks for the week, and Dave Richard is even more optimistic, ranking him sixth.


Real test for Reggie Wayne comes Week 1
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:56 pm ET) Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, 35, looked sharp in training camp in his return from a torn ACL. The comeback continued in the third preseason game, when Wayne suited up for the first time and caught two passes for 11 yards and was targeted a third time. (Both receptions were negated by penalties).

"It felt good," Wayne told reporters. "Everything felt normal and that's what I expected. Coach tells you you've got about 8-10 plays and you feel like that's the perfect number, but once you go out there and start playing and getting involved, you feel like that's not enough.

"It was good to get a real live game under my belt," Wayne added. "There is no way you can simulate that."

Wayne didn't play much, however, and it will be interesting to see if he plays a full complement of snaps in Sunday night's anticipated shootout in Denver. Wayne caught five of eight targets for 50 yards against the Broncos in Week 7 last year before reaching for an underthrown pass midway through the fourth quarter and ripping up his right knee.

Wayne appears ready to reclaim his spot as Andrew Luck's chain mover, but watch his usage closely. Keep expectations in check and start him as a WR3.

Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount will play Week 1 as expected
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:50 pm ET) Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount will play Sunday against the Browns despite their recent arrests on marijuana possession charges, reports NFL.com.

Saints have tough first test
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:39 pm ET) Coming off a season in which they excelled against the pass, allowing the second-fewest yards per game (194.1) while recording the fourth-most sacks (49), the Saints will have a chance to validate that performance when they travel to Atlanta in Week 1 to take on the most pass-heavy offense in the NFL.

The Falcons threw the ball 68.7 percent of the time last year, according to TeamRankings.com, tops in the league. They ranked seventh in passing offense, averaging 265.2 yards per game. The Saints limited the Falcons to 271 yards through the air in their second meeting with them last year, but of course, star wide receiver Julio Jones was out for that game. The Falcons threw for 341 yards in the teams' first meeting.

With Jones back to full health, both Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard expect the Saints DST to struggle in this one, ranking it 21st at the position. Even if the Saints are able to slow the Falcons' passing attack, they're vulnerable against the run, having allowed the fifth-most yards per carry last season.


Joe Flacco a risk for Week 1 after last season's struggles
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:35 pm ET) Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco struggled through one of the worst seasons of his career a year ago, and that extended to his two games against division foes Cincinnati. He will hope for better results when he takes on the Bengals Sunday in a Week 1 matchup.

Flacco had just 20 combined Fantasy points in two games against the Bengals last season, despite chucking up 86 passes. He accounted for just 332 yards and three touchdowns in the games, while turning the ball over six times in those games.

Flacco got a bit more help in the passing game this offseason, but we haven't quite seen how the offense is going to look with those new faces. Flacco should be better than he was a year ago, but he is still something of a risk, especially against a defense that allowed just 15.1 Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last season. Consider him more of a low-end No. 2 Fantasy option for Week 1. 


Bills make roster moves
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:28 pm ET) The Bills signed tight end D.J. Tialavea to their practice squad and released cornerback Bobby Felder with an injury settlement.

Andy Dalton looking for revenge vs. Ravens
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:23 pm ET) Expectations for Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton are high after he signed a massive extension this offseason, and he will get his first chance to try and live up to them in Week 1 against the Ravens.

Dalton is very familiar with the Ravens, having faced them six times in his career, but he doesn't have the best track record. Dalton has just six touchdowns to 11 interceptions through the air against the Ravens, while completing just 53.9 percent of his passes. He especially struggled in two games a year ago, as seven of his 20 interceptions for the season came against the Ravens defense.

If you take out a historic seven-touchdown performance by Peyton Manning in Week 1 a year ago, the Ravens were solid against quarterbacks, allowing 14.9 Fantasy points per game. Dalton will be looking for a measure of payback against the Ravens, given his struggles, but Fantasy owners should be wary as the season begins. Consider him more of a No. 2 Fantasy option for Week 1; neither Jamey Eisenberg nor Dave Richard has Dalton among the top-15 for quarterbacks this week


 
 
 
Rankings