Bears WR Brandon Marshall full participant Wednesday
Marshall has not been his usual prolific self on the field. He has just three receptions for 15 yards in his last two games combined, but does have one touchdown during that time and five for the season.
Fantasy Analysis | 1412190593
This is the week for Drew Brees
Chris Towers said it last week. Now it's my turn to declare Week 5 the week
Which isn't to say he's been Drew Stanton or anything, but he's been a little too Drew Bledsoe for my liking through the first four weeks. Basically, I want to see less of the one- and two-touchdown games and more of the three- and four-touchdown variety.
This matchup against the Buccaneers presents him with his best chance yet to do just that. He has a favorable history against the division opponent, throwing for four touchdowns in three of his last four games against them, and the Buccaneers have been especially susceptible to the pass this year, ranking fourth-to-last in yards allowed (272.5) and giving up the highest passer rating (118.4).
The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns against them in Week 4. The Falcons' Matt Ryan threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns against them a week earlier and could have had more if the Falcons let him finish out the lopsided victory.
Most likely, no one was seriously considering sitting Brees this week, but Jamey Eisenberg ranks him No. 1 among all quarterbacks. I'm cool with that.
LB Chad Greenway, TE Kyle Rudolph set to sit Thursday
The announcement comes as no surprise. Neither was expected to play. Greenway has been dealing with a broken hand and broken rib while Rudolph will likely miss about another month with abdomen and groin issues.
Lions DT Nick Fairley wearing wrap on knee Wednesday
Fairley has started all four games this season and has contributed to nine tackles.
Report: Delanie Walker held out of practice
Vikes say Teddy Bridgewater will be gametime decision
Minnesota listed Bridgewater as questionable. He did not practice Monday or Tuesday and was a limited participant in Wednesday's walkthrough, per NFL Network.
Fantasy Analysis | 1412189526
Ravens face red-hot Colts in Week 5
The Ravens have failed to reach double figures in Fantasy points in three of four games this season, and they will be going up against arguably the league's hottest offense. The Ravens have surrendered 260 passing yards per game heading into the matchup with the Andrew Luck-led Colts, who have laid waste to opposing defenses. The most Fantasy points a DST unit has managed against the Colts was the Broncos' 9-point effort in Week 1.
The Ravens have done a good job keeping quarterbacks out of the end zone so far, but their luck is likely to run out this week. Consider better options for DST units this week.
Fantasy Analysis | 1412188971
Steve Smith rolls into tough matchup
Steve has been the more productive of the Smith duo for the Ravens, as he ranks third in the league in receiving yards. He should be able to add to that total against the Colts, though they have been surprisingly stingy against opposing wide receivers this season. Even with games against the Broncos and Eagles in their wake, the Colts have allowed the third-fewest Fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, at 15.5.
Still, Smith has been reinvigorated by his new surroundings, and has been too productive to consider sitting even against what looks like it could be a tough matchup. Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg are not quite in agreement about Smith's value for Week 5, with Jamey ranking him 14 spots lower than Dave's No. 7 ranking among wide receivers. Still, they agree that Smith is worth starting in Week 5.
Calvin Johnson, Joique Bell sit out Wednesday
Fantasy Analysis | 1412188740
Darren Sproles becoming impossible to gauge
Neither Jamey Eisenberg nor Dave Richard likes
It's not that I don't think he could be as productive against the Rams as he was against the Jaguars and Colts in Weeks 1 and 2. On the contrary, St. Louis ranks 30th against the run, allowing 155.0 yards per game. It's just that his role is too unpredictable to assume it. Last week in a lopsided loss at San Francisco, you can kind of understand him disappearing, but why did it happen Week 3 against Washington, especially with starting back LeSean McCoy struggling so badly?
Granted, Sproles doesn't need as many touches as most running backs to make an impact in Fantasy. He's a threat to go all the way every time he touches the ball. But with inconsistent touches, his boom-or-bust tendencies become even more pronounced.
In what should be a winnable game, the
Fantasy Analysis | 1412096620
Asiata worked every snap of the first two drives Sunday, and was only spelled by McKinnon to start the third drive in the second quarter. However, McKinnon ripped off a 55-yard run to start his day, and seemingly forced the Vikings to change their game plan on the fly with how well he ran the ball. From that point on, the two backs split playing time nearly evenly, with McKinnon playing 32 of the final 63 offensive snaps, to Asiata's 31.
Really, you could easily argue McKinnon deserved more playing time than that. Though Asiata found the end zone three times in goal-line work Sunday, McKinnon was the more impressive runner overall. He showed a burst and shiftiness that Asiata simply cannot muster. Even on his longest run of the day, Asiata simply takes what the defense gives him:
McKinnon, on the other hand, made plays throughout the game. Even if you throw out his 55-yard run to open things up, he outgained Asiata, with a higher yards per carry to boot. It is tough to picture Asiata making much out of either of these plays, which McKinnon turned into positive gains:
On the following play, Asiata faces a similar situation, with a running lane available of his cuts back. He had more room than he realizes, but instead runs into the crowded right side of the line for no gain:
McKinnon even got some goal-line work of his own, though he fell just short of his first NFL touchdown on this second quarter run, which does highlight one advantage Asiata has:
Asiata is a hard runner who found the end zone three times on a trio of goal-line plunges, and he certainly seems better suited for work on the goal line. That run by McKinnon was initially ruled a touchdown, but he ended up being dragged down just short, whereas Asiata may have been able to power his way in.
This was only one game against a Falcons defense that was all out of sorts, so Fantasy owners should not expect stardom out of McKinnon at this point. Still, he looks like the better all-around back in Minnesota, and seems likely to force his way into the lineup even more, just like he did Sunday. He even showed he can be a competent receiver out of the backfield, a skill Teddy Bridgewater has taken advantage of with nine targets in less than two games:
If you have to own one back in Minnesota, Asiata is the guy. He has a more assured role, and will continue to see work near the end zone, no matter how much McKinnon cuts into his playing time. This could end up being a similar situation to what Cincinnati had last year, when BenJarvus Green-Ellis and
McKinnon may not be a star in the making like Bernard, but he has the sort of all-around skill set that can make him a solid Fantasy contributor if he gets the chance. He is worth targeting on waivers this week, based on what he showed Sunday.
It's a ritual for me in every sport -- what I consider the most important part of playing Fantasy, short of the initial draft. How can you know you're making the right moves if you don't know what all's going on?
It's such a simple step, but one so many people skip because ... well, I guess they just don't have the time (imagine that).
So I got to thinking ... if it's so important, why keep it all to myself? Why not take you along for the ride, relating to you anything that might influence my waiver claims, trade pursuits or lineup decisions? It seems the only proper thing to do.
With that, here are my biggest takeaways for Week 4:
• I was disappointed
• I don't know what to make of
• Were we too quick to write off
• Of course, that doesn't mean
• I'm starting to get really worried about
• I'm not quite to that point for
• I made this joke on Twitter Sunday afternoon:
Nobody seemed to get it.
• I understand he's scored a touchdown in three of his first four games, but something about
• I thought
• You can forget about
• I wish I could say the same for
• If you haven't cut
• Though I'd like to see him actually finish a game,
• All the media outlets liked to play the revenge angle with
• Incidentally, despite scoring his first touchdown,
• By cannibalizing one another's opportunities,
• I'm beginning to have some concerns about
• I'd like to get more excited about
• But make sure you've picked up
• Based on the way
• Thank goodness I didn't tell anyone to cut
• Er ... well, thank goodness I didn't tell anyone to cut
• I'm encouraged by
• If you buy into things like chemistry between a wide receiver and quarterback,
• I wouldn't say I'm buying into Bridgewater himself -- not because I doubt his ability, but because I doubt I'll have reason to start him with quarterback being as deep as it is. I can make better use of a roster spot in a 12-team league. Anything deeper is a different story.
• If I owned
• Something about
Every week, NFL players leave Fantasy points on the board in a variety of ways, and every Monday, we will try to pick those points up.
Scored 25 Fantasy points; could have had at least 13 more
Brown nearly scored two long touchdowns on the same drive mid-way through the fourth quarter, but
Scored 3 Fantasy points; could have reached double figures
Scored 6 Fantasy points; could have had 12
This has become something of a recurring scene for the
Scored 13 Fantasy points; could have reached 20 for the first time in his career
A Play in One Part
Random Kelvin Benjamin Fantasy Owner: Woooooooo! Two touchdowns for Kelvin Benjamin! I am a genius!
Random Kelvin Benjamin Fantasy Owner: Nooooooooo!
Still, three touchdowns in four games, for a guy you probably grabbed in the ninth round or later is a solid consolation prize.
Scored 1 Fantasy point; could have had his first double-digit game
First takeaway from this play?
Second takeaway? Relying on the
Finished with 10 Fantasy points; could have had 16
Hilton has gotten off to a bit of a slow start, though that is mostly because he has yet to find the end zone. He has been the second-most productive receiver in arguably the league's best passing offense, but has been held out of the end zone in all four games -- he also failed to score a quarter of the way through last year's schedule.
Hilton's lack of size makes him an inconsistent red zone threat, but he has a chance to go deep on any play, even if he did get dragged down just short this time around.
The RB split is notable only because the Giants jumped out to such a huge lead and wanted to preserve Jennings after his 34-carry performance the previous week.
The pace of the game is likely the main reason Morris' playing time is so low.
Neither back did much in this game. Fantasy owners will horde to Darrin Reaves this week, but the Panthers are surely hoping DeAngelo Williams and
Still not a great showing from Eddie Lacy, but at least there is no sign of the Packers giving up on him.
Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery at least showed that their injuries are completely behind them, based on Sunday's playing time.
The split seems pretty clear now: Jackson is the pass-catcher, Spiller is the workhorse on the ground.
Foster's ineffectiveness upon his return from a hamstring injury likely dictated the split. Expect Blue to slide further into the background in coming weeks.
It may not mean much given how often they were playing from behind, but Bishop Sankey appears to be the clear top option in the backfield.
If the Colts are milking a lead, as they have been the last two weeks, Richardson is going to get plenty of work.
TE: Brand Pettigrew - 83 percent;
Eric Ebron is finally showing some signs of life, but we would still like to see him get a larger share of the offense before he can be started safely.
RB: Chris Ivory - 58 percent;
Johnson managed to salvage his day with a late touchdown run, but it is clear Ivory is the top option.
Hard to take much out of a blowout like this, though Dion Sims' increasing role is interesting. He caught a touchdown this week, after dropping one in the previous game.
The only question is whether Jones-Drew's role increases as he gets healthy.
TE: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins - 98 percent
Jackson salvaged his game with a late touchdown, but caught just three of 10 passes thrown his way. It remains to be seen if his wrist injury will continue to limit him.
Blount's big role was a one-week thing, it seems.
Hurns might just be the No. 1 here. He has played a higher percentage of the team's snaps than any other receiver over the last two games.
Green was active, but didn't see the field. Presumably, the hamstring injury that limited him in practice is the culprit.
Smith is going to be a hot Fantasy pickup after his second long touchdown in as many weeks. This should provide a reality check.
Asiata had a huge game, but it might be hard to fend off McKinnon much longer.
The offense was such a mess in this one, it is hard to take much out of this. Let's just hope McCoy gets it going, because he isn't going to lose playing time any time soon.
Gore complained about his small role last week. Looks like he was right to.
The Saints are not likely to fall behind as badly as they did Sunday night ever again, so Cadet's role might not be this big again. Cadet played just four snaps the previous week.
They're just going to run Murray until he can't run anymore.
With an eye on Twitter and a seven-game 1 pm slate, I'll be posting live reactions to Sunday's action, along with anything else I see.
6:44pm: Calling what the 49ers are doing to LeSean McCoy "stifling" might be an understatement. He's averaging .63 yards per carry on 11 attempts. MAYBE IF NICK FOLES WOULD BLOCK BETTER!
6:15 pm: Teddy Bridgewater just hit all the buttons on the controller for this 10-yard scamper. Continues to impress in his first career start.
6:02 pm: Philip Rivers has 30 Fantasy points early in the third quarter. Dang.
5:43 pm: The rookie QBs are ballin' out here. Blake Bortles completed 15 of 18 passes for 149 yards and a TD. Teddy Bridgewater also having himself a game with 138 yards and a rushing TD on 8-of-11 passing.
5:28 pm: Guess we'll just have to face it: Eddie Royal might be here to stay. He's scorching the Jags right now with two first-half touchdowns. Keenan Allen owners not enthused.
5:15 pm: Let's set the scene. You're playing Madden against your friend who always picks a super fast QB and then proceeds to scramble like crazy and make ridiculous throws across his body. He scores time and time again, and you slam the controller down, shouting "This is so unrealistic." Well, sometimes football is just unreal.
Gore already has 30 yards on four carries with 3:30 left in the first quarter.
4:45 pm: We're all for touchdowns here at CBS Fantasy Football, but you'll be hardpressed to find a more undeserving candidate to score than Toby Gerhart on that last drive. Blake Bortles did most of the heavy lifting down the field, and then they just pounded the ball to Gerhart three straight times. The third saw him tumble onto the goal line haphazardly, and the refs held their hands up for six. Not pretty, but effective.
4:31 pm: The Vikings open the game with three straight quick passes for Teddy Bridgewater to get his feet wet in his first start. Swing pass to Matt Asiata? Nothing. Screen left to Cordarrelle Patterson? nothing. Screen right to Jarius Wright? 52 yards.
4:20 pm: Vincent Jackson helps the Bucs to their first win of the season with this diving snag with seven second left. It also salvaged his day for Fantasy, as it was just his third catch on 10 targets.
4:05 pm: I am going to turn things over to Joe Polito to run the live blog through the 4 pm games, so I leave you with this.
— Chris Towers (@CTowersCBS) September 14, 2014
Chris Towers, signing off!
4:01 pm: On Friday, I noted how wary
Jackson may be able to succeed in spite of this injury moving forward, but Week 4 was not a promising start.
3:52 pm: Four of the seven early games currently have fourth-quarter deficits. And none of them include Tampa Bay!
3:49 pm: Antonio Brown has at least 90 yards in all four of his games, and has now scored twice in each of the last two games. He's as good as any receiver in the NFL right now, and Ben Roethlisberger loves throwing to him.
3:45 pm: And you all thought Joe Philbin was bluffing!
3:44 pm: Ahmad Bradshaw has four receiving touchdowns this season. Just hauled in another one, Andrew Luck's fourth of the game. Luck has 13 passing touchdowns through four games, including two four-score games in a row.
3:43 pm: Chris Johnson does not appreciate everyone writing him off. 35-yard touchdown run, leaves him with 44 yards on six carries. Chris Ivory still getting the bulk of the work, but that's a nice consolation prize for Johnson owners.
3:40 pm: Mike Evans caught his first career touchdown pass Sunday, but was forced to leave with an apparent groin injury. He finished the game with 65 yards on four receptions.
Greene? Just three carries for 10 yards.
3:27 pm: Lorenzo Taliaferro was started in 24 percent of CBSSports.com leagues in Week 4, so at least some of you are breathing a sigh of relief after his 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Because he was not doing much otherwise. Just nine carries for 29 yards and no receptions in a blowout win.
3:23 pm: Andrew Luck just has a lot of weapons, man. 3 touchdowns today, the last to
— CBS Fantasy Football (@CBSFantasyFB) September 28, 2014
3:16 pm: Let's check in on Pistons' point guard Brandon Jennings, a lifelong Raiders fan...
With how bad the Jaguars' rushing game has been so far, why not give this a try? Johnson likely will not see the field much, but this could be a sign that the team just isn't happy with their current options.
3:09 pm: No,
3:07 pm: That wasn't Derek Carr who fumbled the snap that allowed Cortland Finnegan to score a 50-yard touchdown. It was backup
Me too, Pete. Me too...
2:59 pm: Can I start
2:56 pm: Will have more thoughts on Lamar Miller after the game, but he is running the ball so well, we might have a legitimate controversy on our hands if Knowshon Moreno is healthy enough to return after the bye week. This might get ugly for Fantasy owners of both players.
2:54 pm: Dolphins coach Joe Philbin showed enough trust in Miller to give him the team's next goal-line carry -- he took it into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. That came about 4 minutes after his fumble, thanks to this Brent Grimes interception on the next possession:
2:42 pm: 73 of Charlie Whitehurst's 118 passing yards have gone to
2:34 pm: Am I high on
— Chris Towers (@CTowersCBS) September 28, 2014
Touchdown No. 3 in four games. He's the No. 1 guy there.
Will I only point out things I get right? Yes!
2:18 pm: If you challenge a quarterback midseason, sometimes they crumble. And sometimes…
Tannehill is 17 for 19 for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Challenge accepted.
2:13 pm: Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.
He threw a touchdown to Antonio Brown on the next play, so I think he's OK.
Might just want to steer clear of this situation.
2:05 pm: The Bills' defensive line does a good job getting push, generally speaking.
1:57 pm: Like clockwork. Yes, I did trade
1:53 pm: This is just fantastic,
1:50 pm: I mean, it's a heck of a decoy, but this isn't a good sign...
I found it interesting that Ryan Broyles was active for the first time this week. Interested to see the snap counts for the Lions after the game.
1:44 pm: 49ers,
1:34 pm: Roethlisberger picked up 66 passing yards on his second drive, but
1:17 pm: The Jets settled for a field goal on their opening drive, but not before
— Steven Drummond (@StevenJuston) September 28, 2014
Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-week long $350,000 Fantasy Football contest for Week 4. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts Sunday, September 28 at 1 p.m. ET. Enter now to join.
Let's say you need to have
Even if you go to the bargain bin for your defense and kicker, Jacksonville and
What you'll need, then, are some lottery tickets. And, like the real lottery, your chances of hitting on any of these picks might be pretty low. There won't be any obvious names on this list -- just guys who might, given the right set of extremely unlikely circumstances, pay off for you.
What I am saying, in other words, is don't get mad at me if
I talked earlier in the week about how Robinson's role has increased for the Jaguars, who let him play 33 percent of the team's snaps in Week 3. The Jaguars are likely to fall behind early yet again in Week 4, so they will have incentive to experiment here. And, when the alternative is another week of watching
RB Fozzy Whittaker,
The debate about the Jets' backfield centers around
Landry played 46 percent of the team's snaps in Week 3, as the rookie's role in the offense has grown. The
Ebron isn't quite as cheap as some of these other options, though that is mostly just due to the afterglow of his No. 10 overall selection in this year's draft. He has just three catches through his first three NFL games, and is no sure thing at this point. However, he has also split time as the third tight end in the offense, but should see more playing time in Week 4, with
Unfortunately, his play immediately cratered, to the point where the talk of a quarterback controversy in D.C. died down at least a little bit -- at least for a few months. And, after Cousins' disastrous performance Thursday, we might be witnessing a similar scenario this season.
Cousins looked absolutely terrific in relief of Robert Griffin two weeks ago, and then more than held his own in a shootout against the
Cousins had four passes picked off Thursday, and none of them were particularly close. He faced some pressure, but the
Even when Cousins wasn't turning the ball over -- and he nearly did so two additional times in the third quarter, when he had passes tipped and nearly picked off -- his accuracy was a mess in this game. He had some success throwing short and in the middle of the field, but was way off on the longer throws to the sidelines. As you can see below,
Cousins' mechanics were a mess in this game, as you can see on his second interception of the day. He faced a tough situation with Washington's offense starting deep in their own territory, but he did not exactly have a pass rush breathing down his neck on this pass. He strangely lets his momentum carry him backwards, and ends up throwing a lob off his back foot that is easily taken away by the safety playing over the top.
(For a collection of some of Cousins' other lowlights, as well as his two best throws of the night, head to this YouTube playlist.)
We whiffed on Cousins this week, big time. We assumed he had put his accuracy issues behind him and would put up big numbers in a rare Thursday night shootout. The Giants held up their end of the bargain, dropping 45 points, but Cousins' erratic play put the
And, Fantasy owners who put in big FAAB bids on Cousins last week might be in line for some more disappointing performances. He has to take on the
We're certainly not ready to write Cousins off just yet, but Thursday was a nice encapsulation of his flaws as a passer; flaws he hasn't quite put behind him yet.
Normally, I tear through my inbox with the irritable haste of a 15-year-old layabout rummaging through the dryer for a matching sock, but the other day, I happened upon an email that hit me right in the feels. It came from one Todd Johnson, who, judging by his use of the third person, didn't realize that anything entered into the "writer feedback" form goes directly to the writer:
Why isn't Scott White writing about Fantasy Football? He gave the best advice and wrote the most interesting articles. Bring him back! Please.
Such earnestness. Such sincerity. It's enough to make me ... wait until my boss approaches me and says, "Scott, baseball season is over. It's time to write about football again." So Todd, this one's for you.
Of course, if you don't play Fantasy Baseball on CBSSports.com, you have at best a vague idea of who I am, what I stand for and, like Todd, where my emails go. Since you'll be seeing a lot more of me over the next three months, I figured I'd use this first post to the Fantasy Football Today blog as an introduction of sorts. We're all friends here, after all.
First, a quick note on what I'll be doing. While I won't have a traditional column this year to ramble on for 2,500 words at a time, I will be making regular posts to this blog, which are sort of like mini-columns. I'll also be posting analysis directly to player pages, putting it right in the news feed like it's news or something. It's not, of course, but you'll know that by reading it. Those fact vs. opinion exercises you did in the fourth grade will really come in handy now.
You may have noticed some of that already from colleague Chris Towers over the last couple days. You may have also noticed that his name is a complete sentence. Yes, he towers over us all in terms of Fantasy analysis.
I believe in passing on wide receivers and tight ends in the early rounds, but I've made an exception for
I'm also terrible at coming up with team names. "It Ertz" and "It Hurns" are two of my submissions for this year. I wish I could blame a lack of effort.
In the meantime, I derive far too much pleasure from wearing my
My wife and I will also be welcoming our first child into the world in November, so for a stretch of about two weeks there, I won't be writing about Fantasy Football again. Bummer dudes.
If I could sum up my approach to this whole Fantasy Football thing, I'd say I make a concerted effort to treat it like the game it is. We all have our guesses about what's going to happen over the next 14 weeks, some of them more educated than others, but when push comes to shove, they're just guesses. We're going to be wrong sometimes -- that's what keeps us coming back for more. If that's not the game for you, better to know it now than waste years of your life anger trolling everyone who guesses wrong. Being wrong is part of the game and anticipating it can work to your advantage if you acknowledge from the get-go that it's going to happen. That's exactly why I believe in drafting two starting-caliber quarterbacks.
But we'll get into all of that in the days and weeks to come. Again, just a mini-column. Not going 2,500 words here. In the meantime, just know that I'm back and that like Santa Claus and The Police, I'll be watching you.
Thursday Night Football has had a slight dampening effect on scoring since it became a full-time part of the NFL schedule in 2006, with scoring down nearly 5 percent on Thursdays in that span. However, running back production has not been impacted much at all, which should be good news for
As Dave Richard noted a year ago, running backs have been just about the only winners in TNF from a Fantasy perspective. Looking back to 2006, 114 running backs have received at least 15 carries in games played on Thursdays, and 50 of them have run for at least 90 yards. Additionally, 59 have found the end zone at least once, for an average of 0.649 touchdowns per game.
The chart below compares per-game production for running backs with at least 15 carries on Thursday night since 2006 to running backs with at least 15 carries in a game so far this season:
It isn't a huge gap, but it is enough that we can clearly see running backs fare better on the short week. Despite receiving nearly a full carry less per game on average, they have had more success with each carry, while finding the end zone more often -- 20 percent more often, on a per-carry basis.
Rashad Jennings has a tougher matchup against the
Use him while you can -- he plays against the
Filter By Position
October 1, 2014
Fantasy Football Today: Wednesday's Top 5(10/1) (8:17)