Cowboys | Two defensive players doubtful

Cowboys | Two defensive players doubtful

Dallas Cowboys DE Edgar Jones (groin) and LB Justin Durant (groin) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 4, and are listed as doubtful for Week 5.

2013-10-04 12:18:45 | Source: DallasCowboys.com

Access more Justin Durant news and rumors by clicking here….

Access more Edgar Jones news and rumors by clicking here….

What do you think? Sound off!

For additional NFL information, please view KFFL’s NFL Hot off the Wire.


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Cowboys | Miles Austin listed as doubtful

Cowboys | Miles Austin listed as doubtful

Dallas Cowboys WR Miles Austin (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 5. He was able to do some light running during the early stages of practice Friday, Oct. 4, and will try to work out before the game.

Fantasy Tip: It appears Austin will sit out another game because of his hamstring injury, but owners will have to monitor the inactive list in case he does play. If he does not play, Terrance Williams and Dwayne Harris likely will see a bump in fantasy value. Williams could be a flex option in deeper leagues.

2013-10-04 12:05:43 | Source: ESPNDallas.com – Calvin Watkins

Access more Miles Austin news and rumors by clicking here….

Access more Terrance Williams news and rumors by clicking here….

Access more Dwayne Harris news and rumors by clicking here….

What do you think? Sound off!

For additional NFL information, please view KFFL’s NFL Hot off the Wire.


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Upgrade Your Fantasy Football Approach: 10 Stats to Predict WR Success

Any average Joe on the street can pull up some quick stats about receptions, receiving yards or receiving touchdowns and think he’s a fantasy football expert. But while those stats may tell him what has happened in the past, they won’t necessarily tell him what will happen in the future.

None of us have a crystal ball to predict with 100 percent certainty how productive a wide receiver can be, but there are deeper stats and carefully curated systems of analysis that can more accurately project a receiver’s future impact on a game and a season. 

Here, I’ve collected 10 stats to help you play the role of soothsayer and predict just how valuable a wide receiver will be for you in fantasy football.   

Targets

Targets are the most obvious stat to focus on beyond receptions, touchdowns and yards. Targets don’t have an actual impact for fantasy owners, but they are an excellent way to determine whether a player’s current level of production is sustainable over the long haul (or if his production is likely to increase).

For example, look at James Jones. He was targeted 98 times, catching 64 passes for 784 yards and an NFL-leading 14-touchdown receptions in 2012. That’s a touchdown for every seven targets. To put that into perspective, Eric Decker, who was second in the NFL with 13 touchdown receptions, had one for every 9.5 targets. 

The point is, Jones’ usage in the Packers offense makes it really unlikely he’ll come anywhere close to catching 14 touchdown passes again this year. 

Here’s another way of looking at it. In Week 1, Pierre Garcon had seven catches for 64 yards, not exactly a huge day for fantasy owners. But he did have 11 targets, a potential signal of big things to come. So what happened?

Sure enough, in Week 2, he had eight receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown. He only had two more targets, but his production skyrocketed.

Again, targets are generally a pretty good indicator of what is to come, or what production may not be sustainable. Touchdowns and yards can be fickle for receivers, but if a quarterback is consistently looking their way, you can bet the numbers will eventually follow. 

Percentage of Targets

We all know that game plans change from week to week, meaning a player could have 15 targets one week and five the next. One way to determine just how consistently your player will be utilized in the game plan is by tracking that player’s percentage of targets on his team. 

For example, thus far in 2013, Cecil Shorts (36.4 percent), DeSean Jackson (34.1 percent) and A.J. Green (33.3 percent) lead the NFL in percentage of targets, according to Advanced NFL Stats.

It’s a safe bet these players—even in weeks when their teams struggle to throw the ball or face tough pass defenses—will still be a big part of the game plan and thus are more likely to produce than players who receive a smaller percentage of targets on their team.

Red-Zone Targets

Targets are great, but nothing is more comforting for fantasy owners than knowing a player is a threat in the red zone. If a team’s quarterback consistently targets a receiver inside the 20-yard line, there’s a good chance that player will continue to score touchdowns. 

And given how fickle touchdown production is for wide receivers, a player who consistently gets red-zone targets obviously has a far greater likelihood of scoring than one who doesn’t.

Duh. 

Put another way, there are running backs in the NFL who have made a fantasy living in the past as red-zone vultures. People own them simply because they know they’ll be given more opportunities to score than other players.

Why treat fantasy wide receivers any differently?

Average Depth of Target

We take it one last step with targets, with a stat created by Pro Football Focus called Average Depth of Target, or aDOT for short. 

Essentially, this stat will show you how many yards down the field a wide receiver is targeted on average. For instance, in 2012, Torrey Smith had an aDOT of 18.6, second in the NFL. He was obviously a deep threat for Joe Flacco. 

Contrast that to Wes Welker, who had an aDOT of 7.6. Hardly surprising, because he is a slot receiver who runs plenty of crossing routes and quick hits over the middle. 

So what does this tell us? Well, in general it gives us a fairly precise idea of whether he’s running short, intermediate or deep routes. It’s more specific than yards per reception, which also includes all of the work a wide receiver does after the catch. 

Look at Welker, who had 1,354 yards last season and 11.5 yards per catch. But 702 of those yards actually came after the catch. His 11.5 yards per reception is a bit deceiving. With aDOT, we get a deeper understanding of what type of receiver we’re looking at, and what his role is within the offense.

Yards Per Catch

Even with the introduction of aDOT, yards per catch is still a useful tool for fantasy owners. Whereas aDOT shows us more precisely where a receiver is being targeted, yards per catch shows us what they did with their opportunities when the pass was completed. 

Look at Vincent Jackson. He finished the season atop the NFL with 19.2 yards per catch in 2012. He was a major downfield threat (this is backed up by his aDOT, which was 16.9, fourth in the NFL). Combining the two stats—along with the fact that we know he caught 72 passes for 1,384 yards and eight touchdowns—we not only know that Jackson was regularly targeted down the field, but also that he made the most of those opportunities. 

In other words, his production seems sustainable because of his role on the team and his ability to turn his opportunities into big plays. As you’ll see, all of these stats build upon one another. 

Yards After the Catch

Simply put, yards after the catch—YAC, for short—gives us a good idea of what a player does once he has the ball in his hands. Players with a high YAC are dangerous weapons and certainly worth owning. Here are last year’s top 10 performers in that regard (note that four running backs are included).

RANK PLAYER TEAM REC TAR YDS AVG TD LONG 20+ YDS/G   YAC 1DN
1 Wes Welker, WR NE 118 174 1,354 11.5 6 59 13 84.6   702 72
2 Darren Sproles, RB NO 75 104 667 8.9 7 44 7 51.3   673 29
3 Andre Johnson, WR HOU 112 164 1,598 14.3 4 60 23 99.9   552 79
4 Demaryius Thomas, WR DEN 94 141 1,434 15.3 10 71 29 89.6   538 60
5 Michael Crabtree, WR SF 85 126 1,105 13.0 9 49 15 69.1   536 57
6 Calvin Johnson, WR DET 122 205 1,964 16.1 5 53 40 122.8   525 92
7 C.J. Spiller, RB BUF 43 56 459 10.7 2 66 9 28.7   521 19
8 Percy Harvin, WR MIN 62 85 677 10.9 3 45 8 75.2   509 36
9 Ray Rice, RB BAL 61 84 478 7.8 1 43 6 29.9   507 22
10 LeSean McCoy, RB PHI 54 67 373 6.9 3 36 4 31.1   489 19

No surprises there, right? These players are dangerous even if they don’t get a ton of targets. Look at Spiller, for example.

YAC is one of the best ways to determine if a player on a poor offense is worth adding or ignoring for your fantasy team. If he can make plays on his own, he’s likely to overcome a bad quarterback or paltry amount of targets for fantasy purposes. 

Points Per Opportunity

We turn to Pro Football Focus for another stat: Points Per Opportunity (PPO for short). They define it simply as follows:

Total Fantasy Points / (Carries + Pass Routes Run) = PPO

Simply put, this is a great way to evaluate players who perhaps struggled with injuries in the previous season—or perhaps weren’t promoted to a starting gig until later in the season—to determine what kind of value they had while they were actually on the field. 

Based on his PPO last year, for instance, Pierre Garcon could have a huge year if he stays on the field in 2013. He led the NFL with a PPO of 0.40 in 2012. Thus far in 2013, Eddie Royal leads all wide receivers who have played at least 25 percent of their snaps with a PPO of 0.56.

Consider this stat a great way of determining which players make the most of their opportunities on the field, at least in fantasy terms. As the season goes on, look at the PPO of rookies or role players—the higher it is, the more likely they are to have a major fantasy breakthrough at some point. 

Catch Rate

This is pretty simple: Take a player’s receptions, divide them by his targets, multiply by 100 and you get a player’s catch rate. 

This won’t necessarily tell you how good a player’s hands are, because it doesn’t account for dropped passes, but it will tell you how often a player actually catches a pass heading in his general direction. The best way to use this stat is actually to evaluate the quarterback throwing to your wide receiver and project whether a new quarterback might have better results. 

For instance, last year Larry Fitzgerald had a catch rate of 48 percent. Seeing as he had just five drops, it was clearly due to the Arizona Cardinals’ terrible quarterback play. This year, with a new quarterback in Carson Palmer, he was justifiably drafted higher than a player who finished 42nd in fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues normally would be. 

Catch rate is a great way to project if a player could see a bump in value once he changes quarterbacks. 

Defensive Points Against

Always—and I mean always—check how many fantasy points a defense is allowing to opposing wide receivers per week. ALWAYS. The amount of total passing yards or total passing touchdowns allowed is largely irrelevant, because running backs and tight ends contribute to those numbers. 

But knowing specifically how much damage wide receivers do to every defense in the NFL is vital. ESPN offers this stat, and it’s a great way to determine how much value your wide receiver has on a week-to-week basis. 

If a defense is regularly getting carved up by opposing wide receivers, you want to start a player facing that defense rather than a similar player going against a tougher defense. It really is that simple.

Use this stat for all positions, I implore you.

Know Your Wide Receiver’s Quarterback

Wide receivers are completely reliant upon their quarterbacks to get them the ball, so make sure you know everything possible about the quarterback feeding your wide receiver. 

What is his completion percentage? Does he have a habit of getting sacked because he takes too long in the pocket? How often does he turn the ball over? Does he have a better deep arm (Joe Flacco, for instance), or is he a dink-and-dunk game manager (Alex Smith)? How likely is he to get injured, and who is the backup?

This isn’t a precise stat, but rather a collection of stats and analysis you should be focused on. Nothing can sink a good fantasy receiver faster than a terrible quarterback. Just ask Larry Fitzgerald in 2012, or Dwayne Bowe thus far in 2013 (14 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues in three games), who is stuck with game-managing Smith.

Always, and I repeat ALWAYS, know everything there is to know about a receiver’s quarterback.

Hit me up on Twitter—I’ll answer your fantasy lineup questions, make ill-fated NFL predictions and tweet cheesy jokes. It’s fun stuff, people.

Follow TRappaRT on Twitter

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Willis McGahee vs. Bobby Rainey: Fantasy Outlook After Chris Ogbonnaya’s Injury

A crowded Cleveland Browns backfield may now have one less competitor for playing time.

Running back Chris Ogbonnaya left Thursday night’s game against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter. The Browns’ team Twitter page said he suffered a head injury after taking a hard hit from rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso.

#Browns RB Chris Ogbonnaya is being evaluated for a head injury & is out. QB Brian Hoyer has a rt. knee injury and will not return

— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 4, 2013

If the ailment turns out to be a concussion, Ogbonnaya will likely miss at least a game or two. Now the league is aware of damage caused by head trauma, teams must play it safe and display caution.

This clears the way for Willis McGahee and Bobby Rainey, neither of whom has impressed much since Cleveland sent Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts.

While Ogbonnaya did little to ignite the rushing attack, he caught nine passes for 51 yards and a touchdown in two games without Richardson. That transformed him into an especially appealing waiver-wire option for owners in point-per-reception fantasy football leagues.

He also converted his seven carries into 50 yards, so more touches would have come his way had he remained healthy. In his absence, McGahee and Rainey will vie for playing time. Last night’s ledger shows McGahee has the upper hand, while simultaneously proving he shouldn’t.

From a strictly fantasy scoring standpoint, McGahee did his job. He compiled 72 yards and a touchdown in Cleveland’s 37-24 victory. What more do you want from him?

In terms of efficiency, it was yuck. The veteran needed 26 carries, including a look on the Bills’ one-yard line on his score, to attain those results.

It was a matter of right place, right time for a rusher who looks over the hill.

McGahee is no longer armed with any breakaway speed—or, for that matter, the ability to cut to the edge for a 12-yard gain. Bleacher Report’s Michael Schottey was less than impressed with McGahee’s outside running burst.

Dear Willis McGahee, the corner store has been closed for you for a few years now…stop trying to go there

— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) October 4, 2013

Nevertheless, he’s Cleveland’s guy for now. Rainey has received 12 carries since Richardson’s departure, engineering just 34 yards. His longest gain amounted to seven yards.

The 25-year-old out of Western Kentucky has not received much of a chance to stamp his print on Cleveland’s offense. At 5’9″, Rainey is built in the Maurice Jones-Drew mold, but has not demonstrated much speed.

Which Cleveland running back will finish the 2013 season as the most valuable fantasy player?

Which Cleveland running back will finish the 2013 season as the most valuable fantasy player?

  • Chris Ogbonnaya

  • Willis McGahee

  • Bobby Rainey

Rainey could prove a tricky tackle with more chances, but he only merits fantasy consideration if whoever is lined up at quarterback hands him the ball near the goal line.

McGahee now has a solid grip on those duties, so he’s worth owning and starting as a flex in the right situation. Cleveland’s 91 yards helped propel Buffalo’s rush defense up to 24th with 116 yards per game, so that fortuitous play needed a cheap one-yard score to muster fantasy value.

Next week, the Browns play the Detroit Lions, who allow 5.2 yards per carry. McGahee could deliver another usable fantasy output in ugly fashion, but anyone starting him is gambling on him scoring a touchdown, otherwise the results won’t be pretty.

A 70-yard, one-touchdown output is the peak right now for McGahee—or any Cleveland back. 

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Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Week 5: Managing Players Mired in Slumps

They have to untangle eventually, right?

Some of fantasy football’s most sought-after figures have betrayed drafters who expected them to lead the championship brigade. Lately it hasn’t been smooth sailing for these guys. They might not have even boarded the boat.

Nothing can befuddle a fantasy manager quite like a slumping star. Should gamers award preferential treatment to those who have earned the benefit of a doubt with past success? Or is there no room for understanding in this cutthroat game of ours that calls for immediate results?

Let’s examine some prime cases of big-name guys not living up to their rap sheet. 

QB Colin Kaepernick (vs. Houston Texans)

He was going to orchestrate a dynasty and completely revolutionize the NFL quarterback position. That totally wasn’t an overreaction at all…

Colin Kaepernick will finish the 2013 season as a _________ fantasy quarterback.

Colin Kaepernick will finish the 2013 season as a _________ fantasy quarterback.

  • Top five

  • Top 10

  • Top 15

  • Free agent

Colin Kaepernick assumed the captain’s chair in San Francisco when Alex Smith suffered an injury during the 2012 season, and the dual-threat quarterback never gave the seat back. All the love bestowed on him for guiding the 49ers to the Super Bowl only soared when he commenced the season with 412 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers.

Since that monster opening weekend, he has totaled 444 passing yards and two touchdowns in the past three games. His four interceptions during that stretch already surpass last season’s total.

His 140 rushing yards and zero scores on the ground also cause concern, as he usually generates most of his fantasy buzz with his legs. Even during his success last season, Kaepernick averaged 201.9 passing yards per game as the starter.

While his neat, albeit boring 167-yard, two-touchdown effort against the St. Louis Rams saved some face, he now has the Houston Texans coming his way. Houston’s air-tight secondary has surrendered 141 passing yards per game on a 55.5 completion percentage.

Russell Wilson provided a fantasy dud against Houston last week, tossing 123 yards alongside an interception. Kaepernick will have to turn back to his legs to salvage any fantasy value out of this matchup against the NFL’s stingiest pass defense.

Verdict: Sit

RB Maurice Jones-Drew (at St. Louis Rams)

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Don’t call it a comeback because the real Maurice Jones-Drew has never actually returned.

If anyone has seen the real MJD, tell him that this impostor averaging 2.4 yards per carry is sinking many seasons. Does he just want everyone else to suffer as slight revenge for having to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars? 

Even though a foot injury limited him to six games last season, many gamers stuck by his side due to six years of fantasy greatness. The 28-year-old has rewarded that loyalty with 138 rushing yards and one score through four bouts.

Are you starting Maurice Jones-Drew this weekend?

Are you starting Maurice Jones-Drew this weekend?

His ankle also flared up in September, and no defenses will take the pass seriously with Blaine Gabbert under center. Anyone who drafted Jones-Drew in the second or third round will leave the season disappointed with that decision.

But you’re stuck with him now, so you might as well make the best of it. This week presents him a chance to rebound against the St. Louis Rams, who welcomed new life to another creaky back last week.

Frank Gore, who entered the game with 142 rushing yards, added 153 to that tally against the Rams on Sept. 26. St. Louis now ranks 29th with 133.5 rushing yards allowed per contest.

Those who pull the plug on MJD now could miss out on a rejuvenated performance this Sunday. 

Verdict: Sit

WR Hakeem Nicks (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Hakeem Nicks looked awful last Sunday.

His three-catch, 33-yard afternoon could have amounted to so much more had he cashed in on his opportunities. The fifth-year wideout was targeted nine times by Eli Manning, including a couple of well-thrown deep balls that leaked right through the receiver’s hands.

This poor outing came a week after Manning did not look Nicks’ way once, which prompted the beleaguered pass-catcher to tell the Star-Ledger‘s Charles Chandler, “I can’t throw it to myself.”

While his public complaints worked, he did not hold his end of the bargain. As a man once bestowed with superstar potential looks to re-emerge from an injured finger, Victor Cruz has transformed into the New York Giants’ clear No. 1 target.

These all sound like compelling reasons to sit Nicks, but his matchup with Philadelphia is too enticing to pass up. The Eagles allow 325 passing yards per game on a 70.2 opposing completion percentage. After going up against two top-five pass defenses, the Giants should get the offense up and running again, at least enough to appease fantasy managers in a shootout.

Give Nicks another chance, but it will be time to worry if he cannot deliver this weekend.

Verdict: Start

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Fantasy Football’s 10 Best Sleepers Heading into Week 5

With a quarter of the NFL season now behind us, we all have a firm grasp of the direction our teams are headed. For those of you who are going in the wrong direction and need a little bit of help, each sleeper named in this article can help turn things around.

Whether it was bad drafting, injuries taking their toll or bye weeks coming to fruition, everyone has a hole or two on their team. That’s where these guys come in. They’re not meant to become crucial parts of your team going forward, but rather brief, one-week plugs to cover up those holes.

Am I going to guarantee that every one of these guys has a big week? Of course not. But based on the numbers, situation and matchup, I’m fairly confident with each player on the list.

If you’re in need of a quick fix this week, keep reading and you might find it. As always, though, your team will only go as far as you take it. Don’t feel obligated to start anyone just because they’re here. If you find other matches that seem more appealing, roll with your gut. I’m here to help, not manage your team.

So without further ado, here are the 10 best fantasy sleepers of Week 5.

Eli Manning, New York Giants, Quarterback

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It has to stop, right? At some point, something has to give, doesn’t it?

Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, just a few years removed from earning the “You can’t have elite without Eli” catchphrase. This season he’s been anything but that.

I can understand if you’ve lost all hope in him. A six touchdown-to-nine interception ratio is horrific, not to mention his paltry completion percentage, 56.3 percent. But he’s playing the Philadelphia Eagles. And ladies and gentlemen, that’s all I need to know.

Manning will throw the ball a lot this week, and much like his brother did last week, he will find his receivers. The Eagles defense really is that bad, currently giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. That’s a trend I see continuing.

If you still have him stashed somewhere on your bench, it would be prudent to bust him out this week. We’ve seen Eli be this bad before, and we’ve also seen him rebound from terrible games. I don’t see any scenario where he doesn’t throw for at least 350 yards and two touchdowns, and I’m being cautious with those predictions.

He’ll have a top-10 fantasy week, maybe even top-five. For at least this week, Eli will look like the guy in the video above. All hail the Eagles defense, the givers of fantasy points.

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams, Quarterback

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Yes, I know, Sam Bradford looked awful last week. A lot of quarterbacks do playing against the San Francisco 49ers defense. He’s not playing them this week, though. He’s playing the worst team we’ve seen in years, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

If the Jaguars defense has any redeeming qualities, I ask you, please point them out. They can’t defend the pass, they can’t defend the run, and they can’t put pressure on the quarterback. I’m about a week away from just automatically inserting whichever starting quarterback plays this team.

Let’s put it this way: If Tim Tebow walked on to the Rams half an hour before the game, I’d start him.

The Jaguars are giving up the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. As bad as that number already is, it would be much, much worse if teams actually played their starters in the fourth quarter and threw the ball.

The beauty of it all? The St. Louis Rams are nearly as bad. Bradford will probably be on the field and throwing the ball the entire game.

Believe it or not, the 49ers game aside, Bradford hasn’t been that bad of a fantasy play this season. He had 25 points in Week 1, 33 in Week 2 and 15 in Week 3. I see another plus-20-point performance in him this week. If you’re in need of a quarterback this week, Bradford is as good of a fill-in as you’ll find.

Isaiah Pead, St. Louis Rams, Running Back

OK, lets just get this out of the way: Isaiah Pead is playing the Jaguars. As you saw in the last slide, I’m not particularly high on that defense.

With Daryl Richardson tweeting that he will not be the starter this week, via Anwar S. Richardson of Yahoo! Sports, his carries will likely go to Pead. With the Jaguars giving up the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs this week, he’s a low-end flex play for me, especially if you have a certain crucial member of your team on a bye this week (i.e. Adrian Peterson).

Will he be a world-beater? Probably not. But as we all know, running back options are scarce, and sometimes you just have get the most out of a bad situation. Opportunity generally yields results, and when those opportunities are coming against the defensive sieve that is the Jaguars, the results could be pleasantly surprising.

If you’re in a bind this week, go with Pead. The upside here is actually pretty enticing.

Bilal Powell, New York Jets, Running Back

Even with reports that Chris Ivory has begun practicing this week after injuring his hamstring in Week 3, per Jack Choros of SB Nation, Bilal Powell has been the better back this year and should retain the starting duties even if Ivory returns.

The Atlanta Falcons qualify as a league-average run defense, giving up the 14th-most fantasy points per game to running backs this season. The New York Jets know that if they have any hopes of staying in the game, they’re going to have to pound the ball on the ground and try to keep the ball out of Matt Ryan’s hands.

Powell should have plenty of touches this week, and his 4.4 yards per carry prove that he can do something with those carries. His numbers the past three weeks have been impressive, putting up 13, 15.8 and 10.8, respectively. I see him crossing the 10-point benchmark again this week.

He’s a decent RB2 for me this week and a great flex option if you have a good stable of backs. If he manages to reach the end zone, the numbers could be staggering.

Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders, Running Back

When Darren McFadden exited the game last week with a hamstring injury, Rashad Jennings actually came in and provided a decent stat line. He put up 11.6 fantasy points, and that was without finding the end zone.

With McFadden expected to miss the game against the San Diego Chargers this week, according to Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride, Jennings should receive plenty of touches this week. It all comes down to what he will do with them.

With news that Terrelle Pryor will likely start the game on Sunday, via Chad Bertrand of Yahoo! Sports, I like the chances of Jennings having a big week a lot more. Young quarterbacks tend to rely on their running backs as safety valves in the passing game, and Jennings has shown that he is an adequate pass-catcher out of the backfield.

Jennings isn’t a shoo-in starter by any means, but if you’re in need of a viable flex play, he’s your guy. He’ll get plenty of touches and is always a threat to bust out a big play.

Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders, Wide Receiver

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It’s been feast or famine for Denarius Moore this year, as he’s had games of 10.3 and 18.4 points this year, but also put up a goose egg against—gulp—the Jaguars in Week 2 and just 6.6 against another defensive pushover, the Washington Redskins.

That being said, this is a good matchup for him, as the San Diego Chargers have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. The return of Pryor is also a plus for him because of the tendency of the young quarterback to air it out deep. As one of the fastest receivers in the league, I expect Moore to come down with a few of those.

Sometimes you just have to take a risk and roll the dice. Is it a possible that Moore puts up another flat performance? Well, yeah. But he has huge upside and the big-game potential is oozing out of this one. Division games tend to bring out the best in players, and I expect nothing less out of Moore this week.

He’s a solid WR3 for me this week and a great flex play. He’s a guy who can get you all of the points you need on just one play, and though a fair amount of risk comes with this start, fantasy championships are often won on risks like this.

James Jones, Green Bay Packers, Wide Receiver

After giving his fantasy owners exactly zero points in Week 1, James Jones proceeded to score 15.8 and 9.4 in the ensuing two weeks. Now, coming off of a Week 3 bye, Jones should be poised to put up some big numbers.

While the Detroit Lions secondary has been above average this year, allowing the 17th-most fantasy points per game this season, they could be extremely undermanned, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk:

With an NFC North showdown looming on Sunday in Green Bay, three starters in Detroit’s secondary were held out of practice today: cornerback Chris Houston with a hamstring injury, safety Glover Quin with an ankle injury and safety Louis Delmas with a knee injury.

That’s great news for Jones and the rest of the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t need help picking a secondary apart, but he might have gotten some anyways this week. With this being a divisional game that features two quarterbacks who love to sling it around, I expect big numbers all across the board.

He’s an easy WR2 for me this week and could put up WR1 numbers if Rodgers finds him enough times. He should be started in all formats.

Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams, Wide Receiver

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Bradford is on the list. Pead is on the list. We might as well complete the trinity and throw Chris Givens in there, too!

It’s not that I like picking on the Jaguars. I really don’t. And on the surface, they haven’t been terrible when guarding receivers this year, checking in at right around league average, 16th overall. But we all know that’s just a mirage, that number a product of teams running the ball the entire fourth quarter.

Givens hasn’t been anything special this year, cracking the 10-point benchmark just once in Week 2. I think he’s due, though, and Bradford was looking for him last week, targeting him six times overall.

Givens has big-play ability, a speedster on the outside who likes to stretch the field. Like Moore, all it takes is one big play hitting for him, like in the video above, to justify his spot. I like the matchup, I like that Bradford was looking for him last week, and I feel comfortable with him as a strong flex option this week.

If you need some receiver help this week, he’s a go.

Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins, Tight End

Charles Clay saved a lot of fantasy owners last week, with his garbage-time touchdown giving his overall numbers a nice little boost. I see him having another strong performance this week.

With both the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens coming off of demoralizing losses, both will come out firing to try to get the bad taste out of their mouths. That’s where Clay comes in.

He’s proven to Ryan Tannehill that he’s as reliable of a receiving option as anyone, hauling in all six of the balls thrown his way last week. While the Ravens still boast a strong defense, guarding the tight end has proven to be a weakness, giving up the 12th-most fantasy points in the league.

With Kyle Rudolph on his bye week, many owners will be looking for a replacement this week. Clay won’t disappoint. He’ll put up TE1 numbers this week and maybe even for the rest of the season as well.

Atlanta Falcons Defense

The numbers for Geno Smith this season haven’t been pretty. He’s averaging two interceptions per game, eight total, and he’s been sacked a whopping 14 times. He’s also put the ball on the ground three times, giving him a total of 11 turnovers. And the kicker? He’ll be without his top two receivers this week, Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill.

He’s also catching the wrong team at the worst possible time. While the Atlanta Falcons came into the season with Super Bowl aspirations, they’ve started the season at 1-3 and are in desperate need of a victory. Their defense is in for a big week.

Smith and the Jets are currently giving up the fifth-most points to opposing defenses this season, and I expect that trend to continue. Smith will continue to experience the growing pains of being a rookie, and the turnovers will be plentiful in this one.

I see Atlanta being a top-five defense this week and wouldn’t be surprised if they equaled their overall season total of 20 points. Smith just doesn’t have enough weapons on offense to do much of anything.

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Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings: Breaking Down Best Matchup at Each Position

Fantasy owners sitting pretty with multiple top stars often find it difficult to decide which player gets the start.

One of two strategies is available to lucky owners with this good problem to have. The first is to simply go with the more talented player knowing he will put up numbers.

The second, and one we happen to detail below, is selecting the player with the most favorable matchup. This is a better strategy than the first because a good defense can still shut out a star, but a bad defense has no chance.

Here are the best plays at each position based on favorable matchups. Enjoy.

 

Note: The Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on byes this week. All stats courtesy of NFL.com.

 

Quarterbacks 

Week 5 Quarterback Rankings
1 Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers Detroit Lions
2 Peyton Manning Denver Broncos Dallas Cowboys
3 Matt Stafford Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers
4 Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons New York Jets
5 Michael Vick Philadelphia Eagles New York Giants
6 Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers Oakland Raiders
7 Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Arizona Cardinals
8 Tom Brady New England Patriots Cincinnati Bengals
9 Drew Brees New Orleans Saints Chicago Bears
10 Sam Bradford St. Louis Rams Jacksonville Jaguars

Chris Roling’s Rankings

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys 

Too obvious? Perhaps, but Denver’s Peyton Manning is not only playing like he’s 26; he now also has a shot at the No. 27-ranked pass defense.

Manning already has 1,470 passing yards and 16 touchdowns to his name in just four games, but he’s just getting started. His vast array of weapons such as Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and more will have little issue spreading out a Dallas defense that gives up 305 yards through the air per contest.

As far as matchups go, this is as good as it gets at quarterback.

 

Running Backs

Week 5 Running Back Rankings
1 LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles New York Giants
2 Reggie Bush Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers
3 Matt Forte Chicago Bears New Orleans Saints
4 Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs Tennessee Titans
5 Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks Indianapolis Colts
6 Frank Gore San Francisco 49ers Houston Texans
7 Arian Foster Houston Texans San Francisco 49ers
8 DeMarco Murray Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos
9 Ryan Mathews San Diego Chargers Oakland Raiders
10 Ray Rice Baltimore Ravens Miami Dolphins

Chris Roling’s Rankings

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

The New York Giants have found little success running the ball this season, but the team has also had no luck in shutting down opposing ground attacks. 

The Giants allow opposing offenses to gash them for 123 rushing yards per game, so when the Philadelphia Eagles and Chip Kelly’s offense show up, things are going to get ugly.

LeSean McCoy is playing out of his mind in Kelly’s new offense with 608 total yards and two touchdowns in four games. Philadelphia is more physical up front, and McCoy will score his biggest fantasy outing to date.

 

Wide Receiver

Week 5 Wide Receiver Rankings
1 A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals New England Patriots
2 Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos Dallas Cowboys
3 Victor Cruz New York Giants Philadelphia Eagles
4 Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers
5 Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos
6 Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons New York Jets
7 Brandon Marshall Chicago Bears New Orleans Saints
8 Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers Detroit Lions
9 Wes Welker Denver Broncos Dallas Cowboys
10 DeSean Jackson Philadelphia Eagles New York Giants

Chris Roling’s Rankings

Victor Cruz, New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles 

The flip side of the date between the Giants and Eagles has another fantasy star set to have his biggest game of the season.

This time it is New York receiver Victor Cruz, who already has 425 yards and four scores to his name this year. He now has a favorable matchup against an Eagles defense that ranks second-to-last thanks to allowing 325 yards per game.

Cruz will have no issue slipping by the spotty secondary as the Eagles are forced to focus on Hakeem Nicks.

Plenty of stars take the field at receiver Sunday, but none have a better matchup against a horrific defense in a game sure to turn into a shootout.

 

Tight Ends

Week 5 Tight End Rankings
1 Jordan Cameron Cleveland Browns Buffalo Bills
2 Jimmy Graham New Orleans Saints Chicago Bears
3 Tony Gonzalez Atlanta Falcons New York Jets
4 Julius Thomas Denver Broncos Dallas Cowboys
5 Martellus Bennett Chicago Bears New Orleans Saints
6 Antonio Gates San Diego Chargers Oakland Raiders
7 Jared Cook St. Louis Rams Jacksonville Jaguars
8 Jermichael Finley Green Bay Packers Detroit Lions
9 Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers Arizona Cardinals
10 Vernon Davis San Francisco 49ers Houston Texans

Chris Roling’s Rankings

Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With the way Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are playing, it should come as no surprise to see names from the offense litter lists such as this one. 

Julius Thomas has been quite a fantasy surprise this year. Manning has been able to find him consistently through four games with defenses transfixed on bigger names. So far Thomas has 237 yards and four scores. 

Against an aforementioned mediocre Dallas secondary that lacks enough athleticism at linebacker to match up with Thomas, Manning will have little trouble exploiting the mismatch every time it opens up—which will be quite often.

 

Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Defense/Special Teams Rankings
1 St. Louis Rams Jacksonville Jaguars
2 Kansas City Chiefs Tennessee Titans
3 Seattle Seahawks Indianapolis Colts
4 Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns
5 Baltimore Ravens Miami Dolphins
6 Cleveland Browns Buffalo Bills
7 Miami Dolphins Baltimore Ravens
8 Houston Texans San Francisco 49ers
9 San Francisco 49ers Houston Texans
10 Tennessee Titans Kansas City Chiefs

Chris Roling’s Rankings

St. Louis Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s simply unfair at this point. 

Literally any defense that takes the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars is a smart play, including a St. Louis Rams unit that has been miserable at times in its own right.

Jacksonville has scored over 10 points in a game just once this season as the quarterback situation has failed to sort itself out, and the duo of Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne will find minimal success against a St. Louis secondary led by Cortland Finnegan.

 

Kickers

Week 5 Kicker Rankings
1 Stephen Gostkowski New England Patriots Cincinnati Bengals
2 Matt Prater Denver Broncos Dallas Cowboys
3 Matt Bryant Atlanta Falcons New York Jets
4 Garrett Hartley New Orleans Saints Chicago Bears
5 Mason Crosby Green Bay Packers Detroit Lions
6 Robbie Gould Chicago Bears New Orleans Saints
7 Nick Novak San Diego Chargers Oakland Raiders
8 Justin Tucker Baltimore Ravens Miami Dolphins
9 Steven Hauschka Seattle Seahawks Indianapolis Colts
10 David Akers Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers

Chris Roling’s Rankings

Matt Prater, Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Oh look, another player from Denver. 

As if it were not obvious enough above, the Broncos and Peyton Manning are going to score a plethora of points Sunday against Dallas, which sounds about right for a team averaging almost 45 points per game.

That won’t stop against the Cowboys. Expect Matt Prater to have the best day of all kickers.

 

 

Follow B/R’s Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling

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Cowboys | Kyle Wilber may get start

Cowboys | Kyle Wilber may get start

Dallas Cowboys DE Kyle Wilber may start at defensive end Week 5 if DE George Selvie (concussion) is not able to play.

2013-10-03 19:46:56 | Source: ESPNDallas.com – Calvin Watkins

Access more Kyle Wilber news and rumors by clicking here….

What do you think? Sound off!

For additional NFL information, please view KFFL’s NFL Hot off the Wire.


Fantasy Sports News

NFL Hot off the Wire News | MLB Hot off the Wire News | NASCAR Hot off the Wire News

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Cowboys | Ernie Sims to start over Bruce Carter

Cowboys | Ernie Sims to start over Bruce Carter

Dallas Cowboys LB Ernie Sims said he will start over LB Bruce Carter at weakside linebacker in Week 5 against the Denver Broncos. Sims has been taking first-team snaps during practice.

2013-10-03 15:00:32 | Source: ESPNDallas.com – Todd Archer

Access more Ernie Sims news and rumors by clicking here….

Access more Bruce Carter news and rumors by clicking here….

What do you think? Sound off!

For additional NFL information, please view KFFL’s NFL Hot off the Wire.


Fantasy Sports News

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Cowboys | Three practice in full

Cowboys | Three practice in full

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (foot), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder) and DE DeMarcus Ware (back) practiced in full Thursday, Oct. 3.

2013-10-03 13:30:56 | Source: KFFL.com

Access more DeMarcus Ware news and rumors by clicking here….

Access more Bruce Carter news and rumors by clicking here….

Access more Morris Claiborne news and rumors by clicking here….

What do you think? Sound off!

For additional NFL information, please view KFFL’s NFL Hot off the Wire.


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