Cowboys | Three miss practice

Cowboys | Three miss practice

Dallas Cowboys LB Justin Durant (groin), DE George Selvie (concussion) and DE Edgar Jones (groin) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 3.

2013-10-03 13:26:53 | Source:

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Fantasy Football Week 5: Top Plays at Every Position

This is a favorable week for fans of streaming defenses. While some of the elite fantasy defenses play some tough matchups—namely the Bears facing Drew Brees, the 49ers and Texans facing each other, and the Patriots facing the Bengals—there are ample fringe fantasy units facing suspect quarterbacks.

The Rams, Falcons, Panthers, Chargers and Eagles are solid one-week plays. You won’t even miss the bye teams of the Vikings, Steelers, Redskins and Buccaneers—not that you should own those suspect teams in fantasy anyway.

Take advantage of the Giants

Eli Manning has been turnover prone and a sack machine, so you might consider a bad Eagles defense interesting because of the matchup.

The Giants need to get their running game going to take the pressure off, but with pass-happy Kevin Gilbride—an architect of the long-lost run-and-shoot—that is no sure thing. If the Giants stay one-dimensional, they are going to remain no-win-sional. The Eagles defense is a top-12 unit in this rare week.

Chief concern? Meh, keep them active

The Titans have not turned the ball over this season, which certainly has contributed to their surprising start. It has also made them the toughest opponent for defenses to date. The Chiefs have been the best fantasy unit so far, so something has to give.

We figure it will be the Titans, who are stuck relying on Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback now. He should be good for a few turnovers and sacks, maybe even a pick-six.

Week 5 sleepers

The Chargers defense was great in fantasy last year and has been mediocre to date this season, but this is a week to expect a resurgence. The Raiders offense might be without Darren McFadden (hamstring), or a Run DMC who will be playing with a sore hammy and sans practice.

The Chargers have an elite run defense and are a top-five unit in fantasy against running backs. Consider the Chargers if you did not get your hands on St. Louis, Atlanta or Carolina.

Here are the units we like more than the masses this week:

  1. San Francisco 49ers
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. Chicago Bears
  4. San Diego Chargers
  5. Philadelphia Eagles

Week 5 duds

While the Patriots vs. Bengals game is going to be interesting with AFC playoff implications down the road, it shouldn’t be one you are looking forward to if you own either defense.

In smaller leagues, you are justified cutting either defense for one of the streaming options above. Both offenses are secure with the ball and can put up points against each other.

They are among the defenses we like less than the consensus:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Cleveland Browns (D’oh! played well Thursday night)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals
  5. New England Patriots 
Week 5 Defenses and Special Teams Rankings – Eric Mack
1 Seattle Seahawks Sea at Ind 2 +1
2 St. Louis Rams StL vs. Jac 1 -1
3 Atlanta Falcons Atl vs. NYJ 3 0
4 San Francisco 49ers SF vs. Hou 6 +2
5 Carolina Panthers Car at Ari 4 -1
6 Denver Broncos Den at Dal 12 +6
7 Kansas City Chiefs KC at Ten 5 -2
8 Chicago Bears Chi vs. NO 11 +3
9 San Diego Chargers SD at Oak 16 +7
10 Houston Texans Hou at SF 10 0
11 Philadelphia Eagles Phi at NYG 17 +6
12 Baltimore Ravens Bal at Mia 8 -4
13 New Orleans Saints NO at Chi 20 +7
14 Cleveland Browns Cle vs. Buf 7 -7
15 Green Bay Packers GB vs. Det 24 +9
16 Cincinnati Bengals Cin vs. NE 14 -2
17 New England Patriots NE at Cin 9 -8
18 Miami Dolphins Mia vs. Bal 15 -3
19 Arizona Cardinals Ari vs. Car 19 0
20 Tennessee Titans Ten vs. KC 21 +1

Fantasy Football Week 5: Big Matchups to Avoid at All Costs

Matchup analysis is just as important as the initial draft itself in fantasy football. What good would it do owners who craft an amazing team but struggle to know when to play the right lineup?

Nada. As is the case any week, Week 5 is chock-full of matchups that will either sink or elevate fantasy teams based on the skill of the owner making the decisions.

It can feel like walking through a minefield when it comes time to select which matchups to roll with, but we’re here to help.

Below are three matchups simply too risky to flirt with this week. Enjoy.

Tennessee RB Chris Johnson vs. Kansas City

First of all, Chris Johnson does not like fantasy owners very much:

Public service announcement: I can care less about fantasy football. Key word fantasy. As long as we win I’m …

— Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson28) September 30, 2013

U r the head coach n the owner of ur fantasy team so u should be mad at urself I didn’t ask any of u to draft …

— Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson28) September 30, 2013

Then again, he has a point. The mini tirade via social media came after Johnson rushed for just 21 yards on 15 carries against the New York Jets last week.

On the season, CJ?K is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and has yet to tally a 100-yard game. He hardly runs pass routes and does not see goal-line carries anymore, so this dip in production was not exactly hard to see coming.

Week 5 sees Johnson go up against Kansas City, owner of the No. 7 overall ranked defense and a top-two unit against the pass. With Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter the Chiefs will be able to load the box and shut down Johnson in a big way.

Avoid at all costs.

Chicago QB Jay Cutler vs. New Orleans

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season it would have been easy to chalk this matchup up as a must-start for Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, but New Orleans has turned out to have a much better defense than anticipated thanks to Rob Ryan.

New Orleans has already sacked quarterbacks 12 times this year and Cutler happens to play behind a line that has a minus-17.6 grade for pass blocking, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

LM: #Bears QB Jay Cutler says Saints defense presents a lot of challenges and is a different group under DC Rob Ryan.

— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 3, 2013

It’s not as if Cutler has been amazing to this point anyway. He has only thrown for over 300 yards once in four attempts with eight touchdowns, six interceptions and two lost fumbles.

While the Chicago offense has been better thanks to new head coach Marc Trestman, Cutler is still not a reliable fantasy starter. That is especially the case against a rejuvenated Saints defense capable of applying consistent pressure on quarterbacks.

Indianapolis RB Trent Richardson vs. Seattle Seahawks

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

While a big name courtesy of his trade to a better team, Trent Richardson has done little during his first two games as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

In those two games, Richardson has spent his time learning the new offense and the tendencies of the blockers in front of him while rushing for just 95 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in short-yardage situations.

Is Trent Richardson worth a start this week?

Is Trent Richardson worth a start this week?

As Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star points out, Richardson is now the starter with Ahmad Bradshaw missing time with an injury, and the coaching staff is not concerned with his lack of production to this point.

It’s fine the coaching staff has no worries, but fantasy owners should this week. At some point Richardson will be a smart play, but he’s most certainly not while still new to the system and tasked with going against a stout Seattle defense that gives up just over 100 yards per game on the ground.

This would be different if Richardson had been with the team for eight games, but at this point in the development process, Richardson needs to be avoided.

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

Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Week 5: Forecasting Feast or Famine Stars on Sunday

You better make this week count in fantasy football.

It would be very hard to recover after starting the first five weeks of the season poorly. Digging into an 0-5 or 1-4 hole would be almost impossible to climb out of. At this stage, you need to be doing everything to ensure a victory this week.

Make sure to take a final look at these players before determining whether they’re worth the risk to start on Sunday.


Start ‘Em: Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

And the winner of this week’s “You Get to Play the Jaguars” lottery is Sam Bradford!

There isn’t a better elixir for your fantasy QB than having him go against Jacksonville.

Sam Bradford has quietly put together a very good fantasy season. With a few more good games, he’ll be knocking on the door of the top 10.

It’s been even more impressive when you consider how little run support he’s had and the fact that the team still hasn’t replaced Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola at receiver.

The Jaguars have been a mess this season, so there’s no reason to think Bradford isn’t headed for a possible 20-point fantasy performance on Sunday.

Sit ‘Em: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Few quarterbacks have been as disappointing as Russell Wilson.

Part of the problem is the Seattle Seahawks offense. Marshawn Lynch has been tasked with leading the way, while Wilson is left to essentially feed off the scraps.

The second-year star has attempted just 96 passes, 27th in the league going into Thursday’s game, so it’s not so much that Wilson has been awful. He just hasn’t gotten much of a chance.

Don’t expect anything different against the Indianapolis Colts. Going on the road against a good defense, Pete Carroll will continue to lean heavily on Lynch.

If only there was some sort of metric that gave quarterbacks points for being a game manager.

Running Backs

Start ‘Em: David Wilson, New York Giants

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

This is it for David Wilson. Either he has a big game against the Philadelphia Eagles, or he’ll never be considered a fantasy starter in 2013.

The New York Giants running back has been improving over the last two weeks. He’s been more effective on the ground, and more importantly, he hasn’t fumbled the ball.

You know there’s talent here. He came into the season with big expectations for a reason. After his Week 1 debacle, Wilson needed a few games for his confidence to grow and for Tom Coughlin to trust him again. Now that he’s done both of those things to a certain extent, he looks poised to have his best performance of the season.

Or he’ll just stink again and we can all go back to forgetting about him.

Sit ‘Em: Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

As somebody who has Lamar Miller on his fantasy team, this is a bit of a bummer. He hasn’t been great, but he’s done a lot to make fantasy owners forget about that awful Week 1 performance against the Browns.

The problem is he’s bound to have another stinker sooner or later. He can’t maintain his level of performance over the last three weeks forever.

The Miami Dolphins are facing off with a Baltimore Ravens team that was humbled by the Buffalo Bills last week. The defense will be motivated to set the record straight on Sunday. Baltimore has generally been very good against the run in 2013, so Miller could be in for a rude awakening.

Wide Receivers

Start ‘Em: Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Many fantasy experts will be focusing on Victor Cruz this week. With the Giants facing off with the Eagles, somebody, or somebodies, in that New York offense is bound to have a huge game.

Why can’t Hakeem Nicks be that guy?

Certainly the Eagles secondary is porous enough to allow both Cruz and Nicks to put up nice numbers. Don’t forget about Nicks’ first two weeks, either. He combined to have nine receptions for 197 yards.

The 25-year-old wideout is also due for a touchdown, having not recorded one all season.

With Philadelphia doing its best to try to shut down Cruz, that will leave Nicks to slip in the back and have a monster game.

Sit ‘Em: DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Sticking with the Eagles vs. Giants, go ahead and put DeSean Jackson on the bench if you got him. He had his great performances in the first two weeks, but has done very little since then.

The problem is that opposing teams are just looking to stifle Jackson and little else. So far, it’s been successful. The Eagles put up points, but it’s not enough to make up for their terrible defense.

While the Giants secondary is questionable, if New York follows that blueprint from the past two weeks, it will just look to make Brent Celek, LeSean McCoy and Riley Cooper beat them. Fantasy owners with those players might see a boost in numbers, but Jackson will struggle to make an impact.

Tight Ends

Start ‘Em: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

You’d be forgiven if your faith in Jason Witten has been shaken. He’s gone three weeks without a touchdown and recorded 122 yards in that span. It’s not as if Tony Romo has been awful, either, dragging down his receivers with him.

Witten is just not getting much done and has become a non-factor inside the red zone.

Expect that to change against the Denver Broncos.

Although their secondary isn’t the best in the league, the Broncos will be good enough to limit Dez Bryant‘s touches, forcing Romo to look elsewhere. Witten should get plenty of targets.

USA Today‘s Lindsay Jones thinks the loss of Danny Trevathan could be a boost for Witten as well.

Trevathan has been very good vs. opposing tight ends this season. Could be a big loss as Broncos have to face Jason Witten this week.

— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) October 2, 2013

Unless you’ve got Jordan Cameron or Jimmy Graham, the Cowboys tight end should be starting on your team.

Sit ‘Em: Jermaine Gresham/Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Does Andy Dalton not realized how much he’s killing people’s fantasy teams? His poor play is adversely affecting A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert, forcing their fantasy values to plummet.

Green is always a must-start because the combination of his prodigious talent and the fact he’s the No. 1 target in the Cincinnati Bengals passing game.

Eifert and Gresham are different stories, though. They’ve had some good performances, but nothing consistent. They’re splitting targets between themselves, and with Dalton playing inconsistently, there’s little hope they’ll get much chance this week to be a worthy fantasy starter.

Will Mike Glennon Severely Hurt Vincent Jackson’s Fantasy Value?

When Darrelle Revis flew south to Tampa Bay from New York, did the circus pack up and caravan its way behind him? 

The Josh Freeman Saga has grown more bizarre by the day, with the exiled quarterback finally and mercifully waived. His fall from grace—whatever the causes may actually be—have placed rookie Mike Glennon at the controls of a stumbling offense.

Glennon got off to a decent start against the Cardinals in Week 4, throwing a touchdown pass to Mike Williams before giving way to mediocrity. Vincent Jackson had a predictably bad day, catching just two passes for 27 yards while dealing with lingering effects from a rib injury and lining up against cornerback Patrick Peterson.

The fantasy dud was not entirely unexpected given all those factors.

Getting lots of questions about Vincent Jackson. The rib injury sounds truly limiting, and hard to trust Mike Glennon. Look elsewhere.

— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 29, 2013 

Was that performance the new norm for the marooned receiver? Or is there light at the end of the tunnel?

No Rapport

The biggest issue Jackson may have had heading into Week 4 was his rib injury, which prevented him from practicing most of the week. Given it was the first time Glennon was going to start with the team, the lack of reps certainly looks like it affected the duo’s rapport on the field.

Jackson was targeted several times where Glennon simply overthrew him or put it where he thought Jackson was supposed to be. Take this play, for example: 

The Buccaneers moved Jackson inside and sent him into motion. This was one of the few plays where Peterson wasn’t covering him, and he was staring at a free release with defensive back Tyrann Mathieu cheating on the blitz. Had Glennon called the hot route and thrown it to Jackson on a three-step drop, the play might have gone for a nice gain. 

Instead, Jackson ran a stop-and-go, drawing safety Yeremiah Bell forward in coverage. The veteran drove toward Jackson in anticipation of a pass, allowing the latter to blow by him for the fade portion of the route.

Jackson was open early, then broke open as the play went on.

It could have gone for a huge play at that point, too, but Glennon’s throw was poorly timed—it fell harmlessly to the ground.

This sort of poor timing was a problem for Jackson throughout the day, exposing what we already know—going into a game having barely practiced with your new rookie quarterback will cause problems.

Channeling Tebow

Rapport wasn’t the biggest issue for Glennon and Jackson, however. There were plenty of good opportunities for Glennon to get him the ball. He just couldn’t get it done for most of the day. 

This was the play that brought you the first of Peterson’s two interceptions on the day. Peterson was pressing Jackson, who ran a dig route to the middle. Things didn’t end well for Glennon, as Bleacher Report’s Matt Bowen pointed out this week:

Why did the rookie quarterback throw an interception to Patrick Peterson that set up the tying score in the fourth quarter? Glennon locked in on the backside dig route (square-in) to Vincent Jackson and also threw this ball to the inside versus man-coverage.

Even with the Cardinals sending pressure, Glennon had time to come off the dig and look for another option. Teaching moment for the rookie.

Despite being pressed and shadowed on the play, Jackson actually managed to gain separation from Peterson with a subtle push-off maneuver. Glennon actually pulled the trigger at the perfect moment to take advantage. 

That’s a tight window.

Unfortunately, his aim was off. Jackson had to slow to reach back for the ball, allowing Peterson to close the gap and jump in front of him for the interception.

Considering that it would have taken an Aaron Rodgers-esque combination of accuracy and velocity to get the ball to Jackson on that play anyway, this wasn’t the best decision on Glennon’s part.

This play earlier in the game was particularly brutal for Glennon.

It was a well-designed play intended to expose the coverage. Peterson had lined up to press Jackson on the boundary, but he backed off once Jackson motioned inside. That told Glennon he was in zone.

Jackson ran a seven-route underneath Kevin Ogletree, who ran a 9-route downfield. The zone coverage on his side of the field focused on Ogletree. Peterson wound up bracketing Ogletree as he went downfield, leaving Jackson wide open behind Karlos Dansby. Glennon saw it, and his eyes probably looked like saucers for a split second.

A good pass nets at least 15 yards here.

Unfortunately, Glennon’s pass was woefully underthrown, allowing Dansby to jump up and nearly intercept it. Had that been a better defender, it would have been an easy interception that could have gone all the way back for a touchdown.

Injuries, Shutdown Corners and Bears, Oh My!

On top of everything we have seen here, Jackson is still dealing with that painful rib injury.

As I said on #NFLGameday: Vincent Jackson’s injury to 2 ribs is considered a 5-week injury to fully heal. Bucs being cautious with him.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 29, 2013

He played through it with the help of pain-relieving injections, but it’s hard to imagine anyone being unaffected by such an injury. 

More difficult to deal with than the injury, perhaps, was the fact Peterson was all over Jackson for much of the day. The talented cornerback was tasked with stopping Jackson, and he succeeded for much of the day. As we have seen, it was no accident Peterson was around to intercept two passes intended for Jackson last Sunday.

Fortunately, Jackson won’t have to face an elite cornerback every week. In fact, his next matchup is against the talon-less Eagles secondary, and he has a three-game reprieve before he disappears in Richard Sherman’s shadow.


So will Glennon be Jackson’s fantasy albatross? As is typical with these types of questions, the answer is complicated.

Jackson’s ribs will likely heal soon enough, and Mike Glennon will theoretically improve his performance as he gains experience. Of course, Blaine Gabbert and JaMarcus Russell were theoretically supposed to improve, too.

With practice, the duo will start to get on the same page as well. Glennon certainly seems to understand Jackson is his No. 1 receiver. 

Vincent Jackson’s Stats
w/ Josh Freeman 1 13 7 154 22 0
2 11 5 77 15.4 0
3 6 3 34 11.33 0
w/ Mike Glennon 4 11 2 27 13.5 0

Pro Football Reference and Pro Football Focus

Vincent Jackson had the quietest 11 target game you’ll ever see. Invisible despite playing nearly all snaps.

— Josh Moore (@4for4_Josh) September 30, 2013

You will note Jackson’s targets, catches and yards were steadily declining with Freeman under center. Glennon righted that ship in the target department, at least for one week.

More targets mean more opportunities to score fantasy points. Glennon just has to work on being on target.

At this point, Jackson’s value is about as low as it can get for a guy who might have been drafted as a No. 1 receiver on many fantasy teams. He hasn’t scored a touchdown, and Tampa Bay looks like it’s on the verge of imploding.

But Jackson’s talent hasn’t disappeared, and things are looking better for him coming out of the bye. Stick with him if you have him, and try to trade some lesser assets for him if you need a receiver.

Follow @AlexMiglio

Brandon Weeden’s Updated Fantasy Outlook After Brian Hoyer’s Injury

With Brian Hoyer possibly out for an extended period of time, it looks like Brandon Weeden is back in the starting lineup for the Cleveland Browns, but don’t expect him to be a go-to consistent fantasy quarterback this season.

After running for a first down in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills, Hoyer was hit hard while going down and was clearly in pain.  He left the game and was replaced by Weeden.  According to Ian Rapoport of, the injury could be very serious.

.@Alex_Flanagan reported the #Browns are fearful Brian Hoyer tore ligaments in his knee. MRI tomorrow. Just when he was rolling…

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 4, 2013

Now, the starting quarterback job is Weeden‘s once again, but fantasy owners shouldn’t be rushing to pick him up.

Would you consider picking up Weeden for your fantasy team?

Would you consider picking up Weeden for your fantasy team?

Weeden didn’t look like a very promising fantasy option through the first two weeks of this season.  He completed just 54.7 percent of his passes, throwing for 516 yards and just one touchdown with three interceptions.  His QBR was just 20.3, and he was waiting far too long to throw in the pocket.

Things won’t be easy for Weeden if he becomes the starter once again.  The Browns will be going against some aggressive defenses before their bye week, including a rematch against the Baltimore Ravens and a game against the Kansas City Chiefs the week before that.

If you’re in a deep league and don’t feel incredibly confident in your starter, Weeden could make a decent backup option thanks to having guys like Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron to throw to.  However, don’t expect him to be worthy of a QB1 spot on your roster, as he won’t put up big games very often.

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