Week 7: Waiver Wire – Catch and Release

Week 7. The eye of the hurricane. Again, we get another week with just two teams on bye – Oakland, and New Orleans. With the exceptions of Jimmy Graham and Drew Brees, we won’t be missing very many relevant fantasy parts this week. Don’t let yourself get lulled into a false sense of security though, because a combined 12 teams will have their BYE over the course of weeks 8 and 9.

Here are the recommendations for players you either want to catch now, don’t bother picking up, or keep on your radar for the upcoming weeks.


Andre Ellington (RB – Ari): The speedy, diminutive back continues to outplay the aging, injury prone Rashard Mendenhall. While it is looking unlikely that Ellington becomes the feature back this season, Mendenhall breaking down at some point this season isn’t exactly the longest shot you could take. Regardless, Ellington should be in line for 10-15 touches a week, and his hands and speed make him a scary pass-catching option. Right now, I would take him over guys like Joseph Randle or Zac Stacy, and he has the potential to turn into an all-around producer should anything happen to Mendenhall. Gets a big boost in PPR formats.

Keenan Allen (WR – SD): Forget DeAndre Hopkins and Cordarrelle Patterson. Keenan Allen, the 3rd round pick from Cal, is the rookie WR making waves this year. With atleast 6 catches, 100 yards, and a TD in each of his last two games, Allen should be owned (and most likely started) in all formats. 

Andre Brown (RB – NYG): Got runningback troubles? This could potentially be your answer. Brown is eligible to play week 10, and David Wilson will be out at least 4 more weeks with his neck problems. Brandon Jacobs is already banged up, which may lead the Giants to look for a free agent runner, but Brown should be in for a very nice workload upon his return. 

Harry Douglas (WR – Atl): This Falcons team, once thought of as contenders, is now in shambles. Roddy White continues to try to play at 50%, and continues to suffer setbacks. Rumors of Gonzo being traded to the Chiefs are swirling. Julio Jones out for the season. What can fantasy owners take away? Harry Douglas. By process of elimination, Harry Douglas is now the Falcons #1 WR. Expectations should be tempered, but the targets will certainly be there. You could do a lot worse on the waiver wire, and Douglas should see continued looks from a top QB for the remainder of the season.

Joseph Randle (RB – Dal): Take this one lightly; Joseph Randle will be the Cowboys starting runningback this week. DeMarco Murray is sidelined with a sprained knee and his status for this weekend is doubtful. Randle will pickup the workload by default with Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar injured and ineffective. If you are in desperate need of a starting runningback for THIS WEEK ONLY, Randle has a shot to put some decent points up on the board. He looked decidedly average filling in for the injured Murray against the Redskins, however, and shouldn’t be counted on for anything spectacular. 

Jarrett Boykin (WR – GB): Greenbay’s receiving corps. was thrashed against Baltimore, losing Randall Cobb for 6-8 weeks with a broken leg, and James Jones suffering a shin injury that leaves him questionable for the upcoming week. Boykin was literally the last remaining receiver on their roster, and turned his 6 targets on the day into 1 catch for 43 yards. In any case, he will now be catching balls from a premier QB, and could quickly turn some heads, and is worth a speculative add.


Willis McGahee (RB – Cle): McGahee continues to look old and slow with the ball in his hands. He was outplayed again this week by Chris Ogbonnaya, and continued to show that is he incapable of being a 4.0 YPC runningback anymore. McGahee is still the starter for the time being (the only justification for using a roster spot on him), but if he continues to make the absolute least out of his carries, I would expect Ogbonnaya to continue to see more work. 

Joseph Fauria (TE – Det): This one might end up coming back to bite me, but I would stay away from Joseph Fauria, despite his 3 TD effort last week. This guy is like a poor-man’s Kyle Rudolph with a better quarterback. If he doesn’t score, you’re not going to get any points from him. His fantasy production literally rests entirely on his ability to catch touchdowns, and with Calvin Johnson recovering – that window would seem to be closing. 


Chris Ogbonnaya (RB – Cle): Ogbonnaya continues to be the bright spot in the Cleveland backfield. Outplaying McGahee again, Ogbonnaya showcased his pass catching abilities, grabbing 7 balls for 61 yards and a TD. Expect a bigger workload from the shify back if McGahee continues to struggle.

Riley Cooper (WR – Phi): Cooper could enter into the world of fantasy relevance if Nick Foles lands the starting job in Philadelphia. It would be a rash decision to pick him up based solely on his 4 catch, 120 yard, 1 TD effort against the Cowboys – but if he explodes again, you risk missing out.



Week 5: Waiver Wire – Catch & Release

Here are the week 5 waiver wire recommendations. I’m going to try out a new style this week in hopes of helping some of the trigger-happy managers I have been getting Rashad Jennings hype-emails from all week long. Below you will find why you should stay away from Jennings, as well recommendations on other polarizing, waiver wire targets.


Alex Smith (QB – KC): Call him the poor-man’s Peyton Manning. Alex Smith makes tons of short-intermediate throws, and never turns the ball over. While game managing signal callers have never been a hot fantasy commodity, Smith continues to churn out 20+ point weeks with ease. Andy Reid is pass happy, and is going to continue to throw loads of YAC generating screens to Jamaal Charles, and Smith should continue to avoid the negative points from interceptions and sacks due to his efficient, quick passing. To date, he is scoring as a top 10 QB, and it wouldn’t surprise to see him continue.

Danny Woodhead (RB – SD): Woodhead continues to outproduce Ryan Mathews, and the Chargers continue to find interesting ways to line him up, and get him the ball. If his level of play remains high, his touches should only improve. As long as Philip Rivers continues his form, Woodhead should be a very solid producer.

Andre Ellington (RB – Ari): Ellington continues to outplay Mendenhall. This one is still more of a speculative add, but the young back’s stock should skyrocket if Mendenhall continues to disappoint. It’s worth noting that HC, Bruce Arians has already stated that he thinks Ellington is someone who can handle the everydown workload. Similarly, it’s pretty clear that Mendenhall is on his way out. 

Nate Washington (WR – Ten): Not a great play this week, but Nate Washington continues to be the most productive receiver for the Titans. With Locker injured, it is slightly unclear if that trajectory will continue, and he isn’t a great bet to produce against a dominant Kansas City defense this week, but keep an eye on him, because there is clearly still some gas left in the tank. His value is boosted by Kenny Britt being a dumbass, and more or less tweeting himself out of a job. 

Terrance Williams (WR – Dal): Here are some things you should never trust in the fantasy football world: Bill Belichick runningbacks, and Miles Austin’s hamstrings. Is it really any suprise Austin is injured again? Terrance Williams deputized, and did a nice job catching 7 balls for 71 yards. The only gripe was his goal line fumble, which HC Jason Garrett chalked up to “eagerness to score and help the team.” Austin looks set to miss another week, and Williams should be a very solid play – especially if the Cowboys get into a shootout against Denver.

Any Defense Playing Against the Jacksonville Jaguars: Seriously, people are scooping up the Jaguars opponents two weeks in advance in my league to get themselves a piece of that buttery match-up. If the Jags can limit any opposing fantasy defense to under 10 points for the rest of the season, I would actually be very surprised.


Rashad Jennings (RB – Oak): I’m really flabbergasted as to why all the top “experts” are recommending Jennings this week. I get that RBs are in short supply, and he is most likely a starter, but there are two major reasons why I think he will badly fail. One, Jennings has never been able to be anything more than a change-of-pace back. When MJD went down in Jax, he was abysmal filling in with every down touches. Two, he gets more than 50% of his production from catching screen passes – which Terrell Pryor doesn’t throw. With Matt Flynn relegated to 3rd string, Pryor will continue to huck it downfield, and poach goal line carries – effectively neutralizing any value that Jennings will have until either Marcel Reece or McFadden return. 

Kris Durham (WR – Det): Every year, whichever wide receiver lines up across from Calvin Johnson is deemed a “sleeper” because of the passing nature of the Lions offense, and the attention CJ draws from opposing defenses. Every year, we buy into it (Ryan Broyles, Titus Young, Nate Burleson…), and every year they disappoint. I’m saving myself the frustration on this one. Last week Durham still managed to lead the Lions WRs in receiving yardage and he has a favorable matchup this week to boot, but temper expectations, as Stafford historically relies on Calvin Johnson and screen passes.


Chris Ogbonnaya (RB – Cle): Willis McGahee continued to look awful on Thursday night against the Bills, posting 72 yards on 26 carries for a gross 2.76 YPC. Additionally, the only reason he got is touchdown was from fortuitous penalties and playcalls that granted him FIVE tries to punch the ball in from within the 3 yard line. Ogbonnaya is a competent pass-catching back, and if McGahee continues to disappoint, look for him to grab a bigger role on a hot Cleveland team.

Mike Goodson (RB – NYJ): Many people think Goodson is the most talented runner on this Jets team, and Chris Ivory has seemingly been knocked down the depth chart. Not many expected Bilal Powell to hold onto the job, and Goodson should get plenty of opportunities to seize the role with the Jets top two WR’s out with injury.

Week 4: Scouring the Waiver Wire

Andre Ellington (RB – Ari): For the second week in a row, I’m recommending Ellington. Though somewhat speculative, the rookie has shown considerably more explosiveness than the aging Mendenhall (who is also nursing a toe injury), and the Cardinals seem determined to get him involved in the offense. Ellington played four more snaps than Mendenhall this past week, and having already displayed his pass-catching abilities, there is a real chance he becomes a feature back.

Donnie Avery (WR – KC): In a surprisingly thin year for wide receivers, Avery could be a very solid pickup. To date, he is having a better season than Dwayne Bowe, and he should continue to garner tons of intermediate looks with YAC potential with the ever-efficient Alex Smith at the helm.

Marlon Brown (WR – Bal): Don’t be thrown by Brown’s mediocre stat line against the Texans. Flacco continues to trust Brown, and is lacking in short-mid range weapons. Emerging as a prime red-zone target, Brown should be in for a nice ride over the next several weeks; facing the Bills, Dolphins, and Packers weak secondaries.

Coby Fleener (TE – Ind): If Fleener is unowned, grab him now. With Dwayne Allen injured and no longer poaching snaps, there is a very solid chance for the former Stanford-standout to emerge alongside his similarly Cardinal QB.

Kansas City (Defense): This defensive unit produced the most probowlers out of any team in the league last year, yet went largely unnoticed due to the horrendous 2-win ceiling of Matt Cassel. Make no mistake, they are scorching hot right now, and the only seemingly dangerous opponent on the horizon until their week 10 bye is Houston.


Week 3: Waiver Wire Pickups

This past few days has been relatively volatile in the fantasy football world. Check out the week 3 waiver wire recommendations

Ryan Tannehill (QB – Mia): Tannehill has been quietly having a solid season, passing for 591 yards, and 2 TDs en route to the Dolphins unexpected 2-0 start on the road. Tannehill has also gotten relatively unlucky in the touchdown department, having several receivers tackled on the 1 yard line already. Tannehill has some explosive weapons in Charles Clay and Mike Wallace, and as chemistry develops, he should only improve.

Willis McGahee (RB - FA): This one is a slightly speculative add, but one that could end up paying dividends for fantasy owners. Word is that in the wake of Trent Richardson’s departure, the Browns are looking to sign McGahee. With the only other competition on the depth chart being the inexperienced Bobby Rainey, and FB Chris Ogbonnaya, McGahee should surely get the lion’s share of work, assuming he can pass the necessary medical evaluations.

Jacquizz Rodgers (RB – Atl): With SJax out for several weeks with an injury, the brunt of the load falls to Jacquizz Rodgers. He is a smaller, speedy back that will likely catch a decent amount of passes and could rack up some quality yards, but expect Snelling to poach goal line work.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR – Hou): Last week Hopkins finally showed owners why the Texans drafted him in the first round. There have been suggestions among the Houston front office that this kid could be better than Andre Johnson. In the meantime, Johnson remains injury prone and potentially sidelined, and Hopkins should be a great playmaker for Schaub. Johnson will continue to draw the better DB’s and most likely won’t turn into a red-zone machine overnight, leaving plenty of big play opportunities and TD looks for Hopkins.

Eddie Royal (WR – SD): Don’t be mistaken, Eddie Royal is not going to continue to rake in touchdowns at this pace. Despite the inevitable regression in the TD department, with Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander injured, and Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen not doing much of anything, Royal should remain a solid fantasy option for the foreseeable future – especially if Philip Rivers continues his sharp form.

Charles Clay (TE – Mia): Clay has earned the trust of Tannehill, and shown some explosive playmaking ability in the process. With 10 catches f0r 163 yards and an added 1-yard rushing TD, Clay should remain a solid option from here on out.

Alex Henery (K – Phi): With the effectiveness of Chip Kelly’s “blur/point-a-minute offense” it’s surprising that more owners haven’t picked up Henery. The Eagles put up 63 points in their first two games, and show no signs of slowing down. Henery should remain a very solid kicking option until Michael Vick gets injured, and/or the Eagles show signs of slowing down.

Minnesota Defense: The Vikings host a Cleveland team that has seemingly rolled over and entered the Clowney/Bridgewater sweepstakes. With Weeden injured, the Browns will look to Brian Hoyer this week. Oh, and their formerly best offensive player, Trent Richardson, now plays for the Colts. Take this one and say thank you.

Week 2: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em

Check out these start/sit recommendations for week 2. Keep in mind that all the players listed in this section will be “bubble guys”, or players on the cusp. We realize you don’t need any help deciding whether or not to start Adrian Peterson or Calvin Johnson, but Marlon Brown, or Carson Palmer might be a different story.

Start ‘Em

  • Michael Vick (vs SD): Well, it seems as if Vick has gotten a handle on Chip Kelly’s “blur offense”. Owners should feel comfortable riding Vick until he gets injured, or starts turning the ball over in scores like we saw last season. For now, he should be a good play in the Eagles home opener against a San Diego defense that was just lit up by Matt Schaub.
  • Cam Newton (@ Buf): Don’t let his sub-Geno Smith-standard performance last week throw you off. Cam is still a premier fantasy QB when not matching up against the Seahawks defense. While the Bill’s seemingly reinvigorated front seven managed to give Tom Brady some problems last week, Cam should be able to post solid numbers in week 2.
  • Terrelle Pryor (vs Jax): Pryor may not be a godsend for the Raiders, but he gives them a chance to win games thanks to his elusiveness out of the pocket. Pryor has posted 20+ points in both of his career starts thanks to his rushing abilities, and he won’t get a much better matchup than this. Owners should be able to start Pryor with confidence this week in 2 QB leagues, and deeper formats.


  • Darren Sproles (@ TB): Even though Tampa added Revis, the rest of their secondary is still relatively shaky. Sproles has a history of lighting up the Buccaneers, and with Revis shadowing Colston, Sproles should be in line for a big day.
  • David Wilson (vs Den): Don’t be scared off that easily. Brandon Jacobs was NOT brought in to be an every down back, which has been confirmed by Coughlin. In order for the Giants to compete this year, Wilson is going to have to play a key part in the offense, and it is better to get that rolling sooner than later. His week 1 deputy, Da’Rel Scott was injured in practice this week, and while Jacobs will probably get some goal line looks, Wilson will be out there with a fire attempting to prove he can still be the main man.
  • Bryce Brown (vs SD): At Oregon, Chip Kelly used to rotate his players in and out like they were on hockey lines. With the combination of their exhausting offense, McCoy getting more touches than he is used to in week 1 (31), and the Eagles playing on a short week, Brown should get more touches than he did last week, and could be a sneaky flex play for week 2.

Wide Receiver

  • Marlon Brown (vs Cle): Last week Joe Haden was able to shut down Mike Wallace to the tune of 1 catch for just 15 yards. In the wake of that, the Dolphins #2, Brian Hartline, was able to turn out a monster 9/114/1 line. This week, Haden will be on Torrey Smith, leaving a lot of opportunity for the rookie to step up, and build off of his impressive week 1 performance.
  • Edelman/Thompkins (vs NYJ): This one is simple process of elimination. The Patriots are going to pass the ball. Amendola, Gronkowski, Vereen, and Sudfeld are all expected not to play. Edelman and Thompkins should be in line for a very nice week.
  • James Jones (vs Was): Shouldn’t be given up on just yet. The Pack will be facing a much easier pass defense this week, and Jones remains a favorite red zone target for Rodgers.

Tight End

  • Julius Thomas (@ NYG): With the tools and physical presence Thomas possesses, he has all the capability of challenging the elite TE’s for fantasy production. Continue to consider him a #1 TE until he gives you a reason not to.
  • Jared Cook (@ Atl): The Falcons have a quality offense, even though Julio Jones and Roddy White are both banged up. Jared Cook has been a mainstay “fantasy sleeper” for several years running now, but seemingly figured something out in week 1, and should continue to build off of it.

Team Defense

  • Carolina (@ Buf): Luke Kuechly has established himself as a top middlelinebacker, and the Panthers front 7 is more than capable of causing trouble for quarterbacks. Throw a raw, rookie QB like EJ Manuel into the mix, and this one should add up to a nice fantasy week.
  • Oakland (vs Jax): Jacksonville struggled to do anything last week, and the Raiders defense did a surprisingly decent job of limiting Andrew Luck, and co. With a much easier match up this week, Blaine Gabbert sidelined, and Justin Blackmon still suspended, the Oakland defense could be a surprisingly sneaky play this week.

Sit ‘Em


  • Colin Kaepernick (@ Sea): This one is tough after Kaepernick absolutely lit up Green Bay last week, but only one QB threw for multiple TDs against this defense last season – Tony Romo. If you have a solid #2 option, don’t feel ashamed about benching CK7 in this one.
  • Russell Wilson (vs SF): Another guy who should struggle to go off, purely due to the matchup. This will be a hard-nosed, smash-mouth game, and chances are there won’t be many points to go around.
  • Carson Palmer (vs Det): Start with caution. Sure, Bruce Arians loves to throw the ball, but the Cardinals have done little to address their porous offensive line, and Detroit has one of the scariest defensive fronts in the business. Palmer has a good chance of spending a decent portion of this game on his back.


  • Admad Bradshaw (vs Mia): Bradshaw still stands a chance to play a sizable role in the Colts offense this year, but he didn’t see much action last week as the Colts nurse him back from injury. Not worth starting at this point.
  • Frank Gore (@ Sea): NO NO NO. Gore had a deceptively bad game against a mediocre Green Bay defense last week, averaging just over 2 YPC. This was largely glossed over The walls will come crashing down this week, especially at Seattle.
  • Montee Ball (@ NYG): Another guy who is a complete reach. Denver will continue to use a committee in the backfield, and there just aren’t enough fantasy points to go around between Ball, Moreno, and Hillman.

Wide Receiver

  • Roddy White (vs StL): Roddy White really screwed his fantasy owners over by not disclosing the extent of his injury. In week 1, White was nothing more than a glorified decoy, catching only 2 balls for 19 yards. High ankle sprains generally keep players out 4-6 weeks, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting White this week at the very least.
  • Greg Jennings (@ Chi): Jennings had a miserable outing in his first game as a Viking, posting just 33 yards. It remains to be seen if Jennings will be fantasy relevant this season, but like every Vikings receiver recently not named Percy Harvin, assume the answer is no until he proves us wrong.
  • Anquan Boldin (@ Sea): If Boldin draws Richard Sherman, which is highly likely, expect his production from week 1 to be cut in atleast half. He still remains a WR3/flex play, but the matchup is blatantly terrible.

Tight End

  • Kyle Rudolph (@ Chi): When he doesn’t score touchdowns, he is more or less a worthless fantasy player. Against a good defense like the Bears, I’d wager my money on him having a quiet week.

Team Defense

  • Tampa Bay (vs NO): Tampa’s secondary remains suspect and the Saints obviously love to throw the ball. While they put up quality points against the Jets in week 1, look elsewhere for defense this week.

Week 2: Waiver Wire Pickups

Scrambling for the waiver wire already? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season is here, leaving many owners quickly remembering how fickle the fantasy gods can be. Unsure of starting David Wilson behind his two fumble-inspired benching? Cursing Roddy White for not disclosing that high ankle sprain before you drafted him in the fourth round? Maybe you had a little too much faith in Danny Amendola’s ability to stay healthy. Regardless, here are a few waiver wire pickups for week 2 that will help your friends become reacquainted with that smug victory look of yours that they were missing.

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Julius Thomas could rival Jimmy Graham as a top fantasy TE (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Carson Palmer (QB - Ari) - True to form, Bruce Arians has continued to lean on the passing game. In week 1 against a St. Louis secondary that is no pushover, the questionably-ginger veteran completed 65% of his passes for 327 yards and two touchdowns. While Arizona’s offensive line remains shaky, and Detroit’s strong defensive front could present problems this week, there should be no lingering doubts that Carson Palmer will be a solid LOW end QB1 and about as strong a QB2 as they come.

Joique Bell (RB – Det) – Despite playing behind big money free agent signing, Reggie Bush, Bell was able to have quite the game for himself. Posting 6 carries for 25 yards and two TDs to go along with 5 receptions for 67 yards is an absolutely incredible game for a backup runningback. Moving forward, Detroit has indicated that Bell will continue to receive the majority of goal line work, and his pass-catching skills make him worthy of a borderline flex play as is. Should anything happen to Bush, expect his stock to skyrocket in a hurry.

Marlon Brown (WR – Bal) - In his first NFL game, playing limited snaps, Ravens rookie Marlon Brown totaled four catches for 65 yards, and a TD. With Jacoby Jones out 4-6 weeks due to friendly fire, Brown is in line to take on the #2 WR duties for Baltimore. With Torrey Smith likely to draw Joe Haden (who shut down Mike Wallace almost entirely in week 1), Brown should be a nice target for Flacco in week 2, and moving forward.

Kenny Stills (WR – NO) - The rookie seems to have carved out the 3rd WR slot in the New Orleans offense. He posted 2 catches for 86 yards in week 1, and seems to be the favorite deep ball target of Drew Brees. Heading into week 2, he will take on a vulnerable Tampa pass defense that will almost certainly use Darrelle Revis to limit Marques Colston.

Julian Edelman (WR – NE) - Edelman had a monster week 1 to the tune of 7 grabs for 79 yards and 2 TDs. It is clear that Tom Brady has faith in him, and Bill Belichick trusts him enough to slot him into the offense at will. With Amendola unsurprisingly already injured, Edelman should continue to have a big role catching passes in a premier offense. He is a must-own.

Jordan Cameron (TE – Cle) - Cameron established himself as the top Browns receiving threat in week 1, posting 9 catches for 108 yards and a TD. Head coach Rob Chudzinski loves throwing using the tight end in his offense, and Cameron should continue to post big numbers from the spot. While his potential could be hampered by Brandon Weeden’s shortcomings, he is easily worth a waiver wire pickup.

Julius Thomas (TE – Den) -  This one is just too easy. If Thomas is still available in your league, grab him now, and enjoy the rest of the season. He’s a big, fast, pass-catching tight end who is on the receiving end of Peyton Manning in the Broncos offense. While he may still need some time to develop, there is no question that he has the tools and the circumstance to rival the production of the elite tight ends.

2013 Preseason Player Rankings: QB

  1. Aaron Rodgers (GB) - Sets himself apart from the others by being a consistent top passer, as well as managing to find the endzone on the ground several times each year.
  2. Drew Brees (NO) - Has been a top two QB in four of the past five seasons, and the Saints get Sean Payton back.
  3. Peyton Manning (Den) - 37 TDs and 11 INTs after spending the previous year rehabbing a surgically repaired neck. Peyton is statistically the best QB when it comes to connecting with the slot receiver, and the Broncos just picked up a pretty good one in Wes Welker.
  4. Matt Ryan (Atl) - Got his big deal, and the Falcons are in win-now mode this year for various salary cap-related issues. Ryan is about as safe a pick as you can get, and the Falcons picked up a versatile runningback in Steven Jackson, which gives him an extra passcatching weapon out of the backfield.
  5. Cam Newton (Car) - Cam reaped the benefits of being on a horrible team last season by ranking 16th in QBR, yet scored 4th among fantasy quarterbacks. He suffered a downright regression across the board from his 2011 season numbers in passing yards, passing TDs, and rushing TDs, yet still finished better than all but three signal-callers.
  6. Matthew Stafford (Det) - Calvin Johnson alone was tackled inside the 5-yard line eight times last season (five times inside the 1-yard line). If half of those would have connected for TDs, Stafford would have finished just fractions of a fantasy point under Peyton Manning in the quarterback rankings last season. Parting ways with the troublesome Titus Young, and adding a solid, pass-catching running back in Reggie Bush should help quite a bit. Stafford should have little trouble blowing by the meager 20 passing TDs he posted in 2012 and rejoining the elite.

  7. Tom Brady (NE) - Brady’s pass-catching corps is depleted and injured. He is now working with (the oft injured) Amendola, Edelman, Dobson, Thompkins and Jake Ballard. Brady could very well prove the doubters wrong, but at 36 years old with a decimated group of receivers, every indication is pointing towards New England building off of their under-the-radar 7th ranked rushing attack from last season.
  8. Colin Kaepernick (SF) - Kaepernick took the league by storm midway through last year, and only continued to get better. Despite losing his favorite target, Michael Crabtree, the 49′ers picked up Anquan Boldin, and Austin Collie, and their passing attack should still be more than adequate with 2012 first round pick, AJ Jenkins, and star TE, Vernon Davis.
  9. Robert Griffin III (Was) - The talent is undeniable, as is the injury risk. Griffin has played in less than one full NFL season, and is now recovering from his second reconstructive surgery on the same knee. If he can stay healthy with the same fire as last year, he should have no problem surpassing this #9 ranking among quarterbacks. However, there is tremendous pressure to keep the player that Washington traded away it’s immediate future for healthy. Indications would be that the Redskins will be much more cautious with Griffin this season, and it would be hard to believe that his rushing statistics won’t take a sizable hit; at least in the red zone. There are safer options who will net equal production.
  10. Russell Wilson (Sea) - Wilson scored 259 fantasy points last season while throwing the ball less than 400 times. After a shaky start, he averaged over 200 yards, and two TDs in each of his last eight games (when Seattle started with the zone read) to finish as a top 10 fantasy QB.
  11. Tony Romo (Dal) - Romo has finished 8th or better among quarterbacks in each of his last four seasons. Despite his playoff woes and periodic late-game mishaps, he makes for a great fantasy QB. Last season he finished 3rd in yards, 6th in TDs, and 10th in QBR. He also has the luxury of throwing to a freak of a WR in Dez Bryant. I would have no trouble picking him up after the first few rounds.
  12. Andrew Luck (Ind) - This one is a little tougher to call. Last year, Colts OC (current Cardinals HC), Bruce Arians, had the rookie attempt an NFL 5th ranking 627 passes. This year, his former Stanford coordinator, Pep Hamilton takes over. Pep Hamilton favors the run. The Colts brought in Ahmad Bradshaw, and I would expect Luck’s fantasy production to take a slight regression along with his passing attempts.
  13. Eli Manning (NYG) - A healthy receiving corps to go along with the emergence of the explosive David Wilson will both go a long way towards ensuring Manning rebounds from the career-lows he set last year.
  14. Ben Roethlisberger (Pit) - The Steelers are gunning to transition their offense into a quick-passing scheme, with team president Art Rooney even going as far as to request Big Ben change his style of play. Scrambling around, he has only managed to play one full season since being drafed in 2004. If he can stay healthy, which seems more likely under this offense, he should be solid.
  15. Joe Flacco (Bal) - Flacco is coming off of a Superbowl MVP, and a big new contract. The losses of Boldin and Dennis Pitta will hurt quite a bit, as they were his two primary short-mid range targets. Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley will be serviceable replacements, who have both worked with OC, Jim Caldwell in Indianapolis. Flacco should be solid, but the team just resigned Vonta Leach, and with the emergence of a solid #2 RB in Bernard Pierce, the Ravens will look to run the ball a good amount in 2013.
  16. Andy Dalton (Cin) - AJ Green looks set to be fine for the start of the regular season. The additions of standout 1st round TE Tyler Eifert, and a healthy Sanu should help in the red zone quite a bit, and rookie RB Giovani Bernard will provide a pass-catching weapon out of the backfield.
  17. Carson Palmer (Ari) - Carson Palmer could be a great sleeper this year. He is a quarterback who has no reservations about throwing the ball down field, in the pass-happy Bruce Arians offense featured in Indianapolis last year. Combine that with one of the most dangerous receivers in the game – Larry Fitzgerald, and he could put up some big numbers. The offensive line is still nothing spectacular, however.
  18. Michael Vick (Phi) - There is a chance that Chip Kelly’s fast paced offense could help Vick recapture his phenomenal form from 2010, and you could get the steal of the draft.. However, you should draft Vick assuming that he will be mediocre, turnover prone and/or injured, because they’re all way more likely. If you have a reliable/non-injury prone QB1 and feel like a gamble, there have been longer shots.
  19. Ryan Tannehill (Mia) - There is a chance that the new-look Dolphins could bring about a breakout season from the sophomore. His giant arm combined with Mike Wallace’s speed should be a nice connection.
  20. Jay Cutler (Chi) - I have never been a big fan of Jay Cutler in fantasy. He has seen constant statistical decline the past few seasons, but if anyone can turn him around, it will be Steve Young’s former QB guru – Marc Trestman.
  21. Sam Bradford (StL) - The new-look Rams offense is going to feature a hell of a lot of speed. Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, and Daryl Richardson could bring about a nice upswing in St. Louis, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them stutter out of the gate with all the new pieces.
  22. Alex Smith (KC) - It will be interesting to see how a game-managing QB fits in with Andy Reid’s pass happy offense.
  23. Josh Freeman (TB) - Has shown flashes of brilliance, but more often than not sputters.
  24. Matt Schaub (Hou) - Finally picked up some cover for Andre Johnson with first rounder, DeAndre Hopkins.
  25. Brandon Weeden (Cle) - Norv Turner is a huge upgrade at OC, and the Browns have the tools to turn some heads this year.
  26. Phillip Rivers (SD) - Continues to regress, and his passcatching weapons are crushed by injury… again.
  27. EJ Manuel (Buf) - Enough upside to warrant a gamble if you’re still looking for a QB this late.
  28. Christian Ponder (Min) - Ponder still struggles to throw it to the sidelines. Greg Jennings doesn’t like the middle of the field nearly as much as Percy Harvin did.
  29. Blaine Gabbert (Jax) - The Jaguars probably don’t expect him to do much besides hand it off to MJD, and neither should we.
  30. Mark Sanchez (NYJ) - He is the starter, for now.
  31. Geno Smith (NYJ)
  32. Matt Flynn (Oak)

2013 Preseason Player Rankings: RB

  1. Adrian Peterson (Min) – No surprise here. Six straight seasons with double digit TDs, AP will continue to be the focal point of the Minnesota offense.
  2. Doug Martin (TB) – In his debut season, Doug Martin dazzled with 1,926 yards and 12 TDs. He did have a couple absolutely outrageous games towards the end of the season that provided a healthy stat boost, but the upside is obvious. Martin will also get a huge boost from the return of two great linemen, Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph.
  3. Jamaal Charles (KC) – Turned out a remarkable 1,745 yards at 5.3YPC the season after returning from a reconstructive knee surgery, which went largely unnoticed – primary due to the heroics of AP. Charles has never posted double digit TDs, but with Hillis (or anyone else) no longer around to poach goal line work, he has a legitimate shot this year. Andy Reid’s pass-first offense will most likely keep his carries in check, but he could easily see career highs in receiving . Either way, a full strength Charles should improve upon what he did last year.
  4. Marshawn Lynch (Sea) – He won’t catch many passes, but he is about as safe of a pick as you can hope for. Losing Percy Harvin is a strong indication that Seattle’s offense will continue to be focused on the ground, and it is a virtual guarantee that Lynch will get double digit TDs. Not an injury prone player whatsoever, but probably won’t produce many absurd games like some of the speedier backs, either.
  5. Ray Rice (Bal) – With the losses of Flacco’s two primary short-mid range targets, Pitta and Boldin, and the resigning of premier run blocking FB – Vonta Leach, it seems as if Baltimore’s may be shifting back more towards the ground. Concerns seem to have him slipping in alot of drafts, but Rice could present great value if he falls outside the top 5. His pass-catching ability makes him more attractive in PPR formats.
  6. CJ Spiller (Buf) – Averaged an absurd 6.0 yards per carry last year, and posted just over 1700 yards with 250 touches. Promised to see an increased workload this year under new HC, Doug Marrone, and 2000 yards is a very strong possibility. TDs could be scarce, with Fred Jackson still hanging around.
  7. Trent Richardson (Cle) – There is word of another injury already, but TRich managed 1,317 yards and 12 TDs despite playing for the Browns, and injuries to his knee, ankle, and ribs. I would be a little hesitant of drafting him if he is injured heading into the season, but injury-free, could easily challenge for the top 5 at the position.
  8. Arian Foster (Hou) - 8/18: According to Kubiak, Foster will not play this week and his back pain has “spread into his legs”. Bad outlook for Foster at the moment. Seems to be falling out of favor with alot of people, and his receiving yardage is down, but the Philosopher has posted 47 TDs over his three seasons as the main guy in Houston.
  9. Steven Jackson (Atl) – Michael Turner managed to score double digit TDs every season in Atlanta, and SJax is a far superior runningback – who can also catch passes – who can also run effectively without a fullback on the field. This was my favorite off-season FA pickup due to how much it will open up Atlanta’s offense. I would be genuinely shocked if Jackson did not have a career year.
  10. Alfred Morris (Was) – Coming off of a monster 1,690 yard, 13 TD season, but there is worry over defenses adjusting to the zone-read, RG3′s health, and the fact that Mike Shanahan seemingly hates to rely on a single RB. Make no mistake, he will get the goal line work – especially with the Skins taking a cautious approach with RG3, and almost certainly see 300 touches making him a solid RB#1.
  11. LeSean McCoy (Phi) – This one is risky. Chip Kelly’s offense could reignite Shady, and make him a tremendous pick, considering he is being drafted in the late 1st/2nd round. However at Oregon, Kelly cycled players in and out of the offense like they were on hockey lines in order to keep a high tempo and fresh players. Keep an eye on this one, watching preseason should help determine which direction McCoy’s stock is heading.
  12. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jax) – Still only 28 years old, he is going to be the focal point of the Jaguars offense, and is heading into the season healthy. While he isn’t the elite back he once was, he should still be in line for a nice bounce back year.
  13. Matt Forte (Chi)8/23 Update: Forte has been getting the goal line work so far in preseason, and has been doing a good job of it. If the shifty runner can add double digit TDs to his resume, he could easily breach the top 5 at the position. Forte has always been effective when healthy, but definitely remains injury prone. If QB guru Marc Trestman can improve Jay Cutler and the Bears offense, Forte could provide great value, though he most likely won’t see any increase in goal line work. His pass-catching ability boosts him quite a bit in PPR.
  14. Stevan Ridley (NE) – The Patriots pass-catching weapons have been decimated, leaving them with a core of question marks. Similarly, New England was able to post the 7th rated rushing offense in the NFL, largely under the radar. It would seem as if Ridley is set to build off of his 1,263 yard – 12 TD season, with the Pats relying more on the ground game. Despite this, drafting a Bill Belichick RB is always a risk; only two Patriots backs gave gotten over 200 touches in the past seven years. Shane Vereen will still likely figure on 3rd down.
  15. Chris Johnson (Ten) – Shonn Greene will probably see a good amount of goal line work, but if the Titans successfully implement the read-option, Johnson could benefit quite a bit. He still managed to finish as the 12th ranked RB in what was considered a horrid year, and the dramatic improvements Tennessee has made in their offensive line by drafting Chance Warmack, and acquiring Andy Levitre and Delanie Walker should help Johnson tremendously.
  16. Reggie Bush (Det) – Could be an absolute PPR beast, with the Detroit scheme fitting his skill set much better than Miami. A virtual lock to catch 50+ passes, Bush could be in for a career year. He has managed to stay healthy the past few seasons, though injury is still a concern, and LeShoure will almost certainly poach a decent amount of goal line work.
  17. Frank Gore (SF) – Doesn’t really catch passes or play third downs, but should still be a lock for 1,100+ yards. If the ‘Niners take a cautious/preservative approach with Kaepernick around the goal line, Gore could easily see double digit TDs, as well. The loss of Crabtree suggests that SF will continue to rely on the rush.
  18. David Wilson (NYG) – An explosive, 1st-round pick, pass-catching back who showed incredible promise in the touches he got late last year. It would appear as if Wilson is set to get the lion’s share of work in 2013, but he has had issues fumbling and with his pass-blocking (a necessity if he wants to play on 3rd down). Andre Brown will almost certainly get the goal-line work, and the Giants listed both backs as “co-starters” in their opening depth chart. Wilson possesses serious upside, but that may lead him to be overdrafted when considering the split load in NY.
  19. DeMarco Murray (Dal) – A great three down RB when healthy, but that is always a concern. Word is that he is already nursing a hamstring, but keep an eye out, because the production is undeniable when he is on the field.
  20. Lamar Miller (Mia) – Has the job outright, and reports are that he looks tremendous in camp. Daniel Thomas has never been a coach’s player, and Miller should easily get 1,000+ yards and 6+ TDs.
  21. Darren Sproles (NO) – You know what you’re getting here. A PPR monster with big play capability -who will get a small number of carries, and next to no goal line work (Though he has managed to rack up 15 TDs in two seasons). The return of Sean Payton should seemingly provide quite a boon for Sproles, though.
  22. Chris Ivory (NYJ) – This is a whole new Chris Ivory. No longer saddled by the virtually nonexistent Saints running game, Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, or who ever else – Ivory could be a very solid fantasy producer last year. A virtual lock for 250+ touches in an offensive that has struggled to pass the ball should spell good things for Ivory in 2013.
  23. Ahmad Bradshaw (Ind) – Although the new Colts offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, formerly coached Luck at Stanford, he remains a 55% run play-caller. This is a continental shift from the NFL-5th ranking 627 passes Bruce Arians had Andrew Luck throwing last year. While the two numbers will most likely meet in the middle, expect the Colts to be more balanced this year – and Bradshaw could be a very nice value pick for where he is being drafted.
  24. Giovani Bernard (Cin) - Provides huge upside with an explosive, three down skill set akin to someone like Doug Martin. Despite this, BJGE is still initially slated to receive a large amount of carries and goal line work. If he wins the job outright, or the law-firm gets injured, expect his stock to skyrocket.
  25. Darren McFadden (Oak) – Oakland is transitioning to a zone-block running scheme, which has serviced McFadden tremendously well in the past. Despite this, he has never missed less than three games in a season due to injury (and is averaging closer to 5). The talent is there, and this pick could win your league for you if it pans out – but that is one gigantic “if” that I would feel more comfortable letting someone else in my league find out the answer to.
  26. Montee Ball (Den) – Will almost certainly enter the season as the Broncos #1, but Ball doesn’t have the best hands, and Denver will continue to be a passing offense. Will likely get 200+ carries and goal line work, but Ronnie Hillman will probably work 3rd down.
  27. Le’Veon Bell (Pit) - Update 8/23: There have been varying reports as to the extent of Bell’s injury, though his value will see a significant drop nonetheless. He looks to be out anywhere from 1-6 weeks. Is the clear cut #1 RB in a Pittsburgh team that is trying to get away from the – “let Roethlisberger scramble around and make plays” scheme. Has the ability to both play every-down, and get the goal line work – very rare these days among fantasy RB’s. If he has a strong preseason, don’t be surprised to see his draft stock shoot up.
  28. Ryan Mathews (SD) – Ryan Mathews has potential and is brittle. Not much has changed in his report since he entered the league. The Chargers terrible offensive line won’t help, and he doesn’t do much around the goal line. He does see a boost in PPR leagues, but I wouldn’t want him at anything higher than as a backup flier.
  29. Shane Vereen (NE) – All reports coming out of New England indicate that Belichick is trying hard to get Shane Vereen in on as many sets as possible – lining him up in the slot wide receiver role, as well as in the backfield. He showed great pass-catching ability last season, as well as in week 1 of preseason this year. Danny Woodhead is no longer around, and Belichick loves to find mismatches about as much as he seems to love shifting around his running-backs. Vereen could see way more total snaps this year than anyone expected.
  30. Rashard Mendenhall (Ari) – The Cardinals offensive line is still shaky, even with the addition of Jonathan Cooper. It also remains to be seen what Mendenhall has left in the tank, as many value Ryan Williams as a higher talent at this point. Keep posted on this one.
  31. Eddie Lacy (GB) – Not much as far as pass-catching goes, but he will battering ram it in for Green Bay in the goal line. You could do a lot worse at this point.
  32. Andre Brown (NYG) – Listed as a “co-starer” on the opening depth chart, Brown is in line to receive far more than just the goal line work. He filled in tremendously with Ahmad Bradshaw injured and David Wilson’s pass-blocking and ball security not deemed up to par by Coughlin last season. He was able to score in all but one game he started, and though the Giants will look to implement Wilson in a big way this year, his touchdowns should remain largely intact.
  33. DeAngelo Williams (Car) – Will possess more value if he is moved out of Carolina. With Tolbert, Jonathan Stewart, and Cam Newton all vying for goal line looks, he won’t fare too well.
  34. Jonathan Stewart (Car) – Same issues as Williams.
  35. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Cin) – His upside is goal line work, and that’s about it. Bernard is the preferred/future back.
  36. Mark Ingram (NO) – Should see the bulk of goal line carries for New Orleans. Though Chris Ivory moved on, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles will still figure heavily.
  37. Daryl Richardson (StL) – Showed glimpses of some serious potential last year as a rookie. The Speedy second year player is the starter, though questions are floating around as to whether he has the size to handle a full workload. Isaih Pead will figure, but Richardson gets a definite boost in PPR formats for his great pass-catching abilities.
  38. Bryce Brown (Phi) – Posted a couple monster weeks last year when Shady was injured, and if Chip Kelly rotates his offense like he did at Oregon, Brown will get some good touches this year. About as talented a handcuff as you are going to find, if McCoy gets injured it could leave Brown in top 10-15 RB territory.
  39. Fred Jackson (Buf) – Will take the goal line work in Buffalo, and cut into CJ Spiller’s touches. If either get injured, expect a decent boost in value to the other.
  40. Ben Tate (Hou) – There has been alot of talk about Arian Foster wearing down from the heavy workload the past three seasons. Tate is a strong handcuff with proven NFL success.
  41. Ronnie Hillman (Den) – Has shown some potential, and is a good pass-catcher – which fits in nicely under Peyton Manning in Denver. As far as gambles go, if he wins the job he will provide tremendous value for where you can draft him, though Montee Ball is the outright favorite. He is more likely to get serious playing time than other handcuffs who rely on injury for carries.
  42. Isaih Pead (StL) – Has a chance to win the starting job in St. Louis, though Daryl Richardson is the favorite. Despite this, Pead’s size is more suited to the workload of an every-down back, and he should at least get some goal line work.
  43. Bernard Pierce (Bal) – Looked very impressive in the few carries he has gotten for the Ravens, and they’re willing to trust him more. He will no doubt cut into Ray Rice’s workload, and could get some goal line looks, as well.
  44. Joseph Randle (Dal) – If you’re scared to draft DeMarco Murray because of his injury history, then Joseph Randle should be pretty high on your list of later-round targets. The rookie will be the regular Dallas RB if Murray bites the dust again. Reports are that Lance Dunbar is making waves at training camp, so keep an eye out incase he beats Randle for the #2.
  45. Ryan Williams (Ari) – Has the potential to beat out Mendenhall and have a breakout year, but can he stay healthy? He has a bad history of knee injuries. Regardless, the upside is high enough and his ADP is low enough that Williams warrants a pick late in the draft.
  46. Danny Woodhead (SD) – Was able to produce enough to be a top 25 runningback last year, and moving to San Diego might actually help him. No one trusts Ryan Mathews to stay healthy. Woodhead should figure at least partially in the SD backfield, and could be in for a bigger role if Mathews gets injured like usual.
  47. LaMichael James (SF) – Apparently Jim Harbaugh figured out a way to make Frank Gore stop being injury prone, because he hasn’t missed a game since Harbaugh took the reins. Assuming Harbaugh isn’t practicing some sort of crazy voodoo, Gore’s age will catch up with him sooner or later, and LaMichael James could become very valuable in the ‘Niner’s run-heavy offense.
  48. Michael Bush (Chi) – Oft-injured Matt Forte handcuff. Used to be a goal line workhorse for Chicago, but not last year. Remains to be seen how new HC, Marc Trestman will use him.
  49. Stefan Taylor (Ari) – Here are two very realistic possibilities: 1) Rashard Mendenhall sucks.. 2) Ryan Williams gets injured. Voila, Stefan Taylor is the starting back for the Cardinals.
  50. Mikel Leshoure (Det) – Didn’t blow anyone away last year, but was coming off a torn achilles. A year off surgery, he will handcuff a guy people seem to have forgotten was once considered horrendously injury prone – Reggie Bush.

2013 Preseason Player Rankings: WR

  1. Calvin Johnson (Det) – The only receiver worth taking in the first round. Still managed to separate himself from the pack last season, despite his TD numbers being unusually low. Don’t worry though, he was tackled inside the 1-yard line a league-leading five times, and with what should be an improved Detroit offense, Megatron is providing every indication a monster 2013 is in the cards.
  2. Dez Bryant (Dal) – Really seemed to figure things out at the end of last season to the tune of 50 receptions, 879 yards, and 10 TDs in the last 8 games alone. For the mathematically challenged, that is a 100/1,758/20 line extrapolated over a full season. Obviously, it would be wishful thinking to expect that, but if Dez can find a happy medium between the two, he will provide more than enough to justify the #2 ranking.
  3. Brandon Marshall (Chi) – Was top-4 among all pass-catchers in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs last season. If Marc Trestman is able to open up the Chicago offense and get the best out of Jay Cutler, Marshall could very well surpass his numbers from last season. He is a physical beast, and should get loads of receptions and TDs regardless.
  4. AJ Green (Cin) – Green caught at least one TD every week from weeks 2-11, making him one of the best receiver in the NFL during that stretch. The problem – he tailed off extremely hard – catching only one TD after week 11, and posting under 10.0 fantasy points three times during that span, amid questions regarding Andy Dalton’s lack of arm strength. Rookie TE Tyler Eifert should help him, but he and Sanu will likely steal some red zone looks.
  5. Larry Fitzgerald (Ari) – Don’t let his season catching passes off of Skelton and Lindley scare you off; Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the most talented receivers in the league. Carson Palmer has no problems throwing the ball down-field for him, and he should get plenty of opportunities in a Bruce Arians pass-happy offense.
  6. Julio Jones (Atl) – Jones makes his payday off the deep ball, so his is prone to a more roller-coaster scoring trajectory. You can expect monster 20+ point weeks out of him, but you will almost certainly get some 5-point-or-less stinkers also.
  7. Demaryius Thomas (Den) – Welker will poach some of his targets, but also probably make teams more vulnerable to Thomas beating them on the deep ball. Despite some initial worry before last season, Peyton showed no problems throwing the ball down-field whatsoever.
  8. Andre Johnson (Hou) – Andre Johnson has been begging Houston to pick up another WR to give him some cover, and they drafted a good one in Clemson product, DeAndre Hopkins. Though he has never registered a season with double digit TDs, it is looking to be a very solid year for the veteran.
  9. Roddy White (Atl) – As consistent as they come. Since taking the full time gig, White has been averaging 1295.6 yards and 8.16 TDs per season over 6 seasons. With S-Jax, Gonzalez, and Julio in the mix, the ball will surely be spread out quite a bit, but Roddy White is as about as safe of a WR pick as you’ll find.
  10. Vincent Jackson (TB) – Put up career numbers last season despite playing in a shaky passing offense. The fact the Bucs are getting two top-tier lineman back, Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph, should help out Josh Freeman and the Tampa passing attack quite a bit.
  11. Danny Amendola (NE) - 8/18: Amendola has continued to roll in preseason, showing great chemistry with Brady and the ability to work the complex Patriots offense without a hitch. Looking like he should have no problem cracking top 10 if he can stay healthy. Tom Brady has been loving Amendola thus far in preseason and training camp. While the Patriots may gear slightly more towards the run this year, there are still plenty of balls left to be caught – and if Amendola can stay on the field, he has a chance to breach the top 10 WRs this year – especially in PPR formats.
  12. Randall Cobb (GB) – Cobb is dealing with a bicep injury, and according to HC Mike McCarthy, “it’s probably something he’s going to be battling for a while.” Cobb exploded last year, and he looked to be in line to improve dramatically getting every-down WR snaps this season with Greg Jennings no longer in the picture. He tacked on 132 rushing yards last season as an added bonus for his owners, and may even return kicks and punts again, though this injury will knock him a little. Keep an ear out, and monitor him.
  13. Victor Cruz (NYG) – Another feast-or-famine guy who tends to make a living off of the deep ball, Cruz only managed to hit the 100 yard mark in 5 games last season. Additionally, he had another 6 games in which he failed to provide 60 yards OR a touchdown. There is word that some of the stinkers can be attributed to “arm fatigue” experienced by Eli at the end of the season, but regardless, Cruz managed to post 1,092 yards and 10 TDs on the whole. A decent decline from his spectacular 2012, but still solid very solid numbers proving that he wasn’t just a one-and-done phenom.
  14. Wes Welker (Den) – While Welker has publicly stated that he isn’t planning on seeing  as many balls as he is used to, but Peyton Manning has a storied history of putting up huge numbers with his slot receivers and he has never had one as good as Wes Welker before. Gets a massive boost in any PPR formats.
  15. Marques Colston (NO) – Colston has managed to post at least 1,000 yards and 7 TDs every season he has been in the league and healthy. To put that in perspective, that works out to averaging around 75 yards and half of a TD per game. A returning Sean Payton should only help him, and you can’t ask for much more in the 4th round.
  16. Dwayne Bowe (KC) – Andy Reid is a notoriously pass-happy coach, and Bowe should be in line for a nice season with the efficient Alex Smith under helm. Gets a nice boost in PPR formats.
  17. Pierre Garcon (Was) – Garcon is far and away RG3′s favorite target. The two showed explosive potential last season, though were only able to play in 9 games together. Garcon is fighting through some injuries in training camp, so keep an eye on his status, but he has the potential to be a top 10 wide-out if both he and Griffin can stay healthy.
  18. Eric Decker (Den) – If you are Peyton Manning’s favorite red-zone target, it’s hard not to be projected in the top 20. Due to the arrival of Welker it wouldn’t be surprising to see a decrease in targets, but like with Demaryius Thomas, it could make those targets he does get more valuable.
  19. Hakeem Nicks (NYG) – The talent is undeniable, but so is the frustration of owning him. Very injury prone, he wasn’t able to play in the Giants first preseason game. His stock will rise or fall depending on the outcome of that injury. Stay posted on Nicks.
  20. James Jones (GB) – Proved to be the favorite red zone target of Aaron Rodgers last season, hauling in an incredible 14 TDs. Many are writing this off as a circumstantial flash in the pan, but with Jordy Nelson having minor knee surgery, and Randall Cobb planning on playing though a bicep injury, Rodgers may well have to lean on Jones again this year.
  21. Reggie Wayne (Ind) – He is 34 years old, but still the main guy in Indianapolis. With Pep Hamilton being more of a run-first OC, and the emergence of TY Hilton, I’m worried he won’t see as much of the ball as he did last season.
  22. Antonio Brown (Pit) – With Mike Wallace having taken his talents to South Beach, Brown is the main man in Todd Haley’s – quick passing offense. Brown did quite well down the stretch, grabbing a TD each of the last four weeks last season, and should catch a good amount of balls in 2013, giving him a slight boost in PPR formats.
  23. Torrey Smith (Bal) – 1,696 yards and 15 TDs in his first two seasons in the league. With Boldin and Pitta no longer in the picture, Flacco will have to rely on Torrey Smith even more than he has in the past.
  24. Steve Smith (Car) – Had a nice finish with 404 yards and 3 TDs over his final 5 games in 2012. Smith is inconsistent and 34, but there isn’t really anyone else to muscle in on his targets in Carolina.
  25. Jordy Nelson (GB) – Another injury you’ll have to monitor; Nelson is an animal when healthy, but this minor knee surgery looks set to have him out 4-6 weeks. Rumors are swirling that he could be back sometime in the first couple weeks, which, if true would see his stock rise dramatically.
  26. Mike Wallace (Mia) – Tannehill has fantastic arm strength, and Mike Wallace makes a living off of the deep ball. Though his numbers were somewhat disappointing last season, he did manage to grab 8 TDs in the 13 games in which Roethlisberger played.
  27. DeSean Jackson (Phi) – Jackson hasn’t looked the same since he was cleaned out crossing the middle against Houston in 2010. Despite that, his speed works well with Chip Kelly’s high tempo offense, and with Maclin out, the Eagles will need to rely on him. Jackson is a riskier pick that could leave dominating your league or scouring the waiver wire heap for a WR.
  28. Cecil Shorts (Jax) – He looked promising last season, and Blackmon’s 4 game Purple Drank suspension will get him more attention, but there is only so much upside in the Jacksonville passing attack.
  29. TY Hilton (Ind) – Posted 506 yards and 5 TDs over the final 7 games last season. This season he should build on that strong finish.
  30. Greg Jennings (Min) – Well, it’s clear that the jump from Rodgers to Ponder is going to hurt him quite a bit. Ponder has shown some trouble throwing to the sidelines, but the looming threat of AP should allow him to get some decent space for himself. His preseason antics and jealous-ex-girlfriend attitude towards the Packers have many scared off of him, but he could very well end up being a value pick considering where he is being drafted.
  31. Josh Gordon (Cle) – In his rookie season, Gordon managed to put up an impressive 50 passes for 805 yards and 5 TDs despite an unimpressive Browns passing attack, and a slow start. The 2 game Purple Drank suspension obviously hurts him, but Cleveland could end up turning some heads with Norv Turner working the offense.
  32. Kenny Britt (Ten) – If he can stay healthy he should be able to easily outperform this ranking. He is on a contract year, which helps quite a bit.
  33. Mike Wallace (TB) – In his three seasons in the league, Williams has posted 11, 3, and 9 TDs. He is immensely talented, but his fantasy value is directly linked to his TD production. You could do alot worse at this point of the draft.
  34. Miles Austin (Dal) – Another guy who will easily outplay this ranking if he is able to stay healthy. Has had terrible problems with his hamstrings, but the talent and results are undeniable when he is on the field.
  35. Tavon Austin (StL) – The Rams are trying to transition their offense, and the speedy rookie has an extremely high ceiling. Despite this, his electric combine performance has many people buzzing about him, and will probably lead to him being overdrafted in alot of leagues.
  36. Lance Moore (NO) – Since he got the job in NO, Moore has posted atleast 600 yards and 6 TDs in every season except the one he was injured.
  37. Stevie Johnson (Buf) – Johnson has a nagging hamstring injury and the Bills most likely won’t light anyone up through the air this season.
  38. Anquan Boldin (SF) – Boldin’s incredible form throughout last year’s playoffs have people forgetting that he averaged just around 600 yards and 4 TDs per season as a Raven. He is also 33. Kaepernick has to throw it to someone, but I wouldn’t bank on Boldin turning into a top receiver all of a sudden.
  39. Sidney Rice (Sea) – Rice had preventative surgery done in Switzerland this offseason in hopes of making his knees more durable. If it worked and he is able to hold up, he has the talent and build (6’4″, 202 lb) to be a great sleeper pick. Not a bad gamble for the late rounds.
  40. Ryan Broyles (Det) – People like him for the same reasons they liked Titus Young last season. Yikes. Even so, if Broyles can refrain from imploding, then he should more than justify this ranking.
  41. Kenbrell Thompkins (NE) - Update 8/23: Thompkins has continued to light it up in preseason & training camp. Potentially has HUGE sleeper value catching passes from Tom Brady in a depleted offense. Vying for a WR job with Aaron Dobson.
  42. Michael Floyd (Ari) – Floyd was highly touted as a rookie but failed to catch much attention, largely due to the inabilities of John Skelton and Ryan Lindley at QB. Going into his sophomore season with a safe, strong-armed QB in Carson Palmer, and a pass-minded HC in Bruce Arians, Floyd could end up being a great sleeper pick for 2013.
  43. Emmanuel Sanders (Pit) 
  44. Golden Tate (Sea) 
  45. DeAndre Hopkins (Hou) – Houston finally has someone to take pressure off of Andre Johnson. Hopkins has a very favorable job, lining up across from Andre Johnson, with defenses already worried about Arian Foster. The talented rookie has a higher ceiling that most you could get at this point in the draft.
  46. Denarius Moore (Oak) – Has alot of talent, but is a deep ball receiver with a weak-armed QB on a bad team.
  47. Kendall Wright (Ten) – Should see a decent amount of balls this season. Many are expecting him to take a big step forward, but his progression is tied hand in hand with Jake Locker’s.
  48. Chris Givens (StL) – Reports are that Givens looks fantastic in camp, which was highlighted by catching 3 balls for 82 yards and a TD out of 11 plays he ran with Sam Bradford in the preseason opener. The speedy second-year player could be a nice sleeper.
  49. Vincent Brown (SD) – Danario Alexander is out for the season, and Malcom Floyd is banged up as well. If Brown can stay healthy, he could be the SD #1 by process of elimination, and in for a surprisingly nice season.
  50. Alshon Jeffery (Chi) – Jeffery showed some glimpses of his talent last season, but if Marc Trestman helps the Bears offense open up, Jeffery could be in for a nice season as the Chicago #2.
  51. Rueben Randle (NYG) – Randle has alot of talent, but is mired behind Nicks and Cruz in the depth chart. If either of them sustain an injury, Reuben’s value will rise drastically.
  52. Cordarrelle Patterson (Min) – True to his scouting report from the draft, he is very raw. While he likely has a higher ceiling than DeAndre Hopkins, we won’t see it with Christian Ponder.
  53. Justin Blackmon (Jax) – The ceiling is only so high with his volatile nature, 4 game suspension, and the fact he is a Jaguar receiver.
  54. Brian Hartline (Mia) – Will be more at home in the #2 receiver role.
  55. Rod Streater (Oak) – Could end up being a relatively sneaky pick. Does decently in short-mid range routes which Matt Flynn loves, and the Raiders will have plenty of deficits for their passers to accumulate garbage fantasy points.
  56. Austin Collie (SF) – San Francisco brought him in for a reason. If he is able to avoid injury, specifically concussions, he could be a steal at this point in the draft.
  57. Aaron Dobson (NE) – Tom Brady targeted him 8 times in the preseason opener. If he wins the job, he should have plenty of value, but Kenbrell Thompkins is vying for the job also. Keep an eye on which one has the holeshot as we get deeper into camp.
  58. Jeremy Kerley (NYJ) – Where else are you going to find a #1 WR at this point in the draft? In all seriousness, he will struggle, but the Jets have to throw it to someone. Santonio Holmes is disillusioned, and taking his sweet time coming back from injury so Kerley will have plenty of opportunity.
  59. Greg Little (Cle) – With a little magic from Norv Turner, Little could taste fantasy-relevance.
  60. Keenan Allen (SD) – The rookie will get plenty of looks with the Chargers terribly injured WR corps. Could have a decent fantasy impact.
  61. Brandon LaFell (Car) – He will be the Panthers #2 WR, but shows no signs of turning anything around.
  62. Nate Burlson (Det) – If he ends up getting the #2 role ahead of Ryan Broyles, he will be in for some decent production. Keep an eye out.
  63. Andre Roberts (Ari) – Another talented young, Cardinals WR. He had a few nice games in 2012, but looks set to lose out to Michael Floyd for the #2.
  64. Jacoby Jones (Bal) – Will see the majority of the snaps in Baltimore’s depleted passing attack. His value rests primarily on the deep ball, and he will most likely return kicks & punts.
  65. Markus Wheaton (Pit) – The speedy rookie will take on the deep-ball duties for Pittsburgh. Has some nice upside with Roethlisberger’s playstyle.
  66. Riley Cooper (Phi) – You’ll have to see how Paula Deen’s lunch sits with him, and the rest of the Eagles. He was in line to be the #2 receiver there, though
  67. Mohamed Sanu (Cin) – The #2 receiver in Cinci, Sanu showed very nice TD potential grabbing 4 scores in 3 weeks before his season was ended with a foot injury.
  68. Robert Woods (Buf) – With Stevie Johnson banged up, Woods could figure pretty heavily in the Bills passing offense. Just keep in mind the rest of that equation is freezing temperatures, high-powered winds, and a raw, rookie QB. Not exactly home sweet home for a USC product.
  69. Leonard Hankerson (Was) 
  70. Santonio Homles (NYJ) – Will miss at least 4 weeks
  71. AJ Jenkins (KC)8/23 Update: KC and SF swapped big-hype bust receivers by trading Jenkins for Jon Baldwin. Jenkins takes a slight downgrade here, entering into a more crowded offense with a less notable QB.   The former first rounder will be given more opportunities this year with Crabtree out.
  72. Brandon Lloyd (FA) – I would be incredibly surprised if he is still a FA come week 1. There are alot of good teams out there with solid QB’s and injured pass-catchers that he would make sense on (NE, GB, Bal, SF, Sea…). If one of them picks him up, expect his draft stock to soar.
  73. Julian Edelman (NE) – He is banged up, but he knows and can execute the Patriots offense.
  74. Donnie Avery (KC) – The #2 in KC. Doesn’t look set to turn many heads, though.
  75. Jarius Wright (Min) – Will occupy the slot role formerly worked by Percy Harvin. In the 7 games Percy Harvin missed in 2012, Wright got the most targets out of any Vikings player, and is getting fantastic reviews from training camp this year. Ponder struggles throwing to the sidelines, so Wright could easily become his favorite target this year.

2013 Preseason Player Rankings: TE

  1. Jimmy Graham (NO) – On a tier by himself among tight ends this season, Graham should be able to well surpass his numbers from last year now that he has a healthy wrist and Sean Payton back calling the plays.
  2. Vernon Davis (SF) – I’m buying high on Davis this year. Pound-for-pound, Davis is one of the most physically gifted players in the league. With CK7’s favorite target – Michael Crabtree, out for a good chunk of the season, Vernon Davis has been lining up at WR in training camp to fill the void. Though the two failed to connect for anything resembling fantasy value in the final weeks of the season (an ugly 5 catches for 61 yards and 0 TDs in the final 6 games), it finally came together in the playoffs. For those anticipating Anquan Boldin to pick up the slack on his own, keep in mind he averaged a pedestrian 600 yards and 4 TDs per season as a Raven. Davis will need to be productive in order for the ‘Niners to put up points, and with a serious lack of alternative pass-catchers, this could be a career year for him.
  3. Jason Witten (Dal) – Hauled in an absolutely outrageous 110 receptions last year. While he may not get as many red zone looks as you would expect (never posted a season with double digit TDs, and only scored above 7 once), he is a PPR monster.
  4. Tony Gonzalez (Atl) – For a guy pushing 40, putting up 930 yards and 8 TDs last season was one hell of a feat. While he should remain a favorite option of Matt Ryan, you would have to think that some regression is in line.
  5. Rob Gronkowski (NE) – If healthy, there is no doubt that he would be ranked as the top tight end. The problem is, he currently isn’t healthy, and no one knows when/if he will be. Initially, thoughts were that Gronkowski would find a spot on the PUP list, forcing him to miss the first 6 weeks. However, there is reportedly now a chance that he could be ready much sooner. As Tom Brady’s most trusted and established target, it’s a shame that his forearm and back have plagued him so terribly, because with the rest of New England’s pass-catching options now finding work in Denver and jail, there was a very good chance Gronk would have had a career season, and possibly challenged every TE record in the books. For now, don’t consider drafting him as a starting tight end until more is heard about the status of his injury. Target him in the double digit rounds as someone to stash for the late weeks/playoff time.
  6. Kyle Rudolph (Min) – Was far and away the favorite red zone target of Christian Ponder last season. With good hands at 6’6”, 260lb – it’s not really hard to guess why. His frame and skillset works perfectly in tandem with the redzone play-actions and bootlegs the Vikings love to run, and teams love to bite on (primarily cause they won’t stop AP if they don’t). Having said that, his value relies almost solely on TD potential in an offense built around a runningback.
  7. Greg Olsen (Car)
  8. Martellus Bennett (Chi) – The Bears have been notoriously horrible at incorporating a pass-catching tight end into their offense. Hopefully Marc Trestman can change that. If Bennett has a strong preseason, expect his stock to rise dramatically. As the way things stand, he would currently appear to be the #2 target in the offense behind Brandon Marshall.
  9. Jordan Cameron (Cle) - 8/23: True to form, Turner has implemented Cameron in a big way in preseason. Has immense sleeper value at the TE position. Norv Turner likes his tight ends, and throwing the ball downfield.
  10. Brandon Myers (NYG) – Posted a very respectable 79 reception/806 yard/4 TD line last season in a very mediocre Oakland offense. The move to New York (or North Jersey, if we want to get technical) should only help him. Gets a nice value boost in PPR formats, and has a good chance to see more red zone looks.
  11. Zach Sudfeld (NE)Update 8/23: Sudfield has seemingly been the Patriots go-to TE in preseason. At 6’7″ he provides a huge threat in the red-zone  and could  be in for a huge season with the Patriots struggling for receiving depth.
  12. Antonio Gates (SD) – Gates isn’t getting any younger, and Philip Rivers isn’t getting any better. You know what you’re getting here.
  13. Owen Daniels (Hou) – I legitimately checked three different depth charts to make sure that Houston had not gone out and picked up another TE after James Casey left. Daniels has always been a good tight end, but one whose fantasy value has been weighed down by the Houston system. An increase in his targets could likely happen, but there is nothing to indicate a “breakout” of any kind is in the cards.
  14. Rob Housler (Ari) – Bruce Arians used his tight ends quite a bit last year in Indianapolis, and he loves to throw the ball down-field. Housler has reportedly been crushing it in training camp, and if he continues to be heavily utilized in preseason, expect his draft stock to soar.
  15. Jermichael Finley (GB) – Every league has a guy who has taken Jermichael Finley expecting it to be the year he “figures it out” and “finally capitalizes on that potential”, or my personal favorite, “he is catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, he’ll be a stud for sure!” If, like me, you’re done buying into the fact that he plays on a good team and once-upon-a-time had a good scouting report, I wouldn’t draft him as a #1 TE. On the upside, Mike McCarthy has said that Finley is having an incredible camp. His high potential ceiling warrants a later round flier on him, but in the event of another all-too-familiar implosion, QB-quarrel, etc., make sure you have an alternative.
  16. Jared Cook (StL) – Has a history with Jeff Fischer, but has largely failed to live up to expectations. The St. Louis beat writers, columnists, and coaching staff all seem to love the guy, but he wasn’t even targeted once in the first preseason game. If he starts to turn it on in the latter stages of preseason, expect his draft stock to skyrocket. At 6’5”, he figures to be a primary red zone target in what is an otherwise undersized offense.
  17. Dallas Clark (Bal) – Wait and see how bad Ed Dickson’s injury is, and how much Clark is utilized in preseason. Baltimore is horribly lacking short-mid range passing targets, and Clark was brought in, along with another former Colt, Brandon Stokley to fill that void. The fact that Clark had played, and thrived in Jim Caldwell’s Indianapolis system helps.
  18. Brandon Pettigrew (Det) – Has reportedly slimmed down and adopted a healthier diet in efforts to improve upon his career-worst 2012 numbers. Playing with Matthew Stafford in an offense that utilizes the run game as an afterthought can’t hurt him.
  19. Brent Celek (Phi) – He has been playing with the starters in training camp under new HC, Chip Kelly, but it is no secret that hotshot rookie TE, Zach Ertz is vying for his job.
  20. Coby Fleener (Ind) – Despite coming up short against fellow-TD Dwayne Allen last season, reports from Pagano suggest that Fleener’s workload could double this season. After all, he is a fellow Stanford alumnus with his OC and QB.
  21. Tyler Eifert (Cin) – This kid was a monster in college, and has been showing great separation and ability to catch the ball in traffic early out of the gate. With rumors swirling around about Andy Dalton’s lack of arm strength, Eifert is a prime breakout candidate for 2013.
  22. Zac Ertz (Phi) – Much higher upside than Celek, worth a flier in deeper leagues.
  23. Marcedes Lewis (Jax) – A talented TE on a bad team.
  24. Jake Ballard (NE) – They have to still use a TE somewhat, right?
  25. Heath Miller (Pit) – Productive, and trusted in the red-zone by Roethlisberger when healthy
  26. Dustin Keller (Mia) – 8/17: Keller blew out his knee completely; PCL, MCL, and ACL with a dislocation to top it all off. Will be out for the season. Keep in check to see who the Dolphins decide to roll with at TE. Keller has looked sharp in preseason, and has seemingly earned the trust of Tannehill. With the down-field nature of Mike Wallace, there is a decent chance that Keller could emerge as a favorite short-midrange weapon of the sophomore QB, and end up being a steal in drafts.