Alshon Jeffery
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Alshon Jeffery entered the Halloween match-up with the Minnesota Vikings without a touchdown. Jay Cutler returned to action and Jeffery responded with four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. Now that Cutler is back, is Jeffery a WR1 again?
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Jeffrey averaged 63.8 yards from Week 3-7 without a touchdown while Cutler was on the shelf. Those numbers were WR3 at best.
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While Jeffery didn’t start the season with a score he did have 105 yards against the Houston Texans and 96 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles with Cutler under center. Throw in his game against the Vikings and he has averaged 88 yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game.
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Given his rapport with Cutler, Jeffery should continue to be peppered with targets. He comes out of the bye to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who just got lit up by the Falcons last night. He also has plus match-ups with the Giants, Titans, Niners and Lions.
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I like Jeffery’s prospects to close out the year in style.
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Matt Forte
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With news circulating that Matt Forte’s days are over with the Chicago Bears are over, the natural thought progression is to consider a landing place.
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The Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and Green bay Packers come to mind, but the team that makes the most sense is the New England Patriots.
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The Patriots look for reclamation projects so much they should be on HGTV. If they can make a re-tread like Steven Jackson work, imagine what they could do with a player of Forte’s ability?
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Besides, his skill set fits perfectly with Tom Brady. Forte’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well as move the chains in a more traditional way makes perfect sense for New England.
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The price will have to be right for Forte and New England to come to a deal, but from a fantasy perspective this makes perfect sense.


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Adrian Peterson delivered once again despite playing on the Vikings’ sinking ship. He ran for 1298 yards and 12 touchdowns. He added 36 catches for 341 yards and another score. After being dogged by fumbles, he improved his ball control by coughing up just one fumble all year. Peterson is once again in the conversation for the first overall pick in fantasy leagues. He shouldn’t slip by the top four or five picks even in PPR leagues. With a rookie quarterback he’ll likely be called upon to take some of the pressure off. Toby Gerhart showed he was capable towards the end of the year, and should see an increase in touches this year. He remains strictly a handcuff though.
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Matt Forte bounce back from a somewhat disappointing 2009 season by running for 1069 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged a career high 4.5 yards per carry. Forte also added 51 catches, his third straight year with 50+, for 547 yards and three more scores. Forte figures to be a high-end RB2 in non-PPR leagues and a low-end RB1 in PPR leagues. Chester Taylor will keep Forte fresh and provide veteran insurance should Forte go down, but isn’t a hot fantasy commodity.
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Jahvid Best will operate between the 20s, but rookie Mikel Leshoure will get the touch carries near the goal line as well as closing out games. Best deal with turf toe last year which sapped his explosiveness, but injuries have been commonplace for Best. He has the ability to put up huge numbers, but is a fantasy risk even as an RB2 because of his injury concerns and Leshoure’s presence. It’s possible that both Best and Leshoure could each have weekly fantasy value.
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Green Bay has a bit of a mess at running back. For starters, we already know that they are first and foremost a passing team. We also know Aaron Rodgers always steals a few rushing touchdowns per year. With Ryan Grant and James Starks sharing carries, there may not be a reliable weekly option barring injury. The Packers added Alex Green in the draft who will likely handle third down duties and further muddy the water.
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Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is by far the best in the division. The writing was on the wall the wall he handled the Brett Favre situation while still delivering on the field. A concussion cost Rodgers from reaching 4000 yards for a third straight year, but fantasy owners can live with the 3922 yards, 28 TDs (11 INTs), 356 rushing yards, and four rushing TDs. If he’s not the best fantasy quarterback in the league, he is certainly a top three choice.
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Chicago’s Jay Cutler cut his interception total from 26 to 16. His yardage (3274) and touchdowns (23) also dipped, but the Bears were winning and more committed to the run. He doesn’t have great weapons around him, but he makes do. The Bears drafted Gabe Carimi to provide some much needed improvement on the offensive line. His toughness may have come into question, but his arm strength never will. He’s a solid QB2 that is really hit or miss.
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Detroit’s Matthew Stafford just can’t seem to stay healthy. The Lions did not invest heavily in their offensive line, as their play was actually not that bad. They did give him some complimentary weapons in the form of Titus Young and Mikel Leshoure to add to Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Nate Burleson, and Jahvid Best. Don’t look now, but the Lions are on the rise. If the injury bug bites again, Shaun Hill has shown that he’s more than capable to step up.
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The Vikings finally addressed the quarterback situation with a long-term solution. Christian Ponder is a good fit for the offense and has the experience to play right away. The team will likely add a veteran to mentor Ponder, but it appears he’ll get his shot. If Sidney Rice does not return, the Vikings will need to give Percy Harvin some help at WR. Adrian Peterson will make the life of a rookie quarterback easier.
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Did you really think Brett Favre would just ride off into the sunset? Not unless he had a caravan of reporters tracking his every moment. The media hungry Favre just won’t go away. Despite Favre racking up more injuries than the Vikings have wins, the signing of Patrick Ramsey, and a chance to look at potential future quarterback Joe Webb, it appears that Favre stands a chance of playing this week after being upgraded from out to questionable.
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Favre will test his shoulder well before kickoff to see if he can give it a go or not. If he is able to go, I like the chances of Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and even Adrian Peterson in the running game a lot better. However, if you were anticipating using Joe Webb in your WR slot, you may want to have Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo, Devin Hester, or Johnny Knox on speed dial so you don’t get stuck with a goose egg.
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It is snowing in Minnesota so none of the passing options make great plays, but that’s what happens when you play somebody from the Monday Night Football game. Good luck tonight. Hopefully you survive to fight another day.
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If you’re looking ahead to next week, check out:


Image courtesy of Icon SMI

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Having players go in the Thursday night games gives you a little bit of advantage. If your players do good, you can perhaps be a little more cautions with your team. If your players did not put up good numbers, perhaps you will want to take a bigger risk hoping for a bigger reward to make up for it. You also get a feel for your lineup depending on how your opponents players did.
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With the second Thursday night game in the books, let’s take a look at the fantasy ramifications.
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Quarterbacks:  Last week both Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco had great games. This week was so not about quarterback play. Tyler Thigpen (187 passing yards, INT, 27 rushing yards) was one of our sleeper picks, but he just didn’t deliver. Losing Brandon Marshall for the second half didn’t help. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler (156 yards, INT, 28 rushing yards) was one of our sit suggestions. One out of two ain’t bad. If you did happen to start one of these two, you’ll have to make up the points somewhere.
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Running Backs:  If you started Matt Forte (104 total yards, TD), you probably had a hard time falling asleep because you were so giddy. If you rolled with Ronnie Brown (29 total yards), Ricky Williams (13 total yards) or Chester Taylor (10 yards), you may have woke up with nightmares.
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If you started Forte, perhaps you don’t need to be as risky with your lineup (i.e. starting your backup tight end over Antonio Gates because you’re not sure what you’ll get from him on Monday). If you started someone from the terrible trio, you’ll have to make up those points. continue reading »


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Matt Forte had an unbelievable rookie season compiling 1715 total yards (1238 rushing) and 12 TDs (8 rushing). Jay Cutler was brought in to keep defenses from stuffing the box. He was going in the top five of fantasy drafts. Then 2009 happened.

 

It wasn’t an utter failure as he piled up 1400 total yards (929 rushing) and 4 TDs, but a far cry from his brilliant rookie season and fantasy owner’s expectations. He failed to top 70 rushing yards in 11 games last year. He had 62 or fewer total yards, without a TD I might add, in four of his first six games. Imagine getting 6.2 or fewer points from your number one pick four out of six times to start the year. He killed fantasy owners.

 

That’s why it shouldn’t be a surprise why his ADP, according to Mock Draft Central, sits at 44 (22nd RB).  I have him right around the same place (click to see my 2010 RB rankings). With Chester Taylor and Mike Martz in town, it’s easy to see why people have soured on Forte. He didn’t help matters when he ran for seven yards on four carries in the preseason opener against the Chargers. Things, however, may have changed in the Bears’ second preseason game.

 

Forte ripped off an 89-yard touchdown run on his way to 109 yards on five carries. Clearly the burst that seemed to be missing is back. While Chester Taylor’s arrival may hurt him in the passing game, and subsequently knock his PPR value down a bit, Forte could be better served by having fresh legs down the stretch. That could be important because the Bears play in Buffalo, Green Bay, and four times in Chicago from Week 9 (November 7th) on. With those potential bad weather games, Forte could be very busy as the season winds down. Having somewhat fresh legs will go a long way.

 

If you aren’t able to draft Forte, you may be able to get him early in the season as he plays the Cowboys, Packers, and Giants in Weeks 2-4. If he struggles early, he could become an excellent buy low candidate. With a fantasy playoff schedule of New England, Minnesota, and the Jets, he may not help when you need it the most, but he can help get you there.

 

What are your thoughts on Matt Forte?


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I wouldn’t quite call Johnny Knox a sleeper based on his ADP of 149 according to Mock Draft Central, but he could prove to be a nice value pick, if you buy into the hype.

 

The Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs tweeted that Knox is emerging as the Bears #1 WR during training camp. Plus, the Bears radio analyst Tom Thayer predicted that Knox will put up the best numbers of the Bears’ WRs. ESPN North analyst Kevin Seifert noted that Cutler targeted Knox more frequently than any of the Bears WRs.  Former Bears QB Brett Basanez, on ESPN radio, said that Knox is better suited for Mike Martz’s system than the other WRs because of his elite speed and route running.

 

That doesn’t have Knox going higher than Devin Aromashodu (35th WR, 87th overall) or Devin Hester (52, 141) though. While your competition is busy hoping one for the two Devins will breakout, you can slyly grab Knox for WR depth and hope the rapport continues to build with Cutler.

 

Knox ranked fifth in receptions on the Bears (3rd among WRs) with 45 catches. However, he ranked fourth in yards with 527 and second with 5 TD catches. Greg Olsen led the team with 8 TD catches, but Martz has not had a great track record with tight ends. While, I still think Olsen will have a solid year, I can see the argument that some of his production will go to the WRs. From what I’m hearing, it’s Knox that could see the biggest bump.

 

He has blazing 4.34 speed and Cutler has the arm to get him the deep ball. Plus, Martz has the creativity to put Knox in position to make plays. It’s going to take a leap of faith though, as Knox only topped 45 yards on three occasions as a rookie.

 

What are your thoughts on Johnny Knox?

The Bears are a complete mess. Their leader on defense is having it out with the team’s legends. Not surprising given the name of this site, I support the legends. As far as their fantasy outlook, they are perhaps the most volatile bunch in the league. Cutler and Forte could emerge or they could disappear to the fantasy wasteland.

 

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Extremely Difficult
First up in Week 14 is the New England Patriots. They are playing at home so weather could be a factor. Next up is the Minnesota Vikings on the road. They won’t have to deal with the elements, but they will be facing back-to-back Super Bowl contenders. The road doesn’t get any smoother in the fantasy championship game as the return home to face the Jets.

 

Five Star Fantasy Options
None

 

Four Star Fantasy Options
Jay Cutler – I know he’s not loved around the league  or by fantasy owners, especially after the 26 interceptions he threw last year, but he is a talented QB. Mike Martz was brought in to improve the offense, and I think Cutler will be the main benefactor.

 

Greg Olsen – I know Tight Ends don’t excel in Martz’s offense, but when has he had a TE of Olsen’s caliber? He had Vernon Davis, but that was before he emerged. Olsen followed a 54 catch, 574 yard, 5 TD sophomore season with 60 catches for 612 yards and 8 TDs. He remains the Bears’ best option in the passing game, and he will be utilized.

 

Three Star Fantasy Options
Matt Forte – Forte was one of the major disappointments last year, but I think Chester Taylor’s presence will help. Taylor is a crafty veteran who will help show Forte the ropes. He will also take away some of the pressure on Forte making him a more effective runner.

 

Two Star Fantasy Options
Chester Taylor – Assuming Forte holds onto the starting gig, Taylor only makes for a decent backup RB or flex option. He can do it all. Run, catch, block. His work ethic could win him the starting job at some point, which kind of makes him a 2.5 star guy.

 

Devin Aromashodu, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox – The Bears have four capable receivers. Unfortunately there isn’t much separating them. Hester had the most catches and yards. Knox had the most TDs. Aromashodu had an explosive finish. Bennett was #2 in catches and yards. Hester is probably the safest bet. Aromashodu has the most upside. While all four should be owned in most deep leagues, I wouldn’t want any of them as anything more than a 4th or 5th WR.

 

 

Bears Defense/Special Teams
The arrival of Julius Peppers and the return of big mouth Urlacher should make them a viable option again. They play the Lions twice, the Bills, and the Seahawks. Unfortunately they draw the Vikes twice, the Pack twice, the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, and Patriots.

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

At least when he was backing up Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor was a pretty valuable commodity. You knew that the pieces were in place, name an impressive offensive line, for big time numbers if AP went down. He also brought something (pass receiving ability) to the table that wasn’t a strength for All Day. 

After signing with the Bears, he finds himself in an offense where neither of those will be in play. First of all, Chicago’s line went downhill fast. Not only do the struggle to protect the quarterback, but they have trouble opening holes. The tried to put a band-aid on it with Orlando Pace, but that failed miserably. Plus, they are short of draft picks to add one in the draft. The odds of their line improving this year are slim.

Matt Forte has 120 catches in two years meaning Chester’s receptions (45 & 44 the past two years) will likely come down. He could be hard-pressed to reach the 762.5 total yards he’s averaged as Peterson’s backup.

To me signing with Chicago makes little sense. If I were Chester Houston or Philly would have been more ideal destinations. Not only would he have the opportunity for more touches, but he’d be on a contender.  

Taylor is still worth having at the end of your draft, but he doesn’t have the upside he once did.


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