Eddie Lacy jump
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It’s Turkey Day. We are hours away from the start of the 13th week of the 2013 NFL season. Here’s a look of players that you should be thankful for.
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Five Turkeys
Antonio Brown
Dez Bryant
Calvin Johnson
Eddie Lacy
Tony Romo
Matthew Stafford
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Four Turkeys
Le’Veon Bell
Reggie Bush
Mason Crosby
DeMarco Murray
Jordy Nelson
Torrey Smith
Shaun Suisham
Jason Witten
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Three Turkeys
David Akers
Dan Bailey
Baltimore Ravens Defense
Jarrett Boykin
Nate Burleson
Dallas Cowboys Defense
Rashad Jennings
Pittsburgh Steelers Defense
Ray Rice
Ben Roethlisberger
Emmanuel Sanders
Rod Streater
Justin Tucker
Terrance Williams
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Two Turkeys
Joique Bell
Dallas Clark
Kris Durham
Joe Flacco
Matt Flynn
Sebastian Janikowski
Jacoby Jones
James Jones
Darren McFadden
Matt McGloin
Heath Miller
Brandon Pettigrew
Bernard Pierce
Marcel Reece
James Starks
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One Turkey
Miles Austin
Cole Beasley
Marlon Brown
Jerricho Cotchery
Detroit Lions Defense
Tandon Doss
Lance Dunbar
Jonathan Dwyer
Joseph Fauria
Green Bay Packers Defense
Oakland Raiders Defense
Andrew Quarless
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Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is a must-start in PPR leagues. He has two more receptions than Wes Welker and Reggie Wayne will have to catch seven passes this week to tie him for the league-lead with 82 catches.
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With 7.5 catches per game Witten has been a PPR stud. If you’re in a standard league, his value isn’t nearly the same. Should you look for a replacement in your lineup?
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The problem with Witten is his lack of touchdowns. With just one score in 11 games he isn’t getting showing elite tight end numbers. He’s averaging seven fantasy points per game.
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That is a steady number, but a tight end that scores a touchdown in a given week would only need ten yards to keep pace.
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The past four weeks have been particularly mediocre with Witten averaging 55.6 yards per game. Clearly that is not a dynamic performance.
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Still, with as many looks as Witten gets it would be hard to no use him. He’s averaging over 10 targets per game.
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Witten has become the safe play. He had a couple of weak performances early in the year as he recovered from his spleen injury. You pretty much know you’re going to get anywhere from five to seven points from Witten with the occasional double-digit output.
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The big-time production has not been there. He has just three games with more than eight fantasy points. In just two of 11 games did he have elite numbers. In Week 4 he had 112 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. In Week 8 he had 167  yards against the New York Giants.
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There are plenty of tight ends with more upside in a given week. If you  like steady play, Witten is your guy. If you like to swing for the fences, you will probably want another option.
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Fortunately for DeMarco Murray owners, he has 105 receiving yards over his past three games because he sadly has just one more rushing yards over that same time frame. He has just one touchdown on the year and is averaging 87.8 total yards per game (70.3 over his past three).
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He’s too talented to drop, but should his owners be looking to move him or leave him on their benches?
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In non-ppr leagues he’s averaging 9.03 fantasy points over his past three games and 10.28 if you include his 140 total yard opening game. While those numbers aren’t what you were expecting of him when you took him with an early draft pick, they aren’t numbers that should have you on the ledge.
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That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned though. He is 35.3 yards per game on the ground over the past three week. Equally as bad as that number is the 2.6 yards per carry he has averaged during the stretch.
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I was hoping that he would find the end zone more frequently, but it seems like that isn’t in the cards. He has 225 carries in his career and 42 receptions and only has three touchdowns. That’s an average of 89 touches per touchdown.
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The Cowboys have offensive line issues that can’t be ignored, but his improvement in the passing game has offset some of his issue. In 13 games last year Murray had 26 catches for 183 yards. He has already caught 16 passes for 114 yards, putting him on pace for 64 for 456 yards.
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While I don’t think he gets there, a 40-catch season is well within reach.
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Coming out of the bye the Cowboys face Baltimore. They also face the Giants, the Eagles twice, and the Steelers so there will be some more bumps along the way.
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They also face Carolina, Atlanta, Cleveland, and wrap up the fantasy playoffs (Week 16) with New Orleans.
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I would hang on to Murray and resist the urge to sell him low if somebody comes knocking. On the flip side if you don’t own him, I’d send out some feelers to see what you could acquire him for.
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In a game that featured Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and a rugged Jason Witten playing through a spleen injury, the biggest standout in the passing game was Kevin Ogletree. He came out of nowhere to catch eight passes for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns. I know it’s not wise to make rash judgements based on one game, but it’s hard to ignore a game like that. Should you add him?
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In a word…yes. Forget about the fact that he had just 25 receptions entering last night’s season opener. Or the fact that he had managed just 294 yards in three seasons and had never crossed the goal line. He had his coming out party and you have to get on that train.
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Even if he never has another big game again this season, it’s too risky not to add him. Odds are your fifth wide receiver that you drafted doesn’t have his upside. If you have to cut him in a few weeks, so be it, but you don’t want to miss out on this year’s Victor Cruz or Laurent Robinson.
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Speaking of Laurent Robinson, it was his departure that led to the big game. Even though Romo has a ton of weapons at his disposal, he’s not afraid to throw to less heralded guys. Ogletree was targeted eleven times, which is just one less than Miles, Dez, and Witten combined, including the key third and long that helped seal the victory.
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The Cowboys have the kind of offense that can support three fantasy wide receivers, as well as tight end Jason Witten. They are a high-powered offense and when the big three command as much attention as they do, it’s not unusual for Ogletree to get overlooked.
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Plus, with Miles Austin’s hamstring and Dez Bryant’s knee there is a chance that there will be games with less mouths for Romo to feed. I’m not saying that Ogletree will be your lottery ticket to a fantasy championship, but he’s worth at least paying the dollar to play.
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Jason Witten’s lacerated spleen definitely has cause waves in the NFL community, particularly in Dallas and the fantasy football world. Thankfully the injury doesn’t appear to be too serious, but it could cost him some regular season game action. Should  you be concerned about drafting him?
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Obviously if you already drafted Witten you should be nervous. His draft stock should slip because of this injury so future owners will get him at a bit of a discount.  Players that took him pre-injury weren’t afforded that luxury. When your fifth round pick goes down it’s a little more nerve-wracking that your seventh or eighth round pick.
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In both cases you should relax. Witten is about as tough of a football player as they come. He is also one of the most consistent. He has only missed one game in his NFL career, and that came back in 2003. That streak could come to an end, but he shouldn’t miss much action.
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I’ve said this many times before, but I’m more concerned with what goes on at the end of the season when fantasy football trophies are being won than the beginning of the year. Yeah, you want to get off on a good foot, but the money and glory comes in the fantasy playoffs.
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Witten has averaged 88.8 catches and 1014.2 yards over the past five seasons. He is not a huge touchdown threat, but he does enough to satisfy fantasy owners, particularly in PPR leagues.
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Obviously drafting an injured player should come with some hesitation, but I would not be afraid to make him my TE1.
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Click here to enter the 2012 LestersLegends fantasy football team name contest!!
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There was a time last year when DeMarco Murray not only looked the part of a first round fantasy pick, but he was making a case to be a top three or five selection. Then the injury bug hit. Given his potential, do you consider him worthy of a first round selection?
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Murray finished the year with 897 rushing yards at an impressive 5.5 yards per carry. He also caught 26 passes for 183 yards. I know, 1080 total yards isn’t all that impressive, especially when you consider that he only scored two touchdowns, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
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Murray did not get double-digit carries until Week 6 following the Cowboys’ bye. He ran for 34 yards against the Patriots.
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The following week Murray exploded against the Rams for 253 yards and a score on 25 carries. He certainly got everybody’s attention against following that performance.
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Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke that came against the lowly Rams, he averaged 132.4 total yards during his next five games. Counting that explosion against St. Louis he averaged 152.5 total yards during a six-game stretch. Those are Arian Foster numbers, minus the touchdowns of course as he scored just two during the span.
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Murray is young (24) and he plays for an explosive offense. If he can stay healthy he should see 15-20 touches a game. If he can continue to pile up the yardage he should be a hot commodity because I expect his touchdown total to improve.
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I currently have DeMarco Murray as my 14th ranked running back so I don’t have him as an RB1 currently. As the season nears I could see myself pushing him up a few notches. I may eventually consider him an RB1, but I don’t think he’ll move up to first round status.
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That may be where you need to take him though. Mock Draft Central has him as the eight running back to go off the board and the tenth overall player.
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If you’re willing to take the risk on his durability, there could be some big rewards to reap. Just be careful because you could find yourself scrambling to fill your RB1 slot.
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Fantasy Loudmouth is sponsoring our fantasy football contest this week featuring two of the most talked about quarterbacks on the young season.
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All you have to do is guess the combined passing yards for Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford in Week 4. Whoever comes the closest without going over takes home the prize.
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As always, be original. If somebody guessed a total you want, you’ll have to come up with another one. Just leave a comment with your best guess and be sure to check out Fantasy Loudmouth.


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