San Diego’s Philip Rivers is easily the class of the division. It doesn’t matter who who is throwing too. Vincent Jackson holds out and only plays four games? Ho hum. Rivers throws for 4710 yards. Antonio Gates has nine touchdowns in the first eight games and then misses six of the next eight games? Big deal. Rivers throws 30 TDs (13 INT). Rivers remains a top tier QB1.
Kansas City got 3116 yards and 27 TDs (7 INTs) from Matt Cassel and added the 6’4″ Jonathan Baldwin to his arsenal. He should take some of the pressure Dwayne Bowe, who exploded for 1162 yards and 15 TDs last year. Bowe had just one touchdown in the last five games while averaging 55.4 yards. The Chiefs also added Rodney Hudson to help their offensive line. Cassel is a solid QB2 going into the 2011 season.
John Elway is on board with Tim Tebow as the Broncos’ quarterback. Tebow will have his ups and downs, but should be a solid QB2 thanks to his ability to run the football. He had six rushing touchdowns last year. New coach John Fox has Kyle Orton on top of the depth chart, but he could be traded once the lockout is lifted. If he beats out Tebow, he will also be a solid QB2. I just assume at some point Tebow would get a chance to start.
Then there is the Raiders. Jason Campbell is the starter, but he’s not much of a fantasy option. He topped 240 yards just twice.  He had one or fewer touchdown passes in ten of the 13 games he played in. I would look elsewhere for my backup fantasy quarterback.

Also check out:


The Raiders offer little for fantasy owners, but at least they got rid of JaMarcus Russell. They don’t have many weapons on offense, but Jason Campbell is a clear upgrade.


Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Moderate
The Raiders take on the Jaguars in Jacksonville in Week 14 and then the Broncos and Colts at home. Zach Miller is probably the only guy you can count on in the fantasy playoffs.


Five Star Fantasy Options


Four Star Fantasy Options


Three Star Fantasy Options
Zach Miller – Miller caught 66 passes for 805 yards and 3 TDs. Campbell displayed the ability to get the ball to the TE in Washington, and with Miller as his best option, expect Miller to put up good numbers.


Two Star Fantasy Options
Jason Campbell – It’s not that I dislike Campbell, but Al Davis has left the cupboard pretty bare as far as options in the receiving game go. He’s a low-end fantasy backup at best. At least he’s not negative stars like his predecessor.


Darren McFadden – Fool me one, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Even after two uninspiring seasons, I’m willing to give McFadden another shot at redemption. The backfield isn’t as crowded with Justin Fargas out of the picture. Plus, having a competent QB helps. I wouldn’t count on Run DMC as a starter, but he’s a low risk, high reward depth option at this point.


Michael Bush – Bush is a tougher runner than McFadden, which could be more what Tom Cable is looking for. This is likely to be a true RBBC, which means both RBs will suffer.


Chaz Schilens – Schilens is probably a 1.75 fantasy star, but we’ll round up. He has good size (6’4″) and great speed. If he can prove that he’s healthy he can sneak up on some people. Consistency could be an issue.


Raiders Defense/Special Teams – The Raiders were improved on defense last year, and actually pretty tough against the pass. They don’t force many turnovers, but they do get a decent amount of sacks.


One Star Fantasy Options
Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy – Heyward-Bey is fast, but so is Usain Bolt. That doesn’t mean I would want him on my fantasy team. Murphy showed some signs last year, but they were mostly few and far between. Of the two I would go with Murphy every time.


Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

The Seahawks must have hired Ty Pennington to perform an Extreme Makeover on their backfield. What started as a not-so-lethal combo of Justin Forsett and Julius Jones transformed into LenDale White, Leon Washington, and Forsett with JJ likely on his way out.

LenDale White will likely take over as the primary ball carrier and red zone back. He should be a solid RB3 next season. Washington, when healthy, will combine with Forsett to give the big fella a breather and offer a change of pace. They will also be used in passing situations.

Forsett and Washington don’t have much value.

In other Jets news, they released Guard Alan Faneca. Their running game should still be one of the best in the league.

Out West, the Raiders made some noise by acquiring Jason Campbell, who became expendable when the Redskins traded for Donovan McNabb. He is certainly an upgrade for the Raiders passing game, most notably TE Zach Miller. Campbell remains a borderline fantasy backup at best.

Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

It was not a very good week for my sleeper picks for Week 2 (click here for the original article)

JaMarcus Russell – 7-24, 109 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
LeSean McCoy – 5 carries for 18 yards; 4 receptions for 37 yards
Antwaan Randle-El – 4 receptions for 39 yards
Vernon Davis – 2 receptions for 32 yards

Wow, none of those players did much to help fantasy owners.  Keep in mind that these weekly picks are always going to be extremely risky, that’s why they are considered sleepers.  They are more along the lines of those who have the potential to breakout and can be used in case of an emergency.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at some deep sleepers for the upcoming fantasy week:

Jason Campbell – Washington Redskins – @ Detroit
He really hasn’t been that bad, throwing for 453 yards, but only 1 TD and 1 INT.  His season did kick off against the New York Giants, where he faced constant pressure from one of the elite defenses in the game.  Last week he had the Rams, a team far less imposing.  Though they failed to find the end zone, he did throw for 242 yards.

This week the Redskins face another sub par defensive unit in the Lions, a team who has allowed 255.5 yards per game in the early going, as well as 8 TD threw the air, by far the most in the league (second place is 5).  While Drew Brees and company are partially to blame, we all honestly know that they just aren’t the best defense in the league.

Campbell also has Santana Moss at his disposal, a player who is just aching to have a huge breakout performance.  He had over 1,000 yards receiving last season, but to date has just 41 yards on 5 catches.  This week could easily be his coming out party, and with it should come a solid performance from Campbell, making owners in two-QB leagues happy.
Owned in 30% of Yahoo Leagues and 21.9% of ESPN Leagues

Chansi Stuckey – New York Jets – vs. Tennessee
The Titans have given up the most receiving yards in the game, at 339/game over the season’s first two weeks.  Mark Sanchez, who was limited in the first half to just five throws, went off in the second half and really showed that he has the potential to put up strong games no matter what the circumstances.

Stuckey has shown that he has a good rapport with the rookie, completing 8 passes for 101 yards and 1 TD.  The Jets have shown that they are willing to put the game in the hands of the passing group and given the struggles of the Titans defense, this could be the week that he really has a big game.
Owned in 14% of Yahoo Leagues and 7.9% of ESPN Leagues

Ricky Williams – Miami Dolphins – vs. San Diego
It is Ronnie Brown who garners most of the attention in Miami, thanks to the focus he gets in the Wildcat formation.  Williams, however, has been extremely impressive in the early going and certainly has the potential to bring value in those leagues that use a flex option.

He has rushed for 108 years on 26 carries, averaging over 4 yards per carry, while also catching 3 passes for 22 yards and a TD.  The Chargers are in the bottom ten in the league in rushing yards allowed (139 per game), facing two teams that do not focus as strong a running game as the Dolphins (Raiders & Ravens).

Look for the Dolphins to try and hammer out the running game once again, which could bring a big game for Williams.
Owned in 34% of Yahoo Leagues and 66.7% of ESPN Leagues

How do you think these players are going to perform in the season’s first week?  Are there any other sleepers you are eyeing?

Luke McCown, Tampa Bay – If McCown can win the starting gig in Tampa Bay he could put up decent numbers.  He has a couple of nice targets in Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow, Jr.  Unfortunately he doesn’t have any easy matchups during the bye weeks.  He faces New Orleans in Weeks 11 & 16, although it would be pretty ballsy to use him in the fantasy Super Bowl.  He could possibly be used with Matt Cassel as the Chiefs face Baltimore in Week 11.

Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins – Pennington could lose even more time to the Wildcat with the addition of Pat White.  Plus, Chad Henne could be breathing down his neck.  After an easy 2008 schedule, the Dolphins have a much more daunting task in ’09.  His best matchup is Week 7 vs. New Orleans.  Kyle Orton, Matt Hasselbeck, and David Garrard are on bye that week.

Shaun Hill, San Francisco 49ers – If Hill can hold off Alex Smith, he could have a solid year with Rookie Michael Crabree and Frank Gore.  Maybe this is the year Vernon Davis finally breaks out.  The Niners play Arizona in Week 1 & 14, St. Louis in Week 4, and Detroit in Week 16.  It would also take cojones to roll with Hill in the fantasy Super Bowl.  In Week 4 though, he could be used to spell Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb, or Kurt Warner who are on bye. 

Jason Campbell, Washington Redskins – I give him credit for not pulling a Cutler and crying that his team wanted to trade him.  However, his team still wanted to trade him.  Not exactly the ringing endorsement I want for one of my fantasy QBs.  He has weapons in Santana Moss and Chris Cooley.  He has some decent matchups.  St. Louis and Detroit in Weeks 1 & 2, Kansas City in Week 6, Denver in Week 10, and New Orleans in Week 13.  He could fill in for Peyton or Romo in Week 6 or Eli or Schaub in Week 10.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens – I like the way he plays, but his thin arsenal took a hit when Derrick Mason retired.  If Todd Heap and L.J. Smith can stay healthy and Mark Clayton can step up, maybe he’ll be  a serviceable backup.  He faces Cleveland in Weeks 3 & 10, Cincy in Weeks 5 & 9, Denver in Week 8, and Detroit in Week 14.  He could fill in for Cutler, Rodgers, Brees, or Philips in Week 5 or Eli or Schaub in Week 10.  I don’t trust the Week 9 bye QBs to be #1 fantasy QBs.

Marc Bulger, St. Louis Rams – I have moved on from think Bulger can do anything.  Still, he may get drafted in some leagues.  He faced Detroit in Week 8 and New Orleans in Week 10 so he could fill in for Palmer, Cassel, Brady, or Big Ben in Week 8 or Eli or Schaub in Week 10.

Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans – Not much of an option, but he’s a starting QB for what that’s worth.  Arizona in Week 12 and St. Louis in Week 14.  Odds are you won’t use him.

JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders – He’s a Raider so I would avoid him, but if you must he faces the Chiefs in Week 2 & 10 (Eli or Schaub), Denver in Weeks 3 & 15, Cincy in Week 11, and Cleveland in Week 16.

Daunte Culpepper, Detroit Lions – He is throwing it to Calvin Johnson so he’s at least worth a mention.  Will likely cede the starting gig to Matthew Stafford at some point.  The face the Saints in Week 1, St. Louis in Week 8 (Palmer, Cassel, Brady, Big Ben), Cleveland in Week 11, Cincy in Week 13, and Arizona in Week 15.

Brady Quinn/Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns – I wouldn’t touch Quinn or DA, but if you must they face Denver in Week 2, Cincy in Week 4 (Matt Ryan, McNabb, Warner) & 12, Detroit in Week 11, and Kansas City in Week 15.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets – I wouldn’t trust Sanchez either, but if you must they face New Orleans in Week 4 (Ryan, McNabb, Warner).  They have a pretty tough schedule.

Washington was a tale of two halves last year starting 6-2 and finishing 2-6.  Not the most promising recipe for an 8-8 season.  The good news is they have some nice pieces in place. Jason Campbell is in a contract year, which is usually a nice motivator. Clinton Portis had an amazing season, but he wore down near the end.  They simply went to the well too often with CP.  After 342 carries, I expect Portis to be somewhat of a disappointment next year.  Ladell Betts has to get more touches.  He’ll be 30 next year so now is the time to start grooming another back.  Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El were solid.  Ideally Randle El would be the third WR and either Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly would earn a starting gig, altough neither did much to impress in their rookie seasons.  A player that did impress was Chris Cooley.  He led the Skins with 83 receptions.  He could stand to reach paydirt more frequently, but fantasy owners had to like what he brought to the table.  The O-Line is aging rapidly, but there likely isn’t room to add help via free agency.  The Skins will just have to address the need via the draft.  That’s probably the best way to do it anyway, assuming you’re patient.
On Defense the Skins will need Jason Taylor to restructure his contract.  If he’s unwilling, he’s gonzo.  Demetric Evans is one of the key Free Agents on Defense, and he’ll likely be re-signed.  The same goes with Kedric Golston, Reed Doughty and Anthony Montgomery.  I actually don’t see Washington as a big player this offseason for a change.  They’re going to have to address needs on D via the draft as well.

Time for another edition of Fantasy Football Out on a Limb.  I scour the rosters to select a player who I feel will outperform a higher profile player in that given week.  I base my decisions on matchups, how the players are trending, and the ever-important hunch.  To mix things up I’ll occasionally do some two on one matchups or even pit RB or WR duos against each other.  Sometimes I’ll spot a player some points. 
6 points for rushing or receiving TD
4 points for a passing TD
0.1 points per yard for rushing or receiving
0.05 points per passing yard. 

Last Week
J.T. O’Sullivan
(20.65) over Derek Anderson (10.45) WHICH I WON
Maurice Jones-Drew (22.6) over Ryan Grant (5.4 )WHICH I WON
Larry Johnson (18.1) over Darren McFadden (4.8) WHICH I WON
Santonio Holmes (3.2) beat Bryant Johnson (2.5)  WHICH I LOST
Laveranues Coles (13.5) beat Amani Toomer (6.4) WHICH I LOST
Super Stetch:  
Chris Perry (15.3) beat Darren Sproles (7.7) WHICH I LOST 

Regular Picks:  3-2
Super Stretch Picks:  0-1
Overall:  3-3
Breakdown: QB: 1-0, RB 2-1, WR: 0-2



Season Record
Regular Picks:  9-6
Super Stretch Picks:  1-2
Overall:  10-8
Breakdown: QB: 3-0, RB: 5-3, WR: 2-5

Carson Palmer over Donovan McNabb
Palmer had been awful before showing a glimpse of his old self last week vs. the G-Men.  Now he gets to face Cleveland at home.  That should be the remedy he needs.  McNabb gets to go on the road to Chicago without his top weapon, Brian Westbrook.  Life will be much more difficult for Mr. McNabb.

Running Backs
Jamal Lewis over Michael Turner
Jamal Lewis should have a big day against the Bengals in what figures to be a slugfest.  Michael Turner will return to Earth as he faces a team with an actual Defense in Carolina. 

Jonathan Stewart over Darren McFadden
I’ll let these two rookie RBs battle it out.  I’m taking J-Stew and his matchup against Atlanta even though he’ll have to share with DeAngelo Williams.  McFadden has to face the Chargers, who aren’t as tough defensively as in recent years, but will probably score in bunches to take the ball out of Run DMC’s hands.

Wide Receivers
Robert Meachem over Santonio Holmes
I’ll pick on Holmes again even though he got me last week.  This time I’m coming with Robert Meachem.  The Saints are losing guys like flies as Shockey joined Colston on the sidelines.  Drew Brees is going to throw the ball.  Meachem will likely be one of his top targets.  I don’t see Holmes finding the cure to what ails him this week when he faces Baltimore. 

Isaac Bruce over Hines Ward
I do another oldies matchup.  This time I’m taking Isaac Bruce, the new San Francisco treat, to take out Hines Ward.  For starters Bruce gets to face New Orleans, which is a much easier task than Ward facing the Ravens.  Not only do they have a better secondary than the Saints, they also will bring much more heat.  If Big Ben is hit like he was vs. Philly, he may have another early exit.

Kerry Collins over Jason Campbell
Kerry has a plush matchup vs. Minnesota.  If there line can hold up to the Vikings’ Pass Rush, he should be able to do some nice things.  Campbell has played well of late, but I get the feeling while facing Dallas he’s going to look more like he did in Week 1.

NFL Week 2 Fantasy Fill-ins

12 September 2008

Putting the final piece of your fantasy football puzzle together

I’ve uncovered some guys you can plug in if you are dealing with an injury or tough matchups. 

Jason Campbell
- OK so you have…errr…had Tom Brady.  Even if you were able to snatch Cassel off the waiver wire, I think Campbell makes a better play if he’s available.  He plays the Saints and anybody should be able to produce against them.  He’s playing at home and can’t afford to fall to 0-2. 
Stat Line:  24 of 36 for 321 yards and TD

Julius Jones - Let’s see.  Seattle’s Wide Receivers are dropping like flies.  His competition, Maurice Morris, is also out.  They are playing at home vs. San Francisco.  They need a win bad.  Their best offensive weapon is Julius Jones and they will feed him early and often.  He makes a better play than a Fred Taylor, Chris Perry, Selvin Young type.
Stat Line:  26 carries for 127 yards, TD, 3 catches for 14 yards

Pierre Thomas -  With Colston out the Saints are going to have to rely on the run a little bit more.  You don’t think Reggie Bush is going to get all of those carries, do ya?  Deuce probably isn’t going to get in the mix this week so the extra touches should go to Thomas.  He’s a good option if you have McGahee and need someone to plug in.  Alternatively you can use him in a flex spot in deep leagues.
Stat Line:  6 carries for 8 yards, TD, 2 catches for 29 yards

David Patten/Devery Henderson -  Here’s another pair of Saints that should get a bump with Colston out.  Patten should be the possession guy picking up key first downs and Henderson is the Home Run threat.  If you can get your hands on either of them, they are viable plays in big leagues.  I like Patten more than Henderson personally.
Stat Line:  5 catches for 55 yards/2 catches for 6 yards 

Antonio Bryant -  With Griese in at QB the Bucs are probably are better threat to go down field.  That should be good news for both Galloway and Antonio Bryant.  When Galloway receives the Lion’s Share of the attention, Bryant could slip by the D for a score.
Stat Line:  Nada

Dante Rosario - Steve Smith will be out again so that is a bonus for Rosario.  They play the Bears, who were very aggressive vs. Indy last week.  Dante could end up being very busy as the hot read.  If you have Dallas Clark on  your team, you might want to plug in a Dante Rosario.
Stat Line:  1 catch for 6 yards

Matt Prater
-  Denver’s Matt Prater was quite busy last week hitting a pair of FGs along with 5 PATs.  I’ll bet the farm that he won’t kick that many PATs this week vs. San Diego, but I could see another multiple FG game.  If you drafted Shaun Suisham or Shayne Graham and are mad because their Offenses sucked in Week 1, Prater could be an option.
Stat Line:  1 FG (52 yards), 4 PATs

- On my post I picked Houston, but obviously that won’t work. Seattle will do vs. San Fran. They should get to the QB and force some bad passes. 2 Picks and 4 Sacks aren’t out of the question.
Stat Line:  8 Sacks, Fumble Recovery

The Redskins head into the year with a new Coach (Jim Zorn) and a new Offense so their may be some growing pains initially. Jason Taylor has been added to the mix as well as a bevy of new weapons on Offense for Jason Campbell.

Their ground attack should be solid again.  They have a nice offensive line anchored by Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen.  Clinton Portis is one of the steadier Running Backs in the league and  Ladell Betts is one of the better backup RBs.  In the air Jason Campbell has a pair of speedy veterans in Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El.  The Skins also drafted highly touted Rookie Widouts Devin Thomas (6’2″ out of Michigan State) and Malcolm Kelly (6’4″ out of Oklahoma).  Talk about lighting a fire underneath your starters.  They Skins did the same at Tight End adding USC Rookie Fred Davis to position they were already strong at with Chris Coooley.  If my math doesn’t fail me that’s six solid options at WR and TE.  That’s the way to offset the transition to a new offense.

Defensively they are going to miss Sean Taylor this year.  His tragic death shocked his teammates and gave them something to rally around.  Now that they are more removed from it and the emotions aren’t as raw, they will miss his production.  LaRon Landry is a star in the making, but Taylor will still be missed.  Jason Taylor will be asked to provide and emotional spark as well as heavy pressure on the QB.  Taylor and Andre Carter should be a formidable duo up front.  The Linebacking corps is headed up by London Fletcher, who led the team with 128 tackles last year.  I don’t feel like they are in the better half of the defenses in the league.

The Skins have a pretty tough schedule hosting New Orleans and Arizona and going to NYG, Dallas and Philly in their first five games.  Throw in the Browns, the Steelers, the Seahawks, and home games against their NFC East mates, and you get a picture of the tough road ahead of them.  I’m afraid that the Skins will hold down the cellar position in their division.  They’ll probably win 6 or 7 games.

Fantasy-wise I really like Clinton Portis and Chris Cooley.  Portis is a guy who gets a bunch of carries, including red zone touches, and receptions.  Cooley has been quite productive the past few years and has a knack for producing TDs.  Some like Santana Moss to have a solid year.  I am not one of those people.  He’s far too inconsistent for my taste.  I don’t recommend the Rookies until they either prove they can contribute on a regular basis or win a starting job.  Jason Campbell is an adequate backup QB, who could be used in your starter’s bye week or given the right matchup.  The same goes for Washington’s Defense.

With training camp approaching, I figured what better time to take a look at the QBs around the league. 

We profiled the Big DogsSecond Tier QBs, and the Serviceable QBs, now it’s time to look at the rest of the signal callers.  I know scrap pile may seem a little harsh, but when you consider we already profiled 20 QBs, you catch my drift.  These guys will be used on bye weeks and when injuries strike.  I’m sure a few of them will turn out to be decent plays.  Some will likely lose their starting job.  That’s the nature of the beast when you deal with the shallow end of the QB pool.

Scrap Pile
Jason Campbell
- I actually don’t mind Jason Campbell.  If he weren’t coming off a knee injury I would probably put him in the Serviceable QB group.  He made decent strides in his second year.  I would just like to see him throw more TDs.

Jeff Garcia – Garcia is a decent play in leagues that penalize for INTs since he seldom throws to the wrong color jersey.  He’s not going to give you a huge week, but he’s a decent fill-in when your starter is on bye.  He’s in the scrap pile because Tampa has a few decent QBs on hand in case they want to go a different direction.

Tarvaris Jackson – With the acquisition of Benard Berrian, the development of Sidney Rice, the double-headed monster in the backfield, and a little experience gained, and T-Jack has some potential to break out of the scrap pile.  He needs to gain confidence and consistency. 

Alex Smith – Smith was a pick of mine to breakout last year.  He made me look foolish.  My expectations are justifiably lower this year.  However, he does have Mike Martz to help him along, as well as newly acquired Bryant Johnson and Isaac Bruce.  Perhaps this is the year Vernon Davis lives up to his hype as well. 

JaMarcus Russell – They will probably be passing a lot since they will be behind in most games.  He’s got that going for him.  As long as Javon Walker can get home for some beauty rest instead of curbside butt whoopings, he’s got a legitimate weapon.  He’s still very inexperienced though, and there will be plenty of bumps along the way.  I can see him leading the league in INTs.

Chad Pennington/Kellen Clemens – Let’s face it.  Neither of these QBs excite you.  For good reason.  They do have a pair of quality WRs, but I can see split duty out of these two.  That’s a situation I’ll steer clear of.

Trent Edwards/J.P. Losman – Trent is penciled in as the starter, but I’m not sure Buffalo has witnessed the last of Mr. Losman.  Neither is going to wow you with statistics, but they may be useful for a game or two this year.

Brodie Croyle/Damon Huard – I ‘d like to see Brodie Croyle take the job and run with it.  He’s got some weapons in Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe.  Still, I know I wouldn’t trust him.

Rex Grossman – Yuck.  Marty Booker is back.  Oh boy.  They lost their best deep threat.  They are going to need Devin Hester to step up his game if Rexy is going to even be relevant in fantasy circles.  Avoid this like the plague.

Kyle Boller/Troy Smith/Joe Flacco – I actually could see all three getting starts this year.  Boller get the starting nod and loses it by Week 4.  Troy Smith takes over and mans the post until Week 10.  The rookie Joe Flacco finishes the season off to get him experience for next season.  That’s how it plays out in my head.

Josh McCown/John Beck/Chad Henne – I can see the same scenario go down in Miami.  McCown early.  Beck gets another shot and misses, Henne finishes with eyes towards the future. 

Chris Redman/Joey Harrington/Matt Ryan – The question is when, not if, the Matt Ryan era will begin.  I don’t know why, but I’d like to see Joey have a decent little go of things.  I’ve had a soft spot for him for whatever reason.  I think he got a bad shake in Detroit, and was ruined.    That said, the sooner they get to Ryan the better. 

Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties