Movin’ Up

4 August 2016

Arian Foster Dolphins training camp
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Miami Dolphin running back Arian Foster looked to be the pass-catching option out of the backfield as well as get occasional carries. He is looking extremely promising though in camp. Given his ability and career dominance when healthy, expect more from Foster.
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Of course, you will continue to have to worry about injuries. The rub with Foster is play him if he’s healthy, but seek alternative plans when the inevitable happens.z
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The big loser here is Jay Ajayi, who appears to have conceded his number one back gig before it started. He should be next in line when/if Foster goes down, but you can back him down your charts while giving Foster a bump.

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Jay Ajayi
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Arian Foster’s signing puts a damper on Jay Ajayi’s fantasy forecast for the upcoming NFL season. He is a running back that has topped 1,200 rushing yards with double-digit touchdowns in four of the past six seasons. As long as he can stay healthy, Foster should get plenty of touches this year, but there should be enough to go around.
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Foster will turn 30 before the year start. He has missed nearly half (23 of 48) of his games the previous three seasons. Most recently Foster lost all but four games of the 2015 season, which was cut short by an Achilles’ tear. He finished with 163 yards on 63 carries for a paltry 2.6 yards per carry average. Foster did manage to catch 22 passes. His receiving totals (227 yards, 2 touchdowns) exceeded his rushing totals (163 yards, 1 touchdown).
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That is the way I envision Foster doing most of his damage. He has proved himself capable of thriving in the passing game, catching 241 passes in 70 games since 2010. That is good for 3.4 receptions per game. He seems to embrace that role. In a recent interview with the Miami Herald, he stated that his strength at this stage of his career is “route-running and catching the ball out of the backfield” and that Adam Gase knows how to “steer the ship and that he’s happy to have a seat on the boat.” His is willing to accept whatever role the Dolphins find for him.
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Ajayi ran for 187 yards on 49 carries (3.8 ypc) as a rookie, adding seven catches for 90 yards in nine games. He should be able to improve in year two. The Dolphins drafted Rookie Laremy Tunsil and added Jermon Bushrod from the Bears to improve their guard play. Branden Albert has worked on his conditioning and should be more effective in 2016. Improved offensive line and having a year under his belt should help Ajayi develop in Year 2.
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Foster’s presence does make Ajayi more of a RB3 option. There is always the possibility that the veteran Foster wins the starting job about from Ajayi at some point. That’s something to keep in mind during your fantasy draft.


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The AFC East is a division without a dominant running back.
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Tthe class of the division is Shonn Greene, but isn’t that what we expected last year? LaDainian Tomlinson is still in the picture, but he seems to be a peace with not being the featured back anymore. Greene is a powerful runner that should have a solid season. He’s better suited to be an RB2, but if you went WR or QB with your first pick or two, he is capable of putting up RB1 numbers. Heck, he’s capable of putting up top ten numbers. LT should still be owned, but don’t reach because of his name. He’s best suited for PPR leagues. Joe McKnight also could work his way into the mix, but the lockout will probably lead to more of a veteran presence early. Rookie Bilal Powell is best suited for dynasty leagues.
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In New England you have a fantasy mess. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was voted Running Back Most Likely to Regress by his classmates. With Danny Woodhead and rookies Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley the Pats’ running back pool is to murky to rely on. At some point it could sort itself out, but Bill Belichick is not concerned with fantasy numbers. Winning is the name of the game, and he’ll mix and match his RBs as he sees fit.
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Buffalo is a full-blown RBBC. Fred Jackson remains the starter and without OTAs will keep a foot up on second-year back C.J. Spiller. We’ve seen more committees lately that have allowed for two effective fantasy players to coexist so don’t be scared off. Jackson makes a solid RB3 and Spiller a solid RB4. If one of the backs goes down, the other’s value will jump dramatically. Once again Jackson will likely be undervalued on draft day.
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Then we have Miami. We still don’t know what will happen with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Assuming only one returns, that back will have the advantage on rookie Daniel Thomas thanks to the lockout. Both veterans have excelled in a RBBC so they will be willing to share the carries. Thomas will have to get up to speed quickly picking up blitzes to stay on the field. He very well could end up the top rookie runner this  year and has a bright future in keeper leagues.
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Now that you’ve strolled through the muddy AFC East running back terrain, be sure to wipe your feet.
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Also check out:

 


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This week’s topic:
Which rookie’s fantasy stock jumped the most based on the team/system which drafted him?
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My response:
I would have to say that Daniel Thomas walked away from the draft in very good shape considering he was the 62nd player selected. Ronnie Brown and/or Ricky Williams will not be back next year, meaning Thomas has a chance to get a healthy share of carries right out of the gate.
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At 6’0″, 230 pounds Thomas has the size to carry the load. He ran for 1585 yards and 19 touchdowns at Kansas State and has enough speed and quickness to be effective at the next level.
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An added bonus is the Dolphins’ first round pick. Guard Mike Pouncey was taken to solidify their offensive line and improve the ability to run the football. Miami is one of teams most committed to running the football so Thomas should get ample opportunities.
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Honorable mention goes to Roy Helu, who was drafted with the 105th pick by the Redskins. Mike Shanahan keeps him out of the top slot.

Tom Brady throwing
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The AFC East is truly a case of the “haves” and the “have nots”.
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The quarterback position is the most glamorous one in the league, and the Patriots have the most glamorous one at that position. Not only does Tom Brady have the model wife and movie star looks, but he puts up video game numbers. Most quarterbacks would struggle after losing a talent like Randy Moss, but Brady got better. He finished with 3900 yards and 36 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions. Jay Cutler did that in one game last year. Look for Brady to be the class of the division and among the best in the league again.
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Mark Sanchez doesn’t put up the monster numbers like Brady as he three for just 3291 yards and 17 TDs (13 INTs) last year, but he’s also a winner having been to two consecutive AFC Championships. With their rushing attack Sanchez doesn’t have to carry the team, but he is more than a caretaker. Look for Sanchez to improve once again for the Jets, assuming he gets Santonio Holmes and/or Braylon Edwards back.
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While Ryan Fiztpatrick is a far cry from Tom Brady, he actually was fairly effective for the Buffalo Bills. He threw for 3000 yards and 23 TDs (15 INT) despite playing just 13 games. There were thoughts that the Bills would grab Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 NFL Draft, but Buffalo opted to stick with the Harvard quarterback. He developed a nice rapport with Stevie Johnson, which should continue going forward. Questions remain as to whether or not the Bills will pick up Lee Evans option. If he leaves, it will be a blow to Fitzpatrick. If he stays, Fitzpatrick makes a solid QB2.
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Then there’s Miami. Chad Henne isn’t the answer. There is some talk that the fins will deal for Kyle Orton. He was be a quality QB2 if  he’s reunited with Brandon Marshall. We’ll have to see who ends up getting the nod before we can rate their quarterback situation.


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This week’s topic
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The one player whose fantasy value is most stronglycorrelated to the system he plays in (affecting him either positively or negatively).

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My response:
My initial thought was Deion Branch. After all he was a quality receiver for the Patriots, struggled in Seattle, and was a quality receiver when he returned to New England.  While he certainly fits the bill, injuries also played a role in his Seattle regression.
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After further consideration I came to Brandon Marshall.
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Marshall is a physical specimen at 6’4″, 230 pounds. He flourished in Denver posting three consecutive 100 catch seasons. It didn’t matter if it was Jay Cutler or Kyle Orton under center. Marshall was a force in Denver. His antics led to his departure, and one could argue that he couldn’t have found many worse landing spots.
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Marshall still caught over six passes per game for the Dolphins, but only managed to score three touchdowns. He didn’t catch is second touchdown reception until Week 14. While he reached the 1000 yard mark for the fourth straight year, it’s only because he averaged 101.7 yards per game over the past three weeks. In his first 11 games, Marshall averaged 64.5 ypg.
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All indications are that the Dolphins will be looking for a new quarterback, which will make it Marshall’s fourth in four years. They also have major question marks at running back. The state of the Broncos offense is in complete disarray. Time will tell what their system will like like next year. While the move to Miami may have increased the value of Marshall’s bank account, it took a hard hit on his fantasy value.

 

Brandon Marshall Stabbed

23 April 2011


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ESPN is reporting that Brandon Marshall was stabbed in the stomach by his wife Michi Nogami-Marshall. He had surgery last night and is expected to be released from the hospital. Marshall is not expected to miss any time, assuming there is time to miss. Unfortunately this is the type of incident that makes Brandon a risk on fantasy football draft day.


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 »

The Dolphins are currently the defense with the 13th highest ADP (184 overall) according to Mock Draft Central. They are also my 14th ranked defense (click to see rankings). It’s easy to overlook them because they have to square off twice against the Patriots and Jets, but they are a decent DEF1 and a quality DEF2.

 

The Dolphins finished tied for third in the league last year with 44 sacks. They were near the bottom with a mere 21 takeovers, but the arrival of Karlos Dansby, Charles Grant, and rookie Jared Odrick should allow Miami to put pressure on opposing QBs and increase their turnovers.

 

A good thing about Miami is their terrific match-up to start the season. They face the Bills, who will likely be without Fred Jackson and possibly without Marshawn Lynch. For a team that is already short on explosive players, this really stacks the odds against them.

 

There are plenty of good starting defense that have tough match-ups to start the season. If you have one of them, Miami is a nice compliment to get your team off on the right foot. For example, Minnesota and the Saints face each other. Not exactly desirable match-ups. The same goes with Cincinnati and New England, Green Bay and Philadelphia, and Baltimore and the New York Jets. The Giants (Carolina) and Pittsburgh (Atlanta) also have difficult Week 1 match-ups.

 

Once you use Miami in Week 1, you can probably drop them for a player that had a monster opening performance. The Fins next nine opponents are the Vikings, Jets, Pats, Packers, Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, Titans and Bears. They also have a bye mixed in during Week 5.

 

After the bye weeks are over, you may want to grab them again because once you get past that lengthy stretch, it’s pretty much smooth sailing. They take on the Raiders and Browns in Weeks 12 and 13, and finish the fantasy season against the Bills and the Lions in Week 15 and 16.


Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or lower.

 

Miami Dolphins WR Davone Bess sports an ADP of 241 according to Mock Draft Central. That would make him the first pick of the 21st round and somewhere around the 80th WR taken. That would make him a WR6 in 12-team leagues.

 

He had 76 catches for 758 yards and 2 TDs last year and 54 catches for 554 yards and a score as a rookie. I don’t expect him to suddenly break out as a third-year receiver like many have before him, but I think there is room for growth.

 

For starters, Chad Henne gained valuable experience last year, and will be more comfortable under center. They also added Brandon Marshall, who will command significant defensive attention.

 

With the focus on Marshall, the running game, and the Wildcat, Bess could go unattended. He has soft hands and a quick first step. The receptions could pile up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him approach 90-100 receptions. The main drawback is he is an afterthought in the red zone. I don’t expect that to change. Still, he should be a solid WR4 or WR5 this year. He gets and added bump in PPR leagues.

 

Prediction:  90 catches, 900 yards, 3 TDs

 

What are your thoughts on Davone Bess?

 

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