DeAndre Washington
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It is a bit of a risky move to trust DeAndre Washington in a spot start this weekend with Latavius Murray hurting (toe), but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.
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Washington has been effective this year in limited work. He’s averaging 6.4 yards per carry and 46 total yards per game on just 29 total touches.
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Game 1:  5 carries for 14 yards, 1 catch for 10 yards
Game 2: 7 carries for 46 yards, 1 catch for 6 yards
Game 3: 6 carries for 57 yards, 1 catch for 5 yards
Game 4: 5 carries for 30 yards, 3 catches for 16 yards
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Jalen Richard has also been effective this year wtih 45.6 total yards per game on 22 total touches. He’s averaging 8.5 yards per carry and has scored a touchdown.
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Game 1:  3 carries for 84 yards, 2 catches for 11 yards
Game 2: 6 carries for 17 yards, 1 catch for 10 yards
Game 3: 6 carries for 28 yards, 1 catch for 13 yards
Game 4: 2 carries for 15 yards, 1 catches for 5 yards
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The prevailing wisdom suggests that Washington will have more touches than Richard if Murray misses this week as he had eight touches to Richard’s three last week. Both are worth an add in case they go off this week and Murray’s injury lingers. With both expected to contribute, they are best stashed on your bench until we have a better idea of their usage. I would lean Washington as the preferred add.
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Murray has been ineffective the past two games (3.7 and 2.4 ypc), but still has scored in three of four games and has a 4.3 ypc on the season. He may be worth a trade offer as his value is low right now.
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Amari Cooper
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Amari Cooper turned in a solid rookie season, finishing with 72 receptions for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns. He faded down the stretch though. Can he rebound from the poor finish and turn in a top 15 fantasy season?
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Cooper looked the part early in the 2015 season averaging 81.6 yards and 0.5 touchdowns in his first eight games. He hit a wall in the final eight games averaging 52.1 yards and 0.25 touchdowns per game. Four of those games he combined for 34 yards.
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A foot injury slowed his production, but clearly the talent is there. Cooper went over 100 yards five times during his rookie season and had at least 79 yards and/or a score in half of his games. He caught at least five passes in nine games. Clearly he is on the same page as Derek Carr.
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Carr improved from 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns as a rookie to 3,987 yards and 32 touchdowns in his second year. Having a great young quarterback that he has such a good rapport with should help Cooper turn in a full season on par with his first half success. That would translate to 1,306 yards and eight touchdowns.
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I currently have Cooper ranked withing the top 15 of fantasy football wide receivers. If he stays healthy, he can flirt with WR1 status.


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We’ll wrap up the AFC running back scene by heading out west.
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Jamaal Charles is the best in the West. He showed 2009 was no fluke by running for 1467 yards with five touchdowns. He added another 468 yards and three touchdowns on 45 receptions. Charles is expected to carry an even bigger load for the Chiefs this year, which puts him in the conversation for the number one overall pick in fantasy drafts. He will likely be a top four pick in most fantasy leagues. Thomas Jones will still be in the picture, and while he is much more than just a handcuff to Charles, I do expect his production to decrease.
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Darren McFadden finally delivered last year erupting for 1157 yards and seven touchdowns. He added 47 catches for 507 yards and three more scores. He is a bit of a risk as he has missed 20.8 percent (ten of 48) games in his young career. Hard to argue with his production as a bona fide RB1. He will likely be the sixth to tenth running back selected. Michael Bush is a free agent, but the Raiders are likely to make a play to keep him. Given Run DMC’s injury history, Bush is a high-end handcuff.
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Knowshon Moreno has had some moments, but many (myself included) think he will take a big step forward with John Fox on board. If he can stay healthy, he can easily build upon the 1151 (779 rushing, 372 receiving) total yard and eight (five rushing, three receiving) touchdowns. The Broncos will likely add to their backfield once free agency opens up. Obviously who they bring in will determine Moreno’s fantasy worth, but he looks like a solid RB2.
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In San Diego you have a pair of running backs that should provide fantasy goodies. Ryan Mathews had a disappointing rookie season, and should be much better in 2011. He will likely be the 15th-20th running back taken in fantasy drafts. I’d prefer to get him as my RB3 given his injury history and the presence of Michael Tolbert, who is a low-end RB3 or high-end RB4. Darren Sproles will likely part ways with the Chargers when the lockout ends.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

No, I don’t expect Darren McFadden to put on a bunch of weight and start sippin’ sizzurp. He is, however, starting to enter Bust Territory. In two seasons McFadden has ran for a mere 856 yards with five rushing TDs. He has salvaged some of his reputation by adding 530 receiving yards, but 1386 total yards should be a single-season output for a guy that ran for 4590 yards (nearly 5000 total yards) with 41 TDs (plus 2 receiving and 7 passing) and became the fourth pick of the 2008 draft.

 

McFadden missed his second straight preseason game because of a hamstring injury, which is troubling for a guy that has missed seven games in his first two seasons. Not only is he missing the games, but he’s missing practice, which could cement Michael Bush as the Raiders’ primary ball carrier.

 

Bush was the better runner last year averaging 4.8 yards on 123 carries compared to McFadden’s 3.4 average on 104 carries. McFadden is better at catching the ball out of the backfield, but if he’s not careful, he could find himself relegated to third-down duty. Bush’s size (6’1″, 245 lbs) already makes him a better fit for the tough carries near the goal line. Rock Cartwright could also get some of those carries.

 

Despite the lofty expectations everybody have for McFadden, he has only topped 74 rushing yards once in his career, and that came in Week 2 of his rookie season. Only twice in his career has he had more than 14 carries. It’s like they don’t even know how to use him.

 

For some reason McFadden has yet to attempt a pass in the NFL. Correct me if I’m wrong, but he was running the WildHog formation in college, so why not play to his strengths? Makes no sense to me, especially when your starting QB’s passer rating and completion percentage were hovering around 50.

 

I would love to see McFadden get his act together, but my optimism is wearing thin. That sentiment isn’t shared with fellow fantasy footballers though, as his ADP is 78 (32nd RB). It’s actually a few spots higher than Michael Bush (83, 34). I’m sorry, but the sixth pick of the seventh round needs to offer a little more certainty for my tastes.

 

Currently I have McFadden as my 43rd ranked RB (click to see my rankings), but that number will go even lower if he doesn’t get his act together. Plus people will start using air quotes when they call him “Run” DMC.

 

What are your thoughts on Darren McFadden?

 

By James Evans

 

On Monday, July 5, former Oakland Raiders’ Ryan Leaf impersonator JaMarcus Russell was arrested in Alabama on suspicion of possession of codeine syrup. Since it’s not a trunk-full of marijuana or a nose full of cocaine, many may be inquiring as to what the problem is. Well, codeine, while available by prescription, is also a key ingredient of many street cocktails, including the famous “purple syrup.”

 

Even though the number-one disappointment was cut back in May, this incident is quintessential “Oakland.” The Raiders have a propensity for picking up the bad seeds. And if JaMarcus could have played up to even a fraction of his potential, this arrest would have been front-page news as Russell would still be donning the silver and black.

 

One may say Russell’s forth-year elimination from Oakland was the driving force behind his syrup-drinking adventure. But one may be wrong. A betting man would place money on this being an ongoing addiction, and maybe the reason for his habitually poor performance with the Raiders.

 

Odds are better than online blackjack games—hell, even a coin toss—that Russell was sippin’ the sizz-urp during his playing days. How could one be so sure? The symptoms read like a bad player’s box score, minus the technicality of numbers.

 

For starters, the soda and the candy used to make the purple concoction is carb-loaded, causing weight gain. Russell, instead of shaping up, took to the field heavier in each of his NFL seasons. Sluggish body function follows, which could explain why Russell lost significant speed and mobility inexplicably from his time with LSU to his time with Oakland.

 

Last but not least, the purple syrup causes concentration difficulties. I know, I know. It’s the trifecta of Russell’s horrific performance, topped off by his curious loss of all accuracy once suiting up in the big leagues.

 

Russell admitting he was addicted to this intoxicating drink while playing with Oakland will probably never happen. The guy still wants a chance to play NFL ball somewhere. But if you had to bet on whether or not JaMarcus is addicted, your odds would be better than casino roulette – that’s for sure.

 

It’s hard to say what’s next for the down-and-out NFL player. But everyone knows one thing: if you continue to abuse your body, you’ll get nowhere as an athlete. And if you have run-ins with the law, the Commish is going to crack your head open. Al Davis giving you the boot will be the least of your worries.

 

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

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
None

 

Four Star Fantasy Options
None

 

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 Raiders have officially decided to part ways with JaMarcus Russell. He finishes his Raiders’ career with a 65.2 passer rating, a 52.1 completion percentage, 4083 yards, 18 TDs, and 23 INTs. Russell had very few moments that showed he was worthy of a first round selection, let alone the first overall with all the money associated with it.

 

The writing was on the wall when the Raiders traded for Jason Campbell. Given Russell’s ineffectiveness and apparent lack of work ethic, don’t expect him to land on his feet any time soon. Obviously he has zero fantasy value.

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.

I like Darren McFadden.  I really do.  If he was selected by any other team in the league he’d have a much better career path by now.  Now’s he out for 2-4 weeks with torn meniscus in his knee.

Even when he returns things aren’t going to get better until someone other than JaMarcus Russell is under Center.  He just isn’t equipped at the time to be a starting QB on any team, let alone a dysfunctional one like the Raiders.  Unfortunately they cut the QB that gave them the best chance to win — Jeff Garcia.  With a strong defense and a seemingly mediocre division they would have been better off trying to grind out some Wins with Garcia.

The Raiders do not have one player you can count on for fantasy football production.  Even Zach Miller, who managed to have a great year despite Russell’s ineptness last season, can’t be counted on.  Even with Run DMC out a couple of weeks, you can’t count on Michael Bush to produce at the rate their offense is performing.


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