#FanDuel #NFL Week 12 Retrospectacle: Injury Bug Bites Tight End Position

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Forget Black Friday. It was a dark and dreary Sunday for fantasy football‘s top tight ends, as both Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were carted off with knee injuries. They say injuries are a part of the game, but we sure wish they weren’t.

Graham has already been ruled out for the season with a torn patella tendon, while the New England Patriots hope for the best from Gronk’s tests this week.

We might get some bargains from their potential replacements, but FanDuel players have to hate seeing their premium tight ends—if Graham was one still—go down.

The reports on Gronk’s injury early Monday morning were promising, as the Boston Herald‘s Jeff Howe observed Gronk moving around in the locker room without any noticeable trouble or pain, walking out of the stadium “without crutches or barely even a limp.”

“He’s the best tight end in football,” Brady told Howe. “It’s so hard to see these guys get hurt like this. I always have a lot of respect for players who play this game because you risk a lot to play. I think a lot of times, that gets overlooked because you sacrifice a lot. I think guys sacrifice their bodies. It’s hard to see your friends get taken down like that. It’s part of the sport. We understand that. I have a lot of respect for the players who take the field.”

Despite the optimism, if Gronk were to miss at least some time, you can turn your FanDuel plays to Pats backup Scott Chandler ($5,300). He caught a season-high five passes Sunday night for 58 yards and a touchdown for 14.3 FanDuel points.

The Graham loss is a lot more troubling, and not just because of its season-ending severity. The backup, Luke Willson ($4,800), has had only sporadic moments of fantasy football success. He will be a full-timer now, though, as The Seattle Times‘ Bob Condotta reported.

“Everybody loves him,” Willson told Condotta of Graham. “Great guy in the locker room and extremely hard worker, for a guy with his talent to see him work as hard as he does is pretty cool and you don’t ever want to see that happen to anyone on the NFL, let alone a guy like Jimmy.

“I know Jimmy, he is probably down right now, but what I have gotten to know of him these past six, seven months he will attack this rehab and be back next year.”

The news wasn’t all bad for FanDuel players. We review the Sunday studs, in addition to the duds, and what those performances mean to one-week fantasy players going forward in our Monday Week 12 Retrospectacle.

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Studs

WR Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (35.5 FanDuel points)—The game has really opened up for him of late (6-145-3 Sunday) and his FanDuel price ($6,200) is only creeping up. The matchup at Minnesota for Week 13 isn’t favorable, but you have to trust he is the clear-cut, go-to man with Graham down.

QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (35.2)—He has eight touchdowns and over 600 yards passing since Marshawn Lynch (hernia) was officially ruled out. It is a shame Graham won’t be around for this stretch run out of Wilson, whose price is a reasonable $7,800, even if the aforementioned matchup is difficult.

RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (31.7)—At least we have one trustworthy running back worth the FanDuel premium ($9,100). Peterson (29-158-2 rushing) faces those Seahawks and their No. 5-ranked run defense. A healthy Peterson is worth the price against anyone, especially since he dominates his team’s touches.

WR Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (30.8)—We will consider it the FanDuel video jinx. After being featured here (see video below) amid his outrageous first half (6-158-2), Watkins disappeared without a catch after the intermission. The takeaway here, more than Watkins’ periodic excellence, is the Chiefs secondary is one to take advantage of. They have been dead last in fantasy against wideouts, per FFToday.com.

WR Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers (30.6)—We figured Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant would be marginal plays against the Seahawks on the road, but we didn’t figure it would be because Wheaton would dominate across the middle. Wheaton was Ben Roethlisberger’s hot hand, going for 9-201-1. While you can love Wheaton’s $6,000 price for Week 13, you have to consider Brown and Bryant the wiser plays still.

WR Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (29.6)—Few could have imagined he would average nearly one touchdown per game with the historically woefully quarterbacked Jets franchise. Marshall’s 9-131-2 proves he is 100 percent after being banged up midseason. At $8,100, he draws the New York Giants secondary in Week 13. Lock him up.

WR Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (29.4)—He capitalized on Darrelle Revis’ (concussion) absence with 13-165-1, a performance that might get us to stop calling him a poor man’s Odell Beckham. Landry looks golden at $7,400 against the suspect Baltimore Ravens secondary next week.

RB C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (29.3)—That was a big-time performance (15-113-2 rushing and 4-40 receiving) that likely handed him his feature-back role back. Notably, Anderson isn’t yet priced as an elite back ($6,800) and draws the worst team in fantasy against running backs, per FFToday.com, in Week 13, the San Diego Chargers.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (29.18)—This 277-4 performance has to inspire you if you’re looking for a $7,500 bargain quarterback play for Week 13 against the Giants. Fitzy at least has some elite targets to throw to in Marshall and Eric Decker ($7,200).

QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (28.9)—He shows he should not be buried (300-4), even if his Chargers’ playoff hopes and his FanDuel price of $7,600 are down. You cannot play him against the Broncos’ No. 1-ranked defense next week, though.

WR Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (26.5)—There have been some lean weeks of late, but Maclin’s 9-160-1 revival sets him up nicely against a suspect Oakland Raiders secondary (fourth-worst against the pass). His price ($6,500) for that matchup is almost too good to be true.

WR Seth Roberts, Oakland Raiders (26.3)—His 6-113-2 is a sign of things to come, especially if you like the $5,400 value against the Chiefs secondary that made Watkins look like Hall of Famer Andre Reed.

QB Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (26.24)—This performance (291-3) made him look like the bargain FanDuel start he was early in the year, but you cannot love him (even at $7,400) for Week 13 against the resurgent Houston Texans.

K Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts (15.0)—They are much more of a field-goal threat without Andrew Luck (kidney) right now and Vinatieri is priced to play at $4,700, which is tied for just 15th on the FanDuel kicker board for Week 13.

Cincinnati Bengals Defense (17.0)—They generally don’t get much love, but the Week 13 matchup against the Cleveland Browns on a short week has their price up to $5,100. They still might be worth it after their dismantling of the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

Duds

RB Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (2.8)—You shouldn’t have played him against the Jets’ No. 1-ranked run defense, but if you went contrarian you are kicking yourself after his five carries for just two yards. Things should be looking up going forward, especially as his price is trending down at $6,700.

RB Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (3.5)—We probably should grant the rookie a dud pass. This is his first single-digit FanDuel performance since taking over as the starter. The matchup for Week 13 against the Arizona Cardinals (No. 4 vs. the run) shouldn’t excite anyone, though, especially at $8,400.

RB Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (4.7)—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers limited him to 24 yards on 19 carries—19! Wow, Gore is finally showing his age. Week 13 is at the Pittsburgh Steelers and their No. 7-ranked run defense. No thanks, even at $6,200.

WR Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (1.9)—We thought his being announced as active Sunday was good news. Nope. One catch for 14 yards and a lot of ticked-off FanDuelers. The only good thing to come from this was his priced dropped under $6K at $5,900 for Week 13.

WR Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (4.1)—The Broncos might not miss the old Peyton Manning (foot) amid this two-game win streak and overtime victory over the previously unbeaten Patriots, but Thomas does. He caught just one of his team-high 13 targets from Brock Osweiler. There isn’t a price low enough to trust Thomas right now—definitely not at $7,600.

Source: NFL Week 12 Retrospectacle: Injury Bug Bites Tight End Position

Weekend Update: #NFL Week 9 Edition

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1. It was Supposed To Be Different:

You said this year would be different after starting 2015 the same way you started 2014 – the only thing different is you beat Atlanta and not sure how that happened.  Sure, one particular play or tip did not cost the Saints the game – it’s everything.  Even history is stacked against this team – Does anyone remember the last time the Saints beat a rookie QB?  Tim Couch, first year back for the Browns – hail mary – I remember that one the most because it cost me a 15 team $50 parlay in Vegas, and that was the only way I could have lost!!! I did and so did the Saints.  The Saints lost to RG3 and his 1st game at home.  Lost to Jameis Winston already, at home – and now Marcus Mariota!  How do you still have a job Rob Ryan?  When does it end?  Brandon Browner can you go more than one series without a penalty?  You made Mariota look like he’s ready for Canton and he just lost his coach!!!  I hope we do not play the 49ers, because I’m not sure I could handle losing to Blaine Gabbert.


Mariota stakes his claim to looming NFL stardom

Marcus Mariota passed for 371 yards and four touchdowns, including a 5-yard toss to Anthony Fasano in overtime, to give the Titans a 34-28 win at New Orleans. But the most impressive number on Mariota’s record on Sunday was a zero in the interceptions column. It was the second game this season in which Mariota threw four TDs and no INTs, matching the total of all other rookie quarterbacks since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The only other rookie QBs with even one such game during that time were Trent Edwards of Buffalo (2007) and Robert Griffin III of Washington (2012).

Incidentally, both of Mariota’s tours de force were accomplished on the road. His first game with four TDs and no interceptions was Tennessee’s season opener at Tampa Bay. The only other rookies to do so in a road game were Ray Buivid of the Bears (1937), Mickey Slaughter of the Broncos (1963), and Greg Cook of the Bengals (1969).


Another signature game for Newton in Panthers’ win

The Panthers improved to 8-0 with a 37-29 victory over the Packers, as Cam Newton ran for one touchdown and passed for three others. It was the fifth time that Newton threw at least three TD passes in the same game in which he himself scored a touchdown. That’s one short of the highest such total in NFL history, a record set by Tobin Rote and matched by Billy Wade, Jack Kemp, and Steve Young.  Can we also stop with the Cam Newton MVP talk – he has the same numbers as Xerxes, look it up – he is not any better than before this year – he’s just on a team that is undefeated.


Packers’ own perfect record succumbs to a pair of other undefeated teams

Green Bay’s record now stands at 6-2 following a pair of losses to undefeated teams: Denver last week and Carolina this week. Only three other teams in NFL history faced consecutive unbeaten and untied opponents with at least six wins each: Detroit in 1934, Pittsburgh in 2004, and Indianapolis this week and last, same as Green Bay.AltX.Logo.white

Against all odds, the Steelers won both of those games, against New England and Philadelphia, and they did it with a rookie quarterback. Those were Ben Roethlisberger’s fifth and sixth starts in the NFL.

The 1934 Lions won their first 10 games by a combined score of 215-27. But Detroit ended the season with three straight three-point losses: 3-0 to the Packers, and then 19-16 and 10-7 to the Bears, who finished the season with a 13-0 record (but lost the title game).


Brown & Williams post gaudy numbers in Steelers’ win

Antonio Brown caught 17 passes for 284 yards-both team-record totals for one game-and DeAngelo Williams gained a total of 225 yards (170 on 27 carries and 55 on two pass receptions) in the Steelers’ 38-35 win over the Raiders. It was only the third game in NFL history in which teammates both gained at least 200 yards from scrimmage. Clem Daniels and Art Powell did it for the Raiders in 1963; Brian Westbrook and Kevin Curtis did it for the Eagles in 2007.


Blount is key to Patriots’ victory

LeGarrette Blount was the star of the Patriots’ 27-10 win over the Redskins, gaining 129 yards on 29 carries. Over the last 10 seasons, only one other New England player rushed the ball that many times in a regular-season game: Jonas Gray, who gained 201 yards on 37 carries against the Colts last November. Of course Blount set a team postseason record with 30 carries in the AFC Championship Game last January, gaining 148 yards and scoring three touchdowns.


Patriots tie NFL record for quarter-by-quarter scoring

By scoring in all four quarters of its victory, New England tied an NFL record of scoring in 31 consecutive quarters. That mark was set by the Colts in 2005 and previously equaled by the Rams, who did it spanning the 1999 and 2000 seasons.


Veterans help Colts spoil Broncos’ perfect record

Peyton Manning still has not won a game and in his return to Indianapolis needed 284 passing yards and one victory to surpass Brett Favre’s all-time record totals in those categories. Manning fell three yards and one win short, as the Colts denied him both marks-at least for the moment-and handed Denver its first loss of the season, 27-24. Some notes on the game:AltX.Logo.white

This was the fifth time that the Colts faced a team that was undefeated and untied with at least seven wins, and it was their first victory in such a game.

Frank Gore carried the ball 28 times, his highest total in one game since 2011. Gore was the oldest player in Colts history with that many carries in one game, and he was the oldest to do so for any team since Ricky Williams in 2009.

Adam Vinatieri kicked a tie-breaking 55-yard field goal with 6:13 to play. At age 42, Vinatieri was by far the oldest NFL player to kick a game-winning FG that long in the fourth quarter or overtime. Matt Bryant previously held that distinction, having kicked a 55-yard game-winner for the Falcons in 2012 at age 37.


Jacksonville extends a very specific losing streak

Blake Bortles fumbled the ball away in the fourth quarter as Jacksonville drove for a potential go-ahead touchdown, and the Jaguars lost to the Jets, 28-23. That was the Jags’ 21st consecutive loss in a road game against a team with a winning record. Dating back to the 2008 season, that is now the second-longest such streak in NFL history. But get this: The Jaguars are only halfway to the record. Over a span of 15 seasons from 1990 to 2004, Cincinnati lost 42 straight road games in which its opponent had a winning record at the time of kickoff.


Bills score from distance in win over Dolphins

The Bills defeated the Dolphins, 33-17, in a game that featured three long touchdowns by Buffalo: a 44-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor to Sammy Watkins and runs of 48 yards by LeSean McCoy and 38 yards by Karlos Williams. It was only the second game in team history in which two different players scored rushing TDs of 30 yards or longer. The first was played 51 years ago, and the touchdowns were scored by Cookie Gilchrist (60 yards) and Bobby Smith (37) in a victory over the Houston Oilers (Nov. 1, 1964). Gilchrist was the AFL rushing champion that season, and that was his only 100-yard game of the year (139 yards).


Gabbert a winner in first start for NinersAltX.Logo.white

Blaine Gabbert started in place of Colin Kaepernick and threw two touchdown passes in the 49ers’ 17-16 win over the Falcons. Gabbert hadn’t started a game since 2013, hadn’t won since 2012, and had lost his last 10 starts for Jacksonville. During the NFL’s expansion era, dating back to 1960, only two other quarterbacks snapped a personal losing streak of 10 or more starts with a victory in their first start for a new club: Steve Bartkowski for the L.A. Rams in 1986, and Charlie Batch for the Steelers in 2005.


Zuerlein kicks a second field goal of 60-plus yards

In a game billed as a matchup of great breakaway runners old and new, Adrian Peterson ran for 125 yards and Todd Gurley for 89 yards as the Vikings defeated the Rams, 21-18, in overtime. But it was a kicker-in fact, the kicker for the losing team-that made headlines, as Greg Zuerlein kicked four field goals, including a 61-yarder.

Zuerlein, who kicked a 60-yard field goal against Seattle three seasons ago, became only the second player in NFL history with two FGs of 60 yards or longer. The other is Sebastian Janikowski.

#NFL Week 8 Craziness on All Saints Day

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Brees and Saints win historic shootout vs. Manning and the Giants

Drew Brees tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes and Eli Manning threw six TDs. But it was Saints kicker Kai Forbath who delivered the dagger, kicking a 50-yard field goal on the final play of New Orleans’ 52-49 victory. The Giants tied an NFL record as the highest-scoring losing team in NFL history. That mark has stood for 52 years, since a Houston Oilers team quarterbacked by George Blanda lost its 1963 season finale to a Raiders team coached by Al Davis. More on those touchdown passes by Brees and Manning:

It was the second NFL game in which opposing players threw at least six TDs each. Billy Kilmer of the Saints and Charley Johnson of the St. Louis Cardinals had six touchdown passes each in a New Orleans victory at Busch Stadium in 1969.

It was the 10th game in which Brees threw at least five TDs, breaking a tie with Peyton Manning to set a new NFL record.

Brees passed for 511 yards joining Ben Roethlisberger as the only NFL players with two games of at least 500 passing yards.

Brees was the eighth player to throw seven touchdown passes in one game, and it was the 18th game in which a QB reached the 500-yard mark. But the only other player to do both in the same game was Y.A Tittle of the Giants in 1962 (505 yards).

Eli Manning was the 15th player to throw six or more touchdown passes in a game with no interceptions, and he was the first of those players to lose the game.

nullA star is born in St. Louis

For those awaiting the NFL’s next game-changing running back, your man has arrived. Todd Gurley gained 133 yards on 20 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown run, in the Rams’ 27-6 win over the 49ers. Despite an unproductive debut in which he was limited to 9 yards on six carries, Gurley has gained more rushing yards in his first five NFL games (576) than anyone except Eric Dickerson (645) and Adrian Peterson (607).

Only Gurley and Peterson reached the 100-yard mark in four of their first five games. And Gurley is only the third player in league history with a run of at least 40 yards in each of four consecutive games. The others were Tiki Barber in 2002 and Steven Jackson in 2007.

Broncos now 7-0

The Broncos improved their record to 7-0 and knocked the Packers from the ranks of the undefeated with a 29-10 victory at Denver. It was only the fourth game in NFL history between unbeaten and untied teams with at least six wins. The three previous instances:

1921 – Akron Pros 0, Buffalo All-Americans 0. Akron was 7-0-0; Buffalo, 6-0-0. The final score reflected the era and the teams: Akron shut out its first seven opponents while Buffalo allowed just six points prior to this game. The All-Americans missed four field goals.

1973 – Minnesota 10, L.A. Rams 9. Both teams were 6-0-0 prior to this game. Fran Tarkenton connected with Chuck Foreman on a 9-yard pass for the game’s only touchdown.

2007 – New England 24, Indianapolis 20. The Patriots were 8-0-0; the Colts, 7-0-0. The Pats rallied from a 20-10 deficit with eight minutes to play in a rematch of the previous season’s AFC title game. Randy Moss caught nine passes for 145 yards and a TD.

nullManning & Rodgers fail to find the end zone

Whoever would have imagined that neither Peyton Manning nor Aaron Rodgers would throw a touchdown pass in Sunday’s game? It was the first game in NFL history in which each starting quarterback entered with a career average of more than two touchdown passes per game. Sunday was the 65th day on which both Manning and Rodgers started a regular-season game. It was the first of those days on which neither threw a TD pass.

nullAnother big game for Rivers ends in defeat

Philip Rivers passed for 301 yards and three TDs but it wasn’t enough as the Chargers lost to the Ravens, 29-26. That was Rivers’ fifth consecutive 300-yard performance, but San Diego won only the first of those games. He is the third player in NFL history with at least 300 passing yards in four consecutive games, all of them losses. The others were Bill Kenney of the Chiefs in 1983 and Matt Schaub of the Texans in 2010.

Bengals remain perfect after a brief respite

Cincinnati survived its treacherous post-bye game and improved to 7-0, the longest undefeated start in team history, with a 16-10 victory at Pittsburgh. The game following a bye has tripped up many undefeated teams in recent seasons. From 2009 through 2014, teams with a perfect record of 3-0-0 or better lost more post-bye games than they won (4-5). That hasn’t been the case in 2015, as the Panthers, Patriots, and Bengals all avoided a post-bye defeat.

Big Ben coughs up a pair of INTs with game on the line

Ben Roethlisberger threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ loss, the first while protecting a four-point lead and the second as Pittsburgh sought a potential game-tying field goal. Roethlisberger hadn’t been intercepted twice in the fourth quarter of the same game since 2013, and he had not thrown a single INT in the fourth quarter of a one-possession game-that is, with a margin of eight points or less-since 2012.

nullPalmer is throwing TD passes at a team-record pace

Carson Palmer threw four touchdown passes in the Cardinals’ 34-20 win at Cleveland, reaching the midpoint of his season with 20 TDs. That’s a team record through the first eight games of their season. The previous high was 16, set by Kurt Warner in 2008 and tied by Warner a year later.

Chiefs big London win extends Lions’ crazy losing streak

The Lions travelled to London for Sunday’s game against Kansas City probably unaware that they had ­lost their last 14 games played on the first day of a month, the longest such streak in NFL history. The last time that the Lions won a game on the day we flipped the calendar was on Oct. 1, 1973, when they beat the Falcons, 31-6, in a game played at old Tiger Stadium with Don McCafferty the head coach, Greg Landry the starting quarterback, and Howard Cosell in the TV booth.

Following a 45-10 drubbing by the Chiefs, you can make that 15 straight losses on the first of the month for Detroit, for eight different head coaches and 10 different starting quarterbacks in 12 different stadiums.

With that win, the Chiefs matched their largest margin of victory outside Kansas City since the merger. Kansas City’s only other 35-point win since 1970 away from home was also by a 45-10 score, at FedEx Field against the Redskins two years ago. The Chiefs largest road win in the AFL was a 59-7 win over the Broncos at University of Denver Stadium in their opening game of the 1963 season-a suitable NFL debut for two KC players en route to the Hall of Fame: Bobby Bell and Buck Buchanan.

Bucs are taking advantage of opponents’ errors

The Buccaneers made the Falcons pay dearly for their turnovers, scoring after each of Atlanta’s four giveaways in a 23-20 overtime victory. Tampa Bay’s total of 20 points off turnovers was their highest in one game in more than three years, and its total of 64 points off turnovers this season is the Bucs’ highest through seven games since 1987 (when three of those games were played by replacements during the NFL players’ strike).

nullA big day for yet another Big 3

Derek Carr passed for 333 yards, as Latavius Murray (113) and Michael Crabtree(102) topped the 100-yard mark by rushing and receiving, respectively, in the Raiders’ 34-20 win over the Jets. It was the second 300/100/100 game this season; Carr, Murray, and Amari Cooper were the players who did it in a September victory at Cleveland. This is the first time in Raiders history that they had two such games in the same season.

Bears suffer a late loss in rare fashion (and we do mean rare)

A quick three-and-out by the Bears after the Vikings tied the score with 1:49 to play was the set-up for Blair Walsh’s 36-yard game-winning field goal in Minnesota’s 23-20 victory at Soldier Field. It was only the second time in the 96-season history of the Bears franchise-as old as the NFL itself-that they lost a game in regulation after leading by at least seven points inside the 2-minute warning. The first was also against the Vikings; it was the final game of the 1965 season. Minnesota scored two touchdowns in the final 2 minutes: a 22-yard pass by Fran Tarkenton and a 35-yard interception return by linebacker Rip Hawkins.

nullA big game for Texans’ pass-rushing duo

Whitney Mercilus was credited with 3.5 sacks and J.J. Watt with 2.5 in Houston’s 20-6 win over Tennessee. It was the first game in Texans history in which two of its players earned more than two sacks each. The only other teammates to do that this season were Chandler Jones (3.0) and Jamie Collins (2.5) of the Patriots in a victory over the Bills in September.

Seahawks stifle the Cowboys

The Cowboys managed only 220 yards of offense in a 13-12 loss to Seattle. That was Dallas’ lowest yardage total in a home loss since Christmas Day 2006, when they gained just 201 yards against the Eagles.

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Your Monday Night Football, #FanDuel #NFL week4 Retrospectacle…

NFL Week 4 Retrospectacle: Todd Gurley Proves He’s The Man in St. Louis

Oct 05 
NFL Week 4 Retrospectacle: Todd Gurley Proves He’s The Man in St. Louis

NFL’s Week 4 was one that lacked true elite options, as we wrote on FanDuel Insider in the build up to Sunday’s action. In retrospect, we found a new elite player.

St. Louis running back Todd Gurley, welcome to fantasy superstardom. Goodbye questions about his health and usage. And we hardly know ye, Tre Mason.

“What can you say about Todd? In the second half, he took the game over and we needed it,” head coach Jeff Fisher told Myles Simmons of the Rams’ official website.

Gurley rushed for 144 of his career-high 146 yards in the second half against a very good Arizona Cardinals defense, and has rushed to the top of one-week fantasy minds with his 17.1-point performance. He was leaving yards on the field late in the game to merely fall unchallenged in patches of green grass to stay in-bounds to run out the clock.

“It’s totally unselfish,” Fisher told Summons, “and beyond that, for a rookie to have the presence of mind to do that—that says a lot for his understanding of this game and putting games away.”

The football acumen is savvy and the performance was savage.

“That just shows you how unselfish he is, how much he really wants to win,” Rams defensive lineman Will Hayes told Simmons. “The average guy is taking the ball inside the end zone, and he [didn’t]. And that was big in itself because people don’t understand how big of a play that is. You run the clock out and the game is over with. He’s a stud.”

The best part of the performance for FanDuelers should be that Mason was a complete non-factor, rushing twice for minus-1 yard Sunday.

It was only a matter of time. You don’t reach up to draft a damaged-goods running back (knee ligament reconstruction) in the top 10 of this modern NFL that has devalued the feature back to just let him stand on the sideline.

Gurley clearly looks worth it now. Heading into Week 5 at the Green Bay Packers, he is a bargain you cannot refuse.

This Week 4 Retrospectacle takes an in-depth look at the rest of the studs, duds and significant injury impacts on one-week fantasy action, starting with the other back you probably have to slot in a majority of lineups going forward.

Studs

RB Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (35.4 points)

Tevin Coleman’s (rib) injury has been a blessing for Freeman, who has rushed for six touchdowns in the past two games of Coleman’s absence. Freeman went 14-68-3 on the ground and 6-81 receiving.

“Devonta is playing lights out,” Falcons wide receiver Roddy White told Michael Cunningham ofThe Atlanta Journal Constitution. “We’ve got to continue to let him play that way. Feed him the ball, feed him the ball.”

You can bet the Falcons are going to give Coleman one more week to rest next Sunday against the Washington Redskins, particularly with a Thursday tilt at New Orleans immediately following. The Redskins have the second-best run defense in football through four weeks, but no one will be sitting Freeman now.

“Opportunity is everything,” Freeman told Cunningham. “They don’t come around often. You’ve just got to take advantage of them when you get them. I’m just blessed to have the opportunity to play in the NFL.”

K Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs (27.0)—You have to love when a kicker outscores all but one position player, right? See, kickers belong in fantasy football!

WR Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams (26.6)—Sometimes it takes three years for an NFL receiver to find his niche. Austin appears to have found his, finally. He ripped off 6-96-2 receiving and added 20 more on the ground Sunday, proving he’s more than a mere return specialist now. This is not just a flash in the pan, either. This is the start of something great. He leads the Rams in targets (20) through four games.

QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (26.22)—Here’s the thing about Rivers (358-3): He gets future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates back from his four-game suspension next week. Rivers is going to be a solid value, especially until rookie Melvin Gordon (12-38 rushing) gets rolling.

WR Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (25.7)—You can be worried about Jackson’s advanced age and playing with a shaky rookie quarterback, but Jameis Winston has been so bad early, the Bucs get blown out and collect garbage-time numbers. It makes Jackson (10-147-1) an unpredictable play.

QB Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (24.2)—He has been one of the worst dollars-per-point quarterbacks. However, the running game is so bad right now that the Eagles have to pass the ball. Bradford’s 270-3 might be the baseline in Week 5 against the New Orleans Saints.

RB Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (24.0)—We love him as the finisher in Hue Jackson’s power-running scheme, we just wish he hadn’t had his fumbling issues that opened the door for Giovani Bernard (13-62-1) to make this a true timeshare. Hill was outcarried and outrushed (9-40-3) despite the touchdowns, and the Seattle Seahawks defense is up next. Ouch.

WR Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (23.1)—Blake Bortles (298-1) is showing improvement and Hurns (11-116-1) is right there with Allen Robinson (4-80). We cannot wait to see what this group can do once Julius Thomas (hand) returns from injury. Thomas should open things up for everyone because he requires attention. The Jags receivers do have some sleeper value to them, especially because they are weekly candidates for garbage-time numbers.

RB Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22.8)—The Bucs finally got their running game going, which is a great sign for those interested in Martin (20-106-1) as a bargain against the Jags next Sunday.

RB Christopher Ivory, New York Jets (22.6)—The Jets offense looks a lot better under the new regime. It’s too bad Ivory is on bye in Week 5, though.

QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (22.36)—He returns from a sore shoulder with 359-2, which is a great sign, even if the throws were more to the backs and tight ends. The Saints are going to manage Brees’ shoulder strength in their game plan, which can keep him productive. This is also a fairly intriguing development for those hoping Andrew Luck (shoulder) can do the same.

QB Josh McCown, Cleveland Browns (22.24)—It was a strange week for the quarterbacks, as many of the top-priced guys were trumped by bargains. McCown was solid in this shootout, but we don’t expect it to continue against the Baltimore Ravens on the road next Sunday.

Duke Johnson, Jr., Cleveland Browns (22.1)—If Johnson pushes out starter Isaiah Crowell (12-63 rushing and 3-62 receiving), look out. Until then, Johnson is just a bargain for his passing-downs production.

QB Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (21.7)—He put together an impressive game-winning drive that can give him and head coach Jay Gruden confidence. Cousins can get forced into a Week 5 shootout against the high-flying Falcons, too. We should like Pierre Garcon (7-55-1) and Jordan Reed (5-37) in that one—maybe even Jamison Crowder (7-65) if DeSean Jackson (hamstring) remains out.

Atlanta Falcons Defense (21.0)—Dan Quinn has turned this unit around in a hurry. A matchup at home against the Washington Redskins should be another bountiful one, especially at a mere $4,500 for Week 5.

WR Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (20.3)—We should be convinced that Alex Smith’s 2014 struggles to get the ball to wideouts was more a function of the receiver quality than the lack of arm strength. Maclin (11-148) looks just fine with Smith, even if the touchdowns might not come consistently.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (20.2)—Like Maclin, Hopkins is the lone receiving threat on a team with a subpar quarterback. You have to love his high-volume production (9-157). The Texans should open it up Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts at home, especially if Arian Foster (8-for-10 rushing) is ready for a larger role.

Bums the Word

QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (10.32)—He might be 4-0 thus far, but it has been as ugly as 4-0 can get. Manning threw for just 213-2 and had two costly interceptions that allowed the Minnesota Vikings back into the game. Fire up the catcalls for the end of Manning again…until he lights up the Oakland Raiders for four touchdowns next Sunday.

RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans (3.0)—Even Alfred Blue (6-for-17) outproduced Foster in his return from a groin injury. Ouch. It sure doesn’t help he has just a few days rest before the matchup against the Colts. Expect a heavy, heavy dose of Foster in that one, though, making him an intriguing Thursday night play. The Texans can quietly tie for first place in the AFC South division with a victory.

RB Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (1.7)—Three targets and no receptions. All of the Eagles’ backs are junk right now, DeMarco Murray (5.8) and Ryan Mathews (0.0) included.

RB Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (2.7)—Week 1 seems really far away now. You cannot like him against the New York Giants’ No. 1-ranked rush defense next Sunday night.

WR Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (1.8)—Worthless. Leonard Hankerson (6-103-1) is the top Julio Jones sidekick for Matt Ryan now.

WR Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers (2.7)—Colin Kaepernick’s struggles have really made mincemeat of Boldin, Torrey Smith (2-54) and TE Vernon Davis (inactive).

WR Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (4.5)—We would blame Brees’ shoulder, but Willie Snead (6-89) looked just fine. Cooks (4-25) is one of fantasy’s biggest disappointments this season. He was supposed to be the answer to the loss of Jimmy Graham for Brees and the Saints.

WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (5.8)—He’s fine. This was a one-week hiccup with the Falcons so thoroughly in command Sunday against the Texans.

TE Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins (2.9)—He just missed a jump-ball TD. These struggles and a Week 5 bye for the Dolphins are good news. There is value to come midseason here.

TE Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (3.8)—So much for that Week 3 breakthrough. Olsen was right back in the tank, and he’s headed for a Week 5 bye, too.

Buffalo Bills Defense (3.0)—Overrated. It’s a popular chant wherever Rex Ryan is, apparently.

Arizona Cardinals Defense (1.0)—Despite this hard fall, the Cards are still the top-priced unit on the board for Week 5 at $5,200.

Injury Impacts

Raise RB Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys—The loss of Lance Dunbar (knee) to season-ending surgery would put more of the onus on Randle in the passing game. That should light up the fantasy scoreboard more for us. Randle is now the same price as the Eagles’ Murray ($7,400) and the better option in Week 5 against at the New England Patriots.

Love WR Hopkins, Houston Texans—Cecil Shorts dislocated his shoulder, per NFL insider Adam Caplan, which elevates rookie Keith Mumphery (4-56) and makes Hopkins even more high-volume than he was already.

Over/Under Value

I’ve spent some time reviewing the experts and their consensus (ECR) and playing around several mock drafts to find an average draft position (ADP) for a lot of the players that’ll be selected in your Fantasy Football League(s).  In participating, I found some strange outcomes that should help you, and I have put together a little something that might help your plan of attack.  For me, it has been about QB’s and WR’s for years and that knowledge has taken me to no worse than 3rd place in any year I have played FF (currently reigning world champ) – so it is still surprising to me how often people go after RB’s so early.  Here is an example from one of my mock drafts, I was drafting 6th, out of 10:

mockDraft_2015

At the end of day, it is still your draft, and your choices, along with your instincts that sometimes you have to go with.  Afterall, you know your league-mates better than anyone else, and what they are going to do.  So, to recap – a player’s ECR and their ADP (average draft position) will not coincide with one another very often. There are players with large discrepancies from where the experts are projecting them and where drafters and mock drafters alike are selecting their picks.

With less than two months until the start of the season, let’s take a look at which players are being overvalued and undervalued based on their difference in ECR and ADP. It’s a classic experts versus the average drafter. I’m providing three undervalued and three overvalued players at each of the four offensive positions (QB, RB, WR, TE).

Undervalued QBs

  • Colin Kaepernick – SF (ECR-105, ADP-138, Diff. +33)
    It appears that a lot of people are down on Xerxes after a sub-par 2014 season, as he is being massively undervalued as the 21st QB. He finished last year as the 16th-best QB. With Jim Harbaugh out of the mix and the defense depleted from retirement, I expect Kaepernick to get plenty of garbage time opportunities to rack up fantasy points.
  • Teddy Bridgewater – MIN (ECR-104, ADP-136, Diff. +32)Teddy Two-Gloves came into his own the last five games of 2014 and could take another leap with Adrian Peterson returning to the mix. He is a borderline QB1 yet is currently being drafted as the 19th QB off the board, even behind rookies Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota –  If you are a fan of streaming QBs, Teddy might be your guy to target for 2015.
  • Ryan Tannehill – MIA (ECR-75, ADP-95, Diff. +20)Tannehill, who was the eighth-best QB in 2014, is currently being taken nearly two rounds later than what experts would expect. Many fantasy owners are still unsure of Tannehill, but with his underrated running ability (317 yards), he still looks like a steal as the 11th QB taken.

Overvalued QBs

  • Jameis Winston – TB (ECR-152, ADP-131, Diff. -21)Winston is being taken almost a full two rounds before the experts’ consensus. Winston is still a gamble at best in 2QB leagues, as we’ve yet to see him take a snap under center in the league. The Bucs’ offensive line is one of the worst in the league and they have zero run game. Do not reach on Famous Jameis until the last round of your draft.
  • Tom Brady – NE (ECR-86, ADP-72, Diff. -14)Even if his suspension were cut to zero games, Brady is being taken as an elite quarterback, a level he only briefly performed at in 2014. Despite a stretch of monster games in Weeks 5-9, Brady was a QB1 only two more times. In other words, if you are expecting consistency and an elite level of performance every week, look elsewhere.

 

  • Peyton Manning – DEN (ECR-43, ADP-31, Diff. -12)Manning is being taken consistently as the third QB in drafts, mostly propped up from years of fantasy football respect. During the second half of 2014, Manning was a replacement level QB, as the Broncos leaned heavily on the run game. He’s not the Peyton of old, so be sure to draft accordingly.

Undervalued RBs

  • Roy Helu – OAK (ECR-150, ADP-235, Diff. +85)Helu is another PPR owner’s dream that is slipping tremendously in drafts. The newly-inked Oakland Raider should be an active third down back with exceptional receiving skills. At +85, Helu has by far the greatest discrepancy of any ECR vs. ADP ranking. Maybe snag this guy in your drafts because no one else seems to be!
  • LeGarrette Blount – NE (ECR-59, ADP-73, Diff. +14)It looks like owners are still skeptical of the weekly Patriots RB roulette. Despite being the most talented back in New England, Blount is being taken behind Giovani Bernard, Joique Bell, and Tevin Coleman, backs in a clear time-share situation. He was the lead back after being acquired in Week 12 and lead man throughout the playoffs. He represents great value as a RB3/FLEX play.
  • Danny Woodhead – SD (ECR-139, ADP-149, Diff. +10)Woodhead is currently being taken as the 57th RB mostly as a reaction to his lost 2014 campaign due to a broken fibula in Week 3. As a third-down back, he is a perfect PPR candidate as a FLEX and should be taken above other backs with no clear role in their offenses (Duke Johnson, Charles Sims, Darren McFadden).

Overvalued RBs

  • DeAngelo Williams – PIT (ECR-175, ADP-127, Diff. -48)As Le’Veon Bell’s handcuff and replacement during his suspension, owners are scooping up Williams almost 50 picks before the experts’ consensus. He offers replacement-level value at best and does not offer long-term fantasy relevance at his current ADP. He is simply not a must-own for those who do draft Bell early.
  • Todd Gurley – STL (ECR-58, ADP-44, Diff. -14)The former Georgia Bulldog has yet to touch the field as a professional and yet is being drafted as a clear-cut RB2 and the 20th RB overall. Drafters seem to have much more confidence in Gurley than the experts. Although he has the talent, he is still a relative unknown for fantasy purposes coming off ACL surgery.
  • Joique Bell – DET (ECR-64, ADP-57, Diff. -7)Bell’s fantasy value has taken a hit this offseason, especially with the Lions’ drafting of speedster Ameer Abdullah. This has not kept owners from grabbing Bell as a borderline RB2. Expect his value to drop even further as preseason begins and Bell loses his grip on the starting role.

Undervalued WRs

  • Anquan Boldin – SF (ECR-93, ADP-122, Diff. +29)Although many owners have pegged Boldin as over-the-hill and it seems like he’s been in the league forever, the veteran finished his 2014 campaign 21st WR in standard formats and 18th in PPR scoring. He is being “rewarded” for these efforts by being selected as the 47th WR. He will still be Kaepernick’s favorite target and an excellent WR3 candidate for those who wait patiently.
  • Allen Robinson – JAX (ECR-74, ADP-87, Diff. +13)Robinson has been one of the most talked about fantasy players of the offseason yet is still not receiving his due. Despite being the Jaguars clear No. 1 option at WR, he is going a full round later than projected. He will only go up in value from this point, as he has WR2 potential.
  • Vincent Jackson – TB (ECR-61, ADP-71, Diff. +10)Jackson had a hard-luck 2014 season, as he had only 55% of his targets considered “on-target,” the lowest total in the league. His two touchdowns were a disappointment, another testament to poor QB play. He is being drafted currently as a WR3 and could present some sneaky value.

Overvalued WRs

  • Kevin White – CHI (ECR-98, ADP-78, Diff. -20)What do we know so far about White as an NFL receiver? Other than Mel Kiper Jr. drooling over his potential and the hangover owners are experiencing from last year’s rookie WR blowout party – White should be handled with much more care than the nearly two-round differential he is being selected at. Owners need to take into account newly-signed slot receiver Eddie Royal, who will compete with White and gather targets over the middle from QB Jay Cutler.
  • Victor Cruz – NYG (ECR-114, ADP-97, Diff. -17)After a devastating patellar tendon injury ended his 2014 season, owners seem to think Cruz is capable of coming back with a vengeance. He will compete for second place in the Giants’ target pecking order with Rueben Randle, someone who is currently going 204th overall and presents much better value. For Cruz’s skill set as a shifty, speed receiver, a big return from this kind of injury is unlikely and does not warrant anything above a ninth- or tenth-round pick.
  • Sammy Watkins – BUF (ECR-55, ADP-46, Diff. -9)After a rookie year in which Watkins flashed game-breaking ability as well as having major hip surgery, owners are drafting him as the 19th-best WR. With an unsettled quarterback situation and a change in the coaching regime in Buffalo, Watkins has too many variables to be taken this early.

Undervalued TEs

  • Larry Donnell – NYG (ECR-133, ADP-231, Diff. +98)Poor Larry…He is basically being undrafted, as there’s a huge difference between the ECR and ADP. Although he crept in as a TE1 and was a red-zone target for Eli Manning
    last year, he is currently being forgotten behind throw-aways Eric Ebron and Jared Cook.
  • Tyler Eifert – CIN (ECR-137, ADP-219, Diff. +82)Eifert represents a significant value for owners with TE1 upside. Eifert had major shoulder surgery in the offseason but will be the main TE target in Cincinnati following Jermaine Gresham‘s departure. If you are looking for a late-round flyer, he should be available. Yahoo has basically dropped Eifert off the face of the planet, ranking him as the 55th TE overall and 1840th overall!
  • Delanie Walker – TEN (ECR-103, ADP-140, Diff. +37)Walker quietly put together a solid season despite poor QB play in Tennessee, finishing as the 8th TE overall. Owners must have forgotten that a trusty TE is always a rookie QB’s best friend, as he is currently going behind a suspended Antonio Gates, an offseason-hyped Josh Hill, and a TD-dependent Dwayne Allen. Walker has great value and should finish as a TE1.

Overvalued TEs

  • Julius Thomas – JAX (ECR-94, ADP-75, Diff. -19)Other than being a red-zone monster (12 TDs) in 2014, Thomas had minimal value with 43 catches for only 489 yards. After getting paid by the Jaguars this offseason, he currently is being drafted as the sixth TE, almost two rounds before the experts. Taking into account the change of scenery from Denver, it will be hard to recreate Thomas’ red-zone opportunities from 2014. Advice; pass on him at his current ADP.
  • Owen Daniels – DEN (ECR-126, ADP-110, Diff. -16)It is clear that Daniels and Gary Kubiak have a good thing going. From Houston to Baltimore and now Denver, Daniels has had a significant role in each offense Kubiak has led. Drafters are betting on Manning finding Daniels regularly, although he could face stiff TE competition from an emerging Virgil Green.
  • Dwayne Allen – IND (ECR-122, ADP-111, Diff. -11)Much like Thomas, most of Allen’s value in 2014 came from the eight touchdowns he scored on only 29 catches. He is being drafted as the 11th overall TE yet will be splitting time with Coby Fleener. Earlier this offseason, the Colts also revealed that they are ditching their two-TE sets, meaning Allen should be falling even further in an offense where the ball will be flying all over the place.