Football with the Fantasy Freak: Week 13


Football with the Fantasy Freak: Week 13

Every Friday, Fantasy Football Draft Guides Scott Gramling (a.k.a. The Fantasy Freak) will help you make the tough decisions for your fantasy teamthe sneaky sleepers that could make or break your matchup, as well as those players you may want to consider leaving on your fantasy bench. He also delves into a hot topic with our Question of the Week. Follow Scott on Twitter @nflfantasyfreak, and watch him every Friday on UNO's Sports Tonight at 6:30 pm. To submit a question to be considered for appearing on the air, do so through Twitter@CSNNE or through our Facebook page at www.facebook.comcsnne.

Week 13 Sleeper of the Week: Jets Defense
I know the Jets are coming off a game in which they gave up 49 points to the Patriots, but a) some of those points were due to mistakes made by the Jets offense and special teams and b) it was the Patriots, who have the NFLs top offense. Arizonas offense is a far cry from New Englands, especially with rookie Ryan Lindley making his second career start as Kevin Kolb continues to be sidelined with a rib injury. Lindley was awful against the Rams, throwing four interceptions, two of which were pick-sixes. Not only do I like the Jets in this matchup, but I like them next week too, against Jacksonville. And with Tennessees offense such a mess that the Titans fired offensive coordinator Chris Palmer this week, Id consider starting the Jets defense against them the following week. Theres not a fantasy defense in the league with a more attractive three-week stretch coming up than the Jets have with Arizona, Jacksonville and Tennessee.

Week 13 Sleeper No. 2: Eagles RB Bryce Brown
LeSean McCoy remains in Phase 1 of his recovery from a concussion, which means Brown will get the start on Sunday against the Cowboys. With Philadelphias season in the tank, its certainly possible that McCoy will remain sidelined far beyond Sunday, especially if Brown performs like he did while racking up 189 yards and 2 TDs on 23 touches on Monday night against the Panthers. The one downside to Browns performance on Monday is that he lost two fumbles, but I dont expect that to be a factor in terms of costing him playing time, and thats because Philadelphia is simply playing out the string. He ran with authority while showing an impressive combination of speed and power. With the way Andy Reid likes to ride one running back as opposed to using a committee, theres no reason why Brown cant be a top-10 fantasy running back not only for Week 13, but for as long as McCoy remains sidelined.

Week 13 Sleeper No. 3: Lions RB Ryan Broyles
Lions receiver Titus Young was suspended by head coach Jim Schwartz for the Thanskgiving Day gamethe Detroit Free Press reported this week that Young had "purposely lined up in the wrong spot on the field multiple times" in Detroit's Week 11 loss to the Packers. Broyles stepped in as the starting receiver opposite Calvin Johnson against the Texans on Thanskgiving, and Broyles responded with six catches for 126 yards. Young returned to practice this week but was running with the Lions backups, signaling that Broyles will likely remain in the starting lineup for a favorable matchup against a Colts defense that has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

Week 13 Bust No. 1: All Steelers running backs
Each of the Steelers running backsRashad Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Chris Raineylost a fumble in the teams Week 12 loss to the Browns, as the team fumbled eight times while losing five of them. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was quoted this week as saying that he "wants to stay with a primary back for now," so hes clearly been convinced that the committee approach is not working. Tomlin singled out Dwyer as having been the most consistent and productive guy, and the numbers bear that out: Dwyer has averaged 4.4 yards on 98 carries this season and posted back-to-back 100-yard games as the feature back in Weeks 7 and 8 while Redman and Mendenhall were sidelined. As long as Dwyer remains healthy, hes the only Steelers running back who can be started in fantasy leagues, but not until Ben Roethlisberger returns to the lineup to keep opposing defenses from being able to focus on stopping the Pittsburgh running game.
Week 13 Bust No. 2: Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams
I know Williams is slated to get the start against the Chiefs if Jonathan Stewart cant go because of an ankle sprain, but that doesnt mean he should be in your fantasy lineup. Williams has been averaged only 3.2 yards per carry this season, and in the two games Stewart missed earlier this season, Williams totaled just 77 yards from scrimmage with no touchdowns over the two games.

Week 13 Bust No. 3: Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno
After not having touched the ball since Week 2, Knowshon Moreno made a surprise start in the absence of Willis McGahee and gained 111 yards from scrimmage on 24 touches in Week 12. The impressive performance came against the Chiefs, however, who this season have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Moreno this week faces a Tampa Bay defense that allows the fewest rushing yards per game (81.5) and carry (3.4) in the NFL.

Question of the Week:
Is Giants rookie RB David Wilson worth picking up now that Andre Brown is out for the season?
Its his time, is what Tom Coughlin said this week about Wilson. I know the Giants signed both Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin, but Im assuming thats for running back depth and that Wilson will be the No. 2 back behind Ahmad Bradshaw for as long as he holds onto the football and doesnt miss any blocking assignments that get Eli Manning killed. If youre an Ahmad Bradshaw owner and Wilson is available on your leagues waiver wire, you must pick up Wilson as insurance. If you dont have Bradshaw but have some dead weight among the running backs on your roster, you may want to roll the dice and pick Wilson up. Id consider him one of the top fantasy backup running backs because of the fact that Bradshaw is injury-prone and because Wilson would have considerable upside in a high-scoring offense if he were to get the starting role should something happen to Bradshaw.

Injury Update:
CHICAGO RB Matt Forte (sprained ankle) expects to play, but could be limited . . . MINNESOTA WR Percy Harvin (ankle) is doubtful to play . . . GREEN BAY WR Greg Jennings (groin) practiced fully on Thursday and it appears that he will be able to suit for the first time since Week 4 . . . ST. LOUIS WR Danny Amendola (heel) is doubtful to play on Sunday . . . CAROLINA RB Jonathan Stewart (two sprained ankles) is not expected to play this weekend . . . DETROIT RB Mikel Leshoure (ankle) returned to practice on Thursday and is probable this weekend . . . JACKSONVILLE top WRs Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and Justin Blackmon (groin) both missed Thursdays practice and are questionable for Sunday. RBs Maurice Jones-Drew and Jalen Parmele (groin) are both out . . . NEW ENGLAND TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm) will not play on Sunday, but could return in Week 14 . . . HOUSTON RB Ben Tate (hamstring) expects to return to the field for the first time since Week 7 . . . PITTSBURGH QB Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder, ribs) is doubtful to play on Sunday, but the Steelers could wait until right before game time to determine if he or Charlie Batch will start . . . CLEVELAND QB Brandon Weeden (concussion) practiced fully on Thursday and is on track to start in Oakland . . . OAKLAND RB Darren McFadden (sprained ankle) will return to action Sunday, but will not get a full workload . . . CINCINNATI WRs Andrew Hawkins (knee) and Mohamed Sanu (foot) are both questionable. Hawkins has a better chance of playing and Sanu may be a game-time decision . . . PHILADELPHIA RB LeSean McCoy (concussion) remains out indefinitely . . . DALLAS RB DeMarco Murray (foot) expects to play for the first time since Week 6. WR Miles Austin (hamstring, hip) was limited in Thursdays practice and is listed as questionable.

Farrell says Red Sox clubhouse anticipating trade

Farrell says Red Sox clubhouse anticipating trade

BOSTON — John Farrell might have stopped short of actually stumping for a deal. Still, the Red Sox manager on Thursday morning spoke highly of the potential impact of a trade and indicated his players are waiting to see what this front office can add to a first-place team.

From a morale perspective, Farrell sees a potential boon in an acquisition.

“I think it’s always a plus,” Farrell said. “It’s a strong sign that everyone is aligned to support, add to, fortify — however you want to describe it — an area of need. And I think there’s a lot that goes into — there’s almost an injection of maybe that support or, further momentum that, OK, this is going to better equip us to go deep into the season.”

The players, Farrell said, have an anticipation for the possibility of a trade as well.

“I think there is. I think players carry that,” Farrell said. “They’re well in tune. Maybe some of them might be wondering OK, am I out?...So there’s a tentative period of time that we’ll go through here in the next 10-14 days. But adding to [the team] I think is always a positive.”

A day earlier, Farrell noted the improvement the Yankees made in their trade for Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.  


Morning Skate: Sabres' Okposo back on the ice


Morning Skate: Sabres' Okposo back on the ice

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while officially in the Dead Zone of the NHL offseason.

*A great sight to see is Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo taking the ice in a summer league in Minnesota after a health scare at the end of last season.

*Nolan Patrick might be fresh off abdominal surgery, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be rushed if he plays for the Flyers.

*Here’s an offseason power ranking of the offseason moves for the NHL teams, and the Bruins rank 28th out of 31 teams with the organization being “stuck” in the estimation of this writer. I don’t disagree that they’re kind of paralyzed right now until David Pastrnak signs an extension, with other things being held up because of that. The Paul Postma and Kenny Agostino signings were about as small time as you can get on July 1. But the Bruins’ goal for this summer wasn’t to win in the offseason moves department, but instead continue to let their interesting mix of young players and established veterans grow into an effective mix. Winning the offseason power rankings really isn’t the thing for the Black and Gold, and that’s perfectly okay given their situation.

*There’s a wide gap between the Detroit Red Wings and Tomas Tatar with salary arbitration looming.

*It’s a good thing that Barstool Sports is here to ask the really tough questions, like whether Jaromir Jagr is being treated unfairly by NHL teams because of his hair.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Johnny Gaudreau really high on the window for the Calgary Flames to compete over the next three years with the young, talented group they have in place.  

*Nico Hischier is looking to be a playmaking force for the New Jersey Devils right off the bat after being the No. 1 overall pick in Jersey.

*A slew of soon-to-be college sophomores starred in development camps across the NHL and showed what they learned at the NCAA level.

*Classy tweet from the Arizona Coyotes wishing war hero and distinguished statesman John McCain well in his battle with brain cancer.

*Players that are on AHL contracts will be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics this season. While the loss of NHL participation would be a difficult blow to the Olympics and fans, part of me is happy that some of these AHL guys will get to experience playing for their country when they might not have been able to otherwise.  

*For something completely different: Paul Pierce sees some very good things with first-round pick Jayson Tatum, but he’ll need to see “killer instinct” from the Celtics rookie for him to live up to the Pierce comparisons.