Monday Morning Takeaway – Week 10

Indianapolis 27, Jacksonville 10


Over the past two weeks Vick Ballard had emerged as a decent RB2 starting in place of the injured Donald Brown. All week fantasy owners would read that Brown’s status for Thursday night tilt was uncertain after sitting out practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. Although Ballard opened the game in the Colts backfield, both he and Brown split time right up the middle alternating on every series. A 50-50 timeshare completely hinders the fantasy value of both players. Expecting a similar trend to continue as Ballard and Brown should be viewed as mid RB3.

Coming into Week 10 TY Hilton flashed across our watch list as a possible waiver addition. That notion was quickly thwarted as Donnie Avery (hip injury) started the game, retaining his role as the secondary option in the passing game behind veteran Reggie Wayne. Avery remains a very low end WR3 value while Hilton should be returned to the waiver wire.

Andre Luck’s 22 fantasy points, including two rushing touchdowns has propelled him to seventh amongst all quarterbacks. He is an excellent starter in week 11 facing the 30th ranked Patriots pass defense.


Cecil Shorts just keeps on producing at a high level despite the struggles of his team to draw defensive attention elsewhere. We should also note that he lone touchdown came at the hands of backup quarterback Chad Henne, meaning he is the preferred targets no matter who’s under center. Considering the Jags are playing from behind in most games, Shorts is a solid mid WR3. However, it would wise to sit him next week facing the stout Texans defense.

Justin Blackmon is awful.

Rashad Jennings is finding it tough sledding on a bad Jags team picking up 27 yards on 11 carries. With the passing game struggling most defenses will be playing eight in the box to shut down the run greatly limiting Jennings fantasy value to mid RB3 range.


New York 13, Cincinnati 31


Andre Brown, and not Ahmad Bradshaw started in the Giants backfield. Bradshaw was mixed into the contest toting the rock a team high 10 times picking up 57 hard fought yards.  However, he would put the ball on the carpet only to be seen on the sidelines for much of the game giving way to Brown’s seven carries for 65 yards and one touchdown. Already losing goal line touches, this is slowly becoming a concern for Bradshaw owners as a full RBBC is in effect.

Side note; we’re reading postgame that Bradshaw required X-rays. He would not divulge what body part was to be examined, but claims it wasn’t his troublesome foot. That leaves us to speculate his neck injury could be flaring up.

Don’t even ask me what’s wrong with Eli Manning (215 yards, two interceptions) because I have no clue. I will say his accuracy is the worst I’ve ever seen constantly missing wide open targets. Arm fatigue has been reported, but that won’t help fantasy owners as Manning is a lineup lock. Thankfully the Giants have a bye in week 11 to get the train back on track.


Andy Dalton and the Bengals absolutely worked over the G-Men pinning them to the mat and never letting up. Dalton has played at a high level in his second season as the Bengals starting quarterback, and remains a low end QB1. Just be aware of his fantasy playoff schedule including week 14 vs the Cowboys and week 16 at Pittsburgh.

Jermaine Gresham has been a tough nut to crack. His early season production had owners begging for mercy. However, over the past 4 games Gresham has eclipsed 7 fantasy point in three of his past four games rewarding those fantasy owners who had the patience to wait out his slow start. Averaging six targets per game Gresham has lower TE1 value.


Tennessee 37, Miami 3


The early games saw a number of lopsided victories and that was highlighted by the beat down handed out by the Titans. This game was a bit skewed by four Miami turnovers leading to short scoring drives for the Titans.

Jake Locker stepped in as the Titans starting quarterback hooking up with Kendall Wright for the opening touchdown of the game. Locker would also find tight end Jared Cook for over the shoulder dime on a 26 yard touchdown. Despite the lopsided score, Locker performance was marred by the Fins turnovers. Even more unnerving is trying to define which Titans wide receiver to trust moving forward.


Reggie Bush started in the Dolphins backfield, but abruptly fumbled on the Fins second possession. He was then replaced in the backfield by Daniel Thomas who took over as Miami’s featured running back. This would mark the third straight game that Thomas has played more snaps than Bush. In fact, third stringer Lamar Miller saw action in front of Bush. As a Bush owner myself, watching this rotation of running backs is taking years off my life. Already losing goal line looks, Bush is slipping into that mid RB3 range, no longer a lineup lock.


Detroit 24, Minnesota 34


The value of Titus Young has been on the steady incline since the injury to Nate Burleson. In this game Young was targeted seven times hauling in four receptions including a one yard touchdown. Still a distant second to Megatron in targets, Young certainly has value, but more along the lines of a mid / lower WR3.

While Young’s value has been on the rise, Ryan Broyles has been on a downhill slide. Getting drummed by the Vikings, this would have been an excellent opportunity for Broyles to emerge. Instead he finished with a meager one reception for six yards. Broyles does have limited value along the lines of a WR5, meaning he isn’t “startable” but his stock would skyrocket should the injury prone Titus Young go down.

Mikel Leshoure is yet another borderline starter of late. Coming off a three touchdown game against the Jags one week ago, Leshoure was swallowed up by a swarming Vikings front seven limiting the second year running back to 43 yards on 13 carries. The problem we find is backup Joique Bell plays better in the passing game. As we know the Lions are a team predicated upon the pass, especially when trailing (about sums up their entire season). Averaging 13 carries per game over the past six games just won’t get it done in fantasy lineups as Leshoure should be viewed as a higher RB3.


The big news entering this game was the inactive status for wide receiver Percy Harvin. Those who played off this news and started tight end Kyle Rudolph were heavily rewarded as the “Red Nosed Reindeer” found endzone for the first time since week six. With a bye upcoming, giving Harvin a week to recover, Rudolph will return to a low end TE1.

Who the heck is Jarius Wright? The rookie wide receiver filled in for Percy Harvin gaining 65 yards on three receptions including a three yard touchdown grab. Don’t go running out and adding Wright as most of his yardage came on one 54 yard catch, while Harvin should be back after the Vikings week 11 bye.


Buffalo 31, New England 37


The Bills gave the Patriots all they could handle, but in the end it simply wasn’t enough. On the upside for fantasy owners, spot starter Ryan Fitzpatrick (337 yards, two touchdowns) delivered in what was billed as a plus matchup facing the 30th ranked New England pass defense. Good to know he can still get it done when called upon.

On the receiving end was Steve Johnson (86 yards), Donald Jones (74 yards, one touchdown) and Scott Chandler (65 yards, one touchdown). Jones has carved out space in the Bills passing attack averaging 10 fantasy points over the past three games. Despite his production, I’m nervous recommending a second option in Buffalo when playing better opponents. Jones would be worth adding if you are desperate at wide receiver, but he is still a sketchy start.

Exiting last week’s game the coaching staff and quarterback promised we’d see an increased usage of CJ Spiller. That did not come to fruition as Fred Jackson paced the team in carries with 16 for 80 yards and two touchdowns, but also fumbled twice. It’s a damn shame that Spiller is given a full workload as he is clearly the better of the two runners. However, playing in a full on RBBC will limit both players, but based on talent alone each are a low end RB2. We should note that Jackson was knocked unconscious at the end of the game so monitor his status in the coming week.


The player of interest entering this game was the guy who didn’t even suit up, tight end Aaron Hernandez.  Ruled inactive before the game, Hernandez is becoming a real concern after missing his sixth game of the season following a week two high ankle sprain. Hopefully the added rest will get this TE1 back up and running.

We should also discuss the continued presence of running back Danny Woodhead with five touches for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Although production is a solid indicator of fantasy value, Woodhead’s limited use makes him a sketchy starter. Consider the Patriots scat back a lower RB3, barely even a desperation spot start.


Atlanta 27, New Orleans 31


There’s very little I can tell you about the Falcons you don’t already know. Turner is a plodding runner that needs find the endzone in order to have value. Matt Ryan is now amongst the games top level fantasy quarterbacks while Tony Gonzalez continues to defy his age.

The lone piece of insight I can report is Julio Jones missing nearly half of the game after suffering a “lower leg injury”.  Jones did return to the game and make a number of spectacular catches including a 52 yard toss from Matt Ryan. Proving healthy enough to return should encourage fantasy owners to keep Jones in their lineup when making preparations for next week’s games.


Chris Ivory is a man possessed ripping off one of the best runs of the season in the early 1st quarter resulting in a 56 yard touchdown. Ivory runs with violence emulating Marshawn Lynch, but nowhere near the same number of carries. Regardless of Ivory’s dominance, it was Mark Ingram leading the team in carries at 16. With not discernible trend in sight, the Saints are arguably the worst RBBC in the NFL, as Ivory should remain mid RB3.



San Diego 24, Tampa Bay 34


Danario Alexander jumped onto the fantasy headlines scoring an 80 yard touchdown on the Chargers opening possession finishing the game with 134 yards total. Rumors circulated before the game that Alexander would bypass Robert Meachem as the Chargers #2 WR. Get ready to break the bank, because Alexander will be a favorite as a waiver wire addition. Just remember he is still the third option behind Floyd and Antonio Gates. However, given the high volume of passes Alexander should be viewed as a mid WR3 moving forward.


This game was dominated by the Bucs DST able to score two touchdowns in the contest while holding Chargers running back Ryan Mathews to 54 yards. When the defense lays the smackdown we typically see that teams offense play very conservative and milk the clock, hence the Bucs low fantasy production. Moving forward we shouldn’t shy away from starting Josh Freeman, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and of course Doug Martin.


Denver 36, Carolina 14


Brandon Stokley has become a player of intrigue scoring his fourth touchdown of the year. However, averaging 36 yards per game, and playing third fiddle behind Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas, Stokley’s value is amongst the high end WR4.

Much credit should also be given the Broncos defense for harassing Cam Newton all game long including seven sacks, two touchdowns and a safety. Already a strong unit, the improved play from the offense is generating increased opportunity as the Broncos are now amongst the elite fantasy option as a high level DST1.

Those still holding out hope that Jacob Tamme will resurface as a fantasy option can safely drop the Broncos tight end. Tamme hasn’t surpassed five fantasy points since week 1.


Greg Olsen has been a boom or bust proposition this season. This week he was dynamite, catching nine balls for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Olsen has been targeted 19 times over the past two games retaining his lower TE1 status.

Cam Newton’s inaccuracy is an obvious and reoccurring trend. Facing a stiff Denver defense Newton managed to throw two interceptions, including a pick six in the early third quarter. Newton is still a fantasy starter due to his running abilities, but amongst the lower QB1 options, not the player we drafted in the early second round.

DeAngelo Williams has been absolutely miserable this season as evident by his seven touches for 23 yards. He is nothing more than a Jonathan Stewart handcuff, and could be dropped otherwise.


Oakland 20, Baltimore 55


With a declining defense, the Raiders will likely be playing from behind in most games severely upgrading the fantasy value of all pass catchers. Although Denarius Moore is the poster child for this trend, Darrius Heyward-Bey is also a player on the rise now eclipsing seven fantasy points in four straight games.  If available, Heyward-Bey is most certainly worth picking up this week, especially with the league’s worst defense next on the schedule (New Orleans).

With running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson sidelined by ankle injuries, it was Marcel Reece, and not Taiwan Jones, leading the way for Oakland ground game. Reece is built more like a tight end meaning his greatest asset is in the passing game. However, gaining 13 carries also presents a tremendous amount of upside as a duel threat. Should McFadden’s injury linger through this week, Reece’s value would linger in the mid RB2 range.


Baltimore absolutely dumptrucked the Raiders on Sunday.  In this game it was the usual suspects for the Ravens as Torrey Smith catching 67 yards and two touchdowns, followed up by Ray Rice 68 yards and one touchdown. Flacco even got into the mix with 341 yards, three passing touchdowns capped off by a one yard TD plunge.

The only player of note was the return of tight end Dennis Pitta. After a fast start to the season Pitta went missing over the past five games averaging 2.4 fantasy points over that stretch. Sporadic production is a killer in fantasy football as Pitta needs to piece together another game before buying in.


New York 7, Seattle 28


Mark Sanchez dismal season just keeps getting worse as the Jets failed to produce a single offensive point. In this game Sanchez threw a terrible red zone interception after triple clutching a pass intended for tight end Dustin Keller. U-G-L-Y, you ugly.


As a writer there are times when I must admit that I was flat out wrong. First I want to apologize to Sydney Rice. I tagged him as injury prone and with a rookie quarterback no way he becomes an every week starter. Let me tell you that my foot does not taste good as Rice is now amongst the mid WR3 category.

The second player on my list of apologies is Russell Wilson. The rookie has progressed leaps and bound every week. Although Wilson is not yet fantasy worthy, he does add validity to my third apology, Golden Tate. In this game Tate skied over the defender on a bomb from Wilson to haul in a 38 yard bomb. He later tossed a touchdown to Sydney Rice on a end-around finishing the day with 16 fantasy points. Tate’s production has been sporadic on the season, but worthy of starter consideration when he draws a plus matchup.


Dallas 38, Philadelphia 23


In the battle of two teams who can’t-get-right it was the Dallas DST leading the way for fantasy owners. In this game the Boys scored three times including; a punt return, an interception and a fumble recovery (a defensive trifecta). Still not a dominant powerhouse, should you need defensive help Dallas will face an anemic Cleveland offense next week.

Felix Jones must have bribed the coaching staff during the week because he finally saw a full workload getting 19 touches for 103 yards and capped off by a receiving touchdown. I’m not ready to anoint Jones and every week starter, but he does have tasty matchup with the Browns upcoming. Consider Jones a lower RB2.


The biggest news of the day will certainly be the injury to Eagles quarterback Michael Vick who was seen leaving the game after hitting his head on the turf. I never want to question a man’s health, but I must say that of all the hits Vick has taken throughout his career, that was very mild. I’m left wondering if Vick has had enough with these Eagles.

To replace Vick stepped in rookie Nick Foles. Foles played “OK” considering all the circumstances surrounding the situation highlighted by a 44 yard bomb to Jeremy Maclin for a touchdown on busted coverage. Foles has zero fantasy value as Vick will most likely return to the starting role when cleared.


St. Louis 24, San Francisco 24


Heeeee’s baaaaaack. Danny Amendola started the game for the Rams hauling 11 of his team high 12 targets amassing 102 yards against formidable 9ers defense. He was seen shaking his injured arm after a long kick return, but remained in the game. Amendola has resumed his rightful place amongst fantasy football’s WR2’s.

So much for the RBBC that has plagued Steven Jackson owners as Jackson went beast mode rumbling for season high 18 fantasy points. Made even more impressive was facing the league’s best rushing defense. Dare I say that S-Jax is a must start at home next week against the 27th ranked Jet rush defense.


Alex Smith was forced to leave the game after taking a vicious shot to the back of the head. That forced second year quarterback Colin Kaepernick into action. Like many young quarterbacks, Kaepernick found trouble reading the defense allowing the Rams to play downhill and limit the production of Frank Gore until a late game touchdown scamper. What Kaepernick lacks in passing efficiency, he makes up for with his leg punching in a rushing touchdown. Kaepernick has limited fantasy value as we would expect Smith to return next week.

Michael Crabtree had another solid performance with 70 yards and touchdown. However, much of his damage was done with Smith in the lineup. Regardless of who is under center next week, Crabtree is a mid WR4 facing the stiff Chicago pass defense. For the astute fantasy owner you will notice a tasty week 12 matchup against burnable Saints secondary.


Houston 13, Chicago 6


The headline for this game was the weather as heavy rain pounded this contest all game long. As we know, adverse weather will inhibit the fantasy production of any passing game. That was most evident by Arian Foster becoming the only fantasy relevant player for the Texans. Nothing to see here. Move along.


Like Alex Smith and Michael Vick above, Jay Cutler was rocked on a helmet-to-helmet blow forcing him to leave the game.

Playing in poor weather, with Matt Forte finding little running against the league 2nd ranked rush defense, Bears backup Jason Campbell was forced to throw the football after falling behind. Brandon Marshall owners will be happy to see Campbell laser locking the WR1 as Marshall finished the day with 107 yards. However, it doesn’t get any easier for the Bears traveling to San Francisco.


Week 11 byes – Minnestoa, New York Giants, Seattle and Tennessee


“We never said it would be easy, we said it would be worth it”

Coach Briody

About Eric Hartvigson