1. FYI: I will be away this weekend drinking and cavorting with this motley crew and drafting in my dynasty league. Unfortunately, I will likely not be able to update the blog again until Monday. You can reach me via my Twitter and I’ll try to answer your questions in as timely a fashion as possible.

    And if you are in the ESPN league set up by sportsblogging, I should be in that draft room by 6 p.m EDT on Sunday.

    Good luck drafting, everyone!

     
  2. Sleeper of the Day - RB Jeremy Hill

    What if I was to tell you that you could get a running back with 200+ touches and loads of goal line chances in the 10th round of your draft?

    Is that something you might be interested in?

    With all due respect to Martin Landau and his Bob Ryan character from Entourage, any and every sane fantasy football owner out there should be interested in that kind of opportunity.

    Hill is just that player. Today’s release of BenJarvus Green-Ellis by the Bengals verified the foregone conclusion that Cincy’s RB2 job belonged to Hill. In Hue Jackson’s more run-centric offense, that should mean a lot of bang for your 10th round buck. In two seasons with Cincinnati, Green-Ellis averaged 262 touches, 988 yards and 6 touchdowns. 

    Unlike the Law Firm, Hill will be clearly behind Giovani Bernard and that should trim his touch numbers down by at least 40 or so. But equally unlike BJGE, Hill is just a flat out better player right now and it’s perfectly reasonable to expect him to do more with his chances than Green-Ellis has done recently. If he can muster 4.0 yards per carry in 2014, Hill stands to post over 800 yards on the ground. And Hill can also be useful in the aerial attack, something that Green-Ellis always struggled to do.

    I think Jeremy Hill in the 10th round is grand theft. I would even reach for him in the 8th if you find yourself in need at RB and the options are dwindling in a hurry. But the fact is that most of your league mates are only marginally aware of this player and they certainly aren’t likely to have him listed as a priority pick. Get a leg up on them by taking him rather than a D/ST, a backup QB or an aging WR with pick ten.

     
  3. The Johnny Manziel effect is even being felt in Cleveland Browns tailgating.

     

  4. If only Aaron Rodgers fantasy owners got extra points for style.

     

  5. Not very good news for any Browns QB, but TE Jordan Cameron did have 203 yards and a TD during Gordon’s two-game suspension to start the 2013 season.

     
  6. Sleeper of the Day - WR Rod Streater

    Streater is a classic third-year wide receiver breakout candidate in the era of second-year breakouts. The 6’ 3” 195 pounder from Temple finished 2013 with respectable numbers — 60 receptions, 888 yards & 4 touchdowns — in spite of a limited Raiders offense. From Week 11 to Week 17, Streater averaged eight targets and 66 yards per game, scoring three TDs. While it may not seem like much, 66 ypg projects out to a 1,063 yard season. That kind of production would be pretty phenomenal for a player who is going undrafted in virtually all leagues.

    If Streater can establish himself as the WR1 in Oakland, he should be in line for a target bump up to roughly 10 per game with new QB Matt Schaub. You won’t get any comments like “Good pick” or ” Nice” when you select Streater on draft day, but a 70/1110/6 stat line by season’s end should be all the kudos you need.

    Targeting Streater as your final round pick will also allow you get a jump on drafting your D/ST unit one round prior to many of your opponents.

     
  7. Last Minute Rising & Falling

    Tom Brady - As the chart from Fantasy Football Calculator clearly shows, people are buying into TB12 as an elite QB option once more. It seems that most folks are confident that Gronk is once again healthy and that Brady has developed enough of a rapport with his wide receivers that he’ll be much more effective this season if/when Gronk misses time. The addition of move TE Tim Wright should only help over the long term. My rankings reflect that I believe in that narrative as well.

    Robert Griffin III - The bottom has fallen out on RGIII. There is just no other way to describe it. Fantasy owners wanted to believe that this would be a big comeback season for the Redskins signal caller. The combination of Jay Gruden’s passing attack and Griffin’s innate athletic ability was supposed make him a Top 5 QB. That was the theory. The reality has been that RGIII looks confused and awkward in his new offense this preseason. Drafters have become terrified, and he is now going off outside the Top 10 quarterbacks. I even got him in the 12th round of a 12-team draft on Sunday night. For that price, the gamble is well worth it.

    Le’Veon Bell - Bell’s pot bust and the rumors of LeGarrette Blount taking over the goal line responsibilities in Pittsburgh have caused him to fall into the 3rd round recently. That makes him a big-time value, especially in PPR leagues. I’ve mentioned it before, but despite Blount’s size, he has never been a particularly adept goal line runner. If Bell retains that job by season’s end, you could be looking at RB1 numbers on the cheap.

    Bishop Sankey - Sankey started mock draft season as the “It Boy” of this rookie class. Drafters were convinced he would be the man in Tennessee and were willing to fork over an early 4th rounder for his services. Fumbling problems and coach speak have caused Sankey to sink like an anchor in the last week or so. Even all the way into the 8th round. If you’re a patient owner with strong wide receivers and you’re looking for an upside RB2 play in the middle rounds, this cat could be a league winner in the 2013 Ryan Mathews mold.

    Stevan Ridley - You’ve heard the rumors that Bill Belichick is finally so fed up with Ridley’s inability to hold onto the ball that his roster spot is in jeopardy. You’ve probably also heard the speculation that Ridley will land in Indianapolis and further muddy the increasingly hopeless Trent Richardson waters. All of these rumors make Ridley almost wholly undraftable to me. He has a value, for sure, but no one on the planet can clarify just what that value is right now. There is much more safety at other positions than spinning the roulette wheel on Ridley in the 8th.

    Knowshon Moreno - Moreno’s time in Miami has largely been a joke so far. He came in overweight and gimpy. Knowshon seems to have responded and looked healthy and motivated last week in his preseason debut vs. the Cowboys. In fact, at face value, he looked like a guy who would be reeling in Lamar Miller in no time. But then you’re reminded that he was playing against the Dallas D. Even so, the Dolphins RBBC seems like it could turn out to be a toss-up, making Moreno interesting if he can break away, even as his ADP spikes into the late 8th round.

    Roddy White - It may not look like much on the chart, but White’s ADP has risen a full round in the past month. Chalk it up to Hard Knocks and common sense. Roddy is healthy, finished 2013 with a flourish and has Julio Jones lined up opposite him again. This all adds up to borderline — if not solid — WR1 numbers and a 4th round steal. 

    Wes Welker - By now, you’re sicking of hearing about Welker here. His concussion issues have made him almost undraftable because I find it difficult to have faith that he will be able to finish the year. I do understand the PPR temptation, however. Just don’t spend the 6th round pick on him.

    Emmanuel Sanders - Sanders goes hand in hand with Welker. They have ostensibly flip-flopped in ADP since the Houston preseason tilt. I can’t say that I don’t endorse that line of thinking. Sanders should wind up as a low-end WR2 in 2014.

    Kelvin Benjamin - The big Panthers rookie has flown up draft boards in the past month. From the late 11th round all the way up to 8.05. That’s how impressive the kid from Florida State has looked. But — like fellow rookie wideout Brandin Cooks — the hype has driven him up too high. You can get safer bets like Kendall Wright, Eric Decker and Terrance Williams around that same time. 

    Zach Ertz - There hasn’t been that much volatility at the tight end position. Ertz is the most aggressive riser — all due respect to Travis Kelce — with the best chance of breaking out. His snap numbers should be way up in 2014 and his red zone ability could vault him into the Top 6 at TE. But he is not a sure thing. Ideally, you’ll want to hedge your bets with a safety play — Charles Clay, Heath Miller — or another breakout candidate.

    Rob Gronkowski - Remember how I said that it seemed like everyone was buying into Gronk being healthy at the top of this piece? Yeah, well maybe not so much. Now that drafts have gotten real, owners are more hesitant to take the plunge and Gronkowski has fallen a few spots. Nothing major, but he is now behind Julius Thomas in ADP again. Gronk is a make or break player in the 3rd round.

     
  8. This just in: Browns WR Josh Gordon is still suspended for the entire 2014 season. 

    Commissioner Roger Goodell chose to uphold the original ruling after multiple offseason incidents from Gordon.

    No surprise. Nothing else to see here. Carry on.

     
  9. Final Rookie Report Card

    As per usual, I will not be including any quarterbacks — despite the impressive preseasons of Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater — or any tight ends, because I don’t view any of them to be draftable in standard redraft leagues. Obviously, dynasty leagues are much different. If you would like to get my opinion on those players in a dynasty format, feel free to tweet me at FantasyBuddha on Twitter or message me on here.

    Mike Evans- Evans has made the most progress from beginning to end of any rookie in this class. He is perhaps the most impressive player on this list and should battle Kelvin Benjamin all season for TD supremacy amongst the newcomers. The sky really is the limit for Evans — who just turned 21 last week. His development should be glorious to watch. Grade: A

    Andre Williams - Williams quickly carved out a significant role in the Giants offense. The forced retirement of David Wilson helped to exacerbate things. Williams should be in line for upwards of 150 carries and plenty of touchdown opportunities. And if Rashad Jennings goes down, Williams could become a solid RB2 in his absence. Grade: B+

    Kelvin Benjamin - Benjamin has been the most pleasant surprise of the preseason. Thought to be raw — a bit of a project — coming out of the NFL Draft in May, Benjamin arrived with the Panthers looking far more polished and ready to play. His hands have been much more reliable, as well. A fast friendship with Cam Newton can only drive his fantasy value up. Grade: A

    Carlos Hyde - While Hyde is strictly a handcuff for now, he looks like the rookie back with the brightest future. If the Niners can fix their surprising O-line problems, Hyde can provide limited flex/bye week replacement value behind Frank Gore. If the veteran Gore — 31 years old — were to succumb to injury, Hyde has RB1 upside. That game changing potential is worth a late round flyer. Grade: B

    Brandin Cooks - Cooks looks like the shiny new toy in Sean Payton’s offense. His suddenness is borderline absurd and his ability to makes plays in a crowd could make him special. But his role — no matter how hopeful we are — is as yet undefined and that makes him far too risky in the 6th round. I love the player and hate how the hype has driven him up. Grade: B+

    Bishop Sankey - I say it each week, but Sankey has been the player we thought he was. The problem is that Tennessee had unrealistically higher hopes about him and he has slid backwards on the depth chart. Fumbling problems aside, this player will take over as the Titans lead runner sooner than later. Shonn Greene, after all, is still just Shonn Greene. Sankey’s tumble in ADP has him as a potential value pick in the 7th or 8th round. Prepare to be patient with him. Grade: D+

    Sammy Watkins - All we know about Watkins is what we’ve seen in practice and what he displayed at Clemson. E.J. Manuel does not inspire confidence that Watkins can compete with his fellow rookie receivers in terms of fantasy scoring. And it certainly doesn’t help that he’ll visit Revis Island twice this season. Watkins is a much better long term investment, but he will flash at least a couple of times in 2014. Grade: C-

    Jeremy Hill - Hill is locked in as the Bengals RB2 behind Giovani Bernard. That role should earn him at least 200 touches, with a smattering of goal line rushes thrown in. His 10th round ADP screams bargain, if not steal. Hill is not a special talent, he’s just in a very good spot. Grade: C

    Jordan Matthews - Matthews did not feature much in Week 3 of preseason because the Eagles clearly wanted to look at Jeremy Maclin. J-Matt has shown enough to think that he can be a future WR1 in Philly. Unfortunately, you need the future to be now. Barring injury to Maclin or Riley Cooper, Matthews’ upside is limited in 2014. Grade: B-

    Terrance West - West has lost any kind of perceived battle for Cleveland’s tailback job. Even running against reserves, he has yet to show us anything special. But West is behind the injury prone Ben Tate, so the future may not be so murky. Tate owners should try their best to secure West and he has speculative value if you’re looking to add numbers at RB. Grade: D

    Cody Latimer - Latimer is new to the weekly report card, due to the uncertainty with Wes Welker. I discussed that situation a few days ago, but still felt he was worth adding because of the Peyton Manning factor. Latimer has the potential to be the most reliable rookie on the board in the second half of the season if everything breaks right for him. Worth a final round lottery ticket. Grade: C

    Devonta Freeman - If you’ve been watching Hard Knocks, you’ve gotten to know more about Freeman off the field than his forecast on it. He has looked great in flashes and fantasy owners everywhere would surely name him the Falcons RB2 right now. But Freeman may or may not be buried on Atlanta’s depth chart behind Jacquizz Rodgers and/or Antone Smith. His status is too unstable to invest a 9th round pick in until we know more. Grade: C