Backfield breakdown entering Week 13 

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
videoOakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray isn’t a sure thing to play in Week 13, as he recovers from a concussion suffered in the Week 12 Thursday night game, but even if he is deemed playable, my advice to fantasy owners is to keep expectations in check. Murray -- the Central Florida product many of us have been begging the Raiders to use the past two months while Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew plodded their way to irrelevant statistics -- burst out against the Kansas City Chiefs with touchdowns on two of his four carries, including an electric 90-yard jaunt. Then he was hurt. Now fantasy owners are conflicted.

While I acknowledge Murray is worth adding in pretty much any league in case he’s a future star, there are several reasons why relying on him is dangerous, and why the fact he was moved into the starter’s role on our ESPN Fantasy running back depth chart doesn’t tell enough of the story.

2014 rankings update: Gordon top-10 WR 

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25

videoFirst of all, let's wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all. Second, remember that there is a trio of sure-to-be-exciting football games Thursday, so get your lineups in early! Here is the latest edition of the end-of-season rankings, as we aim to define value for future weeks and, for many of you, the playoff ones. Most of you can no longer make trades, but hopefully this still helps in decision-making. And remember, the Week 13 rankings will be posted Wednesday.

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Four Downs: Consider Crowell an RB2 

November, 23, 2014
Nov 23
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesIsaiah Crowell carried the ball 12 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns in Week 12.
When Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon achieved top fantasy status at his position last season, he and tight end Jordan Cameron were basically the lone Browns players worth relying on. The forgettable tandem of Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden split quarterbacking duties after Brian Hoyer went down with injury, and the team’s leading rusher with 377 yards on a sad 2.7 yards per carry was the currently unemployed Willis McGahee. The current Browns are deep and considerably more talented on offense, and as Gordon made his 2014 season debut with an impressive eight receptions for 120 yards in Sunday’s 26-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons, it was running back Isaiah Crowell who led the team in fantasy points with 20.

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Week 12 flex rankings 

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20

DeMarco MurraySteve Flynn/USA TODAY SportsDeMarco Murray is back on top of the flex rankings after taking his bye week.
By now you should be well aware that the ESPN trade deadline has passed, making it tougher to change the look of a fantasy roster. But guess what? You still have to put in a lineup for Week 12, and we’re here to help with our flex rankings. We combine the best of the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends into one list and then it’s up to you to decide your active roster. There’s certainly plenty of information at ESPN Fantasy to aid you.

As always, best of luck to all in Week 12 and beyond!

1. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: For perspective, he’s the top non-QB in ESPN fantasy scoring, ninth overall, and there's no reason to expect he’ll fall apart. Look at the Dallas schedule!

2. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Has scored a touchdown in five consecutive games, but the Chiefs seem to be underutilizing him. Only 22 catches all season? They still face the Raiders twice, which should help!

3. Matt Forte, RB, Bears: He has three times the receptions of Charles. Just seems odd. Forte could reach 100 catches.

4. Arian Foster, RB, Texans: Will he play or won’t he? Foster has destroyed the Bengals' defense in the past, so we really, really want him to play, but be prepared.

5. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers: Not a ton of rushing yards, but plenty of fantasy points. And a nice schedule as well.

6. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos: Working on a streak with seven consecutive games of more than 100 receiving yards. He’s matchup proof.

7. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers

8. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: Let’s move past the fact he’s been a rather large disappointment and enjoy what should be a friendly matchup.

9. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys

10. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks: Not a good matchup. Might be ranked too generously here, but he has been playing well lately.

11. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints

12. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: Welcome to Revis Island! Show him what he’s won! It’s a six-point fantasy game! Obviously we think he can do better.

13. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers

14. Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens: He’s actually seventh in the league in rushing -- in case you keep thinking Bernard Pierce is relevant.

15. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears

16. Denard Robinson, RB, Jaguars: He’s probably not going for 201 yards and four touchdowns, which is what the Colts permitted last week, but dare to dream.

17. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals: Controversy! The rookie pushes aside the other young star! Well, it looks that way this week.

[+] EnlargeA.J. Green
AP Photo/Rogelio SolisSurprisingly, A.J. Green isn't the highest-ranked Bengal in the flex rankings.
18. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: How about the fact Green isn’t the top Bengal? We’re full of controversy today. I still think Green is far from 100 percent.

19. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles: He and Mark Sanchez get along just fine. Not a worry. The Titans' secondary will fix everything.

20. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: Has averaged 88 rushing yards the past two games, for all who consider him too old to help.

21. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: I admit, it sure looks like he’s going to play in every regular-season game. I’m glad I was incorrect if, you know, that ends up occurring.

22. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears

23. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts

24. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers: Has scored more fantasy points the past three weeks than his overrated, veteran teammate who was nearly a top-10 wide receiver last season.

25. Josh Gordon, WR, Browns: Never heard of him. Oh, and please stay outta trouble, Josh.

26. C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos: A good play, not a sure thing.

27. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos: A great play when he is a sure thing. Currently dealing with a concussion.

28. Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants

29. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers

30. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: His owners surely must have noticed his previous touchdown came in Week 3. And yet nobody would sit him.

31. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins

32. Golden Tate, WR, Lions

33. Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills: When and where they play the Bills-Jets game, if it’s altered at all due to ridiculous snow amounts, isn’t really a fantasy factor yet. The game will be played this weekend.

34. Roddy White, WR, Falcons

35. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints

36. Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals: Certainly trending the wrong direction, and this is not a friendly matchup.

37. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants

38. Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins

39. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins

40. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans

41. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins: And you thought his first season with Washington would be completely smooth sailing. Statistically at least, it kind of has been.

42. Tre Mason, RB, Rams: Ran all over the Broncos; now we just need to see consistency.

[+] EnlargeIsaiah Crowell
AP Photo/David RichardIsaiah Crowell looks to be the top Browns option at running back with Ben Tate gone.
43. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns: The opportunity is there to be a safe RB2. But even with Ben Tate being released (and winding up with the Vikings), he needs to play well to keep the role.

44. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

45. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots

46. Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: Not that it’s terribly relevant, but only 12 wide receivers scored more fantasy points last season. I think the talent is still there. Something’s missing.

47. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals: Not a great play this weekend. Let’s see how the time share progresses.

48. Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles: Hard to believe, but even he has outscored LeSean McCoy. Also has 51 points the past three games.

49. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts

50. Trent Richardson, RB, Colts: The extra volume will be nice, I suppose, but keep expectations in check now that Ahmad Bradshaw is done. The Colts could simply throw on literally every play now. Well, probably not.

51. Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons

52. Brandon LaFell, WR, Patriots

53. Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens: Definitely the Baltimore wide receiver to own currently.

54. Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers: Definitely the San Francisco wide receiver to own currently.

55. Chris Ivory, RB, Jets: Definitely the Jets running back to own currently.

56. Joique Bell, RB, Lions: We can keep playing this game. This is the Lions WR to …

57. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals … and the game stops here.

58. Jonas Gray, RB, Patriots: I like him, and blogged about him before his first snaps, but still, it’s time to sell.

59. Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans: Doesn’t look he’ll be the top offensive rookie this season. But you can count on him for five or six points per week.

60. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers

61. Percy Harvin, WR, Jets: One of these weeks he’ll score, like, 30 fantasy points.

62. Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers

63. Larry Donnell, TE, Giants

64. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills: Important guy to watch if healthy. There’s upside despite his age.

65. Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles: Well, he’s clearly not going to catch anywhere close to 70 passes. Or 50.

[+] EnlargeKeenan Allen
Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY SportsKeenan Allen has been a mild disappointment this season, scoring just one touchdown.
66. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: First on team by a lot in targets and receptions, second in receiving yards, but one touchdown is a problem. A big problem. And there’s little reason to think more are coming.

67. Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings: The good news for him is Adrian Peterson is done. The bad news is they signed Ben Tate. McKinnon hasn’t been bad, but he doesn’t get in the end zone. Not that Tate is better. It’s a shame McKinnon hasn’t broken out.

68. Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals

69. Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears

70. Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos: Teammate Demaryius Thomas boasts more than twice the targets and a ton of yards. But this Thomas has twice as many touchdowns. Low rank this week due to the ankle sprain concerns. He might not even play.

71. Marques Colston, WR, Saints: Really isn’t all that good anymore. I think we’re all overrating him.

72. Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots: Speaking of the “o” word. Nice player, but not nearly as productive as his owners probably realize.

73. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks

74. Cecil Shorts III, WR, Jaguars: It’s a good time to invest in him. The Jaguars have done well against the Colts, too.

75. Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers: The Bucs are in no hurry, but fantasy owners would like to see Sims do something positive.

76. Terrance West, RB, Browns: A wise handcuff at this point.

77. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants: Giants have a friendly schedule and this fellow sees many targets. Good time to invest here as well, though chances are you’ve got three better WR options.

78. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: Tough injury and matchup this week. Try to avoid.

79. Bryce Brown, RB, Bills

80. Kenny Stills, WR, Saints: This is the Saints WR who should really emerge with Brandin Cooks out.

81. Andrew Hawkins, WR, Browns: Should still help PPR owners, despite Gordon’s return.

82. Alfred Blue, RB, Texans: Has proved himself in case Foster can’t go. Instant RB2 Sunday if Foster sits.

83. Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins

84. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys

85. Reggie Bush, RB, Lions: Last topped five fantasy points in Week 3. So why are you still thinking of playing him?

86. Matt Asiata, RB, Vikings: Best time to use him is in a two-week playoff when you’re down big and need a three-touchdown performance. He’s currently questionable for Sunday with a concussion.

87. Steve Smith, WR, Ravens

88. Eric Decker, WR, Jets

89. Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars

90. Daniel Herron, RB, Colts: Ohio State product isn’t special, but neither is Trent Richardson.

91. Terrance Williams, WR, Cowboys

92. Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers

93. Kendall Wright, WR, Titans

94. Kenny Britt, WR, Rams: Comes off best game in years, but he’s burned a lot of fantasy bridges.

95. Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs: When Alex Smith is looking for a red zone target, here’s where he looks. He just doesn’t look too often.

96. Bobby Rainey, RB, Buccaneers: Could’ve been a productive flex option for us, but the Bucs said no.

97. Juwan Thompson, RB, Broncos: Easy to see a scenario in which he soon matters.

98. James Jones, WR, Raiders

99. Coby Fleener, TE, Colts

100. Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: He used to be good. And no, there’s no guarantee Latavius Murray gets enough touches to matter.

Others: Wes Welker, WR, Broncos; Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins; Branden Oliver, RB, Chargers; John Brown, WR, Cardinals; Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders; Justin Hunter, WR, Titans; Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs; Theo Riddick, RB, Lions; Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs; Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Ravens; Chris Johnson, RB, Jets; Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons; Roy Helu, RB, Redskins; Andre Williams, RB, Giants

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Ranks reaction: Assessing Bengals RBs 

November, 19, 2014
Nov 19
Jeremy HillJohn Grieshop/Getty ImagesJeremy Hill has 90 more yards from scrimmage than Giovani Bernard on two fewer touches.

While the return of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon to active duty might be the biggest story coming out of Ohio and in fantasy football in general, it’s not like he’s pushing aside a top-10 option or overcoming some major injury. Gordon is a fantasy monster, and while I ranked him a bit conservatively for his Week 12 season debut in comparison to him finishing as fantasy’s No. 1 wide receiver last season, I’m actually more interested in how the other Ohio team handles its running back situation.

Giovani Bernard is slated to return from injuries to his hip and clavicle -- who knows for sure what’s really ailing him? -- but bruising rookie Jeremy Hill has played so well that Bernard owners might prefer the clarity of having him not play at all.

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2014 rankings update: Trade deadline tips 

November, 18, 2014
Nov 18

Do you know when your fantasy football trade deadline is? For those in ESPN standard leagues, you're really running out of time, as all trades need to be accepted by Wednesday at noon ET, but for those who compete on other sites, check your league rules. It's not critical that most teams make trades, but if your roster has serious needs that free agency can't solve, an extra top-10 quarterback, bench stars or injured options you just can't wait for, start making offers!

In the meantime, we'll discuss buying low and selling high in the latest end-of-season rankings, listing players in order of statistical relevance from here on out. As usual, the Week 12 rankings will appear Wednesday, but this week, that's right after the … trade deadline!

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Backfield breakdown entering Week 12 

November, 18, 2014
Nov 18
It’s hard to believe that entering the 2013 fantasy football season, then-Cleveland Browns and current Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson was so highly regarded. This was actually a top-10 fantasy option, not a monumental disappointment desperate fantasy owners loathe activating into their lineups when forced due to lack of alternatives. Richardson, the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL draft, scored 12 touchdowns as a rookie, and many thought the Browns were crazy to trade him two games into his sophomore season. Now it doesn’t look so wild, but fantasy owners have a conundrum with Colts starter Ahmad Bradshaw suffering a broken leg Sunday night. Richardson will clearly see more volume, and that’s generally a good thing.

Of course, it’s also pertinent to introduce the name Daniel Herron to fantasy owners, you know, just in case Richardson continues to underwhelm.

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Four Downs: Broncos disappoint Sunday 

November, 16, 2014
Nov 16
Peyton ManningAP Photo/Tom GannamPeyton Manning was under duress much of the day Sunday in St. Louis.
The main question surrounding the Denver Broncos entering Sunday's road game against the St. Louis Rams, at least for fantasy football purposes, was about the running back situation. Ronnie Hillman is nursing a foot injury, and Montee Ball, a coveted third-round pick on average in ESPN live drafts, was returning after a long absence due to a groin injury. He was expected to share time with unheralded C.J. Anderson, a surprise Week 10 star. Past that, the Broncos figured to score early and often and cruise against the Rams, a team that had permitted 30 points in six of its nine games.

Of course, that's why they play the games, and after the Rams stunningly shut down the Denver offense, intercepting Peyton Manning twice in a methodical 22-7 win in which the Broncos' Emmanuel Sanders, Julius Thomas and Ball each left injured, there were many questions. So, let's answer a few of those questions.

Should we worry about Manning? Absolutely not. Manning's 15 fantasy points represented a season-worst, but hey, 15 fantasy points isn't so bad.

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Week 11 flex rankings 

November, 13, 2014
Nov 13

Le'Veon BellNick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty ImagesLe'Veon Bell has been a top fantasy option all season despite no rushing TDs since Week 1.
Welcome to Week 11 and a critical flex rankings, as we combine the best of the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends into one package to help aid your decisions. Should you rely on these or any other rankings you see on ours or any other site? Nope. Use the glorious information at ESPN Fantasy as a guide, set your lineups, make your pickups and then, hope for the best. Remember the ESPN trade deadline is next week, and we’ll be advising about which players we’d be buying and selling, as well.

As always, best of luck to all -- in Week 11 and beyond!

1. Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Sunday night was the first time he hadn’t scored at least 20 standard fantasy points -- and he’s better in PPR -- since Week 4. In other words, don’t worry. He’s fine.

2. Arian Foster, RB, Texans: A groin injury has him questionable, but, coming off a bye, it would be surprising if he sat.

3. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: He’s the No. 5 RB for the season, so if someone who owns him whines to you, tell him or her to stop.

4. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

5. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: We might be waiting years for him to catch fewer than five passes in a game. Hope that didn’t jinx him!

6. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos

7. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks: I’m well aware he comes off a four-TD, 40-point fantasy effort. But the Chiefs, you know, haven’t allowed a touchdown to a running back this season. And ranked seventh is still pretty good!

8. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers

9. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers

10. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: Looked fine in Week 10. Hope you didn’t sit him. And the Cardinals can and do get thrown on.

11. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers: The Eagles get thrown on, too.

12. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles: And the Eagles throw, too. Mark Sanchez is certainly suitable enough, even though Maclin was quiet Monday night.

13. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos

14. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins

15. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: Great matchup, and, if he doesn’t exploit it, we’ll view his value differently. He’s been quiet since about Week 3.

16. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: Fantasy monster! And it really doesn’t matter whether his running back colleagues are healthy. It’s Ingram’s show.

17. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots

[+] EnlargeJimmy Graham
AP Photo/Jonathan BachmanImagine what Jimmy Graham's fantasy numbers would've been last week had this touchdown counted.
18. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints: Ah, if only they hadn’t called the last-second end zone push-off. And he did push off. Please.

19. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: He’s sixth in the NFL in rushing, so, again, it’s not as if he’s been Adrian Peterson. Your first-round pick wasn’t so awful. Sure, we’d like more touchdowns, but he isn’t the bust of the year. The guy who might or might not get reinstated next week, the first pick in most leagues, he’s that guy!

20. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: Doesn’t look so great, and you already know about his QB. Might be the last time Green is ranked this high.

21. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts

22. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins

23. Golden Tate, WR, Lions: Fantastic in yards after the catch, and the Cardinals have a weakness for this.

24. Julius Thomas, WR, Broncos: Ronnie Hillman goes down; a better blocker is inserted; and suddenly Thomas has his most catches and yards since Week 5. Coincidence? I think not!

25. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: Hey, the Giants have allowed the most rushing yards. It’s a fact. And Gore rushes the ball. If you truly dislike him, nobody’s forcing you to activate him.

26. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers

27. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Colts

28. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals: I doubt Giovani Bernard will play. If he does, Hill is considerably less desirable.

29. Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers: Rookie run! And this rookie is making quite the impact. I know this is a generous ranking, but nobody has stopped him yet. Seems as if it’s wise to enjoy it.

30. Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills

31. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears

32. Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots

33. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers: Repeat after me: There’s nothing wrong with Josh McCown. There’s nothing wrong with Josh McC…

34. Roddy White, WR, Falcons: Better than his pal Julio the past month. Not that Jones owners have noticed.

35. Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals: Tough matchup, new quarterback, I’m not treating him like a top-10 RB this week.

36. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants

37. Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers

38. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears: Not a great matchup for your Bears wide receivers this week. Vikings have done nice work against the pass.

39. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans

[+] EnlargeRyan Matthews
Harry How/Getty ImagesRyan Mathews likely returns from a knee injury this week and could be used a lot against the Raiders.
40. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers: Welcome back! This rank really isn’t cautious at all, odd because we don’t know whether he'll get a ton of work. I just think he will.

41. Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants: Same here. Chargers and Giants want their starters back. They figure to use them.

42. Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins

43. Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons: The best Falcon the past few weeks, and another nice matchup. No, he’s not too old.

44. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

45. Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings: Personally, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Peterson is playing in Week 12. But he’s not playing this week. McKinnon, though, really hasn’t been so great. Hasn’t found the end zone yet.

46. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots

47. Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: I wouldn’t cut him. I know you want to, but try not to.

48. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills: Should see a much nicer workload this week. But it’s a tough matchup.

49. C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos: I think he'll start and has a shot to do really good things. But we can’t pretend that he’s the only running back who will play, or that the Broncos will run a lot. They throw. A lot.

50. Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints: Clearly the top Saints wide receiver at this point. Man, this is an amazing rookie class of wide receivers.

51. Terrance West, RB, Browns: OK, so I ranked him first among Browns running backs. But the Browns are going to use all three and see who takes the job. It could be any of them, which means none of them is an attractive option.

52. Ben Tate, RB, Browns

53. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: Goodbye, Carson. Hello, Drew. And I probably ranked Fitz better than most.

54. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers

55. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals: Andy Dalton fired one 6 feet over his head while I was typing this.

56. Trent Richardson, RB, Colts

57. Brandon LaFell, WR, Patriots: It’s a week-to-week fantasy world, but don’t forget what he was achieving before the bye. A lot!

58. Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts

59. Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans: Five or six fantasy points in each game since Week 6. If that’s what you’re looking for, go get it!

60. Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins

61. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins: Not a great option in a short week and with his injury.

[+] EnlargeDarren Sproles
AP Photo/Matt RourkeDarren Sproles scored twice Monday night, but he deserves even more touches.
62. Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles: Sure does make many big plays, but volume isn’t there. And he has caught only 21 passes in eight games, which is hard to believe. The Eagles are underusing him!

63. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers

64. Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers: The top San Francisco weapon these days.

65. Joique Bell, RB, Lions: It’s a tough matchup, so even if he was the only running back in Detroit -- which he sure isn’t -- try not to expect much.

66. Montee Ball, RB, Broncos: Nice to have him back, in theory, but no idea whether it’ll be 15 touches or three.

67. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts

68. Kendall Wright, WR, Titans

69. Tre Mason, RB, Rams: The rookie running backs have disappointed. He has the job, but he’s not doing much. Denver will make sure that continues by scoring touchdowns early.

70. Marques Colston, WR, Saints

71. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: Didn’t look so bad Monday night. Not a good flex option, but not the worst anymore.

72. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks: Remember when everyone loved him? How he’d really step up with Percy Harvin gone? He has six more points than you in the past two games combined.

73. Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears

74. Jonas Gray, RB, Patriots: Will be interesting to see whether his carries go up after the bye -- or not. He has a shot to be a valuable option.

75. Bryce Brown, RB, Bills: It’s unfair to call him a serial fumbler, but his fine running isn’t what many people remember from Week 10.

76. Andrew Hawkins, WR, Browns

77. Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers: Gets another chance this week, and deserves it.

78. Bobby Rainey, RB, Buccaneers

79. Kenny Stills, WR, Saints: Might be the last time he’s ranked worse than Colston, which says much about both players.

80. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants: Lean, mean target machine has already been passed by the rookie.

81. Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers

[+] EnlargeMichael Floyd
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesCan Michael Floyd put up numbers with a new quarterback in Arizona?
82. Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals: Watch him get back on track after the QB change. That’s fantasy.

83. Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers

84. Jared Cook, TE, Rams: Broncos can be vulnerable against the tight end.

85. Reggie Bush, RB, Lions

86. Branden Oliver, RB, Chargers

87. James Jones, WR, Raiders

88. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers

89. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns: Seems so talented, don’t drop him yet.

90. Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins

91. Greg Jennings, WR, Vikings

92. Matt Asiata, RB, Vikings: Three touchdowns or nothing!

93. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Vikings: Two touchdowns all season. What a waste.

94. Damien Williams, RB, Dolphins

95. Andre Williams, RB, Giants

96. Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles: Some view him as a reliable star now after his multi-TD game Monday, but I’m not there yet.

97. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs: This is the week! This is the week! This is probably not the week.

98. Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers

99. Wes Welker, WR, Broncos

100. Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders

Others: Harry Douglas, WR, Falcons; Larry Donnell, TE, Giants; Markus Wheaton, WR, Steelers; John Brown, WR, Cardinals; Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins; Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs; Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs; Anthony Dixon, RB, Bills; Chris Polk, RB, Eagles; Kenny Britt, WR, Rams; Khiry Robinson, RB, Saints; Roy Helu, RB, Redskins; Andre Holmes, WR, Raiders; LeGarrette Blount, RB, Steelers; Justin Hunter, WR, Titans; Antone Smith, RB, Falcons

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Ranks reaction: Rams QB shuffle 

November, 12, 2014
Nov 12
DavisChristian Petersen/Getty ImagesAfter getting a vote of confidence Tuesday, Austin Davis was benched in favor of Shaun Hill.
I had ranked St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis 25th among Week 11 fantasy QBs as of Wednesday morning, until I heard the groundbreaking news that head coach Jeff Fisher, after his timely vote of confidence for Davis on Tuesday, was indeed going back to Week 1 starter Shaun Hill. Talk about turning the fantasy football world upside down! It’s Week 11! Shaun Hill is back under center? Well, let me see where I can add him and put him right into my lineups! This changes everything!

Back to reality, the fact is that the Denver Broncos come to St. Louis this week and things don’t figure to get much better for the slipping Rams, a team that has little chance to stop the Peyton Manning machine. What about Hill against the Broncos' defense? Isn’t he an upgrade over Davis? Well yes, I view him that way, and the numbers say the Denver defense can be thrown on and not run on.

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Backfield breakdown entering Week 11 

November, 11, 2014
Nov 11
Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball was the No. 25 selection in ESPN ADP a few months ago, which means little in determining mid-November value but does tell us this is a talented player in a monstrous offense laden with obvious upside. With Ball likely recovered enough from his serious groin injury to return to the Broncos in some form for Week 11 -- and with a sudden opening in the team’s backfield -- he matters again.

Some would say Ball had his chance in September and blew it and that now he’s irrelevant. Others would say he was regarded as a top-10 running back by many and can return to that level. Who’s correct?

Optimism and pessimism are pretty much everywhere on this one, and if there’s anything the NFL shows us, it’s that we should never quash possibility.

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2014 rankings update: New RBs in top 10 

November, 11, 2014
Nov 11

We’re getting close to crunch time in fantasy football, with most of the bye weeks complete, the trading deadline looming in a week, value changing all the time for options many are starting at each of the big fantasy positions and of course, the playoffs! The end-of-season rankings are here to help, offering one man’s analysis on future value, not past achievements. We know the current scoring leaders. Who will step up and become coveted? Enjoy and feel free to comment below! As usual, the Week 11 rankings will be posted Wednesday.

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Four Downs: Don't worry about Romo 

November, 9, 2014
Nov 9

Tony RomoSteve Flynn/USA TODAY SportsTony Romo passed for 246 yards and three TDs in his return to the Cowboys lineup.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo isn’t generally viewed as the safest, most reliable fantasy option to start with, and that’s when he’s healthy. Of course, Romo is anything but healthy these days, dealing with several broken bones in his back that cost him Week 9 and made him a questionable fantasy start for the Week 10 road game Sunday in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Not only was there risk of poor performance, but owners worried their quarterback could be pulled from the game at any time.

Well, by the time the Cowboys removed their quarterback from the convincing 31-17 win, Romo tied for his second-best outing of the season with 21 points, and he turned his excellent wide receiver into the top scorer of the week at his position (entering the Sunday night game). Still worried? Don’t be. Romo and his teammates get Week 11 off and then enjoy a friendly schedule that includes four NFC East battles -- no team in the division defends particularly well -- and games against the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts, neither a defensive juggernaut. The much-maligned Romo seems on his way to perhaps his fourth consecutive top-10 finish among quarterbacks, as his injury status certainly appeared the most overblown story of the week.

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Week 10 flex rankings 

November, 6, 2014
Nov 6

Matt ForteAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhMatt Forte is back from his bye and ready to put up big numbers both rushing and receiving.
Welcome to Week 10 and the latest flex rankings, as 26 teams prepare to put a notch in the win column and regale fantasy owners with enticing statistics at the same time. Then there are the Oakland Raiders, who rarely -- or never, in the case of winning this season -- supply these things. Regardless, it's another week with six teams on bye, including the streaking Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the rest of the New England Patriots, so choose your players wisely and make sure they're playing!

As always, best of luck to all in Week 10 and beyond!

1. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: Welcome to London and if a certain starting quarterback cannot perform, it means more defensive players in the box. You can see how concerned we are about that.

2. Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Comes off the bye ready to catch many passes and even run the football a bit.

3. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks: See, there was nothing to worry about! Looked great in Week 9 and there's more to come. And really, he'll find work next season.

4. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: Not only is he the top wide receiver, which isn't terribly surprising, but he's outscored all but two running backs for standard formats this season. So don't ask why he's ranked so well!

5. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

6. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: Seems back on track, and the QB change will not hurt him. The offensive line just needs to play well, and it has been.

7. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos

8. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: Has scored a touchdown in each home game, and the streak should continue.

9. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers: Wait, he's scored a touchdown in each home game as well (and all but one road contest)! Good luck, Chicago defense!

10. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: Somewhat lost in the Ben Roethlisberger magic is the fact Bell hasn't scored a rushing touchdown since Week 1, and still he's sixth among all flex options in standard scoring. He's really good.

11. Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos: He's really good, too. Doesn't matter to me if Montee Ball is ready to play or not. The Broncos will stick with Hillman. They have to.

12. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: Welcome back! We missed you! Now 100 yards and a touchdown will make it all better.

13. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles: Pretty incredible season, and he's well over the pace of what DeSean Jackson achieved last season. In fact, no Eagles receiver ever has done what Maclin might do.

14. Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals

15. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys: I think Tony Romo will play, but don't overthink using this guy if he doesn't. I wouldn’t change the rank at all if it's Brandon Weeden.

[+] EnlargeMark Ingram
AP Photo/Rogelio SolisThe Saints say that running back Mark Ingram's confidence has grown with more playing time.
16. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: Never thought he'd rank so well, but he's earned it.

17. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers

18. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears: Both he and his colleague ranked next scored touchdowns in the last Packers meeting. They can do so again.

19. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears

20. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos

21. Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens

22. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals: I seriously doubt Giovani Bernard suits up for this Thursday game, making Hill a tremendous option. I don't think he'll disappear when Gio returns, either.

23. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: Needed the Week 9 touchdown to justify fantasy owners using him. He can certainly do it again.

24. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons

25. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins: I think he'll play, and play well enough. Dolphins really need him around.

26. Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins

27. Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills: Suffered groin injury in practice Wednesday, which clouds his availability. Make sure on Sunday morning he's OK.

28. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints

29. Chris Ivory, RB, Jets: Don't read too much into what happened in Week 9 when the Jets were getting mauled again. Ivory is still their top running back option.

30. Joique Bell, RB, Lions: Will be interesting to see if he's still his team's top option coming off the bye, but I think he's relatively safe.

31. Golden Tate, WR, Lions: His owners are scared now that Megatron has returned, but he'll still see enough targets.

32. Denard Robinson, RB, Jaguars: Would have been nice to see him playing in September. And last season, too.

33. Bobby Rainey, RB, Buccaneers: Not much risk this week, but if Charles Sims can play, they will be moving along. Decent trade candidate.

34. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers: Should be able to find open space against the Eagles.

[+] EnlargeSmith
Rob Carr/Getty ImagesSteve Smith has just 12 total fantasy points in standard leagues over the past three weeks.
35. Steve Smith, WR, Ravens: Could be the last time we rank him as the Ravens' top wide receiver. It's trending this direction.

36. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: Don't give up hope. It's a good matchup for him and he's not too old.

37. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals

38. Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos: Just doesn't get enough targets, catches. Very touchdown-dependent.

39. Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: Well, I still believe. Too talented and Josh McCown will look for him downfield.

40. Ben Tate, RB, Browns: I still believe in him, to a degree. I'd probably rank him third among the Browns running backs, but until Week 9 the Browns didn't agree. I don't believe it's as much of a harbinger as it appears.

41. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals: Kind of like Golden Tate in that he's not the top guy on his team anymore, but he's still well worth it.

42. Roddy White, WR, Falcons: Oh, and he's been dealing with that for years.

43. Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles

44. Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers

45. Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons

46. Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens

47. Percy Harvin, WR, Jets: At some point all these touches have to turn into something. Right? Right?!?

48. Marques Colston, WR, Saints

49. Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers

50. Andre Williams, RB, Giants: Figured we'd see Rashad Jennings by now, but Williams really didn't do much with his opportunity.

51. Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals: Can't understand what's going on here. But the team keeps winning, so it doesn't matter to them. I'd buy low.

52. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants: He's looked great, and certainly appears to be his team's top weapon right now.

53. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers

54. Reggie Bush, RB, Lions: Let's see how busy he is before trusting him in fantasy. I'm skeptical.

55. Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears

56. Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans

57. Terrance Williams, WR, Cowboys

58. Tre Mason, RB, Rams: Tough matchup against the Cardinals, and he really hasn't been impressive the past few weeks anyway.

59. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks: Well, his situation altered quickly, first for good, now for average.

[+] EnlargeMartavis Bryant
Jason Bridge/USA TODAY SportsMartavis Bryant has five touchdowns on just 10 catches the past three weeks.
60. Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers: Roethlisberger can't throw six touchdowns every game. And Bryant has five touchdowns on his 10 receptions. Be careful here.

61. Terrance West, RB, Browns: I doubt this situation will ever be consistent. In other words, be careful whom you trust here, too. My vote is for nobody.

62. Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers

63. Eric Decker, WR, Jets

64. Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints

65. Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars

66. Anthony Dixon, RB, Bills: Averaging 2 yards per carry doesn't often result in more playing time. Fred Jackson could get this job back as soon as this week.

67. Kendall Wright, WR, Titans

68. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys: While everyone's been complaining about him, his top two reception and yardage games have come in the past two weeks.

69. Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs: Has caught a third of the team's receiving touchdowns. No wide receiver has any.

70. Andrew Hawkins, WR, Browns

71. Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Ravens

72. James Jones, WR, Raiders

73. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants: Mild disappointment, I think it's safe to say. Targets are there, so this ranking could be too cautious.

74. Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers: Your guess is as good as ours. He should play, at least. Whether it's 15 touches or three is problematic. There's talent here, but Rainey also has done nicely.

75. Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars: By the end of the season his numbers will look nice, but how many playable games will he have?

76. Khiry Robinson, RB, Saints: No room now that Ingram is awesome.

77. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers

78. Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders

79. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs: That's right, zero touchdowns for the entire wide receiver unit in Kansas City. That's kind of sad.

80. Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs

81. Andre Holmes, WR, Raiders: Actually leads all Raiders flex eligible players in scoring, but he's inconsistent.

82. Larry Donnell, TE, Giants

83. Benjamin Cunningham, RB, Rams

84. Chris Johnson, RB, Jets: Don't get too excited about his Week 9. I don't think the promotion of Michael Vick triggered this performance.

85. Delanie Walker, TE, Titans

[+] EnlargeWelker
AP Photo/Jack DempseyWes Welker has just one double-digit fantasy game all season.
86. Wes Welker, WR, Broncos: How the mighty have fallen.

87. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers

88. James Starks, RB, Packers

89. Chris Polk, RB, Eagles: Safe to say if something happened to McCoy, this is the handcuff for big carries now.

90. Cecil Shorts III, WR, Jaguars

91. Davante Adams, WR, Packers

92. Juwan Thompson, RB, Broncos

93. Riley Cooper, WR, Eagles

94. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns

95. Justin Hunter, WR, Titans

96. Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles

97. Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers

98. Markus Wheaton, WR, Steelers

99. Stevie Johnson, WR, 49ers

100. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Steelers

Others: Bryce Brown, RB, Bills; John Brown, WR, Cardinals; Antone Smith, RB, Falcons; Owen Daniels, TE, Ravens; Kenny Stills, WR, Saints; Robert Woods, WR, Bills; Marion Grice, RB, Cardinals; Peyton Hillis, RB, Giants; Shonn Greene, RB, Titans; Bernard Pierce, RB, Ravens; Joseph Randle, RB, Cowboys; Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars

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Brandon WeedenAP Photo/Jae C. HongThe fantasy value of the Cowboys' WRs and TEs won't change much if Brandon Weeden starts.
It's somewhat understandable for fantasy owners to be concerned about their wide receivers when a quarterback change takes place, or to think the new guy will look for his tight end more or less than the previous fellow, but much of the time this really is meaningless worry.

Yes, Brandon Weeden isn't as good as Tony Romo. Nobody argues against this, so if the Dallas Cowboys’ starter can't play Sunday in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it affects others, but not that much. The Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will also have different starting quarterbacks this week, and by the time the Houston Texans compete again, there will be a new name to learn there, as well. Hmm, all this and still no Johnny Manziel in Cleveland … yet.

Yet when it comes to wide receivers -- and to a much lesser degree, tight ends -- remember they're not like running backs; WRs and TEs are dependent on the quarterback to involve them and make a reasonable attempt to get them the football. It's not like merely handing off the ball. And backup quarterbacks want to get the football to the playmakers, too. Don't overthink things. Weeden certainly wasn't great in Sunday's 28-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but it wasn't like they lost to the Oakland Raiders. Arizona's good. Weeden couldn't have been on a fantasy owner's radar, but Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams are. Bryant saw 10 targets, and one of his two receptions was a touchdown. Some of that is on Weeden, of course. He's not accurate. Does that make us want to sit Bryant? Well, no, he's safely in my top 10, though not in the top tier. Last week was one game -- hardly a reliable sample size. It's also relevant that the Jaguars' defense isn't so bad; it's been lit up only twice this season, by the top player in fantasy (Andrew Luck) and a top-five guy until last week (Philip Rivers). Who's to say Romo wouldn't have trouble this week? And as of Wednesday, he might still play!

I tend to rely on the normal caveats when judging receivers, regardless of their quarterback.

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