Cincinnati Bengals vs New York Giants

Trying to keep pace with the surprising Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East, the New York Giants go for their fourth consecutive victory when they host the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night (Enter Contest). The Giants have rebounded from a three-game skid by sandwiching a pair of home wins around a “road” victory at London to remain two games off the division lead. New York is coming off a 28-23 victory over Philadelphia, continuing a trend of being able to win the close games. All five victories have come by a margin of 20 points.

Prior to last week’s bye, Cincinnati played in London and came away with a 27-27 tie with Washington. They are looking to close the gap with the first-placed Baltimore Ravens (5-4) in the AFC North. Coach Marvin Lewis’ team have been held to 17 points or fewer in each of its losses.

ABOUT THE BENGALS (3-4-1)

Quarterback Andy Dalton has a streak of four straight games with a 100-plus passer rating snapped in London, but he has thrown for 2,349 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Running backs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard have both rushed for a TD in each of the last two games. Star wide receiver A.J. Green is second in the NFL with 896 yards, including three games with at least 169 yards, and the offense received an added boost with the return of tight end Tyler Eifert against the Redskins. Eifert had 13 touchdowns last season and showed what a difference-maker he can be in his first start with nine catches for 102 yards and a score. Cincinnati’s defense has been vulnerable through the air, allowing an average of 262.4 yards. Cincinnati has lost three in a row at the Giants, but beat the Jets 23-22 at MetLife Stadium in the season opener.

ABOUT THE GIANTS (5-3)

Quarterback Eli Manning is coming off a four-touchdown performance against Philadelphia, the third time he has tossed at least three scoring passes in a game this season, but he also was picked off twice for the third time. Like Cincinnati, the Giants have a stud wideout in Odell Beckham, who caught a pair of scoring passes against the Eagles to give him five in the past four games. The biggest problem for the Giants has been a stagnant running game led by Rashad Jennings that ranks last in the league with a meager average of 68.3 yards per game. Rookie Paul Perkins could see more time this week to help work the clock and protect a defense that yields 277.4 yards passing. New York last won four straight games during the 2013 season.

Posted in NFL

Sunday’s Fantasy Football Players to Watch – NFL Week 7

The NFL goes in it’s 7th week of play. Sunday’s action starts in London with the Giants taking on the Rams (Enter Contests). The Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers will enter their bye weeks. Here are the names that are down for big results this weekend for fantasy football.

QB Matt Ryan & WR Julio Jones – Atlanta Flacons (vs SD)

Atlanta boasts the league’s top offense, averaging 441.5 total yards and 33.2 points, but has failed to hit either mark in the last two games. Ryan and Julio Jones have developed into the league’s most prolific passing duo. Ryan has averaged 369.3 passing yards and thrown nine touchdown passes over his last four home games.

QB Derek Carr, WR Michael Crabtree & WR Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders (at JAX)

The trio of Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper continue to carry Oakland offensively. The quarterback enters Week 7 tied for fifth in the NFL with 12 touchdown passes and has thrown only three interceptions, which is a league-low among signal-callers with at least 225 passing attempts. Crabtree shares the league lead with five receiving TDs and Cooper is averaging 16.3 yards per catch while ranking fourth with 585 overall. Cooper is seeking his third straight overall contest with at least 100 receiving yards. Expect the Raiders to be pumped up, as it is coach Jack Del Rio first return to Jacksonville since being fired as the Jaguars’ coach in 2011.

QB Case Keenum – Los Angeles Rams (vs NYG in London)

Los Angeles’ big problem at the beginning of the season was the offense, but quarterback Case Keenum and company have been doing more than enough to win of late. Keenum threw for 321 yards and completed 19 straight passes at one point against Detroit last week.

TE Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals (vs CLE)

One of the biggest issues for Cincinnati has been its struggles in the end zone, a problem that could be rectified with the potential season debut of tight end Tyler Eifert, who hauled in 13 touchdown passes last season. Three of them came in one game versus Cleveland.

TE Hunter Henry – San Diego Thunder (at ATL)

San Diego TE Hunter Henry has caught a touchdown pass in three consecutive games.

RB David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals (vs SEA)

Arizona featured one of the league’s top passing attacks last season, but second-year running back David Johnson has altered the team’s offensive identity by rushing for 268 yards and five touchdowns over the past two games, giving him a league-best eight scores on the ground. Johnson could be in for a heavy workload if the Cardinals have to turn to Drew Stanton, who threw for 124 yards on 11-of-28 passing in place of Palmer in a Week 5 win at San Francisco. The running back is the first player in franchise history with at least 100 yards from scrimmage in the season’s first six games.

 

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Dolphins (1-2) vs Bengals (1-2)

Adam Gase may be a first-time head coach, but the 38-year-old was quick to light a fire under his underachieving team. He benched former first-round pick Ja’Wuan James after he got burned on a rush that led to a strip sack during last week’s contest. Gase hopes his aggressive action will provide a jolt for the sputtering Miami Dolphins, who will look to prevent their third 1-3 start in five years on Thursday when they visit the Cincinnati Bengals (Enter Contest).

About the Dolphins

With veteran Arian Foster still nursing a groin injury, Gase will be using rookie Kenyan Drake as the starter in a four-tier running back carousel. Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams and Isaiah Pead. will round out the carousel. Ajayi had an 11-yard touchdown run in overtime last week. The Dolphins’ 25th-ranked ground attack is mustering just 83 yards per game. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill leads his team in that department with his 54 yards accumulated. Fortunately for the Dolphins, the air game fairs much better. Tannehill continues to click with trusted target Jarvis Landry (AFC-leading 314 yards receiving) and fellow wideout DeVante Parke. Miami will go with Dion Sims this week because fellow tight end Jordan Cameron nurses the fourth concussion in his six-year career.

The sputtering Dolphins’ defense allowed 169 yards rushing last week and an NFL second-worst 147.3 yards per game. In the last meeting with the Bengals, DE Cameron Wake recorded three sacks. The final sack resulted in a safety during overtime and led Miami to a 22-20 victory.

About the Bengals

While Miami was fortunate to walk away with its first win, Cincinnati has followed its impressive season-opening victory over the New York Jets with a 24-16 loss to Pittsburgh in Week 2 and a 29-17 setback to Denver on Sunday. Mercurial Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is eager to stop the bleeding when he makes his season debut on Thursday after serving a three-game suspension for repeated violations of safety-related playing rules.

Running Back Jeremy Hill scored twice last week. He had 10 rushing touchdowns in his last 11 games. Andy Dalton (AFC-best 938 passing yards) has been limited to just 206 yards passing last week versus the Broncos. After an amazing first week, A.J. Green collected just 10 catches for 115 yards combined in his last two games. Cincinnati Pro Bowl TE Tyler Eifert (ankle) is not expected to make his season debut. CB Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring) has been held out of both practices this week, leaving his status for Thursday’s game in question.

Posted in NFL

NFL Wild Card Value Picks

Quarterback

With a small slate of games this weekend you’re quarterback choices are limited. So let’s run through the matchups. Houston and Kansas City has all the makings of a low scoring game. These are two defensive dominated teams and this matchup should be low scoring and slow paced, not places of high value for Fantasy NFL contests. Same can be said about Minnesota and Seattle. While Seattle’s offense is explosive, we saw what they did against the strong defensive front of the Cardinals last weekend, I’m saving my quarterback pick for an easier matchup.

The weakest pass defense of the weekend is by far the Steelers, but with the Bengals current quarterback situation, its hard to say anything for sure. In all likelihood AJ McCarron will be taking the field, but there is the small chance Andy Dalton will return for the game. Either way, they both should be able to provide great value with this matchup, just make sure you keep your eye on the injury report and you get the right one in.

Although the Bengals have a strong pass defense, it seems like nobody is able to stop Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown this year. I expect them to have a big game, but I also expect ownership to be very high on these two, so I’m playing the contrarian strategy and avoiding the Steelers stack.

Last we have Washington and Green Bay. This has all the makings for a classic shootout and I think there will be value on both sides of the ball. Aaron Rodgers has been very subpar this entire season, but he has been to the playoffs before and I think he will perform. Kirk Cousins on the other hand has been red hot and putting up big numbers, and that does not look to be stopping anytime soon. You’re probably going to find lower ownership with Rodgers so I’ll give him the edge in a tournament, but based on his performance this year, that may be a risky play.

Running Back

Our premium running backs for the week are Adrian Peterson, Deangelo Williams, Marshawn Lynch, Jeremy Hill, Characandrick West, and Eddie Lacy. As of now Williams looks to be out for this weekend so lets rule him out now (even if he were playing I don’t love the matchup). Marshawn Lynch will be returning but with the offensive efficiency of the Seahawks lately, its hard to say they will need to make much use of him so I am staying away from Beast mode as well. The Vikings may find it hard to pass against the dominating defense and will certainly run the ball a lot to Peterson, but he has not been as dominant this year as in years past and the Seahawks may shut him down. West as well is facing a tough defense, especially recently, so my recommendation is stay away from any Chiefs back.

So we are left with Hill and Lacy, both on the cheap end as far as premium running backs go. The way the Bengals use Hill and Bernard is very dependent on the matchup. They utilize Hill to run the ball up the middle while Bernard is valued more highly for his speed in screen passes and short drops. This matchup may be better for Bernard than Hill, and Bernard comes at a much cheaper price. Not a bad pick for this week. Lacy is the only premium back I like for this week. Like Hill, he could take a backseat position to Starks but I think Lacy has asserted himself as the primary back after early struggles in the season.

If you are looking for value at Running back however, there is a lot to be found. Starks and Bernard, as previously mentioned, will both only cost you less that $4000 on Fanpicks. Alfred Morris and Pierre Thomas both are a threat to accumulate fantasy value with their run and pass threat. The real value pick of the week is Jonathan Grimes, who put together a big game last weekend and comes at only $2700.

Wide Receiver

The same analysis on Quarterbacks applies to receivers as well. We want to stick with the good matchups: Steelers/Bengals and Packers/Redskins. Skipping out on Antonio Brown may just cost you a win, but I think there is more upside potential on fading Brown, especially for NFL Daily Fantasy Tournaments type contests. AJ Green should be able to put up some big numbers this week regardless of who gets the starting position at Quarterback.

I also like Desean Jackson or Pierre Garcon if you are looking to save a little money at the position. We know Cousins is going to throw the ball and we know he is going to throw it a lot. He may throw a couple interceptions but that doesn’t hurt his fantasy value too bad. It all just depends on which receiver can manage to get open between these two and Reed.

A good contrarian stack is Rodgers and either Cobb or Jones. They haven’t done much this year and are not on many people radar, but like I said before, the Packers know the playoffs. Cobb should get more targets but Jones is more of a long threat. The choice is up to you, I’m going Cobb.

Tight End

For me, the viable tight ends for this week are Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert. While you can make the argument for Heath Miller and Richard Rodgers, I think you will find much more value with Eifert and Reed. Reed is an obvious pick as he has had some very big games lately and is arguably the top tight end in the league. However, that also means he is going to come with a high ownership level, bad news for a tournament play.

That’s why I’m going with Eifert. I can’t stress enough how weak Pittsburgh is against the pass as all of their games end up turning into a shootout. Eifert will especially benefit if Dalton returns this weekend as there is usually great synergy between the two.

Posted in NFL

NFL Fantasy Football News 9-19-2015

Dallas Cowboys versus Philadelphia Eagles NFL Fantasy Preview

Two bitter division rivals meet on the gridiron as the Philadelphia Eagles will play the Dallas Cowboys. Fantasy football draft GMs can tune to FOX at 4:25 PM Eastern Time to follow the scoring results of their rosters.

The teams split the two meetings in 2014 all on the road. The game held in Philadelphia last year was won by Dallas 38-27. The Cowboys are 1-0 as Tony Romo led a comeback with a touchdown pass with just seconds left in a 27-26 victory.

The Eagles have a short week as they faced the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football in a 26-24 road defeat. Philadelphia was very slow out of the gates with just three first half points in the loss.

Dallas Cowboys QB: Tony Romo

Romo completed 80% of his throws on Sunday night for 356 yards with three touchdowns and two picks. He will be without his main target in Dez Bryant for 4-6 weeks with a broken foot.

Dallas Cowboys RB: Joseph Randle

Randle had 16 carries for 65 yards.

Dallas Cowboys WR: Terrance Williams

Terrance Williams led the wide outs with eight catches for 60 yards.

Dallas Cowboys TE: Jason Witten

Jason Witten made fantasy football managers who drafted him happy with eight grabs for 60 yards and two touchdowns.

Philadelphia Eagles QB: Sam Bradford

In his debut with the Eagles on Monday night he hit on 36 of 52 throws for 336 yards with a touchdown and two picks.

Philadelphia Eagles RB: DeMarco Murray

It was not a good debut for the former Cowboy with his new team. Murray had eight rushes for just nine yards. His four receptions out of the backfield went for 11 yards and he did have a touchdown catch.

Darren Sproles

The veteran dual purpose back had 50 rushing yards on five carries with a 27 yard run from scrimmage. He was second on the club with seven receptions for 76 yards.

Philadelphia Eagles WR: Jordan Matthews

The second year receiver caught ten balls for 102 yards.

Nelson Agholor

The rookie in his first NFL game was just targeted twice and had one grab for five yards.

San Diego Chargers versus Cincinnati Bengals Fantasy Football Draft Preview

Two AFC division clubs meet as the Cincinnati Bengals will host the San Diego Chargers. Fantasy draft managers can check out CBS TV at 1 PM Eastern Time to follow the performance of their rosters.

The clubs last met two seasons ago in the playoffs in Cincinnati with the Chargers posting the 27-10 road win. San Diego is 1-0 on the year with a 33-28 victory at home to the Detroit Lions. Down 21-10 at the half the Chargers rallied for 23 straight second half points until the Lions pushed across a touchdown with just over a minute left.

The Bengals traveled out west last week as they defeated the Oakland Raiders 33-13. Cincinnati put this one away early with a 33-0 lead after three quarters.

Cincinnati Bengals QB: Andy Dalton

Dalton had a good game in the win hitting 29 of 34 passes for 269 yards with two touchdowns.

Cincinnati Bengals RB: Jeremy Hill

Hill had 19 carries for just 63 yards which amounted to just 3.3 yards per run.

Cincinnati Bengals TE: Tyler Eifert

The third year tight end from Notre Dame caught two balls for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Health has been an issue for Eifert in his NFL career.

San Diego Chargers QB: Phillip Rivers

Rivers got a new contract in the offseason and he paid dividends with his week one performance by hitting on 35 of 42 passes for 404 yards with two touchdowns and two picks.

Posted in NFL

Tight Ends and Underrated Quarterbacks Dominate Week 1

NFL week 1 is in the books and from here on, it will become harder and harder to find value in your daily fantasy tournament picks. In week 1 the Daily Fantasy Sites had very little data to establish their salaries off of, but as the season progresses, salaries will become more and more accurate. That is not to say however that you cannot find hidden value in a player with a favorable matchup or a little extra game time than normal if you know what you are looking for.

Quarterbacks

If you took a couple of my sleeper picks from last week you are probably a happy camper right now. I had Alex Smith and Phillip Rivers as a couple value picks at the Quarterback position and they not only led the league at their salary level, but even outshone the some premium Quarterbacks such as Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers.

Alex Smith and Brian Hoyer faced each other in a passing game shootout, that is prime for fantasy value at the quarterback position. Alex Smith threw for 243 passing yards in the Chiefs win over the Texans, with 3 passing touchdowns (mostly to tight end Travis Kelce) finishing the day with a total of 21.7 fantasy points. This put him at 6th for quarterbacks of the weekend behind Brady, Palmer, Rivers, Mariota, and Romo. Hoyer threw for 236 yard on the other side of the ball but only 1 touchdown reduced his fantasy value a bit.

Phillip Rivers sits at fourth on the list of quarterback performers for the weekend throwing for a massive 404 passing yards, easily the most of the weekend. This earned him the 3 point fantasy bonus for over 300 yards and if he could have had more than 4 touchdowns, he would have led the weekend. Rivers led the chargers to a high scoring victory over the Lions. In total, Rivers scored 25.2 fantasy points. Remember, although Romo and Brady outscored him in the fantasy realm, Daily Fantasy NFL Contests are about value, not total points, and Rivers delivered more points than these two for his salary level.

Other Quarterbacks who delivered huge value this weekend were Carson Palmer and Marcus Mariota. Palmer threw for 308 yards, earning the 3 point bonus, and threw three touchdowns totaling 27.3 fantasy points on the weekend, in the Cardinal’s victory over the Saints. Being a mid salary level quarterback, he delivered huge value to put you way up in your Daily Fantasy Cash Draft.

Mariota however provided even more value. Being straight out of the NCAA, his salary was among the lowest of all NFL starting quarterbacks. However, he threw for 4 touchdowns and 209 passing yards in Titans’s dominating victory over Bucs totaling 24.4 fantasy points. Having Martiota in your lineups allowed you to select premium players at other position’s without missing out on fantasy points at quarterback, just the edge you need to win big money.

Tight Ends

The tight end position can really give you a leg up on the competition in daily fantasy NFL. A tight end can just as easily score 0 points as 30, and if you are on the right end of that spectrum, you can rise in the ranks quickly.

The leaders of the weekend were Travis Kelce, Tyler Eifert, and like always, Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski started off the Tight End domination on Thursday night with 3 touchdowns and fell just short of the receiving yard bonus with 94 receiving yards. He totaled 32.40 fantasy points, which is a nice boost to your fantasy lineup, however Gronkowski’s salary level was more on the level of a premium receiver than a tight end, which worked against his fantasy value.

The rest of the Tight Ends provided significantly more value than Gronk with much cheaper salary levels. Travis Kelce scored 2 touchdowns with 106 receiving yards, earning him the receiving yard bonus and a total of 31.6 fantasy points. The synergy between Kelce and Alex Smith was a serious boost if you had both Chief’s players in the same lineup.

Tyler Eifert of the Bengals got some great attention from Andy Dalton, especially in the red zone. Eifert totaled 2 touchdowns and 106 receiving yards on 9 receptions for the highest total of the week at Tight End of 34.4 fantasy points.

Look to identify teams that make good use of their tight ends and look for opportunities to pair tight ends and quarterbacks. Also, keep in mind to avoid receivers on these teams since receiving yards are all well and good, but if your receiver isn’t getting the ball in the red zone, you can probably find more value elsewhere.

Posted in NFL