2012 Watch List #11

2012 fantasy football watch listBy week 11 you should have a very good idea as to your chance to make the playoffs. For me, my seasons are over. Injuries, again this year, have keyed my failure. Even with advanced planning during the draft to select backups and keep a close eye on the waiver wire.

As we have seen in years past when teams have secured a playoff spot before the end of the year, some big name players might not get the sort of playing time you, as a fantasy owner expect. So while many owners headed to the post season are banking on a big playoff run, you might have to dial back your expectations and look to make a few moves in order to assure your run to the championship.

Much like last week we have another round of injuries that could have more players being picked up this week off the wire. Injuries include Willis McGahee (knee), Julio Jones (ankle), Dennis Pitta (concussion), LeSean McCoy (concussion), Donnie Avery (concussion), Issac Redman (concussion), Dwayne Bowe (concussion), Rob Gronkowski (broken forearm) and Blaine Gabbert (Elbow).

With that said, here is the watch list as we go into week 11 of the NFL.

QUARTERBACK
Chad Henne MIA 16-33-354-4
Henne had played in the last 2 games (in relief) for JAX, but put up career numbers yesterday in the overtime loss to HOU. He looked outstanding in relief of Gabbert who left with injury. Hard to say what happens if Gabbert is healthy in week 12 when JAX plays TEN. Gabbert could post another good day in week 12 if given the start.

Other notables: None

RUNNING BACK (number in (#) represent targets)
Beanie Wells ARI
The Cardinals running game has been horrid recently and Wells coming back in week 12 could be what they need. Keep an eye on the news surrounding Wells this week. His schedule isn’t great for the playoffs, so taper expectations.

Bryce Brown PHL 5-35
Brown might have just gained value after week 11 with the concussion to LeSean McCoy. He averaged 7 YPC on 5 carries and totaled 35 yards. If McCoy misses time, Brown will be the starter. Week 12 has PHL playing CAR.

Ronnie Hillman DEN 12-43, (2)2-16/Lance Ball DEN 6-35, (3)3-21
McGahee left the game as a precaution (knee) in the second quarter with Hillman and Ball seeing increased action while splitting time. It remains to be seen how DEN will use these RBs if McGahee misses time. Both would be worth a flex start vs KC in week 11.

Bilal Powell NYJ 11-42-2, (2)2-18
Powell posted a career high, 11 carries vs STL rushing for 42 yards and 2 TDs in the 4th quarter. Powell has the opportunity to overshadow Greene, who has largely been unimpressive this year. Look for Powell to spell Greene and try to gain a larger share of the workload as the season rolls on. Week 12 Powell could be considered a flex player vs NEP.

Justin Forsett HOU 7-59, (2)1-6
With HOU headed to the playoffs and Tate still injured, Forsett saw plenty of action for HOU on Sunday. He rushed 7-59 in relief of Foster. Depending on how HOU plays, Forsett could see an increased roll in order to save Foster and avoid injury. HOU plays Detroit on Thanksgiving.

Other notables: Jalen Parmele JAX 24-80, (3)3-3, James Starks GBP 25-74, (1)1-6

WIDE RECEIVER (number in (#) represent targets)
Danario Alexander SDG (11)7-96-2
A continued strong showing for the newest Charger and now seems to be on the same page as Rivers, something he hasn’t had with any WR this season. Alexander got his points in garbage time for San Diego, but fantasy owners don’t care. Alexander was targeted 11 times and hauled in 2 TDs. Good match up in week 12 vs BAL.

Justin Blackmon JAX (13)7-236-1
The rookie broke out for JAX yesterday posting career yardage with Henne at QB. Blackmon also found the endzone for only the second time this season and lead the team with 13 targets. With a reinvigorated offense, Blackmon could be a strong start next week vs TEN.

Cecil Shorts JAX (6)3-81-1
Shorts has come into his own this season, as the best WR in JAX. Shorts was overshadowed by Blackmon, but still hauled in 1 TD from Henne. In fact the offense posted great numbers with the injury to Gabbert. Viable starter in week 11 vs TEN.

Brandon Gibson STL (5)3-9-2
The stats aren’t impressive, but the fact he found the endzone twice is, which means Bradford is looking for him in the red zone. Amendola usually draws most of the attention, so Gibson could be worth a look. Next week STL playing ARI.

Other notables: Brandon Stokley (5)4-55-1, Devone Bess MIA (11)6-50-1, T.Y. Hilton (9)6-100-2

TIGHT END
Marcedes Lewis BAL
Lewis, like the rest of the offense benefited from Henne at QB. Lewis put up his best game of the year, finding the endzone twice, he had not scored since week 4. Look at Lewis only if Henne remains the starting QB.

Ben Watson CLE (8)4-47-2
Not sure why Weedon hasn’t looked to the veteran more than has this season. A sure handed TE was targeted a season high 8 times yesterday and posted his first multi-TD game of the year. At this point, his value is still low as he isn’t being used like in years past.

Other notables: Brandon Myers OAK (10)-6-55-1, Dallas Clark TBB (11)7-58-1, Garrett Graham HOU (9)8-82-2

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2012 Watch List #10

2012 fantasy football watch listThere comes a time in every season where you look at your team and wonder what COULD have been. Week 10 was that week for me. Looking over my team I believe it was a very well drafted team, but the big names are equating to big stats and more importantly…wins.

The wire is still a pertinent for many owners, as the moves continue at record breaking pace (in 3 leagues) and teams jockey for a playoff position with just 3 weeks of the regular season remaining (in many leagues). By now you have a very good idea if you will make the playoffs or miss out. For all teams, continuing to look ahead to the playoffs (weeks 14-16) could be rewarding depending on who’s available on the wire.

This week we see a few players returning to action. Danny Amendola, who was probably dropped in many leagues after his shoulder injury and some will be banking on Beanie Wells to inject a spark into the Arizona running game that has been dismay at best. More notable injuries this week that could pose problems in the weeks to come, Julio Jones (leg), Mike Vick (concussion), Alex Smith (concussion), Ahmad Bradshaw (head/neck) and Fred Jackson (concussion-like symptoms).

With that said, here is the watch list as we go into week 10 of the NFL.

QUARTERBACK
Russell Wilson SEA 12-19-188-2, 7-34
Not a great option at QB, if you are in need of one he has tossed multiple TDs in the last 3 games (and last 4 of 5) and has what looks to be some good match ups going forward. Seems to be developing a nice rapport with Golden Tate.

Colin Kaepernick SF 11-17-117, 8-66-1
Kaepernick came into the game in relief of Smith who exited with an injury. After a rough start, Colin settled in and made plays for the 49ers. With Smith’s status questionable for week 11 vs CHI, Kapernick might be an option, thanks in part to his running abilities.

Other notables: None

RUNNING BACK (number in (#) represent targets)
Chris Ivory NOS 7-72-1, 1-13
Ivory received only 7 carries, but the made the most of them with a 56-yard TD run. He has scored 2 TDs in 2 weeks now, but only managed 17 carries. It’s still an RBBC in the Saints backfield, but Ivory seems to carry some value with Sproles missing time. Looking at week 11 he could have a nice match up vs OAK.

Jacquizz Rodgers ATL 3-29, (4)4-33

Against one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL, Michael Turner only managed 15 yards on 13 carries. Rodgers fared a bit better, but still only had 3 carries. He is active in the Falcons passing game, but still inconsistent and may not see more than 8-10 touches a game if Turner continues to struggle. Rodgers and the Falcons play ARI in week 11.

Beanie Wells ARI
Wells practiced for the first time last Wednesday since hitting the IR in September. While he is still a few weeks away from starting, he might be worth adding if you lack depth at RB. Unfortunately he will be looking at some very tough match ups; SEA, STL, CHI and SF.

Other notables: Daryl Richardson STL 7-58, (2)1-0, Danny Woodhead NEP 1-15-1, (6)4-46-1

WIDE RECEIVER (number in (#) represent targets)
Danny Amendola STL (12)11-102
After missing 3 games, Amendola returned as the top target for Bradford and the Rams. While the shoulder isn’t 100%, he put up some great numbers on his return. If he is on the wire, he should be grabbed. Week 11 STL faces the NYJ.

Danario Alexander SDG (7)5-134-1

High expectations for this kid in STL, but nagging knee injuries saw him out of football until a few week ago. Yesterday was a career game for Alexander vs TBB. He’s a big body, which is what Rivers might have been missing at the WR position. He is healthy now and has played well as the WR2 in San Diego. Might be worth an add in the pass heavy offense.

Cecil Shorts JAX (13)6-105-1

Shorts makes the watch list again with his second 100-yard performance in 2 weeks. He received a team high 13 targets vs Indy on Thursday including a 4-yard TD reception. He has been the most consistent receiver for JAX, week 11 he faces a stingy HOU defense.

Other notables: Golden Tate SEA (2)2-51-1, Donald Jones BUF (10)6-74-1, Jarius Wright MIN (5)3-65-1

TIGHT END
Scott Chandler BUF (8)5-65-1
Chandler has been irrelevant since week 4, posting 4 TDs to start the season. He returned to the endzone this weekend, which might be the start of another steak. Good match up vs MIA in week 11.

Other notables: Brandon Myers (7)5-57

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2012 Watch List #9

2012 fantasy football watch listLuck. Sometimes you have it, other times you can seem to buy any. In fantasy football you will take all the luck you can get. With many variables that cannot be figured into a season, luck is that tangent that makes your season a success or a failure. Statistics and predictions can get us only so far to take us the rest of the way we need a bit of lady luck with us.

It’s back to the wire we go this week after the 9th week of the NFL season. For many this is crunch time, the next few weeks will make your break your season as you look towards the playoffs (starting week 14 for many owners). If you have already made the playoffs you might start looking at matchups for weeks 14, 15 and 16. There might be some talent on the wire that could be a strong play.

As I look over numbers waiver wires right now, not many names jump out at me. It does get more difficult the deeper we go into the NFL season to find that “diamond in the rough” who could potential win you a week or put you over the top. It seems a week does not go by there are more injuries. In week 9 we saw more including, Darren McFadden (finally, right?). At least he made it through 9 weeks, but does have the dreaded high ankle sprain. Other names to hit the radar, Percy Harvin (sprained ankle), Donnie Avery (hip concussion), Jordy Nelson (sprained ankle), Donald Brown (knee), Bob3 (bruised ribs) and Tony Romo (back strain).

With that said, here is the watch list as we go into week 10 of the NFL.

QUARTERBACK

Other notables: None

RUNNING BACK (number in (#) represent targets)
Joique Bell DET 13-73-1, (4)3-36
Bell’s numbers might he a bit skewed since DET had a 21-0 lead, but outrushed Leshoure with 73 yards, adding 3 catches out of the backfield. Not a solid starter at time point in time, but he could post some worthwhile numbers. His week 9 numbers were all season best numbers. DET plays at MIN in week 10.

Marcel Reese (9)8-85-1
Injuries to DMC and Goodson made Reese the recipient of 9 balls thrown his way, including a TD. While he does average 4.9 YPC, he has only 1 rushing attempt on the season. Look at Taiwan Jones as the rushing prospect if neither DMC or Goodson can go in week 10 at BAL.

Taiwan Jones OAK 1-2, (1)1-4
Listed third on the depth chart, keep an eye on the injury report for DMC and Goodson. If neither can go, Jones is sure to get a bulk of the work. BAL is giving up good points to opposing rusher, might be a good showing if Jones gets the opportunity.

Other notables: Chris Ivory NOS 10-48-1, (1)1-2, Ronnie Brown SDG 6-38, (5)5-35, James Starks GBP 17-61

WIDE RECEIVER (number in (#) represent targets)
T.Y. Hilton IND (11)6-102-1
The injury to Donnie Avery could be the opportunity that Hilton needs in the Colts offense. Luck has been throwing well and Hilton might team nicely with Wayne in the upcoming weeks. Hilton set career highs in week 9. Indy plays at JAX in week 10.

Golden Tate SEA (6)4-28-2, 2-21
Tate is having a breakout season, now in his third year with Russell Wilson at QB. He grabbed 2 TDs in week 9 and has become a red zone option for Russell. Tate still struggles putting up consistent points, but has a favorable match up in week 10 vs the NYJ.
Other notables: Rod Streater OAK (10)4-54-1, Kevin Ogletree (4)3-96-1, Justin Blackmon (9)5-32-1, Donald Jones BUF (9)6-65

TIGHT END
Brandon Myers OAK (13)8-54-2
Myers scored his first 2 TDs of his career on Sunday, as well as a career high 8 catches. He also led the team with 13 targets. Carson has looked at Myers 26 times the last 3 games. Week 10 doesn’t get easy as OAK plays at BAL.

Other notables: Joel Dreessen DEN (4)4-38-1

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2012 Watch List #8

2012 fantasy football watch listIt’s mid-season as we are on the verge of MNF that will draw an end to week 8. For my teams, it’s been a season of mediocrity at it’s finest. I have gone to the wire and picked up players at an alarming rate. This tells me I did not draft as well as I once anticipated early in the season. Between leagues leagues I used used the wire 35 times (15-ESPN, 14-Yahoo, 6-CBS). No matter how I examine it, it’s too much, especially the 6 transactions in the CBS league, since each move is $10. I rarely spend more than $20 a year. I am still a big believer in building a successful team during the draft, not through FA and the waiver wire.

With only 5 weeks remaining until H2H playoffs begin, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your team and decide if you have enough to bring home a championship. I have already done this and believe I could be done very early (again) this season. For those owners who still believe then it’s time to make the most of those wire moves.

With that said, here is the watch list as we go into week 9 of the NFL.

QUARTERBACK
Blaine Gabbert JAX 27-49-303-1
Gabbert had his first 300 yard performance vs GB. Still not a intended to be a strong starter, he continues to struggle finding the endzone with multi-TD games this season. Considering JAX will usually be trailing, he could end up posting decent yardage and a TD a week.

Russell Wilson SEA 25-35-236-2-1, 1-9
Wilson put up good numbers versus a strong Lions pass defense completing 75% of his passes and 2 TD passes. Much like Gabbert, you might have to pick starts if you decided to grab Russell. He has skill and talent, but still just a rookie starting his 9th game.

Other notables: None

RUNNING BACK (number in (#) represent targets)
Ronnie Brown SDG 4-17, (8)7-85
There are no bright spots in San Diego these days, but Ronnie Brown continues to be a factor in the passing game. It seems he has taken on a Sproles-like role for the Chargers. Consider Rivers passed 11 times on Sunday with 7 catches by Brown. He has more value in a PPR format, but if you are in dire need of a RB you might look at Brown.

Jacquizz Rodgers ATL 8-60, (5)5-20
Rodgers is the change of pace back in the ATL who combined for 13 touches on Sunday vs Philly. This was his best game of the season and it’s still difficult to predict just how much he will be used on any given weekend. Still better to have Rodgers if you own Turner rather than as a starter in your line up.

Other notables: Joique Bell DET 7-25, (4)4-33,

WIDE RECEIVER (number in (#) represent targets)
Titus Young DET (9)9-100-1
Young was dropped by many owners early in the year as his numbers were weak. The injury to Burleson has given Young the chance to contribute to the Lions offense. Young caught all 9 balls his way and scored on a 1-yard TD pass. Megatron should continue to draw heavy coverage, hopefully Young is able to step up after back to back good games. He should be added and could be a good start in JAX in week 9.

Clyde Gates NYJ (11)7-82
Gates led the Jets in receiving, but that wasn’t saying much Sunday vs MIA. Most of these catches were garbage time, as the Jets were out of the game. He was targeted 11 times finishing with 7 catches. Only a viable WR is deeper leagues, as there should be better WRs to grab off the wire at this time.

Cecil Shorts JAX (12)8-116
Games of 74, 80, 79 and now 116 have made Shorts a good option off the wire. This week was his fist 100 yard effort, in which he also found the endzone. Shorts has been more involved in the offense and Gabbert seems to be looking his way more often. In week JAX played DET and is worth a spot start.

Danny Amendola STL
STL is on a bye in week 9, but watch the news about Amendola’s return. he was posting good numbers again before a shoulder injury knocked him out. He could return in week 10 vs SF. He should be available after week 9.

Other notables: Josh Gordon CLE (5)3-46, Ryan Broyles DET (5)3-37-1

TIGHT END
Dustin Keller NYJ (11)7-67
Keller, now healthy has posted back to back 7 catch games and saw a season high 11 targets vs MIA. Keller is a viable starter, even with all the issues the Jets are having. He could lose a bit of value if Tebow takes over as starter out of the bye week.

Other notables: None

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3 Teams. 1 Strategy. No Results.

I should be writing a piece on my mid-season performance in fantasy football this week. Maybe I am being a bit too pessimistic to my approach, but having experienced 29 years of fantasy football I know chances to take home a championship have dwindled this season for a myriad of reasons. This year was the first (and last) year of participating in a 14 team league and having a terrible experience currently 1-7. In my opinion 14 teams is too many. At work I started off well going 5-3, but have drop 3 games in the last 5 weeks. As for the league I manage, the TFL I am 4-4 but in 9th place overall based on total points.

Being 1-7 is tough, now 8 weeks down with 5 remaining, all I would need to win to have an outside shot at a playoff spot. Based on how poorly my team has performed, I can’t even put a positive spin on my team. The loss of Fred Jackson early on hurt me. This injury was followed by Cedric Benson, which left me DeMarco Murray who was injured in week 7 and didn’t play in week 8. Need I mention he was my #1 pick in (13th overall) the draft. To be honest, my team is unrecognizable in week 8 compared to who I drafted.

At QB, Philip Rivers has killed me all season long. I decided to pick up Christian Ponder and start him the rest of the way, as I have long lost faith in the coaching and management of the Chargers. Another Charger who hasn’t impressed, Antonio Gates, who has showed up for exactly 1 game this season. I also had Nate Kaeding before I lost him to injury earlier this year, but made the decision not to pick up his replacement opting for Greg Zuerlein.

Oh players I drafted Steven Ridley has probably been my best performer, but even his play has been inconsistent. Speaking of inconsistency, Dez Bryant was quiet though 3 weeks, but has come to life in 3 of the last 4 games, hopefully this is a positive sign for during a dismal season.

The last few weeks I have picked up Jonathan Dwyer, Chris Givens, Mikel Leshoure and Titus Young. Players who had been jettisoned by other teams to make way for other hot talent on the wire. Currently there are no players on the wire who could turn my season around. I suspect I will finish the season with a 2-11 record. My team has been unable to score, even the victory I had 2 weeks ago was only by a slim 3 point margin. So put a fork in this team, I will play out the season and not play in another 14 team league again.

At work we use ESPN and I am the commissioner for the 3rd year in a row. I won the league 2 years ago and thought I was on the winning track to start the 2012 season. I have been derailed the past few weeks suffering 3 loses and dropping me to 5-3. Still with that record I am in a position to make the playoffs and looking at my remaining schedule I play only 1 team with a winning record. So while the match ups favor me, I just need to see production out of a team that posted a 153 point score in week 5. I know the team can score, but inconsistency seems to have gotten the better of this team the past 5 weeks.

The team is anchored by Drew Brees, who came off his worst performance of the season last night. Injuries to Ahmad Bradshaw and Reggie Bush during the year have slowed their play recently, in which I suffered two of those loses. I don’t see Daryl Richardson as a legit starter for either of these RBs. Given we have only 5 bench spots (12 team league) I am only carrying 3 RBs. Not a wise move on my part.

I am very strong at WR with Eric Decker, Marques Colston and Julio Jones are my regular starters. All have played well this season and more importantly have remained healthy. They are the reason why I have gotten off to a 5-3 start this season. I expect these WRs to carry me the rest of the way. During the bye weeks I have been fortunate picking up Josh Gordon and Chris Givens. At TE I lost Fred Davis to injury, but this year there have been some very good play at the position. I picked up Martellus Bennett and Dennis Pitta during the season and have filled in admirably. Currently Bennett is the start and unless another better TE becomes available, I will run the season with “The Black Unicorn.”

This was another league that I had Nate Kaeding in, with his move to the IR due to injury I went with Shayne Graham initially, but after 2 weeks moved on to Greg Zuerlein who seemed to have more field goal chances. That move has paid off as well…until this week when STL score only 7 points.

My backup QB is Philip Rivers and had thoughts about going to him early on while I put Drew Brees on the trade block, where he has been for 8 weeks with no interest from other owners. I was expecting a #1 RB and still believe he is worth that in return. Maybe as teams jockey for playoff position I will deal Bress and hope to see Rivers turn things around. If not there is always Christian Ponder and Brandon Weeden on the waiver wire. Of the three leagues, this is my best chance at taking a championship.

Finally, the TFL the league that is near and dear to my heart where I have been the commissioner since we christened the league back in 1983-1984. Unfortunately it’s been rough in this 10-team league this season. It’s a league where the main payout is for total points, while the H2H is a separate payout. This allows the possibility of more owners having an interest in the season. Currently I am in 9th place in total points, already 188 points out of the top spot. While that lead isn’t insurmountable, I have a hard time finding those points and making up that lead. After MNF I will be 4-4. Each odd week I seem to win, but every even week I seem to lose. That has been the pattern this year.

I felt this was one of the stronger teams I had built the last 10 years. After drawing the #1 pick I opted to drop to 4th and built my team around Drew Brees with Christian Ponder as my surprise starter as the QB2 every week but one. Injuries to Matt Forte and Reggie Bush put me in a bind early at RB, but the loss of Cedric Benson has put me in a bind. I continue to start Darren Sproles, who like many other players isn’t having the sort of year like he did last year. He has put together 2 good back to back week and the Saints continue to score. The only talent on the bench is Jonathan Stewart and Lamar Miller, who was a last minute pickup last week to cover a bye. Stewart hasn’t been in the starting line up to date.

The best part of this team, the WRs build around Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson and Dez Bryant. Unfortunately all three have been inconsistent, but at least they have been healthy for the most part. On the bench I have Brandon Lloyd and Mike Williams, both who have seen action in recent weeks to help me win a few games. I need to see more production from Fitzgerald and more importantly Andre Johnson (drafted round 3 and round 4). Of all the WRs I have Mike Williams is having the best season. On a positive note points have been on the increase for Johnson and Fitzgerald, hopefully that trend continues as it will be my only hope. It comes as no surprise that I could be starting 4 WRs the rest of the season.

I drafted Fred Davis and lost him to injury. I picked up Martellus Bennett and Dennis Pitta, much like I did in my work league. At the time of their pick up they were the hottest couple of TE in the league. The past few weeks they have returned to pack in terms of statistics. Bennett has been the starter the past few weeks is well off his early season pace. An omen before week 1 started was the loss of both my kickers, one to IR the other to being cut. I picked up Shayne Graham and Greg Zuerlein. Both have played welled and Zuerlein has been very impressive for much of the season.

I can see my strategy through all three leagues. This strategy didn’t work well in the 14-team league, a draft I did prepare for very well. I figured with the showing I had in this league last year (when it was 12-teams) losing the championship game by 2 points I figured I could build another good team. Unfortunately not getting a good draft position I have struggled all season long.

At work I still feel confident this team will produce and bring me a championship, especially with the weak schedule I have remaining. As long as I can avoid further injury at RB, I should put myself in a position to have a strong run in the playoffs. I will continue on trying to work a deal to trade Brees for a legitimate RB1, no idea if I will have takers. I might start looking at playoff match ups a bit closer after week 8 ends.

The TFL is the tough one to call (10-team league). I know I don’t have enough in my starting line up to compete. If I make the playoffs it will be luck pulling me through. While I have big names, I don’t believe they will impact my team as I anticipate. With the exception of week 8 I had surpassed 100 points each week, but no longer is 100 points the standard, it’s more of the low end average. So I ride the remainder of the season out performing my commissioner duties and look towards our 30 year draft in Las Vegas next year.

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