Ben, rated by footballguys.comEdit this team Input another team with the same league settings Your team is currently being rated by the projections of David Dodds Switch to: Maurile Tremblay Bob Henry Jason Wood
QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB: Joseph Randle, Ameer Abdullah, Devonta Freeman, Arian Foster, Duke Johnson
WR: Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton, Alshon Jeffery, Steve Johnson, Cole Beasley, Danny Amendola
TE: Dwayne Allen, Antonio Gates
PK: Connor Barth
TD: St. Louis Rams
Your receivers are the strongest part of this team. It's rare for us to endorse a team with weaknesses at quarterback and running back, but we're doing it right here! You should have a contender here. But your margin for error in terms of inseason management could be a bit thinner than some of your competitors'. You must remain committed to finding 2015's emergent players at RB and QB.
Players we particularly like on this team include Devonta Freeman, Duke Johnson, Arian Foster, and the Rams defense. We have all these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.Bottom line:
- With great inseason management, we think you have about a 80 percent chance of making the playoffs.
- With good inseason management, we think you have about a 70 percent chance of making the playoffs.
- With average inseason management, we think you have a 58 percent chance of making the playoffs.
We expect Ben Roethlisberger to be a solid starter. According to our projections, he's the #5 QB, so you should be better off than most teams in the starting quarterback slot.
Despite your strong starting quarterback, we recommend taking a backup. See the end of this report for some specific suggestions.RB Summary:
We see both your starters at running back as below average. Our projections have Joseph Randle ranked 15th and Ameer Abdullah ranked 20th.
Your bench looks good and should help offset the unexciting starting unit. Devonta Freeman should serve as a very solid third running back. Likewise, Arian Foster should be excellent at RB4.
Duke Johnson is an excellent depth pick, though you may not end up using him much.
Note that the above "thoughts" were generated by David Dodds's projections. Others have different takes:
Some of our staffers have Joseph Randle as high as #11, which would make him a fine first running back. Matt Waldman's take: "I don't think Randle is a special talent. I never have. I also believe the Cowboys haven't found their back that will finish the year as its starter. Until that time, Randle appears to have the lead for the job and it's a great tour of duty behind this offensive line. If Justin Forsett can produce like he did in Baltimore last year, I have to stay true to the lead back in Dallas earning strong fantasy production. I haven't expected this ranking of Randle to remain stable this summer, but until we see a major move by the Cowboys it's time to consider Randle as the realistic starter and feature back. This placement is more about the Dallas offense, not the back. "
Ameer Abdullah is ranked #13 by some of our writers, which would make him an above average second running back. Jason Wood reasons, "I'm a big fan of Ameer Abdullah, but for now I have to view him as a third part of a three-way committee. If the preseason points to a more defined role for Abdullah, I won't hesitate to bump his projections and full-year ranking. "WR Summary:
Nice work here. We like both your starting receivers, as our projections indicate that they give you a combined 4.9 point-per-game advantage over an average opponent in this league. Antonio Brown is our #1 ranked receiver, and we have T.Y. Hilton at #9.
Your bench also looks good. Tough to do better than Alshon Jeffery at WR3; he's a likely flex starter. Steve Johnson, on the other hand, is an average-at-best fourth WR. Cole Beasley is a very weak fifth receiver.
We're not sure that Danny Amendola adds much, as you're already strong at the position and we aren't convinced he's roster-worthy in this league anyway.TE Summary:
In Dwayne Allen and Antonio Gates, we feel that you have two good backups. Unfortunately, we don't see a starting quality tight end on the roster.
Note that the above "thoughts" were generated by David Dodds's projections. Others have different takes:
Antonio Gates is ranked #9 by some of our writers, which would make him a great second tight end and even a legitimate TE1. Austin Lee reasons, "Gates will miss the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. This could open the door for Ladarius Green to step into the spotlight, but Stevie Johnson playing from the slot is likely the biggest beneficiary."Kicker Summary:
We don't think Connor Barth is starter quality in this league. Keep a sharp eye on the waiver wire.Defense Summary:
The Rams are our #3 ranked defense, so you're in good shape here.
Schedule AnalysisGreen means GO (good matchup), red means STOP (bad matchup). Main starters highlighted At the bottom of the table, the Relative Strength row shows you how strong we project your team to be, relative to your usual strength, in that week. This accounts for byes and matchups.
|St. Louis Rams||SEA||WAS||PIT||ARI||GB||CLE||SF||MIN||CHI||BAL||CIN||ARI||DET||TB||SEA|
- Please note that the Relative strength numbers above account for both byes and matchups.
- Remember that you might have starters on bye in a given week, but still have a high relative strength. This could occur because of favorable matchups, or it might be because you are projected to be missing less production than an average opponent will (your opponents have to deal with byes too).
- Week 11 presents serious bye week issues for you: Ben Roethlisberger, Duke Johnson, and Antonio Brown are off.
- Joseph Randle, Cole Beasley, Connor Barth, and St. Louis Rams are out in week 6, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
- In weeks 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 you'll probably be better off than your opponent, as far as byes are concerned.
Potential Free AgentsListed in order of preference. We don't know exactly who is available in your league, but here is a list of players who might be available and could be upgrades over some of your depth players, listed in order of preference. Your players are listed in red for comparison. Players who might not mesh well with the bye weeks of your key players are grayed out.
QB: Alex Smith (9), Jameis Winston (6), Joe Flacco (9), Carson Palmer (9), Nick Foles (6), Blake Bortles (8), Marcus Mariota (4), Derek Carr (6), Robert Griffin III (8), Ryan Fitzpatrick (5), Brian Hoyer (9), Josh McCown (11), Tyrod Taylor (8), Matt Cassel (8), Geno Smith (5), Kirk Cousins (8), Johnny Manziel (11), Jimmy Garoppolo (4), Ryan Mallett (9). RB: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here. WR: Malcom Floyd (10), Allen Hurns (8), Dwayne Bowe (11), Marvin Jones (7), Percy Harvin (8), Cody Latimer (7), Kenny Britt (6), Martavis Bryant (11), Corey Brown (5), Brian Hartline (11), Robert Woods (8), Greg Jennings (5), Andrew Hawkins (11), Harry Douglas (4), Kamar Aiken (9), Taylor Gabriel (11), Ty Montgomery (7), Dorial Green-Beckham (4), Breshad Perriman (9). We have all these players rated ahead of Cole Beasley and Danny Amendola. TE: Delanie Walker (4), Kyle Rudolph (5), Jordan Cameron (5), Julius Thomas (8), Tyler Eifert (7), Dwayne Allen (10), Heath Miller (11), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (6), Owen Daniels (7), Charles Clay (8), Antonio Gates (10). PK: Brandon McManus (7), Garrett Hartley (11), Matt Bryant (10), Matt Prater (9), Nick Novak (10), Josh Brown (11), Caleb Sturgis (5), Dustin Hopkins (11), Chandler Catanzaro (9), Phil Dawson (10), Blair Walsh (5), Graham Gano (5), Mike Nugent (7), Dan Carpenter (8), Greg Zuerlein (6), Randy Bullock (9), Cairo Santos (9), Robbie Gould (7), Nick Folk (5). We have all these players rated ahead of Connor Barth. TD: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here.
Projections and Player Summaries
Ben Roethlisberger - With top-5 upside and a proven track record, there's a lot to like about Ben Roethlisberger this year. In 2014, Roethlisberger posted a career-high with 4,952 passing yards. He also tied his career-best with 32 passing touchdowns. Roethliberger posted these numbers while only throwing nine interceptions. It's not out of the question to think that Roethlisberger will put up even better numbers in 2015. Roethlisberger has emerging weapons around him in the passing game like wide receivers Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton. Add in superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown and steady tight end Heath Miller--and the best receiving back in the game Le'Veon Bell--and it's easy to see why Roethlisberger is capable of producing that much in 2015. He's got the size to sluff off smaller defenders, and Roethlisberger is the master of keeping plays alive while under duress. With chaos swirling around him in the pocket, Roethlisberger stays calm and tries to find the open receiver. He has no problem challenging the edges of the defense, and he's known as an aggressive passer. With Bell suspended for the first three games of the season, the Steelers could lean on Roethlisberger and the passing game more than ever to kick this year off. All fantasy owners--especially DFS owners--should be able to benefit from this spike in Roethlisberger's opportunity.
Ameer Abdullah - Ameer Abdullah arrives in Detroit as a 2nd round pick out of Nebraska and will earn immediate playing time as the 3rd down back and as a change of pace to power back Joique Bell. Abdullah could potentially carve out an even bigger role due to his impressive training camp performance and Bell's nagging injury issues. The biggest knock on Abdullah is his size at only 5'9 and 205 pounds. He does not have the ideal build for a true 3-down RB. Abdullah does run hard though and generates some power with his leg drive and low pad level. A smaller knock on Abdullah is his lack of blazing long speed as he only ran a 4.60 40-yd. dash at the combine. Where he really excels however is with his quickness and ability to hit top speed quickly. He is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield and should step right into the role vacated by Reggie Bush as the primary pass catching back in Detroit as he is more talented than Theo Riddick. Abdullah should be viewed as a RB2 with upside, particularly in PPR leagues. Abdullah could emerge as the RB1 in Detroit by the middle of the season.
Arian Foster - An injury plagued 2013 season left people wondering how Arian Foster would rebound in 2014. The Texans offense had question marks, including Foster's own health. With his legacy in the balance, Foster quieted critics and rose to the occasion with a strong season that saw him finish in the Top 5 among fantasy running backs. The offseason came and the Texans were strong candidates to use a high draft pick on a talented, young running back, but it never happened. Outside of Foster, the 2015 Texans running game will include last year's surprising rookie, Alfred Blue, the newly signed Chris Polk and veteran Jonathan Grimes. The Texans coaching staff has indicated that Foster's role will be diminished this year, which would undoubtedly have a least some negative effect on his fantasy value. Foster has a history of leg, hamstring and calf injuries which can pop up without notice, especially on a player with as much wear and tear as him. In the last five years, Foster has amassed over 1,500 touches. He has the talent, drive and experience to be a weekly fantasy standout, but can he make it last the entire year? He is expected to be a key piece of the offense, but there is definitely risk involved in making him your top back in 2015. Update - Foster suffered a groin/hernia injury in training camp and has since had sports hernia surgery that will keep him out of action for the first 4-5 weeks of the season, possibly longer. He was not placed on the IR with eligibility to return list, which indicates the Texans are still planning on him returning to action before Week 10. Continue to monitor this situation in preseason. When healthy, Foster is one of the best backs in the league and therefore is still worthy of being selected in redraft leagues.
Devonta Freeman - DeVonta Freeman was selected at 4.03 of the 2014 draft (Florida State). After the 2014 draft, Footballguy Matt Waldman expected Freeman to compete for touches on the football during 2014 (Freeman handled 65/248/1 rushing and saw 37 targets for 30/225/1 receiving during 2014 in a part-time role) and then potentially supplant Jacquizz Rodgers as the #2 in Atlanta for 2015, which is indeed how the scenario has worked out, with Rodgers moving on to Chicago during free agency this past spring. However, the Falcons drafted Tevin Coleman with the 73rd pick of the 2015 draft, likely signalling that Freeman will stay in his backup role during 2015, though he may be the junior partner in a potential running-back-by-committee. The work-sharing arrangement between the two backs will be hashed out during training camp/preseason. An important note from early in training camp - both Coleman and Freeman are recovering from hamstring injuries as of Thursday, August 6 - the team has yet to give a timetable for their return to action.
Duke Johnson - Second-round selection Duke Johnson gives Cleveland a more versatile back than Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. At Miami (FL), Johnson caught 69 passes in two-plus seasons (he played in just eight games in 2013 after breaking his right ankle). He averaged 10.4 yards per reception. He also showed an electric playmaking ability rushing the ball, averaging 6.7 yards per carry in his career and totaling 30 touchdowns. Johnson is likely to reduce West's role to purely a committee player only if Crowell is injured. He can be a passing-down player or carry the load if called upon. Johnson was flashing in practices until he injured his hamstring. The team has said they will ease him back as they have plans to use him heavily this season and don't want to risk a recurrence.
Joseph Randle - Joseph Randle is one of the more interesting players to watch as the preseason unfolds. After DeMarco Murray departed Dallas in free agency, many expected the Cowboys to draft a new starter or trade for someone like Adrian Peterson. Neither happened. That leaves aging, brittle veteran Darren McFadden and Randle as the likely heirs to the lead back role. On one hand, if Randle impresses this preseason, and earns a starting job -- he could be one of the best fantasy values of early drafts. He'll be running behind one of the league's best offensive lines and sharing the huddle with an elite quarterback/receiver tandem. On the other hand, Randle has only garnered 105 carries in two seasons -- and has been the subject of controversy. Some reports even suggested the Cowboys contemplated releasing him mid-season. Randle has a wider spectrum of outcomes than most players, but all signs in the preseason point to a heavy workload for Randle in 2015.
Danny Amendola - Danny Amendola was once thought to be the replacement for Wes Welker. Instead, he's ended up injured almost as frequently as Welker did in Denver. Julian Edelman has emerged as the short-route guy and Amendola has had trouble finding a role when he's made it on to the field. While the fact that the Patriots reworked his contract is good (after all, they didn't cut him outright), it's also a sign they don't trust him to perform. Amendola is a dangerous player to go after in fantasy realms, as even when he's healthy he can underperform. As it stands, he seems to be no more than a late-round flier.
Cole Beasley - Beasley is secure in his role as the team's slot receiver, and there's a belief that Scott Linehan plans on using more 3-WR sets this season. Beasley probably doesn't warrant anything more than a late round pick in standard leagues, but is a viable option in deeper PPR leagues.
Antonio Brown - Over the last two seasons, Antonio Brown has been one of the best receivers in the league. After his amazing performance in 2014, Brown shows no signs of slowing down. Last year, Brown ran a league-high 631 routes, was targeted 180 times (2nd-most), caught 129 passes (1st) for 1,698 receiving yards (1st), 85 first downs (1st) and 13 receiving touchdowns (2nd). Brown has amazing chemistry with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and he can attack a defense on short or long routes. He has no problem working the sidelines or running routes over the middle. Brown is the guy Roethlisberger looks for first in his progressions--and he's the guy Roethlisberger looks for when the play breaks down. His speed and quickness help Brown get open against the tightest coverage. His quick feet also help him beat jam coverage at the line of scrimmage. Brown is a "set it and forget it" starter for fantasy owners, and he's the model of consistency. For the second year in a row, Brown did not record a game with fewer than five receptions. He's consistent, he can make big plays and he can take over games. All these attributes make Brown a favorite for fantasy owners.
T.Y. Hilton - One of the best stats that encapsulates T.Y. Hilton's fantasy success in his brief three year career is that he has exceeded his average draft position (ADP) each year he has been in the league. Just when you think Hilton has reached his maximum potential, he adds another level to his game and increases his standing at seasons end. Very few players have raised their game every year like Hilton. The Colts offense is one of the best in the league, much in part to Hilton's abilities, but also thanks to the stellar quarterback play of Andrew Luck. Hilton has scored 19 touchdowns in three seasons and he has 82 receptions in back to back years with six games of 100+ yards receiving in 2014. Consider Hilton a strong WR2 option this year with the ability to put up WR1 numbers any given week.
Alshon Jeffery - Alshon Jeffery missed the Bears' first preseason game due to a calf injury suffered earlier in the week. Following the game, Jeffery was seen in a walking boot. Head coach John Fox is calling Jeffery's injury a day-to-day thing, but who really knows. The Bears played coy when it came to Kevin White's shin injury, one of which has kept him out all of training camp thus far. So it's really hard to gauge if there's something more to what Jeffery currently is going through. Jeffery had been looking great in camp before the injury, and the Bears will need him if they plan to surprise the masses and finish the season with a winning record. Stay tuned.
Steve Johnson - Steve Johnson had three 1,000-yard seasons with the Bills before taking on a role as a part-time player with the 49ers last season. Although Johnson's 35 catches for 435 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2014 don't add up to impressive fantasy totals, his production was rather efficient on a per-route basis. The Chargers will give him a chance to compete for a starting role opposite Keenan Allen. He'll battle Malcom Floyd for that honor, but however the pecking order ends up, he'll get plenty of playing time in the Chargers' 3-WR base offense. Johnson is a smooth route-runner who can play from the slot or on the perimeter, and has some upside potential as a late-round fantasy sleeper.
Dwayne Allen - Andrew Luck and the Colts loved to involve the tight end in the offense, especially in the red zone. Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen combined to receive 16 of Luck's 40 touchdown passes in 2014. Throw in another two to Jack Doyle and that's nearly half of Luck's touchdown passes to the tight end. There is definitely fantasy value to be had from the tight end spot on the Colts. The only down side is that both players take away value from the other. An injury to one would elevate the other into a must start fantasy option. Rostering one or the other as a TE2 is a wise move, as you're betting on at least one not completing a full season. Injury wise, Dwayne Allen is the greater risk. He has played in only 14 games in the last two seasons, whereas Fleener hasn't missed a game in the same time span. The Colts scored 28.6 points per game last year and their offense is expected to be just as good, if not better in 2015. Consider Fleener and Allen as excellent later round tight end selections.
Antonio Gates - Antonio Gates joined the league as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He came off the bench as a rookie, but in his 11 years as a starter, he's been a top-three fantasy tight end seven times, including last season when he finished #2 in non-PPR leagues. Gates was never a great blocker, and he's gotten worse in recent years, so he's come off the field more often on early downs. But that hasn't hurt his receiving production: if anything, it's kept him fresher over the course of the season. The main concern heading into 2015 is that Gates has been suspended for the first four games, which will give Ladarius Green a chance to show his stuff and possibly claim a permanent role as a starter. Gates will still have a role from Week Five on since he is still one of the top five receivers on the team; but the role could be significantly smaller than it was last season.
Connor Barth - The Broncos endured some instability at kicker in 2014 due to Matt Prater's suspension and Brandon McManus's inconsistency, but the veteran Barth came on for the last five games and made 15 of 16 field goal attempts. That number of attempts per game over a whole season would give Barth a chance to be the top scoring kicker in the league by a good margin, but it was also inflated by Peyton Manning's December struggles, especially in the red zone. Barth is being drafted as a top 10 kicker, and whether Manning bounces back and gives Barth a ton of extra point attempts, or continues to decline and stalls out for more field goal attempts, the kicker position in Denver's thin air should be a good one for fantasy.
|St. Louis Rams||44||12||15||5||334||20.5||137.1||3|
St. Louis Rams - Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald form the core of an excellent defensive line rotation that can create feeding frenzy games that overwhelm even the best of opponents at times. Like the Rams team, the D/ST can fluctuate wildly in results, but their ability to have the #1 week at just about any given time, especially when they are at home, makes them one of the D/ST's that will get drafted in every league once again this year. If Nick Foles is even an incremental improvement of the cast that has replaced Sam Bradford and Todd Gurley is as advertised this year, the Rams could be more competitive and post more top end D/ST weeks this year.
Player News (last 7 days)
"Our view" written by footballguys.com's Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom. Click here for all the news around the NFL, updated constantly.Cowboys | Joseph Randle part of committee? - Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle will share reps with RB Darren McFadden and RB Lance Dunbar because the Cowboys 'intend to take a committee approach,' according to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fri Aug 28, 10:06 PM [Link to story]
|Footballguys view: The Cowboys are a mess in the backfield and really it's 'pick your poison' time in Big D. If you must take someone here, Randle is your guy and he should make a decent RB2 or RB3, but we're concerned how the carries are going to split, so he lacks stability.|
|Footballguys view: He's day-to-day, right John Fox? Stay tuned here.|
|Footballguys view: Great news for fantasy owners of Foster, but not so wonderful for those who have Alfred Blue. We've seen Blue getting drafted in the sixth round of drafts, while Foster is going just one round earlier. That could actually make Foster a bit of a value as when healthy he's at least a solid RB2.|
|Footballguys view: That didn't take long. Barth was released by the Broncos on Tuesday, and he's found a new team in a day. His leg may not be that strong, but Barth can be accurate on shorter field goals.|
|Footballguys view: It's always possible the team could bring in another guy but for now, McManus looks like a great value as he'd been under the radar. He's a top-10 kicker for fantasy owners, and his strong leg (he hit a 70-yard field goal in practice) helps in leagues that award bonuses for distance.|
|Footballguys view: They can't afford anymore big injuries, so they should bubble wrap Jeffery. Owners will be fine with that, as he is a WR1 this season and worth a ton of production. Wilson has a shot to make an impact with rookie Kevin White's injury opening the door to more targets, but we aren't totally sold, and currently have him as a WR5 at best.|
|Footballguys view: This is taking the shine off the "anyone can be a RB2 behind that offensive line" talk. It's only the preseason, and the games don't count--but this news item does matter. We'd like to see one guy emerge from the pack, and that should be Randle. It would comfort fantasy owners if he looked good entering the season.|
|Footballguys view: Fox said Jeffery will be back practicing once he is medically cleared. Earlier reports indicate that Jeffery may be shut down for the rest of the preseason as he deals with this calf injury. Stay tuned.|
|Footballguys view: Johnson is an interesting rookie to keep an eye on. He's electric in the open field, and he can make defenders miss with his quickness and agility. Johnson will work as the team's change-of-pace back in 2015.|
|Footballguys view: If all goes well, Foster may only miss about a month of the regular season. In order to make that timetable, he cannot have any setbacks during his recovery.|
|Footballguys view: Randle practiced after aggravating the injury earlier this week, so it sounds like this is only precautionary and might even be a sign of the team treating him like an entrenched starter.|
|Footballguys view: If Johnson can stay healthy through the week and impress in the third preseason, he'll have a real chance to take control of this backfield because Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West have not done it in his absence.|
|Footballguys view: Johnson is an exciting prospect but he's stuck behind Isaiah Crowell. Right now we have Crowell as a RB3 while Johnson sits at RB4. He won't move unless he gets back on the field, even if they claim he isn't behind because of his injury.|
|Footballguys view: We need to see him before he can rise up draft boards to ahead of where he sits at RB4. Right now he's behind Isaiah Crowell, who is rated as an RB3.|
|Footballguys view: The speedy rookie can work as the change-of-pace back behind Isaiah Crowell this year. Johnson is quick, fast and can make defenders miss in the open field. In 12-team PPR leagues, he's coming off the board at RB42 (9.10) in current drafts.|