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QB: Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton
RB: Jamaal Charles, Darren McFadden, Ronnie Hillman, Jonathan Stewart, Christine Michael
WR: Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, Kenny Britt, Cordarrelle Patterson
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Vernon Davis
PK: Kai Forbath
TD: New England Patriots

Overview:

Your starting lineup is respectable, but the lack of depth is a serious problem. If you're lucky enough to avoid the injury bug, you might be OK. But that's a tough thing to have to count on.

To make this team into a serious contender, you are going to need to be extremely active in trades and on the waiver wire. You esentially need to turn over significant parts of this roster. Last year running backs like Alfred Morris and Vick Ballard all could be had dirt cheap at the draft. Additionally, wide receivers like James Jones and Cecil Shorts were available after a lot of the drafts. Quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck last season, Cam Newton the year before, Michael Vick in 2010, and Matt Cassel in 2008 could all be had cheap just after draft time. You are likely going to need to land many of this year's top waiver plays to make any significant noise, so pay close attention to increased workloads, targets, injuries, etc.

Players we particularly like on this team include Vernon Davis, Andy Dalton, and the Patriots 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 70 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 50 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 32 percent chance of making the playoffs.

In any event, we wish you the best of luck. Here's hoping all your weeks are like week 14 of 2013:

Jamaal Charles vs. WAS: 159 combined yards, 2 TD
Andrew Luck vs. CIN: 326 passing yards, 4 TD
Andy Dalton vs. IND: 275 passing yards, 4 TD
Cordarrelle Patterson vs. BAL: 141 receiving yards, 1 TD

QB Summary:

We have Andrew Luck rated #11 among quarterbacks, which makes him a less-than-stellar starter in this league. But we like the selection of our #13-rated QB, Andy Dalton, to go with him. Hopefully between the two of them, you should be able to cobble together some good production at the position, but this strategy always carries with it the downside that you'll drive yourself crazy trying to decide who to start from week to week.

Incidentally, these two have a terrific combined schedule and a decent playoff schedule too. If you simply played the one with the better matchup each week, this is the schedule you'd face:

OAK | MIA | GB | CLE | NE | BUF | DET | NYJ | MIA | STL | TEN | ARI | TEN | IND | HOU | MIN

RB Summary:

We like Jamaal Charles as a top RB, but we consider your starting running backs, as a group, to be a little below par. Our projections have Charles ranked seventh and Darren McFadden ranked 26th.

We don't particularly like Ronnie Hillman as a third running back. Jonathan Stewart is also a fair-to-middlin' fourth running back.

Because you're not particularly strong overall at the position, adding some depth here was a good idea. But we're not convinced Christine Michael is the right player for the job. Check the end of the report for some alternative suggestions.

WR Summary:

Depth is a serious concern, but we do like your starting group, particularly Brandon Marshall as a second receiver. We figure them at a combined 1.1 points per game better than an average opponent in this league. Julio Jones is our sixth ranked WR, and we have Marshall at #8.

Kenny Britt is a little below average as a third receiver. Cordarrelle Patterson is also a liability at fourth receiver.

TE Summary:

As you are well aware, Rob Gronkowski is an elite tight end. We have him ranked second overall at the position. He's about 1.9 points per game better than an average starting TE in this league. Vernon Davis is another viable starting tight end in this league, and he'll likely play a big role as a flex starter.

Kicker Summary:

Kai Forbath, our 12th ranked kicker, is below average but probably adequate.

Defense Summary:

The Patriots are our #6 ranked defense, so you're in good shape here.


Is this a dynasty team? Click here to find out how it might look for 2014 season.


Schedule Analysis

Green 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.

12345678910111213141516
Andy DaltonCHIPITGBCLENEBUFDETNYJMIABALCLESDINDPITMIN
Andrew LuckOAKMIASFJAXSEASDDENHOUSTLTENARITENCINHOUKC
 
Jamaal CharlesJAXDALPHINYGTENOAKHOUCLEBUFDENSDDENWASOAKIND
Ronnie HillmanBALNYGOAKPHIDALJAXINDWASSDKCNEKCTENSDHOU
Darren McFaddenINDJAXDENWASSDKCPITPHINYGHOUTENDALNYJKCSD
Christine MichaelCARSFJAXHOUINDTENARISTLTBATLMINNOSFNYGARI
Jonathan StewartSEABUFNYGARIMINSTLTBATLSFNEMIATBNONYJNO
 
Kenny BrittARIATLDALSFJAXHOUCARSEATENINDCHISFARINOTB
Julio JonesNOSTLMIANENYJTBARICARSEATBNOBUFGBWASSF
Brandon MarshallCINMINPITDETNONYGWASGBDETBALSTLMINDALCLEPHI
Cordarrelle PattersonDETCHICLEPITCARNYGGBDALWASSEAGBCHIBALPHICIN
 
Vernon DavisGBSEAINDSTLHOUARITENJAXCARNOWASSTLSEATBATL
Rob GronkowskiBUFNYJTBATLCINNONYJMIAPITCARDENHOUCLEMIABAL
 
Kai ForbathPHIGBDETOAKDALCHIDENSDMINPHISFNYGKCATLDAL
 
New England PatriotsBUFNYJTBATLCINNONYJMIAPITCARDENHOUCLEMIABAL
 
Relative Strength10110099101104100989310899101100100100102100

Schedule and Matchup Notes:

  • 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 8 presents serious bye week issues for you: Andrew Luck and Brandon Marshall are off.
  • Julio Jones is out in week 6, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
  • Darren McFadden is out in week 7, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
  • Kenny Britt is out in week 11, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
  • In weeks 4, 5, 9, and 10 you'll probably be better off than your opponent, as far as byes are concerned.


Potential Free Agents

Listed 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: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here.

RB: Ronnie Hillman (9), Rashad Jennings (9), Shonn Greene (8), Jonathan Stewart (4), Knowshon Moreno (6), Zac Stacy (11), Stepfan Taylor (9), Jacquizz Rodgers (6), Daniel Thomas (6), Isaac Redman (5), Bilal Powell (10), Bryce Brown (12), Roy Helu (5), Andre Brown (8), Kendall Hunter (9), Johnathan Franklin (4), Robert Turbin (12), LaRod Stephens-Howling (5), Marcel Reece (7). We have all these players rated ahead of Christine Michael.

WR: Denarius Moore (7), Tavon Austin (11), Greg Little (10), Golden Tate (9), DeAndre Hopkins (8), Rueben Randle (9), Brian Hartline (6), Kenbrell Thompkins (10), Alshon Jeffery (8), Brandon LaFell (10), Malcom Floyd (8), Kendall Wright (8), Andre Roberts (5), Rod Streater (7), Santonio Holmes (10), Nate Washington (8), Donnie Avery (10), Jeremy Kerley (10), Ryan Broyles (9). We have all these players rated ahead of Cordarrelle Patterson.

TE: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here.

PK: Josh Brown (9), David Akers (9), Steve Hauschka (12), Blair Walsh (5), Kai Forbath (5), Dan Bailey (11), Adam Vinatieri (8), Mike Nugent (12), Mason Crosby (4), Greg Zuerlein (11).

TD: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here.


Projections and Player Summaries

PlayerCmpAttYDY/ATDINTRshYDTDFPTRank
Andrew Luck36360042007.02814451752323.511
Andy Dalton34055038507.02615401352292.013

Andy Dalton - In starting every game of his two-year NFL career, Dalton has shown signs of being a highly-productive quarterback. His statistical ceiling has been limited, though, by a well-balanced and somewhat conservative offense and a lack of playmakers not named A.J. Green. With veteran running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis getting older and the two backup running backs being rookies, more of the offensive burden may be pushed to Dalton. The team drafted multiple receives last year, including projected starter Mohamed Sanu - a very nice intermediate and red zone target. They also drafted an excellent receiving tight end in Tyler Eifert in this year's draft. Dalton and his perimeter playmakers could be the key to this offense in 2013.

Andrew Luck - Andrew Luck is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league in terms of ability. Combine that with his Peyton Manning-like knowledge of the game and desire to keep improving and you have a tremendous player capable of accomplishing anything. Luck has a solid supporting cast led by veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, that also includes speedster Darrius Heyward-Bey and budding receiver on the rise, T.Y. Hilton. Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener are two capable tight ends who add to the list of players that Luck can utilize. The pieces are in place for Luck to have an equal, if not better year than his rookie campaign that saw him reach 4,374 yards passing, 23 touchdown passes and 5 rushing touchdowns. Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians has left Indianapolis for the Arizona head coaching job. He is replaced by Pep Hamilton, formerly the Offensive Coordinator at Stanford, who held the same position while Andrew Luck was there. The early word is that Hamilton will incorporate a very similar style of Bruce Arians' down field offensive attack that Luck thrived under in his rookie season. This bodes well for Luck's 2013 outlook.

PlayerRshYDY/RshTDRecYDTDFPTRank
Jamaal Charles26012804.99614452238.57
Darren McFadden2007904.05423501150.026
Ronnie Hillman1355754.3322160197.544
Jonathan Stewart1154754.1418150086.547
Christine Michael603005.021590051.069

Jamaal Charles - Jamaal Charles has consistently been a fantasy RB1 when he's been healthy but that health came into concern on 8/12 when he limped off the practice field. The team has classified the injury as a sprained foot, and Head Coach Andy Reid did not seem concerned after practice. However, there are rumblings that the Chiefs are more concerned than they're letting on and foot injuries for running backs can linger. Charles is a home-run hitter whose long runs have helped support a 5.8 yard-per-carry average over his career, the best in NFL history. In 2013 he figures to have a better offense, with Andy Reid and Alex Smith replacing Romeo Crennel and Matt Cassel. Charles should get as many touches as he can handle, and with Reid's affinity for the screen game he'll likely be more involved in the passing game than he's ever been. The one negative for Charles has been his lack of success in the red zone. Last season he had just two scores inside the 20, with the closest of those being from twelve yards out. That figure probably won't hold up as Charles had six redzone scores in 2010, but he will never be a touchdown machine. Another concern is the changes to the offensive line. While the Chiefs' line in 2012 was nothing special, rookie Eric Fisher has some big shoes to fill replacing Eric Winston in the run game. If Fisher is as good a run-blocker as Winston was, Charles may be in line for a career year.

Ronnie Hillman - Ronnie Hillman is set to be the Broncos primary change of pace back this year. As a rookie his weight dipped below 180 pounds so the team has been working with him to add strength and keep his weight up in 2013. He's the fastest back on the roster and arguably the most dangerous in the open field. Hillman needs to show improvement as a pass protector if he wants to get in the lineup on passing downs. The Broncos have a decision to make with veteran Knowshon Moreno. He's a better blocker than Hillman and could cut into that change of pace role if he stays on the roster.

Darren McFadden - For five years now we've wrestled with how to weigh Darren McFadden's potential greatness vs. his propensity to fall victim to injury. He's missed 23 games over five seasons in the league and in that respect 2012 was no different than any other year in his career. In terms of productivity, however, 2012 was a different animal all together. McFadden's yards per carry dipped to 3.3, his yards per reception fell to 6.1, and he scored only 3 touchdowns. Those numbers have been blamed on a zone running scheme that was never built around McFadden't skills, but it's easy to question if he has already done the most he'll ever do in fantasy football. McFadden has finished as a RB2 or better only once in his NFL career, and that was in 2010. Yes, he has the speed and ability to put together amazing runs, but the idea that he's going to do so on this offense for 16 consecutive games seems far fetched at best.

Christine Michael - Christine Michael, the Seahawks' second-round pick this year, is a tough, decisive, one-cut runner who should contend for playing time right away. In the longer term, Michael could be the eventual successor to Marshawn Lynch when Lynch's contract gets substantially more expensive in 2015.

Jonathan Stewart - 2012 was not an auspicious year for Carolina's tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart - quarterback Cam Newton led the team in rushing with 127/741/8 on the ground, compared to 173/737/5 rushing and 20 targets for 13/187/2 receiving for Williams, the team's number two rusher last year. Jonathan Stewart (nine games played with 93/336/1 rushing and 17/157/1 receiving last season) struggled with injuries (again), sustaining a left ankle sprain that sidelined him from week 13 forwards. Stewart had corrective surgery on the ankle January 12, 2013. The team must have liked the outcome of the surgery as they renegotiated Stewart's contract in February, in which course Stewart received a $2.5 million signing bonus and got his 2014 $1.5 million base salary fully guaranteed. However, as of mid-June Stewart has missed OTAs allowing Williams a lot of first-team reps. Williams restructured his contract in mid-May as well, making his contract cap-friendly and likely keeping him in the mix at running back during 2013. Williams has logged two 1,000+ yards-rushing seasons during his seven years in the league, with his best effort coming during 2008 (274/1,518/18 with 22/121/2 receiving), while Stewart has logged one 1,000+ yards-rushing effort while in Carolina (2009, with 221/1,133/10 rushing and 18/139/1 receiving). Neither player has been particularly effective for fantasy owners over the last three years - their extensive time sharing and the arrival of Cam Newton has combined to limit each back's production.

PlayerRshYDTDRecYDY/RecTDFPTRank
Julio Jones00086124014.410184.06
Brandon Marshall000105127512.18175.58
Kenny Britt0006188014.46124.038
Cordarrelle Patterson0004052513.1476.567

Kenny Britt - Kenny Britt has shown that he can be an effective receiver in the league, but two knee surgeries later has many doubting he can regain that style of play. Britt will enter the 2013 season one year removed from any surgical procedures. If he can put the injuries and his troubled off the field past behind him, he can be a worthwhile fantasy option. He is a high risk/reward player that can make or break your fantasy roster.

Julio Jones - Julio Jones (138 targets for 79/1,198/10 receiving last season) and Roddy White have become one of the most valuable starting wide receiver tandems in the NFL. They are locked in as wide receivers #1A and #1B for this attack. Since Jones joined the Falcons, he's finished in the top twenty among fantasy wide receivers, with 54/959/8 his rookie season (17th) and then last year's totals placed him ninth. Jones has also proven to be a durable player, with a full 16 games played last year during regular season and 29 regular season games played out of a possible 32 so far during his career.

Brandon Marshall - Brandon Marshall came to Chicago with the hope of upgrading their receiving group. He certainly did that, setting franchise records in most receiving categories and was one of the few bright spots on Chicago's offense last season. This year expect more of the same from Marshall, as he's still the only proven pass-catcher on the team at this point. A healthy Alshon Jeffery might take some of pressure off of Marshall and Martellus Bennett will create some match-up issues with opposing defenses. If Chicago can keep defenses from rolling coverage to Marshall this season, you can expect another solid year with Marshall leading the way as Chicago's top receiver.

Cordarrelle Patterson - Rookie wide receivers tend to come along slowly, especially in offenses that don't throw the ball very much. Patterson has great talent, but it didn't help that he landed on a team that will only throw for about 3000 yards this year. Patterson is the real deal and even though he'll begin this summer as the #3 receiver, you can expect him to push for the #2 slot before the season starts. That might not amount to much from a fantasy prospective though.

PlayerRecYDY/RecTDFPTRank
Rob Gronkowski7296513.48144.52
Vernon Davis6185013.97127.04

Vernon Davis - Vernon Davis, the 49ers' first-round pick in 2006, is a supremely talented athlete. He is very fast and very strong. But from a fantasy standpoint, from season to season and from week to week, it is hard to know exactly how Davis will be used. Throughout his career, he has bounced around from a high-end fantasy TE1 to a low-end fantasy TE2, and everywhere in between. At times Davis is the focal point of the passing offense, and at times he is kept in to block. Even after Kaepernick took over at quarterback last season, Davis had some fantastic weeks followed by dismal weeks followed by some fantasic weeks again. Given his huge upside potential, he will be drafted as a mid-tier TE1; but his volatility puts him solidly below the top tier.

Rob Gronkowski - Rob Gronkowski's off-season has been a series of bits of bad news. As of May he had finally fought off an infection after one of three arm surgeries required by his broken arm from 2012. After finally having his fourth arm surgery, it was reported he had back surgery in June. All of this puts his status for Week 1 in doubt, much less training camp. Once he's back, he should be as effective as he ever has been but it's all in the timing. Plus, we'll have to see what, if any, effect missing whole chunks of training camp and preseason might have on him once he gets started and whether--as was the knock before he was drafted--he's just a guy who can't stay healthy.

PlayerFGMFGAXPMXPAFPTRank
Kai Forbath25304343118.012

Kai Forbath - After a decade of instability, including the first five games last year, Washington finally found their kicker. Forbath came in for the final 11 games and subsequently made all but one of field goal attempts, including 12 from 40+ yards. The only blemishes last year were a 37 yarder that hit the upright and a blocked extra point. Forbath brought long sought stability and he is surrounded by stability this year. In March the team re-signed Forbath's two co-specialists - punter/holder Sav Rocca and long snapper Nick Sundberg. The key coaching staff members remain intact from last year. The Redskins have hovered near the top ten in attempted kicking points the past three years, ranking 11th, 9th & 13th. Everything is in place for Forbath to be a top ten fantasy kicker.

PlayerSackFRINTTDYd/GPt/GFPTRank
New England Patriots381418435020.0142.96

New England Patriots - It wasn't that long ago when the Patriots were loaded with stud defenders like Willie McGinest, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, and Lawyer Milloy. Those guys are long gone, but the Patriots have been able to restock the cupboard with the likes of Chandler Jones, Jerod Mayo, Donta Hightower, Devin McCourty, and Aqib Talib. After a couple of seasons of mediocrity, look for all of this young talent to come together for a solid 2013 campaign. They should be a decent starting option most weeks.


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.

Falcons | Julio Jones to be limited - Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) will be limited during the team's offseason workouts while he recovers from offseason foot surgery. 'Julio is participating with our athletic performance department,' head coach Mike Smith said. 'He will be able to get out on the field and do some walk-through stuff with us when we start going. Our focus on Julio is one thing, and that's having him prepared for our opener. ... He's progressing well. We're not going to do anything to hinder his timeframe in terms of getting back to work with us.' Tue Apr 22, 01:02 PM     [Link to story]

Footballguys view: Jones still appears to be on track to be his old self by the time the season opens. He'll be drafted as a mid-low WR1 in fantasy leagues with a likely second-round price tag.

Bengals | No extension imminent for Andy Dalton - Updating a previous report, Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton said his agent has talked with the team about a contract extension but no deal is imminent at this point. Mon Apr 21, 06:01 PM     [Link to story]

Bengals | Andy Dalton expects extension - Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton is expecting the team to approach him with a long-term contract extension before his rookie deal expires next March. Dalton is scheduled to make roughly $1.7 million this year as he finishes up his four-year, $5.2 million deal. 'It's a quarterback-driven league, so quarterbacks get rewarded a lot of money,' Dalton said. 'For a lot of these quarterbacks, if you're the quarterback of the team, you're the face of the franchise. So these teams obviously believe in their guy and they're going to pay him that way.' Mon Apr 21, 12:39 PM     [Link to story]

Footballguys view: The market may pay Dalton 15+ million a season in such a quarterback starved league, and the Bengals are notoriously frugal, so we're not expecting a deal to get done before the season.

Raiders | Darren McFadden expected to be top RB - Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the starting running back this upcoming season if he is able to stay healthy. Sun Apr 20, 08:57 PM     [Link to story]

Footballguys view: Maurice Jones-Drew was added in free agency to work in the team's RBBC. There's going to be a split (maybe 50/50) of carries, no matter who wins the starting job.

Raiders | Darren McFadden expected to start - If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup. Sun Apr 20, 12:00 AM     [Link to story]

Footballguys view: We'll see how this battle plays out in training camp. Jones-Drew was added in free agency this offseason, while McFadden was kept around for one more year. No matter who wins the starting job, the Raiders are going to use a RBBC in 2014.