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QB: Cam Newton, Andy Dalton
RB: Trent Richardson, Reggie Bush, DeMarco Murray, Jacquizz Rodgers, Stepfan Taylor
WR: Dwayne Bowe, Jordy Nelson, Vincent Brown, Alshon Jeffery, Denarius Moore, Stephen Hill, Robert Woods
TE: Tony Gonzalez
PK: Randy Bullock, David Akers
TD: Baltimore Ravens

Overview:

We think you're looking good at quarterback and running back, and tight end is a plus for this team as well. Your squad is therefore easy for us to like despite a bit of weakness at the receiver position. But as weaknesses go, this is one is survivable. It's usually relatively easy to find fill-in guys on a weekly basis until a better player emerges during the season. As long as you stay on top of things inseason, you should be the league favorite or very close to it.

Players we particularly like on this team include Trent Richardson, Vincent Brown, Stephen Hill, Robert Woods, Andy Dalton, Reggie Bush, DeMarco Murray, Jacquizz Rodgers, Randy Bullock, the Ravens defense, and David Akers. 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 90 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 85 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 77 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 2 of 2012:

Reggie Bush vs. OAK: 197 combined yards, 2 TD
Trent Richardson vs. CIN: 145 combined yards, 2 TD
Cam Newton vs. NO: 253 passing yards, 71 rushing yards, 2 TD
Dwayne Bowe vs. BUF: 102 receiving yards, 2 TD
Andy Dalton vs. CLE: 318 passing yards, 3 TD

QB Summary:

We have Cam Newton rated #8 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 , though their playoff schedule isn't so great. If you simply played the one with the better matchup each week, this is the schedule you'd face:

SEA | BUF | GB | CLE | NE | BUF | DET | TB | MIA | SF | NE | MIA | TB | NO | NYJ | NO | BAL

RB Summary:

Nice work here. We like both your starting running backs, as our projections indicate that they give you a combined 1.9 point-per-game advantage over an average opponent in this league. Our projections have Trent Richardson ranked fourth and Reggie Bush ranked 14th.

Your bench also looks good. DeMarco Murray looks great as a third running back; he's a likely flex starter. Jacquizz Rodgers should also be solidly above average at RB4.

We're not sure that Stepfan Taylor adds much, as you're already strong at the position and we aren't convinced he's roster-worthy in this league anyway.

WR Summary:

We like Vincent Brown as a third WR, but we consider your starting receivers, as a group, to be a little below par. Dwayne Bowe is our 12th ranked WR, Jordy Nelson is #24, and we have Brown 31st.

Your bench looks good and should help offset the unexciting starting unit. We see Alshon Jeffery as an average fourth receiver. Denarius Moore is an excellent WR5. We love Stephen Hill as a sixth receiver.

Robert Woods is an excellent depth pick, though you may not end up using him much.

TE Summary:

We like the choice of Tony Gonzalez to start at tight end. We have him ranked fourth overall at the position. He's about 0.8 points per game better than an average starting TE in this league. Given your league rules and the presence of Gonzalez, your decision to roll with just one tight end is a reasonable one.

Kicker Summary:

With Randy Bullock and David Akers, you should be above average at the position.

Defense Summary:

The Ravens are our #5 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.

1234567891011121314151617
Andy DaltonCHIPITGBCLENEBUFDETNYJMIABALCLESDINDPITMINBAL
Cam NewtonSEABUFNYGARIMINSTLTBATLSFNEMIATBNONYJNOATL
 
Reggie BushMINARIWASCHIGBCLECINDALCHIPITTBGBPHIBALNYGMIN
DeMarco MurrayNYGKCSTLSDDENWASPHIDETMINNONYGOAKCHIGBWASPHI
Trent RichardsonOAKMIASFJAXSEASDDENHOUSTLTENARITENCINHOUKCJAX
Jacquizz RodgersNOSTLMIANENYJTBARICARSEATBNOBUFGBWASSFCAR
Stepfan TaylorSTLDETNOTBCARSFSEAATLHOUJAXINDPHISTLTENSEASF
 
Dwayne BoweJAXDALPHINYGTENOAKHOUCLEBUFDENSDDENWASOAKINDSD
Vincent BrownHOUPHITENDALOAKINDJAXWASDENMIAKCCINNYGDENOAKKC
Stephen HillTBNEBUFTENATLPITNECINNOBUFBALMIAOAKCARCLEMIA
Alshon JefferyCINMINPITDETNONYGWASGBDETBALSTLMINDALCLEPHIGB
Denarius MooreINDJAXDENWASSDKCPITPHINYGHOUTENDALNYJKCSDDEN
Jordy NelsonSFWASCINDETBALCLEMINCHIPHINYGMINDETATLDALPITCHI
Robert WoodsNECARNYJBALCLECINMIANOKCPITNYJATLTBJAXMIANE
 
Tony GonzalezNOSTLMIANENYJTBARICARSEATBNOBUFGBWASSFCAR
 
David AkersMINARIWASCHIGBCLECINDALCHIPITTBGBPHIBALNYGMIN
Randy BullockSDTENBALSEASFSTLKCINDARIOAKJAXNEJAXINDDENTEN
 
Baltimore RavensDENCLEHOUBUFMIAGBPITCLECINCHINYJPITMINDETNECIN
 
Relative Strength99102981011051001039610510010210210110099101100

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 moderate bye week issues: Trent Richardson, Vincent Brown, Alshon Jeffery, Randy Bullock, and Baltimore Ravens are not playing.
  • Jacquizz Rodgers and Tony Gonzalez are out in week 6, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
  • DeMarco Murray is out in week 11, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
  • Denarius Moore is out in week 7, 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: Joique Bell (9), Daniel Thomas (6), Isaiah Pead (11), Bryce Brown (12), Kendall Hunter (9), Isaac Redman (5), Michael Bush (8), Marcel Reece (7), Mike Tolbert (4), Bilal Powell (10), Shonn Greene (8), Knile Davis (10), Mike Goodson (10), Rashad Jennings (9), Chris Ogbonnaya (10), Roy Helu (5), Knowshon Moreno (6), Zac Stacy (11), Christine Michael (12). We have all these players rated ahead of Stepfan Taylor.

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

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
Cam Newton28949035927.320141256937382.98
Andy Dalton33051837147.22716451352341.213

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.

Cam Newton - Though Cam Newton didn't fulfill the lofty expectations of many fantasy owners during 2012, he still finished as the fourth-best fantasy quarterback in the NFL due to his combination of passing (280/425 for 3,869 yards, 19 TDs and 12 interceptions) and rushing (127/741/8) abilities, edging out Peyton Manning for fourth by nine fantasy points during 2012. He was strong down the stretch, with six multiple-TD games during the final eight contests of the regular season (two passing TDs week 10; two passing TDs, two rushing TDs week 12; three passing TDs week 13; two passing TDs, one rushing TD week 14; two passing TDs week 15; and one passing TD, with one rushing TD during week 16). New offensive coordinator Mike Shula was Newton's quarterback coach last year, and Newton credits Shula with helping create his strong finish during 2012. 'I think a lot of credit goes to him with me honing in to a lot of things that he's been coaching me up to do.' Newton noted on February 1, 2013. Newton has been a top-ten fantasy quarterback in both of his NFL seasons, and should be a fantasy force again during 2013.

PlayerRshYDY/RshTDRecYDTDFPTRank
Trent Richardson29511804.011513832259.84
Reggie Bush1857864.26665213217.714
DeMarco Murray2259684.37433011196.417
Jacquizz Rodgers853574.22362742105.140
Stepfan Taylor602374.01753038.571

Reggie Bush - After two years in Miami, where he finished just outside the top 12 for fantasy running backs, Reggie Bush will now be lining up for the Detroit Lions. Although he's entering his eighth NFL season, Bush still has plenty of gas in the tank. He's a good fit for the Lions, who have not had a consistent running game for the last few seasons. The fact that Bush catches the ball well out of the backfield certainly helps when your offense is throwing the ball more than 725 times a season like the Lions did last year either. Look for Bush to put up more solid RB2 numbers with big upside in PPR leagues, and flirt with the top 12 again this season.

DeMarco Murray - What a difference a year makes. As a rookie, Murray amassed 164 carries in part-time work but exited the season with expectations of greatness and a feature back role in 2012. His injuries were considered minor and his talents unparalleled in Dallas. But things didn't go according to plan in 2012 and Murray once again tallied just 161 carries. This time, however, the questions lingered as Murray's yards per rush fell from 5.5 as a rookie to 4.1 and his fumbles tripled. Murray appeared in only 10 games last year after being sidelined for six weeks with a foot injury, but his durability issues will not be held against him entering 2013. In fact, the Cowboys let Felix Jones walk and have added no legitimate competition for touches - in other words, Murray could be a workhorse if he can shed the injury-prone label. Murray has the skill set to produce in any game situation. He's strong at the point of attack, runs well in tight quarters, and has the breakaway speed to bust long plays. He's also a polished route runner and serves as more than an emergency outlet in the passing game. Assuming Murray can stay on the field, he's capable of re-emerging as one of the NFL's top young bell cows.

Trent Richardson - More impressive than a 950-yard, 11-touchdown season could be the toughness shown by Trent Richardson throughout 2012. All season, he dealt with various nagging injuries but played 15 games, only missing the finale after the team had shut down multiple players along with him. The injuries, however, have continued into this offseason with the news of a shin bruise that sources say could turn into a stress fracture. While he's still scheduled to return in August (therefore with plenty of time before the season), this situation is absolutely one to monitor throughout the summer. In 2012, Richardson showed that he's more than just a runner by hauling in 51 passes, making him a true every-down back. New Head Coach Rob Chudzinski, the former Offensive Coordinator of the Carolina Panthers, has a great track record recently with rushing offenses (Carolina was ninth in rushing yards in 2012 and third in 2011). And new Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner has a long history of getting great production from his running backs. If Richardson doesn't miss time in the regular season, owners can still look for a big year.

Jacquizz Rodgers - Jacquizz Rodgers is an excellent change-of-pace back for the Falcons, with 94/362 rushing and 53/402/1 receiving for Atlanta last year and 151/567/2 rushing and 74/590/2 receiving so far during his two-year career. He'll be mixed into the offense to complement Steven Jackson this year. Head coach Mike Smith said on February 24, 2013 that the Falcons consider Rodgers a three-down back: 'We thought he was only going to be a change-of-pace back. We found out very quickly that even though he is short, he is not little. He can handle all three downs and he does a very good job for us returning kicks.' If Jackson misses time during 2013 (something he rarely does), Rodgers would likely have first crack at stepping into the starting lineup for the Falcons.

PlayerRshYDTDRecYDY/RecTDFPTRank
Dwayne Bowe15079109813.99243.312
Jordy Nelson0006799214.87208.224
Vincent Brown1507093813.46200.331
Alshon Jeffery0005173414.46160.448
Denarius Moore21405474513.85159.949
Stephen Hill0005169913.74144.953
Robert Woods0004554912.24123.963

Dwayne Bowe - It wouldn't be difficult to argue that no one had a better offseason than Dwayne Bowe. He's upgraded at head coach, quarterback, WR2 and received a new contract to make him one of the top paid receivers in the league. It's really quite amazing that Bowe has had the career he's had considering the ineptitude he's dealt with at the quarterback position. While he won't likely be catching passes thrown by a Pro Bowl quarterback in 2013, he will be playing with the best quarterback he ever has in his career. Perhaps the best example of what he can do with a decent quarterback is his 2010 season. In the one successful season Matt Cassel had in a Chiefs uniform, Bowe caught 72 passes for 1162 yards and 15 touchdowns. Bowe is a big strong receiver that excels on short timing routes and should have a field day in Andy Reid's new offense, especially if Donnie Avery can play well enough to draw some attention off of him.

Vincent Brown - Vincent Brown is a promising receiver whose NFL career has yet to really get going. As a rookie in 2011, his playing time was rather limited. Heading into 2012, however, he looked like the Chargers best receiver. He made big plays throughout training camp and the preseason, consistently outperforming the team's higher-profile free agent acquisitions that year, Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal. But a gruesome ankle injury suffered late in the preseason (on a spectacular touchdown catch) caused him to miss the entire regular season. Before his injury, Brown showed the ability (during the preseason) to run good routes and consistently make tough grabs. Brown doesn't have true breakaway speed, but he is a promising possession-type receiver who could be an effective redzone threat. His 2013 prospects look fairly bright. He is fully recovered from last year's ankle injury, and with the injury to Danario Alexander, Brown seems a lock to start and a favorite to be the Chargers' top wide receiver. Because he's so unproven, and because the Chargers' passing offense may struggle if the offensive line and quarterback play don't significantly improve, Brown should not be drafted as anything better than a fantasy WR3, but he does have WR2 upside potential.

Stephen Hill - Even by the standards of chaos set by the New York Jets, Stephen Hill had a tough rookie season. Inconsistent on the field and reportedly overwhelmed by the media scrutiny of the team off it, and then capped off by a knee injury. Coach Rex Ryan has already said he's expecting a lot from Hill which makes this an almost literal make or break year since the media and off field pressure won't go away and may intensify. On top of all that, Hill isn't going to know for sure who his quarterback will be--at least not anytime soon. Mark Sanchez wasn't on the same page as anyone much less Hill last season and rookie Geno Smith is a player who probably will need some time to grow. Hill may find himself having quite the uphill climb. That said, Santonio Holmes' status for Week 1 is in doubt and if he's absent from action at the beginning of the season, Hill is going to be called upon to pick up the slack.

Alshon Jeffery - Alshon Jeffery came into Chicago and there were high hopes for a new vertical passing game. Instead, Jeffery struggled to stay healthy, was flagged several times for pushing off, and the offense shifted to be all Brandon Marshall. This season, Jeffery will begin as the #2 option for the Bears and assuming he stays healthy, he should easily improve on his pedestrian numbers from last season.

Denarius Moore - If you still believe in the third-year receiver break out season, Denarius Moore is your guy. Moore hauled in 33 receptions for 618 yards and and five touchdowns as a rookie and upped those totals to 51-741-7 in 2012. In 2013 he enters his third season with the only possible catch being the play of his new quarterback. Moore saw his yards per catch drop significantly in 2012, but that was mostly due to his development in the area of route running. As a rookie Moore was viewed mostly as a deep threat only, but he's becoming a complete receiver. He's lost Darrius Heyward-Bey as competition and will clearly be the top dog on Matt Flynn's radar. Assuming Flynn can match or exceed Carson Palmer's production, Moore could be in for his biggest year yet.

Jordy Nelson - With Greg Jennings hurt for a big part of last season, Jordy Nelson had a chance to shine as Green Bay's #1 WR. He posted some impressive performances, including posting more than 240 yards and 4 TDS in two games against Houston and St. Louis in week six and seven. He missed a little time at the end of the regular season, but returned to post eight receptions for 97 yards in the playoffs. Jennings has moved on to Minnesota now, and Nelson will the the #1 receiving option this season. If he stays healthy, he could post the best stats of his career. Note: Nelson just had surgery to repair a nerve issue in his knee. Initial thoughts are that he'll miss the entire pre-season and recovery will be about 3-4 weeks. Keep an eye on this but don't abandon Nelson just yet. If his recovery is slow, he could possibly miss a game but he's still a solid option and may not miss any time at all.

Robert Woods - Woods comes in and is expected to pick up the No. 2 role at the wide receiver position. He'll need to overcome TJ Graham but that really shouldn't be too difficult if he's healthy. Woods shows great hands and can make catches in stride, so whomever is the Bills' quarterback can hit him on the run, allowing for a better chance at yards after the catch. Woods needs some work on his routes, though he makes some exceptionally crisp cuts and can create some separation with strong jukes. He may struggle with getting flagged for pushing off early on, as it was sometimes an issue at USC and needs to improve his overall technique. Still, he's a hard worker so it shouldn't take long to improve and take advantage of the coverage pointed at Steve Jackson.

PlayerRecYDY/RecTDFPTRank
Tony Gonzalez7878810.17198.84

Tony Gonzalez - Tony Gonzalez had another fine season for the Falcons last year, with 131 targets for 93/930/8 receiving, finishing as the third-best fantasy tight end in the league. He is a lock to be the starter at tight end for the Falcons, who are in 'Win Now' mode. The Falcons, who advanced to the NFC championship last year, managed to convince Gonzalez to delay his retirement for one more year this past offseason - he'll once again be Matt Ryan's security blanket/outlet receiver during 2013. Gonzalez has been among the top-five fantasy tight ends during three of his four seasons in Atlanta, with an eighth-place finish during 2010, and he hasn't missed a game for the Falcons during his four years in town. Gonzalez is one of the most consistent fantasy tight ends in history, finishing out of the top-ten among fantasy recievers once in his entire 16-year career (during 1997, his rookie season), and has racked up 1,242 receptions for 14,268 yards receiving and 103 TDs to date. Gonzalez has missed two regular-season games during a span of 256 possible appearances (he's played in 254 regular-season games). He's a very reliable fantasy tight end with low risk.

PlayerFGMFGAXPMXPAFPTRank
Randy Bullock30364242132.03
David Akers26314343121.09

David Akers - During his final years with the Eagles and two years with the 49ers, Akers had grown accustomed to getting plenty of kicking opportunities. It peaked in 2011 when he set the NFL single season scoring record. Last year he failed to capitalize on thirteen attempts (three from under 40 yards and ten from over 40 yards), came close to losing his job in the playoffs, and was ultimately released in the offseason by San Francisco. He joins an improving Detroit team that could again keep him busy. After two years near the bottom, the Lions climbed to 16th in attempted kicking points in 2010, 12th in 2011, and 10th in 2012. He'll be working closely with rookie holder/punter Sam Martin and long snapper Don Muhlbach, the returning starter that was re-signed. All three will be working under new special teams coordinator John Bonamego.

Randy Bullock - The Texans made their interest in the local product know even prior to the 2012 draft - in part inspired by the success of Groza Award winning rookie Dan Bailey with Dallas in 2011. As a senior, Bullock hit 29 of 33 (87.9%) field goals and 55 of 57 PATs for 142 points en route to the award. His rookie season was postponed when a groin tear landed him on injured reserve in late August. His veteran competitor, Shayne Graham, ended up kicking for the Texans last season. This year Bullock faces no competition. He'll be working with the same long snapper as last summer - Jonathan Weeks. They'll both be working with a new holder - former Raider punter Shane Lechler. Kicking opportunities could be plentiful in 2013. The key coaching staff members remain intact from last year. The Texans are one of only three teams to rank in the top five in attempted kicking points both of the last two years.

PlayerSackFRINTTDYd/GPt/GFPTRank
Baltimore Ravens401215532519.4143.15

Baltimore Ravens - The Baltimore Ravens defense has always been highly rated in almost every fantasy scoring system, but something seems different in 2013. Obviously, the retirement of Ray Lewis is a big loss. Sure, his play recently wasn't to the level of his prime years, but there is no doubt that the Ravens will miss his presence. The way they rode his retirement announcement to a world championship last season is testament to that. Despite the Super Bowl, this defense was actually mediocre for much of 2012. In addition to Lewis, there are many other changes for 2013. Gone are safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger, and cornerback Cary Williams. Baltimore does have some new talent coming in like Elvis Dumervil and Chris Canty. Those guys - plus a healthy Terrell Suggs will soften the blow of the departed. It remains to be seen, however, how these guys will gel and who will fill the leadership void left by Lewis.


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.

Chiefs | Dwayne Bowe's marijuana charges dropped - Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 16, after being arrested last November for marijuana possession. Wed Apr 16, 06:58 PM     [Link to story]

Footballguys view: He pleaded guilty to lesser charges of littering and defective equipment, and in return, the marijuana charge was dismissed. He agred to pay $610 in fines and court costs. Bowe should avoid suspension by the league, but they're likely to put him in the substance-abuse program.

Lions | RB playing time expected to stay same - Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell likely will receive similar workloads this upcoming season than they did during the 2013 season. Wed Apr 16, 02:08 PM     [Link to story]

Footballguys view: Fantasy owners take note here. Bush played 54 percent of the offensive snaps in 2013 while Bell participated in 49 percent of the snaps. That number could be skewed if Bush battles injuries (again) in 2014.