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Kaepern Crunch, rated by footballguys.com

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Your team is currently being rated by the projections of David Dodds           Switch to: Maurile Tremblay       Bob Henry       Jason Wood      


WARNING: you have 15 players, which is over the roster limit of 13. We will go ahead and rate the team as if you have been given an exemption by the rest of your league. But for a more realistic assessment, you might want to go back and cut down to 13

QB: Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson
RB: Matt Forte, Montee Ball, Trent Richardson, Dexter McCluster
WR: Randall Cobb, Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne, Danny Amendola
TE: Kyle Rudolph, Jason Witten
PK: Steve Hauschka
TD: Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills

Overview:

Old school!

Make no mistake about it: this team is about strength at the running back position. And we think it will be the league favorite or very close to it. Somewhere Terrell Davis is smiling.

Nonetheless, we'd be remiss if we didn't at least mention the relative lack of strength at quarterback and receiver. These are usually survivable weaknesses, but we'd feel better if we knew you were committed to zealously scouring the waiver wire for this year's emergent players at QB and WR. Getting a breakout player at one or both of those positions would take your already-good team to the next level.

Players we particularly like on this team include Montee Ball, Matt Forte, Russell Wilson, Steve Hauschka, the Bills defense, and the Broncos 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 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 79 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 9 of 2013:

Matt Forte vs. GB: 179 combined yards, 1 TD
Russell Wilson vs. TB: 217 passing yards, 3 TD
Danny Amendola vs. PIT: 122 receiving yards, 1 TD
Pierre Garcon vs. SD: 172 receiving yards
Jason Witten vs. MIN: 102 receiving yards, 1 TD

QB Summary:

We have Matt Ryan rated #10 among quarterbacks, which makes him a less-than-stellar starter in this league. But we like the selection of our #12-rated QB, Russell Wilson, 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:

GB | SD | DEN | MIN | WAS | DAL | STL | DET | OAK | TB | KC | ARI | ARI | PHI | PIT | ARI

RB Summary:

Nice work here. We like both your starting running backs, as our projections indicate that they give you a combined 5.5 point-per-game advantage over an average opponent in this league. Our projections have Matt Forte ranked third and Montee Ball ranked fifth.

Your bench also looks good. Trent Richardson should be a good third running back.

Dexter McCluster is a solid depth pick.

Note that the above "thoughts" were generated by David Dodds's projections. Others have different takes:

Some members of our staff have Dexter McCluster ranked as high as 40th, which would make him an above average fourth running back. Matt Waldman defends his high ranking as follows: "When the Chiefs used McCluster at his true position of running back, the former Ole Miss star had over 800 yards during that second season in Kansas City. This will mark the second year in his career where a team will actually use him like a runner who catches the ball rather than a true slot receiver. I see some performances ahead that will inspire folks to see some Danny Woodhead-like production. "

WR Summary:

Your starting receivers should, as a unit, be adequate but not great. In particular we like Pierre Garcon as a second WR. Randall Cobb is our #10 ranked receiver, and we have Garcon at #15.

Reggie Wayne should be a good third receiver; he's a likely flex starter. But we are not at all excited about Danny Amendola as a fourth WR.

Note that the above "thoughts" were generated by David Dodds's projections. Others have different takes:

Some of our staffers have Randall Cobb as high as #8, which would make him a fine first receiver. Heath Cummings's take: "Green Bay is one of the best guesses for which offense will have multiple top 10 fantasy receivers. They figure to score a bunch of points and Cobb is supremely talented in his role. "

Some of our staffers have Reggie Wayne as high as #23, which would make him a great third receiver and even a legitimate WR2. Jeff Pasquino's take: "Reggie Wayne is poised for a nice comeback after tearing his ACL last year. Wayne is already on the comeback trail and ready for practice, with the Colts expecting him to start opposite T.Y. Hilton and compliment Hakeem Nicks. Andrew Luck and Indianapolis have a very favorable schedule against Jacksonville and Tennessee twice each plus all of the NFC East. Wayne finished as a Top 15 wide receiver in 2012, and with his ADP far lower in the WR3 category, he is a huge value play. "

Some of our staffers have Danny Amendola as high as #34, which would make him a great fourth receiver and even a legitimate WR3. Mark Wimer's take: "Tom Brady will be 37 when the season starts, and is in the twilight of his career. Amendola and Julian Edelman will be in fantasy wide receiver #3 range while performing as 1A/1B for the aging Brady. "

TE Summary:

Though neither of them is elite, you have two viable starting tight ends in Kyle Rudolph and Jason Witten. If one of them breaks out, or if you play the matchups well, you'll probably get good production from the position.

Note that the above "thoughts" were generated by David Dodds's projections. Others have different takes:

Some of our staffers have Kyle Rudolph as high as #4, which would make him an above average first tight end. Alessandro Miglio's take: "Kyle Rudolph should be a big beneficiary of offensive coordinator Norv Turner's arrival. It was Turner who turned Jordan Cameron into a fantasy monster last season in Cleveland, and Rudolph has the potential to explode in his fourth season. He was already a big red zone threat, and he should see more action all around in this offense. "

Kicker Summary:

With Steve Hauschka, you should be above average at the position.

Defense Summary:

Between the Broncos and the Bills, you should get above average production here.


Is this a dynasty team? Click here to find out how it might look for 2015 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
Matt RyanNOCINTBMINNYGCHIBALDETTBCARCLEARIGBPITNO
Russell WilsonGBSDDENWASDALSTLCAROAKNYGKCARISFPHISFARI
 
Montee BallINDKCSEAARINYJSFSDNEOAKSTLMIAKCBUFSDCIN
Matt ForteBUFSFNYJGBCARATLMIANEGBMINTBDETDALNODET
Dexter McClusterKCDALCININDCLEJAXWASHOUBALPITPHIHOUNYGNYJJAX
Trent RichardsonDENPHIJAXTENBALHOUCINPITNYGNEJAXWASCLEHOUDAL
 
Danny AmendolaMIAMINOAKKCCINBUFNYJCHIDENINDDETGBSDMIANYJ
Randall CobbSEANYJDETCHIMINMIACARNOCHIPHIMINNEATLBUFTB
Pierre GarconHOUJAXPHINYGSEAARITENDALMINTBSFINDSTLNYGPHI
Reggie WayneDENPHIJAXTENBALHOUCINPITNYGNEJAXWASCLEHOUDAL
 
Kyle RudolphSTLNENOATLGBDETBUFTBWASCHIGBCARNYJDETMIA
Jason WittenSFTENSTLNOHOUSEANYGWASARIJAXNYGPHICHIPHIIND
 
Steve HauschkaGBSDDENWASDALSTLCAROAKNYGKCARISFPHISFARI
 
Buffalo BillsCHIMIASDHOUDETNEMINNYJKCMIANYJCLEDENGBOAK
Denver BroncosINDKCSEAARINYJSFSDNEOAKSTLMIAKCBUFSDCIN
 
Relative Strength98100101101991021001029210210710110010297101

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 9 presents serious bye week issues for you: Matt Ryan, Matt Forte, Dexter McCluster, Randall Cobb, and Buffalo Bills are off.
  • In weeks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12 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: Fred Jackson (9), Darren Sproles (7), Stevan Ridley (10), DeAngelo Williams (12), Steven Jackson (9), Jeremy Hill (4), Bernard Pierce (11), Darren McFadden (5), Bishop Sankey (9), Mark Ingram (6), Andre Williams (8), Devonta Freeman (9), Knowshon Moreno (5), Dexter McCluster (9).

WR: Tavon Austin (4), Jeremy Maclin (7), Kelvin Benjamin (12), Riley Cooper (7), Justin Hunter (9), Markus Wheaton (12), Greg Jennings (10), Doug Baldwin (4), Cecil Shorts (11), Steve Smith (11), Malcom Floyd (10), Hakeem Nicks (10), James Jones (5), Danny Amendola (10).

TE: Jason Witten (11), Zach Ertz (7), Greg Olsen (12), Vernon Davis (8), Martellus Bennett (9), Delanie Walker (9), Charles Clay (5), Ladarius Green (10), Heath Miller (12), Travis Kelce (6).

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

TD: San Francisco 49ers (8), Buffalo Bills (9), Kansas City Chiefs (6), Baltimore Ravens (11), Chicago Bears (9), Miami Dolphins (5), New York Giants (8), Cleveland Browns (4), Houston Texans (10), Green Bay Packers (9).


Projections and Player Summaries

PlayerCmpAttYDY/ATDINTRshYDTDFPTRank
Matt Ryan38161043627.2301632801323.110
Russell Wilson28743034368.02510904823318.012

Matt Ryan - Matt Ryan improved steadily as a passer from 2010-2012, going from 3,705 yards passing with 28 TDs and just nine interceptions thrown during 2010 to 4,177 yards passing, 29 TDs and 12 interceptions thrown in 2011 and finishing 2012 with 4,719 yards passing, with 32 TDs and 14 interceptions thrown. However, during the 2013 season Ryan hit a plateau in his numbers (even though he attempted a career-high 651 passes and completed a career-high 439 passes) with 439/651 for 4,515 yards passing, 26 TDs and 17 interceptions. His yardage and TD numbers dipped enough to bounce him down to #10 among all fantasy passers last year after finishing sixth among all fantasy quarterbacks during 2012. A major part of Ryan's (and the Falcons') struggles during last year's 4-12 disaster of a season was due to the early loss of #1 wide receiver Julio Jones (lost after week five, 2013 due to injury). Jones had over 100 yards in three of the five games he appeared in last season, and 99 yards receiving in a fourth, before going down to a fractured foot (the second time he's broken the foot in the same place). During the first five games of the season - with Jones in the lineup - Ryan threw for over 300 yards three times, over 400 yards once, and he connected for two TDs per game (10 over the first five contests) with just three total interceptions during that span of time. After Jones went down, Ryan had over 300 yards passing in just three other contests all year, no games over 400, and threw 14 of his 17 interceptions during the final two-thirds of the season. Compounding the woes at wide receiver, veteran Roddy White only managed 93 targets for 63/711/3 receiving over parts of 13 games last season - he was hampered for a long stretch of the season with a high ankle sprain and pulled hamstring and didn't really recover top form until late in the year. With his top two threats at wide receiver absent for long stretches of the season, it is small wonder that Ryan's numbers regressed during 2013. Ryan's been among the top-ten fantasy quarterbacks for four straight seasons, though, playing in all 16 games for the past four years - Ryan's durability hasn't been an issue at all thus far in his pro career. Ryan is just now entering the prime years of his career at 29 years of age. He is the linchpin of the Atlanta offense - Ryan handled 651 of the 659 passes attempted during regular-season by the Falcon's last year. With both Jones and White on the mend, the 2014 campaign looks bright for Ryan and his fantasy owners, though his fantasy owners or those considering drafting him will want to monitor Jones' and White's recoveries during training camp. Harry Douglas is a solid #3 wide receiver, and proved last season he can step into the starting lineup and produce respectable numbers (132 targets for 85/1,067/2 receiving in relief of Jones and White last year) - but there is no denying that Douglas is not the same level of threat as Jones at this level.

Russell Wilson - Russell Wilson has outperformed common expectations from day one in Seattle, beginning with a terrific rookie training camp in 2012 and leading up to a Super Bowl championship in 2013. Wilson has all the characteristics that Pete Carroll covets in a quarterback: he is smart, coachable, accurate, mobile, and creative. He has shown the ability to put up big passing numbers when his team gets behind (as demonstrated, for example, by his 385 passing yards in the 2012 playoff loss to the Falcons), but such situations arise infrequently. Seattle is built to win with defense and a strong running game, and Wilson doesn't air it out enough to be a top-tier fantasy QB. Consider him a low-end QB1 or, preferably, a high-end QB2 with decent upside potential if the Seahawks' defense, for whatever reason, is much less dominant this year than last.

PlayerRshYDY/RshTDRecYDTDFPTRank
Matt Forte27011884.48574452285.33
Montee Ball25511484.511423151266.35
Trent Richardson1907133.86292151163.831
Dexter McCluster452034.51343502107.345

Montee Ball - In 2014, it's Ball's time to shine. Montee Ball was selected in the second-round of the 2013 NFL draft with the vision that he would one day become the lead back for the Broncos. Now is the time the team has been waiting for. With Knowshon Moreno moving on to the Miami Dolphins in free agency, Ball becomes the starting running back on the league's most dangerous offense. Ball's rookie season got off to a rough start in 2013. Fumbling and pass-protection problems kept him from winning the starting job in training camp. During these trials and tribulations, Ball showed great mental strength and focus as he continued to work hard in order to get better. He began the regular season splitting time with Ronnie Hillman as the primary backup behind Moreno. As the season progressed, Ball began to earn more playing time. After Hillman fumbled near the goalline against the Colts, Ball had the RB2 job in Denver locked up. Ball became more patient as a runner the more experience he gained. This helped him maximize the number of yards he would gain on each carry. Instead of trying to do too much, Ball let his blocks fully develop then hit the hole at full steam. He finished the regular season on such a high note that it's most certainly going to carry over to this year. Over the final six weeks of 2013, only Jamaal Charles (6.6) averaged more yards per carry than Ball (6.5, 52-337). Ball also led the NFL in percentage of rushes for first downs (40.4 percent) and carries of 10 or more yards (21.2 percent) during final six weeks of 2013. Moreno finished 2013 as the 5th-best fantasy running back, and with a similar role this year Ball could do the same thing. He's a better runner than Moreno and has a better nose for the end zone, so it's not out of the question to think that Ball could best the fantasy production that Moreno had last year. This makes Montee Ball a first-round pick in most fantasy leagues. If he falls to the second round it would be a tremendous value for your team.

Matt Forte - Forte exceeded every expectation possible last season, including his own. No matter what the situation, Forte continued to push on, and proved that he's still one of the most under-rated backs in the league. A repeat of last season seems unlikely, yet the table seems set for Forte to go it again. The threat that Michael Bush would steal goal line carries is now gone, and rookie Ka'Deem Carey certainly won't steal a ton of carries. The offense is a year older and a year more experienced under Marc Trestman. Everyone seems poised to take a step forward, including Forte. With no real competition behind him, if Forte stays healthy, he's going to have a great chance for a top five finish.

Dexter McCluster - While the Titans didn't give Dexter McCluster a huge contract in free agency, they did appear to overpay him to make sure that he signed on in Tennessee. McCluster should feature prominently on special teams, but his contract suggests he will also be used a lot on offense. Unless Bishop Sankey establishes himself as the third down back, that role should be McCluster's. That should be the floor of his expectations.

Trent Richardson - Trent Richardson scored double-digit touchdowns in his rookie season with the Browns in 2012. He also totaled 51 receptions and nearly rushed for 1,000 yards, earning him a 9th place ranking among fantasy running backs. Then he was traded to Indianapolis in early 2013 where he regressed to the point of not being a weekly start in fantasy leagues. He finished 34th. What should we expect in his second year with the Colts? This time around he'll be a full participant in the Colts off season activities including training camp. He'll be well-versed in the offense and will have no excuses if he fails to consistently perform. His 3.3 career yards per carry average is a shockingly low, which may be a clue looking ahead to the future. One of Richardson's strengths is his receiving ability. In 2012, the Colts had a league low 34 receptions to running backs. That jumped up to 84 in 2013. Now that Donald Brown is out of the picture, Richardson should be the main beneficiary of those remaining targets. There are signs that he will rebound this year, which could result in a positive fantasy season.

PlayerRshYDTDRecYDY/RecTDFPTRank
Randall Cobb10130182110713.58261.710
Pierre Garcon212086106612.46231.815
Reggie Wayne0006887012.85187.032
Danny Amendola1505261411.84138.957

Danny Amendola - Year one of the Amendola Experiment was a bit of a bummer, as he missed four games and didn't come close to replacing Wes Welker. Not surprisingly, Amendola's year ended around the same totals he normally finishes with. He has missed nine games in the last two years (24 over the last three, if you count the 5 games he missed in 2011)and it's safe to assume he'll miss time again this year. That makes him a shaky receiver to depend on, made more difficult for the fact that the Patriots are expected to use a lot more three-wide sets this year (per ESPN Boston) to offset the lack of tight end talent. While that keeps Amendola on the field (if healthy) it also means the ball could be spread around a lot. Speaking of spread around, he's also going to have to wrest targets away from Julian Edelman, who had a tremendous 2013 and looks to be poised to build on that. The plus side for Amendola is that three-wide sets should give him more chances to catch the ball while his chemistry with Brady before he got hurt was solid.

Randall Cobb - Cobb was expected to post big numbers last year. His break-out 2012 season appeared to set him up for continued success under a smart coach with a top-shelf quarterback. He was, indeed, posting pretty solid statistics before breaking his tibia against Baltimore. He came back in the final game of the season against the Bears and posted two receptions for two big-play touchdowns. At full strength, with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, Cobb is poised to make his fantasy owners happy in 2013.

Pierre Garcon - Foot injuries turned Pierre Garcon's first season in Washington into a disappointment. He was only able to play for 10 games, and was ineffectual for many of those. Garcon mustered just 44 receptions and 633 yards. Uncertainty surrounded Garcon's foot yet again in the 2013 preseason, but he insisted he would be able to play through the pain. And play through the pain he did; to the tune of an NFL-leading 113 receptions. Garcon was the lone bright spot in an otherwise forgettable offensive attack. This year, with Robert Griffin healthy and Jay Gruden calling the shots, there's every reason to think Garcon's outlook remains bright. The addition of DeSean Jackson assuredly means Garcon is unlikely to match last year's reception total, but the fact that Garcon will no longer be the sole focus of opposing team's top cornerbacks could mean more scoring opportunities. A fair trade off.

Reggie Wayne - Reggie Wayne went 11 consecutive years of not missing a single game, then week 7 of last year saw him tear his ACL ending his season. The injury ended his consecutive games played streak and severely hindered the Colts passing offense. Wayne is expected to be a full participant in training camp and has his sights set on picking up where he left off. If there are no setbacks, Wayne should be one of Andrew Luck's top receiving targets this year, perhaps only being bested by third year pro, T.Y. Hilton. Wayne turns 36 in November and he is coming off a major knee injury. There are definitely whispers in the fantasy community suggesting that his stock will take a dip this season. He is a focused player who takes conditioning seriously, so if there is one wide receiver in the league who bucks the trend of age and overcoming injury, it's Wayne.

PlayerRecYDY/RecTDFPTRank
Kyle Rudolph676639.96170.37
Jason Witten6473611.55167.68

Kyle Rudolph - Rudolph was on his way to a decent season last year before he was lost for the season with a foot injury. He'll be back at full strength this season and taking on a prominent role in Norv Turner's offense. Turner's offense has turned out some great fantasy tight ends in the past, and Rudolph's size and athleticism should be perfect for it. Look for Rudolph to return to his 2012 stats and make a big push for a contract extension next season.

Jason Witten - Fantasy owners seem unexcited at the prospect of drafting Jason Witten every year, and then feel stupid for hesitating at season's end. The Cowboy's stalwart is building an ironclad Hall of Fame career, and at 32 years old has shown no signs of slowing. Last season Witten caught 72 receptions for 851 yards and 8 touchdowns; it's those 8 touchdowns that should make fantasy owners smile because Witten's one historical weakness has been scoring productivity. Many are surprised to learn Witten ranked behind only Julius Thomas and Rob Gronkowski in yards per route run from the slot. The X-factor when drafting Witten is the status of the offensive line. Witten is an elite blocker and the Cowboys have been willing to forego his receiving skills in order to keep Tony Romo upright. However, it's worth noting that Witten was asked to pass block only 14% of the time in 2013. Don't overthink things, Witten remains a top 5 fantasy option particularly in PPR leagues.

PlayerFGMFGAXPMXPAFPTRank
Steve Hauschka33374545144.02

Steve Hauschka - Clint Gresham is back for a fifth season as the long snapper. Back for a seventh year is punter is Jon Ryan, who also serves as the holder. Potential free agent kicker Steve Hauschka was re-signed to a 3-year deal in March. He comes off his best year yet in 2013, when he hit 33 of 35 (94.3%) on field goals and added 44 extra points. The Seahawks ranked 7th in attempted kicking points last year for their first top ten finish since 2007.

PlayerSackFRINTTDYd/GPt/GFPTRank
Denver Broncos431016631521.3113.84
Buffalo Bills48918436323.1104.69

Buffalo Bills - After a fairly disappointing debut season in Buffalo, Mario Williams posted 13 sacks last year. He should be thrilled that the team is moving to a 4-3 defense, returning him to his natural position of defensive end. The loss of Kiko Alonso for the year is an enormous one. Brandon Spikes will be asked to carry this group of inexperienced linebackers. An even bigger question about this defense is in the secondary. Without Jarius Byrd there are a lot of moving parts and serious questions whether Buffalo has the horses to cover opposing receivers. This defenses success will be based on whether or not they can.

Denver Broncos - The Broncos have taken the "Dream Team" approach on defense, adding a variety of players to the unit. Demarcus Ware comes from Dallas to shore up the pass rush opposite Von Miller. Aqib Talib comes in from New England to be the number one corner, a position the Broncos desperately needed. T.J Ward comes in from Cleveland to provide the last line of defense against the run at safety. The Broncos hope second year player Sylvester Williams can improve and offer some upside in the middle of the defensive line. Danny Trevathan already made a huge leap last year, and should anchor the linebacking corps. The biggest question mark may be whether Miller can fully recover from his ACL injury before the start of the season, and what kind of shape he'll be in. There is talent all over this defense, young and old. If Jack Del Rio can mesh the talent into a cohesive unit, they could be a great complement to an already incredible offense.