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QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB: Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, DeMarco Murray, C.J. Spiller, Isaiah Crowell
WR: DeSean Jackson, Mike Wallace, Tavon Austin, Donte Moncrief, Devin Hester, Marquess Wilson
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Heath Miller
PK: Cody Parkey
TD: New York Jets

Overview:

Old school!

We like your overall strength at the traditionally less important positions, but make no mistake about it: this team is about strength at the running back position. And we think it will be among the top teams in the league. Somewhere Marshall Faulk 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 Arian Foster, Rob Gronkowski, and Heath Miller. 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 85 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With good inseason management, we think you have about a 75 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • With average inseason management, we think you have a 61 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 8 of 2014:

Arian Foster vs. TEN: 173 combined yards, 3 TD
Rob Gronkowski vs. CHI: 149 receiving yards, 3 TD
Ben Roethlisberger vs. IND: 522 passing yards, 6 TD
DeMarco Murray vs. WAS: 221 combined yards
Donte Moncrief vs. PIT: 113 receiving yards, 1 TD
Heath Miller vs. IND: 112 receiving yards, 1 TD

QB Summary:

We have Ben Roethlisberger rated #17 among quarterbacks, so we're not even sold on him as a fantasy starter in your league. We strongly recommend that you add a backup QB (we'll make some specific suggestions at the end of the report).

RB Summary:

Nice work here. We like both your starting running backs, as our projections indicate that they give you a combined 5.1 point-per-game advantage over an average opponent in this league. Our projections have Adrian Peterson ranked at #3 and Arian Foster ranked sixth.

Your bench also looks good. Tough to do better than DeMarco Murray at RB3; he's a likely flex starter. C.J. Spiller will also be among the best RB4s in the league.

Isaiah Crowell is a solid depth pick.

WR Summary:

We see both your starters at receiver as below average. DeSean Jackson is our 21st ranked WR, and we have Mike Wallace at #22.

Tavon Austin is a little below average as a third receiver. Donte Moncrief is also a liability at fourth receiver.

Though some teams will probably be content to roster as few as four players here, it was not a bad idea to take a few extras because you're not particularly strong overall at the position. Of your remaining guys, we like Devin Hester the best, but you should keep the one you think has the best chance of putting up starter numbers. The rest might be considered expendable if you find you need roster space elsewhere.

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 3.1 points per game better than an average starting TE in this league. We also think Heath Miller is a starting quality tight end in this league. He's a luxury.

Kicker Summary:

We don't think Cody Parkey is starter quality in this league. Keep a sharp eye on the waiver wire.

Defense Summary:

When you don't have an elite defense, one option is a committee approach. That is, try to get two cheap defenses whose schedules fit well together. Here are a few teams who we think may be available and whose schedules fit best with the Jets', along with the combined schedule that each would create:

Jets   +   Bills   =   OAK | MIA | CHI | HOU | DET | NE | MIN | NYJ | KC | PIT | MIA | NYJ | MIA | MIN | TEN | OAK
Jets   +   Packers   =   OAK | NYJ | CHI | CHI | MIN | MIA | NE | BUF | KC | CHI | PHI | MIN | MIA | MIN | BUF | TB
Jets   +   Browns   =   OAK | GB | BAL | DET | TEN | PIT | JAX | OAK | TB | CIN | HOU | BUF | MIA | MIN | CIN | NE


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
Ben RoethlisbergerCLEBALCARTBJAXCLEHOUINDBALNYJTENNOCINATLKC
 
Isaiah CrowellPITNOBALTENPITJAXOAKTBCINHOUATLBUFINDCINCAR
Arian FosterWASOAKNYGBUFDALINDPITTENPHICLECINTENJAXINDBAL
DeMarco MurraySFTENSTLNOHOUSEANYGWASARIJAXNYGPHICHIPHIIND
Adrian PetersonSTLNENOATLGBDETBUFTBWASCHIGBCARNYJDETMIA
C.J. SpillerCHIMIASDHOUDETNEMINNYJKCMIANYJCLEDENGBOAK
 
Tavon AustinMINTBDALPHISFSEAKCSFARIDENSDOAKWASARINYG
Devin HesterNOCINTBMINNYGCHIBALDETTBCARCLEARIGBPITNO
DeSean JacksonHOUJAXPHINYGSEAARITENDALMINTBSFINDSTLNYGPHI
Donte MoncriefDENPHIJAXTENBALHOUCINPITNYGNEJAXWASCLEHOUDAL
Mike WallaceNEBUFKCOAKGBCHIJAXSDDETBUFDENNYJBALNEMIN
Marquess WilsonBUFSFNYJGBCARATLMIANEGBMINTBDETDALNODET
 
Rob GronkowskiMIAMINOAKKCCINBUFNYJCHIDENINDDETGBSDMIANYJ
Heath MillerCLEBALCARTBJAXCLEHOUINDBALNYJTENNOCINATLKC
 
Cody ParkeyJAXINDWASSFSTLNYGARIHOUCARGBTENDALSEADALWAS
 
New York JetsOAKGBCHIDETSDDENNEBUFKCPITBUFMIAMINTENNE
 
Relative Strength102103101999810210010510810010110010199100101

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).
  • Mike Wallace is out in week 5, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
  • DeMarco Murray and New York Jets are out in week 11, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
  • Cody Parkey is out in week 7, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
  • In weeks 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 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: Geno Smith (11), Shaun Hill (4), Ryan Fitzpatrick (10), Josh McCown (7), Johnny Manziel (4), EJ Manuel (9), Derek Carr (5), Chad Henne (11), Teddy Bridgewater (10), Matt Cassel (10), Blake Bortles (11), Brian Hoyer (4), Kyle Orton (9), Matt Schaub (5), Michael Vick (11), Kirk Cousins (10), Mike Glennon (7), Blaine Gabbert (8), Jimmy Garoppolo (10), Derek Anderson (12), Mark Sanchez (7), Bruce Gradkowski (12).

RB: Lance Dunbar (11), LeGarrette Blount (10), Jonathan Dwyer (4), Knile Davis (6), Donald Brown (10), Terrance West (4), C.J. Anderson (4), Mike Tolbert (12), Jacquizz Rodgers (9), Roy Helu (10), Benny Cunningham (4), Mike James (7), Isaiah Crowell (4).

WR: Miles Austin (4), Markus Wheaton (12), Hakeem Nicks (10), James Jones (5), Steve Smith (11), Cecil Shorts (11), Greg Jennings (10), Kenny Stills (6), Danny Amendola (10), Robert Woods (9), Jeremy Kerley (11), Jerricho Cotchery (12), Donnie Avery (6), Jarrett Boykin (9), Harry Douglas (9), Kenny Britt (4), Mike Williams (9), Brian Quick (4), Mohamed Sanu (4), John Brown (4), Denarius Moore (5), David Nelson (11). We have all these players rated ahead of Donte Moncrief, Devin Hester, and Marquess Wilson.

TE: Jason Witten (11), Greg Olsen (12), Martellus Bennett (9), Heath Miller (12), Ladarius Green (10), Travis Kelce (6), Dwayne Allen (10), Antonio Gates (10), Delanie Walker (9), Charles Clay (5).

PK: Adam Vinatieri (10), Robbie Gould (9), Nate Freese (), Greg Zuerlein (4), Caleb Sturgis (5), Nick Folk (11), Sebastian Janikowski (5), Graham Gano (12), Cody Parkey (7), Shayne Graham (6).

TD: Kansas City Chiefs (6), Chicago Bears (9), Houston Texans (10), Green Bay Packers (9), New York Giants (8), Baltimore Ravens (11), Cleveland Browns (4), Miami Dolphins (5), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7), Dallas Cowboys (11), Indianapolis Colts (10), Washington Redskins (10), Tennessee Titans (9), Atlanta Falcons (9), Philadelphia Eagles (7), Minnesota Vikings (10), Pittsburgh Steelers (12), New Orleans Saints (6), Detroit Lions (9), San Diego Chargers (10), Jacksonville Jaguars (11), New York Jets (11).


Projections and Player Summaries

PlayerCmpAttYDY/ATDINTRshYDTDFPTRank
Ben Roethlisberger33654039047.22614271001331.217

Ben Roethlisberger - The Steelers are looking to Ben Roethlisberger to lead them to the playoffs again. Fantasy owners are doing the same thing. It may not seem like it to some, but Roethlisberger was a top-10 fantasy quarterback (8th) in 2013. We could see him improve slightly on those numbers this season. The Steelers have worked to improve the offensive line play in recent years. Getting a player like center Maurkice Pouncey back will greatly upgrade the protection for Roethlisberger. Pouncey was knocked out in Week 1 with an ACL/MCL tear, and the offensive line gave up the 5th-most sacks (42) in 2013. Roethlisberger did a good job in his second year running Todd Haley's offense, but his production was not consistent. In eight of 16 games last year, Roethlisberger failed to score 20 or more fantasy points. This makes him an unreliable starter even though his season totals look good. The team will have a more consistent ground game this year, and that should help Roethlisberger. Having Le'Veon Bell as the primary back will help keep defenses honest, and this will allow Roethlisberger to set up play-action passing. Last year, Bell missed a portion of the season due to injury and the team struggled to move the ball on the ground without him. The Steelers lost Emmanuel Sanders (Broncos) in free agency, and they will replace him with second-year pro Markus Wheaton. How guys like Wheaton, Lance Moore and Martavis Bryant perform will help determine how productive Roethlisberger is in 2014. Things are looking up for Roethlisberger. The offensive line and ground game are improved for the Steelers, and he's well-versed in the Haley offense. Roethlisberger may once again finish as a top-10 fantasy quarterback this year, but this season he could be more consistent on a week-to-week basis.

PlayerRshYDY/RshTDRecYDTDFPTRank
Adrian Peterson29013494.712342311230.03
Arian Foster26010924.28493872203.96
DeMarco Murray2209684.48443172184.59
C.J. Spiller1908744.66392852159.921
Isaiah Crowell803244.121280052.464

Isaiah Crowell - Isaiah Crowell was picked up as an undrafted free agent by Cleveland. Crowell's draft position (or lack thereof) is not an indication of a lack of talent. Crowell was a five-star recruit that began his collegiate career at Georgia. He rushed for 850 yards with a 4.6 yards per carry average as a true freshman at Georgia in 2012 before being dismissed from the team due to three weapons charges. Two seasons at Alabama State yielded over 1,900 rush yards and 30 touchdowns. If Crowell can keep his head on straight, his talent could see him rise to the top of Cleveland's depth chart.

Arian Foster - After three years of success and high mileage usage, Arian Foster finally took a step backwards due to knee, calf and back injuries. He was shut down after week eight last year to heal a disc injury that required surgery. Foster is planning on being back to full strength for the 2014 season, but the Texans offense is not the same as it used to be. Head Coach Gary Kubiak was replaced by Bill O'Brien and Foster's leading fullback Greg Jones appears to not be in the equation. This year is a definitely a crossroads for Foster. If he can rise to the occasion and be a success after returning from injury, playing on a team with a new coaching staff and 14 consecutive losses, then his legacy deserves to be remembered.

DeMarco Murray - We may never see DeMarco Murray become a 300+ carry running game workhorse, but last year he gave fantasy owners enough to matter. Murray finished as a top 10 fantasy RB in all formats by rushing for 1,121 yards and 9 touchdowns. He also caught an impressive 53 passes for 350 yards. Murray need only stay healthy to return RB1 numbers again in 2014; after all, the Cowboys are 11-0 in games Murray has run at least 20 times. He's got great size, instincts, and showed last year an ability to gain tough yards after contact. He's the total package.

Adrian Peterson - Peterson is going to get his fair share of carries this season. Norv Turner will make sure of that. But the hopes that ADP will post another 2000 yards rushing are probably gone. Peterson has piled up a lot of miles in his career and it started to show last season. His 4.5 YPC were his lowest in last four seasons and he posted his lowest rushing TD total since his second season. It's hard to think of Peterson as anything other than a top five fantasy back, but he may be slowing down a bit. He'll still be a top fantasy back this season, but he might be closer to the bottom of the bottom of the RB1s than the top.

C.J. Spiller - Word at the draft was that the Bills were trying hard to move up and draft Carlos Hyde and when that failed, settled for a trade with the Eagles for Bryce Brown. The team that runs the ball more than anyone else appears to want to reinforce their depth behind Spiller and Fred Jackson. After what appeared to be a breakout season in 2012, Spiller's production throttled down a bit last season as his yards per carry dropped in part because the quarterback situation allowed defenses to key on the run, but mostly because of a high ankle sprain. The acquisition of Brown can help the Bills avoid overuse, but Spiller was an RB1 in 2012 with just a little over 200 carries. His touchdown total dropped as well in 2013, though it was never high to begin with. Expect his yards per carry to creep back up, but his touches to stay about the same. Healthy and with some money to play for, Spiller is an intriguing player this year.

PlayerRshYDTDRecYDY/RecTDFPTRank
DeSean Jackson31806594914.67136.721
Mike Wallace31507295813.36133.322
Tavon Austin1014015562211.34106.245
Donte Moncrief1502330113.1242.699
Devin Hester0001825714.3237.7102
Marquess Wilson0001821612.0233.6107

Tavon Austin - After being a top-10 pick in 2013, Tavon Austin saw more touches on special teams, 51, than on offense, 49, in St.Louis as a rookie. Austin has difference-making speed, but lacks the size to be a traditional outside-the-numbers receiver. As a result, St.Louis used him situationally in year one. After 18 receptions in the first three games of the seasons, Austin had just 22 in his final 10 games. The Rams did not address the passing game in free agency or the draft outside of taking a flyer on Kenny Britt. Austin's role will be based around his ability to create the big play. The best case scenario is a Percy Harvin-type presence in the offense. The worst case is Austin struggles to gain traction outside of situational touches and on special teams.

DeSean Jackson - Eagles head coach Chip Kelly called releasing DeSean Jackson a 'football decision.' Yet, it's hard to understand what Coach Kelly meant when you consider Jackson led the Eagles in receiving yards (1,332), receptions (82) and touchdowns (9). In spite of his size (5'9", 169 lbs.) Jackson has proven to be one an elite game-breaker. Division rival Washington was more than happy to disagree with the Eagles, signing Jackson to a 3-year, $24mm deal with $16mm in guarantees. He'll pair up with Pierre Garcon (who led the NFL in receptions last year) to give Robert Griffin III the best receiving tandem of his career. When Jackson is on the field, he'll be a borderline fantasy WR1. The only cause for concern is his size and history of concussions.

Mike Wallace - It took most of the season for Mike Wallace to live up to his contract, and even then he could be wildly inconsistent in both execution and effort. Some of the execution was on his quarterback, the equally inconsistent Ryan Tannehill, but some of it was Wallace. He was also an odd fit in Mike Sherman's offensive scheme an didn't do well stuck in one place on the field. New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor moves his guys all over the place which should allow him to matchup Wallace more advantageously. Ultimately Wallace isn't worth the money they paid him, but is a far better receiver than he looked like last year. While we expect him to be more consistent, we don't expect an explosion in production. Tannehill's success ties into Wallace's an it's a shaky slope. Still, we see Wallace as a WR3 with the potential to outproduce his drafting spot.

Marquess Wilson - Wilson was having a tremendous offseason and was on track to be an upside WR3 in a very good pass offense before breaking his collarbone in training camp. He had surgery and is out indefinitely. He could still be an impact player in 2014 if he can get back to the field and one of Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery goes down. Wilson is a long-limbed receiver with excellent ball skills who added some bulk and conditioning in offseason workouts with Marshall, which did wonders for Jeffery last year.

PlayerRecYDY/RecTDFPTRank
Rob Gronkowski72101514.111165.52
Heath Miller5659410.6589.413

Rob Gronkowski - Finally, reports have Rob Gronkowski ready to go Week 1, which will make fantasy owners and Patriot fans breathe a sigh of relief. The Patriots wanted to make sure he was 110% before clearing him and it seems they have finally hit that mark. the litany of injuries over the last few years might make some owners hesitate to roll the dice on Gronk come draft day, but keep in mind most of his issues were freak injuries, not the sort of nagging conditioning issues which worry fantasy owners. As long as he is healthy he is Tom Brady's go-to guy here in the offense and he should have a tremendous season.

Heath Miller - Heath Miller isn't quite the same player he used to be. He finished the 2013 season as the 24th-best tight end in fantasy football. Even though he only missed one more game than he did in 2012, Miller fell 20 spots last year due to a lack of production. He hasn't played a full 16-game season over the last two years, and he spent so much time last year as a blocker that his production as a receiver suffered. The team has worked to improve the offensive line, so perhaps Miller won't have to stay in and block much this season. However, his fantasy production is mostly going to be reliant on how many times he gets into the end zone. Miller would have to approach double-digit touchdowns to rehabilitate his fantasy value. That's not out of the question, but it's also not likely at this point in Miller's career. The tight end position has changed in recent years, and throwback players like Miller are not en vogue. Miller is an all-around tight end who is more valuable to his team than he is to fantasy owners. He's a great player, but not one fantasy owners should look to as a TE1 in 2014, unless he experiences a terrific resurgence with another year removed from a late-season ACL tear in 2012.

PlayerFGMFGAXPMXPAFPTRank
Cody Parkey25304141116.018

PlayerSackFRINTTDYd/GPt/GFPTRank
New York Jets38713335624.099.431

New York Jets - Rex Ryan's teams are almost always known for their defense and this year should be no different. The defensive line is immensely talented and continuing to improve. The linebackers have a lot of experience without being so old that you'd expect a significant decline. Where Ryan can make his biggest mark is in the secondary. With Revis and Cromartie both gone now, it will be interesting to see Ryan's schemes work without an elite corner. The addition of Calvin Pryor fills a hole at safety, but without a true CB1 the safeties on this team will really be tested. If this secondary struggles they will have a negative impact on the sack numbers up front as well.