James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media. *
Big trade in reality makes waves in fantasy
It was a busy two days for the Browns as news broke Wednesday night that Trent Richardson was traded to the Colts for a first-round pick in the 2014 draft. The Browns then signed free agent RB Willis McGahee on Thursday, and then they announced that Brian Hoyer, not Jason Campbell, would be the starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Vikings.
Richardson's move means Ahmad Bradshaw now becomes the No. 2 RB for the Colts, and should be considered nothing more than a handcuff. I personally would go ahead and cut him loose unless you are in a deep league as Richardson should see about 15-20 carries in his first week with his new team. Hoyer starting at QB means the Vikings become a top 3 fantasy defense this week along with the Seahawks (facing the Jaguars) and Broncos (facing the Raiders). The Seahawks and Broncos are owned in virtually every fantasy league out there, but the Vikings are owned in just 19.9 percent of NFL.com leagues right now. I'd run to your waiver wire right now and pick them up!
On the other side of this coin you have McGahee, who is owned in just 7.3 percent of NFL.com leagues, but that number is rising fast. While I wouldn't mind adding him as depth or trade bait for that RB-deprived team that is sure to be in your league, I wouldn't consider starting him unless you can steal Doc Brown's time machine and go back to 2011. At best he is going to be a desperation flex option every week (depending on who the starting QB is of course). Brandon Weeden's injured thumb will not require surgery, and he could return as early as Week 4 if he has no setbacks.
Colin Kaepernick – QB, 49ers: Last week I was wrong, but I won't be this week as Kaepernick and the 49ers take on the Colts at home. After an embarrassing loss to the Seahawks last week, too many people are thinking about benching Kaepernick this week. The Seahawks are No. 1 against QBs (12.6 fantasy points allowed), whereas the Colts are 21st in the NFL with a fantasy PPG average allowed of 21.6.
Matt Schaub – QB, Texans: Schaub and the Texans face off with the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens this week, but their defense isn't the same force as it was last year. So far this season they've allowed 695 passing yards and 7 TDs through the air in just two weeks. Granted, they opened the season with a shellacking from Peyton Manning, then shut down the Browns in Week 2, so the numbers are a little misleading. Nevertheless, I like Schaub this weekend as a QB2 with possible upside in the QB1 range if this becomes a close game late.
Giovani Bernard – RB, Bengals: OC Jay Gruden said Thursday he envisioned a 50-50 timeshare in his backfield "sooner than later," and Bernard has already shown that he can get the most out of limited opportunities. The Packers offense is No. 1 in total offense YPG, and No. 2 in total points scored (66), which means the Bengals offense will have to keep pace if they want to have any chance of winning this one. I expect Bernard to have a bigger role this week and should be played in the flex spot.
Knowshon Moreno – RB, Broncos: Moreno looks like he is establishing himself as the Broncos starter after Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman combined for just 30 total snaps in Week 2. Moreno rumbled his way to 93 yards and 2 TDs last week against the Giants, and he should easily top that this week against the Raiders when Manning slices their defense up early and often. I expect to see mid-range RB2 numbers from Moreno this weekend and he is the perfect flex play if your RB1 and RB2 slots are situated.
Chris Givens – WR, Rams: Givens started out the season by being shut down by Patrick Peterson, but then torched the Falcons for 105 yards in Week 2. He has yet to score a touchdown, but that could change this weekend against the Cowboys as they have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to WRs (34.7 PPG), and have allowed 4 receiving TDs through two weeks. I have Givens as a WR3 this week, but that would change if he is able to find the endzone this weekend.
Eddie Royal – WR, Chargers: I am going to preface this by saying Royal is a high-risk/high-reward play this week. After racking up 5 TDs in the first two weeks, Royal has seen his fantasy ownership on NFL.com go from 4.0 percent last week to 61.3 percent this week. That's an unprecedented increase of 57.3 percent! The Titans have allowed WRs to score 25.8 fantasy points per game this season, 11th-worst in the NFL heading into Week 3. I would give him a play at WR3 or in the flex and just see if you can get waiver wire gold once again. But, understand that it is just as likely that the Titans focus all their energy on stopping Royal and force the Chargers to make some other player beat them this week.
Jordan Cameron – TE, Browns: I would stay away from anyone on the Browns team NOT named Jordan Cameron this season because they look like the frontrunners to land either Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel just three weeks into the 2013 season. Cameron is going to be Hoyer and Weeden's safety net as the Browns struggle to move the ball, and I still feel content with him as a starting fantasy TE.
Minnesota Vikings Defense: As I mentioned to start this article, I would run like a bandit to my waiver wire and check to see if the Vikings are available. So far this season they are actually in the top 10 for total fantasy points by a defense in NFL.com's standard scoring format, which is amazing considering they are owned in under 20 percent of their leagues. I would honestly just play whatever defense plays the Browns each week and, if that fails, go with whoever plays the Jaguars. The Raiders opposing defense is the fallback plan.
Tom Brady – QB, Patriots: Brady is now without Shane Vereen, Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski, leaving him with Stevan Ridley, Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman as the team's playmakers. While I actually still like Ridley, I said in the preseason that this could very well be the year we see Brady start his decline. He was about average in Week 1 (288 yards, 2 TDs, an INT and a lost fumble), then tanked in Week 2 (185 yards and a TD), and has nobody left to make a play for him in Week 3. The only thing Brady can pray for is that the Bucs don't stick Edelman on (Darrelle) Revis Island this week (Revis doesn't typically cover slot receivers) and he can dink and dunk his way down the field.
Jay Cutler – QB, Bears: The Bears offense has looked much improved this year with the change in the coaching staff. However, the Steelers host the Bears this week and they have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points (12.8) to QBs through the first two weeks of the season. The Steelers offense may not be what it once was, but the defense is still stout and you should find other options at QB this week.
Ray Rice – RB, Ravens: Rice is dealing with a hip injury that has sidelined him all week in practice, and it looks more and more likely that he's not going to play this weekend. The Ravens are likely to list him as a game-time decision, but Bernard Pierce is good enough to fill in for the week, and the Ravens are smart enough to not risk further injury this early into the season. Pierce is a good flex option, and is owned in 63.3 percent of NFL.com leagues.
Maurice Jones-Drew – RB, Jaguars: Jones-Drew was taken on average at the end of the 2nd round, or the top of the 3rd round, making him someone people just assumed they could plug into their lineups and play week in and week out. However, the reality is the Jaguars have problems all over the field, and this week they run into the Seahawks defense that shut down the entire 49ers offense just last week. I wouldn't play MJD this week even if I had no other options on my current roster. I'd look on the waiver wire and see if Pierce or James Starks (owned in 43.3 percent of NFL.com leagues) are available.
Julian Edelman – WR, Patriots: I've seen Edelman ranked as high as No. 20 on a big box website this week. With the lack of options for Brady to throw to, I don't see how the Bucs don't just stick Revis on Edelman and allow Leonard Johnson or even recently-unsuspended FS Dashon Goldson to cover drop-prone Thompkins on the outside. Edelman was a waiver-wire addition anyway, so you should have the WRs to bench him this week. Even in PPR formats, I just don't trust the Patriots ability to move the ball in the air this weekend.
Roddy White – WR, Falcons: White has failed to reel in more than three passes in a game so far this season, and has just 40 yards receiving. The truth is he might be more worried about the consecutive games streak than he is about getting healthy enough to contribute in reality, as well as in fantasy. Obviously that is pure speculation on my part, but what I do know is that he is playing well below 100 percent right now and he is no real threat to opposing defenses. White should be benched until he has his first breakout game this season. Yes, you will miss one big game. But, the points you make up for with a WR that is producing in the meantime will be well worth the benching.
Owen Daniels – TE, Texans: Daniels has scored three TDs in the first two weeks of the season, and that worries me considering that he never scored more than 6 TDs in a single season over a 7-year NFL career. I do like the Texans offense against the Ravens defense, but I think Daniels is a huge sell-high candidate as his production has been basically TD-or-bust (7 catches for 91 yards and 3 TDs this season). The chances of him setting a career high in TDs at age 30 (will be 31 in Nov.) is remote.
Arizona Cardinals Defense: The Cardinals defense is owned in 76.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 61.8 percent of those leagues. The problem with them this season is that they have just 2 recovered fumbles, one sack, one INT and a defensive touchdown to go along with the 42 points allowed. This week they travel to New Orleans to take on the high-powered Saints offense, and rank among the bottom 10 projected fantasy defenses for Week 3.
Don't forget that I am giving away copies of Madden 25 on Xbox 360 and PS3. All you have to do is like the article on the Facebook link at the top, and then get your friends to click on the link via your Facebook page and like the article on the Bengals webpage. It is important that you click "Like" INSIDE the article, and not like the link on your page.