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Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Has Zach Zenner Thrust Himself Onto Fantasy Radars?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When you think of the Detroit Lions’ running backs you immediately come to Joique Bell and Ameer Abdullah, but could a new name be forcing their way into the mix?  Zach Zenner, an undrafted rookie, exploded last night for 85 yards and 1 TD on 8 carries (including a 41 yard run) and suddenly has thrust his name into the conversation.

While there was more attention on him yesterday, coming in the “dress rehearsal” game and seeing him play with the first team offense, but he’s actually been opening eyes all preseason:

  • Week 1 – 13 carries for 55 yards
  • Week 2 – 4 carries for 22 yards

All told he has 162 yards and 1 TD on 25 carries, good for a 6.5 yards/carry.  Matthew Stafford sung his praise after the game, with the following quote coming courtesy of Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press (click here for the article): Read more

Stock Declining: Rashad Jennings Is Quickly Falling Off Fantasy Maps

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

According to Dan Graziano of ESPN (click here for the article):

“It’s been a good summer for New York Giants running back Andre Williams.  He’s worked hard to shore up the holes in his game, most specifically his ability to catch the ball, and his improvements have led to a significant number of first-team reps in training camp and in the preseason. It’s not out of the question that Williams overtakes Rashad Jennings for the Giants’ starting running back job at some point this season, possibly even at the start.”

Obviously this news is going to make Williams appear more attractive, especially at his current late round ADP (155.2, RB50).  At the same time does anyone really expect him to be “the man” for the Giants?  Jennings is still going to be in the mix…  Shane Vereen is there for passing downs and there’s been talk of more rushing attempts…  And the passing game with Odell Beckham Jr., we all know what that’s capable of… Read more

Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Has Bishop Sankey Become A Running Back To Target?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve long had questions regarding Bishop Sankey and his ability to run with the Tennessee Titans running back job.  With both David Cobb & Antonio Andrews waiting in the wings, Sankey is going to need to consistently produce in order to both win the starting job and keep it all season long.  He made a strong case in the second preseason game:

6 carries for 45 yards (7.5 yards/carry)

According to John Glennon of The Tennessean (click here for the article), there were two potential reasons for improvements of Sankey:

Whether Bishop Sankey ran with more determination or the re-shuffled offensive line was much better, the “first-team” running game looked much improved. Sankey said that running backs coach Sylvester Croom emphasized hitting the hole quickly this week, and Sankey appeared to run with more purpose against the Rams.” Read more

What Does Chris Johnson’s Arrival Mean For Andre Ellington? Nothing…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

According to Bob McManaman of The Arizona Republic (click here for the article) regarding the Cardinals recent signing of Chris Johnson:

“But Johnson has been promised nothing. He could end splitting carries with Andre Ellington or find himself listed behind rookie David Johnson on the depth chart. Arians left open the possibility that Johnson, should he earn it, might be able to become the Cardinals’ featured tailback.”

Does anyone really believe this?  Johnson has never come close to matching the success he showed in his sophomore season back in 2009, when he rushed for 2006 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry.  Sure he’s had 1,000 yard seasons since, but it was more based on the amount of carries he received while in Tennessee.  Just look at his subsequent YPC:

  • 2010 – 4.3
  • 2011 – 4.0
  • 2012 – 4.5
  • 2013 – 3.9
  • 2014 – 4.3 Read more

Who To Target & Who To Avoid In The Wake Of Kelvin Benjamin’s Injury (Funchess, Sleepers & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Yesterday we received the devastating news that the Panthers had lost Kelvin Benjamin for the season to a torn ACL.  He was the team leader in targets (146) and touchdowns (9) a year ago and it’s not like they made any significant acquisitions to supplement him this offseason (unless you count drafting Devin Funchess).  So where does the team go from here (barring signing a veteran)?

They could lean on Jonathan Stewart and the running game more, which isn’t unthinkable.  Of course you have to throw the ball, at least occasionally, so there is going to be opportunities for arguably the weakest receiving corps in the league.  Who should we trust?  Let’s take a look at the options:

Greg Olsen
It’s hard to think that he’s going to be a benefactor, as he’s already been a fixture in the passing game and getting better and better each season: Read more

Bounce Back or Bust: Will Keenan Allen Return To Prominence In 2015?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It wasn’t the number of receptions the Chargers’ Keenan Allen posted that was disappointing (77), it was his lack of explosiveness. The sophomore saw significant drop in both his yards per catch and TD from his rookie season:

  • 2013 – 14.7 // 8
  • 2014 – 10.2 // 4

Allen posted 319 yards after the catch last season, putting him 49th in the league. In his rookie year he ranked 25th in the league, with 437, so it makes sense that there are two things changing this season:

1) Allen has dropped weight
According to Eric D. Williams of (click here for the article):

“Keenan Allen said he’s losing weight in order to play faster once the regular season begins. While the Cal product still had decent production in his second year in the NFL, he struggled shaking loose against the top corners in the league.” Read more

Top 10 Rookie Wide Receivers For 2015

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Last year’s rookie wide receiving class was historic, but should fantasy owners expect an encore performance from this season’s group of rookies?  It’s highly unlikely, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be value.  Let’s take a look at how this year’s rookies rank for the coming year:

1) Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders
Is it really a surprise to see him sitting atop these rankings?  He’s not going to replicate the unbelievable success of Odell Beckham Jr. a year ago, but he’s going to step into the top receiver role and should be the go to guy for Derek Carr.  Coming off a season where he posted 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 TD at Alabama, he has WR1 upside (though that shouldn’t be expected).

2) Dorial Green-Beckham – Tennessee Titans
He’s landing in an ideal spot, as the Titans’ receiving corps has typically underwhelmed and he could quickly develop into the top target for Marcus Mariota.  Don’t read anything into him sliding to the second round in the draft, as it was simply off the field issues that caused it.  Listed at 6’5” he should be a red zone monster and he could quickly develop into the premier receiver from this class. Read more

Fantasy Throwdown: Jace Amaro vs. Eric Ebron: Which 2nd Year TE Will Emerge?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The 2014 tight end draft class could ultimately prove to be an impressive group, though they failed to make much of an impact in their rookie campaigns.  That shouldn’t have come as a surprise, since it normally takes tight ends a few years to become acclimated with the NFL game.  Now sophomores, which of the two more highly touted options has the best chance of emerging?  Let’s take a look:

Jace Amaro – New York Jets
Second Round Pick (49th overall)

Amaro actually got off to a great start to his rookie year, before disappearing in the second half of the season:

  • Games 1-8 – 32 receptions, 285 yards, 1 TD
  • Games 9-16 – 6 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD Read more

Sleeper Spotlight: Could Tevin Coleman Emerge As Atlanta’s Top RB?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Something clearly needed to be done regarding the Falcons running back situation.  The numbers their backs posted in 2014 told us that:

  • Steven Jackson – 707 yards and 6 TD (3.7 YPC)
  • Devonta Freeman – 248 yards and 1 TD (3.8 YPC)
  • Jacquizz Rodgers – 217 yards and 1 TD (3.7 YPC)

Gone is Jackson and Rodgers, which would’ve left Freeman and Antone Smith on the depth chart.  We say would’ve, because the team invested their third round pick on Tevin Coleman.  Considering how pedestrian Freeman looked in his rookie season and the fact that Smith is more of a change-of-pace back, you would think there’s an opportunity for Coleman to rise to the top of the depth chart almost immediately. Read more

Early 2015 Rankings: Top 12 Wide Receivers (Post Free Agency): How Highly Ranked Is Beckham & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Last year’s rookie wide receiver class was historically good, and you could argue for three of them to already be ranked among the Top 12 in the league (though, at the end of the day, Mike Evans fell just short).  While that’s certainly going to skew some people’s opinions on how this year’s rookies will produce, let’s take a look at how the sophomores and all the rest rank at this point (remember, these rankings could change significantly between now and fantasy draft time):

  1. Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys
  2. Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions
  4. Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
  5. Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers
  6. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
  7. Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants Read more