A struggling offensive line could force Bill Belichick and the Patriots to get creative.</span></p>
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

An evolution is taking place in the Patriots defense. And it’s an evolution Patriots fans have seen before.

Chandler Jones was drafted in 2012 as an edge-rushing defensive end out of Syracuse. Bill Belichick saw more than just a pass rushing specialist. He saw someone who had the potential, with the right guidance, who could learn how to drop back in coverage as an outside linebacker.

Now, in his third season, Jones is growing into the hybrid edge position.

“He’s done well,” Belichick said Tuesday of the hybrid position. “Chandler’€™s got good physical skills, does a good job. He’€™s long, he has good playing strength, he’€™s able to use his length to his advantage. He’€™s certainly gotten better at that each year since he’€™s been here.

“He’€™s been durable, tough, been out there, played a lot of plays and has good durability and stamina. He has the ability scheme-wise ‘€“ he’€™s a smart player ‘€“ he has the ability to do multiple tings for us defensively in terms of playing on the tackle, playing on the tight end, playing on space, playing in coverage. He’€™s been a versatile player. He’€™s done a real good job.”

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Jones has had breakout games from the moment he broke into the NFL in Sept. 2012 in Tennessee, with a strip-sack and a dominant game in his career debut. This year, he had another one of those games in Minnesota with eight tackles, two sacks and his blocked field goal attempt return for a touchdown.

Patriots fans will, of course, recall another player – Willie McGinest – who played a very similar role with a very similar body type (6-foot-5, 270 pounds) on the dominant Patriots defenses of the early 2000s.

“There’€™s an awful lot of people in the NFL that do those things, obviously some better than others,” Belichick said. “Some players are better going forward than going backward in coverage. Some guys are probably better in coverage than they are going forward rushing the passer and playing the run.”

Why has Belichick shown confidence this season in switching Jones back and forth between an edge rusher and an outside linebacker? Part of it has to do with disguising 3-4 and 4-3 fronts and some of it has to do with Jones’ ability to transition well.

“Some guys are pretty good at both and I would put Chandler in that category,” Belichick said. “We’€™re seeing two good guys this week from Kansas City, same type players that can set the edge, that are strong run players, athletic, can play in coverage, great pass rushers. It will be several of those guys on the field this week.”

After being asked about Jones, Belichick was asked point blank if he is seeing significant improvement over the first three weeks.

“As a team yeah, definitely,” Belichick said. “I don’€™t think there’€™s any question about it. Yup, there are a lot of things that we’€™re doing better. I think each week the competition gets better too. There are teams that are where they were in September and where they are now at the end of the month and heading into October, they’€™ve improved, too.

“We just have to keep grinding it out but I think we are doing things a lot better than we did them a month ago. Hopefully we’€™ll continue on that same trend. But I think we’€™re seeing the same thing from our opponents around the league too. Everybody around the league is getting better.”

Here are more takeaways from Belichick’s conference call on Tuesday:

Q: Do you get a sense that complementary football on offense is beginning to click in beyond what we see?

BB: Sure. There have definitely been a lot of good examples of that in the last couple weeks. Every week you have to go out there and re-establish it and do it. I don’€™t think it’€™s a question of really understanding it, it’€™s a question of being able to go out there and actually get it done. But I thought last week after we scored to make it 7-3 and then we had the three-and-out, forced the punt, played that situation well, got good field position offensively, drove it down to the two-yard line. That was a good example of our offense, defense, special teams with the touchback and forcing the short punt, it put our offense in good field potion, they took advantage of it. We scored 10 points. That’€™s the kind of complementary football that we need.

Q: You said Bryan Stork was improving every day but still had some catching up to do given the time he lost in training camp. With the work he’€™s done to this point, do you feel like he’€™s made up some of that lost time?

BB: Yeah, I think Bryan has definitely gotten better. He’€™s improved. He’€™s had an opportunity to string a few weeks of practice together here and get a little better playing time the last couple weeks. I definitely think he’€™s moving in the right direction.

Q: How would you assess his play in the playing time he has gotten? Do you feel like he could take on a larger workload?

BB: His playing time and workload is functional of his performance ‘€“ same as it is for every player. The better a player plays, the more opportunities they get. If they don’€™t do as well, those opportunities go to somebody else. If that somebody else performs well with their opportunities then they’€™re going to get more. That’€™s really the way it is for all the players at all the positions.

Q: Stephen Gostkowski has been here for nine years. He’€™s playing one of the most tenuous positions in professional sports. What has that made to the franchise with the stability he’€™s brought?

BB: Oh yeah, it’€™s meant a lot. The one year that we didn’€™t have him, we were fortunate probably to have it go as well as it did. But I’€™ve been very fortunate being here basically having two kickers with Adam [Vinatieri] and Steve that are among the best in the league. Over that period of time I think we’€™d be hard pressed to find another franchise that’€™s had the kind of success and production that those guys have given us in not the easiest conditions to kick in, as we all know. Steve’€™s great. He not only does a good job for us in the roles that he’€™s asked to perform on the field ‘€“ kickoffs and field goals and extra points and all that, but off the field he works hard.

He’€™s an athlete, he’€™s not that kind of stereotype kicker who just comes in and kicks. He works out; he trains with the rest of the team. I think he’€™s very well respected on this football team for, again, not just what he does for us on the field but the way he has matured, the way he prepares, the way he goes about his job. His unflappable demeanor, he’€™s had to deal with a number of different snappers and holders over the course of his career. There’€™s been transition at those two positions and I think he’€™s handled all those things very well, as well as, as I said, the conditions that he’€™s had to kick in ‘€“ cold, rain, snow, usually some type of wind here on this field and in this whole division. So, I feel very fortunate to have had him and Adam as the two kickers since I’€™ve been here.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Bill Belichick is offering a vote of confidence to new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.

Dave DeGuglielmo

Dave DeGuglielmo

Bill Belichick is offering a vote of confidence to new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.

In his first season replacing Dante Scarnecchia, DeGuglielmo has watched as his starting left guard Logan Mankins was traded away to Tampa Bay and the starting center from last year Ryan Wendell battles a knee injury.

The patchwork offensive line has been one of the foremost areas of concern and criticism as Tom Brady has been hit hard and often throughout the first three games. Rodney Harrison went as far as to tell WEEI’s MFB show Tuesday that Brady “doesn’t trust” his offensive line right now.

On Tuesday, though, Belichick offered some perspective on DeGuglielmo’s background as an NFL offensive line coach who has worked for the Giants, Dolphins and Jets.

“Well, first of all, Dave is a pretty experienced coach,” Belichick said. “He’€™s been in a number of different systems, including with Coach [Brian] Daboll down in Miami, which is a very similar system [to] the Giants, which there is a lot of carryover from Coach [Tom] Coughlin going all the way back to Charlie [Weis] and the offense that we really established when we came here in 2000.”

Belichick also acknowledged Tuesday that while DeGuglielmo may be new to the system Scarnecchia left in New England, he is far from overwhelmed by it.

“So, I think it’€™s true that he did come into an established offensive system but one that he has worked in in different forms throughout the course of his career,” Belichick said. “So, I don’€™t think the transition or the adjustment in the offseason when we were going through all of our protections and schemes and plays and adjustments and so forth, that it was like trying to learn a whole new foreign language or anything like that. But it was kind of fine tuning some things that we did relative to similar things that he’€™s done in the past.

“That’€™s just been a continuation for our entire staff, no different than on the defensive side of the ball with Coach [Brendan] Daly coming in, working with Matt [Patricia] and Pat Graham and Brian [Flores] and Josh [Boyer]. It’€™s the same type of thing. It’€™s just the whole staff getting on the same page as to how we’€™re coaching certain plays, what the techniques are, how it fits together, what the adjustments are and that coach working with the individual players at his position. It’€™s pretty common really in the NFL to have some type of coaching changes every year. There aren’€™t too many staffs that don’€™t have that.

Bottom line, Belichick is not about to throw his offensive line coach under a bus that has yet to get up and running the way everyone in the organization believes it can.

“I think we’€™ve had it almost every year that I’€™ve been here. But I think he’€™s done a good job. I think the offensive staff works well together. I think our defensive staff has too. We just need to all keep grinding though and continue to find ways to improve and do a better job, learn from our mistakes, learn from the things that went wrong the first few weeks of the season here and try to correct them and improve them or find a better way to do some things.

“Maybe there are some things with this team that we need to do that we’€™re not doing. Maybe there are some things that we need to stop doing. So, that’€™s the way it is every year. You kind of find out what your team is good at, maybe what they’€™re not good at and work more toward the things that they can execute and do well and stay away from the things that for whatever reason seem to be not as productive for you. That’€™s part of our job to put our team and our players in that position as a total staff. Of course it carries down to each individual position.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Through three games, the Patriots have been flagged for 30 penalties (third-most in the league) for a total of 322 yards (most in the NFL). We have more detail on the Patriots penalty situation here, but to this point in the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against the Patriots this year, not including penalties that were declined or offset:

Most penalized players, listed by total flags and with total yardage lost:
ST/DB Logan Ryan: 4 penalties (illegal block above the waist, two defensive pass interference, defensive holding), 73 yards
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 3 penalties (roughing the passer, defensive offsides, unnecessary roughness), 35 yards
OL Nate Solder: 3 penalties (offensive holding, illegal block above the waist, false start), 10 yards
WR Brandon LaFell: 3 penalties (offsides on free kick, two offensive pass interference), 25 yards
DL Chandler Jones: 2 penalties (2 roughing the passer), 30 yards
OL Jordan Devey: 2 penalties (offensive holding, false start), 15 yards
TE Rob Gronkowski: 2 penalties (offensive holding, false start), 15 yards
OL Cameron Fleming: 2 penalties (false start, offensive holding), 15 yards
CB Malcolm Butler: 1 penalty (defensive pass interference), 24 yards
OL Ryan Wendell: 1 penalty (facemask), 15 yards
ST/DB Don Jones: 1 penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
OL Marcus Cannon: 1 penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
WR Aaron Dobson: 1 penalty (offensive pass interference) 10 yards
DL Dominique Easley 1 penalty (neutral zone infraction), 5 yards
DL Sealver Siliga: 1 penalty (illegal use of hands), 5 yards
CB Darrelle Revis: 1 penalty (defensive holding), 5 yards
Team: 1 penalty (offsides on free kick), 5 yards

Most penalized by position
Offensive line: 9 penalties, 80 yards
Cornerback: 5 penalties, 92 yards
Defensive line: 4 penalties, 40 yards
Wide receiver: 4 penalties, 35 yards
Linebacker: 3 penalty, 35 yards
Special teams: 2 penalties, 20 yards
Tight end: 2 penalty, 15 yards
Team: 1 penalty, 5 yards

Most frequently called penalties
Offensive holding: 6
False start: 4
Roughing the passer: 3
Offensive pass interference: 3
Defensive pass interference: 3
Illegal block above the waist: 2
Defensive holding: 2
Offsides on free kick: 1
Neutral zone infraction: 1
Facemask: 1
Defensive offsides: 1
Illegal use of hands: 1
Unnecessary roughness: 1
Offsides on free kick: 1

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to talk about the Patriots’ rocky start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to talk about the Patriots’ rocky start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots improved to 2-1 with Sunday’s 16-9 victory over the Raiders, but the offense continues to struggle, as evidenced by the single touchdown against a low-ranked Raiders defense. The finger has been pointed at the offensive line as the main culprit.

“It’s a big concern, because I’m sitting there with coach [Tony] Dungy and we’re watching them, and they’re just getting their butt kicked,” Harrison said. “The tackles, the guards, they’re just getting their butts kicked and getting pushed around. They just look so big and stiff, no knee bends, anything. It just looked bad. And Tom [Brady], you could just tell, Tom never felt comfortable, he doesn’t feel comfortable, he doesn’t trust that offensive line.

“They really need to either get that run game going, they need to do something. If it was one guy, like coach Dungy pointed out, then you can shift and you can use the running back and you can run some screens, stuff like that. But unfortunately it’s not just one guy, it’s a multitude of guys. This is a big concern for me, because if Tom gets hurt they’re in trouble.”

Richie Incognito, let go by the Dolphins in the offseason after being suspended for his role in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal, remains a free agent. The talented but troubled offensive lineman reportedly is talking with the Eagles this week.

“He can play, man. He can play,” Harrison said. “[Bill] Belichick, he’s one of those guys that can bring certain people in — Corey Dillon and Randy Moss and myself — and people said, ‘Hey, these guys are troublemakers and they’re not good people.’ You can bring him in — he’s the one guy I think in the league that can get a guy to come in and fit in.

“A lot of people deserve second chances. Richie, he seems like he paid his dues. We all make mistakes in life. I think he can still play. I think you get a guy like that, you can get him for cheap, he’s hungry. Why not bring him in? If he doesn’t work out, cut him. It’s not like his salary will be guaranteed anyway.”

The offensive woes can’t entirely be blamed on the line. Aside from Julian Edelman, the receivers have yet to make an impact.

“You look, and a lot of times certain guys, they’re just not open,” Harrison said. “And Tom has to play better, too. … You see those type of [missed] throws every game. It just seems like the one guy that he has that rapport and trust and chemistry is Edelman. But you can’t just win with one guy. You have to kind of spread the ball around. I think Josh [McDaniels], knowing that this offense is struggling, he’s going to have to find different ways to get Brandon LaFell into the game so he can build his confidence. I think once Brandon starts to catch on and catches four or five passes in a game I think you’re going to really see this young guy take off.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On Darrelle Revis: “I look at Darrelle and I say, you know what? He’s working his way back. He’s learning the system, he’s getting comfortable. And that’s the problem. When you go out and you get a guy like Darrelle Revis and you pay him a bunch of money, people start thinking that no one’s going to complete a pass. With these rule changes you can’t be a shutdown corner, it’s impossible.

“But the one thing that they went and got him for is for like when they’re playing against the Denver Broncos in the playoffs and they need that guy that can move around and shut that one — not even really shut him down, but go against that No. 1 receiver. It’s not like a Richard Sherman type where he only can play the left side. Darrelle can move to the right side, he’s played a little bit in the slot. So that’s what you go out and get Darrelle Revis for. But at the end of the day, if I had my choice of cornerbacks and I’m trusting [one], I’m trusting Darrelle Revis over any of those guys.”

On the high expectations for the Patriots in New England: “The fans assume because you have Brady, and people assume automatically once you just go out and get anyone, they put on the jersey and all of a sudden they’re going to be a productive player. It doesn’t necessarily work like that. I think fans, they start to appreciate what they had back in the day with the Christian Faurias and Tedy Bruschis and all those great players that they had. I think when you have those type of expectations, it’s unfair to the guys now. Because people expect you to win, people expect you to go to the Super Bowl and do those type of things.”

On where the Patriots stand in the AFC: “I still believe that the Denver Broncos, they’re the best team in the AFC. I think the Patriots are going to have their hands full with the Cincinnati Bengals. I think they’re probably the second-most complete team. Hugh Jackson, he’s come in there and he’s really done some wonderful things from the offensive standpoint. They’ve got some guys that can rush the passer. I still think you can’t discount the Patriots. I look at Tom Brady, he hasn’t played particularly well, his offensive line is struggling, and after three weeks they’re 2-1. If you look at what they did against Oakland and what they did against Miami, it was like, this team almost should be 1-2. But they’re 2-1, and I just believe with the coaching staff, with the veteran players, I think they’re going to get it right. I think they’re going to correct it.”

On players he didn’t like when he played defensive back: “I probably didn’t like Jerry Rice on the field. I respected him, and Jerry’s a nice guy off the field, but I hated Jerry Rice on the field. … Randy Moss was another guy I just absolutely hated on the field because I just felt like at times he was just a crybaby. And once again, you have these preconceived notions about a guy, but once you get a chance to know him, Randy Moss was a true pro, he worked his butt off, I didn’t know he was as smart as he is. But guys like that — Jerry Rice, he’s a nice guy, but he always used to kick our butt when I played in San Diego, so I just hated him on the field.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Former Patriots safety and current NBC Sports analyst, Rodney Harrison, spoke about the Patriots offensive line struggles. He talked about being hated in league and hating Jerry Rice and Randy Moss at points in his career. He thinks Josh McDaniels needs to get Brandon LaFell involved, and what to expect from Darrelle Revis going forward.

With the Patriots offensive line struggling, there is speculation that the team might consider bringing in former Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito, who remains a free agent.

Incognito was suspended last season for his role in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal, and the Dolphins cut ties with him after the season. He also has a long history of off-field issues. However, he is considered a talented player who is popular among his teammates.

(Read Chris Price’s analysis of the situation here.)

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

Welcome to the Week 3 waiver wire! Hopefully you are here looking for the talent you need to get to 4-0, but we’ve got your back whether you are fighting for playoff positioning or for your fantasy life. I’ve got teams in both situations right now, thanks to all the injuries and legal tribulations so far in 2014.

The byes hit this week, and we’ve got you covered. There are a lot of hot teams taking a rest this week.

Get ahead of the curve and make your moves early. This is not a week to wait. There are a few very appealing options out there like Jordan Matthews and Donald Brown. Get in on it.

As I said last week, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. The rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that. If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn later and check out my expanded wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

QUARTERBACKS

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers — 76 percent

He’s the most available of the obvious guys. Grab him if he’s there in your league. The Steelers have the offense in about-to-click mode. Things are looking good if they can get and stay healthy.

Kirk Cousins, Washington — 48 percent

He might not be a long-term solution, but then again, maybe he is. Robert Griffin III will be out at least another six weeks and probably a few more. Whether he is handed his job back is potentially debatable depending on how Cousins plays and if the team is winning. We all saw Cousins’ potential last week. He can be your starter in large leagues and he makes a fine QB2 in smaller ones.

Eli Manning, Giants – 37 percent

He stepped up last week and he could get Odell Beckham, Jr. back soon. I am buying Eli shares right now because they are ungodly cheap and because the Giants‘ schedule gets plenty light in the coming weeks.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars — 5 percent

He plays behind a bad offensive line, so don’t get too excited. He also has too many injuries to his receivers and to TE Marcedes Lewis as well. Bortles’ fantasy intrigue largely is due to his mobility. He can get you foot-points if the coaching staff gives him the green light as it should. If you are not familiar with Bortles, check out my scouting report on the former UCF star.

Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings — 4 percent

I’d say he’s a potential breakout, but he lost two incredibly crucial cogs while he was waiting for his chance to start. Adrian Peterson would have been a huge benefit for a young quarterback, and, to make matters worse, he lost his starting tight end last week for more than a month with an ankle injury. Bridgewater is a guy to add if you need some QB help, but he’s got fringe QB1 upside at best right now with such a limited supporting cast. On the positive front, the Vikings’ schedule lightens up going forward.

Mike Glennon, Buccaneers — 1 percent

He could be the guy for the rest of the year, and that could be worth getting excited about if Vincent Jackson‘s wrist injury proves to be something he can play through. The Bucs have been playing without their offensive coordinator so far this season, but they get him and Doug Martin back this week. That’s very positive news.

RUNNING BACKS

Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts — 74 percent

Here’s the prize for those in need of immediate help. Check his availability just in case he happens to be out there. If you get him, you can ride the wave of health for as long as it lasts. Bradshaw is playing very good football right now. Add him in all formats if you can.

Donald Brown, Chargers — 50 percent

Brown now is the man. It’s not the way we wanted it to happen, obviously. In the last two games, the Chargers have lost Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead. The offseason signing of Brown now looks like a master stroke. He’ll have RB1 upside in plus matchups and should be added in any league where he’s available. The ninja move is to add Brown and then add Mathews in a few weeks when his owner dumps him in a bye week crunch.

Bishop Sankey, Titans — 55 percent

He finally got a decent run in terms of snaps and touches in Week 3 and he looked pretty good. HC Ken Whisenhunt still is looking for improvements (specifically with his footwork) and he may not get the keys to the business just yet, but Week 3 was very encouraging. Those who’ve lost running backs in the last few weeks should be targeting Sankey right now. He could be a weekly starter soon. Here’s a look at Sankey’s scouting report if you don’t know his game.

Knile Davis, Chiefs — 76 percent

His ownership rate is through the roof due to the Jamaal Charles injury. Charles owners still can add Davis in about a quarter of leagues, and that’s a no-brainer if you can pull it off. If not, look for an impatient owner to drop Davis this week if Charles is back at practice in full. As I’ve said all along, Davis is a must-own player for all Charles owners.

Khiry Robinson, Saints — 42 percent

He’ll be the lead back for a few more games and is a great way to skate through the bye weeks. Robinson will improve on last week’s numbers going forward. The Saints are still calibrating their new offense a bit. Things aren’t clicking as they normally do. They will soon.

Jeremy Hill, Bengals — 57 percent

The Bengals look like a team that will be playing with leads, and that’s good news for the big rookie back, who can play on all three downs and is a bad man at the goal line. Hill needs to be owned in all leagues and by all Gio Bernard owners, too, as a seriously high-end handcuff option.

Carlos Hyde, 49ers – 60 percent

Frank Gore is old. He may not break down, but Hyde already has become the primary goal-line back in San Francisco. He could be in a time share before long and he should be owned in all leagues for his upside alone. If you own Gore, do yourself a favor and find a way to roster Hyde, too. If you do not own Gore, consider Hyde as a stash who can be used as a bye week replacement. If Hyde starts at some point, he has RB1 value. Yes, RB1.

DeAngelo Williams, Panthers — 36 percent

This is a week to add him as he could be a feature back if he can make his return from a thigh bruise. If he plays, he comes back to a backfield that will be missing both Jonathan Stewart (knee) and Mike Tolbert (leg) for this week’s game against the Ravens in Baltimore. Not bad for a bye week option.

Isaiah, Crowell, Browns — 18 percent

It’s impossible to watch this kid run over defenders and not think big thoughts. He runs like Marion Barber III but with more burst and all the anger and determination. Browns HC Mike Pettine obviously is a fan, and he has been somewhat non-committal about how the Cleveland backfield will roll once the injured starter Ben Tate returns. Crowell now is a stash as Cleveland heads into its bye week. Roster him if you can.

Matt Asiata, Vikings — 54 percent

Is un-special a word? After watching Asiata run for two weeks, I really think it should be. This guy is decent. He doesn’t do anything wrong, per se, but he’ll break about one tackle a week at best. I still feel strongly that he’ll start losing time to rookie Jerick McKinnon as the year wears on and assuming that Adrian Peterson stays in NFL purgatory. Asiata still can provide you with some short-term points, but don’t get too excited.

Alfred Blue, Texans — 24 percent

Arian Foster owners, listen up! You want this kid if you haven’t already made the move, and judging by the numbers, you haven’t. Blue could have had a big day in Week 3, but the Texans got away from him after a hot start and didn’t get back to him until the second half. I have a feeling that HC Bill O’Brien won’t make that mistake again as Ronnie Brown and Jonathan Grimes are as un-special as Matt Asiata and then some. Blue is a solid handcuff option for Arian Foster owners.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings — 18 percent

Yes, he was seemingly an afterthought last week, but the Vikings did try to throw to him a few times and, don’t forget, they switched quarterbacks during the game. They may have kept the flux to a minimum because of that. This week will be a better sample of what the Vikings plan on being with no Matt Cassel and no Adrian Peterson, not to mention the injured Kyle Rudolph. I’m still stashing McKinnon wherever I can afford to. He’s a potentially special player if he gets his chance.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, Ravens — 8 percent

After a bit of a breakout performance in Week 3, he’s obviously on the radar now, but it’s hard to say how things will shake out when Bernard Pierce is healthy. Taliaferro is a rookie out of Coastal Carolina and he could eventually become the back to own in Baltimore. He’s a guy they like and he fits the new zone scheme that OC Gary Kubiak runs. I’m adding this kid in most leagues just in case they decide to give him a long-term shot at the starting gig.

Denard Robinson, Jaguars — 0 percent

Speaking of getting a chance. Robinson split carries with starter Toby Gerhart in Week 3, and while it was a blowout, you have to wonder if the Jaguars might go to the quicker, more athletic back more often now that they have a power-running quarterback in Blake Bortles. Robinson is an electric runner when given some room to operate. He’s not a bad stash if you have some bench space to play with. He’s a must-add talent in bigger leagues.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Jordan Matthews, Eagles — 18 percent

You don’t miss two scores, and nobody will in typical fantasy leagues. Hopefully you listened and already have Matthews on your team, but if he’s out there in your league, I would go out and get him as he is very much available. He’d be my top priority at receiver this week because he has a big ceiling in Chip Kelly’s offense.

Brian Quick, Rams — 38 percent

Quick found the zone last week and he also got some help from his teammates, which is a good sign going forward. Quick is a talented weapon and a red zone option, too, so I’d make sure he’s owned in any league I’m a part of.

Cecil Shorts, Jaguars — 57 percent

He’s back and he found the end zone as he often does. Shorts is a player to own in all formats as long as his health holds up. He’s the one truly dependable weapon that the Jaguars have.

John Brown, Cardinals — 8 percent

He has three scores already and, if you read your Rotobahn this preseason, you know why. Brown may be from Pitt State, but he’s got NFL skills and HC Bruce Arians is not at all shy about using Brown as a red zone weapon — getting him matched up against weaker corners while the better ones are busy with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. What can Brown do for you? Quite a bit — even in 10-team leagues.

Davante Adams, Packers — 7 percent

No, he did not do much last week, but he appears to have passed Jarrett Boykin for the job as third receiver, and Aaron Rodgers‘ third receiver usually has significant fantasy value. Pick up Adams in all leagues as a stash option you can play in a pinch. Here’s a look at Adams’ scouting report. This kid can jump through the roof. He’s a serious athlete.

Allen Robinson, Jaguars — 2 percent

If you read my scouting report on Robinson, then you know how much I like his playmaking ability. With all the injuries in Jacksonville, Robinson is getting a chance and he’s taking advantage for the most part. While fellow rookie Allen Hurns, with his prior knowledge of the Jaguars offense due to his time with OC Jedd Fisch at the University of Miami, has been the story so far, don’t be fooled. Robinson is the more talented player and has the highest ceiling of all the Jaguars receivers, including Shorts and Marqise Lee, due to his red zone potential. Add him in all leagues for his upside.

TIGHT ENDS

Travis Kelce, Chiefs — 48 percent

He’s still the tight end to target as you can get him in more than 50 percent of leagues. Kelce has plenty of unexplored ceiling. If he stays healthy all season, he’ll eventually become a weekly TE1 in most formats. Add him now if you can.

Owen Daniels, Ravens — 27 percent

We all know the veteran can play, but now he’s back in the starter’s saddle due to the season-ending injury to Dennis Pitta. Can Daniels hold up himself? Who knows, but he’s a starting-caliber option for as long as he lasts. He knows the Kubiak offense better than any player in Baltimore, including Joe Flacco. Add him.

Dwayne Allen, Colts — 24 percent

He’s been used less than I was anticipating, but he should continue to become the staple option he has the potential to be. Allen does have two touchdowns so far this year, and that underscores his fantasy potential if they start using him more. Add him in all leagues as a high-upside TE2.

Jared Cook, Rams — 17 percent

He’s been involved enough where he is a viable bye week or injury replacement option. Will it last long? Probably not, but ride the wave while it’s there.

DEFENSES

Chargers – 12 percent

They get Jacksonville at home this week, and that’s reason for excitement. The Chargers defense has some momentum, and now it gets a rookie QB making his first road start. Adding and playing San Diego this week is good business.

Steelers – 13 percent

Speaking of good business, the Steelers are very much available and they have a home game against the Buccaneers, who were so flat in Week 2 that that they almost had to call the game at halftime. I’m looking to play the Steelers this week against Mike Glennon and company. I don’t think they can stop the bleeding in one week.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson