Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Defensive end Chandler Jones missed practice Tuesday with a hip injury that is expected to sideline him for about a month, according to Shalise Manza-Young of the Boston Globe.

The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Jones, in his third season out of Syracuse, leads the Patriots in sacks (4.5) and quarterback hits (8), and is tied for the team lead with Rob Ninkovich in quarterback hurries (14).

With Jones on the sidelines, the Patriots will likely be forced to get creative up front, mixing and matching some different personnel in hopes of finding the right combination. One player who could be in line for more work is rookie defensive end Zach Moore. In addition — if he’s healthy — newcomer Akeem Ayers could be asked to provide a pass-rushing spark off the edge sooner rather than later.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots swung a deal for linebacker Akeem Ayers on Tuesday. The veteran has struggled with knee issues over the last year-plus, but if he’s healthy, he could add some much-needed depth for New England at a position that’s taken a hit with the season-ending injury to Jerod Mayo.

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Blog Author: 
WEEI
Akeem Ayers has nine career sacks with the Titans. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Akeem Ayers has nine career sacks with the Titans. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The Patriots passed on Akeem Ayers in the 2011 draft, but he was certainly a prospect who drew their interest.

“I think I would be a great fit for their defense,” Ayers told me at the combine that February when I asked him about the possibility of playing for the Patriots.

One reason he stuck out as a possible Patriot at the time was the fact that even though he made his bones as a defensive end in college, he displayed enough versatility as a collegian at UCLA to think about him as an outside linebacker/pass rusher in a 3-4 pro set.

“I feel like I can adapt to any kind of defense, whether it’€™s 4-3 or 3-4, because of my versatility playing defensive end in college [and] being a pass-rush linebacker,” he said at the time.

“As far as my pass-rush ability, I know I’€™m nowhere near reaching my peak. I’€™ve done a pretty good job rushing the passer these last two seasons, and I’€™m only going to get better.”

The Patriots certainly hope so, as they have apparently swung a deal to acquire Ayers. A longish, active presence who worked primarily as an end in college, he was a second-round pick of the Titans out of UCLA in the 2011 draft after finishing his college career with 14 sacks.

The 6-foot-3, 253-pounder made the move to outside linebacker in the pros, and had his best season in 2012 when he had a career-best six sacks and eight passes defensed to go along with 110 tackles for Tennessee. From 2011 through 2013, he started 44 of a possible 48 games his first three years with the Titans.

However, he’s struggled with knee issues as of late — he had two separate knee operations this past offseason to repair the patellar tendons in both knees. In the final year of his rookie deal, Ayers has only been active for two games this season, and has had three tackles. (Pro Football Focus has him down for just 10 snaps on the season.)

He has shown a nice ability to work in support when it comes to run defense, but he’s known first and foremost as a pass rusher. In New England, Ayers’ versatility could allow him to play a couple of different roles in the Patriots’ 4-3 front, including a possible strong-side spot, as well as work as an outside linebacker. Ultimately, New England gets a veteran body to help out as a position where it was dangerously thin following the injury to Jerod Mayo.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

According to Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, the Patriots have traded for Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers, pending a physical. CBS’ Jason La Canfora adds the Patriots will also receive a seventh-round pick and give a sixth-rounder back to Tennessee.

According to Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, the Patriots have traded for Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers, pending a physical. The Titans will reportedly get a draft pick in return, but the exact pick remains unknown.

Ayers was a 2011 second-round pick and started in 43 games during his first three seasons in the league, including totaling 66 tackles in 2012. He reportedly had offseason knee surgery on both knees and has only appeared in two games so far this season.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Offensive linemen Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming were all present at the start of practice for the Patriots on Tuesday, while cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive end Chandler Jones were not among those spotted at the workout, which was held in sweats and shells, according to reports.

Offensive linemen Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming were all present at the start of practice for the Patriots on Tuesday, while cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive end Chandler Jones were not among those spotted at the workout, which was held in sweats and shells, according to reports.

Connolly and Stork have been dealing with head injuries the last couple of weeks, while Fleming has been on the shelf because of a finger problem. Special teamer Nate Ebner, who has also been missing with a finger injury for the last couple of weeks, was also spotted at practice.

On the other side, while Revis has had occasional hamstring issues over the course of the season, nothing has kept him from playing. It’s not known what Jones might be dealing with.

The Patriots will host the Bears Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

It’s an insanely target-rich environment this week on most league waiver wires. There is high-quality talent breaking out all over the place. This is a week to act and I’ve got you covered. Even in most big leagues there is quality talent available this week. Unless you play in a league where Bryce Brown was already rostered, you have some nice options. Players like Jerick McKinnon, Tre Mason and Odell Beckham, Jr. simply have to be owned and they are available in a great many leagues based on Yahoo’s statistics.

As always, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. These 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 this afternoon and check out my expanded waiver 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

Carson Palmer, Cardinals — 42 percent

He’s not a weekly QB1 — even in big leagues, but Palmer is a fine matchup option and he makes a very good QB2 in all formats. Rarely will he lay an egg in a solid matchup. His weapons are too good, and Bruce Arians’ offense is a great platform for a quarterback.

Joe Flacco, Ravens — 63 percent

He has a Week 11 bye, so be mindful of that. Apart from the bye, most of Flacco’s arrows are pointing decidedly up. I like the schedule for the most part, and Gary Kubiak‘s scheme seems to be taking hold at the right time. Flacco can help you in all leagues.

Robert Griffin III, Washington — 31 percent

Do you feel lucky, punk? Griffin’s stock is at an all-time low. I added him in a few leagues last week and I am glad I did. Once he gets back, probably in Week 10, he could be a weekly option as his weapons in Washington are quite strong. He’s the best QB stash out there right now.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins — 36 percent

He is past his bye week, so he can help you get through your starter’s bye no matter who that starter is. Tannehill is also playing better football as are his receivers — namely Mike Wallace and rookie Jarvis Landry. The Dolphins starter makes a nice QB2 if you need one.

Eli Manning, Giants — 60 percent

Manning is down the list a bit this week because the Giants are on their bye in Week 8. Still, he has some value after the bye because the Giants have some good remaining matchups and a developing star in Odell Beckham Jr. They also have a few solid tight ends now, and we like the direction that Reuben Randle is heading in as well. Manning can help you as a matchup play in all leagues.

RUNNING BACKS

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings — 58 percent

If you’ve been reading this space all year, you should already have McKinnon. Having said that, go get him if you can. He’s getting a tighter grip on the lead role every week. McKinnon brings a rare skill set to the table. He can overpower defensive backs and outquick linebackers. He’s also more effective than most would think while running inside. This is a player to own in all formats. Find a cut and add him.

Tre Mason, Rams — 17 percent

I hope you already added him after I had him on last week’s wire. If you have to go after Mason now, it’ll cost you. That being said, pay what you need to get him. Mason’s going to take this job and he could be an RB2 on a weekly basis going forward. HC Jeff Fisher is talking up a four-man backfield, but actions speak louder than words. Mason’s been taking over the last two weeks and he’s outperformed the other backs on the roster.

Ronnie Hillman, Broncos – 58 percent

He may not be a solution for the rest of the year, but he’s a nice option for this week and perhaps next. At some point Montee Ball will return, but Hillman has played well enough where he could retain some of the job — making Denver an RBBC situation.

Chris Ivory, Jets — 66 percent

Ivory may not last now that the Jets are upping his weekly workload, but he’s a solid play for now, especially in non-PPR formats. The addition of Percy Harvin could actually open up some lanes for the big back. Ivory can help you during the bye week crunch that starts in earnest next week and stays ugly until Week 12.

Bryce Brown, Bills — 7 percent

Brown is a lottery ticket who could pay off big and pay off fast. While Brown’s been inactive all season long — playing behind Fred Jackson (groin, four weeks) and C.J. Spiller (season-ending clavicle injury), the ex-Eagle may now be the starter. The gig could last four weeks or four years. It will depend on how Brown performs. In the near term, he will be competing with Anthony Dixon, who took the reigns last week after both Jackson and Spiller went down. Dixon is a big back with some ability, but he’s not the runaway train that Brown is when he’s at his best. The reason Dixon has been dressing on game days over Brown has to do with his role as a special teamer. I’m adding Bryce Brown in all leagues because of his high ceiling. Spiller is a free agent at the end of the year and Jackson is going to be 34 years old. This has the potential to be a changing of the guard if Brown takes the job and runs with it.

Denard Robinson, Jaguars — 10 percent

If you read Rotobahn, you know we like Robinson’s game. We’ve always expected him to get the gig in Jacksonville at some point. You saw his upside last week with a 100-plus-yard effort and his first NFL touchdown. He posted the only good RB performance that the Jaguars have seen all year and HC Gus Bradley gave indications that Robinson now will be given a chance to carry the load. The only thing that keeps me from going all in is the Jaguars’ below-average offensive line, which will hurt Robinson in tougher matchups. This week’s game with Miami is a perfect example. Robinson’s just a deep league flex option in a matchup like this — even as the clear-cut starter. Having said that, there are some very good matchups left on Jacksonville’s schedule, so he is certainly a player to add in all leagues.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Odell Beckham Jr., Giants — 50 percent

I hear a lot of people trying to cover their tails on Beckham. His breakout has nothing to do with Victor Cruz‘s injury. The Giants use a ton of three receiver sets and they drafted Beckham at 12 overall for a reason. We’ve seen that reason now and if you ignored me last week, I suggest you go get this guy while you still have a chance. He’s already a weekly starter in my book. Read my pre-draft scouting report on the LSU star if you aren’t familiar with his abilities.

Josh Gordon, Browns — 60 percent

As I have been saying, he gets more valuable every week as we near his Week 12 return. Roster Gordon if you can spare the roster spot. This goes doubly if you have a weakness at receiver or if your team is out ahead of the pack. Adding a monster like Gordon could be the move that ultimately puts your squad over the top. Add him in all leagues.

Brian Quick, Rams — 65 percent

I laid off of Quick as an option the last few weeks, but he still is available in too many leagues and he is almost a weekly starter at this point in 12-team formats. The schedule gets better going forward, so pick up Quick as a very strong WR4 option who you can play when you need to.

Brandon LaFell, Patriots — 27 percent

He may be a bit boom or bust because the Patriots spread the ball and like to play matchups. LaFell’s stats reflect this. Still, he makes a nice WR3 when you need him in most formats and he’s largely available.

Doug Baldwin, Seahawks – 23 percent

He’s more of a possession guy to me, but he saw plenty of targets in Seattle’s first post-Harvin game. I expect rookie Paul Richardson to emerge and steal targets as the year rolls on, but Baldwin can help you right now if you need a receiver.

Jordan Matthews, Eagles — 20 percent

This is a stash move as Matthews has yet to find consistency on a week-to-week basis. That being said, of all the pieces in the Eagles passing game, Matthews has the most upside. He’s that talented and his role could increase with the Eagles coming off of their bye week. I like the idea of adding Matthews now because he’ll be harder to acquire once he breaks out.

Denard Robinson, Jaguars — 10 percent

What? Robinson again? Yes, because on some sites, like Yahoo!, he is listed as a WR rather than an RB. Why that is the case is for Yahoo! to answer as “Shoelace” clearly is a running back at this point. The bottom line is that he’s worth something either way now that he is playing major snaps.

Allen Robinson, Jaguars — 15 percent

They are making him a big part of the offense every game. Robinson has been the one constant in Jacksonville’s attack this season and that continued in Week 7 as Robinson scored his first NFL touchdown. The ex-Nittany Lion was one of Rotobahn’s favorite rookies and he’s still getting better. Add him in most formats and all large leagues.

Davante Adams, Packers — 13 percent

He’s not seeing the ball as often as we’d like, but that should change because when they do throw him the football, he’s producing. In Week 7, Adam’s sole target went for a 22-yard score. He’s a high-quality stash and he’s probably passed Jarrett Boykin permanently on Green Bay’s depth chart.

TIGHT ENDS

Dwayne Allen, Colts — 63 percent

His ownership rate is still low enough to put him here. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Allen is one of Andrew Luck‘s most trusted options and he needs to be owned in all formats.

Owen Daniels, Ravens — 49 percent

After a few light weeks, Daniels had his most active game of the season — seeing nine targets and catching six balls and one score. He can help you in all formats if a tight end is what you need.

Jermaine Gresham, Bengals — 4 percent

He finally is starting to produce a bit and that should continue for a few more weeks as the Bengals struggle to find targets in the passing game due to injuries.

Jace Amaro, Jets — 7 percent

The Jets have been making a big effort to get the rookie involved and he generally is used as a receiver versus an in-line tight end. He can help you, especially in bigger leagues, but he is a player to know in all leagues because he has a lot of unexplored ceiling.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buccaneers — 2 percent

Like the Jets, the Bucs are in developmental mode … obviously. Seferian-Jenkins is a major talent. He has size and significant athleticism. He can be a big part of the offense going forward. I expect him to be healthier than we’ve seen so far this season after a week of rest. Stash him if you are trying to develop at the position, and you can play him if you need him. He has TE1 potential before the year is out.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson

Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots face a tough test over the next six games.</p>
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