Here are the players to target for your weekly fantasy football transactions. Add and drop accordingly, and enjoy yourself!
Allen Hurns (owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Allen Hurns was a last-minute start in place of injured starter Cecil Shorts (hamstring). Somehow 12 percent of Yahoo owners scrambled to grab him in time. And they’re glad they did. Jacksonville looked like they were going to run away with an easy upset over the heavy home favorite Eagles, jumping to a 17-0 lead before halftime. And Hurns scored twice within the first nine minutes, leaving many fans asking, “Who on earth is Allen Hurns, and why do I care?” Well, your eyebrows deserve raising over his 110 yard performance, catching four of nine passes and the two touchdowns. Hurns could be this year’s Eddie Royal, or he could be one breath of life that Jaguars fans have been waiting for.
Dwayne Allen (owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues)
The dichotomy of third-year tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener continues into 2014. They were both selected in the 2012 Andrew Luck draft, and neither has yet to live up to their expectations. In Sunday Night Football’s game against Indianapolis, Allen was able to do more with less. Fleener caught three of his eight targets for 21 yards, while Allen turned five targets into four receptions, 64 yards, and a trip to pay dirt. Allen is 6-foot-3, 265 pounds, and could develop into a beefy red zone option, which the Colts desperately need. Especially on a team that just rushed for 54 yards, anything inside the 20-yard line is a positive.
Justin Forsett (owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues)
In the absence of the controversial Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett came in for the Ravens backfield. Forsett was able to produce more, however, rushing 11 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. He added five receptions on six targets, for another 14 yards. Rice was cut from the Ravens on Monday, and Forsett could certainly be worth a flier.
Bernard Pierce (owned in 58 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Bernard Pierce entered week one atop the Baltimore depth chart. Hosting Cincinnati, Pierce only saw six touches, however. The starter managed just 14 yards on six carries (2.3 yards per carry), opening the door for Forsett to step up for 84 all-purpose yards. Pierce had done enough previously to earn the confidence of the coaching staff. Nothing beats game time production, though, so this is a situation to monitor closely. Pierce is owned in 58 percent of Yahoo leagues, compared to just 3 percent for Forsett. Make space for one or both, and good luck.
Terrance West (owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Pittsburgh ran away to a 27-0 lead by halftime against the Cleveland Expansion Browns. Outside of a 25-yard scamper in the second quarter, starting running back Ben Tate‘s performance was nothing to write home about. Tate ran six times for 41 yards, or just five for 16 without that extended run. He injured his knee, however, setting the stage for rookie Terrance West to send an audition tape to the league. The former Towson phenom rushed for 41 touchdowns in his final season. And on Sunday, West continued to impress, turning 16 rushes into 100 yards and his first NFL touchdown. If you endorse talent over situation, West is your guy.
Isaiah Crowell (owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Ben Tate’s departure allowed opportunities for more than just Terrance West on Sunday. Third-stringer Isaiah Crowell came in and ran five times for 32 yards. He also nabbed two red zone touchdowns in the third quarter, scoring from three and 15-yards out. Should Tate’s injury be serious, it’s entirely possible that Tate and Crowell could form a thunder and lightning partnership behind Brian “Unfrozen Caveman” Hoyer.
Benny Cunningham (owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Rams general manager Les Snead said last Friday that the team would begin following the hot hand approach. Given that starting back Zac Stacy produced only 3.9 yards per carry last year, there is certainly reason for change. Beginning week five, when Stacy elevated to starter, no one carried the ball more in the NFL but Eddie Lacy. And yet despite that, Stacy was still unable to create 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign. The comparisons to Trent Richardson‘s first year are easy. Enter Benny Cunningham, whose 5.6 yards per attempt in 2013 sure seem appealing in contrast. The backup continued to outshine Stacy in the preseason, even earning a start against Cleveland for their third contest. Coach Jeff Fisher loves to lean on a feature back, so the sky is the limit here for a guy available in 88 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Steve Smith, Sr. (owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues)
How old is Steve Smith, Sr.? Old enough to add a suffix to his name after 14 years of professional ball. Gone are the days of Jake Delhomme and the times when DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were names to be feared (and to throw way too much money at). Nowadays, Smith takes the field in purple and black, and catches passes from Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. Remember last year, when Anquan Boldin suited up as a 49er for the first time, and torched the Packers for 13 receptions, 208 yards, and a touchdown? Well, Smith is a highly motivated five-time Pro Bowler, looking to prove his worth after his original team let him go. What was seen Sunday was a heady, intelligent veteran finding ways to succeed at the advancing age of 35. Torrey Smith seemed invisible, while 15 targets made their way to the elder Smith. Give him a shot, especially in a re-draft league. There’s so much uncertainty in Baltimore right now; what have you got to lose?
Darren Sproles (owned in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Who gave up on Darren Sproles already? Have you forgotten that he owns the NFL record for all-purpose yards (2,696 in 2011)? Or did you decide to overlook the fact that Philadelphia’s Chip-Tempo offense was second in the league last year, with 6,676 yards of offense? That was second only to the Denver Broncos, and their all-time NFL record 7,317 yards. So Sproles joins Chip Kelly and an otherwise electric offense that lacks receivers. DeSean Jackson took his talents to Landover, along with his 82 receptions, 1,332 yards, and nine touchdowns. So where can Foles throw? His best remaining option is Jeremy Maclin, who’s only started 16 games once (2010), and whose best statistical season was 70 catches for 964 yards. Remember when it was considered a toss-up, if you prefer DeSean Jackson’s boom-or-bust or Jeremy Maclin’s volume approach? Maclin sure never lived up to his side of that equation. The Eagles offense will run through LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles. Get with it or get ready to lose to the guy who did.
Bobby Rainey (owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues)
How quickly things change after one week of NFL play. Fantasy owners are quick to remind you what round they drafted their bust when their proposal makes its way to your inbox. Don’t be deceived. Doug Martin is an injury-prone bust, and we all know it. Condolences for you over-drafting the hype. Martin left Sunday’s game with a knee injury, to the surprise of the one-twelfth of fantasy owners who actually roster him. The severity of the injury remains unknown. But the impact of his fragility was heard loud and clear. Bobby Rainey stepped in as the number two back, and created 20 yards of offense, including a six yard touchdown reception. Lovie Smith is bringing a new brand of football to the Gulf Coast, one that includes gargantuan receivers and highly valuable fantasy running backs. Better cash in your ticket to the Rainey express before it leaves the station.
Stats and data courtesy of pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, yahoo.com, and ourlads.com.
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