2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Fantasy football early look: AFC South

    Tue, July 29, 2014 by Matt Wiley with no comments

    With NFL training camps starting, it’s time to start fantasy football preparations (I have honestly already had my Dynasty draft). Here are some of battles and possible sleepers that The Gazette’s Matt Wiley will be watching.

    AFC South
    Houston Texans
    Intriguing battle: Who is going to play quarterback? Whether it is Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Savage or Case Keenum — I am going to go out on a limb and say you don’t want any of them as your starter in fantasy. Thing is, the QB play might dictate how affective the running game is. Some expect a bounce-back season from Arian Foster. I am not one of those people. Bad QB play will not help his chances of a rebound.
    Possible sleeper: Receiver DeAndre Hopkins should at least take that next step to being a fantasy starter each week on a roster with three WRs. If Andre Johnson is traded, Hopkins could have even more value.

    Indianapolis Colts
    Intriguing battle: Trent Richardson vs. the line of scrimmage. There wasn’t anyone who was a bigger fan of Richardson than me one year ago. I still believe he has talent — but he needs to stop jumping in the hole at the line of scrimmage. His 3.0 average is unacceptable.
    Possible sleeper: Hakeem Nicks — This is a make-or-break year for Nicks. At 26, and on a one-year deal, he will either perform and earn another contract or he could be out of the NFL in two years.

    You might now want to take a hands-off approach when it comes to Jacksonville running back Storm Johnson, right (Photo by The Associated Press).

    You might now want to take a hands-off approach when it comes to Jacksonville running back Storm Johnson, right (Photo by The Associated Press).

    Jacksonville Jaguars
    Intriguing battle: Chad Henne vs. Blake Bortles. The Jaguars have said they will not put Bortles out there before he is ready — but the fan base probably will need something to cheer about after a few games. The rookie QB could hurt the value of WR Cecil Shorts.
    Possible sleeper: Storm Johnson — The running back enters camp fourth on the depth chart, but only Toby Gerhart, Jordan Todman and Denard Richardson are in front of him. By midseason he could become a factor. Love him in Dynasty leagues.

    Tennessee Titans
    Intriguing battle: Bishop Sankey vs. Shonn Greene — Sankey, a rookie, will open camp as the starter and will be given every chance to succeed. Greene, coming off an injury, could steal all the goal-line carries. This is a situation I really want to watch.
    Possible sleeper: Justin Hunter. I am not going to lie — I am rooting for Hunter. I thought he was a can’t-miss prospect before his knee injury in college at Tennessee and I want to see him succeed. I just wonder if he will ever be explosive again.

    Do you have a sleeper or a battle you are watching? If so, please share it here. The more fantasy dialogue the better.

  • Fantasy football early look: AFC North

    Tue, July 22, 2014 by Matt Wiley with no comments

    With NFL training camps starting, it’s time to start fantasy football preparations (I have honestly already had my Dynasty draft). Here are some of battles and possible sleepers that The Gazette’s Matt Wiley will be watching.

     

    AFC North

    It would be a stretch to think Ray Rice will help your fantasy team greatly this season (Photo by The Associated Press).

    It would be a stretch to think Ray Rice will help your fantasy team greatly this season (Photo by The Associated Press).

    Baltimore Ravens

    Intriguing battle: Ray Rice vs. NFL discipline:  Anyone who had Rice last year knows that he wasn’t very good and looked like a possible bounce-back candidate this season. That was before he violated the league’s personal-conduct policy and will likely miss 4-6 weeks. If it is six weeks – Rice might not even be worth a last-round draft stash.

    Possible sleeper: Lorenzo Taliaferro – the rookie running back has his own off-the-field problems, but he could emerge as a strong player in the second-half of the season. Same risk as Rice, but you likely won’t need to draft Taliaferro at all and can claim him later on fantasy waivers.

     

    Cincinnati Bengals       

    Intriguing battle: Jermaine Gresham vs. Tyler Eifert: The Bengals invested high picks on both players and neither tight end has emerged. Cincinnati will reportedly run a lot of formations with two tight ends but one of these players will need to separate himself from the other to have starting fantasy value.

    Possible sleeper: Cobi Hamilton: At 6-2 and 205 pounds the receiver could  become a deep sleeper. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has gone out of his way to praise him this offseason and someone needs to replace Andrew Hawkins, who signed with the Browns.

     

    Cleveland Browns

    Intriguing battle: WR No. 2: Assuming Miles Austin is the top WR in Cleveland – who is going to emerge as the No. 2? Undrafted free agent Chandler Jones is getting a lot of press (reminds me of Kenbrell Thompkins a year ago) and Nate Burleson, Andrew Hawkins and Anthony Armstrong are on the roster. It’s probably best to avoid all Browns receivers in your starting fantasy lineup early on.

    Possible sleeper: Isaiah Crowell: I have to admit, I could get burned on Crowell, but I selected him in my Dynasty League. He is a former five-star recruit who had off-field issues. He just has shown flashes of talent that could hit in a year. He was one of the stars of the combine.

     

    Pittsburgh Steelers

    Steelers receiver Markus Wheaton is someone to watch in training camp (Photo by The Associated Press).

    Steelers receiver Markus Wheaton is someone to watch in training camp (Photo by The Associated Press).

    Intriguing battle: Ben Roethlisberger vs. Todd Haley: Hopefully for the Steelers the two won’t clash at all this season. Over the final nine games last season, Big Ben was a top-10 fantasy quarterback. The no-huddle offense really utilized his skills.

    Possible sleeper: Markus Wheaton: Don’t let the signing of Darrius Heyward-Bey and the pick of Martavis Bryant scare you off of Wheaton. He could be a fantasy WR4 with tons of upside and become a WR2.

     

    Do you have a sleeper or a battle you are watching? If so, please share it here. The more fantasy dialogue the better.

  • Let the preparations for fantasy football begin

    Sat, July 19, 2014 by Matt Wiley with no comments

    With NFL training camps starting, it’s time to start fantasy football preparations (I have honestly already had my Dynasty draft). Here are some of battles and possible sleepers that The Gazette’s Matt Wiley will be watching.

    Will Fred Jackson, left, and C.J. Spiller split time again or will Spiller be featured? (Photo by The Associated Press)

    Will Fred Jackson, left, and C.J. Spiller split time again or will Spiller be featured? (Photo by The Associated Press)

    AFC East
    Buffalo Bills
    Intriguing battle: C.J. Spiller vs. Fred Jackson — Is this the year Spiller becomes elite and Jackson is no longer a factor? I like Spiller a lot — but he needs to stay on the field
    Possible sleeper: Marquise Goodwin – The second-year receiver will enter camp fourth or fifth on the depth chart, but he could easily become a player like Andrew Hawkins was with the Bengals.

    Miami Dolphins
    Intriguing battle: RB Lamar Miller vs. RB Knowshon Moreno — Miller was a trendy breakout candidate last season who never lived up to lofty expectations. Moreno, on the other hand, had little expected out of him and he produced at a third-round value. I want to see if Moreno is healthy. There have been reports this offseason that he is overweight and has a bad knee. I also want to see if Miller is inspired by Moreno’s acquisition.
    Possible sleeper: Jarvis Landry. The rookie receiver landed in an offense that wants to pass and doesn’t have many receiving options. For sure a Dynasty prospect.
     
    New England Patriots
    Intriguing battle: Receiver — all of them. I want to see if Brandon LaFell can reach his potential, if Aaron Dobson can develop once healthy and if Danny Amendola or Julian Edelman can be a No. 1 receiver.
    Possible sleeper: Stevan Ridley — It’s crazy to think a running back who scored 12 TDs two seasons ago is a sleeper, but Ridley seems to be the forgotten man in New England behind Shane Vereen and rookie James White. It reminds me a lot of Moreno’s time in Denver.

    New York Jets

    Jets rookie tight end Jace Amaro is a possible fantasy sleeper to watch. (Photo by The Associated Press)

    Jets rookie tight end Jace Amaro is a possible fantasy sleeper to watch. (Photo by The Associated Press)

    Intriguing battle: Geno Smith vs. Michael Vick — I expect the running back duties to be split between Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory so there is no competition there. I want to see if Vick can win the job or if it makes Smith improve. I am not high on the Jets WRs, but Vick winning the job might make me pay attention to the Jets.
    Possible sleeper: TE Jace Amaro — The rookie says he wants to catch 100 passes. He likely won’t this season, but he could develop into a top-tier tight end.

    Do you have a sleeper or a battle you are watching? If so, please share it here. The more fantasy dialogue the better.

  • Heat appear rested and ready – who are you picking?

    Tue, May 6, 2014 by Matt Wiley with no comments

    A lot of colleges are predicting the Heat/Nets series will go the distance because Brooklyn went 4-0 against the Heat in the regular season.

    I don’t share this opinion – and I am not a Heat fan (I don’t dislike the Heat either).

    Dwyane Wade and the Heat are poised for another run to the Eastern Conference finals (Photo by The Associated Press).

    Dwyane Wade and the Heat are poised for another run to the Eastern Conference finals (Photo by The Associated Press).

    The last time Dwyane Wade played more than 35 minutes in a game was March 14 against Denver. Tuesday will mark the 13th game Wade has played in 53 days. He is rested and the Nets don’t have anyone who can cover him. This series won’t be close.

    Who didn’t see this coming?

    I was surprised with the reaction to Mark Jackson’s firing on Twitter. Many were surprised that the Warriors let the coach go. Why? Jackson was reportedly interested in the Nets and Clippers openings last offseason after Golden State advanced to the second round of the playoffs, and this year the Knicks and Lakers have coaching openings.  Do unto others before they do unto you. Jackson could be a great coach for many years – but this clearly wasn’t a basketball move. Why be loyal to a coach who isn’t loyal to your franchise?

    Playoff predictions

    I’ve got the Heat in 5, Wizards in 6, Clippers in 6, Spurs in 7 … who are you picking? (To comment – click on the headline of this blog).

    @MWCoyote – We are having a chat tomorrow at noon on gazette.com. Please stop by to talk sports if you are free.

  • All suspensions are not created equal – and this is OK

    Thu, April 24, 2014 by Matt Wiley with no comments

    Minnesota's Matt Cooke will not face the Avalanche again in the playoffs. (Photo by The Associated Press)

    Minnesota’s Matt Cooke will not face the Avalanche again in the playoffs. (Photo by The Associated Press)

    So Minnesota’s Matt Cooke apologized for his hit on the Avs’ Tyson Barrie. Fans in the Rocky Mountains seem upset that Cooke received a seven-game suspension. Some even pointed out how the NHL’s punishment wasn’t even as stiff as MLB’s against the Yankees’ Michael Pineda, who was suspended 10 games for using pine tar.

    That comparison should stop immediately. Ten regular-season baseball games to a pitcher is the equivalent of one start. Big deal. A seven-game suspension for an NHL player during the playoffs could be the equivalent of an entire series, and possibly summer vacation.

    Some have suggested Matt Cooke should be out as long as Tyson Barrie. There are so many flaws with this argument. There is no way to regulate how fast an injured player heals, and it is too hard to police. EXAMPLE: If the Avalanche were to win the series, and Barrie plays again in the playoffs – would that mean Cooke could play in the opener next season? If so, he wouldn’t even be suspended for the seven games that the NHL suspended him for Wednesday. What if Barrie came back too early and aggravated his injury? Then how long would Cooke be out? This structure doesn’t make sense. Variables need to be eliminated. It needs to be more black and white.

    There needs to be a set of rules that every player is aware of before they commit such a play. The onus falls on the leagues to set and enforce the rules – not the players.  With that said, is there anyone who doesn’t think the players will police this incident themselves? There will be retaliation against the Wild. It might not come this series, it might not be against Cooke, but there will be a payback.

    Leagues should simplify things – even pine tar suspensions. So I guess I don’t agree with Rays manager Joe Maddon who joked that pine tar should be legal in Colorado and Washington, just like pot according to Yahoo Sports.

     

  • Fantasy isn’t reality … but reality can learn from fantasy

    Sat, February 22, 2014 by Matt Wiley with no comments

    Denver's Knowshon Moreno should be playing elsewhere next season according to The Gazette's Matt Wiley. (Photos by The Associated Press).

    Denver’s Knowshon Moreno should be playing elsewhere next season according to The Gazette’s Matt Wiley. (Photos by The Associated Press).

    The Broncos would be foolish to pay to keep running back Knowshon Moreno.

    I love Moreno’s bounce-back story, I love the passion he plays with – but I would hate if he played for Denver next season.

    I did some number crunching and it makes no sense for Denver to invest in Moreno … and it equally makes no sense for Moreno to return to Denver when he could possibly get $3 million a season elsewhere.

    The Gazette’s Paul Klee wrote a column during the season about how these Broncos look like those Colts with Manning. And I agree 100 percent.

    The Broncos do look like the Colts – and that is part of the problem. Denver is too reliant on the offense. I hope they continue to be like the Colts, see below for explanation.

    Now back to running back – a look at the numbers:

    In 2005 Indianapolis running back Edgerrin James rushed for 1,506 yards on 360 carries with 13 TDs on the ground. He added 44 catches for 337 yards and a score.

    In 2013 Moreno rushed for 1,038 yards on 241 carries with 10 TDs on the ground. He added 60 catches for 548 yards and three scores.

    James spent eight seasons in Indianapolis, rushing for over 1,000 yards six times. In ’04 and ’05 he gained over 1,500 on the ground. James was clearly a more productive back than Moreno has ever been in his career.

    Moreno’s longest run of the season was 31 yards and he averaged 4.3 yards per carry. On 120 carries, teammate Montee Ball had a 45-yard run and he averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Ball is the more explosive runner. The Broncos have used high draft picks on Ball and Ronnie Hillman. It is time for them to produce and to let Moreno get a big payday in another NFL city.

    Oh,  in 2006, James signed a four-year deal worth $30 million … with the Cardinals. The deal was said to pay James $14.5 million in the first year through salary, signing bonus and a roster bonus.

    In 2006, the Colts (without James) won the Super Bowl. Is that a coincidence? Or did they spend their money wisely?

    The threat of Peyton Manning is what makes the running game go. And having Manning is why the Broncos should let Moreno go. The Broncos should use their money to add a thumper.

    Respond here or let me know what you think on twitter @MWCoyote.

    And yes, I am already crunching numbers for next fantasy football season.

  • Don’t believe all the Patriots hype

    Fri, January 17, 2014 by Matt Wiley with no comments

    I didn’t draft any Patriots on my playoff fantasy team. I believe that the biggest myth in sports is that the Patriots are still elite. Did you know that since 2005 the Patriots are 9-7 in the playoffs and have zero Super Bowl titles. Also, in the last nine years they have signed more high-profile busts than contributors. Albert Haynesworth, Brandon Lloyd, Chad Ochocinco and Tim Tebow to name a few. Sure, someone could say at least they make it to the playoffs ‑- and in the NFL that is all that matters — but I don’t believe that they are elite. Tom Brady is elite and he always gives his team a chance, but the Patriots’ success is largely because of their terrible division.

    Tom Brady is the No. 1 reason the Patriots are always good. But they aren't elite. (Photo by The Associated Press)

    Tom Brady is the No. 1 reason the Patriots are always good. But they aren’t elite anymore, according to Matt Wiley (@MWCoyote). (Photo by The Associated Press)

    Since 2005, the Bills are 54-90 (no playoff berths), the Dolphins are 62-82 (one playoff) and the Jets are 69-75 (two playoffs) – no other division in the NFL has been as dreadful in a league of parity. That plays a huge factor in to why the Patriots always make it to the playoffs. To New England’s credit, they do what they are supposed to and give themselves a shot. As Paul Klee put it, they beat up on Larry, Curly and Moe (be sure to follow Paul @Klee_Gazette on Twitter).

    One could argue that the Patriots have at least drafted well to keep their “dynasty” in tact. That would be inaccurate. Below is a year-by-year look at the Patriots’ drafts.

    2005 draft – anchor to O-line – Pro Bowl player 1 Logan Mankins, OL, Fresno State – great player – a Pro Bowler 3 Ellis Hobbs, CB, Iowa State 3 Nick Kaczur, OL, Toledo 4 James Sanders, FS, Fresno State 5 Ryan Claridge, LB, UNLV 7 Matt Cassel, QB, USC – Did make the Pro Bowl, but his stops with the Chiefs and Vikings make you wonder if it was because of the system 7 Andy Stokes, TE, William Penn

    2006 – got a kicker 1 Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota 2 Chad Jackson, WR, Florida 3 Dave Thomas, TE, Texas 4 Garrett Mills, TE, Tulsa 4 Stephen Gostkowski, K, Memphis – OC 5 Ryan O’Callaghan, OL, California 6 Jeremy Mincey, DL, Florida 6 Dan Stevenson, OL, Notre Dame 6 Le Kevin Smith, DL, Nebraska

    2007 – whole lotta nothing 1 Brandon Meriweather, FS, Miami (Fla.) 4 Kareem Brown, DL, Miami (Fla.) 5 Clint Oldenburg, OL, Colorado State 6 Justin Rogers, OLB, Southern Methodist 6 Mike Richardson, CB, Notre Dame 6 Justise Hairston, RB, Central Connecticut State 6 Corey Hilliard, OL, Oklahoma State 7 Oscar Lua, LB, USC 7 Mike Elgin, OL, Iowa 7 Willie Andrews, CB, Baylor

    2008 – Stud linebacker 1 Jerod Mayo, ILB, Tennessee – Was even better before his injury 2 Terrence Wheatley, CB, Colorado 3a Shawn Crable, OLB, Michigan 3b Kevin O’Connell, QB, San Diego State 4 Jonathan Wilhite, CB, Auburn 5 Matt Slater, KR, UCLA 6 Bo Ruud, ILB, Nebraska

    2009 – tons of picks … tons of nothing 2a Pat Chung, SS, Oregon 2b Ron Brace, DT, Boston College 2c Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut 2d Sebastian Vollmer, OL, Houston – started over 50 games 3a Brandon Tate, WR, North Carolina 3b Tyrone McKenzie, LB, South Florida 4 Rich Ohrnberger, OL, Penn State 5 George Bussey, OL, Louisville 6a Jake Ingram, LS, Hawaii 6b Myron Pryor, DT, Kentucky 7a Julian Edelman, WR, Kent State 7b Darryl Richard, DT, Georgia Tech

    2010 – Best draft of the past 8 years? 1 Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers 2a Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona – Had injury concerns in college – has been hurt in NFL 2b Jermaine Cunningham, OLB, Florida 2c Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida – good player, as long as he is on time 3 Taylor Price, WR, Ohio 4 Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida – Had character issues in college – will never play in NFL again 5 Zoltan Mesko, P, Michigan 6 Ted Larsen, C, NC State 7a Thomas Welch, OT, Vanderbilt 7b Brandon Deaderick, DL, Alabama 7c Kade Weston, DL, Georgia 7d Zac Robinson, QB, Oklahoma State

    2011 draft – good offensive lineman and a RB who was drafted behind another RB 1 Nate Solder, OT, Colorado – Anchor, quality pick 2a Ras-I Dowling, DB, Virginia 2b Shane Vereen, RB, Cal 3a Stevan Ridley, RB, LSU 3b Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas 5a Marcus Cannon, OL, TCU 5b Lee Smith, TE, Marshall 6 Markell Carter, OLB, Central Arkansas 7 Malcolm Williams, CB, Marshall

    2012 – After the first round … any contributors? 1a Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse 1b Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama 2 Tavon Wilson, S, Illinois 3 Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas 6 Nate Ebner, DB, Ohio State 7a Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska 7b Jeremy Ebert, WR, Northwestern

    2013 – Too early to tell, but Collins looks like a keeper 2a Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss 2b Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall 3a Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers 3b Duron Harmon, SS, Rutgers 4 Josh Boyce, WR, TCU 7 Michael Buchanan, DE/OLB, Illinois 7 Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers

    Are there a combined 10 Pro Bowls for the 51 players drafted above? How does this team keep getting credit as a dynasty? As Paul (@Klee_Gazette on Twitter)  also pointed out – all the Patriots on NFL Network and ESPN must factor into this myth.   For all the credit coach Bill Belichick gets for being a genius, the Patriots have not usually signed elite free agents, have not drafted well beyond the second round and their record is inflated because Brady is so good and their division is so bad. The last time the Patriots won a Super Bowl Donovan McNabb was throwing up on the field and Terrell Owens had yet to play for the Cowboys or Bengals. Tim Tebow hadn’t even played a game yet – at Florida.

    Colin Kaepernick could lead me to a fantasy football playoff title.

    San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick could lead me to a fantasy football playoff title. (Photo by The Associated Press)

    In case you are wondering, I had the third pick in my playoff fantasy draft and I took Colin Kaepernick. He is playing his third playoff game this weekend and he has a chance to play in four games. No other quarterback left in the playoffs has that opportunity.

  • Move on from early-season darling Cameron

    Tue, November 5, 2013 by Matt Wiley with no comments

    With your trade deadline likely here this week, it might be time to make a move for your playoff push.

    If you have Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron on your fantasy team he was probably one of the reasons you were successful earlier this season. As you know if you own him, he has been a dud lately.

    Fantasy owners have not seen Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron in the end zone as much in the past month. (Photo by The Associated Press).

    Fantasy owners have not seen Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron in the end zone as much in the past month. (Photo by The Associated Press).

    In his first four games he had 30 receptions for 360 yards and five touchdowns.

    In his past five games he has 20 receptions for 240 yards and one touchdown.

    Deal him to someone who just remembers his early-season success and looks at his overall numbers. When you make the offer, fib and say you hate to pull the trigger and give up on Cameron – but you have to because he is on a bye this week.

    Acquire a player at another position to give your team a boost and then go pick up Tampa Bay tight end Tim Wright. Wright has scored in each of the past two games and has 24 targets in the past four weeks. Cameron also has 24 targets the past month. Wright is getting better with fellow rookie Mike Glennon at quarterback while Cameron is struggling as defenses adjust to him, and the Browns have spotty quarterback play.

    Don’t be afraid to move on from Cameron if you can get a player who will help you.

  • You might not want to watch if you use Ryan or Jacobs; want to play fantasy hoops?

    Sat, October 19, 2013 by Matt Wiley with no comments

    You should avoid using Matt Ryan on your fantasy team this week. (Photo by The Associated Press).

    You should avoid using Matt Ryan on your fantasy team this week. (Photo by The Associated Press).

    If you have Matt Ryan or Brandon Jacobs on your fantasy team – look for alternatives this week.

    In Atlanta, Roddy White is missing the first game of his career, Julio Jones is out for the season. Ryan’s receivers are expected to be Harry Douglas, Kevin Cone, Drew Davis and Brian Robiskie. Tampa Bay’s defense is allowing 247.8 yards per game passing and has allowed eight passing touchdowns with six interceptions in five games.   Everything adds up to a bad fantasy week for Ryan.

    Giants running back Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) did not practice Saturday and is questionable against the Vikings according to The New York Post. With Jacobs playing Monday there is a chance he plays – but you might not want to risk it. Fill your lineup now,  just in case, so you aren’t scrambling Monday. If you gamble on Jacobs and lose – you will likely have to use Peyton Hillis, Michael Cox or Toby Gerhart as a Monday night filler at running back.

    Fantasy basketball

    I have a few fantasy basketball drafts coming up soon.  Rotisserie leagues are so much different than head-to-head. I enjoy both, but I have had success using drastically different approaches for each. In roto, I try not to finish last in any category. For example, I won’t draft Dwight Howard in roto because he hurts free-throw percentage too much (I promise it has nothing to do with being a fan of the Lakers. Leaving the Lakers took guts – but no glory). In a head-to-head, I don’t care about free throws because Howard is so good accumulating numbers in field goal percent, rebounds and blocks.

    Would any of you be interested in a Gazette fantasy basketball league? The football league is a lot of fun, and we have had great reader interaction with the football pick’em. If you guys want to do one – let me know and I will start one up.

  • Sometimes the stars just align

    Sat, October 5, 2013 by Matt Wiley with no comments

    Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has justifiably been dropped in numerous leagues I am in. He is only averaging 2.7 yards per carry on 52 carries and he has a banged up knee. I am holding on to him – at least one more week. He could have his best game of the season Sunday and I am actually inserting him in my lineup. Here is my thinking:

    BenJarvus Green-Ellis could be in for a big week against his former team. (Photo by The Associated Press)

    BenJarvus Green-Ellis could be in for a big week against his former team. (Photo by The Associated Press)

    1. He is facing his former team in the Patriots. He has never faced the Patriots. If the Bengals get the ball inside the 5-yard line, I expect Green-Ellis to carry the load instead of rookie Giovani Bernard. Coaches tend to let players excel against their former teams.

    2. The Patriots lost their best run stopper in Vince Wilfork. As he says, his two biggest strengths are: strength and chahm. I fully expect the Bengals to try and pound the ball against New England and not get into a shootout. The Patriots are allowing 4.1 yards per carry with Wilfork, so I expect that number to go up Sunday.

    If you can think of a player who is due for a breakout – please share it here.