September 2014 | Sharapova's Thigh


More Recommended Fantasy Football Material...
And here are some sleeper picks of my own for week two....

Week 2 Sleepers

Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans: Locker was very impressive in week one vs the Kansas City Chiefs, completing 22-of-33 passes for 266 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions (111.4 QB Rating). Add in his 14 rushing yards, and he put up 19 fantasy points in standard leagues, No. 6 for quarterbacks in week one.

Now, Locker faces the Dallas Cowboys' defense in Tennessee. Pro Football Focus graded out the Cowboys' pass coverage at -11.4 in week one, the lowest grade in that department. There's a good chance their defense as a whole could end up being the worst in the NFL this season, and whatever the case, it's definitely not good at the moment.

Locker shapes up as a top-12 quarterback play this week, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he ends up being in the top-6 again there like he was last week. Yet, he's owned in just 21% of ESPN leagues and 32% of Yahoo leagues. So, if you're looking for a quarterback to stream this week, he should be available in your league and is a recommended pickup.

Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets: Marshawn Lynch punished the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFL opener, running for 110 yards and two touchdowns over 20 carries. PFF gave the Packers a -13.9 grade against the run after that game, the second-worst mark handed out by them in week one.

In week two, the Packers face the New York Jets, who have Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory at running back. While Johnson is the bigger name and gets more of the attention, Ivory may be the better back and would especially seem to be the better back matchup wise against the Packers. The 6'0", 222-pound Ivory actually draws comparisons to Lynch with his size and bruising running style (with better athleticism for his size than given credit for).

Ivory was outstanding against the Oakland Raiders in week one, averaging over 10 yards per carry (10 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown), and still owned in just over half of Yahoo leagues. If the Jets are wise, they will pound the rock vs the Packers rather than try to get in a shootout with Geno Smith going up against Aaron Rodgers, and Ivory should be a big part of their ground attack. If so, Ivory should end up being a very solid second-tier running back or flex option, and potentially more.

Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans: Hunter was my personal favorite wide receiver upside target late in fantasy drafts this year. The 6'4", 203-pound wide receiver was highly impressive in training camp and preseason for the Titans, looking like a potential big-play and red-zone beast with his size and athleticism.

In week one, Hunter had three receptions for 63 yards, and one of these weeks he figures to go off. What better matchup on the surface for that to happen than this one against the Cowboys?

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Just like Hunter at wide receiver, I made Kelce my super sleeper target late in fantasy drafts at the tight end position. Kelce looked lethal in the preseason for Kansas City and should become a bigger part of the Chiefs' passing game each and every week.

The Chiefs have to face the Broncos in Denver in week two, and Alex Smith is going to have to make some plays with his arm if KC is to have any chance of keeping up with Denver in this one. Look for Kelce to see some downfield targets and potentially come away with a touchdown.

Ryan Succop, K, Tennessee Titans: As I explained in regards to Locker and Hunter, the Titans should be able to get plenty of scoring opportunities vs the Cowboys, setting Succop up for field-goal and extra-point opportunities. He's almost surely available in your league too.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST: Lovie Smith's defense gets Rams quarterback Austin Davis with Shaun Hill out. You've likely never even heard of Davis which is a sign you would probably want to start a fantasy defense that's facing him.

Somehow, the Bucs are owned in just 47% of Yahoo leagues right now and would be a top-five play for me this week.


And here's how my week one sleepers did...

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals- 304 passing yards, 29 rushing yards, 2 passing touchdowns... 20 standard fantasy points.

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills- 7 carries, 61 yards; 3 receptions, 13 yards... 7 standard fantasy points, 10 PPR fantasy points.

Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins- 2 receptions, 26 yards... 2 standard fantasy points, 4 PPR fantasy points.

Tim Wright, TE, New England Patriots- 3 receptions, 15 yards... 1 standard fantasy point, 4 PPR fantasy points.

Brandon McManus, K, Denver Broncos- 1/1 field goals (30-39), 4 extra points made.... 7 standard fantasy points.

Detroit Lions, D/ST- 14 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 2 sacks... 10 standard fantasy points.

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With the NFL and fantasy football season kicking off on Thursday night, I've put together our first fantasy football roundup of 2014. 

Below you'll find rankings, projections, and other useful fantasy football articles from around the web to hopefully help you dominate your leagues this season. Some of the content listed below is about the 2014 fantasy season as a whole, while most of it is directed specifically towards week one.

I've also included some sleeper picks of my own for week one. 

If you have/come across any useful fantasy football-related links that I should add to this post, never hesitate to e-mail me (sharapovasthigh@gmail.com) or tweet me @SharapovasThigh the links. Hope this material helps and good luck to you and your fantasy teams this year.
More Recommended Fantasy Football Material...
And here are some sleeper picks of my own for week one....

Sleepers

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals: Palmer should really be considered a sleeper for the whole 2014 season in Bruce Arians' vertical passing game that includes two big, premium playmakers in wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald (10 TD, 954 yards receiving in 2013) and Michael Floyd (1,054 receiving yards in 2013, his second NFL season).

In week one, the veteran quarterback faces the San Diego Chargers, a team that ranked 29th vs the passing game in 2013, and has a relatively undersized secondary that could have trouble with Fitzgerald, Floyd and company.

There's at least a dozen quarterbacks I would start over Palmer this week, but you could do much worse than him on the surface in that second-tier of options. He'd especially make an intriguing option in salary cap formats (like FanDuel) this week, for example.

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills: I had Jackson here before finding out some news on Thursday morning that should only make him a more attractive option: C.J. Spiller is going to be the Bills' primary kick returner this season. Rotoworld explains more:

C.J. Spiller will be the Bills' No. 1 kickoff returner this season. 
Spiller hasn't returned a kick since 2011. It's the right move for the Bills, as they'll at least give one of the NFL's most explosive players a chance to flash his open-field ability. But it's bad news for fantasy owners, as feature running backs don't return kicks. This only confirms what we've been harping on all preseason: Fred Jackson has a major role as a committee partner, third-down, and goal-line back under this Doug Marrone regime. Spiller is a two-down change-of-pace player between the 20s that projects for 13-16 touches per game.

While the Bills still list Spiller as the No. 1 running back on their depth chart, it sure looks like Jackson is going to get the "meaty" carries and perhaps be the better (or at least more consistent) back to own from the Buffalo squad. And in week one, Jackson gets a Bears defense that was historically awful against the run in 2013.

I know all too well how bad that Bears run defense was, as someone that is a fan of the team and runs a Bears blog (and... self-promo moment over). The Bears figure to be better at stopping the run in 2014 after having a major overhaul on the defensive line in the offseason, with players such as Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, and Willie Young going to Chicago in free agency (and defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton being selected by the Bears in the top three rounds of the draft). But, just because they will be better vs the run doesn't guarantee they'll be good in that department, and it will likely take some time for the group to come together.

Additionally, EJ Manuel looked like a train wreck in the preseason, so the Bills are unlikely to gameplan for the second-year quarterback to sling it around the yard in the season opener. Look for Jackson to get plenty of touches and be a nice PPR play as the Bills will likely try to ease Manuel in with some short, efficient passes.

Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins: Hartline has quietly had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons for the Dolphins, and is especially a nice sleeper in PPR leagues this week.

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill may not target No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace as much as usual this week against the Patriots, as Darrelle Revis is likely to be covering Wallace most of the game. So, this could open up some opportunities for Hartline to make plays, and at least reel in a few receptions. In 2013, Hartline had at least two receptions in every game, and at least 4 receptions in 12 games.

Tim Wright, TE, New England Patriots: Consider Wright more of a deep sleeper; I wouldn't want him as my starting tight end this week in even a 16-team league.

Rob Gronkowski is obviously the top tight end in New England and the No. 2 tight end in fantasy football when healthy. But, Gronk has been limited of late with a knee injury and may be on a snap count vs the Dolphins on Sunday. While Wright's role will be more as the "move" tight end in the way we saw the Patriots use Aaron Hernandez, he may get some more targets from Tom Brady if Gronk isn't a full-go in the game.

Brandon McManus, K, Denver Broncos: McManus is the kicker replacing Matt Prater for the Broncos while Prater is suspended for the first four games of the season. And I don't know if you've heard, but the Broncos' offense is pretty freaking good. You can already mark McManus down for a lot of extra points, and surely some field goal opportunities as well.

McMaunus has a big leg and three of these four games will be in the Denver thin air (such as the game this Sunday night vs the Indianapolis Colts). So, McManus could be even more valuable over this period in leagues that give points per field goal yardage (ex.: 4 for 40+ yards, 5 for 50+ yards).

Detroit Lions D/ST: The Lions get the New York Giants on Monday night at Ford Field. The crowd noise in the Detroit home opener, combined with Eli Manning's propensity to throw interceptions, shape this one up to be an opportune time for the Lions to make some big plays on defense.

Manning threw 18 touchdowns compared to a whopping 27 interceptions in 2013, and was Pro Football Focus' second-lowest graded quarterback  out of 98 passers this preseason. He completed just 20 of 41 passes (48%), and has admitted that the Giants' new offense is very much a work-in-progress.  It's a good idea to consider starting any decent defense (especially in a hostile environment) against Eli until he starts taking better care of the ball.

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