Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fantasy Football Playoffs: Last Chance at the Waiver Wire


Most standard fantasy leagues have now concluded their regular season. The lucky few who remain will duke it out over the next few weeks. Bragging rights are on the line, and so is a little extra coin in your pocket if you're in the right league. Are you one of the lucky ones to make it through the campaign? If so, congrats on navigating all of the injuries, start/sit decisions, and general disappointments this season. Now the fun begins. Although it may seem like your team is all set, there are still a few intriguing options on the waiver wire that could grab you a few extra points in the coming weeks. With only the best teams squaring off,  that little bump could completely swing playoff momentum. Whether you actually need that extra boost heading into the quarterfinals, or you're simply looking to block an opponent from grabbing a position of need, these guys below may just move the needle in your direction during Week 14 and beyond.

Marion Grice, RB (ARI) and Andre Williams, RB (NYG)

This is a two-for-one package, as both backs are in play due to the health of the players ahead of them. When I say the name Marion Grice, most East Coast sports pundits would say, “who?” The former Arizona State Sun Devil was drafted by the Chargers, released before final cuts, and found himself right back in Arizona after a slew of injuries to their back-field. He’s been backing up Andre Ellington over the past few weeks, but it may be his time to take the reigns. Ellington is dealing with a hip pointer; a painful injury for anyone, let alone a running back who routinely takes hits to the midsection. Ellington won’t practice this week. He's listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Kansas City, but for our money, it's doubtful that he takes the field. The Chiefs have been atrocious against the run, ranking 30th in the league, so the holes will be there for Grice to have a respectable day. At the very least he'll get the lion's share of carries. Even if you don't need to start him, you’ll probably want to block your opponent from taking a flier on the sixth-round pick.

Williams, similar to Grice, is the backup running back on his club. Similar to Ellington in Arizona, Rashad Jennings is no sure bet to suit up for the Giants on Sunday. After returning from a knee ailment in Week 10, Jennings is now saddled with a bad wheel, in the form of an ankle knock. Jennings has said he’s not worried about suiting up on Sunday against a soft Tennessee run defense, but that may just be a tough, prideful football player throwing out a smoke-screen. Jennings hasn’t practiced yet this week either. Williams didn’t have the best tenure when he was handed the starting job when Jennings was out earlier in the year, but his matchup would be too hard to ignore. Scoop him up if someone dropped him.

Donte Moncrief, WR (IND)

It’s been the year of the rookie wide receiver in the NFL, as this outstanding draft-class full of young pass-catchers has already combined to set a number of records. So, why not take a flier on the rookie WR who plays with one of the best QBs in the league? For the first 10 weeks of the season, Moncrief had been buried on the depth chart. Now, with some injuries, poor play, and Father Time cutting the Indy pass-catching corps down to size, Moncrief may be finally getting his shot. In just 231 snaps, he’s seen 31 targets, but has posted a whopping 390 yards. Those numbers speak both to the efficiency, and play-making ability that the Ole Miss product has flashed in limited opportunities. Reggie Wayne is old reliable for Andrew Luck, but he’s looking his age recently at 36. Hakeem Nicks has been a complete bust of a free agent signing, and he's not getting any younger either. For real football purposes, you’d think the Colts would like to get their young receiver’s feet wet before the playoffs. For fantasy purposes, that may mean more targets, catches, yards, and touchdowns for the youngster down the stretch. Besides, it's hard to fail when Andrew Luck is slinging darts your way. Buy, buy, buy!

Bonus offering: Johnny Manziel, QB (CLE)

Unfortunately for football fans across this great land, the Browns announced they’re sticking with embattled quarterback, Brian Hoyer, in Week 14. Realistically, we just think that means we won’t see Johnny Football in the first half of Sunday’s game, but doesn't glue Manziel to the bench like some other media outlets are making it seem. Cleveland is sitting at 7-5 in spite of Hoyer’s play over the last few weeks, so it’s really only a matter of time until we see the former Heisman Trophy winner under center for the Browns again. Savvy owners will pick Manziel up this week, just to throw him on the bench for the stretch run. We’ve seen great fantasy value in running QBs in recent years. Fantasy contribution isn't limited to just the Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick's of the world, but even limited passers like Tim Tebow and Terrelle Pryor have been clutch adds in recent years. Manziel is a significantly more talented passer than both of those guys, so there’s really no telling what his upside could be if takes over the job. On his first drive against a stout Buffalo defense, Manziel led the Browns to a TD after Hoyer had failed to do so all day. The hype is real, so do us a favor and grab him before it’s too late.

If you're finding yourself smack in the middle of a run to the title, you would be doing yourself a disservice to miss out on all of the SnapCall action coming up as the season winds down. You won't want to miss the big play your star player makes to clinch you this week's match, so be sure to hop on with SnapCall as these games get going! 

Do you happen to be one of those who tanked and missed out on the fantasy playoffs this year? No sweat, SnapCall allows you to join the conversation about the game in real-time, and call the plays for yourself! This is your chance to get back in the game!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

SnapCall On Ice!

We are happy to announce that SnapCall will make it's professional hockey debut tonight when the St. Louis Blues visit the Madhouse on Madison to take on their bitter division rival, the Chicago Blackhawks on NBC Sports. Coverage on SnapCall will start at  7:55 PM EST, and the puck is set to drop just after 8:00.

Our continued growth as an industry leader in the real-time sports gaming industry tells us that it is time to expand our coverage to include one of the world's most exciting leagues. SnapCall's hockey coverage will feature more of the same exciting real-time and game-based questions that users have gotten used to in our football, baseball, basketball, and soccer coverage. With the wealth of information now available to hockey fans, this is the perfect time to introduce ourselves to a new market. We're diving in head first!

Last season, these two perennial contenders met in the first round of the playoffs, and played a grueling six game series that eventually went Chicago's way. You can plan for more of the same high-intensity action tonight. What better way to enjoy a super-charged rivalry than to enhance the coverage with SnapCall?

It is a very exciting time to be a hockey fan, so we want to give you every tool you need to be a real die-hard hockey nut. Seemingly everyday, more and more data becomes readily available to fans across the sport, and SnapCall's commitment to excellence means we use some of that fun new data to enhance the experience of hardcore hockey fans everywhere!

Be sure to join us for Game 1 of SnapCall's NHL coverage tonight 7:55 PM. If you haven't downloaded SnapCall yet, what are you waiting for? The links to the download pages on both Apple or Android are right on our home page, or you can just search SnapCall in the store and look for the big blue icon. Get in the game!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Avoid Knee-Jerk Fantasy Basketball Moves

While it's still very early in the NBA season, teams and players are already beginning to show what kind of production they're going to bring to the table in 2014-15. As a general rule, fantasy owners should meticulously monitor the waiver-wire early in the year, just in-case an unexpected star breaks out. Everyone wants to be the person at the end of the fantasy season who can say "Man, picking up ________ in the first week really vaulted my team into contention. Who knows where I would have been without him?" That's all well and good, but we caution you to temper expectations. Don't go ahead and drop a potentially productive role-player just because someone got off to a hot start. Is Garrett Temple really going to win you a fantasy championship as your starting PG? Below, we're going to outline some of the league's hottest pickups of the year, and break down exactly how you should be handling them:

Garrett Temple, PG/SG, Washington Wizards

Temple has added more than any other player in Yahoo! Fantasy leagues to this point in the season. He's currently starting at SG for the Washington Wizards while Bradley Beal works his way back from a broken wrist. Temple is scoring over 13 points per game with serviceable peripheral numbers, but his performance seems like a fluke. The former LSU product has been a glorified bench warmer in Washington for the last 3 years. He's a 28 year old journeyman who has never scored over 5 points per game in a single season. It's hard to believe that Temple has flipped the switch now. His 1.5 steals per game are tantalizing, and while his scouting report praises him as a tough perimeter defender, we expect regression there too as his minutes take a dive. Beal is expected back in a few weeks, so if you're going to grab Temple, understand that he's probably already played his best basketball of the year, and may not be on the court much once Washington gets healthy on the wing. Call Temple a rental at best.

Gary Neal, PG/SG, Charlotte Hornets

This one may be a little different. Gary Neal is a proven sharpshooter in this league, so if you're looking for threes, you'll get them here. Neal had plenty of success under Greg Popovich throughout his young career, so he clearly knows offense. Don't expect him to provide much else besides shooting though. He's currently grabbing 4.3 rebounds per game, but that's way over his head, no pun intended. Neal should settle in around 2 rebounds per game. He's also not much of a passer, so if you're going after the former-Spur, you have to know that you're doing it for one category, and one category only. In addition, this Charlotte back-court could become crowded with the likes of Kemba Walker, Lance Stephenson, Gerald Henderson, Brian Roberts, and rookie P.J. Hairston in the fold. If Neal goes cold from deep at any point, his minutes could take a hit. Overall, there are better options out there.

Chris Copeland, SF/PF, Indiana Pacers

We'll stay behind the 3-point line for this one too. Copeland is playing on a Pacers' team that is completely decimated by injury, and looks flat out awful. It's hard to remember that this team was supposed to be the Heat's biggest rival last year. Still, fantasy owners don't get points for team wins, and the Pacers' struggles happen to be Copeland's most attractive quality. He will give you points and 3-pointers due to the sheer volume of shots he'll be able to take. Unfortunately, that probably spells a low FG%, and more turnovers than you'd like for a player of his caliber. Copeland hasn't been in the league long though, so for a relatively young guy, the upside is understandable. He seems like a better option than Temple or Neal if you're looking for a hired gun.

Shawne Williams, SF/PF, Miami Heat

Hold the phone. This guy has been added to over 1,600 Yahoo! Fantasy teams over the past week? Anyone care to remind us why? Williams has always struggled to find a steady job in the NBA, let alone carve out a real role. He has the reputation of a shooter, but shoots a career 40.4% from the field. The only reason he's being added is because he scored 14, 15, and 16 points in consecutive games while filling in for the injured Josh McRoberts. The fact is, even if Williams were a starter, he still wouldn't consistently put up those numbers. McRoberts is already back, and Williams will now shift back to the bench where he belongs. Don't waste your time. 

Kevin Garnett, PF/C, Brooklyn Nets

This is not 2003. We repeat, this is not 2003. KG throws up a double-double for the first time in a decade and everyone loses their minds. We're talking about a 38 year old man with ailing knees. We're also talking about a near-7-footer who averaged 6 points and 6 rebounds in 20 minutes per game last year. We don't want to disrespect a legend, and future Hall-of-Famer, but Garnett is done. He's just collecting checks at this point. As with any aging star, there will be moments where you find yourself saying "wow, that was the old KG." Sorry to break it to you, but no, it wasn't. The old KG is gone. Even with the one he already notched, we will eat crow if Garnett racks up 5 double-doubles this year. It's time to let go of this former superstar as a viable fantasy option. Go for a younger big, which shouldn't be too difficult, considering every single big in the league falls under that category.

Are you hoops junkie like us and can't get enough basketball analysis? Perfect, join us for continuous basketball coverage every day on SnapCall. You may just learn a thing or two. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

America’s Team Back in the Saddle?

Since winning their fifth Super Bowl, nearly two decades ago, the Cowboys have been the butt of plenty of jokes. Poor personnel decisions, questionable coaching hires, and general on-field ineptitude have characterized the NFL’s most valuable franchise for the majority of those two decades. Well, the Cowboys may be back! Off to a 6-1 start behind a dominant offensive line, all-world running back DeMarco Murray, and a no-name defense, Dallas could send a message to the rest of the NFC tonight. They’ll host the 2-5 Redskins, and with a line of -10, many of you may be reluctant. We’re here to say don’t worry, give the points, and take the Cowboys. 

Cowboys QB Tony Romo has been called plenty of names during his career. “Primetime choke-artist” is prominent on that list, but if Romo is the cause for concern, listen closely. Romo has unjustifiably been pigeonholed as someone who melts down on the big stage. Sure, he’s thrown some untimely interceptions throughout his career, but without Romo, the Cowboys surely wouldn’t have had a chance in most of those games. Romo-haters, this Dallas team isn’t all about the QB.

After spending three of his last four first-round picks on offensive lineman, Jerry Jones is finally doing something right as the owner/GM of the Cowboys. Behind that massive line, DeMarco Murray is on pace for the most touches by a running back in NFL history. He’s also in striking distance of Eric Dickerson’s all-time single season rushing record. Moreover, armed with an array of different weapons, including All-Pro WR Dez Bryant, Romo is usually left waiting patiently in the pocket to find his receiver. With an offense that’s clicking, and capable of churning clock, Dallas’ leaky defense has been able to stay fresh and make some stops.

Tonight, though, the Dallas defense may not need much help. With Robert Griffin III still on the mend, the Redskins have moved onto their third starting quarterback of the season. Colt McCoy, the pride of Texas, makes an interesting homecoming to Dallas tonight as Washington’s starting QB. McCoy has bounced around the league as a backup since busting as Cleveland’s "quarterback of the future." He’s simply a placeholder until RG3 is ready to return from his broken ankle. Clearly, if the Redskins fall behind early, the Cowboys should be considered a lock to cover. McCoy doesn’t have the arm to stretch the field, so with any lead, the Cowboys can sit back and wait for a mistake. If the ‘Skins stand any chance of pulling the upset, they’ll have to hammer away with Alfred Morris in the running game. If they get down early, Colt will have to make some plays. Don’t count on that happening.

The weekend isn’t over yet! Monday Night Football kicks off at 8:25pm, so download SnapCall and get in the game!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Night Pick: Steelers -3

Tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup, according to Vegas, is a coin-flip. The line has settled in at -3 with the Steelers as the favorite, which really only means the sports books are adjusting for Pittsburgh playing at home. With the game featuring a pair of 3-3 teams that have been inconsistent so far in 2014, we can’t disagree. So, which way are we leaning tonight? Well, that’s loaded question, as the up-and-down nature of these teams leaves us without a true favorite. So, let’s sift through some of the factors in this Texans-Steelers matchup.

Starting with the home club, the Steelers, this really isn’t your father’s, or even older brother’s, Pittsburgh team. Long characterized by a nasty, physical defense, the Steelers no longer stop the run with great efficiency. Allowing 111 yards on the ground isn’t awful by any means, but Arian Foster and a healthy Houston offensive line are rolling into town. Foster has battled chronic hamstring problems for what seems like years. However, when he’s healthy and dominating touches for the Texans, he’s truly a wonder to watch. In full stride, he looks as if he’s gliding down the field instead of running. If the Houston run game gets going, the Texans could steal a win, no pun intended.

Additionally, Pittsburgh hasn’t had a reliable pass rush in since Obama took office four generations ago. Assuming Foster gets it going on the ground, Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins will be presented with one-on-one matchups in the passing game. Ryan Fitzpatrick won’t beat you with his arm very often, but if he’s allowed to sit back and survey the field, his receivers should make some plays.

And yet, how can we doubt Ben Roethlisberger at home on Monday night? During Roethlisberger’s tenure in Pittsburgh, the Steelers are 7-0 on MNF. While Houston’s defense has looked better than the unmitigated disaster it was last season, the Steelers shouldn’t have any trouble moving the ball. J.J. Watt is playing at another level right now for the Texans, and is clearly the best defensive player in the league. But, the Texans will still be without the #1 overall pick from 2014, Jadeveon Clowney, and have declining talent elsewhere on the defensive side of the ball. Armed with two elite play-makers in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, we like Roethlisberger’s chances of making enough plays to pullout a win and a cover.

As we’ve already seen too many times this season, there are no locks in the NFL, but you can feel a little confident in the Steelers -3 tonight.

MNF kicks off promptly at 8:30pm tonight, so download SnapCall and call the plays with the rest of the audience!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Easy Money Monday in St. Louis?

When the line opened up for tonight's MNF game with the visiting 49ers laying 3.5, you'd figure everyone would be all over the Niners, swinging the line closer to a touchdown by kickoff. Well, as of this morning, the 49ers are favored by just 3 points. Does Vegas know something we don't? The Niners have allayed fears that they're on the decline with recent victories over the Eagles and Chiefs. The Rams, at 1-3, have provided stiff resistance to Dallas and Philly in their last two games, but are still running out their backup QB. Although we've fallen into the “road favorites on Monday night” trap already this season, the Niners look good at -3.

We'll likely see a raucous crowd in St. Louis at the Edward Jones Dome. Unfortunately, that's where the advantages end for the Rams. If you'll recall, in a Week 8 Monday night home game against the Seahawks last season, St. Louis gave the eventual champs all they could handle in 14-9 defeat. Handicappers may look to that as evidence the Rams can hang with the 49ers in their own building. Yet, just three weeks earlier in the 2013 season, the Rams were embarrassed by this San Francisco team in a Thursday primetime game. So, that theory can be tossed out.

Digging deeper, look no further than the impeccable record Jim Harbaugh and his Niners have in their last six Monday night outings. They've won all six by a combined score of 164-49, holding five of those opponents to fewer than 8 points. Staying on that side of the ball, the 49er defense is starting to look reminiscent of the group that has been near the top of the league for the past three seasons. Without two of the league's top linebackers for the first half of the season, NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, the defense was expected to struggle, which they did to start the season. But, in their recent wins over the Eagles and Chiefs, the defense has allowed just 17 points. The pass rush, which was non-existent to start the season, has started to find its teeth. If they slow Zac Stacy and the St. Louis ground game early on, it may be another field day for the defense.

Moving to the other side of the ball, Colin Kaepernick has been erratic this season as a passer, but Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have returned to the power running attack, behind the ageless wonder, Frank Gore. After receiving 35 total carries over the first three games, the Niners greased their squeaky wheel, handing the ball to Gore 42 times in their two recent wins. He went over 100 yards in each of those matchups, and he's facing the 31st run defense in the league tonight. Another 100-yard game should be in the offing for the 31-year-old back.

The only thing preventing the Niners from running away with this victory is their red zone execution. Penalties, poor clock management, and ill-advised plays from Kaepernick have hampered the 49ers after they've found their way into the red zone. This gives hope to the Rams that they may be able to hang around by forcing some stops at the right time. However, the 49er defense and running game will prove overwhelming for Jeff Fisher and the Rams.

It's the last football game for a whole three days, so download SnapCall and jump in the prediction seat for this crucial NFC West battle tonight. Kickoff is at 8:25pm.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fantasy Talk: Week 6 Starts and Sits

Another week, another enticing slate of NFL action. Whether you play in season-long fantasy leagues, or merely dabble in the daily leagues, there are some players with mouth-watering matchups that you need in your lineups. Likewise, there are top fantasy performers who may warrant sitting in light of an unfavorable matchup. Well, we're here to help. 

Must-Starts

Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions

Last week it was Reggie Bush who was the must-start running back for the Lions. He didn't take advantage of Bell's absence last week against the Bills, and it's Bush who's now sidelined with an ankle complaint this Sunday. Bell, the undrafted free agent from Wayne State, hasn't broken out yet, but with Bush sitting out, Bell's potentially large workload against the Vikings can't be ignored. Additionally, with the best receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson a likely inactive, the Lions may choose to lean on a running game that's yet to really get going this season.

Further, Minnesota is giving up 122 yards per game on the ground in 2014, but Bell isn't a one-trick pony. In each of his first two seasons in the league, Bell reeled in 50+ catches. He only has caught nine balls (six coming in one game) this season, which reflects how he's utilized not his natural abilities. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi employs well-defined personnel packages, so Bell just hasn't been as involved in the passing game. Without the dynamic Bush, in addition to Megatron in the passing game, Lombardi may be forced to utilize Bell a little more. Start Bell with confidence today; 20 touches and a touchdown is a good bet.

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Sanu's opportunity this Sunday lies in the lack of targets in Cincinnati passing game. All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green: OUT. 2013 breakout talent Marvin Jones: OUT. 2013 first-round pick tight end Tyler Eifert: OUT. That leaves Andy Dalton with few options on Sunday when the Bengals host the Panthers on Sunday. Expect a run-heavy approach from the Bengals, especially with Cinci's thunder and lightning duo, Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Dalton will still have to throw the ball at least a few times, and Sanu is essentially the only option.

The third-year receiver from Rutgers had yet turn heads in Cincinnati since being drafted a few years ago, but 2014 is starting to look like his breakout season. And he's no stranger to being peppered with targets. He caught 100+ balls in each of his final two seasons in Piscataway, New Jersey. Expect Dalton to look for him early and often, on short throws and deep shots alike. Expect to see 8-10 targets and some looks in the red zone for Sanu today, which is good enough to get him in your lineup.

Must-Sits

Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots

In the fantasy quagmire that is the New England backfield, Ridley has swapped poor performances with strong ones through the first five weeks. For Ridley, it really comes down to his workload. His touches through the first five weeks: 8, 25, 19, 5, 27. That's about as irregular as it gets, and with Belichick constantly shuttling in running backs and mixing up game-plans, it's nearly impossible to tell how many carries any of his running backs will receive on a given day.

So, we'll look to the Buffalo defense for a few answers. The Bills are allowing just 72 yards on the ground per game through five weeks in 2014, so don't expect the Pats to have too much success on the ground early. Additionally, in seasons past, you could expect New England to jump out to an early lead and look to the ground game to close out the victory. Well, not this season. Despite their issues at quarterback, Buffalo is fielding their best team in a long while. With a close game, Ridley's already questionable workload is even shakier. Sit him down.

Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald, WRs, Arizona Cardinals

There's always a late game or two with a questionable player who, if he plays, will have a great fantasy impact. That player on Sunday is Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer's been out since Week 2 with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder. As of Sunday morning, the former Heisman Trophy winner is supposed to suit up, but with an injury as unpredictiable as a frayed shoulder nerve, how can we trust these reports? If Palmer can't go, it'll be on rookie Logan Thomas to get the job done for the Cardinals. Thomas looked like deer in the headlights when he played the Broncos last week.

Moreover, if Palmer starts, what are the chances he actually finishes the game? If you have other options in the late games and can afford to wait to make your lineup decisions, that's fine. However, if your options other than Fitzgerald and Floyd are kicking off at 1pm, the smart play would be to get them into your lineup and not worry about the complicated situation in Arizona. In a predominantly passing league, there are some stronger wide receiver options available for fantasy owners.

Good luck in Week 6. Once you set your lineups, download SnapCall, join us and call the plays for some of this week's action!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Last Minute Injury Replacements for Your Ailing Fantasy Team

So, you were sitting there on your couch, enjoying the first great Thursday Night Football game of the season, minding your own business, when the bad news hit. Your biggest fantasy star, your top pick, is officially ruled out for this week due to injury. Cue the panic. Four consensus first round fantasy choices: Calvin Johnson (ankle), A.J. Green (toe), Jimmy Graham (shoulder), and Montee Ball (groin), will all be out at least one game. As all fantasy owners know, the choice between one free agent or another could make or break your week,and one week can make or break your season. Don't worry, we're here to help. Stick to these guys, and you'll have your opponent slamming their phone against the sofa as he watches your point total skyrocket.

Jeremy Ross, WR, Detroit Lions

We're assuming that Detroit's No. 2 wide-out, Golden Tate, is already owned. If not, grab him immediately. Still, with the way the Lions sling the ball around, Jeremy Ross has some serious appeal this week. Since you've probably never heard of him, let's give a bit of background:

Despite not seeing the field much last season, Ross flashed his big play potential on special teams. He scored two return TDs, and finished near the top of the league in both kickoff and punt return average. Many thought that Ryan Broyles would come in and steal the Lions' No. 3 WR spot this year, but as the weeks go by, Ross, the best speed option on the team, has solidified his role in the offense.

In week 4 against the Jets, when Calvin Johnson was playing, Ross got behind the defense and hauled in a 59 yard TD. Without Calvin this week, QB Matt Stafford can still be expected to take a few deep shots against a mediocre Vikings' secondary. He's definitely a boom-or-bust kind of play, but there's a chance for a big day here.

Bonus Team Sleeper: Eric Ebron, TE, DET 

Mohamed Sanu, WR, CIN

This one is quite the obvious choice, but his production is hard to ignore. Sanu has been filling in as Cincinnati's No. 2 receiver all season, as Marvin Jones has missed the entire year to date with a foot injury. He's already racked up 455 yards and 2 TDs as a secondary target, so we can only imagine that he'll be the primary option with A.J. Green on the sidelines. 

Since coming into the league, Green has been near the top of the league in targets every season. On top of what Sanu would normally receive, we expect him to see at least half of the balls that would normally be thrown to Green. In addition, Bengals' TE Tyler Eifert is also out with an elbow injury. Cincinnati is expected to stick with a run-first offensive game-plan, but even so, they'll have to throw the ball at least 25 times. If Sanu can grab 10 targets, which is very much in the realm of possibility, he's a top tier option. 

Bonus Team Sleeper: Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN

Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos

Another high-round pick, Montee Ball, went down with a serious looking groin injury on Sunday, leaving a void in the fantasy friendly Broncos' backfield. Peyton Manning’s running backs, from Marshall Faulk, to Edgerrin James, to Joseph Addai, to Knowshon Moreno, have all had huge seasons as the lead runner in a Peyton-led offense. So, who’s the next man up?

Ronnie Hillman has had an up-and-down NFL career so far. He’s been inactive more than he's been on the field through two-plus seasons, so it’s clear that the Broncos aren’t sold on him as a long-term piece. However, he soaked up 15 carries on Sunday after Ball departed in the third quarter. Hillman should get the first crack at RB for Denver, and the possibility of 15+ touches in that high-powered offense will make him an appealing option until Montee returns.

Bonus Team Sleeper: C.J. Anderson, RB, DEN

Daniel Fells, TE, New York Giants

Okay, we know this one is really a stretch, and may be geared more toward those in deep leagues, but hear us out. Jimmy Graham is hurt, AND the Saints are on a bye. It's well known that the TE pool this year is slim pickings, so if you need a fill-in for a couple of weeks, you're really looking for a guy who can find the end-zone and not ruin your odds of winning. Fells just may be your man.

Over the past few weeks, the hype behind Giants' starting TE Larry Donnell was outrageous. Why did Donnell really shine? Well, Eli Manning has finally figured out this new up-tempo offense, and is playing his best football in years. It's well known that when Eli is on his game, he loves his safety-blanket receivers over the middle. Again, Fells fits the mold. Though he does serve as the second-string TE, he's found the endzone in three straight weeks. The Giants match-up with Philadelphia this week, who field one of the weakest defenses in the NFL. Expect New York to be in the red zone early and often, so there's opportunity here.

In addition, with the injury to NYG RB Rashad Jennings, Eli may opt to throw more often in the red zone. Fells may only grab one or two catches on the night, but there's a strong chance that he finds pay-dirt. Desperate owners could do much worse than an eight point fantasy day from a fill-in tight end.

Bonus Positional Sleeper: Tim Wright, TE, NE

Check out the Schedule page in the SnapCall app to see which games we'll be covering! There will be action all day, starting with the 1:00 games, so don't miss it!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fantasy Tips: Week 5 Starts and Sits

Bye weeks are in full swing, which means fantasy football start/sit decisions are even tougher this week. Have some tough calls on your lineup this week? Well, that’s why we’re here. We’ve parsed through the matchups and found a few must-starts and a couple must-sits that may prove decisive in this week!

Must-Start

Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions

This isn’t a particularly great matchup for Bush and the Detroit running game, as the Bills allow just 72 yards on the ground. Nevertheless, this is all about opportunity for the shifty back from Southern California. His co-starter, Joique Bell, is sitting out this week due to a concussion suffered last week against the Jets. Moreover, Detroit’s third back, Theo Riddick, is sitting out as well with a sore hamstring.

So, that leaves Bush with undrafted free agent second-year player, George Winn, as the only real threat for carries. The former USC Trojan has received 15, 8, 18, and 16 touches through the first four weeks, so that’s not the problem. It’s the constant shuttling in and out of the lineup that has fantasy owners irritated. Well, on Sunday, Bush should be on the field for about 75-80% of the offensive snaps. He may not post great rushing numbers, but he’ll make some hay in the passing game.

Bishop Sankey, RB, Tennessee Titans

The rookie out of the University of Washington was ticketed for a pretty sizable role when the Titans made him the first running back selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. After all, Tennessee had let go workhorse Chris Johnson, leaving slow-footed Shonn Greene and scat-back Dexter McCluster as the only other options in the backfield. Sankey’s ability to stay on the field for all three downs theoretically gave him the most fantasy football upside from the outset of the season.

Unfortunately, some head coaches are reluctant to play their rookies, especially at running back. Ken Whisenhunt has cited poor footwork for Sankey’s lack of playing time, but frankly, that’s a weak excuse. This rookie has produced 5.1 yards per carry on his 23 totes this season. Additionally, he has passing game chops, which Greene doesn’t have. That should help out banged up quarterback Jake Locker as he returns from injury. Whisenhunt is on record this week saying Sankey’s role is growing. He should see about 15 or more touches against the Browns today.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

Now that we’re four weeks into 2014, we can start tossing out recent production and focus on 2014 usage. Well, it’s starting to look pretty obvious that Houston’s first-round pick from 2013, DeAndre Hopkins, is looking like a better fantasy bet in 2014 than teammate Andre Johnson. Of course, Andre has been a fantasy football superstar for the better part of 10 years, but at 33 years old, father time is starting catch up.

Hopkins still has four fewer catches than his veteran teammate, but he has 30 more yards in the air, in addition to the 3-0 touchdown margin. He’s the lone downfield threat for Houston, but also runs crisp routes and is sure-handed, which leaves him as a threat from all over the field. With Johnson and Arian Foster being limited in practice this week, get Hopkins into your lineup for the Texas showdown with the Cowboys.

Must-Sit

DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins

This one should be a no-brainer. Monday night, the Seahawks head the nation’s capital for the first time since they won a 2012 Wild Card playoff game at FedEx Field. The Seahawks will have gone a full 15 days since they defeated the Broncos in Week 3. Granted, the Redskins would’ve had about 11 days since their Thursday Night Football drubbing at the hands of the Giants, but this is a poor spot for the Redskins.

Kirk Cousins looked miserable against the decent, but by no means dominant, New York secondary. So, how will he fare against a Legion of Boom that has had a bye week and a few more days to comb through the Week 4 film? The outlook looks terrible, that’s for sure. Against the Seahawks, Cousins will be forced to dink-and-dunk within about 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. If he doesn’t, it’ll be another turnover-filled evening. DJax may catch a couple short passes, but the long touchdown that owners will be clambering for may prove to be too elusive.

Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins

There’s a theme developing here, isn’t there? In truth, getting Morris going is really the only chance Washington has of putting a scare into Seattle on Monday night. They’ll need to pound the rock between the tackles early and often in an effort to keep Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense off the field. The problem is that the Seahawks are giving up just 72 yards/game on the ground and don’t figure to give much to respect to Cousins after his Thursday night performance

And stopping Wilson, Lynch, and company is really just a matter of how long you can hold them in check. The Redskins may slow “Beast Mode” early, as they’re only allowing 87 yards on the ground per game, but Wilson will carve up the porous Washington secondary. When the Seahawks inevitably jump out to a lead, Morris may not even see the field on offense. Jay Gruden loves Roy Helu as his passing down back, so even if Morris provides some thunder on the ground early on, he’s unlikely to get the volume needed to be a #1 fantasy RB this week.

Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints

This one qualifies as a bit of a questionable call, as the Tampa Bay secondary has been a disaster this season. Also, Drew Brees hasn’t looked like Drew Brees in 2014, which may change at home on Sunday. On the flip side, though, it’s possible for Brees and the Saints to pour it on vs. the Bucs with rookie Brandin Cooks not playing an extensive role.

New Orleans is not short on weapons in the passing game, with Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, Kenny Stills, and Pierre Thomas all commanding looks. Colston, in particular, has disappointed in 2014, but we have a hunch that this changes at the SuperDome on Sunday. Moreover, if the Saints are wiping the floor with their NFC South rivals, they may be left running the ball and killing the clock near the end of the game. It’s clearly a risk, but sit Cooks down this week.

The Sunday football party starts right at 1 PM ET. We’ll have five 1pm starts going off on SnapCall, so download SnapCall and come join the prediction fun during all the action!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bridgewater Injury Opens the Betting Gates

Earlier in the week, Minnesota (+9.5) in Green Bay looked like one of the more challenging games to bet this week. Thursday Night Football outcomes are generally difficult to predict, as teams don't have enough time to prepare for one another. That, in addition to a divisional rivalry and a rookie QB at the helm for the Vikings made the big spread one to avoid. Then, around 10:30 AM ET on Thursday, ESPN NFL reporter, Adam Schefter, dropped a bomb on the handicapping world. He stated that all signs are pointing toward Minnesota's signal-caller, Teddy Bridgewater, sitting this one out with an ankle injury. Christian Ponder is expected to get the start under-center for the Vikings, making it tough to believe that the men in purple can survive a shootout against 3x Pro Bowler - QB Aaron Rodgers.

Last week, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers silenced their critics with a brilliant performance in Chicago. After Green Bay's 1-2 start, Rodgers told his fans to "R-E-L-A-X" in a pregame interview. He then proceeded to back up the talk with a 38-17 win in Solider Field, and threw for 302 yards and 4 TDs. Granted, Chicago's defense is nothing to write home about, but neither is Minnesota's. Rodgers is a former NFL MVP, and if he finds a rhythm, don't expect him to be thwarted at home.

For Vikings fans, Bridgewater's injury news has to be a tough pill to swallow. They too looked like a force to be reckoned with last week, piling up 41 points at home against the Falcons. Again, Atlanta doesn't provide much resistance on the defensive side of the ball, but after Minnesota scored just 16 combined points over the prior two weeks with veteran Matt Cassel at QB, the Vikes were finally trending in the right direction. When we look toward tonight's game, Green Bay's defense has struggled for a few years now, so this one has shootout written all over it.

To make matters worse, there is heavy rain in the forecast for Wisconsin Thursday night. If Adrian Peterson were still in the lineup for Minnesota, bettors would feel comfortable taking the points and hoping for a heavy dose of "Purple Jesus." With backup Matt Asiata in there instead, the firepower is lacking. Green Bay's RBs Eddie Lacy and James Starks are the two best, and most experienced backs on either roster, so if it does turn into a ground-and-pound style game, the Packers still have plenty of upside.

In addition, don't expect Rodgers to fully abandon the air attack due to the weather. We've seen him throw darts 30 yards down-field on a snowy Sunday in December, so a little rain shouldn't deter one of the league's strongest arms. Rodgers is also one of the best play-action QBs in the NFL, so if the ground attack is working, we could see some deep shots early in the game.

Minnesota on the other hand, would probably prefer to protect their 3rd-string QB with short routes and safe passes. Unfortunately, if they're playing from behind, they'll have no choice but to take the training wheels off of Ponder, which could lead to turnovers, and an even bigger deficit.

As for the numbers, Green Bay has won seven of the last 8 meetings with Minnesota. They're also 22-12 against the spread in home games since 2010. If that's not enough, Aaron Rodgers is 49-30 ATS since 2009.

Whichever way you're leaning, be sure to join us on SnapCall to make your in-play predictions. Coverage for this one starts at 8:25 PM ET. Don't miss it!