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NFL Barometer: Jekyll or Hyde?

Derek VanRiper

Derek is the Director of Media for, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also co-hosts RotoWire's shows on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210).


Reggie Bush, RB, MIA - The Dolphins' running game has scuffled in recent weeks, while Bush admitted to dealing with lingering issues in his knee following an injury against the Jets in Week 3. Bush was averaging 6.1 YPC in that game prior to his departure, and his upcoming schedule is very favorable. Following a rematch with the Jets in Week 8, Bush faces three more weak run defenses in the Colts, Titans and Bills. An added bonus to trading for him now is that the Dolphins have already had their bye week.

Rashad Jennings, RB, JAC - With the extent of Maurice Jones-Drew's injury still somewhat up in the air, bids on Jennings this week have shattered many a FAAB piggy bank. The 34 carries he's received this season have generated just 90 yards, but Jennings has a career 4.8 YPC and good hands, likely making him a Top 15-20 running back as long as MJD is on the shelf. If he's already owned in your league, consider throwing a trade offer out there for Jennings as it may be easier to get him than Willis McGahee or Mikel Leshoure, even though the three backs will likely offer similar value the rest of the way.

Robert Turbin, RB, SEA - Missing out on Jennings? Turbin is widely available as the seldom-used No. 2 back in Seattle during his rookie campaign. When called upon, he's picked up 115 yards on 26 carries (4.4 YPC). If you can spare a bench spot for a speculative add, Turbin remains an intriguing option to stash in the event of Marshawn Lynch injury.

Mike Goodson, RB, OAK - Like Turbin, just another option to consider before a potential Darren McFadden injury. It's been a very small sample size thus far - 11 carries for 89 yards and eight catches for 121 yards. Keep in mind, he was buried on the depth chart behind $40 million worth of running backs in Carolina last season.

Jeremy Kerley, WR, NYJ - Sure, seven for 120 against the Patriots pushed the ownership rates up significantly, but in leagues where he's still floating on the wire it's worth noting that Kerley has been targeted 26 times over the Jets' last three contests. For the season, he's averaging a gaudy 10.9 YPT.

Danny Amendola, WR, STL - Amendola was back on the practice field in a limited capacity Wednesday, and while that does not guarantee a Week 8 return, it's a good indication that he'll significantly improve upon the initial six-to-eight week estimate for his absence. Keep in mind that with the Rams having a bye in Week 9, it may be two more weeks before Amendola is cleared for game action.

Logan Paulsen, TE, WAS - In case you missed it in the waiver columns, Paulsen will get an opportunity to replace Fred Davis (IR) as the Redskins' primary tight end. Washington ranks fifth in the NFL in total offense this season, and the 6-foot-5, 264-pound Paulsen becomes an immediate red-zone threat for a team that spends a decent amount of time inside the 20.


Frank Gore, RB, SF - As I watched Barry Zito carve up the Tigers while Pablo Sandoval went deep off of Justin Verlander twice in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night, it was a reminder that anything is possible on the field, in any sport, at any time. Gore and Marshawn Lynch ran well in tough spots last week, but I'm standing by my general concern and downgrade of Gore despite the fact that he's now sixth among running backs in fantasy points this season.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR - If the midseason firing of Panthers general manager Marty Hurney is any indication, there are more big changes in coming in Carolina barring a turnaround in the second half of the season. As noted here before, Hurney loves running backs the way Matt Millen craved receivers as GM of the Lions a few years back. This backfield situation became maddening last season when Cam Newton took over as the primary runner in the red zone, and it has taken a few surprising turns including an extension for Jonathan Stewart this summer and most recently, Williams' significantly limited role against the Cowboys in Week 7 when he played just eight percent of the team's offensive snaps. There's no injury being reported here, but the workload for the season for the two primary backs is just 85 carries through six games. Instead of being a useful flex option with 12-15 carries per game, Williams is more of a lottery ticket that will cash only if Newton or Stewart go down with an injury.

Roddy White, WR, ATL - After seeing 179 targets in each of the last two seasons, White is on pace for 141 through six games as Julio Jones has received nearly the same number of looks from quarterback Matt Ryan this season. Keeping in mind that only six receivers had more than 141 targets last season, it's still a significant workload and White should be a top 15-20 receiver at season's end even with a possible drought in the second half. Interestingly enough, the YPT marks for White (10.4) and Jones (7.0) have been the opposite of expectations thus far. Jones currently has a 10-8 lead in red-zone targets, while White is on pace for 10 fewer looks in those situations than he received last season (31).

Dez Bryant, WR, DAL - Around missing time Sunday to be evaluated for a concussion, Bryant turned in another disappointing performance with just two catches for 14 yards against the Panthers. Of course, that showing followed an impressive 13-catch, two-TD performance in Week 6 and Bryant entered the Carolina game with 28 targets in his previous two contests. Fortunately, Bryant passed his concussion test so there doesn't appear to be any significant health concern here, but for a player that many owners tabbed as a potential breakout threat with top-10 upside at his position, it's been mostly disappointment so far as he's averaged just 8.3 fantasy points per game (34th among receivers) in non-PPR leagues. Fortunately for those still riding it out, there are probably teams in your league willing to pay more than he's worth in a trade if you move him now while they're still thinking about the big game against the Ravens two weeks ago.

Brent Celek, TE, PHI - Celek caught 12 passes for 222 yards on 19 targets in the Eagles' first two games this season. In the four games since then, he's hauled in 13 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown with 24 looks. Even the Ultimate Plodder (Brandon Pettigrew) has been more productive during that span thanks to 10 more catches with 10 more targets than Celek. Bye week needs may have already forced the issue to cut him, but those still holding Celek should be ready to make a decision quickly if the Eagles' offense continues to sputter as they return to action in Week 8.

Brady Quinn, QB, KC - I shamefully picked up Quinn in the Stopa Law Firm League (it's a 12-team league where two quarterbacks can be started) this week. Any use of Quinn will require a couple of injuries, or the decision to trade Michael Vick or Philip Rivers in attempt to bolster another position. Prior to the Chiefs' Week 7 bye, Quinn was given the start over Matt Cassel against a weak Tampa Bay secondary. The result? Quinn went 22-of-38 for 180 yards (4.7 YPA) and a couple of interceptions. The Chiefs somehow think he's better than Cassel, but Quinn's level of ineptitude is unmatched. Since 2007, no quarterback with 350 or more attempts has a YPA mark as low as Quinn (5.4). Others nearby include Blaine Gabbert (5.5), Kyle Boller (5.9), Kellen Clemens (6.0) and JaMarcus Russell (6.0). Now I'm done.

Follow me on Twitter @DerekVanRiper.