The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.
In a remarkable 20-game stretch that began on Nov. 11, 2012, all sorts of the quarterback species have been unleashed against the Bengals. From the Super Bowl winners (Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco), from the No. 1 overall pick (Matthew Stafford), from America's quarterback (Tony Romo), from America's villain (Jay Cutler), from the Next Great One (Nick Foles), from the next Not So Great One (Geno Smith), from the journeyman (Jason Campbell) and from the Whodunits (Brian Hoyer and Thad Lewis), and the Bengals have emerged from the brush with a 15-5 record.
Not only that, they have allowed just 19 touchdown passes in those 20 games while picking off 22 passes and leaving opposing passers with a total passer rating of just 70.5, which in this week's NFL stats would be fourth from the bottom, just ahead of Brandon Weeden at 70.5. A total of eight of the quarterbacks the Bengals have faced in that stretch have ratings of at least 88 this week.
Only once in that stretch have the Bengals allowed three TD passes and a 300-yard game and that was both to Stafford in a 27-24 win in Detroit back on Oct. 20. They've allowed just five 100-yard receivers, two in the last two games with Cleveland's Josh Gordon and San Diego's Keenan Allen going for 125 and 106, respectively. Of the 19 TD passes the Bengals have allowed, only nine have been longer than 20 yards.
The numbers are even more dominating at PBS this season, where Roethlisberger, Rodgers, Brady, Smith and Campbell have been a combined out of luck 0-5 with a passer rating of 56 and a suffocating third-down percentage of 26 percent on 18-for-70.
Pyro's take: Luck has been extremely unlucky over the past four weeks. He has thrown for 948 yards, but has been under 232 yards in three of the four games. Andrew has only thrown two touchdowns and five interceptions over that span.
This week he is going to get a very stout Bengals defense who should keep him feeling bad. Luck is not recommended as a starter this week, in fact he may be the poster child for the sit'em this week.
Richardson continues to struggle, but not according to him
Richardson likely isn't living up to his own — or his team's —expectations. His 2.8-yard per carry average since joining the Colts via a trade with the Browns in September has sparked significant debate among fans and media about Richardson's ability to be a true franchise back.
But Monday he offered a vigorous defense for himself.
"I'm not frustrated at all because I think I've been playing good," Richardson said. "If you turn on the film, I don't have any missed assignments. I haven't had any missed reads. I've been playing good. Stuff just hasn't matched up like we thought it would when I'm in there. I think teams match up differently when I come in.
"But if (running back) Donald (Brown) is having a good day or (quarterback) Andrew (Luck) is having a good day, I think that's a good day for me even if people are keying on me. That might let Donald get going or let Andrew have a big day. That's a good day for me, too."
Pyro's take: Richardson may be doing all that he is being asked to do by the Colts, but he is failing in giving fantasy owners any type of return on their investments.
Trent has been purely disappointing in the fantasy world, as he is not rushing for a lot of yards per carry, 2.8, does not break any big runs, and has not scored a touchdown since week 4. He is definitely worth benching, and in 10 team leagues he is close to being worth dumping.
In the two games since Wayne went down, Hilton has caught 14 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns.
Quarterback Andrew Luck’s passer rating when throwing to Hilton over those two games is 152.1 (158.3 is a “perfect” rating). Luck’s rating while throwing to the other receivers and tight end Coby Fleener is 52.6. Therein lie many of the offense’s difficulties during the 27-24 escape at Houston and the 38-8 splattering by St. Louis.
For all Hilton’s high achievement and the increase in passes to the running backs, the void opened by Wayne’s absence still gapes. The Colts are getting precious little from Darrius Heyward-Bey, Griff Whalen and LaVon Brazill, and not much more from Fleener.
Pyro's take: Since Reggie Wayne has gone down, it has been T.Y. Hilton who has stepped up to the challenge, but, like the cheese, he stands alone. Luck needs someone else to step up and be a factor, if he is going to get back to scoring fantasy points.
This is a short week of preparation, and a tough defense in the Titans that are awaiting Luck tomorrow. There is no indication that any of the other receivers are ready for the challenge, which could mean another tough outing for #12. Hilton should continue to be the only consistent threat in the passing game.
Turns out, all the Colts needed to rise from the first-half slumber was a little T.Y. Hilton. Or, better put, a lot of T.Y. Hilton.
By the time it was all said and done, the speedy second-year receiver had seven catches for 121 yards and a career-best three touchdowns, all in the Colts’ improbable second-half comeback.
“I told him when he came into the locker room ... ‘This is what you look for from a guy like (you),’” owner Jim Irsay said after the game. “Incredible. What can you say?”
Pyro's take: T.Y. Hilton showed that he is ready to assume the larger role in the offense left by the absence of Reggie Wayne. Hilton was looking very pedestrian in the first half with only one reception, but boy oh boy did he make up for it in the second half.
Hilton showed he can be a reliable redzone target, as he had an 10-yard and 9-yard touchdown catch. Many felt it would be Coby Fleener who stepped into that role, but Hilton is just a straight up playmaker. T.Y. showed his breakaway speed on a 58-yard touchdown catch. This kid is going to continue to put up numbers the rest of this season, as Andrew Luck is going look his way first from here on out.
Colts unlikely to make a trade to replace loss of Wayne
Grigson (Colts GM) is going to have a hard time making a consequential move this time. And it’s not for a lack of want, but a matter of circumstances.
The Colts’ hands are tied here for a couple of reasons. First, they’re nearly maxed under the salary cap. They’ve currently got just more than $1.29 million remaining in cap space despite a $3.5 million rollover from last season.
That means any potential trade the team would consider would have to include a player the team could accommodate in the remaining cap space. So, as much as you might like them to go get Hakeem Nicks – he’s rumored to be on the trade block and some Colts fans are clamoring for him – that’s probably not happening.
So, what are the Colts’ plans, given their limitations?
That’s a mystery. I’ve already checked in with a couple of the bigger-name receivers on the market, including Brandon Lloyd and Laurent Robinson. Neither has been contacted by the Colts yet.
The situation increases the likelihood the Colts will look to address their wide-receiver depth either in house or by making a less-significant roster move (such as plucking a player from another club’s practice squad).
Pyro's take: The Colts are not going to be able to pull off another crazy trade this season, so it will fall onto T.Y. Hilton and DHB to pick up the slack in the offense. Hilton has shown some great ability, but he was only being used on 65% of the snaps so far this season. With Wayne out for the year Hilton will be promoted to playing on 100% of the snaps, and he is the best true playmaker left at wide receiver. T.Y. will see an increase in his fantasy value for the rest of the season.
Coach Pagano has confirmed that Reggie Wayne has torn his ACL, and will be out for the rest of the season. This is confirms what many people thought when they saw Wayne's reaction on the side line and the team doctor shaking his head. His season will finish with 38 receptions for 503 yards and two touchdowns, and his 189 consecutive games...
Pyro's take: FieldTurf® blows! Even an ironman like Reggie is getting screwed by this stuff... he had played in every game since being drafted in 2001.
This is a crushing blow to the Colts and fantasy owners. Wayne has Super Glue for hands and is one of the best route runners in the NFL. Look for TY Hilton, DHB, and LaVone Brazill to try and replace Wayne. No word yet, if the Colts will bring in a free agent over their bye week to help ease the loss. At this moment look for DHB to have increased targets as his height and speed makes him more capable than Hilton or Brazill to fill the need vacated by Wayne's injury.
“We’ve got to get it going early, especially for an offense like this one we’re about to face,” Richardson said Thursday.
Starting fast is critical. The Broncos are off to a 6-0 start in large part because of their ability to apply early pressure. They’ve scored 45 first-quarter points, second to Chicago (48). The Colts are tied for 12th with 27, but have generated only one Adam Vinatieri field goal and a 73-yard Luck-to-T.Y. Hilton touchdown pass in the past three games.
That has to change, insisted Richardson.
The offense, he said, “is going to have to play a big part of backing up our defense. The running game is going to be crucial ... hold our defense off the field and keeping us on the field.”
Pyro's take: Richardson looked a lot better last week carrying the ball, and made some real nice hard-nosed runs, but he still has yet to be the impact player the Colts and fantasy owners were expecting. The game this week is the time for Richardson to make his money, because this is the type of game his was brought in to help give the Colts an advantage.
The Colts, of all teams, know that they need to keep Peyton of the field as much as possible to have a chance, but I am not sold that Richardson is going to be able to get the job done in this game. If the Broncos jump on the Colts, which is entirely possible, Richardson will be lost in the shuffle yet again
The wide receiver had played just one snap before offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels sent him out for the final minute and 13 seconds, largely because Danny Amendola had been forced out minutes earlier with an apparent head injury.
This was the last-gasp possession for the Pats, and what proved to be the game-winning drive. Suddenly, a guy who had arrived in town just 11 days earlier and barely knew the offense was standing in the huddle with Tom Brady in those frantic, final moments.
If you had missed all but that drive, you wouldn’t have known that Collie was playing in his first game as a Patriot and his first game period in more than a year, and had been a virtual spectator for the previous 58-plus minutes.
That’s because Brady didn’t hesitate to throw him the football. Collie’s limited knowledge of the playbook didn’t hinder him. He got open when it mattered most. Plus, there’s a basis for a near instant trust with a guy who’s been there and done it with another great.
“As a quarterback, you always want guys out there that you trust,” Brady said yesterday. “Certainly, me throwing him the ball in those critical situations shows you how comfortable I am with him.”
“It’s just a matter of putting in the extra time. This is obviously a complex offense. I’m not going to get it if I go with the regular schedule,” Collie said yesterday. “I’m a little bit behind the eight-ball coming in five weeks later than everyone else and not having the offseason. So I’ve got to find every chance I get to cram that in.”
Pyro's take: Collie is that guy who seems like he keeps getting chances around the league, and each time he gets a chance it is followed by some buzz. He was supposed to be the #2 to Anquan Boldin in San Francisco, a job currently being manned by Jonathan Baldwin.
I know the Patriots have a lot of rookies and inconsistent (or hurt) weapons at receiver, but I am not sold on Collie coming in and being a difference maker. Brady is looking for any option that will just catch the damn ball, so Collie is the flavor of the week.
If you lose your job to Jonathan Baldwin I have a real hard time trusting you, so I holding out on running out to grab Collie until I see him on the field for a full game of production.
Coach Chuck Pagano expects the running back to bust out soon.
"(Richardson) is a between-the-tackles, hard-nosed, tough, rugged runner," Pagano told NFL Media's Albert Breer this week. "And he's got 4.4 speed. So if he gets to the second level, and happens to break a tackle, he can take it the distance. And that's gonna happen. That'll come. He's a young player still. He's learning, and obviously making the transition coming over from Cleveland, being here now for three weeks."
Richardson said he's made strides learning the Colts' offense, which will allow him to see holes better and make big plays.
Pyro's take: Richardson has been a bust so far this season, only averaging 3.1 YPC so far on the season. I will admit that he has had a tough schedule going up against the Dolphins, 49ers and Seahawks, but great players are supposed to step up against top competition. He has now been with with the Colts for 3 games, so Richardson had better step it up this week against the Chargers in the spotlight of Monday Night Football. In my opinion, this game should be a good indicator of what we can expect to see from Trent the rest of the season.
The Colts announced Friday that Bradshaw is out Sunday because of neck discomfort.
Coach Chuck Pagano could not identify when or how Bradshaw was hurt, but he said it was a “significant blow.”
Pyro's take: So to all the owners of Trent Richardson who have been disappointed by his performance all season, get ready to get happy. Bradshaw is out, T-Rich will carry the load with a full week of practice and a better understanding of the offense. Oh yeah, they are also playing against the Jaguars, so if the Colts get up early you can bet he will see a lot of action in this game as they get him into the rhythm of their offense.
Colts leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw sat out of Wednesday's practice with a neck injury. Bradshaw seemed to injure his neck Sunday in Indianapolis' dominate 27-7 win over San Francisco, a game won in large part to Bradshaw's hard running in the fourth quarter.
Pyro's take: Bradshaw also missed practice today as well. They are calling it a neck injury, but it is possible that it could be a concussion and they are not fully disclosing. Either way, this is great news for Trent Richardson, who will dominate the Jaguars on Sunday if Bradshaw is unable to go.
Ahmad has always been an injury risk, especially with his hard-nosed running style. After his performance last week it looked like he was going to give Trent a run for his money for starting running back, but this injury most likely cost him any advantage he once had.
Colts tight end Dwayne Allen is done for season, coach Chuck Pagano announced during Wednesday's media session. The second-year player suffered a hip injury in the Week 1 win over the Raiders.
“It just makes you sick,'' Pagano said, via the Muncie Star Press.
“We were all hoping that it would be something that with time and with rest he would come around,'' the coach continued. “He's a tough, tough, tough kid. But once we got the thing evaluated and saw what the doctors saw in there and what needed to be done ... for the long term, it's what needed to be done at this time.''
Pyro's take: This is tough news for the second year tight end, but his injury will give Coby Fleener more targets and increase his fantasy value.
The Colts offense should be even more potent now with the addition of Trent Richardson, and Fleener and the receivers should see more one on one coverage, which means big plays.
The Colts acquired running back Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday in exchange for the Colts' 2014 first-round draft pick. Just one year after the Browns drafted Richardson No. 3 overall, the team's new regime has given up on him. The Browns are loading up on 2014 draft picks.
How did Richardson react to the news?
"He was shocked, upset," NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a person close to Richardson. "He loved Cleveland. But slowly, he's understanding the benefits in Indy."
It's a stunning move: Richardson was considered the centerpiece of the offense. But new coach Rob Chudzinski, new general manager Michael Lombardi and new CEO Joe Banner clearly decided that he no longer fit their plans.
Pyro's take: Holy shit balls batman!!! I thought this was a joke when I heard the first report, but this is real. As a Trent Richardson owner I am ecstatic that he is headed to the Colts.
Richardson was not being used correctly at all this season and a change of venue is the best thing that could have happened. Not only a change, but joining Andrew Luck, who was drafted 2 spots ahead of him in 2011. Ahmad Bradshaw loses all of his value as Richardson will be the workhorse he was supposed to be in Cleveland.
I have no idea what they are doing in Cleveland, but it is time to forget about anyone producing points there except for Jordan Cameron. The addition of Richardson should also help the Colts receivers as defenses will now have to commit to stop Trent.
The Indianapolis Colts have lost starting running back Vick Ballard for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Coach Chuck Pagano said Ballard suffered a freak accident at practice. It was a non-contact injury. "We feel awful for Vick," Pagano said. "We'll deal with it. No one handles adversity like us."
Pyro's take: This is rough news for the second year back, but good news for Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw will take over as the lead back and Donald Brown will move into the backup role. Bradshaw should see the majority of the carries, and Brown is not a recommended pick up. This could also be good news for owners of Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton as the Colts may have to lean on the passing game more.
Pagano: Coming out of Sunday, first thing coaches talked about was getting T.Y. Hilton more plays, touches. #Colts
Pyro's take: DUH!!! I could have told you that. The fact that Hilton was targeted only 5 times is a mystery, especially considering the catches he was making all preseason. Hilton is a dynamic weapon who can stretch the field and line up anywhere. Expect Hilton to make plays and a fantasy impact this week, and prove me right in my love for this guy.
"Through the course of the game, Trent’s a critical part of our offense,'' said Chudzinski. "We want to give him the ball as much as we can. I thought in the first half we had a pretty good mix going there, even into the third quarter. We had a lot of two-minute situations yesterday, one at the end of the half and obviously in the fourth quarter. The key is we have to convert on third down and we’ll get plenty more opportunities to get the ball to Trent as well."
"You can always second-guess everything when you don’t win,'' said Chudzinski. "We had some things we liked. Some of them came up, some didn’t quite as well. And they tightened up a little bit against the run when we got into the third quarter.''
The Browns also limited Richardson's chances on third down.
"We want to make sure that he stays fresh as well and that's part of the plan,'' said Chudzinski.
Pyro's take: This is not the news I was wanting to hear from the Browns head coach. Norv Turner had done a lot of talking in the preseason that Richardson was a 300 carry back, but he only had 13 carries in week 1, and only 5 in the second half...let me be more accurate third quarter. Richardson did not have a carry in the 4th quarter.
I understand that the Browns were behind, but the fact that they lost should hopefully wise them up and get Trent the ball 25 times this week. I am still a believer in Richardson, but he has a tough match-up at Baltimore in week 2.
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw will make his Indianapolis Colts debut in the season opener against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Bradshaw missed the entire preseason while he continuing to rehab from offseason foot surgery.
"There's probably a certain amount of plays we'd like to get him," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "What that is, I don't know. He was out there [at practice Monday] and running around and looked pretty good out there."
Bradshaw said he's been taking reps with the second unit in practice. He'll likely end up being the starter at some point.
"I love this game and I'm going to give my 100 percent every time, every Sunday," he said. "I don't know how the plays are going to go, but when I'm out there expect full speed."
Pyro's take: It is good news that Bradshaw will be ready to go in week 1. He is a player that has dealt with injury issues throughout his career, and that kept many teams away from him this off-season. Bradshaw will definitely be splitting carries with Vick Ballard, but if healthy Bradshaw is a better threat at the running back position. Expect the Colts not to overuse Bradshaw in week 1.
According to CSN Bay Area, both Collie (WR) and McCoy (QB) could be on the outside looking in, despite the Niners’ uncertainty at both positions.
Per Matt Maiocco:
Quarterbacks (3): Colin Kaepernick, Seneca Wallace, B.J. Daniels
Behind Kaepernick, nobody is 100-percent safe. Colt McCoy’s athleticism is a plus, but he has struggled in the first two games. Scott Tolzien has practice squad eligibility, so the 49ers can keep him around. With another impressive exhibition game, Daniels will leave the 49ers no option but to keep him. The addition of Wallace indicates the 49ers do not feel secure with either of the veteran options.
The 49ers could keep six wide receivers. In that case, Chad Hall, Austin Collie, Lavelle Hawkins and special-teamer Kassim Osgood are in play. But a sixth wide receiver will have a difficult time suiting up for games, anyway. Plus, the 49ers expect Mario Manningham back at midseason and Michael Crabtree a little later.
Pyro's take: This is bad news for one of our potential deep sleepers, as it looks like he is being put to sleep by the 49ers. We don't get it right 100% of the time, and it looks like Collie's injury past and the fact that he did not stand out in games has led the coaching staff to go with younger less injury prone options. Take Collie off your draft boards immediately.
The team did not elaborate on the severity of the injury or offer a timetable for Heyward-Bey’s return. However, a team spokesman denied reports that their offseason free-agent acquisition might miss significant time.
“It’s not serious,” the spokesman said.
Will Carroll, a lead writer for Bleacher Report, reported via Twitter that Heyward-Bey suffered a Grade 1 sprain of his medial collateral ligament. That’s considered the mildest sprain and involves a stretched ligament, not a tear. Surgery generally is not required.
“It always stinks when a guy goes down, but that’s the nature of football,” quarterback Andrew Luck said Monday. “Hopefully it’s not too serious, and I don’t think it is.”
Pyro's take: Heyward-Bey is going to miss valuable practice time with this injury, and his status for season opener is still in doubt. T.Y. Hilton will step into the #2 receiver role opposite Reggie Wayne. It is not serious, but DHB has had too many injury issues in his past, and for a guy trying to take resurrect his career this is a tough setback.
Coby Fleener is feeling comfortable in his college coach Pep Hamilton's offense.
Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton raved about his early production, and head coach Chuck Pagano called him a mismatch and a handful for defenders.
“I’m happy with that assessment, but it kind of remains to be seen,” Fleener said of Pagano’s praise. “It’s early in camp yet. Hopefully, that’ll translate to games.”
Fleener understands that having played for Hamilton in college has helped him get a leg up in camp.
“I think that’s probably part of it,” he said. “Any time you understand the offense, you feel more comfortable in being able to go out there and run as fast as you can and do your job at full speed as opposed to second guessing.”
Pyro's take: Fleener dealt with injuries and inconsistent play in his rookie season, but things are much different in 2013. Having Pep Hamilton and a more control passing game, instead of Bruce Arians and his vertical passing game, lends itself more to Fleener and his skills. Fleener should be used to more of his abilities this season and will have a chance to separate himself from Dwayne Allen, who overshadowed him last season. Fleener could be a steal as a backup TE this season.