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.
The Green Bay Packers have interest in free-agent tight end John Carlson (Minnesota).
Pyro's take: John Carlson has been a dud since leaving the Seattle Seahawks, and with Kyle Rudolph already at tight end, there is no desperate need for Carlson, especially on a team with an absentee for a quarterback.
Carlson has had some success, his rookie year he totaled 55 receptions for 627 yards and five touchdowns, and if he landed in Lambeau, I'm sure Aaron Rodgers would make sure he felt very comfortable in the passing game.
Other teams such as the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets have shown interest in the veteran, but passing over Rodgers for Geno Smith and Carson Palmer, may not be the best career move for John Carlson.
03/06/14, 09:49 PM CST by Michael Valverde
Free agent Toby Gerhart has mentioned he would rather leave Minnesota than be signed by the team. He wants a bigger role than sitting behind Adrian Peterson.
Pyro's take: Gerhart knows that the only way he is going to be a constant contributor is to be on a team that doesn't have a future hall-of-fame running back on the squad. Toby Gerhart is still a young buck at 27, and being a back-up has helped him not take a constant punishment in the NFL. He has a total of 276 carries in his four seasons with an average carry of 4.7 and has 77 receptions for 600 yards, he also has 8 touchdowns in his career.
Toby should be able to find a home where he can be utilized even more than he has in Minnesota, and possibly even land a starting role somewhere such a city like Oakland, or Jacksonville.
Rudolph should benefit from the arrival of Norv Turner
A Field-Stretching Tight End
An element of Turner’s passing plan is a big, physical, field-stretching tight end who can present match-up nightmares for the opposing defense. These long, fast and strong pass catchers are too big for cornerbacks and too fast for linebackers, forcing a defense to either concede production or put a safety in coverage. This is a scenario Turner presented to defenses while in San Diego, using Antonio Gates to exploit the mismatch. In Turner’s six years as Chargers Head Coach, Gates went to five Pro Bowls and averaged 62.8 receptions, 990 receiving yards and 8.2 touchdowns per season. In Minnesota, Turner will look to Kyle Rudolph to fill this role. Rudolph is a Pro Bowler himself and is coming off a season in which he missed eight games with a foot injury. You can be sure Rudolph is eager to get back on the field, and that Turner is as eager to employ Rudolph against opposing defenses.
Pyro's take: Rudolph has an impressive second season in 2012 with 53 catches and nine touchdowns. Before fracturing his foot last season Rudolph was on pace for an improvement, but not by much. The biggest hindrance for Rudolph was the lack of a solid quarterback to throw him the ball. The Vikings are going to make a change at the position this season, and with Turner running the offense they should improve.
Look for his yards per catch to increase in 2014, and he should also have a chance to get to double-digit touchdowns. He will not be drafted as a starter, but will have a chance to top 10 by seasons' end.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said injured running backs Adrian Peterson (foot sprain) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) will not practice today and probably won't practice until Friday, if at all. He also said he's more hopeful that Gerhart will be able to practice on Friday than Peterson.
Frazier said Peterson already has assured him that he'll be ready to play, but added that the team will "err on the side of caution," keeping in mind Peterson's long-term value and the fact that the team is mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture at 3-9-1. Frazier also said Peterson would have to practice on Friday before the team would play him in the game on Sunday.
Pyro's take: The news coming from the cold North is just not very good. I have a strong suspicion that AP is not going to play this week, but this injury to Gerhart complicates things.
If you went out and grabbed Toby this week I bet you did not know about this hamstring issue. This could be a reason to look elsewhere for a running back this week. I expect Gerhart to play, but if his hamstring acts up it will be a short day. I would look for a better options than these injured Vikings.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier didn't have an update on the status of running back Adrian Peterson, who suffered a sprained right foot in Sunday's 29-26 loss to the Ravens.
Peterson will see a foot specialist on Monday as further evaluation along with more X-rays and a CT scan.
"Well, it’s a little painful," Peterson said. "Obviously it kept me out of the game. The MRI came back great so that’s good. Just got to get a CT scan to make sure the bone is OK."
Peterson said a Lisfranc injury has been ruled out. The foot was still sore in the locker room, but Peterson said it didn't swell up too much.
"Initially you don’t know exactly what’s going on when you’re feeling it," Peterson said. "That initial contact definitely didn’t feel good. I was kind of worried. But kind of cleared up a little bit after getting the MRI. I’ll see how things play out after the CT scan."
Peterson wants to play, but Frazier said the team’s record, 3-9-1, will factor into whether the running back returns this season.
“Depending on what we find out, it’ll factor in,” Frazier said. “We’ll find out more this afternoon and make a decision from there, but you can’t ignore that fact.”
Pyro's take: Every Peterson owner cringed yesterday when they saw him go down in agonizing pain, and then carted off the field. The news is better today with the injury being a sprained right foot, but there are still more tests to go through.
I would be shocked if the Vikings let AP play this week. This is the worst possible time for an injury like this, and will be the cause of many a fantasy playoff early exit.
Coming off season high game, AP licking his chops for the Bears
Adrian Peterson was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Packers because of a nagging groin injury.
The injury, however, didn’t seem to affect the 2012 NFL MVP, who rushed for a season-high 146 yards and scored a touchdown in the Vikings’ 26-26 tie with Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
Peterson’s 32 carries also were a season high and two short of his career high. He has 997 rushing yards this season.
Pyro's take: AP should have a monster game this week when his Vikings host the Bears. The Bears have no answers to stop anyone from rushing the ball against them. The Bears just gave up 258 rushing yards to the Rams and Benny Cunningham.
This epic fail of a rushing defense has been on full display since week 7 at Washington. In the five games since then Chicago has surrendered 985 yards on the ground, which is 197 yards per game. Now it is Adrian Peterson's turn to take a spin on the wheel of running back glory.
I spun the wheel for him and it said he is going to rush for 343 yards with 3 touchdowns. That may be a reach, but it is going to be a monster game this week.
Adrian Peterson vowed that the Vikings would recommit to establishing their running game Sunday after he was limited to only 36 carries in the previous three games.
Peterson finally looked like his normal self again in a 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
Peterson ran for 140 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries. His rushing total tied his season high, and he demonstrated no signs that a nagging hamstring injury still bothers him.
“That’s one thing we wanted to focus on coming into the game — establishing the run, keep pounding, keep pounding, put us in better positions for third down,” Peterson said.
Peterson gave the Vikings the lead late in the game with an 11-yard touchdown run that was set up by his 52-yard gain.
His touchdown run came on fourth-and-1 with 5 minutes, 49 seconds left and the Vikings down 20-17. Peterson finished the run by dragging Dallas defenders the final yards into the end zone.
Pyro's take: We have been talking about this in our podcast over the past 3 weeks, wondering when the Vikings are going to give the ball to Peterson. Leslie Frazier finally listened to the nation and gave the damn ball to AP. The Vikings are a team that is built around All Day, and if you don't give him the ball you are doing your team a disservice. Fantasy owners should feel a lot better going forward, as Peterson has a nice remaining schedule.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said tight end Kyle Rudolph has a fractured left foot and could be out for a month. He suffered the injury after scoring a 31-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Rudolph told reporters after Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys that X-rays on his foot were negative.
“I think the guy just fell on his foot when he was tackling him,” Frazier said. “It's a very significant injury for him and for our team. That gives some other guys a chance to step up. Chase Ford, who played in the ballgame and did a good job for us, he'll play. John Carlson will get more reps now.”
Pyro's take: It was an amazing touchdown catch that Rudolph made breaking through 2 tacklers and running over another to score the touchdown. Unfortunately, it will sideline him for a month.
Rudolph had actually started to put a few nice games together, but don't expect that from his replacements. Christian Ponder had a great game, but it was against a Cowboys defense that has been allowing a ton of points. Adrian Peterson remains the only strong fantasy play in Minnesota.
No decision made on who will quarterback Vikings going forward
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier did not announce a starting quarterback during his press conference Monday, but he eliminated one of the three quarterbacks from the running. Frazier said the decision has come down to either Josh Freeman or Christian Ponder, which leaves Matt Cassel out of the mix.
The Vikings play at Dallas on Sunday.
“[We're] just trying to look at the whole picture and who will gives us the best chance to win from our standpoint as coaches for this Dallas ballgame,” Frazier said. “That’s what it’ll be based on. The other factors will be what the health of the other guys are, but primarily who do you think will give you the best chance in this ballgame against Dallas.”
Frazier will make the decision over the next few days as he evaluates the situation with his staff. Freeman dealt with concussion-like symptoms last week, but was cleared on Friday. Frazier said the staff will be conscious of the injury and it could still play into the decision.
Pyro's take: Here is what I can tell you about the quarterback situation in Minneapolis. If you have one of these guys and are starting them, then it is time to think about next year. Neither of these quarterbacks should be played, or better yet neither should be owned.
Josh Freeman struggled in the Vikings’ 23-7 loss to the Giants on Monday night. He was 20-for-53 for 190 yards and an interception, and the Vikings scored no offensive points.
But Freeman will be the starting quarterback Sunday night when the Vikings play host to the Packers at the Metrodome, coach Leslie Frazier said this afternoon.
“Josh had a good week of practice for us,” Frazier said. “We felt like we had a good plan going into the game that he would be able to execute. He didn’t play as well as he would’ve liked. I’m sure he’ll tell you that. The ball kind of sailed on him a few different times. But I don’t think it was a lack of preparation.
“If I had to do it over again, I don’t think I’d do it any differently under the circumstances. I knew exactly why we made the decision. Felt very confident going into the ballgame with the decision. Didn’t work out for us this time.”
Frazier also said he didn’t consider pulling Freeman for Christian Ponder. He said Freeman’s missed throws – he overthrew receivers 16 times – were the result of faulty mechanics: “He did a great job of running our offense throughout the night, just some things from a technical standpoint that we’ll have to work on to get him better.”
Pyro's take: Freeman had about as bad a performance as you could imagine, and he did on the national stage against one of the worst teams in the NFL. That being said, Frazier is going to go ahead and start him again this week against the Packers. The prospects don't look good for Adrian Peterson and the Vikings receivers for the rest of the season. I have never seen such poor quarterback play by a team before, and I am a Bears fan.
Coach Leslie Frazier announced that newcomer Josh Freeman will start Monday night against the New York Giants after signing with the team on Oct. 6.
Christian Ponder will serve as his backup while Matt Cassel — the starter the previous two games, including Sunday’s 35-10 loss to Carolina — was downgraded to No. 3 quarterback.
Freeman has engrossed himself in the playbook since arriving in the Twin Cities in order to gain enough working knowledge to feel comfortable operating the offense.
The coaching staff has condensed the playbook to speed up the process. Asked if he’s confident he will be adequately prepared to play, Freeman replied, “No question.”
“I have a pretty good grasp of the offense,” he said. “I’ve got three years of college and kind of a mixture the first few years in the NFL with this exact offense, so it’s coming along pretty quickly. At the end of the day, football is football.”
Pyro's take: Freeman gets the start, Ponder wants a trade and Cassel still sucks. This is the beginning of the audition for Freeman to prove that he can be the future for the Vikings, and dupe…oops, I mean get, the Vikes to offer him a long-term contract.
Freeman should be able to do just as bad as Ponder and Cassel, but who knows maybe he will actually show something. The late for photos Freeman will get a good match-up this week against the Giants, so there is a chance he could produce some points this week. Having him at quarterback is still better for all of the receivers on the Vikings, but it will be interesting to see who becomes his favorite missed (45.7% completion rate this season) target.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier finally said publicly what everyone has been expecting him to say since Matt Cassel led the Vikings to a turnover-free 34-27 victory over the Steelers in London back on Sept. 29:
“Matt Cassel is going to be our starting quarterback on Sunday.”
As for the future beyond Sunday, well, stay tuned.
“I think we need to sit back on Monday after the game and evaluate things and see where we are,” Frazier said. “See how it goes.”
“I think it’s always tough when you make a change at quarterback,” Frazier said. “You have to take a lot of factors into it when you’re doing that. You don’t make those decisions lightly, and we didn’t. We’ll see how it plays out. But this is the start of this ballgame. We’ll see how Matt does. But we’ll see how it plays out over time.”
Pyro's take: Cassel starting is good news for Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson, both of whom performed much better with Cassel under center. There is still a lot of pressure for the quarterbacks to perform in Minnesota with the added competition of Josh Freeman and Christian Ponder cleared to play again. There is a chance that Cassel can win another start if he performs well on Sunday, but if not then it could be a quarterback carousel in the coming weeks.
Quarterback Josh Freeman's future with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is in serious jeopardy.
The Bucs have decided to bench Freeman for rookie Mike Glennon.
For Freeman, it is the end of a five-year tenure as the face of the Bucs' offense, and it will end in disappointment.
"This was a performance-based decision. We were not getting the job done on the field," head coach Greg Schiano said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier this year, Schiano criticized Freeman for missing a team photo. Days later, players did not vote him in as team captain.
Pyro's take: The writing was on the wall for this move. Freeman and Schiano have not gotten along at all, and Freeman did nothing to make this dislike be a tough decision when he only completed 45.7% of his passes, threw for 571 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in the first 3 games. Oh yeah, the Tampa lost every game as well. Oh wait, Freeman's record was 1-8 in his last 9 games.
We called this one early on, and this is a great move that will help VJax and the Muscle Hamster. Even if Glennon only completes 55% of his passes it will be a major improvement over Freeman.
Q: Was there stuff that you had in the game plan for Cordarrelle Patterson that you didn’t have a chance to get into to?
Vikings offensive coordinator Mike Musgrave press conference:
A: Most definitely, not only for Cordarrelle, but for Greg Jennings, for Kyle, for everybody. Everybody knows their role and they’re all going to be a big time contributor for us. We want to be on the field so we can do it. It’s tough to do it from the sideline.
Q: Is Patterson pretty much only going to be on the field when you have three receivers or is he going to play in two receiver sets?
A: Both, he’ll be in there with two, three, one wide, all of the above.
Q: Is there something he needs to do to earn more playing time?
Pyro's take: This is a nice vote of confidence from his offensive coordinator, but Patterson will draw a tough match-up in week 2 at Chicago. Patterson is going to need to prove that he can have a good game before you even think about putting him into your starting lineup.
Patterson is a rookie with a lot of talent, but he has the same problem all the other Vikings receivers have, Christian Ponder.
Vikings offensive coordinator Mike Musgrave press conference:
Q: Is Jerome Simpson one thing to be encouraged about, being able to show that speed?
A: Jerome made some terrific plays for us. We definitely had our moments as an offense, they were just too few and far between, but Jerome was a part of our moments that we want to build upon.
Q: Did you go into the game thinking Jerome could emerge as your top target given the matchups?
A: We were going to put him in position to do so. We didn’t get through a lot of our game plan when you run less than 20 plays in the first half and end up with maybe the low 40s before we got into two-minute mode. We didn’t get through very much of our game plan. We weren’t on the field enough so it’s definitely a feeling of unfullfilment throughout the whole offense. Jerome did have his moments and that was a bright spot.
Pyro's take: Jerome Simpson has been a player quickly added in fantasy leagues this week, and this is encouraging that he was part of the game-plan going in, and not just a result of how the game played out. Simpson should continue to see targets, but by no means is going putting up the numbers he put up in week 1, 7-140.
The biggest problem that Simpson has is Christian Ponder. Ponder has been unable to stretch the field throughout his career. In fact, Ponder has a career 6.3 yards per attempt average. To put that into perspective, Jay Cutler has a career 7.2 YPA average and Aaron Rodgers is 8.1. There is not going to be consistency of any kind here.
Cordarrelle Patterson had a good first preseason game with 4 catches for 54 yards.
Pyro's take: Patterson is looking to step in as a starter for the Vikings and showed some good hands in his first NFL experience. Patterson still does not have outstanding play from the quarterback position and will be inconsistent, but he is looking like one of the stronger rookie receivers at this point.
The Chicago Bears announced today that they have signed Mike Martz to be their offensive coordinator for the 2010 season. Terms of the contract have yet to be disclosed.
Pyro's take: Finally the Bears have "their guy". After going through a lengthy search composed mainly of candidates who pulled out of the running before an offer was even made, Chicago ended up settling for someone who had no problem ripping Jay Cutler to shreds early on in 2009. In order to mend possible broken bridges between the two, Martz immediately flew down to Tennessee to speak with Cutler after his interview.
Animosity aside, Cutler stands to gain the most fantasy-wise from the hiring, while TE Greg Olsen stands to lose the most. Martz has never been one to integrate the tight end into his offensive schemes, but wide receivers Devin Hester, Devin Aromashodu, Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett could be in for a nice uptick in value, as should RB Matt Forte.
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb continues to tell the media and anyone else who asks that he's staying in Philly. Coach Andy Reid has also said on a couple of different occasions that McNabb will be the Eagles QB in 2010.
"That's all that matters," McNabb said during a one-on-one interview with The Inquirer. "I heard it when he said it to you guys, but I heard it before anyway. I think a lot of people look too far into things with all the assumptions and this could happen. He told everybody I'm going to be there, and I'm his guy. I don't see anything that anybody should look into."
Pyro's take: Backup QB Kevin Kolb could probably step into the Eagles offense and do just fine, as he showed for a couple of games last year, but McNabb is still the better option for the team. Whatever happens, it should be an interesting off-season for the fans out there in Philly.
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was beaten up so badly by the Saints last weekend that he has decided not to play in his 11th Pro Bowl this Sunday. His replacement is the guy he faced and destroyed two weeks ago in the playoffs, Dallas QB Tony Romo.
Pyro's take: Supposedly Favre injured both wrists, both ankles, one of his legs, and his head in the game against the Saints last Sunday. After watching that game, this might be the first time we can say that we actually believe him.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees is being replaced on the NFC Pro Bowl roster by Eagles QB Donovan McNabb due to Brees playing in the Super Bowl the following Sunday.
Pyro's take: Ehhh, decent choice. McNabb had a pretty good year, and led his team to a playoff birth at 11-5, but he missed a couple of games and was pretty erratic early on in the season. Whatever, nobody really cares about this game anyway.