Scott Pianowski

  • Booms and Busts: Josh Gordon, open for business

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago

    Meet the new Josh Gordon. Same as the old Josh Gordon. 

    Uncoverable freak.

    There were all sorts of whispers and rumors about how the Browns would handle Gordon in his 2014 debut, but ultimately it was a day of limited restrictions. Gordon was targeted early and often Sunday at the Georgia Dome, and the Browns needed every last yard and catch in their 26-24 comeback victory over the Falcons. 

    Gordon wound up with an eight-grab, 120-yard afternoon, a solid haul on a whopping 16 targets. His 24-yard catch was the biggest play on Cleveland's game-winning field-goal drive (other than the kick, of course). And credit the coaching staff for using just about everything in the playbook. Gordon ran short routes, intermediate routes, deep routes, goal-line routes. Variety, creativity, volume – the Browns let it all hang out.   

    Gordon looked out of breath here and there, which suggests he might not be in full game-shape yet. But this all sounds like nitpicking. His fantasy owners wanted to see a dominant player on the field, and that's what Gordon looked like for three hours. He's a set-and-forget option the rest of the year.

    In Other Week 12 Booms:

  • Week 12 Injury Wrap: Arian Foster unlikely again

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 3 days ago

    As usual, the running backs are the prominent story on this week's NFL injury report. Get your copays ready and let's take our lap.

    -- Arian Foster (groin) missed the Thursday and Friday practices and seems unlikely to play against the Bengals. Alfred Blue, it's your party.

    -- Jonas Gray isn't hurt in New England, but there's an issue here. He overslept Friday (pesky cell phones) and was sent home from practice when he arrived. Will the Patriots bench him for a series, or a quarter, or more than that? Or will the team overlook the mistake and play its emerging back, fresh off a monster game at Indianapolis? They're not saying. Good luck trying to interpret the whims of Bill Belichick.

    To make the situation as complicated as possible, the Pats are up against the Lions, the best run-stopping team in the league. 

    -- Gio Bernard (hip) is ready to play for Cincinnati again, but it will likely be in a complementary role behind Jeremy Hill.

    Wide Receiver and Tight End 

  • Thursday Wrap: Latavius Murray goes bonkers ... on your bench

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 5 days ago

    For the most part, Thursday Night Football was entertaining this week. Hallelujah for that. It's fun to see football in the rain, John Madden on the sidelines, lead changes. It's encouraging to see a winless team get off the skids. The game's final drive was a glorious comedy of errors, too. 

    But from a fantasy perspective, Oakland's 24-20 victory remained a somewhat frustrating exercise. The Raiders and Chiefs clearly have some talented players who aren't seeing the ball as often as they should.

    [Join's $2.5M Week 12 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid]

    Watch Murray's scoring runs again. Appreciate the way he bounced outside on the first touchdown, and catch the change of direction on the home-run. Do you think McFadden or Jones-Drew can make either run in 2014? Me neither.

  • Snow pushes Jets-Bills to Detroit - on Monday

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 5 days ago

    If you had any fantasy concerns about your Bills and Jets this week, maybe an extra day of rest – and a shift of venue – will change your mind. 

    The Buffalo area has been flattened by a snowstorm all week, and the NFL accepted that the game had to be moved. The league considered a shift to Washington D.C. or Pittsburgh –  two outdoor sites –  before Detroit received the nod Thursday evening.

    [Join's $2.5M Week 12 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid]

    The Jets and Bills will kick off at Ford Field at 7 p.m. ET on Monday. CBS will telecast the game in the New York and Buffalo markets. From a fantasy perspective, we appreciate the indoor setting. A game in snow-ravaged Buffalo was likely to be a mess.

    The Bills won't need directions to the stadium. They upset the Lions in early October, 17-14. 

    Buffalonians, let's be careful out there.

  • Shuffle Up: Running back and tight end values, rest of season

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 5 days ago

    The Shuffle Up series is all about value to come. What's happened to this point is merely an audition. How would you rank the players if you were starting from fresh today? (These are not Week 12 ranks; you can find those over here.)

    The dollar values are merely comparison tools; they're not assembled in any scientific way (and not used comparatively with different positions). Players at the same position and price are considered even. We're aiming to illustrate tiers, show where the pockets of value are.

    [Join's $2.5M Week 12 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid]

    You'll disagree with some things (perhaps many things) because that's why we have a game in the first place. Share your respectful disagreement in the comments. 

    And remember the golden rule, a player doesn't gain (or lose) 15-20 percent of bonus value simply because you roster him. Also keep in mind how contextual fantasy values tend to be. 

  • Six-Pack: Kris Versteeg, sneaky in Chicago

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 8 days ago

    Six free-agent ideas is what we do, in this space every Monday. Something for every budget. Time to point and click.  

    -- Kris Versteeg, LW/RW, Blackhawks (7 percent): With all the star power the Blackhawks possess on their scoring lines, sometimes the non-buzzy names get lost in the shuffle. Versteeg was skating on a Patrick Kane-Jonathan Towes line for a while, and he paired with Kane and Brad Richards in Chicago's last game. His three-point night sparked Sunday's 6-2 victory over Dallas, part of a 3-4-7 spurt over the last six starts. And you love a wing who can play either side, in real hockey or in fake hockey.

    [Join's $2.5M Week 12 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid]

  • Sunday Night Fantasy Chat

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 9 days ago

    Brady. Luck. Fleener. Gray.

    All the big names are in play. Patriots and Colts, come talk about it. As soon as the second half starts, so does the chat. 

    We'll try to make sense of Week 11 as well. 


  • Week 11 Booms and Busts: Jay Cutler, back in business

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 9 days ago

    In the erratic and unpredictable NFL, it's important to stay grounded with outlier performances. Teams are never as good as they look on a snappy day, and not as bad as they look on a horrible night.

    For one example, cue up the Chicago Bears.

    When we last visited with Marc Trestman's crew, it was being thoroughly thrashed on National TV by Aaron Rodgers & Co. The final was 55-14, but it might as well have been 73-0. The Bears stunk on offense, on defense, and on special teams. It was a long and testy week in the Windy City.

    Say this for Jay Cutler, he certainly has a short memory. The cocky gunslinger took dead aim at Mike Zimmer's Minnesota defense Sunday, slicing it open for 330 yards and three touchdowns en route to a 21-13 victory. Cutler also tackled on a timely 21 yards on the ground.

    Cutler being Cutler, he threw a couple of messy picks. He was also stopped on a fourth-and-goal rushing attempt. But we'll happily live with the bottom line. (And even if you don't want to live and die with Cutler's game for fantasy purposes, his bounce-back effort makes it easier to trust Marshall and Jeffery going forward.)

    And speaking of the Bucs . . . 

  • Week 11 Throwing Darts: Can Carolina rebound from Philly nightmare?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 9 days ago

    Five picks against the Yahoo Pro Football PickEm spread, that's how we roll here. Share your five best in the comments.

    -- Chiefs -1.5 vs. Seahawks: Trust the KC defense, trust the home field edge. Unleash the Kelce! 

    -- Saints -7 vs. Bengals: Cincinnati defense and quarterback scuffling, and Saints offense coming together now that Mark Ingram is a bell cow..

    -- Giants +4.5 vs. 49ers: San Francisco still doesn't look like a playoff team to me, and I certainly don't want to spot anything with them on the road.

    -- Broncos -10 at Rams: The key is Denver taking a road game over a patsy seriously. I think they will.

    -- Panthers +2.5 vs. Falcons: I know the Monday game was a nightmare, but now they're a home dog to a mediocre Atlanta team? I can't sign off on that. Last Week: 2-3

    Season: 22-27-1

  • Week 11 Injury Wrap: Rummaging through running backs

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 10 days ago

    The running back position dominates this week's lap around the injury report, so we'll start there. Get your copays and clipboards ready.

    -- The Texans are playing it coy with Arian Foster (groin), but he didn't practice all week. It would be a shock if he played Sunday against Cleveland. Alfred Blue is the next man up, and Andy Behrens offers some Blue propaganda over here.

    -- Giovani Bernard (hip) missed the full practice week and remains a game-by-game proposition. He won't play Week 11 at New Orleans, leaving Jeremy Hill to start again.

    [Join's $2.5m Week 11 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid]

    -- Although Reggie Bush (ankle) is listed as questionable, it would be a surprise if he made it at Arizona. Joique Bell and Theo Riddick figure to share the backfield work.

    -- Ryan Mathews (knee) had a strong practice week and is ready to go at home against Oakland.

    Wide Receiver and Tight End