Broncos playing for seeding, home field in playoffs; Raiders would just like a win
The Denver Broncos aim for their 10th win of the season when they take on the Oakland Raiders tonight at 8:20 p.m. ET on the NFL Network. The Broncos (9-3) have won seven games overall and have already clinched the AFC West division title. The Raiders (3-9) have lost five in a row and would love nothing more than to get a win over the division champs and take some pressure off of first-year head coach Dennis Allen in the process.
If there's one running attack you want a piece, it's the Denver Broncos
When Knowshon Moreno went down with a knee and Willis McGahee left with a hamstring in the Broncos weird win over the Chiefs, there was only one running back left on the team (not named Tim Tebow) to carry the league's heaviest rushing load: Lance Ball.
You should get to know Lance Ball because if there's one rushing attack you probably want a piece of, it's the Denver Broncos.
It is Week 8, the fourth week of bye weeks, and some big names go on vacation this weekend, so run to the waiver wire for some much needed help. You need someone to step in and hold down the fort for a week, or maybe more in some cases.
WEEK 8 BYES: Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, New York Jets, Oakland, Tampa Bay
Who is the best NFL fantasy defense/special teams play this weekend? Vikings at Chiefs, Redskins at Rams, Bills at Bengals or the Jets at Ravens? — @AthlonBraden on Twitter
Washington gets my vote.
The Redskins have surrendered 53 points, registered eight sacks, three interceptions and now have safety LaRon Landry back in the fold. St. Louis has scored just 36 points, given up 12 sacks and has coughed up the ball five times.
Got to keep 4 of 5 running backs: Ben Tate, Mike Tolbert, Daniel Thomas, Joseph Addai, Steven Jackson. — @jacobwoody on Twitter
If we're talking the rest of the season, Addai is the one I let set sail.
There's upside for the other four. Tate has already proven he can step in for Arian Foster; Mike Tolbert isn't going to go away in the Chargers' offense; Thomas is just heating up for Miami and Jackson will get the bulk of the carries on a team with a rising QB and an easier second-half schedule.
I don't trust Addai to be there all season — both in health and production. The vibes are terrible in Indy, and once they are completely out of the playoff race, who's to say rookie Delone Carter doesn't start getting the looks more?
Better waiver wire pick up: Knowshon Moreno, Ryan Grant or Nate Washington? And I was offered David Nelson and Mark Ingram for Reggie Wayne. Thoughts? — @Will_Chaklos on Twitter
Nate Washington because he is the clear go-to target now for the Titans. Moreno and Grant are both in time shares, and not on the majority end of said time share.
And I would jump on the Nelson/Ingram for Wayne in a second. Both are in high-scoring offenses. Wayne, as good as he has been, has a QB situation that is dreadful
If Benson gets suspended and misses Week 4, is Bernard "Great" Scott worthy of a start over Shonn Greene who is at Baltimore. PPR. — Mike Crowther on Athlon Sports Facebook
Well, it looks like this might be a question for next week now that Benson is playing against the Bills this week; or will he be suspended at all? Either way, I would not even have Bernard Scott on a roster. Scott has barely sniffed any action — he has 2.3 fantasy points total over three games — this season and is not seen as an every-down back by his team to begin with. He has 23 yards, no catches and with the addition of Brandon Tate, is no longer part of the return game. He averaged 6.1 and 4.5 touches per game his first two seasons. This season, under new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Scott is averaging 2.6 touches.
Greene is still the bell cow for a Jets team that is struggling to run the ball, but he added a bit of PPR of his own in the loss to Oakland with seven catches on seven targets. If he can bring that part to the table each week as well, it will make up for his lackluster rushing numbers.
If Batman and Superman were to fight, who would win? — Joe Campanelli on Athlon Sports Facebook
Unless Batman has kryptonie, I think Superman walks away with this one in a first-second knockout. Even if Batman did bring kryptonite into the ring, I'm sure Superman could gut it out for a few rounds before Miss Tessmacher, while Batman wasn't looking, slipped into the ring and pulled the kryptonite away.
• Inside the Locker Room
With Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post
Is there another receiver outside of Brandon Lloyd worth drafting?
Memo to fantasy leaguers considering a Broncos wide receiver not named Brandon Lloyd: Enter at your own risk. In fact, don’t. Don’t run the risk of drafting a Denver receiver before the late rounds. Instead, take an 11th-hour flyer on Eric Decker and hope for the best. One given in the aftermath of John Fox’s hiring is that his wideouts will block in the running game. So Decker, 6'3" and 220 pounds, figures to emerge as a starter. After Decker, Eddie Royal, who has yet to match his big-time production as a rookie in Mike Shanahan’s system, could be worth a late-late-round flyer because of his return ability, and 2010 first-rounder Demaryius Thomas could be a sleeper if he can rebound from a torn Achilles.
What attachment does the new coaching staff have to Tim Tebow?
John Elway, now calling the Broncos’ personnel shots, has been very matter of fact about it: He believes Tim Tebow is a good football player, but isn’t convinced Tebow is, or ever will be, a good quarterback. Tebow, for all his college accomplishments and physical tools, finds himself in a position in which many young quarterbacks often fail. It’s called a new coaching staff, one that will bring a new philosophy and terminology. But while Tebow wasn’t drafted by Elway or Fox, he has one thing going for him — Mike McCoy. McCoy, who worked with Fox in Carolina, was retained from McDaniels’ staff as the offensive coordinator. And let’s face it, it’s not like the Broncos have a lot of other options, what with Kyle Orton expected to be traded in the near future.
Is Knowshon Moreno going to get a shot at being the No. 1 back for the Broncos?
Knowshon Moreno has spent his first two NFL seasons in a gray area between draft-day bust and so-so starter. With a new coaching staff aboard — one that loves to run the football — those various shades of gray figure to turn to black and white. That’s a nice way of saying Moreno needs to earn his keep … or else. Being Josh McDaniels’ first-ever No. 1 draft pick entitled him to a certain status, but that’s ancient history with John Fox calling the shots. Fact is, Moreno, at 210 pounds, give or take, doesn’t profile as Fox’s kind of tailback. There’s no doubt the Broncos will try to get bigger and more durable at the position. Moreno was advertised as a home-run hitter but has only five runs of 20-plus yards in 429 career carries. It’s not time to write him off, but make no mistake, he’ll be on a short leash in training camp. If he can just stay healthy for a change, maybe he can be the player McDaniels envisioned. But there were serious question marks before the new regime arrived, much more so now that Fox and his staff are in place.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: CHI, NE, @BUF
Two of the first three playoff games are at home, and then Broncos owners get to travel to the 32nd-ranked rush defense that resides in Buffalo. Granted, the Bills drafted defense with their first four picks, but they still allowed 15 yards more per game than the 31st-place team (Denver). Knowshon Moreno, Willis McGahee and whoever else is driving the offense should be good title-game matchups.
• Athlon Best Bets
Sleeper: Willis McGahee, RB Deep-Sleeper: Eric Decker, WR Overvalued: Brandon Lloyd, WR Top Rookie: Von Miller, LB Bounce-Back: Elvis Dumervil, DL Top IDP: Elvis Dumervil, DL
• Try to Avoid
John Fox is a run-first head coach, and the tight end was never a staple of his offenses in his nine years in Carolina. The position eclipsed 700 yards only once and never went past six TDs in a season. WAIT UNTIL: NEVER
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
The transition from Josh McDaniels to John Fox certainly played a role in Denver’s draft. McDaniels accumulated some impressive offensive talent but never found the right pieces on defense. The Broncos used four of their first five picks to improve a woeful defense, including impact players in Von Miller and Rahim Moore. Tight end is a glaring weakness that was addressed by adding Julius Thomas and Green. Both players are capable of starting this season.