Stevan Ridley

Fantasy Decisions with Bradley Maddox: Fantasy Marriageā€¦and Weekly Rankings

This time next year, I will have been married for 4 months. Yeah I’m that kid: the one who gets married halfway through college. She’s a beautiful nursing student who, thankfully, will be graduating in December of 2015. But until then, as Alan Jackson puts it, we’ll be “living on love”…and very little else. Being newlyweds will be exciting as we learn more about each other everyday and experience a brand new life together. We’ll be two college students joined in wedded bliss.

            Now you’re not reading this to know about my personal life, you’re waiting to get to the fantasy analysis. Well, I challenge you to look back at the wonderful football marriages that took place this offseason and the beautiful impact they’re now having on your fantasy lineup. Remember when Gary Kubiak and Steve Smith were brought together as one? Yeah we’re not talking about marriage in the traditional sense, we’re talking about the ever-important marriage of new offensive coordinators and their new toys. Let’s take a quick look at just how big of an impact three new offensive coordinators are having on your roster.



·      Gary Kubiak and WR Steve Smith

o   When Kubiak was let go by the Texans this past offseason, teams around the league quickly inquired about the former offensive coordinator. He was always more of an offensive mind in Houston, leaving the defense up to his staff. Now in Baltimore, there may be no one happier than former Panther wide receiver Steve Smith. Upon leaving Carolina, Smith quickly became the ‘X factor’ receiver in Kubiak’s offense. For years, none other than Texan star receiver Andre Johnson held this prominent role. During his time in Houston, Kubiak made Johnson the first, second, and third option in the passing game. Secondary receivers weren’t important because they weren’t utilized. Kubiak had one receiver he cared about and that was going to be his guy through thick and thin. All this to say, we should have seen this breakout coming from Smith. Through three weeks, the former Panther has been targeted a staggering 32 times and has reeled in 18 of them. The next most targeted receiver is Torrey Smith, targeted only 18 times (or almost less than half of Smith). If an owner in your league is letting Smith ride the pine, see what kind of deal you can put together to grab him while he’s still available. As long as he holds down the ‘X’ spot, Smith is a viable WR2 in most formats.

·      Hue Jackson and RB Giovani Bernard

o   Hue Jackson is in a much different situation then Kubiak. Rather than moving teams, Jackson was promoted from Bengals running backs coach to offensive coordinator upon Jay Gruden’s exit to Washington. Having coached the team’s running backs, Jackson was smart enough to know what he had in the dynamic Gio Bernard. In 2013, Gruden was still focused on splitting the carries between Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. But today, Green-Ellis finds himself a free agent looking for a job while Bernard shines in Cincy. This fantasy marriage has done wonders for the young back. Last season, Bernard had more than 13 carries in just two games. This year, he’s already surpassed that number, averaging more than 18 carries a game. This doesn’t even include his role in the passing game, having already accumulated 19 targets through 3 weeks. Gio is the real deal and his owners are grateful for this marriage of coordinator and star running back.

·      Ben McAdoo and RB Rashad Jennings

o   In the last of our three marriages, we look at the beautiful chemistry between former Packers assistant McAdoo and Giants running back Rashad Jennings. McAdoo was brought into New York to spark life in an offense that ended in the bottom-five in offense last season. Having run the West Coast offense while in Green Bay, the coordinator quickly transformed the Giants into this system. West Coast offenses are known for short passes near the line of scrimmage and a hurry-up mentality. The Giants brass hired McAdoo hoping he could raise Eli Manning’s career 58.5% completion rate (hasn’t topped 60% in a season since 2011). What they didn’t expect was the massive role Jennings would play in the new scheme. Through week 3, Jennings has carried the rock 68 times for nearly 300 yards. In the current age of football, it’s hard to find many bell cow running backs. You need not look any further to find one. Having ceded just 19 carries to backup Andre Williams, this backfield is all Jennings. Expect more of the same in the coming weeks as McAdoo and Jennings take their marriage and turn it into wedded bliss (in the form of many, many fantasy points).


Week 4 Rankings:

            Here are my week 4 rankings broken down by position. I’ve also included my top 50 flex for those who can’t decide if they need to start a RB, WR, or TE in that flex spot. On to the rankings….



1.     Drew Brees

2.     Andrew Luck

3.     Phillip Rivers

4.     Aaron Rodgers

5.     Matt Ryan

6.     Matthew Stafford

7.     Jay Cutler

8.     Kirk Cousins

9.     Cam Newton

10. Colin Kaepernick

11. Jake Locker

12. Ben Roethlisberger

13. Tony Romo

14. Nick Foles

15. Tom Brady

16. Eli Manning

17. Blake Bortles

18. Teddy Bridgewater

19. Joe Flacco

20. Ryan Tannehill



1.     Demarco Murray

2.     Le’veon Bell

3.     Matt Forte

4.     LeSean McCoy

5.     Rashad Jennings

6.     Arian Foster

7.     Jamaal Charles

8.     Lamar Miller

9.     Donald Brown

10. Eddie Lacy

11. Alfred Morris

12. Matt Asiata

13. C.J. Spiller

14. Fred Jackson

15. Doug Martin

16. Ahmad Bradshaw

17. Frank Gore

18. Stevan Ridley

19. Pierre Thomas

20. Lorenzo Taliaferro

21. Shane Vereen

22. Reggie Bush

23. Darren Sproles

24. DeAngelo Williams

25. Chris Ivory



1.     Calvin Johnson

2.     Antonio Brown

3.     Dez Bryant

4.     Julio Jones

5.     Jordy Nelson

6.     Vincent Jackson

7.     Jeremy Maclin

8.     Alshon Jeffery

9.     Randall Cobb

10. Brandon Marshall

11. Kelvin Benjamin

12. Andre Johnson

13. Michael Crabtree

14. Keenan Allen

15. Desean Jackson

16. Victor Cruz

17. Cordarrelle Patterson

18. Cecil Shorts III

19. Julian Edelman

20. Roddy White

21. Brandin Cooks

22. Steve Smith

23. Marques Colston

24. Sammy Watkins

25. DeAndre Hopkins



1.     Jimmy Graham

2.     Rob Gronkowski

3.     Greg Olsen

4.     Vernon Davis

5.     Martellus Bennett

6.     Larry Donnell

7.     Travis Kelce

8.     Antonio Gates

9.     Delanie Walker

10. Niles Paul

11. Zach Ertz

12. Owen Daniels

13. Jason Witten

14. Heath Miller

15. Charles Clay



1.     San Diego Chargers

2.     Miami Dolphins

3.     New England Patriots

4.     Houston Texans

5.     Pittsburgh Steelers

6.     Detroit Lions

7.     Carolina Panthers

8.     Atlanta Falcons

9.     Chicago Bears

10. Baltimore Ravens

11.  San Francisco 49ers

12. New Orleans Saints

13. Oakland Raiders

14. Indianapolis Colts

15. Washington Redskins




1.     Nick Novak

2.     Stephen Gostkowski

3.     Shaun Suisham

4.     Justin Tucker

5.     Blair Walsh

6.     Dan Bailey

7.     Robbie Gould

8.     Adam Vinatieri

9.     Matt Bryant

10.  Cody Parkey

11. Mason Crosby

12. Phil Dawson

13. Dan Carpenter

14. Sebastian Janikowski

15. Randy Bullock




1.     Demarco Murray

2.     Le’Veon Bell

3.     Calvin Johnson

4.     Matt Forte

5.     LeSean McCoy

6.     Antonio Brown

7.     Dez Bryant

8.     Julio Jones

9.     Rashad Jennings

10. Arian Foster

11. Jamaal Charles

12. Jimmy Graham

13. Lamar Miller

14. Donald Brown

15. Vincent Jackson

16. Jeremy Maclin

17. Alshon Jeffery

18. Eddie Lacy

19. Alfred Morris

20. Rob Gronkowski

21. Matt Asiata

22. C.J. Spiller

23. Randall Cobb

24. Brandon Marshall

25. Kelvin Benjamin

26. Andre Johnson

27. Michael Crabtree

28. Fred Jackson

29. Doug Martin

30. Greg Olsen

31. Ahmad Bradshaw

32. Frank Gore

33. Stevan Ridley

34. Keenan Allen

35. Desean Jackson

36. Victor Cruz

37. Cordarrelle Patterson

38. Cecil Shorts III

39. Pierre Thomas

40. Vernon Davis

41. Lorenzo Taliaferro

42. Shane Vereen

43. Reggie Bush

44. Darren Sproles

45. Julian Edelman

46. Roddy White

47. Brandin Cooks

48. Steve Smith

49. Marques Colston

50. DeAngelo Williams




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Good luck to everyone this week!


This has been another edition of Fantasy Decisions with Bradley Maddox. Always remember: An elite owner stays ahead of the curve


Week 1 of NFL football is always a mixed bag, as it is often hard to tell whether successes or failures will be isolated incidences or the beginning of a trend. Will Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant combine for only 59 yards in future weeks? Unlikely, but you may see players like C.J. Spiller and Lamar Miller start to trend downwards. Usually this column lists the buys and sells related to the prior weekend’s games, but I never like to sell a player based solely on their Week 1 performance. Here are some players that I am currently buying into and some that I worry about.


Jared Cook and Jordan Cameron — Cook and Cameron are stunningly similar players — young, big, fast tight ends on teams with quickly improving offenses. Both players had very successful first weeks and will continue to improve. Both Sam Bradford and Brandon Weeden should continue to look for ways to dump the ball off and avoid turnovers. Cook and Cameron may not repeat their Week 1 successes, but expect them to be strong fantasy starters for the foreseeable future.

Stevan Ridley — This pick isn’t as much of a buy as it is a don’t worry. A fumble on the Patriots’ first drive led to Ridley spending most of his Sunday on the bench. Bill Belichick is a stickler about turnovers, and Ridley should take a lesson from this model even though he doesn’t have a fumble problem historically. Although Shane Vereen racked up 158 yards from scrimmage in Ridley’s stead, he also injured his wrist in the game and required surgery. Ridley will continue to start in New England, post solid numbers and can be bid on at a lower price due to his less-than-stellar Week 1.


Lamar Miller — What does an appallingly bad Week 1 performance for a starting running back look like? Ten rushes for three yards and one reception for seven yards.  Welcome to the fantasy dog house, Mr. Miller.  Miller showed very few signs of life in Week 1 and saw a large portion of the Dolphins’ touches go to Daniel Thomas. I’m not initiating a fire sale on Miller, but I am definitely leaving him on my bench until further notice. 

C.J. Spiller — Since entering the NFL three years ago, Spiller has shown fans exactly one half of a great season.  Although he seemed poised to break out this year — and he still might — it may be time to tap the breaks on Spiller’s expectations.  He has all of the potential in the world, but inconsistency could cut short his effectiveness.  This week Spiller had 55 yards from scrimmage and a fumble, while his counterpart, Fred Jackson, had 108 yards from scrimmage and held onto the ball. The Bills will continue to frustrate fantasy owners and use Jackson for entire quarters at a time, which will limit Spiller’s productivity and make him unworthy of the top 10 overall pick that fantasy football fan probably spent on him.

Former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III launched his NFL career with a win against the New Orleans Saints last Sunday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

There were big surprises in Week 1, both good and bad. For most fantasy players, that means Week 1 in the Fantasy Football world was pretty rough. How will these surprises affect week 2?

Here’s who to start:

1.) Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins

RG3’s NFL debut came at the Superdome against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, making his performance even more impressive. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards while running for 42 yards more. Griffin III showed his poise, tallying two touchdowns in the game, one for 88 yards.

2.) C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills

Spiller had 14 attempts running for 169 yards and one touchdown. He averaged 12.5 yards a carry while catching a few passes out of the backfield. That isn’t too bad since he ran against a decent New York Jets defense. With Fred Jackson out, Spiller should match his sterling performance when he faces the Kansas City Chiefs, who gave up 40 points in their first game.

3.) Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots

Ridley had the best game of his career in the Patriots’ opener, running 21 times for 125 yards. This season, after gaining the starting job with the loss of Green-Ellis, Ridley’s explosive speed and willingness to absorb contact will rack up a lot of points for any fantasy team.

Here’s who to sit:

1.) Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets

Sanchez faced a weak Buffalo defense in the Jets’ opener, throwing for three touchdowns, but he still has Tim Tebow right behind him. After Tebow came in as a slot receiver on the second play of the game, Sanchez seemed bothered and is facing a Steelers defense in Week 2 that is coming off a Week 1 loss to the Broncos. His first performance was a bit misleading, and may set some fantasy players up for failure in future weeks.

2.) Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit Lions

While Smith had a good opener, he shouldn’t have the same luck this week. Smith had a total of 62 yards with 4.8 yards a carry. That was against a St. Louis run defense that was ranked 31st in the league at the end of last season. This week Smith and the Lions face a 49ers defense that is very strong against the running game.

3.) Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns

Weeden got stuck under the American flag being brought onto the field during warm-ups. If he knew what was to come, he probably would have stayed there. He threw for only 118 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions. With a tough schedule coming up for the Browns against the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants, things won’t get any easier for Weeden.

Printed on Thursday, September 13th, 2012 as: Griffin III a smart start for fantasy