Bye Week Scouting Report: Seattle, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Cincinnati

Dan Meylor

russell_wilson3This marks the final installment of the Bye Week Scouting Report.  Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it every week.  Let’s get to it!

Seattle Seahawks

After starting the season relatively slowly, many fantasy owners were concerned about a sophomore slump from Russell Wilson.  After all, he completed only 58.2% of his passes and averaged less than 200 yards through the air while throwing eight touchdowns and four interceptions though the first five games of the season.  Since that point he’s been brilliant, completing 68.9% of his passes and tossing 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions while averaging 227.5 yards through the air.

The anxieties about a sophomore slump should be erased, and dynasty owners should be more interested in Wilson’s upside.  In his 27 game NFL career, he’s thrown 45 touchdowns and only 16 interceptions while completing 64% of his passes.  Many like to compare him to Drew Brees because of his height.  However, Brees threw 28 touchdowns and 31 interceptions while completing only 59.5% of his passes over his first 27 games as a pro.  Add to Wilson’s numbers his incredible work ethic and running ability (he’s averaged 33 yards-per-game rushing and has five rushing touchdowns) and you have the makings of a perennial QB1 dynasty owners can rely on.

Wilson’s receivers have been a bit of a mixed bag.  The wild-card of the group is Percy Harvin, who returned from a hip injury last week against the Vikings.  He caught one pass for 17 yards in his season debut, but only played 20 snaps.  It’s unknown how his return will affect the rest of the wide outs in Seattle down the stretch of the season, but Harvin will most certainly take over as Wilson’s number one target at some point.  He has WR2 upside.

Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin have split the number one wide receiver job while Harvin was out and done well for the most part.  Tate has caught 42 passes for 600 yards and four touchdowns on 62 targets.  Baldwin is second on the team with 50 targets, catching 36 of them for 586 yards and three touchdowns.  While both have been effective with Harvin out of the lineup, fantasy owners should expect their production to dip with him back.  They are worth rostering, but shouldn’t be depended on except in deep leagues. Sidney Rice was lost for the season due to a torn ACL and is unlikely to return to Seattle without taking a large pay cut.  His dynasty value is very limited at this point.  Jermaine Kearse isn’t relevant and not worth a roster spot in most leagues, but could have fantasy value if the Seahawks lose a receiver over the off-season.

The tight ends in Seattle aren’t used regularly enough to make a fantasy impact.  Zach Miller has 22 receptions for 248 yards and three touchdowns, but he’s only been targeted 30 times on the season and has been held to two catches or less in seven of 11 games this year.  His backup, Luke Willson, is an interesting long term prospect.  He’s athletic, and although he’s caught only 12 passes for 170 yards, should be on the radar of dynasty owners.

The Seahawks running game may be the best in the league and it’s likely to get better before the end of the season with the returns of offensive lineman Russell Okung, Breno Giacomini and Max Unger.

Marshawn Lynch has been very consistent.  He has at least 17 carries in all but one game this season and is among the top-three running backs in per-game fantasy scoring in both standard and PPR leagues.  He’s only 27 years old and can be relied on to be an RB1 for at least another season. Robert Turbin is listed as Lynch’s primary backup, but rookie Christine Michael is a much more interesting dynasty asset.  Michael has carried the ball only 18 times for 79 yards, but is extremely explosive and has RB1 upside if Lynch ever leaves Seattle or is forced to miss time.  He should be the top trade target among all running backs for dynasty owners, as long as you have the patience to wait for his production.  Turbin owners should consider selling him to the Lynch owner for something useful.

Among the Seahawks who are scheduled to hit free agency this off-season are Tate, Baldwin (restricted) and kicker Steven Hauschka.




Russell Wilson

Marshawn Lynch

Christine Michael

Robert Turbin

Sidney Rice

Golden Tate

Doug Baldwin

Luke Willson


Cincinnati Bengals

A.J. Green’s streak of 100 yard games ended at five last week when Joe Haden held him to two catches for seven yards.  Even with that awful outing, he’s on pace to catch 97 passes for 1,483 yards and nine touchdowns.  Outside of Calvin Johnson, it’s extremely difficult to find a better dynasty wide receiver at this point.  He’s a top-five dynasty player, regardless of position.

His quarterback, Andy Dalton, has been incredibly inconsistent.  There was a three game stretch at the end of October when he completed 69 of 104 passes (66%) for 1,034 yards (344.6 per game), 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions.  In the other eight games however, he completed 183 of 306 passes (59.8%) for 1,920 yards (240 per game) and only ten touchdowns while throwing 13 interceptions. With more than two-and-a-half seasons as a starter under his belt, it’s hard to envision Dalton becoming anything more than a middle-of-the-road QB2.  The likelihood that the Bengals win a Super Bowl with Dalton under center is grim, and the odds that dynasty owners can rely on him to win a fantasy championship may be just as bleak.

The pass catchers outside of Green in Cincinnati are young, but have much potential.  Marvin Jones has 30 receptions for 446 yards and seven touchdowns on 47 targets, but he’s played only 44.5% of the Bengals’ snaps and a lot of his production (8 catches, 122 yards and 4 TD) came in one game.  He’s worth a roster spot, but shouldn’t be relied on just yet.  Mohamed Sanu has caught 36 passes for 353 yards and a touchdown on 57 targets while playing 73% of the team’s snaps.  He runs a majority of his routes from the slot and most of his targets are in the shallow to intermediate range, which drastically reduces his fantasy upside.

Tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert have been a big part of the offense, but due to them both taking away from the other, neither has been very valuable from a fantasy perspective.  Gresham has 35 catches for 348 yards and two touchdowns on 50 targets and rarely comes off the field.  He’s played 93.3% of the Bengals’ snaps.  Eifert has 31 receptions for 377 yards and a touchdown on 46 targets, but has only played 66.8% of the teams’ snaps.  The key difference between the two is blocking.  Gresham blocks on 51% of the plays that he’s on the field while Eifert blocks on only 34.8% of plays.  This shows that the Bengals’ coaching staff sees Gresham as a very valuable part of their entire offense, so dynasty owners that are hoping Gresham moves on after the season or once his contract expires after next season should think again. Although Eifert has TE1 upside, it may take a couple years to realize that potential or possibly a change at quarterback.  I’d still trade for him, but wouldn’t pay a high price to get him.

The Cincinnati running game also has multiple contributors who hurt each other’s fantasy value.  Veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis has carried the ball 156 times for 522 yards (3.3 YPC) and three touchdowns while catching only two passes for nine yards.  Rookie Giovani Bernard has 464 rushing yards on 105 carries (4.4 YPC) and four touchdowns, but he’s contributed 42 receptions for 345 yards and three more scores.  Bernard has also played 51.4% of the Bengals’ snaps, compared to 43.2% by Green-Ellis. Obviously, Bernard has a much higher upside in both the short and long term.  He should be considered a top-15 dynasty running back at this point and has the upside to be a RB1 for years to come.  He’s a great trade target, although his price is likely to be high.  Green-Ellis is a bye-week replacement type player at this point in his career.  He’s droppable in shallow leagues or if you need the roster space to add a player with more upside.




Giovani Bernard

A.J. Green

Tyler Eifert

Andy Dalton

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

Marvin Jones

Jermaine Gresham


Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Foles has completed 103 of 162 passes (63.6%) for 1,554 yards, 16 touchdowns and no interceptions so far this season.  Officially, he’s played in eight games this year.  In one he attempted one pass, in another, he attempted four.  If we take out those two games and extrapolate his numbers over 16 weeks, his statistics would be staggering.  Completing 267 of 419 passes for 4,013 yards while throwing 40 touchdowns and no interceptions would certainly get the attention of fantasy owners. Now before you start screaming at your computer that there’s no way Foles goes an entire 16 game stretch without throwing an interception, let me say that I couldn’t agree more.  However, the numbers speak for themselves.  Did you know he leads the league with 9.6 yards-per-attempt, which is better than Aaron Rodgers’ career high of 9.25 from 2011, the year he won the league’s MVP award? I’m certainly not ready to hand Foles an MVP trophy or even make him an every week, “must start” fantasy quarterback.  I am willing to say he should have staying power as a QB1 for the rest of 2013 and beyond, especially if he gets an endorsement from Chip Kelly as his starting quarterback going into 2014.

The Eagles’ pass catchers have also been an impressive bunch.  DeSean Jackson is third in the NFL among wide outs in receiving yards with 925, 11th in the league in catches with 58 and ninth in touchdown receptions with seven.  He’s a bon-a-fid WR1 going forward. Over the last six weeks, Riley Cooper has taken over as the Eagles’ number two receiver.  Over that time, he’s averaged nearly four receptions for 83 yards per game and caught a total of 6 touchdowns.  He’s obviously a favorite target of Foles, so as long as he’s under center, fantasy owners can count on Cooper to be a solid WR2, at least for the rest of 2013. Jason Avant (28 receptions, 316 yards and 1 touchdown) is 30 years old and shouldn’t be considered for dynasty purposes.  Rookie Damaris Johnson (2, 14, 0) is an interesting long-term prospect for dynasty owners.  He’s small (5’8”, 170 pounds) much like Jackson and may need a year or two to develop, but he fits into the mold of the quick receivers that Kelly wants in his offense.  The team also signed Brad Smith, but likely as a special teams contributor.

Tight ends Brent Celek (19, 290, 3) and Zach Ertz (21, 274, 1) aren’t targeted enough to be fantasy contributors at this point.  Celek is playing nearly double the snaps as Ertz but the rookie is the one to own for dynasty purposes.  He’s quick for a tight end, can play out of the slot and could develop into a low-end TE1.

The only reason I’ve waited this long to mention LeSean McCoy is because I’ve been saving the best for last.  He’s a top-three dynasty running back.  Anybody who thinks differently should hit me up on Twitter (@dmeylor22).  He’s only 25 years old, catches the ball better than most tailbacks, has a nose for the goal line and plays in one of the most dynamic offenses in the league which hasn’t even hit its stride yet.  As the Eagles get better, he will too.  Kelly feeds him the rock when they’re nursing a lead and I expect that to happen often over the next few years. I do believe McCoy’s backup, Bryce Brown would be a top-15 fantasy running back if McCoy were to go down, as he displayed last season.  Without an injury however, he’s just a handcuff.

Cooper, as well as fellow wide out Jeremy Maclin are both scheduled to become free agents after the season along with former starting quarterback Michael Vick.  The latter two are both worth roster spots in deep dynasty leagues until we see where they sign this off-season, although I would trade Vick if anybody was willing to give up anything of value for him.




Nick Foles

LeSean McCoy

DeSean Jackson

Michael Vick

Brent Celek

Matt Barkley

Bryce Brown

Riley Cooper

Jeremy Maclin

Zach Ertz


Buffalo Bills

C.J. Spiller is one of the five most talented tailbacks in the NFL.  His numbers may not suggest it, carrying the ball 123 times on the season for 507 yards (4.1 YPC) and only one touchdown and he did enter the season with more hype than just about every other player in the league only to disappoint, but he’s too fast, agile and explosive to be held down for much longer.  Reports out of Buffalo say he’s nearing 100% while fellow runner Fred Jackson is dealing with an ailing left knee.  A breakout is coming for Spiller, and soon. Over the final five weeks of the season, Spiller and the rest of the Bills offense face four of the eight worst defenses in the league against the run, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami and New England.  While Spiller will continue to split carries with Jackson, he should get the lion’s share over the final five weeks of the season and he’s proven in the past what he can do with as little as 15 touches.  Considering Jackson’s age (32) and health, the Bills coaching staff would be smart to showcase his much younger backfield mate down the stretch of the season. Jackson doesn’t hold a lot of long-term dynasty value at this point, but his owners should be trying to move on from him.  Spiller on the other hand, still has high-end RB1 upside.  I believe he’ll finish the season strong, putting his disappointing start to the season in his dust, along with many defenders, and enter 2014 as one of the most coveted fantasy running backs.

The Buffalo passing game is young and inexperienced, but is bursting with potential. Quarterback E.J. Manuel has battled injury during his rookie season, but looked good when on the field.  He’s completed 58.5% of his passes and thrown twice as many touchdowns (8) as interceptions (4), so dynasty owners have reason for optimism with the former Seminole.  He has the talent to become a QB1 in the future, but realizing that potential depends on the Buffalo front office supplying him with talent..

Stevie Johnson is the most experienced receiver on the Bills’ roster, and he’s only 27 years old.  He’s been extremely consistent over the last three seasons, catching between 76 and 82 passes for just over 1,000 yards each year and hauling in a total of 23 touchdowns over the span.  This season, he’s missed two games (and most of another) due to injury and is unlikely to reach those numbers, but he should enter 2014 as a low-end WR2 with breakout potential. Rookie Robert Woods (26 receptions, 349 yards and two touchdowns) has played well, but been incredibly inconsistent.  He’s also battled injuries throughout the season.  Second-year receiver T.J. Graham (18, 272, 1) has flashed talent, but has shown uneven play.  Rookie Marquise Goodwin (16, 261, 3) is fast, but small (5’9”, 183 pounds), he’s an excellent downfield threat that has seen more action over the last month.  Of the three of them, Goodwin is the one to own for dynasty purposes.  It’s going to be difficult for the Buffalo coaching staff to keep him off the field as the season winds down.

Scott Chandler has caught 37 passes for 428 yards and two touchdowns and is a quality NFL tight end, but his fantasy upside is incredibly limited.  His contract is up after the season and he’s a TE2 at best, no matter where he plays next year.




C.J. Spiller

Stevie Johnson

Fred Jackson

E.J. Manuel

Marquise Goodwin

Scott Chandler

dan meylor