RotoExperts is excited to announce the addition of veteran pro football writer and Fantasy analyst Steve Silverman to the team. Steve will now bring you totally unique Fantasy insights from a true NFL Insider’s perspective. Steve is a highly experienced veteran of the pro football and Fantasy writing industries. With his deep network of contacts and Fantasy acumen, Steve will not only deliver insider insights, he will tell you how they affect your Fantasy outlooks and strategies.
Steve has been writing about sports since the 1980s. He spent 10 years as senior editor at Pro Football Weekly and he has also written for the Wall Street Journal, ESPN The Magazine, MSNBC, and NFL.com. Silverman currently covers all sports – including the NFL – for CBS New York and CBS Chicago. He co-hosted Fantasy Football Weekly on the Prime Sports Cable Network in 1994 and ’95. It was the first national Fantasy Football television program. Silverman has written eight sports books, including Who’s Better, Who’s Best in Football? This book ranks the top 60 players since 1950.
Silverman has won three writing awards from the Pro Football Writers of America. He also served was a radio talk-show host and NFL expert for radio station WSCR-AM in Chicago for 13 years.
Steve’s weekly columns will feature insider reports from around the league with Fantasy spins. Here is his first installment, focusing on the frustrating Dwayne Bowe and the Tampa Bay and Detroit offenses.
Fantasy owners are crying about Dwayne Bowe and wondering when he is going to come out of his funk for the 3-0 Chiefs.
Many will hold on to Bowe (9-90-1) for weeks, because they see a veteran quarterback in Alex Smith who is not throwing interceptions and a legitimate offensive guru in Andy Reid at head coach, and they figure that Bowe is going to post much better numbers sometime soon.
Forget about it. Bowe is simply a guy who is more than happy to collect his check and do whatever he can to keep his money rolling in.
That means two or three good games a year and that’s it. I have seen Bowe throughout his career and several scouts have pointed out his lack of consistent effort throughout his years in the NFL.
Bowe may have first-round talent, but he has no interest in selling out to make a catch and taking the punishment that most big-time receivers are willing to absorb if it means helping their team.
Bowe was not that kind of player for previous Kansas City head coaches Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel, and Andy Reid is learning first-hand how little Bowe cares about winning.
Bowe is the kind of receiver who relies on his self-preservation instincts and the sidelines to keep from taking a heavy hit.
It’s probably just a matter of time before Reid is completely sick of looking at him and the same holds true for Smith.
Fantasy owners might get one or two good games for this overpaid Chief, but that’s it. He is not a legitimate No. 1 NFL receiver. No matter where you drafted him, you have to get rid of him.
Bowe has fooled a lot of people for a long time, and the Chiefs owe him too much money to get rid of him. He has $20 million in guaranteed money coming to him and his contract runs through 2017. However, he has just $750,000 in salary coming this year. He can earn another $3 million in bonus money, but he doesn’t appear very interested right now.
Bowe will be a Fantasy disaster this season and he’s not going to help the Chiefs either.
The Chiefs can’t get rid of him, but you can.
Find some unsuspecting fool in your league and trade Bowe immediately. You’ll be glad that you did.
DON’T DISMISS NEW TAMPA BAY QB
When Mike Glennon gets behind center this week for the Tampa Bay Bucs, he is not going to have the backing of too many Fantasy owners.
There’s no reason not to take a wait-and-see attitude on Glennon, considering he came out of North Carolina State last April with a reputation for having ordinary arm strength and decent accuracy.
But you should have an open mind where Glennon is concerned, because he represents a major upgrade over Josh Freeman. Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano pulled Freeman this week, and it was not just because he wanted “his guy” in the lineup.
Freeman had no clue as how to take advantage of his physical gifts with the Bucs. Freeman may have size, strength, athleticism, a powerful arm and the ability to take a hit, but he doesn’t read defenses any better than you do.
Schiano, who serves as his own offensive coordinator, saw the same mistakes every week and wanted to tear his hair out by the end of the Bucs’ Week One loss to the Jets and the mistakes continued to add up in Week Two and Three.
There were plenty of reported instances of Freeman showing up late to meetings and team pictures, and none of those things worked in his favor.
But the big problem Freeman had was reading defenses and figuring out the right calls in those situations that would have allowed his receivers to make plays. Our sources say that the only skill Freeman had was throwing the ball to his receivers running downfield so they could jump high and win the 50-50 balls.
Modern NFL offense calls for quick passes, timing routes and accurate delivery, and Freeman both failed to deliver and struggled to grasp the concepts.
Glennon should be a step up this week against Arizona. We’re not saying he’s stellar, but he can get rid of the ball quickly and he doesn’t have to throw the same predictable down-the-field rainbows that were Freeman’s staples.
Our sources say that the tall and skinny Glennon can survey the field quickly, find the open receiver and deliver the ball on the money.
The Arizona defense is just ordinary and so Glennon won’t find himself tested by a bunch of marauders or ballhawks that he will see in games coming up against Atlanta, Carolina and Seattle (Weeks 7-9).
After his baptism against the Cardinals, he’ll have a bye week and then the Eagles before he gets tested by three big-time defenses.
If Glennon does not get overcome by nerves – and we don’t think he will – he has a chance to be a major upgrade over Freeman.
Desperate Fantasy owners or two-QB league players will do a lot better with Glennon than they would have with Freeman, and he may help the Tampa Bay offense rather than hinder it. If he can keep defenses honest, and there is a good chance he will, Doug Martin’s owners won’t have to be too worried about the cast around him.
DETROIT’S TRUE PLANS WITHOUT BURLESON
The Lions were hit with a big blow in the middle of the week when Nate Burleson broke his arm while reaching for a pizza in his car at 2 in the morning.
Burleson’s broken arm required surgery and optimistic reports have him back in the lineup in six weeks. However, it seems unlikely he will be back early in November. Sometime after Thanksgiving or even December seem much more realistic.
Burleson was the Lions’ leading receiver with 19 receptions before he was hurt, but he was even more valuable than his numbers indicated.
Burleson was the player who gave the Lions offense some balance. He was the one who was taking pressure off of Megatron and gave the Lions’ best player a chance to make big plays.
Calvin Johnson is simply a dominant player who has the size, strength, speed and hands to get open on nearly every key play even though he is almost always bracketed by the defense. With the Burleson injury, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has to figure out a new solution.
Here’s what he is likely to do. Instead of going with another wideout Ryan Broyles in the slot position, he’s going to use running backs Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick in the slot.
Bush is at his best as a receiver because of his quickness and ability to run after the catch. He missed the Lions’ Week Three victory over the Redskins because of a sore knee, but he will be back against the Bears. He should split his time between the backfield and the slot position.
Riddick operated out of the slot position while at Notre Dame. He understands what it takes to get open and he will run his patterns correctly. He has the wherewithal to do his job well. However, making plays at Notre Dame and performing in practice is not the same thing as making plays against a hard-hitting Chicago Bears’ defense.
From a Fantasy perspective, you can rely on Bush to increase his role in the passing game while he will also remain a key part of the running game. Riddick is also going to get an opportunity to show he can be a consistent producer as a slot receiver. If he doesn’t drop his first few opportunities, he has a chance to produce decent numbers in many leagues
The Lions success – not only this week but for the next two months – is dependent on having options for quarterback Matthew Stafford.
That’s why they acquired Bush in the offseason, because he gives them the threat of a running game. Now Bush must also play another role as well. He must give the Lions some of his time as a slot receiver. If Bush and Riddick are successful, Johnson will once again be the best receiver in the league.
If Bush and Riddick struggle, Johnson may have problems from a Fantasy perspective. Opposing defensive backs will be able to ignore the non-threat from the slot and double-team Johnson on every play. He’s good enough to beat two DBs, but not on every play and his yardage and touchdown totals won’t reach expectations.
Love ‘em, Hate ‘em in Week Four
The Baltimore Ravens appear to have righted the ship with home wins in Weeks Two and Three after getting humiliated on the road in Week One by the Denver Broncos. They are back on the road in Week Four and that’s trouble for John Harbaugh. Running back C.J. Spiller is at his best when his team has a chance to win, and look for the Bills to stay in the game for four quarters and possibly end up with the win. Spiller will run for 135 yards and two TDs against the Ravens. LOVE HIM.
You want to know who the worst undefeated team in the NFL is? Try the New England Patriots. They miscalculated badly when they let Wes Welker go and their former stellar receiving crew is in tatters. The Patriots have to go to Atlanta to face the angry Falcons, and the Atlanta defense is going to take their frustrations out on Tom Brady. Look for Brady to have one of the worst games of his career. HATE HIM.
The Redskins are going to win a game sooner or later, and this is the week. The Redskins don’t have the same kind of firepower on offense that they did a year ago, but they still have Alfred Morris and that’s enough against the Oakland Raiders. The Oakland defense is not terrible against the run – 17th in rushing yards allowed – but Morris will tear them up with 125 yards and two touchdowns. LOVE HIM
Chuck Pagano is an inspirational leader and he understands defensive football as well as any head coach. But he has one of the best assets in quarterback Andrew Luck and he is not utilizing him correctly this year. Luck has been confined to short- and medium-range passes. He’s too good for that type of gameplanning and Pagano must give him freedom. It will happen, but not this week vs. the Jags. HATE HIM