Fantasy Football stock watch: Offense

Fantasy Football stock watch: Offense

Upgrade

Kevin Smith, RB, Lions: There's nothing special about his skill set but Smith might wind up being Detroit's starter simply because he's the last back standing. Concussion-prone Jahvid Best is unlikely to be ready for the first third of the year, and Mikel Leshoure will miss two games because of a drug suspension. Smith knows how to play in multiple packages and he can catch the ball, and that makes him a keen fit in the Lions offense.

Austin Collie, WR, Colts: We gave him a tangential upgrade earlier this month because of our faith in Andrew Luck, and that was backed up nicely by the first Indianapolis preseason result (Luck, in particular, was outstanding). And when you consider how terrible the Colts defense looks right now, you can imagine a lot of high-scoring affairs in Indy this year. Go where the carnival is. Go where the points are.

Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers: You need to be careful with the flow of August news and training camp slants - everyone looks terrific, everyone is in outstanding shape, etc. It's a Mad Lib. But sources we trust are giving us strong reports on Gates's condition, and No. 85 is more important than ever in San Diego given that Ryan Mathews is dinged up and Vincent Jackson left town. If Gates can stay on the field, he might be able to post stats that closely resemble Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. He's still that much of a matchup nightmare, and when you get open, Philip Rivers will find you.

John Skelton, QB, Cardinals: Cheers to the Arizona management, which is not going to hand Kevin Kolb the starting QB job simply because of his bloated contract. Skelton is a more raw prospect but he's also more exciting to us - he'll hold the ball longer and he has a better intermediate and deep arm. If you're tied to Larry Fitzgerald, you want Skelton taking the snaps that matter.

Peyton Hillis, RB, Chiefs: New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll knows all about Hillis - Daboll called the plays two years back when Hillis went off for the Browns. And Daboll was just as impressive last year, getting control of Miami's offense and turning Reggie Bush into a surprise star. While we also think good things about Jamaal Charles into the new year, we get the idea Hillis could score 9-12 touchdowns without much trouble. And if Charles ever gets hurt, Hillis might be a Top 10 fantasy back again. Last year's zero, this year's hero.

Danny Amendola, WR, Rams: The St. Louis passing game might be the worst one in the NFC right now, but someone is going to make a run at 70 or more catches, with Amendola leading the way. We've also heard very positive things about Steve Smith, the former Giant slot machine. Success in fantasy football depends on knowing all the depth charts, all the situations. Highlight these low-buzz targets for PPR formats.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings: Here's another modern, hybrid tight end to get familiar with, a freakish athlete who will see lots of snaps as a de-facto wide receiver. That's how you want your fantasy tight end deployed; forget the blocking and trench work, go out and run some patterns. Rudolph scored three touchdowns in the final third of the 2011 season, and he might be ready for a 750-yard, eight-score breakout as a sophomore.

Downgrade

Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys: His offensive line was exposed for all to see on Monday night, and there's been a non-stop flow of bad news with the name receivers here (Miles Austin is dinged up; Dez Bryant is a wild card; Jason Witten has a spleen injury). Given the depth of the quarterback position in fantasy this year, why would you want to waste a mid-round pick on Romo, tied to this uncertain offense? The Cowboys will probably regret letting Laurent Robinson get away.

Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets: Could the setup in New York be any worse? Sanchez has a mediocre running game to help him, a spotty cast of receivers (Santonio Holmes cannot be trusted and then it drops off), and the offensive line has issues as well. And to make things even more messy, Sanchez has to share practice reps with Tim Tebow and a gadget offense. Do the Jets want their franchise quarterback to fail? Sometimes it seems that way.

Sidney Rice, WR, Seahawks: He's been slow to recover from offseason shoulder surgeries, which tells you why the club brought in aging Terrell Owens. And the most reliable wideout on the current roster isn't Rice, but rather second-year target Doug Baldwin. We're going to slot Rice outside our Top 50 on the next set of receiver ranks, which probably means we won't get him in any league. That's the idea.

Roy Helu, RB, Redskins: He's the most talented back on the Washington roster, but little good that does him now that he has a sore Achilles' and a buried spot on the depth chart. The summer dream was fun while it lasted. No one who writes off a Shanahan Backfield has regretted it in recent seasons.

Quick Links

T.J. Oshie set to return to Caps' lineup Wednesday night

T.J. Oshie set to return to Caps' lineup Wednesday night

T.J. Oshie will return to the Capitals’ lineup Wednesday night against the Bruins, Coach Barry Trotz confirmed.

The top line right missed the past seven games with a shoulder injury that he suffered Nov. 18.

Despite the nearly three-week absence, Oshie still ranks third on the Caps in goals with eight and is fourth in points with 12. 

RELATED: 3 BOLD PREDICTIONS: TOUGH RASK AT HAND

Based on the morning skate, Oshie will skate alongside center Nicklas Backstrom and left wing Marcus Johansson against Tuukka Rask and the surging Bruins. The 29-year-old will also reclaim his usual spot in the middle of the diamond on the first team power play.

Trotz said Oshie, who was sidelined 19 days, is returning “a little bit” earlier than expected.

“I depends on the individual,” Trotz said. “It depends on the healing process. It depends on how their body can handle the strain of being hurt and how it repairs itself."

Trotz added:  “Right now all indications are that Osh is ready to go. I have to trust our trainers and doctors and, more important, I have to trust the player. And the player feels like he’s ready to go.”

On Tuesday, Oshie was a full participant in practice for the first time since getting hurt. He went through contact drills and reported no aftereffects. He was full-go again Wednesday morning and afterward said he felt “great.”

The Capitals went 3-3-1 and averaged 2.14 goals per game while Oshie was sidelined.

MORE CAPITALS: OVECHKIN TRAILS CROSBY AFTER FIRST WEEK OF ALL-STAR VOTING

Quick Links

Best of Ryan Kerrigan's Q&A: favorite foods, Carl Winslow, and making a playoff push

Best of Ryan Kerrigan's Q&A: favorite foods, Carl Winslow, and making a playoff push

Prior to the Redskins' Wednesday afternoon practice, defensive lineman Ryan Kerrigan joined CSN Redskins Insider J.P. Finlay on Facebook Live to talk about all things football, Week 14 vs. the Eagles and a host of other subjects, presented by Paisano's Pizza.

Kerrigan, who is tied for third in the NFL with 10 sacks, discussed staying mentally sharp late in the season, what improvements the defense can make, his favorite food, and 90's TV shows.

Here are some of the highlights:

RELATED: BEST CUSTOM CLEATS IN WEEK 13

Washington Redskins fans - Ryan Kerrigan taking your questions now!

Posted by CSN Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, December 7, 2016

0:33 - After a tough loss in Arizona, where is the team's collective mindset? How do the players feel about their playoff chances?

1:20 - Gameplanning for Carson Wentz: What are the keys to getting to the Eagles quarterback and making his day difficult?

2:05 - Kerrigan and the rest of the team is excited to get Trent Williams back. How would Kerrigan rate the team's performance in Williams' absence? Is Williams the most difficult left tackle Kerrigan has had to face?

3:20 - Kerrigan details his favorite food and why he doesn't get to eat his favorite food as much as he would like. 

4:45 - Gheorghe Mureșan reference!

6:20 - The Redskins have struggled recently to put together solid back-to-back seasons. What does Kerrigan think is the key to finishing the post-NFC title season strong?

8:30 - Favorite 90's television show. Kerrigan is a big "Doug" fan, also enjoyed watching Carl Winslow and Steve Urkell on 'Family Matters." BONUS: 'Diehard' reference, which makes sense since it is the holiday season.

9:45 - Who was Ryan Kerrigan's favorite player growing up? Does he have any football heroes?

11:27 - How important is it to Kerrigan to finish the season as the NFL leader in sacks?

13:30 - How many bars of the "Saved By The Bell" theme song can Kerrigan sing?

14:09 - What is Josh Norman like off-camera and away from the media? The answer might surprise you.

15:10 - Kerrigan details his favorite Christmas gift of all time and why important gift presentation is important.

17:25 - Shoutout to Muncie, Indiana, Ryan Kerrigan's hometown and top vacation spot on "Parks & Rec."

18:10 - Kerrigan's final Facebook Live request: How many bars of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" theme can Kerrigan sing?

Be sure to join us again soon when Paisano's Pizza poresents Ryan Kerrigan on CSNMA Facebook Live.

RELATED: WHAT WORKED AND WHAT DIDN'T AGAINST THE CARDINALS