Bye Weeks: N/A
Grab a Helmet
Charles @ OAK: Many expected the former Longhorn to resume his
role as dangerous everyman for the Chiefs in 2012 after missing
out on most of the 2011 campaign. And, for much of the season, heís
done exactly that, registering triple digits in total yards eight
times despite Kansas Cityís overall struggles. When heís failed
to reach that mark, however, heís failed in catastrophic fashion.
Here are his point totals for the five weeks in which heís failed
to exceed 100 yards rushing/receiving: 8.7, 6.6, 4.7, 2.2, and 1.0.
Yeesh. That one-point outing occurred in Week 8 against Oakland,
by the way, Charlesí opponent in Week 15. How much you wanna bet
he tallies significantly more than that this coming Sunday? He might
actually be good for TWENTY times that amount if the Raidersí front
continues with its recent disappearing act. Theyíve given up nearly
150 yards per contest in the last six, so unless something changes
fast, Charles is one of your best bets in Week 15.
The only fantasy option in KC.
Leshoure or Joique
Bell @ ARZ: Speaking of giving up, Larry Fitzgerald Sr.
took to the Twitterverse last Sunday after Arizonaís 58-0 shellacking
at the hands of Seattle, alleging his sonís squad has quit this
season. It wasnít terribly diplomatic, granted, but the numbers
back him up. After allowing just a single 100-yard rusher through
the first 11 weeks of the season, the Cards have now allowed five
of them just three weeks later. Do the math on that and then consider
that two of those century club members are named Shonn Greene and
Robert Turbin. Nope, not exactly a whoís who of stud rock-toters.
Papa Fitz might be cranky but heís got a point. Hereís mine: Either
LeShoure or Bell (or both) is going to go off this weekend. Merry
Christmas just a tad early if you own one of them.
Wilson @ ATL: Apparently, it takes a l-o-n-g time to get out
of Commandant Coughlinís doghouse. Wilson, the freakishly talented
rookie from Virginia Tech who excited Giants fans in the preseason,
fumbled his second professional carry way back in Week 1 and rarely
saw the field after that, let alone the football. In fact, he never
tallied more than 10 touches from scrimmage in a game until last
week. Last week was Week 14, by the way. What Wilson did with those
double-digit touches (100 rushing yards and two scores) has everyone
buzzing again and now, at long last, heís in position to earn his
redemption. Ahmad Bradshaw is highly questionable for the Week 15
showdown with the Falcons and Wilson stands to inherit most of his
work should the Giantsí main man sit this one out. That could be
special for Wilsonís owners because Atlanta is good at lots of thingsÖbut
slowing down opposing ball carriers isnít one of them (4.9 yards/carry
yielded, 31st in the league).
Grab a Gatorade
Johnson v. NYJ: Heís become the prototypical love/hate running
back at this point, a guy who can net you 20 fantasy points one
week and then 5 (or worse) the next. Accordingly, Iíve been all
over the map with him this year, running the gamut from strong
start recommendation to equally strong sit recommendation. Though
Iíve mostly been spot-on to date (toot, toot!), I always feel
uneasy about calling the shot on C2K. Hereís why Iím willing to
do so next Monday night: Itís obvious heís less valuable with
Jake Locker under center. Need evidence? In the eight games heís
played with Locker running the show, Johnson has averaged a modest
8.7 fantasy points per game. In the five tilts heís played with
Hasselbeck at the helm, heís averaged almost double that (15.7).
Hmmm. I didnít even include Week 4, incidentally, when Johnson
racked up most of his points after Locker departed. Iíll leave
the whys to people smarter than me, but itís plain the young triggerman
has been bad for Chris Johnsonís bottom line. Thatís bad for yours
if youíre still alive and own him.
Ballard @ HOU: Ballard has been quite a bit less mercurial
than Johnson since stepping into the Coltsí lineup but thatís
not necessarily a good thing. Because heís young, rarely merits
20 carries, and plays in a pass-happy offense, his ceiling is
much lower to begin with. Accordingly, even on his best days,
heís not likely to get you more than 10-12 points. Thatís nice
if youíre grinding out a midseason W against one of your leagueís
bottom feeders but not so much when you start facing the cream
come playoff time. And just as youíre taking a step up in class,
so is Mr. Ballard. The Colts havenít faced the Texans yet this
year but draw them twice in the final three weeks. This would
be the same Texans team which has allowed the fewest fantasy points
to running backs this year (161.1). Donít count on the up and
coming rook this Sunday against a team that can be more easily
dissected by air.
Any New Orleans RB not named Darren
Sproles v. TB: I didn’t have the gumption to
recommend a sit-down of Bryce Brown last week but I sure tossed
the idea around quite a bit. Easy for me to say in hindsight,
right? Understood. Regardless, I’d like you to know why
I was even considering it: Almost nobody runs the ball well against
the Bucs. That includes white hot rookies coming off consecutive
30-point outings. Indeed, only Alfred Morris and Adrian Peterson
have notched more than 75 yards on the ground against Tampa this
year and most backs end up in the 30-50 yard range...or worse
(Brown managed 6). Expect prolific numbers from the New Orleans
passing attack this Sunday (of which Sproles is an essential contributor)
but not much from the muddled committee of Mark Ingram, Pierre
Thomas, and Chris Ivory.